Humphrey Farm is turning up the excitement for Independence Day weekend

Humphrey Farm and Emerald Owl Productions are partnered up for an Independence Day Celebration that will light up your holiday weekend with a splash, foam, food, family fun and lights!

Two Crystal Coast businesses are joining forces to bring professional entertainment to the local area on Saturday, July 6th.

Humphrey Farm in Hubert, NC, is partnering with Emerald Owl Productions from Emerald Isle, NC to host a wonderfully unique experience that is not only fun but interactive for people of all ages.

In the past year, the local entertainment company has taken the laser and light glow party brand from the east to west coast, UNC-Chapel Hill, as far north as Pittsburgh, PA and even to Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. They will be providing the entertainment on the 4th of July in Ocracoke, NC.

Cathy Lassiter, Principal of Rosewood Middle School in Goldsboro, NC describes her experience with this party, “It’s like a nightclub I can take my kids, my grandmother, and my best friend to all at the same time… and we’d all have a blast together!”
Admission to this event is $7.00 per person and includes:

  • Laser Light Glow Party, Professional Lasers, UV Lighting & Sound
  • Music from Today’s hits & All Decades
  • Interactive Games & Activities
  • Foam Party
  • Entrance to Humphrey Farm- Complete with Beer Barn, Food Trucks, and other
  • Market Vendors on site.
  • Opportunity to enter a “Splash Zone” including being sprayed with water, glow in the dark paint, glow in the dark foam & slime.

You will get DRENCHED in the Splash Zone!

There are also family packages available for a discounted rate.

Photo Courtesy of Emerald Owl Productions

Barbara Humphrey-Garrett, manager of Humphrey Farm, alongside Michael Meyer, Emerald Owl Productions Director said the idea came to them when they realized there would be no Independence Day Celebration in Swansboro this year. With the high overhead of professional production, the event must sell 400 advanced tickets so grab yours now through a secure online purchase through or at the farm. In the event the baseline of ticket sales is not met to move forward, tickets purchased will be refunded.

Meeting the demand for ticket sales should not be an issue; it is undoubtedly worth every cent and honestly a very fair price.

The Onslow Beat went out to Humphrey Farm for Emerald Isle Productions first debut event on the farm last Saturday, and it was a full family affair that was enjoyed by all. This was an event I took my husband and kids to get a full effect to convey the feedback from them to the public. We all know children are brutally honest with matters of satisfaction.

Our son, age 7, we had to tell him to eat and get hydrated beyond what water he’d gulped down likely in the splash zone area. Gross, I know, but he’s “all boy.” He didn’t want to leave and told us on the drive home, “that was a blast. I wish we could go to that farm every weekend!”

Our daughter, age 11, and not a huge water fan, really enjoyed herself as well. She was between the foam pit and the splash pad for water play, just as all of the other kids. She said the foam was the best and she hoped at that point, next time they’d do slime as mentioned over the loudspeakers. Then she came for a mega Jenga game and demanded mom play with her. There are games set up around the yard of the farm under open covered barns with tables. (View the video below)

My husband and I ended up feeling like we had a little date night with childcare on site. We played a game under the covered area, took a stroll around the yard together, and checked out the vendors. We further went on to enjoy a bite to eat and back to the picnic table area to talk and enjoy the mere fact that at that moment we had sheer peace in parenting, winning with a date night we didn’t even expect since the idea was solely to take the kids for their enjoyment and I could work. Can you say, “WINNING!”?

There is corn-hole set up for kids and adults, horseshoes and more games for good competitive fun with family and friends. There was a mega connect four game that a young toddler was playing with an older sibling. Music of all genres filled the air, new school and old school from the DJ. Some farm-goers took the crowd on with karaoke performances between selections.

There was BBQ sold on site from Sm’Oaked BBQ, serving beef brisket, pork spare ribs with coleslaw and beans as sides, packed in with a slice of bread to go with. Now let me tell you all, I generally don’t like most BBQ in any restaurant or on any food truck, I’m just not impressed usually. However, let me tell you, this was the most tender brisket I have had from a vendor here in the eastern North Carolina region, a perfect smoked flavor, and seasonings, highly impressive. On the other hand of it, I wasn’t a fan of the sides, and that’s only me being me- a native Western NC Girl through and through. Generally, I am not too fond of any BBQ vendors side items; they’re often store-bought, lack the touch of southern seasoning to take you anywhere near granny’s house in your mind. They offer sauces and salt and pepper packets on the side in plastic ware so you can apply yourself. I still give them 4/5 stars just for the brisket, excellent pricing, generous portions, and a great customer service experience.

