Category Archives: Topsail Beach News

My Topsail Island Date Night Secret

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By Donna Byrd

Alright, all of you moms and dads, aunts, uncles, and grandparents who are vacationing on Topsail Island! You’ve probably spent the last few days doing everything in your power to ensure that your children are having a blast at the beach. Believe me, I’m certain the little darlings are building up enough beach memories to last a lifetime!

But now it’s your turn! You have a baby sitter in place so you and your honey can have a date night. It’s time to kick back and have a quiet dinner where you can actually hear the background music, have a wonderful glass of wine, look deeply into one another’s eyes and….OK…You get the drift. But the question you ask is: “Where can we go? What can we do?”IMG_2756 (Large)
Well, at the risk of the entire population of adults on the island showing up on my date night at my favorite places, I’m willing to share my most guarded secret with you. I’m sure others have figured out this fun combination of places to go, but because you don’t live here and don’t know, AND because I”m a fun-loving and unselfish person, I’ll tell you. I want everyone to experience this fun, romantic evening.
To begin with, this evening outing is in Topsail Beach, on the south end of the island. If you’re staying in North Topsail, it may take you twenty -five minutes to get there, if you’re staying in Surf City, fifteen minutes. IMG_2928 (Large)Your first stop will be Quarter Moon Book and Gifts. It’s actually, next to The Gift Basket, which is on the corner.
Now, you may be wondering, “What’s romantic about a bookstore or gift shop? Do you expect us to read sonnets and love poems to each other? What’s dreamy about a gift shop?” Well, that delightful shop turns into more than books and gifts at night. It has a wine and coffee bar, not to mention a cozy and comfy couch and chair grouping at the back of the shop.IMG_2777 (Large)
I don’t know about you guys, but surrounding myself with my favorite things: books, wine and coffee in a smart atmosphere is like slipping into something “a little more comfortable.” Even better, if the weather’s nice, you can sit on the front patio, a sunny, happy place by day, but an intimate, romantic place by moonlight. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, there is live music from 8:00 – 11:00. Who’s ready to go?
Bill and I went to the Quarter Moon Wine Bar around 6:00 p.m. last Thursday night. It was our 37th Wedding Anniversary! We ordered a chilled bottle of white wine and because it was still so warm outside, opted to sit on the soft, green velvet couch deep inside the shop and sipped away as we dreamed and talked of our future. The shop was pretty quiet that time of day and for some reason, we dreamed in whispers and imagined ourselves living out our dreams.IMG_2913 (Large)
Now here is the second part of our fabulous date night combination! Before Bill ordered our wine at Quarter Moon, he slipped over across the street, to the Beach Shop and Grill, a wonderful restaurant that serves a marvelous breakfast and lunch but at night turns into a sophisticated dining room!  He gave our name to the hostess and she gave him one of those restaurant beepers that light up and buzz when it’s your turn to be seated. He had it in his hand as we sipped our wine at at Quarter Moon and after a while (I’m not sure how long because we were having such a wonderful time at the lovely wine bar, ) our buzzer summoned us for our romantic dinner.
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We held hands as we crossed over the street to The Beach Shop and Grill.  It’s in a beautifully old established building with a beach shop on one side and the restaurant on the other. The inside walls are pine paneled and give you the old fashioned “cottagey” feeling the moment you walk into it’s doors. But don’t let that fool you! It’s feels as sophisticated as an “old school” country club that specializes in seafood and steaks. We were seated and given menus. They had excellent Rose’ wines for $25.00 a bottle.
There was no way we could turn down that deal and they brought us out an ice bucket and chilled our wine down a bit. We ordered different entrees on the menu so that we could share a bit if we wanted to. Bill ordered pasta with seafood, a concoction of mussels, clams, shrimp and the star of the dish, a lovely piece of  tuna covered in a herbed, light tomato sauce. It was beautiful and so delicious. I ordered the Delmonico steak with blue cheese crumbles and herbed butter.  It was served with sweet potato fries and braised brussel sprouts. IMG_2857 (Large)IMG_2860 (Large)
I’ve had this dish three times at the Beach Shop and Grill and it is my favorite! Usually, we stay away from deserts, but it was our anniversary! We splurged and got the Krispy Kreme bread pudding drenched in a wonderful sauce.IMG_2894 (Large) As usual, the meal was excellent and  made our anniversary even more special!
After our leisurely dinner, we paid our bill and decided that since the night was so beautiful and considerably cooler, we’d sit out on their patio for a while. We met some great folks from Pennsylvania and chatted with them for a while. They were vacationing but while on the island, were looking for a vacation home to buy! IMG_2917 (Large)That was convenient for them and us since Bill works for Treasure Realty. Maybe he could help them find the perfect home!
After our new friends were called to dinner, we were in no hurry, so we meandered back over to the Quarter Moon Book and Gift Shop. By then, there was a guy singing with his guitar out on the patio, entertaining everyone. We sat out under the moon at Quarter Moon. It was quite the romantic evening.
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Now, I’ve shared with you my “go to” date night secret. I let the cat out of the bag and now I’m sure all of folks will now be
heading down to Topsail Beach for the perfect romantic dinner. I would if I were you. Yes…get that baby sitter and make your plans now! It’s time for you adults to make some memories of your own!

