Monday, September 21, 2015

A Week at the Beach

We spent last week at Topsail Island - one of our favorite spots on God's green earth.

I even had my nails done in an ocean turquoise shade in honor of the occasion.

You might remember me posting about it over the years right here.  Besides being beautiful and relaxing, it has an interesting history.

In 1946 the US Navy took over Topsail Island through eminent domain and buying 99 year leases in order to test missiles - jet propulsion missiles for our "future" jet program. The program was referred to as Operation Bumblebee (The Bumblebee cannot fly. According to recognized aerotechnical tests, that is. Because of its shape and weight of his body in relation to the total wing area. But, the bumblebee doesn't know all this, so he goes ahead and flies anyway. Well aware that this new undertaking to develop a supersonic guided missile for the navy would face impossible challenges, Dr. Merle Tuve named the project "Bumblebee." From the Operation Bumblee pamphlet written by David A. Stallman, 1992.) In 1948 they gave it up and gave the land back to the original owners. And moved the operation to what we now know as White Sands Missile Range. The reason being - it was too windy here - too much environmental interference. But. The instrumentation towers they used are still here and I took pictures of some of them.  There were originally 8 towers.  


Two of the towers were, over a period of time, bought and converted into private homes.

Here's one of them:

Aside from a very interesting history, Topsail (pronounced Tops'l) Island is a gorgeous place to just "be."  If you're looking for a beach "resort" with a lot of fancy places and doin's, Topsail is probably not the place for you.

There are a few good restaurants, a couple of excellent ones, some adorable shops and galleries, a gorgeous ocean beach and a beautiful sound side to the island as well.  

We do a little exploring, a bit of shopping and sample some of the restaurants, but mostly we just plop ourselves down in our little rental house, make us a comfy spot on the deck and watch the waves roll in.  A walk on the beach is only a few steps down from our deck.  We are content and happy kids (and one dog) while we're here.

Harley starts getting excited as soon as he gets into the packed car and hears the words "Road Trip."

This little critter was the "welcoming committee" at our quick little stop for breakfast on our trip down.

We actually left a day earlier than we had originally planned.

Just got antsy to stick our toes in the sand and the surf.

So when we arrived, we just spent the day driving around the island, taking some walks and taking lots of pictures.

First stop was the Surf City Pier and surrounding beach area

Then a wonderful little park along the sound next to the old swinging bridge which accesses the island.

Because we arrived a day early, we didn't have a place to sleep that night.  After exploring and playing all day, we decided it might be time to find a room.  First stop - Quarter Moon Books to seek advice!  I've done book signings at Quarter Moon the past two summers and let me tell you - it's the kind of bookstore we all dream about.  

We arrived in the evening and there was a crowd on the deck listening to live music.  

When I walked in the door, I immediately felt like we had really arrived at Topsail.

There were people browsing the aisles, and there were folks at the wine bar.

One of the Quarter Moon employees recognized me from last summer's signing, and one of the women at the bar told me she had read WHIMSEY and loved it and would she be seeing another Whimsey novel.  And she gave me a hug.  A great welcome to Topsail, huh?!

Jeffrey, another employee, started calling motels iin the area to see about vacancies and which might be dog friendly.  And sent us out the door with these words, "if you don't find anything, come back.  You can stay at my place."


How sweet was that?!

And, oh yeah, I picked up a book while I was there . . . 

Well, we found a place and it all worked out, but I think we would have enjoyed staying at Jeffrey's, truth be told.

Before check-in at our little rental house we had plenty of time to do some more exploring.

Drove down Ocean Boulevard looking for Eric Clapton, but no luck (wink, wink - who else remembers that album?).

Harley enjoys exploring too.

And finally - 

our home for the next week

A few random shots

(annual beach reads)

We would occasionally take a break from all the excitement to go out for a bite to eat.

Or work on a puzzle.  One that we picked up in one of the cutest shops I've ever been in.  It's been here for awhile, apparently, only we were late to discover it.

The name is Sugar Island Bakery.

But.  It's not just your average over the moon delicious bakery and coffee shop.

It's also a delightful bookstore/gift shop/antique shop.

I fell in love as soon as I walked in the door.

And it got better.

Talking about books, as book lovers are wont to do, it turns out that the owner has a copy of my WHIMSEY at home, has read it, and loves it.

I tell you - Topsail is my kinda place!!

So, we brought home one of their Ravensburger puzzles.  A 1000 piece puzzle.

(this was my contribution)

(Donald, however, got a lot done!)

And he had accomplished this much when we had to take it apart, put it back in its box and bring it home to Boone.

And, of course, in the meantime there was always more deck sitting, beach walking and wave watching.

And some rest breaks, of course.

And a visit to The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.  Which is a place full of angels performing miracles.  You can read all about this wonderful place right here  -

They do surgeries on injured sea turtles that are brought in to them.  And keep them long enough to bring them back to optimum health before releasing them back to their natural habitat.  We missed the latest release by about a week.

Ironically, we saw this little guy crossing the road to the hospital on our way in.

We stopped, of course, so Donald could rescue him and put him on the side of the road where he was headed so no one would run over him accidently.

AND . . .  of course, there was always more deck sitting, beach walking and wave watching.

And a little rest break

And a bite to eat

And maybe a little shopping

I wandered into one of my favorite little jewelry shops and heard a "Hello!   Hello!"  and discovered this little fella

Several years ago Donald and I happened upon a little spot that had a little magic about it. 

Including one particular tree that enchanted me.

We couldn't remember exactly where it was, but we wandered around and were lucky enough to find it again.

And I'm still enchanted.  

I'll bet you can see why.

And you know the drill by now - more deck sitting, beach walking and wave watching.

Dragonfly Season!  And we seemed to be directly in their migratory path

and resting

etc. etc. etc.

Me.  Sad about leaving

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