Around the farm, there’s a variety of market shops to patronize, fresh goods, vegetables, Amish bread, crafts, free wine tastings and of course wine to purchase if you like. There was the best strawberry lemonade I’ve tasted in all of Onslow County perfectly blended, not too sour, not too sweet and I could taste the berries. Seriously, there should be an award for that.

Photo Courtesy of Humphrey Farm

Oh my heavens, the funnel cakes! I’ll let you look and judge for yourself. There’s plenty of landscape to run the pounds off on if you overindulge.

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You cannot go wrong with a visit to Humphrey Farm whether its with friends, alone, with colleagues or with family.

Get out there and explore Onslow and Eastern NC, Humphrey Farm is a great place to start, and you don’t even have to pay for parking!






Woman charged with a felony abuse of an infant at a Sneads Ferry childcare center

Bethan Pringle, age 23 charged with Felony Child Abuse Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury to an infant child under age 1 at a Sneads Ferry Childcare facility.

There are several daycares in Sneads Ferry with violations reported to the NC DHHS/DCDEE database this year.


Photo from Childcare Network Website

On June 11, 2019 the Childcare Network parents in Sneads Ferry received a notice informing them of an incident that occurred in their school the day prior where an infant child was injured while in the care of the facility.

The infant child who is under 1-year-old was provided with CPR by caregivers as well as lifesaving techniques for emergency situations. The child’s parents were notified immediately by the center and the teacher involved was suspended without pay at that time, pending an internal investigation as well as by law enforcement.

The incident allegedly was quickly determined not to have been caused by a hazard, lack of security, supervision nor due to inappropriate ratios of caregivers to student at the time of the incident. Some parents were also allegedly informed soon after that the teacher would not be returning to the school based on this incident.

The Onslow Beat reached out to the Childcare Network location on Thursday, June 13th for a statement and they declined to do so with a pending and open investigation.

Col. Chris Thomas at Onslow County Sheriff’s Office said on Monday there was anticipation of closing the case this week. He further assured, “To my knowledge this is the only incident that has been reported to the Sheriff’s Office from that location.” “They have been completely cooperative with the investigation and were the reporting party as well.”

The infant child was transported to Vidant Medical in Greenville from Onslow Memorial Hospital for treatment immediately following and released Thursday of last week. Medical professionals have since advised that the infant is expected to recover.

Today, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office issued a release stating it had been determined that this act was purposeful. The childcare worker, Bethan Pringle, age 23 was the worker who was responsible for the child’s injuries. The infant suffered from head trauma which resulted when the child was intentionally dropped by the suspect.

Pringle was arrested and charged with Felony Child Abuse Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury. She was issued a $100,000 secured bond and placed in the custody of the Onslow County Detention Center.

Childcare Network is a 5-star facility with a superior classification, as well as the newest facility in the area. This facility opened in August 20, 2018 and has swiftly corrected any violations prior to date as required by the Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) . The most recent inspection from DHHS/DCDEE shows where the facility was rated a 211/235 score and there were no violations despite this tragedy.

There have been two violations during an unannounced visit by the DCDEE to this facility that occurred in 2018 and both swiftly corrected.

Rule Violated: Medications including prescription and non-prescription items were not stored in a locked cabinet or other locked container. Medications in space #9 and space #10 were stored in the cabinet under the diaper changing table; the cabinets were unlocked.

Rule Violated: Caregivers did not document compliance with visually checking on sleeping infants aged 12 months or younger and/or the documents were not maintained for a minimum of one month. In space #9. a visual sleep check was documented at 9:45am. During the classroom observation at 10:30am, the infant was still asleep and no other visual sleep checks had been documented. (12/10/18)-DHHS database

There are limited childcare options in the quaint fishing village of Sneads Ferry.

