Ocean City Jazz Festival Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary

History, superb music and the beach come
together as the award-winning Ocean City Jazz Festival marks its 10th anniversary with
a bang. The slogan of the festival is “Jazz with a Higher Purpose” and the gala weekend
is slated for July 4-7, 2019.

The annual award-winning Ocean City Jazz Festival has music to whet the appetite and a destination that seals the deal.

NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH, NC, May 10, 2019 − History, superb music and the beach come
together as the award-winning Ocean City Jazz Festival marks its 10th anniversary with
a bang. The slogan of the festival is “Jazz with a Higher Purpose” and the gala weekend
is slated for July 4-7, 2019.

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Hosted by the nonprofit Ocean City Beach Citizens Council, the festival, boasts an
incredible lineup of talent that caters to both jazz purists and lovers of contemporary
jazz. This year’s artists include Jazmin Ghent, the John Brown Little Big Band, the Sax
Pack (featuring Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole and Marcus Anderson), Selina Albright, the
Ocean City All-Star Band (featuring Cyrus Chestnut, Mark Whitfield, Derrick Gardner
and John Brown), Gail Jhonson, Adam Hawley (with special guest Kat Hawley featuring
Marcus Anderson) and the John Brown Quintet featuring Alvin Atkinson.

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The festival kicks off with a beer and wine tasting on July 4, from 5-7 p.m. followed by a
special evening of music featuring guitarist John Dillard. On July 5, 2019, Secretary of
the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resource, Susi Hamilton will
greet attendees as the festival celebrates the Come Hear NC music initiative.
This year, the festival has added a brunch and gospel concert on Sunday July 7 featuring Richard Dawkins and the John Brown Quintet with special guests Cyrus Chestnut and Tamisha Waden, and a nonprofit workshop facilitated by Saad& Shaw – Comprehensive Fund Development Services on Friday and Saturday mornings.

The festival began in 2009, when the Ocean City Community celebrated its 60th
anniversary with entertainment by a Fayetteville, N.C. jazz saxophonist and his
accompanist on the porch of the Community Center. All in attendance, both visitors and
residents, enjoyed the celebration, launching the annual Ocean City Jazz Festival as a vehicle to promote and celebrate the history of the Ocean City Community. Proceeds are used for community preservation; promotion of the history of the Ocean City Community and it significance to the State; to foster music education by underwriting jazz workshops; mentoring programs with master musicians for local students; and underwriting of festival costs.

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The Festival has grown annually in attendance and features nationally recognized jazz
artists making it a perfect summer venue and destination. A variety of ticket packages
are available for the festival, with shuttles running from Jacksonville and Wilmington. A
full event travel package is also being offered. In January, the festival won “Best Sponsorship Package” in the state from the North Carolina Association of Festivals and Events.

For tickets, and additional information visit http://www.oceancityjazzfest.com.

About the Historic Ocean City Community
After World War II, Edgar Yow, an enterprising white Wilmington attorney and former
mayor purchased six miles of beach property on Topsail Island. As mayor, Yow was
acquainted with many members of the black community and realized that in the Jim
Crow era there was a need for beachfront recreational opportunities for African Americans.

Yow, call upon Dr. Samuel Gray and later Wade Chestnut and his siblings Betram,
Robert and Louise Chestnut. Gray and the Chestnuts purchased several tracts of land
from Yow and formed an inter-racial corporation, Ocean City Developers. Ocean City
Beach was established in 1949 and is the first community in the state that African
Americans could purchase oceanfront property.

Performance from the Ocean City Jazz Festival Website:

Operation Firecracker kicked off the Booze it & Lose It Campaign this week

Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said on Tuesday afternoon, “Our goal is prevention, we want all citizens to use common sense and reach their destinations safely.”
The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office will be deploying its DWI Task Force in high crash and high DWI areas across the county. Community members should expect increased high visibility enforcement.

