TOPSAIL ISLAND: Mayberry by the Sea, 2nd Edition

TOPSAIL ISLAND: Mayberry by the Sea, 2nd Edition

TOPSAIL ISLAND: Mayberry by the Sea, 2nd Edition

TOPSAIL ISLAND: Mayberry by the Sea, 2nd Edition


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UPDATED AND EXPANDED.Topsail Island is a North Carolina barrier island lying between the Outer Banks and Wilmington. Though 26 miles long, it is but 200 yards wide in places and encompasses only 15 square miles. Residents and visitors call it a stretch of paradise.
Or even “Mayberry.”
It’s easy to see why. Topsail has not been subject to the large-scale development of island communities like Nags Head to the north and Wrightsville Beach to the south. Indeed, it remains largely in the idyllic state those places knew half a century ago—a small beach town with few commercial trappings, a family haven whose devotees return generation after generation, a paradise where it’s possible to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean and set over Topsail Sound from the same cottage.
But Topsail’s outward simplicity belies its rich history and complex future. The island’s name? Legend says it was born when Blackbeard hid his ship behind the island, lying in wait. Those strange block-like towers along the beach? Remnants of a top-secret missile program. The sweeping new bridge? Travel is smoother and quicker, but gone is the iconic Swing Bridge. Fishing piers and the modest old-time cottages with the whimsical nameplates? They’ve survived some of Mother Nature’s worst storms—monsters like Hazel, Bertha, Fran, and more recently, Florence—only to see their owners tempted by developers offering big money for the land on which they sit.
Then there are the giant sea turtles, the secret Gold Hole, the historic Ocean City “Black beach,” the massive whale carcass, the mystery of the dead captain and his shipwreck, and even a traveling bear. In the award-winning Topsail Island: Mayberry by the Sea, author Ray McAllister tells the many stories of Topsail with the help of those who love the island best.

TOPSAIL ISLAND: MAYBERRY BY THE SEA has been expanded and updated for the 15th anniversary of the original publication. The second edition includes updates on Hurricae Florence, the island's new bridge and the historic Swing Bridge it replaced, the move of the island's turtle hospital, and various storms, fires, festivals and shops. Also included are new chapters on a 1919 shipwreck and the killing of the ship's captain, the towing of a famous whale carcass to the island in 1928, and a tornado in 1951, as well as an expanded chapter on the historic Ocean City "Black beach" developed in the 1950s. TOPSAIL, a regional best-seller, is the winner of the North Carolina Association of Historian's Willie Parker Peace History Book Award. See more information at the author’s web site,

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781736132111
Publisher: Beach Glass Books
Publication date: 03/02/2021
Series: The North Carolina Coastal Collection
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 708,322
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Ray McAllister is a former columnist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch and former editor of Boomer magazine, in Richmond, Va. He also is the author of three other award-winning books on the North Carolina coast: Hatteras Island: Keeper of the Outer Banks; Wrightsville Beach: The Luminous Island, and Ocracoke: The Pearl of the Outer Banks. He is the author of The Forum Files: The Stories Behind The Richmond Forum. He also publishes the works of other writers.

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