The Quarter Moon Books and Gift Store is located at:

708 South Anderson Blvd., Topsail Beach, NC     910-328-4969

The Beach Shop and Grill is located at:
701 South Anderson Blvd., Topsail Beach NC      910-328-6501
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The Breezeway Restaurant: Where Topsail Beach Memories are Made

IMG_2604 (Large)by Donna Byrd


When I was growing up, my family spent one magical week at the beach each summer. All week long, we’d spend those golden days on the beach, collecting shells, making sandcastles and body surfing in the warm Atlantic Ocean. Around 5:00 we’d collect our towels and beach toys and make the long four block trek back to the beach cottage, hungry as little bears.

About half a block away, if the wind was blowing in our directions, we’d smell our supper cooking. My mom and aunts, classic southern cooks, would be creating their masterpiece meals for us in the little cottage kitchen. Every night we’d have the best dishes the south had to offer: fried chicken, meatloaf, pot roasts, mashed potatoes, fried pork chops, okra, fresh butter beans, homemade ice cream and cobblers.IMG_2637 (Large)

We loved everything that was set before us and relished each bite. But one night a week was set aside for the highlight of the vacation: eating dinner out at a family seafood restaurant. That night, my mom and aunts left the seafood meal up to the professional cooks. It made for some of my best childhood memories.

This weekend, my dad and my brother both spent their birthdays here in Sneads Ferry with me. They wanted to relax all day in low slung chairs with their feet dangling in the warm ocean water and that night, they wanted to eat seafood in a restaurant that made them feel as if they were truly at the beach. I knew exactly where to take them: The Breezeway Restaurant.IMG_0481 (Large)

Located in Topsail Beach on the south end of the island, The Breezeway Restaurant is right on the Topsail Sound. Almost every seat in the dining area has a spectacular view of the water. Huge picture windows flank the back and side walls of the building and offer the diner the best sunset and boating views on the island.

We arrived a little before sunset and were able to catch the orange-red globe of fire drop into the water as we stood on the little pier by the boat slips behind the restaurant. It was a nature show worthy of applause and mixed with the smells of fried seafood and salt IMG_2602 (Large)marshes, we were led back to memories of family dinners at the beach.

The hostess came outside to tell us our table was ready. We made our way through the crowded, noisy dining room, passing happy, sun kissed vacationers that had huge plates of shrimp and flounder laid before them. It was a room full of contentedness!