Another local facility has parents skeptical in the quality of facility standards since a change in ownership leaving some parents feeling grim about care options.

One mother said, “This is why I would rather just stay at home until our baby is older, so I know that he is safe.” in response to this incident. “You cannot trust anywhere anymore.”

The Onslow Beat took a deeper look into local daycare options to see how they compare to Childcare Network in light of standard of care and violations in Sneads Ferry.

Noah’s Ark Preschool: Four (4) violations in March 2019 for broken furniture, poor activity plan and lacking first aid training. Another two (2) in May for administering medication after the expiration date with expired permission form.

Sneads Ferry Quality Care has six violations documented by DHHS/DCDEE just this month from an unannounced visit. Violations range across a variety of lack in training for childcare workers, not having CPR & First Aid certifications and Child Maltreatment Training. Some of these violations are still pending response to the department. One violation:

Rule Violated: New staff, who had contact with children, did not receive at least 16 hrs. orientation within first 6 weeks. Three of the thirty-two staff employed had not completed the required orientation training within the first 6 weeks of employment. -DHHS database.

A Happy Home Daycare in Sneads Ferry that is a licensed home daycare had violations in 2017 for hazardous chemicals like cleaners and pesticides. There were no violations in 2018 on either visit yet there have been violations founded in 2019.

Rule Violated: Hazardous cleaning supplies and other items that might be poisonous were not kept out of reach or in locked storage when children were in care. Three bottles of hand sanitizer were located in the home: One was sitting in the middle of the kitchen table used by the children for lunch routines, a second bottle was located on the cabinet beside the diaper changing table accessible to the children, and a third bottle was located on the corner of the desk adjacent to the children care space accessible to the children. Four aerosol cans were located in the home: One can of Lysol and one can of Resolve were located on a shelf above the diaper changing table and one can of Lysol and one can of Ozium Air Sanitizer was located on a shelf behind the entrance/exit door to the child care space.- DHHS database. (2017) 

Rule Violated: Written record of up-to-date pet vaccinations as required by NC law and local ordinances, including rabies vaccination for dogs and cats, was not available. The vaccination for Cornflake, the cat, expired 12/30/18.

Violation confirmed corrected by letter received from provider on 1/18/2019
Rule Violated: Activity plans did not include activities intended to stimulate the developmental domains, in accordance with NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development. An activity plan was not available.

Violation confirmed corrected by letter received from provider on 1/18/2019
Rule Violated: Operator did not provide a written statement to parents regarding the smoking and tobacco restriction. A signed and dated acknowledgement statement from each parents indicating they had received a copy of the smoking and tobacco restriction.

Violation confirmed corrected by letter received from provider on 1/18/2019
To view any additonal childcare facility’s performance and possible violations, visit the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education through NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website.

The Onslow Beat urges parents to do research on every facility in any location before enrolling as well as facilities to ensure training and references prior to hiring.

Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce announced Brown Properties the 2019 Small Business of the Year

The Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce, along with First
Citizens Bank and Duke Energy, named Brown Properties of North Carolina, Inc. the 2019
Small Business of the Year Friday morning.

JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce, along with First
Citizens Bank and Duke Energy, named Brown Properties of North Carolina, Inc. the 2019
Small Business of the Year Friday morning.

Jeb and Shawn Brown were recognized for their hard work and successes during breakfast at Onslow Memorial Hospital as part of the closing for National Small Business Week celebrations in Jacksonville.

Jeb Brown said the three things driving his family’s real estate business are his team,
customers and reputation. And reputation, he added plays a big part in what they do – with the company namesake coming from his own name. “Our product is ourselves,” Brown said.

Scott Riggs, commercial banker for First Citizens Bank, presented Jeb and Shawn Brown
with the award, and commended them for their work. Brown Properties was nominated for the award by Beth Purcell, who wrote Jeb and Shawn Brown make a difference in the community by using their time, talents and compassion to make a positive impact.
She was especially moved by their dedication during the disaster and recovery of Hurricane Florence last fall. “As property managers of more than 400 residential properties with Brown Properties, they worked tirelessly around the clock in the days and months after Hurricane Florence to meet the needs of employees, property owners and renters impacted by storm damages and relocations,” Purcell wrote. “They stayed in place during the storm, sending their two school-aged children to stay with relatives in Western North Carolina in order to focus on serving their property owners and renters.”