On Monday, July 1, 2019 the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office assisted in hosting the NC Governor’s Highway Safety Program and agencies across North Carolina for the kick-off event “Operation Firecracker” Booze It & Lose It Campaign. The day started at 10:00 am with officers from across the state coming together to speak with the community about the dangers of impaired driving. Later that day, officers attended a safety event at the Jacksonville Commons Recreation Center where members of the public had the opportunity to meet officers and learn about traffic safety and the dangers of impaired
driving.

The day ended with a multi-agency checkpoint that took place on New Bern Hwy. The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office; Jacksonville, Holly Ridge, Richlands, Swansboro, North Topsail Beach and Wilmington Police Departments; Jones County and Pender County Sheriff’s Office along with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol provided officers for the checkpoint. The checkpoint resulted in 53 total charges including locating and arresting two wanted subjects. One subject was arrested for habitual impaired driving for driving while impaired and having three previous DWI convictions in the last ten years.

Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said on Tuesday afternoon, “Our goal is prevention, we want all citizens to use common sense and reach their destinations safely.”

The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office will be deploying its DWI Task Force in high crash and high DWI areas across the county. Community members should expect increased high visibility enforcement, DWI investigations, checkpoints, and saturation patrols throughout the week. Deputies will be increasing enforcement efforts to further the NC Vision Zero goal of zero roadway fatalities and decreasing the incidents of driving while impaired that have been plaguing Onslow County roadways.

Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller thanked Marine Corps Air Station at New River for hosting the kick-off event and states “This first checking station was a success.” He also thanked all participating agencies, indicating “cooperation among law enforcement agencies is instrumental in keeping our roadways safer.”

 

Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.

Off the pews and into the sun: Worship services this summer on NTB

(SNEADS FERRY, NC)-

Sneads Ferry Presbyterian Church is taking church outside this summer hosting three worship services at Beach Access #2 in North Topsail Beach. Pastor Bill Young extends a warm welcome to all near and far for a relaxed church service to Worship On The Beach with music and a sermon.

  • Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 8am
  • Sunday, August 4, 2019 at 8am
  • Sunday, September 1, 2019 at 8am

“All are welcome! We hope our vacationers will join us as well as our part-time and full-time residents!”

These scheduled beach service days are shine only and will be canceled if it rains and stay up to date with the SFPC Facebook Page for any updates or changes.

  • Consider bringing your favorite beach chair, blanket and some coffee as we worship on our beautiful beach on Topsail Island. Service will last approximately 30 minutes.
  • Onslow County Beach Access #2 in North Topsail Beach offers bathrooms and is handicap accessible. Unfortunately it is still under renovation from Hurricane Florence, so the ramp leads up to the deck overseeing the beach, however the ramp down to the beach has not been repaired yet.
Photo Courtesy of SFPC Website

Editors note: SFPC has a great congregation and not only are they good in the church, the individuals I’ve encountered from the church through the community have always been pleasant and welcoming. They show the love of God and humanity off the pews and on the street. Since Pastor Young has been preaching there, I have only heard greatness in the community. The members I’ve talked to rave about their church and the family dynamic of the church where they really have each other’s back so to speak. So if you’re looking for a church home, place of worship or simply enjoy church on the beach, I believe SFPC is a great place to go. For families, they have excellent programs and bible study for kids and teens.

For more information about Sneads Ferry Presbyterian check out their website. Contact Sneads Ferry Presbyterian Church with any questions: 910-327-0166 or email: sfpcsecretary@yahoo.com.

North Topsail Beach faces a tax increase in continued hurricane relief

NTB faces a tax rate increase to $.41 from $.34 cents as a result of the devastation lingering from Hurricane Florence. The proposed budget inside and copies available at NTB Town Hall.

North Topsail Beach issued a press release statement on Tuesday informing the public of a necessary tax increase after the damages of hurricane Florence continue to wreak havoc on the budget.