There were eight of us and we were seated at a large, roomy table. I looked around the room and realized we were surrounded by beauty. Evening was settling in on the water and the pink and salmon glow left by the sunset was mirrored on the still water. IMG_2612 (Large)From time to time, a slow, pontoon boat would pass by, filled with people taking in the twilight sights of Topsail Sound. They would wave to the folks on the dock.

A friendly server named Glenda, took our order. We asked her about the history of the restaurant. She told us that The Breezeway Inn and Cafe had opened in 1949, after War War II.  It was housed in the “Project Bumblebee” barracks and mess hall. The servicemen from local Camp Davis in Holly Ridge, loved the seafood and spread the word. After a few decades,  as Topsail Island was developed and populated, The Breezeway Inn and Cafe buildings were replaced. IMG_2623 (Large)In 1972, the Inn and The Breezeway Restaurant moved into the buildings that are now there.

Glenda went on to tell us that the restaurant has been owned and operated by the William Cherry family since 1971. The entire staff is like one big family. Glenda said that she worked in the restaurant as a teenager, but then grew up and moved on. She worked in the corporate business world, retiring three years ago. We couldn’t believe (and neither could she) that she came back to serve at The Breezeway and work for Mr. Cherry. She loves the family she’s made there and is happy serving up seafood for hungry vacationers and locals. I love employees that are dedicated to serving others!

What makes The Breezeway Restaurant so good that people return season after season? IMG_0496 (Large)Well, other than the friendly, helpful staff it has to be the fresh, local seafood that’s cooked to order! The wonderful seafood comes straight from eastern North Carolina waters, right out of our “backyard!”
The hush puppies are fried up, golden brown, with a slight sweetness that tastes almost like a dessert.  You can actually buy the mix right there in the restaurant if you’d like to take some home with you. Watch out! They can be habit forming!

Our dinner arrived, piping hot and fresh! IMG_2629 (Large)My brother got the She Crab Soup because it was his birthday and that was his favorite!
He also loved his lightly battered, crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, scallops.
The rest of us had combination seafood platters; shrimp, flounder, oysters…yum, yum, good! Glenda kept the baskets of hush puppies coming, even after we were too full to eat anything else.IMG_0497 (Large)

To top off the evening, the waitstaff brought out (as a surprise) slices of Key Lime Pie, complete with lighted candles as they sang “Happy Birthday.” The whole restaurant joined in the celebration, singing and clapping.
A group of bridesmaids were behind us, having their own little party. There was a fun spirit afoot and we felt blessed that the staff made such a big deal over our family and birthday boys!IMG_2649 (Large)

Later that evening, after we all arrived home, my brother told me, “Donna, thanks for taking us to The Breezeway. It felt like we were at the beach!”  That, my friends, is the best compliment a restaurant on Topsail Island can get!

The Breezeway Restaurant is located 6.2 miles south of the Surf City stoplight at:

634 Channel Blvd.

Topsail Beach, NC 28445


During the Summer, it’s open everyday at 5:00 p.m.

Thursday through Monday nights: Spring and Fall.

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The Gift Basket – Topsail Beach – Perfection!

IMG_1220by Donna Byrd

I found myself down in Topsail Beach, on the south end of Topsail Island yesterday, in search of a birthday gift for my sister-in-law, Kelly. Although my “go to” shop for gifts on the island is usually The Topsail Island Trading Company in Surf City, I decided I’d give its sister store, The Gift Basket a visit. Located in the oldest Topsail community, I love its charming, quaint vibe and decided that although it was a few extra miles down the island, it would be well worth the drive.IMG_1222

The moment I walked through the door of the two storied blue “little shop around the corner,” I felt myself relax. Every nook, cranny and available foot of space on the floors, walls and under the counters was occupied by something exquisite and delightful. Time seemed to slow down and every object seemed to call my name, saying, “Donna, look at me!”

And look I did! The sun shone through the glassware placed in the windows, causing the room to sparkle and glow. IMG_1201Low laughter from a few customers at the jewelry counter sounded like music and suddenly, I was caught up in the shop’s magic, entering into my own little “shopping world.” There’s nothing like the spell of beach charm to block out the cruel realities of this world. What a perfect diversion on this windy, winter’s day at the beach.