The Browns are not only dedicated to their business, but remain active as members of the Chamber of Commerce by supporting several events and serving on the Business Diversity Council, Jacksonville Onslow Leadership Council, Board of Directors and Small Business Council.

Jeb serves on the Onslow Memorial Hospital Foundation Board and is an active Rotarian.
Shawn serves on the board of the Jacksonville Friends of the Library. The Browns have
two children and are active supporters of the Parkwood and Northwoods Park PTA.
“In the office, in the field, or in the community, the owners of Brown Properties exhibit
initiative, creativity, all with a positive attitude and a smile,” Purcell wrote.

Small Business Week is made possible by First Citizens’ Bank, Duke Energy, Under
Construction Safety, Coastal Carolina Community College Small Business Center,
Jacksonville Country Club and Onslow Memorial Hospital.

For further information, please contact Kelsey via email at or call 910-939-7006.
For updates on Small Business Week and other events, please follow the JCOC Facebook


Onslow County Administrative Professional of the year 2019 awarded to Denyse Lewis from the Jacksonville Country Club

Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce held a ceremony this morning at Marston Pavillion on Camp Lejeune, in celebration and honor of administrative professionals across Onslow County.

The Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber says, During the breakfast celebration there is a feature keynote speaker, recognition of all the nominees and announcement of the winner. This event supports the businesses of Onslow County and recognizes those individuals that contribute to the positive impact businesses have in our community.

Denyse Lewis was named Administrative Professional of the Year for 2019 this Tuesday morning. An employee of the Jacksonville Country Club for 20 years, Denyse was nominated by JCC Board of Directors President Jerry Allen and VP Pam Thomas. She was described as, “endearing, pleasant and supportive” in her nomination.

Photo Courtesy of The Jacksonville Onslow Chamber of Commerce

“I’m not here alone; I’m just very grateful for this,” Lewis said upon receiving the award.

Photo Courtesy of the Jacksonville Onslow Chamber

Lewis was one of 19 nominees and 230 attendees that took part in the Chamber’s Administrative Professionals’ Breakfast event.

Photo Courtesy of The Jacksonville Onslow Chamber

Congratulations Denyse and all of this year’s nominees! The Jacksonville Country Club is a member of the Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce.

Congratulations to the rest of the nominees!

Jessica Anderson

Valerie D. Cox

Donna Crumpler

Lizbeth Deam

Jeremy Denny

Sarah Diaz

Michel Flores

Walter Flores

Jenna Friday

Jackie Jones

Marissa Ann McCloskey

Marcia McLaurin

Tonya Morton

Heather Norris

Christy Shupe

Latrisha “Trish” Spivey

Sara Walsh

Holly Worrell

The Chamber gives a huge thank you to Gold Sponsor, Sanders Ford.

Salty Sistas give back beyond their food truck in the first week

We often see new businesses open and come with a community motivated pitch of supporting those who support them, giving back to the community and all the bells and whistles but we never see the fruits of their labor as marketed. Well, Salty Sistas food truck has put their money where their mouth is, well technically, other mouths are. Their first big weekend at The Crooked Lotus last weekend was a hit and they’ve “tithed” ten percent of their earnings back into the CHEW Program in the community at Dixon Elementary.

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The Onslow Beat Digital Reporter, Melissa Oakley asked one Salty Sista Jeanette Rivera, “what motivated you, ladies, to implement community service into your business? Aren’t you concerned about profiting before grand-opening to grow and maybe implement some services at the peak of tourism season?” Rivera responded,

I really wanted the community to see that we are not just about making money. We are two women with a passion and a love for cooking. But it is just as important to us to give back In any of the communities we are working and we want to be able to give back. Our first soft opening we said that we would take a portion of the profits and give to the chew program at Dixon Elementary. We are women of our word. This is what it’s about, supporting locals, following our dreams and still helping those in need!

Be sure you’re keeping up with these two phenomenal women and their menus coming up on the food truck at Salty Sistas. 

grand opening salty sistas

Here’s a sneak peek at what they’ve been up to testing out new recipes, cultivated from scratch and pure culinary delight!

