by Donna Byrd
Since I have been living in Sneads Ferry and the Topsail Island area, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t stop and thank God for something that I get to see, eat or observe that is unique to our beautiful coastal community. So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to give you my Top Ten List of things I’m most grateful for on Topsail Island. If you have a favorite one that I didn’t list, please feel free to leave it in the comment section after the blog. We have so much to be thankful for!
1. The view of the island and sea from the top of the high-rise bridge. To me, the reason people come to Topsail Island is because of that view. The iconic view of the string of houses and rooftops by the edge of the sparkling blue ocean is breathtaking. Businesses say “That view is money.” To me, that view is life-giving. When I travel up the bridge and reach the pinnacle, I can only think, “Wow, God’s beautiful earth!”
2. You can get fresh seafood anytime you want! Really, isn’t it great that there are seafood markets right by the docks? You can buy a fish in the afternoon that was literally swimming in the ocean that morning. There are little fish markets scattered about the island and the mainland communities. You can even get fresh seafood in the parking lot of the grocery store, not to mention walking the planks on one of our fishing piers to drop in a line. Isn’t that something to rejoice about?
3. Speaking of piers…We have THREE awesome fishing piers in our Topsail Island towns that offer fishermen a chance to fish to their heart’s content while they take in the fresh sea air and the views of our amazing beaches and deep blue ocean. I love to stop under them when I go for my beach walks. My husband and I have decided that the pilings and the structure of the piers (from underneath) look like cathedrals. We call the piers our “cathedrals by the sea.” Each time I pass by one, I take a look at my “beach church” and thank God for this special part of his creation.
4. No traffic jams…Come on folks, five cars in a line at a stop light is not a traffic jam! For an east coast vacation destination, we have amazingly light traffic and since I live here year round, I’m pretty grateful for that!
5. The sound of freedom…When I moved to Sneads Ferry, I’ll never forget the first day I heard what I thought was rapid gun firing and bombing noises. I had just hung pictures in the house and I noticed that suddenly, they were crooked. Also, I heard my china and stemware rattle in their cabinets. My cousin, a long time resident, saw the expression on my face and said, “Don’t worry, Donna. That’s what we call the Sound of Freedom. Camp LeJeune has training and practice ranges nearby and I know that it sounds like War War III is just a few miles away, but it’s military training.
The troops are learning how to fight the enemy!” Over the next few years, I learned to love the big booms and rat-a-tat-tats, knowing that our Marines were learning to protect our country. Also, I got used to the never ending sky parade of helicopters and those funny looking helicopter/airplane oddities,Osprey, that fly over our houses and beach every day. Give them a wave next time they fly over you!
6. Speaking of osprey…Some of the things I enjoy the most about coastal living are the nautical birds that are an everyday sight here! In my neighborhood of Chadwick Shores, we have huge osprey nests on top of the high pilings out by the bay. It’s common for “sea owls,” (osprey) seagulls, pelicans and other sea birds to fly over your house everyday when you live on Topsail Island or Sneads Ferry. If you look really hard, you may see eagles too! It’s easy to be a bird watcher in our little part of the world!
7. I’m thankful that we get to have “beachy” Christmas decorations…If you travel up and down the beach roads here on Topsail Island, the Christmas decoration and lights that are hung up on the light polls are not your typical holiday fare. We actually have lights in the shape of pirates, sail boats, sea shells, crabs, seahorses and starfish! I can’t help but smile at our “special” customized decorations, especially made for beach towns!
8. Sunrises on the beach and sunsets on the sound…There’s nothing as beautiful and awe inspiring as the way our sun comes up over the Atlantic every morning and sets in brilliant glory every evening over the sound and Intracoastal Waterway. ‘Nuff said.
9. Walks on the beach…The shore line of Topsail Island has given me more pleasure and free therapy than any place I can think of. A walk on our pristine beaches is something I cherish. Plus, I have taken great joy in collecting sea glass and other beach treasures as I walk off my troubles and enjoy the beauty surrounding me. It’s good to feel small standing beside the ocean. Wait a minute…aren’t those words in a famous song or something?
10. When you live on Topsail or in the Ferry, you always seem to have plenty of house guests! For some reason, your house draws friends and family like a magnet! Of course it does…You live at the beach. Lucky me. Lucky you!