The store’s cheerful owner, Kristen Fleischhauer, happened to be standing behind the counter. I introduced myself and told her I was looking for a gift but that I also would like to write a blog about her special shop. I wanted our vacationers to know about this lovely place and get to experience it like I had. She was more than happy to tell me about it.

Since 1973, The Gift Basket has been one IMG_1195of Topsail Island’s favorite shopping spots. It was the first store on the island to sell fine sterling silver and 14K gold jewelry.  Along with that type of jewelry, Kristin motioned toward the other displays around the room, showing jewelry made by southern artisans out of sea glass, natural stones and lovely gems that were one-of-a-kind, quality pieces.

Of course, The Gift Basket had much more than jewelry. Kristen also pointed out to me the beautiful line of nautical and tide clocks plus some other precision weather instruments behind her on the wall. I was struck by their beautiful, classical design and knew that they would grace any home by or near the water.

Kristen invited me to take a look around IMG_1200the entire store. Not only were there several rooms downstairs to explore, there were some upstairs too! I never knew that!  She said there was such a wide variety of things to choose from you could find anything from a fifty cent wind up toy to a three or four thousand dollar necklace. I took off exploring.

Downstairs, there was of course, the jewelry, gifts for the home and Topsail Island wall art. There was an area with good quality tee shirts, beach hats and sandals for adults and children. I was happy to find a little area of North Carolina food products and some novelty collegiate items for your favorite North Carolina sports teams.

Upstairs IMG_1203was uncharted territory for me. The first space I came across was a Christmas room, filled with beach themed tree ornaments and decorations. I always love a beach shop with a year round Christmas corner. It was perfect!

I stepped through a door and entered the garden room. It was filled with seasonal flags for front porches or wherever a flag could be displayed. There were smaller ones for gardens and walkways. A large display of wind chimes hung from a rack in the corner and some painted garden stones and small statues graced a side table. A few glass bottled chimes and bird feeders hung in the window dividing sunlight like a prism. I think this was my favorite room. It reminded me that spring was around the corner.IMG_1211

The next room was large and filled with ladies wear and accessories. There were shirts, tops and capris made with materials of natural fibers.  I guess it was what I’d call quality resort wear. I loved the selection. There was also a rack of very comfortable looking sleepwear. To me, the merit of a shop is based on the beauty and practicality of its sleepwear. I don’t know. That’s just me, but The Gift Basket received a merit badge from me at that moment!IMG_1216

Colorful, light scarves were displayed as well as handbags. I realized I’d have to come back for another look when I had time to actually try a few things on. Oh my, I didn’t realize this little shop had so much in it!

The last room upstairs was dedicated to children. I suppose that the fifty cent wind up toy was in there, along with kites, old fashioned games I had played when I was little and new ones that I had never seen or heard of. It was a room that adults would love because it contained everything that would make a child happy at the beach. It was insurance for a good time even on a rainy day.

I slowly made my way back down the stairs. I still had to choose a gift for Kelly. When I first came into The Gift Basket I had spotted something I thought she might fancy; some “Featherlite Jewelry” from Greensboro native, artist and designer, Jay Schiavone. They were funky earrings and made from recycled materials. Also, I spotted a lovely, red cookbook entitled, “Taste of Fellowship” from recipes given from  the good folks of the Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel located down the street from The Gift Basket. Kelly collected church cookbooks and this was so well done, how could she not love it?IMG_1204

I paid for my purchases and Kristin asked if I’d like them gift wrapped. Of course I did and it was worth the wait. The package was as lovely and as special as the gift inside.

The Gift Basket is a classy, quality shop with magical qualities.  I recommend you drop by for a visit next time you are on our lovely island. You’ll be charmed and delighted, I guarantee!