Lobster Chowder

Digital Reporter, Melissa Oakley also had the opportunity to be a food critic for Salty Sistas testing the lobster roll (3oz), the lobster hushpuppies and the lobster poutine. Lobster roll comes with a choice of butter or mayo, can be served warm or cold, side of coleslaw and a bag of chips. The lobster hushpuppies are served fresh, fried, golden perfection with a side of special sauce, “Cajun Happiness” sauce that the ladies just wouldn’t give up the recipe for. There was also attempt to get the ladies kids, spouses and the employees to spill it without any success. If you try the sauce or have tried the sauce, you will understand why the recipe needs to be released, It’s absolutely delicious and paired perfectly with the flavors in the batter of the hushpuppies and the chunks of lobster. They could literally sell bottles of the sauce it is so delicious! “Cajun Happiness” is a perfect name for this sauce as it is truly, “c’est si bon!”.

Lobster rolls with mayo
Example of rotating menu and prices


Hard hitting performers at Nick’s Blacksheep Tavern

Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, four Marine veteran, songwriters will be sharing their songs and the stories behind them at Nick’s Blacksheep Tavern. It is open to the public with free admission, 18 years-old and up. This is an awesome opportunity to see some amazing, established and rising talent .

A big part of this night is the back story of the key players.

Nick Nichols is a retired Marine veteran of 25 years. After retiring Nick became the owner of Nick’s Blacksheep Tavern. Nick has become one of the most prominent facilitators of the music scene in Eastern, NC. Although, music is a major part of what Nick searches out on his weekend rides through the area, Nick has established a community of artist, venue owners, fans of life, and people looking for a guaranteed great time. Nick is far more than just a promoter. He has given back to the area that he calls home, organizing multiple events throughout the years benefiting the people, the area, and the life of Coastal Carolina. Nick has gathered four songwriters who have been connected via military service.

Nick Nichols

Mike Corrado, an active duty Marine and Iraq veteran has been a well known name in Eastern, NC for quite a while. From the heights of national radio airplay to performing with Toby Kieth at the Country Music Awards, Mike continues to perform, amaze and support the local area, performing recently for support efforts from Hurricane Florence. Mike has released several albums, videos, all to which have received national attention.

Mike Corrado

Anderson Elswick, an active duty Marine and veteran of Freedom Sentinel, is a fast rising voice in country music. With a traditional, soulful sound, and a social media presence that has garnered over 150 thousand views, Anderson has earned the opportunities to open for David Allan Coe and Shenandoah, as well as playing in the famous Talladega Raceway infield. A Kentucky man raised with a sense of community, Anderson has recently performed locally in support of Hurricane Florence relief efforts. Anderson has just released an acoustic EP, The Big Rock Sessions.

Anderson Elswick

JP Guhns is an active duty Marine and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan . Although in the first year of attacking a life long dream, JP has worked his way to being a finalist in the 2017 USAA Mission: Music competition, opening for Pat Cooper, and sharing his original music in cities like New Orleans and Nashville. JP performed at this years Oktoberfest and continues to play locally with his band. JP is set to release his first EP, in the spring of 2019, through Grunt Tunes Records.

JP Guhns

Matt Bowlin, is a Marine veteran and one of Eastern Carolina’s own. Known throughout the area for his music, his art, and his bigger then life personality, what can’t be left out is his support for the local scene and community. Matt has committed his life to sharing with people a positive energy through acting, writing and performing . A former TV actor , Matt can be found at any moment fundraising for a local school, picking a tune for a friendly crowd , or infusing a vibe into a piece of art. Matt has released several songs on all social media platforms.

Matt Bowlin

Sometimes things just fall in place, and the opportunity to see four gifted songwriters, with a mile long list of life moments, perform under one roof, is one of those times you shouldn’t miss.

Contributing credits: JP Guhns

Autumn with Topsail festival final day Sunday, October 21st

Autumn with Topsail is always a fun time to be had on the beautiful Topsail Island. Live bands, dancing, libations, food trucks, juried arts and crafts, indoor and outdoor kids activities, and the famous Kiwanis pancake breakfasts!