The North Topsail Beach Board of Aldermen and Staff have worked diligently on the 2019-2020 Budget Ordinance. As a result of the budget workshops, work of staff and other input, the Proposed 2019-2020 Budget Ordinance is ready. This Budget Ordinance has an increase to the tax rate and items in which the board wants the public to be made aware of.

The proposed budget ordinance includes contingencies for continued repairs to damages caused by Hurricane Florence. It also includes a new Capital Reserve Fund to set aside funds for future capital needs throughout Town.

The town said following Florence that damage to the dunes amounted to approximately $15.5 million dollars. During the winter, work was done towards rebuilding the dunes and many berms are now barriers where dunes were before Florence. The north end of NTB also faced additional erosion concerns in the aftermath where the sandbag barriers pose means of protection.

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Photos following Hurricane Florence 2018 by The Onslow Beat on NTB
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NTB beaten after Florence. Photo Cred. The Onslow Beat
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Photo Cred: The Onslow Beat

The new proposed tax rate is to be set at $.41 whereas the current rate is 34.35 cents per $100 valuation.

As an example of the difference: For a property valuation of $300,000, the total increase results in an additional $199.50 per year.

The Board has set the public hearing and any member of the public will be allowed to speak concerning the budget ordinance. The hearing will be June 20, 2019 at 6:00pm at the Sneads Ferry Library.

“The North Topsail Beach Board of Aldermen remain resolute in their commitment to rebuild the Town after the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence. They are even more committed in making sure the Town will be prepared for future projects through strong fiscal policy.”, stated the town of NTB.

The TOWN OF NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH BUDGET ORDINANCE FISCAL YEAR 2019-2020 

First Food Truck Roundup in Sneads Ferry this evening

Thursday, May 16, 2019, Treasure Realty and Harper Rose Boutique are partnering in hosting the first-ever Food Truck Roundup right in the heart of Sneads Ferry near Four Corners, formerly known as “Monks Corner” by the native villagers.

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There will be a variety of new foods that your taste buds will absolutely love you for and won’t upset your wallet. There are three food trucks in this roundup, Sneads Ferry’s own Salty Sista’s serving up their signature dishes with fresh, Maine lobster rolls, lobster hush puppies, wagyu beef sliders and more. Vida Tacos of Jacksonville, NC serving up the absolute best So-Cal style tacos in all of Onslow County with the freshest ingredients and flavor of perfection. Tasty Tee’s Snack Shack of Wilmington, NC serving up a variety of southern and American favorites from wings & fries, coastal delight- shrimp burger, Carolina’s cure-all in the land of food,  “Bar-B-Que” paired with side item options to purchase like coleslaw and mac & cheese, if you please.

There will be tables and chairs on site if you would like to stay and enjoy. If you are in a hurry, you can grab and go as well.

This is projected to be a once a month event with rotating food trucks coming from across the NC Coastline as far as Kure Beach! Go on out and show your support of our local food trucks.

Do you have a food truck and want to join in the rodeo? Send an email to saltysistas@yahoo.com

This event is sponsored by Harper Rose Boutique and Treasure Realty.

 

 

Telephone scams are on the rise in Onslow County

Onslow County Sheriffs Office issued a press release this morning warning citizens to be aware of an increase in reports of telephone scams.

During the last week of April 2019, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office has again received reports about a telephone SCAM that some Onslow County citizens have received. Sheriff Miller and his staff want to ensure that all citizens know about these SCAMs & ask citizens to “pass the word” to others. Be aware.

The incoming call could come from a different area code or even a local number that citizens don’t recognize. Many times, that number is “spoofed” and not in service. Sometimes, the incoming caller has a foreign accent, but not always. The caller may allege that the answering party owes the government a certain amount of money and that an arrest warrant will be issued unless the answering person pays that amount. Then, the caller will “offer” to collect the money by a telephonic credit card transaction and give a different telephone number for the answering party to call back.

