Coastal NC

VOL12ISS2 2016

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10 THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — CAPE FEAR NC | VOLUME 12—ISSUE 2 CAPE FEAR LIVING Cape Fear Living BY LYNNE BRANDON Water is revered in the state rife with lakes, rivers, sounds, beaches and miles of coastline. Locals and tourists flock to small towns all year with summer and early fall being high season. In the fall and winter visitors leave and locals admit to breathing a sigh of relief. Lines are nonexistent for eating out, no one sits too close to you on the beach and canines can go unleashed on stretches of sand. For many, the best time of the year is off-season when temperatures are still nice and humidity is low. Topsail (pronounced by locals as Top-sul) Island is a favorite with those who like quiet coastal towns without the glitz and glamour of commercialization. Some call Topsail Island North Carolina's best kept secret. Many would like to keep it that way. The 26-mile long island is made up of North Topsail Beach, Surf City and Topsail Beach. The island and its towns are referred to as Mayberry-by-the-Sea so often that it became the name of the book by author, Ray McAllister. "If you want tourist attractions, it isn't here," said McAllister. "People come here for the beach, slow pace and friendly people, not for night life. Here you relax and find yourself." Piers are favorite gathering spots for fishing and contemplating life in the slow lane. The Seaview (North Topsail), Surf City Ocean Pier, and the Jolly Roger Pier (Topsail Beach) reward young and old with spectacular views and unforgettable memories. Go beneath the ocean to waters off Topsail Island known as the "Graveyard of the Atlantic." Dive up to 125 feet to see remains from German u-boats and other wreckage. Topsail Beach has a rich military history. Remnants of the island's past ties to the Navy stand tall and majestic in the shape of two-and-three story block shaped observation towers from the post WWII Project Bumblebee. Tower 2 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The history of the island and towers is preserved in the Missiles and More Museum. The former missile launch pad next to the property is part of the patio of Jolly Roger Motel and Pier. The museum grounds and property is the scene of the annual "Autumn with Topsail" Festival where artists gather to showcase photography, ceramics, jewelry and other art. The mood is laid back and fun with the help of live music and plenty of good food. Businesses run by locals contribute to the Mayberry feel. Quarter Moon Books & Gifts is a neighborhood bookstore where patrons can grab a "cup of Joe" at the coffee bar or indulge in a glass of Merlot. Special events, monthly wine tastings and live music (weather permitting) keep customers coming in. "We are constantly evolving to keep it interesting for the customers that return year after year," said Lori Fisher, owner. And, there's the skating rink that takes visitors back to childhood. The unassuming block building has steps leading up to the second story where an old fashioned rink brings in kids (and adults) who spend summer nights skating across wooden floors and listening to 80s music, depending on the night. The simple pleasure has been a town staple since 1963. Surf City is sandwiched between North Topsail Beach and Topsail Beach. Endangered Loggerhead turtles are cared for at the new Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center aka the turtle hospital. For food with a view, locals head to beachside eateries at Daddy Mac's, Buddy's open air beach bar and Sears Landing. The Surf City pier is a favorite iconic landmark along with Swing Bridge. For more than a century, the Surf City bridge has connected Topsail Island to the mainland in Pender County. The beloved bridge will soon be a thing of the past when construction starts on the 65-foot high-rise bridge. On the mainland, Sneads Ferry is the home of the North Carolina Shrimp Festival. The town has a rich history tied to the seafood industry which continues today. Oysters in Stump Sound, the seven-mile stretch from Sneads Ferry to North Topsail Beach, are equally revered. Billed as "good food by the sound," the Riverview Café is a local favorite with down home sides and fresh caught seafood. >> relax, explore, and play

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