The festival started in 1988 featuring a juried Artists’ and Crafts court with over 100 regional artists with work on display for sell.

This is definitely a great FUN adventure to go explore the gems of  Topsail Island such as the Missiles and More Museum where this grand event is held. Funds raised at this event support the Historical Society of Topsail Island and the museum. The Historic Assembly Building suffered some major damages from Hurricane Florence so the funds raised will greatly benefit keeping history alive and well on Topsail. The funds generally go to the maintanence, presevation and upkeep of the historic Assembly Building and the Missiles and More Museum.

The Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast at the Historic Assembly Building for the final day of the festival will be Sunday morning from 8am-10am.

You can enjoy live musical entertainment from the Band of Oz this afternoon from 1pm-4pm, a variety of delicious food, beer, wine and lots of inflatables, crafts for children and much more!

Check out the band here on Youtube:

Admission is $5 for the day for the general public, Children 11 and under are FREE as well as ACTIVE DUTY military members with a valid ID.

Concerned about parking needs? No problem! There’s a FREE Shuttle Service that’s provided from select, various parking areas in Topsail Beach that take you to the festival grounds.

AWT (Autumn with Topsail) festival prohibits pets from entry unless they are licensed service dogs.

For more details on AWT before you make your way over to Topsail Island visit: or

Health Massage Boutique

received_2062929233718025For January’s Small Business Saturday Segment, I managed to get to spend several hours with Business Owner, Mrs. Freddie Mae Gray at The Health Massage Boutique located in Sneads Ferry, NC. This is quite a unique business and there’s something for everyone. Mrs. Gray is a USMC Veteran and Philanthropist. A portion of profits from the business she said, “Go to making wigs for cancer patients who lose their hair from cancer treatments.” Mrs. Gray has a vision for health and wellness offering affordable head to toe massages whether individual sessions or buying a monthly package.  When asking her what inspired her to explore this kind of business she referred to her personal and relatives history with allergies to pain medications and antibiotics.

Freddie Mae Gray, Owner of Health Massage Boutique

“I am allergic to all opiate pain medications, as well as many antibiotics. My mother is too.  My children are displaying some of  the same allergies. My spouse is allergic to several antibiotic medications. There are many people like us, we have discovered from just interacting and communicating.

So we have utilized alternatives to pain relief  and other illnesses, all our lives.  The chairs in our Massage Chair Forum assist with pain management. These chairs have changed my life, as a veteran with carpel tunnel and many other aches, this chair therapy is a God send.  We have several types of chairs to fit your needs. We have chairs that massage the crown or your head to the soles of your feet. The remote controls are very efficient and you target the areas where you want massage. The massage chair session is very convenient at only $5.00 for a thirty minute session.  YES, you can bring your child to your session, we have a small play area for them where they can enjoy while you do your chair massage, as well as healthy snacks for everyone. All snacks are free with a paid massage session. Or, you many bring your outside meal with you while you enjoy your massage.

Book an appointment, or just walk in. We have several chairs so there is never a long wait…”

While interviewing Mrs. Gray and exploring the Health Massage Boutique, I got to experience one of the massage chairs and it was far better than I had anticipated! If you’re like me, you’ve probably thought, “that’s probably like those chairs at the mall that charge $5 for 5 minutes just to vibrate.” Well, I was wrong! These chairs are so much more than a vibrate and a roller along the spine. You can control your experience with a remote control and actually see on the digital screen where your body is being massaged, adjust speeds, strengths and position from upright to reclined. You can target select area’s or you can go for the gusto with a crown to sole experience. Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-28,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-ve

When my 30 minute chair therapy was complete, I was SO relaxed, I could have just went to sleep and it was around midday. Every muscle in my body felt renewed and like there was a significant release. Those of you with chronic pain illnesses, nerve pain and joint pain I would recommend you give it a try! I have a rare and incurable brain disorder (Chiari Malformation) and I wish so much that this business was open before I had brain surgery. I know if this one experience in chair therapy brought me such significant relief, that it could have only been a God send when I faced the worst of debilitating symptoms.