The Gift Basket is located at 702 S. Anderson Blvd., Topsail Beach, NC 28445


Independence Day Fireworks Celebrations for Topsail Island and Surrounding Areas

If you’re planning to be on or around Topsail Island this July 4th, don’t miss out on these local opportunities to celebrate our freedom:

Fireworks at Swing Bridge Continue reading Independence Day Fireworks Celebrations for Topsail Island and Surrounding Areas

Taking the Plunge: Surf City’s Twelfth Annual Dolphin Dip 2014

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By Amy Baker

January 3, 2014

Would you take a winter time dip with dolphins on Topsail Island in January?!

Well that is exactly what a few hundred people did on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 in Surf City, NC!

According to WECT News, there were more than 2500 people Continue reading Taking the Plunge: Surf City’s Twelfth Annual Dolphin Dip 2014

Topsail Island Rentals: Follow Treasure Realty On YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Google+

TreasureRealty-TeamAt Treasure Realty, we offer over 425 Topsail Island rentals including oceanfront rentals, ocean view rentals, sound side rentals and condos. We have wonderful beach rentals in Topsail Beach, North Topsail Beach and Surf City, NC from which you can choose the perfect rental home for your vacation getaway.  With such a large variety of homes to choose from, you are certain to find the perfect rental home for your Topsail island vacation.

it is our goal to make finding the perfect vacation home for your family as easy and enjoyable as possible so we are constantly updating our website to include high quality, current photos of all our rental homes in addition to full screen, interactive virtual tours. We are constantly updating the information about each of our properties to include the most current details about each home, the furnishings, appliances and amenities. We make it very easy to narrow your search, preview each home and make an informed choice. We even offer online booking to those who like a truly streamlined process but also keep in mind that our friendly staff are just a call away and always eager to answer your questions and assist you in choosing and booking the vacation home of your dreams.

Topsail Island RentalsClick the link and Browse Topsail Island Rentals By Treasure Realty, Inc.  and you’ll find out just how easy it is to navigate our website and narrow your search to just the homes that fit the needs of your group. You can easily narrow your search by the number of bedrooms in a home or narrow your search to homes that have pools. You can narrow your search to homes that have elevators or game rooms. It really is very easy to find what you are looking for and then get detailed information on the homes you are interested in so why don’t you go ahead, click the link and get started.

We strive to make our website as easy to use and informative as we possibly can but there is more! Treasure Realty is also active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+.

You can follow us on each of these platforms, engage with us, share your opinions, pictures, favorite places to eat and more. We are constantly trying to share some of the flavor of Topsail Island through these platforms to give you an idea of some of the things going on here, the news, good places to eat, places to shop, fish, things to do, local personalities and more. From time to time we also offer rental specials and Topsail Island real estate listings that you might have an interest in. We have included below links to our social media sites and hope that you will click though and visit with us though these pages.

Treasure Realty On Facebook

Treasure Realty On Twitter

Treasure Realty Rentals On YouTube

Treasure Realty Real Estate Sales On YouTube

Treasure Realty On Google+

Why Choose Treasure Realty?

1) We Have The BEST Selection of Topsail Island Rentals To Choose From  2) Our Rentals Have Updated Professional Photos 3) You Can Read Unbiased Reviews From Past Guests 4) Many Of Our Rentals Have Full Screen Interactive Virtual Tours 5) We Also Have High Resolution Aerial Pictures 6) Our Friendly Staff Is Focused On One Thing… Our Customers. 7) We Offer After Hours Support During Your Stay In The Unlikely Event You Do Encounter A Problem In Your Rental. 8) Topsail Island Is One Of The Most Beautiful Places On The Planet!!

I have included a couple of examples of our rental homes below. Enjoy the videos and remember that we have over 400 homes and condos to choose from. We have homes for every size group and budget and would love to help you plan the perfect Topsail Island Vacation. See you on the beach soon!