(Previous SCAMs have asked the answering party to purchase a gift card from a local vendor and pass the card number to the caller.)

Our national, state or local governments do NOT collect back taxes by calling citizens and asking for credit card numbers or gift cards by phone. If taxes are properly owed, notifications will be made by United States Mail.

Other SCAMS for citizens to be aware of:

  • A “Jury SCAM.” A false allegation that a citizen did not report for jury duty. (Call the court house jury coordinator directly for verification).
  • A relative in police custody needing bail money, or in a medical facility needing money. (Known as a “Sympathy SCAM”).
  • A “Sweepstakes or Contest or Lottery Win” SCAM. Asking for a “handling fee.” Fraud.
  • A “Data Mining SCAM” where an unknown or unverified party asks for personal or bank account information. “Phishing.”
  • A “Debt Consolidation Loan” offer that’s too good to be true. No free money.

Please protect yourself, your family, your property and even your friends & neighbors. Please be careful to VERIFY before you trust

NO GOVERNMENT AGENCY WILL ASK ANYONE TO PAY BY TELEPHONE USING A GIFT CARD OR PREPAID DEBIT CARD!

Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.

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

 

Halloween Safety Tips Onslow County 2018

The Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller released in a press release today, 2018 Halloween safety tips and hours for 10/31/18.

HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS 2018

From Sheriff Hans Miller:

On Wednesday, October 31, 2018 between the hours of 5:00-pm – 8:30pm, our streets will be scattered with little ghosts, goblins, and witches trick-or-treating this Halloween. “Halloween should be filled with surprise and enjoyment, and following some common-sense practices can keep events safer and more fun,” said Sheriff Miller of Onslow County.

The Sheriff reminds all Onslow County residents to follow these safety tips:
Motorists:
• Watch for children darting out from between parked cars.
• Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.
• Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
• At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.
Parents:
• Make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising the outing for children under age 12.
• Check the sex offender registry at http://www.ncdoj.gov when planning your child’s trick-or-treat route. You can view maps that pinpoint registered offenders’ addresses in your neighborhood and sign up to get email alerts when an offender moves nearby.
• Plan and discuss the route trick-or-treaters intend to follow. Know the names of older children’s companions.
• Make sure older kids trick-or-treat in a group.
• Instruct your children to travel only in familiar areas and along an established route.
• Teach your children to stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well-lit and never to enter a stranger’s home.
• Establish a return time.
• Tell your youngsters not to eat any treats until they return home.
• Review all appropriate trick-or-treat safety precautions, including pedestrian/traffic safety rules.
• All children need to know their home telephone number and how to call 9-1-1 in case of emergency.
• Pin a slip of paper with the child’s name, address, and telephone number inside a pocket in case the youngster gets separated from the group.

Costume Design:
• Only fire-retardant materials should be used for costumes.
• Costumes should be loose so warm clothes can be worn underneath.
• Costumes should not be so long that they are a tripping hazard.
• Make sure that shoes fit well to prevent trips and falls.
• If children are allowed out after dark, outfits should be made with light colored materials. Strips of reflective tape should be used to make children visible.

Face Design:
• Do not use masks as they can obstruct a child’s vision. Use facial make-up instead.
• When buying special Halloween makeup, check for packages containing ingredients that are labeled “Made with U.S. Approved Color Additives,” “Laboratory Tested,” “Meets Federal Standards for Cosmetics,” or “Non-Toxic.” Follow manufacturer’s instruction for application.
• If masks are worn, they should have nose and mouth openings and large eye holes.

Accessories:
• Knives, swords, and other accessories should be made from cardboard or flexible materials. Do not allow children to carry sharp objects.
• Bags or sacks carried by youngsters should be light-colored or trimmed with reflective tape if children are allowed out after dark.
• Carrying flashlights with fresh batteries will help children see better and be seen more clearly.