The chair therapy massages are only a part of this wonderful gem! There’s also a thrift store with brand new, pre-owned, gently used items. There are bag sales daily for $5/10/20 and fold and fill as much as you can of the selected bag sale items for whichever size bag you choose to purchase. For $20, on my first trip into the store, I was able to buy four brand new ponchos, two brand new shirts and a hand bag pre-owned in excellent condition. I would say that’s a win when most sweater poncho’s are at least $20 each on sale in most stores! It gets even better! There are mens and women’s clothing, even some up to 3XL as well as cultural wear such as dashiki’s and bohemian style skirts. The inventory also has a nice selection of rain boots, CATS brands and an attractive selection of cowboy boots.

There is also a limited selection of Medical Equipment such as shower chairs. Mrs. Gray will have a certifications soon to assist in reaching weight loss goals. The Health Massage Boutique is a locally owned and operated one stop shop for a variety of your needs from vitamins and supplements, DVD’s ($2.50 each/6 for $10), wet suits for fishermen with booted feet, fax and notary services available at $.50 (cents) per page and if over 20 pages $.15 (cents) a page. Looking for a healthy snack? Vegan based vending machine in store loaded with healthy options!

The Protein shake I had was the flavor of the day and blended perfectly! I generally steer from shake bars because barista’s don’t blend enough for my liking. However, Mrs. Freddie has plenty of experience from working on Camp Lejeune making shakes before opening Health Massage Boutique and it shows in every sip! You receive a free protein shake with a massage purchase, can purchase an 8oz shake for $4.75 and if you bring back your reusable cup from HMB you only pay $3.00! She’s soon releasing a vegan cookbook- “Food Fight: Cocinar Alimentos Saludables!” By Freddie Gray.

For more details on Health Massage Boutique, to book an appointment or contact, please check out their website: or go by during hours of operation.


Hours of operation are:

10am-6pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

2pm to 8pm Tuesdays

10am to 8pm Saturdays

At this time.

Mothers Caribbean Taste. Holly Ridge, NC

Mothers Caribbean Taste Experience!




BEAUTIFUL, quaint Restaurant serving many favorite cuisines of the Caribbean.
Being my husband is a native born Jamaican, I have grown a strong fondness of these flavorful dishes!
I ordered ackee and cod fish (aka ackee and salt fish) and it was perfect!
I spoke with Shimeal, MCT is owned and operated by her, her grandmother (cook) and mother. Mother travels to get seasonings and ingredients to keep the flavors as authentic as possible. MCT has been open for one month. Town of Holly Ridge loves them! The family traditions of serving wonderful food comes from priding  themselves on fresh cooked meals.
Upcoming in winter months jerk chicken soup, fish tea soup. Also often serves to accompany dinner in evening hours.

Grandmother from Bahamas came to visit and Shimeal took her around to Zaxby’s and Chic a fila and grandmother said “nooo, what are you feeding the kids? Nothing to eat here.” Shimeal asked what she wanted to do about it and grandmother said if she found her a kitchen, she would run it. In Bahamas, Grandmother owned and operated a food truck and restaurant that she has given to her children there and moved to bless Holly Ridge with a flavor so “RICH”.

Fair priced and generous, filling portions! Be sure to check out their FB & IG.

Be sure to swing in and grab a bite to eat and tell her that the “story girl” (Melissa) sent you.

Sailing The Belle of Topsail

The Belle of Topsail is an 1880’s replica of a turn of the century riverboat owned and operated by Captain/Chaplain David and Sharon Luther and about seven years ago, we took our first sail on The Belle. Oh but soon after that first sail, The Luther’s added an even more exciting twist to this lovely experience of sailing the intracoastal waterways in Surf City, passing right by the historical swing bridge, enjoying cool breezes, sunny days, breathtaking sunsets and if you’re lucky the river dolphins will be in action for a show in their natural habitat and then The Raven was born! Now, I don’t mean the bird, no Edgar Allen Poe here either, I’m talking about daring, dusty, thieving, murdering, fast talking and comical PIRATES on a Pirate ship called The Raven!!

The Belle has a full bar, the dinner cruise offered a self serve style meal option with an amazing Taco Bar and a good ol’ Sunday dinner feast option with pulled pork, mac-n-cheese, yeast rolls, beans and other helpings to include cheeses and a beautiful selection of fresh fruits to compliment any meal. There were also platters at the bar with a variety of nuts, pretzels and jumbo cocktail shrimp complimentary to everyone.