Our Congratulations and Thanks Go Out To Jean Beasley

PrintIf you know Topsail Island, then you probably already know that the island is a haven for Sea Turtles, a haven where our residents and guests alike take great pride in preserving the turtles nesting grounds and also helping as many of the turtle population as possible survive and thrive. No one has done more to embody this spirit and to help the sea turtle population than Jean Beasley. (Jean is pictured left. Photo credit to

Jean operates the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center which is located at 822 Carolina Avenue, Topsail Beach, NC 28445. The Sea Turtle Hospital is a wonderful place to visit if you are in the area although they are currently not able to allow tours of the facility. They do hope to be able to open up for tours before the end of the summer.

Please check their website often for updates. You can also click this LINK and follow Jean and The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center on Facebook.

On July 30th Jean was honored by the environmental group Oceana with the 2013 Ocean Hero Award.

Here is a brief portion from the article posted the website.

“… “It’s a very humbling experience,” Jean explained. “I am very, very fortunate because sea turtles seem to illicit very strong feelings from people. I see it all the time when they visit our rescue and sometimes they’re seeing sea turtles up close for the very first time, they have a very emotional reaction to them. I say all the time that if I could bottle that charisma, and sell it, I’d never have to worry about finances again! Without that charisma from those animals looking into your eyes – I like to say that they look down to your soul – we wouldn’t be able to do the things for them that we do, that’s for sure. It’s a privilege to work for them.”

“When we started our rehab work with sea turtles sixteen years ago, this was not so much on my radar, it was more about honoring my daughter and her work and the legacy that she left me, and about these animals that I had fallen in love with twenty years before. None of us ever planned to have a sea turtle hospital, it was an injured sea turtle that did it.”” Click Here To Read The Entire Article

We, at Treasure Realty, would like to take this opportunity to thank Jean for her years of tireless effort and dedication to this cause and to say congratulations on winning this very special award.

Unlikely Local Heroes Honored

In a day and time when Superman, the Avengers, and several more of our beloved childhood “heroes” remain a fascination, not many people consider themselves heroes. However, sometimes circumstances call on average men and women to perform in heroic ways.

During the May 7, 2013 meeting of the Jacksonville City Council, several local heroes were honored—some for the job they do every day, and some for caring enough to do something they have never done before—save another man’s life.

Ana ScottOne of those “unlikely” heroes, John Scott, is the husband of Treasure Realty’s own, Ana Scott (pictured left). Ana is our long term rentals manager, and needless to say, she is very proud of her husband!

On the afternoon of March 14, 2013, John and his construction crew were working adjacent to Western Boulevard, when they saw a school bus “going out of control” on the highway. Inside, bus driver, Bill Hemby, had passed out at the wheel. Fortunately, another DODDS employee, Patrica Acuna, was on the bus at the time. Ms. Acuna was able to guide the bus across four lanes of traffic and on to the roadside near Camp Lejeune’s main gate.

She was quickly met by John and Navy corpsman, Jeremy Jones, (both pictured below) who had also noticed the drifting bus. These men pulled Mr. Hemby off of the bus and started performing CPR on him. By the time JPD Officer, Tommie Thomas arrived on the scene, MCCS employee, Loretta Brand, and Camp Lejeune EMS/FF Jarrod Kuhnly were also assisting in the effort to save the victim’s life.John and Jeremy

Officer Thomas was able to step in and relieve John, who had been administering rescue breathing to Mr. Hemby. With John’s help, Officer Thomas also utilized an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to try to stimulate the victim’s heart, but to no avail. John and the others continued CPR until first responders arrived.

Once Mr. Hemby was in the care of emergency personnel, John went back to work, though not unmoved by the experience. Initially, it looked like the patient was not going to recover, but John was relieved to learn later that he had survived and was improving. When asked what compelled him to get involved, John responded, “I have two children, a family I love, and a father and a father-in-law who are close to [Mr. Hemby’s] age; I couldn’t imagine not helping him.”