While Trick-or-Treating:
• Do not enter homes or apartments without adult supervision.
• Walk; do not run, from house to house. Do not cross yards and lawns where unseen objects or the uneven terrain can present tripping hazards.
• Walk on sidewalks, not in the street.
• Walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic, if there are no sidewalks.

Treats:
• Give children an early meal before going out.
• Insist that treats be brought home for inspection before anything is eaten.
• Wash fruit and slice it into small pieces.
• Throw away any candy that is unwrapped or partially wrapped or has a strange odor, color, or texture.

Homeowners/Decorations:
• Keep candles and Jack O’ Lanterns away from landings and doorsteps where costumes could brush against the flame.
• Remove obstacles from lawns, steps, and porches when expecting trick-or-treaters.
• Keep candles and Jack O’ Lanterns away from curtains, decorations, and other combustibles that could catch fire.
• Do not leave your house unattended.

“Halloween is a fun time in Onslow County,” Sheriff Miller concluded, “but let’s make it a safe time as well. The major dangers are not from witches or spirits but rather from falls and pedestrian/car crashes.”
Sheriff Hans Miller states that trick-or-treat times will be between the hours of 5:00-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 31, 2018. He encourages everyone to have fun but be safe!

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: topsailhistoricalsociety.org or missilesandmoremuseum.org

Update on Hurricane Florence – Important Info and Phone Numbers from Sen. Thom Tillis this week.

Friends and Neighbors,

Parts of North Carolina are seeing an unprecedented amount of rainfall that is causing extremely dangerous situations. Please continue to listen to emergency officials and take the necessary steps to keep you and your family safe. North Carolina has already been granted a
Major Disaster Declaration
and
Public Health Emergency Declaration
to streamline recovery and rescue efforts, and I will continue to ensure we have the resources needed to rebuild from Hurricane Florence.

Important Resources

Instructions on how to plan and prepare for severe weather as well as access to real-time weather, flooding, traffic and shelter information can be found at
ReadyNC.org
.

For life-threatening emergencies, call 911.

For a toll-free hotline to speak with a trained specialist, call 211. They can provide you information on shelters, evacuation routes, storm clean-up, volunteer needs, and locating food and water. The service is available 24/7.

For road closures, call 511.

For Coast Guard search and rescue, call 1-757-398-6700.

For help finding fuel/gas, visit
gasbuddy.com
or download the app.

For shelter locations, visit
redcross.org
or ca

ll 888-892-1162.

For volunteer opportunities, visit
nvoad.org
.

Veteran Hurricane Hotline Number: 1-800-507-4571

Veteran Pharmacy Customer Care: 1- 866-400-1243

*If you have trouble contacting emergency officials, my staff can be reached at (704) 589-7493.

Imp
ortant Information

Power Outages

Customers may also report an outage or view current outages using the
online outage map
.

Duke Energy also will provide updates on
Twitter
and
Facebook
to keep customers informed if significant outages occur.

Crews will work as fast as possible to restore power. Please call your local power company for more information (See below).

Post-Storm Resources

Below is some important information as North Carolina begins recovering from Hurricane Florence. Please know my office will be there every step of the way.

NC Department of Agriculture Disaster Information

FEMA Helping Pets

FEMA Public Assistance Fact Sheet

FEMA Increased Cost of Compliance Coverage

NFIP Call Center Fact Sheet

NFIP Fact Sheet found

NFIP Advance Payments Under Standard Flood Insurance Policies found

Current list of Road Closures

How To Apply For Aid

Apply online at
http://www.disasterassistance.gov
. Constituents may call the registration phone number at 1-800-621-3362; those who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.

FEMA has an app for constituents to upload pictures in order to document damage, apply for assistance, learn about the process, locate nearby shelters and local assistance in addition to numerous links and documents to help with preparedness, emergency relief and clean up/removal.

For continued updates on Hurricane Florence, please follow me on
Facebook
and
Twitter
. If you would like to unsubscribe from my e-newsletter, please click
here
.

Stay safe.

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.