We moved away and returned to this area late last year and haven’t been on a date since and we really needed that fun time out alone, without kids, just to breathe, to talk and just be “adulting” because for Christs Sakes, no married couple or parents can say “Oh I Never Need BREAKS” unless they’re a bald faced liar. Anyway, moving on. I had been trying to get reservation for the cruises at Sunset for a few weeks but with life and schedule changes, we missed the opportunity because cruises sell out super fast! So make a note of that, “Book today, they’ll sail away”. We were actually passed the reservation limit but lovely Sharon keeps contact with those on the waiting list and will call or email if there is a cancellation that can serve your parties amount. There was just us two and there were three spots that opened up. Can you say, “Happy Sun-YAY!” for us!?? I was so excited like I had never been on this boat before and I will tell you why. See, some experiences are so scripted and uptight around some tourist towns, there’s no personality, no feeling like you are a part of it, like you’re just another dollar and viewer but this is certainly not the case with The Belle! From the Capt’ns Speech on locating your life jackets in case the boat were to sink in the 4ft or so of water we cruise in, informing passengers the bar will remain open upon event of sinking to the waterway’s floor to the very moment those pesky, scoundrel PIRATES take hostage The Belle… EVERY passenger will feel welcome, like you are on a family outing with family you’ve never met or haven’t seen in a long time and made feel at home aboard The Belle. You are guaranteed an original experience every trip that you will enjoy, I can honestly say, it gets better every year! (The ship has never sank by the way and no passenger has been injured or gone overboard.)

I was recently diagnosed with a rare brain condition called Chiari Malformation though the symptoms have been disturbing me quite a while. I really needed a breather, I needed to see the waterway for some salt life, I needed those laughs with and at David over the loud speaker and from the ships floor, I needed those hugs and warm welcome back from Sharon upon boarding, I needed those crazy pirates to come aboard and demand the loot aka “booty”, I needed the laughs of talking trash to the pirates by fellow passengers taken hostage and once they left back to their ship cruising alongside us with passengers I had never met from different races, genders, styles etc but joy and laughter sees no diversity especially on The Belle! They operate a business that is for everyone, young and old, abled or disabled, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, “no sailor left behind I bloody tell ya!!” This is truly an experience you will enjoy and remember every detail for years to come and if you have any ailment or conquering one, trust me this will give you a relief from the woes of life if even just at that time! I felt rejuvenated after sailing The Belle with my husband, just gazing into that gorgeous sunset, laughing with and at pesky pirates, enjoying a few margarita’s and making new friends. Yes, making new friends! If you are new to this area, maybe returning back to this area and nobody you know is still here, the friend connection is The Belle, I have made new friends every single time we have sailed The Belle! There’s just a personable, class act, Sweet Carolina touch to this experience that I cannot quite put into words that give it due justice, I do hope that my blog’s fan page live video on FB can show you just a window into this experience as well as the gorgeous sunset photo’s I will include below. But here’s a peak at the sunset beginning!

We love The Belle so much we originally planned our wedding on the boat but because we are in hurricane alley, Mother Nature insisted a cancellation because all boats were advised out of the water. You can plan birthday parties, anniversaries, business parties and meetings, weddings, vow renewals and other events all on the Belle with food, fun, music and the Captain is also an ordained minister so no worries of who can officiate your ceremony or maybe you just need someone to pray that you don’t knock that one coworker overboard! Seriously, I would certainly recommend this boat for any of the aforementioned functions, a date, when family is in town, a girls night out, night out with the guys, retirement party, going away… you name it!! I mean seriously, What kid (or kid at heart) wouldn’t go totally nuts over being a real pirate for a day celebrating their birthday?? I can’t think of many that would complain.
As we left the dock: Take off live recording
Check out this video of the Raven Pirate takeover for yourself with adults: LIVE FROM THE BELLE PT 2

Photographed by Melissa Oakley


****Disclaimer: This blog post is solely based on my experience(s) as a passenger aboard The Belle of Topsail. I am not employed by this business and am an independent blogger/marketing promoter.