According to Jacksonville Mayor, Sammy Phillips, “The immediate response and life sustaining efforts by the [five] civilians, JPD Officer and JFD Fire Personnel resulted in the victim regaining consciousness. Their actions resulted in preventing a tragedy and are very worthy of the Civilian Commendation Award and the Life Saving Award.” (Those receiving awards are pictured below with Mr. Hemby at center.)

 Topsail Island Rentals

Mr. Hemby seemed delighted to be in attendance for the presentation of these awards. He hugged and personally thanked everyone involved. Afterward, Mayor Phillips invited Mr. Hemby to share. He expressed his appreciation to the heroes –especially to those who were first on the scene and “worked real hard” to keep him alive. There were few dry eyes in the room when Mr. Hemby exclaimed, “They said I was dead, but you’re looking at me tonight; I’m not dead. I praise God for that!”

Perhaps some would say that the events of March 14, 2013 were miraculous. John Scott believes that Mr. Hemby’s life “was a special miracle because he had such a long time of not responding to our CPR! We gave air to his brain and organs, but he and God did all the rest.”

Looking back on that day, John remarked that “there were a number of people who each had an important role in helping him. There were multiple factors that played into his life being saved, and I feel it was all God’s plan. I am humbled and glad to have been a part of it.” Whether or not we believe in miracles, like John says, “it is amazing how much we can help others if we are willing.”

John )left) and Mr. Hemby (right)

(Unlikely hero, John Scott, pictured above with Mr. Bill Hemby)


Be Ye Warned! There be Pirates in Topsail Island’s Waters!

Be Ye Warned! There be Pirates in Topsail Island’s Waters!

By Amy Baker April 8, 2013

belleoftopsail1Recently, my husband and I, along with several of the Treasure Realty Rentals staff, participated in a two hour Dinner Cruise and Pirate Show aboard The Belle of Topsail. Our early season cruise was a “dress rehearsal” for the pirates, many of whom are new this year to the crew of the pirate ship, The Raven.

During a leisurely tour down the Intracoastal Waterway, complete with fun tunes, drinks, and dinner, our Captain made a frightful announcement; the Surf City Bridge Tender had radioed to say that a Pirate Ship had been spotted in the waters around Topsail! Not long afterward, our pleasant cruise was waylaid by The Raven and a band of five scurvy pirates!

belleoftopsail2Our landlubber efforts to deter the buccaneers with water cannons proved futile. In the process, some of our passengers were soaked by the pirates’ return “fire,” or rather, water. Before we knew what had happened, The Raven’s crew was commandeering our vessel while several of the swashbucklers boarded abaft!

Once aboard The Belle, the pirates paraded around the upper deck with lots of pomp and circumstance, flashing various weapons and sounding their typical boisterous, “Aargh!” After Capt. David Luther and a couple of passengers were tied up, several menacing threats were issued until Capt. Luther was sufficiently swayed to hand over the treasure he’d found on Topsail.

belleoftopsail3Luckily the Belle’s Captain is quite an old salt, so this wasn’t his first encounter with pirates. After some clever parleying, Capt. Luther managed to convince them to share some of their newly pilfered booty with The Belle’s passengers before the sated scallywags slinked back to their sinister ship!

Fortunately, no one was harmed during the harebrained banter, and it appeared that a fun time was had by all. After both boats returned to the dock in Surf City, passengers were invited to have their pictures taken with the pirates aboard The Raven.

belleoftopsail4(Our very own, Sonya Kennedy is pictured right with some of the wild and wanton crew.)

While the passengers on our voyage were all adults, The Belle of Topsail has much to offer all ages–including families with children, corporate groups, wedding parties, and more.

This summer, The Belle will also host one hour pirate cruises, scenic cruises, dinner cruises, and of course the “Dinner and a show” cruise. You can see more details on The Belle of Topsail website or check out their Facebook page.



North Topsail Beach Renourishment Complete: North End is Saved

Hooray! North Topsail Beach’s North End is Saved…for now at least!
February 25, 2013
By Amy Baker

Before and After
As we look toward a fast approaching vacation rental season on N. Topsail Beach, both residents and vacationers have much for which to be grateful this year. Most of the northern tip of the island appeared to be sinking under the tide before and definitely after Hurricane Sandy came through in late October of 2012. (See photo below of some homes on the north tip.) Thus, the arrival of Marinex Construction and the dredge, Savannah, in mid-November was a welcomed sight for many.

From thanksgiving until roughly the middle of January, Marinex crews dredged approximately 566,244 cubic yards of sand from the New River Inlet Channel and pumped it onshore. According to a recent press release from the town, this effort increased the channel’s depth to 17 feet and its width to 500 feet. The course sand from the inlet was pumped up onto about a mile and a half stretch of beach on the north end, to renourish and extend the beach about 170 feet seaward. (See before and after photos around the Reef condos and the St. Regis below.)

Success—Both Short and Long Term
From the north tip down to just south of the Shipwatch Villas, the improvement is plain for all to see, (as reflected in the aerial photos, courtesy of Aero Photo, here).


Pre 11/23


Post 12/20/12

Post 12/20

However, the project’s success was recently confirmed by project engineer, Robert Neal of Coastal Planning and Engineering (CP&E), the firm responsible for designing the project. He says, “the initial realignment was a successful venture that came not a moment too soon. The erosion protection is evident for the structures severely threatened prior to construction. I’m also confident future performance will show additional recreational and erosion mitigation benefits created by realigning the channel.”

At a town meeting held earlier this month, Mr. Neal recommended boaters use caution in the inlet, since it is not the same as it was last summer. As of the February 7th town hall meeting, the coast guard had been surveying the area, but markers had not yet been moved to reflect the changes. However, it is likely that they will be repositioned soon.

Of course the channel’s realignment was only the first phase of CP&E’s five phase plan to “bring the town into compliance with FEMA’s requirements for an engineered beach.” What 4does this mean? Good News! The Town of North Topsail Beach “will now be eligible for federally funded beach restoration caused by major storm events.”

Protecting and preserving our beaches here is important for both the local and state economy. As NTB Mayor, Dan Tuman (pictured right), said,

“Not only do they [wide sandy beaches] afford our residents and visitors with recreation and access to the ocean, they also protect our properties from storm damage. Economically, they attract visitors from all over the country and globe.” Furthermore, “beaches that are nourished save money for the Federal and State government and avoid the stress and misery associated with the destruction of private property and public infrastructure. A State shoreline protection program is wise public policy and is needed in North Carolina.”

What’s Next?
Since phase one is complete, the next step is monitoring. From now through September of this year, Mr. Neal will be observing the potential impacts of the realignment on Onslow Beach (pictured below) (which he thinks will be minimal) and along the north end of Topsail Island. He plans to share a report with the town board sometime in September, and follow up by June 2014.

5This monitoring will help engineers predict the best timing for the next phase of renourishment, which will probably be about four years from now. According to Mr. Neal, it is possible that we will be able to wait a little longer, however.

Currently, the town is working with Peter A. Ravella (PAR) Consulting, LLC., a beach financing consulting firm, on how they can finance the remaining phases of the project. Hopefully, a portion of the funds will come from the State and Onslow County, since both of these entities will benefit from the project. More details about this are available on-line.

Southern Sand Push
In the meantime, the Board of Aldermen did approve a town funded sand push for more southern portions of the Town’s shoreline, which should be completed by April 1, 2013. For more details about that check out the town’s website.

Hopefully, all of the town’s efforts to nourish our beaches will prove fruitful in the months and years ahead. For now, we are extremely grateful for all that has been done and all that is in the works, so to speak. We want to express our special thanks to Marinex Construction, CP&E and Mr. Robert Neal, as well as the Board of Alderman and all who have helped to make this project a reality.

We look forward to seeing you and your families enjoying a wider beach at the north end this summer!