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CONTENTS History of Sunset Beach


Attractions 6 Beach Life 16 Who is this Guy?


Map of Sunset Beach 24 Shopping 26 Dining 34 Destination Weddings 40 Download our Visit Sunset Beach app to guide you around town! Complete with full descriptions of all attractions, contact information and driving directions! Sunset Beach Business & Merchants’ Association PO Box 7477 • Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469 888-573-2235 • Photography by: Mark Head World Through My Eyes

The Sunset Beach Visitors Guide editorial staff would like to thank local author Jacqueline DeGroot for her generous contributions to this publication. Jack, as she is known, can be found at The Pelican Bookstore where you can also browse her publications that are listed below. She is truly a kind soul and we are fortunate to have her as part of our community, documenting its history.

Jacqueline (Jack) DeGroot Jacqueline DeGroot moved to Sunset Beach with her husband Bill in 1996. Upon discovering there were no local history books, she took on the task with her partner Miller Pope. Their first joint venture was Tales of the Silver Coast, A Secret History of Brunswick County. Sunset Beach: A History followed—it was a culmination of three years work. Ocean Isle Beach: Gem of the Atlantic was next, and just last year Ocean Isle Beach: A History was published. She has published several romances, some set in the local area, and recently published the first and second in The Cemetery Kids, Ghosts of Bird Island series. For more information visit her website at:

Photo: Mark’s Images

History of Sunset Beach by Jack DeGroot

In the early 1950s, Mannon Gore and Odell Williamson pooled their money to buy land along the southern coast of Brunswick County. They were in the process of developing it when Hurricane Hazel came along in 1954. In the aftermath, they decided to end the partnership and divvied up the property, Odell taking what would become Ocean Isle Beach, and Mannon taking Sunset Beach.

The Corps of Engineers had made both landmasses barrier islands when they had built the Intracoastal Waterway in the mid 1930s, so initial access was only by boat. Mannon, having recently served in the U.S. Navy, had observed many ports, and despite having only a sixth-grade education, took away complex mechanical concepts and engineering principles solely by memory. His grasp of hydraulics and machinery led him to design and build the first bridge to the island in 1958. It was a cable swing bridge that connected the mainland to the island until it was rebuilt in 1973 and then again in 1984. Having access to the island allowed for development, and as Mannon served as both bridgetender and dredge operator to provide canals, people came and bought lots and built houses. As more and more people came, developers insisted there was a need for a high-rise bridge. People on the island formed The Sunset Beach Tax Payers Association and fought these efforts until 2008, when construction of the new 65-foot tall span began. The bridge opened in 2010 and was dedicated as the Mannon C. Gore Bridge after the man who had dreamed of developing a tropical paradise so many years prior. The iconic swing bridge was saved from the salvage yard by a group of women who called themselves The Old Bridge Preservation Society. Ronnie and Clarice Holden donated land on which the old bridge is housed. In December of 2010, with the help of the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the old bridge

was lifted from the waterway and placed on land just a few hundred yards west of the area where it had tirelessly labored for over fifty years. THE OLD BRIDGE The Old Bridge Preservation Society was formed in 2010 by three women, Ann Bokelman, Karen Dombrowksi, and Chris Wilson, when they realized that the company building the new bridge had plans to scrap the old, historic one. Their tireless work and enthusiasm for the project led to many donations, including the land the bridge is now preserved upon. Ronnie and Clarice Holden offered any of three lots they owned for it to be settled on, and the company that built the new bridge, English Construction, sold the bridge to the Society for $1 and then moved it for free. Many individuals and company sponsors provided funds to restore and preserve the old bridge during its journey. The Old Bridge has been restored and now has a museum and a store. There are many events held all year long to commemorate its antiquated past, highlighting the bridge tenders and the uniqueness of the handmade marvel that so many hold dear in their memories. It is a wonderful place for children to learn about the quaint old days and to gather with family and friends to celebrate the joy that is Sunset Beach. The Old Bridge is located at 109 Shoreline Drive West, across from Sea Trail’s South Entrance. | 5


Marsh Life and Fishing

by Colleen Teifer

Photos: Mark’s Images

Sunset Beach is uniquely located along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), which runs between the mainland and barrier island of Sunset Beach. This graces the town with a beautiful and functional marsh area that is an active habitat for native and migrant birds, fish, crabs, otters and other critters. These marshes are valuable habitats for waterfowl, wading and shorebirds and high-priority birds during some stages of their life cycle. Examples include the Piping Plover, Wilson’s Plover, American Oystercatcher, Black Skimmer, Gull-Billed Tern, Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon and Wood Stork. Endangered or threatened sea turtles and Diamond-Backed Terrapins also spend time in these areas. A drive along the scenic Shoreline Drive will yield stunning views of not only the marsh area of the ICW, but also the famous “Twin Lakes” of Sunset Beach. There is an area where you can pull off to the side of the road to park and enjoy the observation deck that looks over the East Lake of the Twin Lakes. In fact, this area is noted on the Sunset Beach brochure

“Summertide Adventure Tours, run by locals Rip and Cari Van Winkle, offers a variety of kayaking tours lasting from 2 ½ to 4 hours depending on the tour chosen.” 6 |

that outlines the areas included in the Sunset Beach portion of the North Carolina Birding Trail. Birds you can see at this location include Black-crowned Night Herons, White Ibis, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Green Herons and Great Blue Herons. Depending on the season you may also see Wood Storks, a variety of waterfowl, Tundra Swans and Bald Eagles. If you prefer a more active and close-up experience, there is no better way to experience the marsh than on a kayak. There are many intricate, little tributaries and creeks that create the labyrinthine maze of marsh. For this reason, a guided tour will give you not only the safety of an experienced navigator leading the way, but also a deliberate route that will show you the most interesting pathways and areas of this expansive, natural masterpiece. Summertide Adventure Tours, run by locals Rip and Cari Van Winkle, offers a variety of kayaking tours lasting from 2 ½ to 4 hours depending on the tour chosen. You can visit their website at for more comprehensive descriptions, but options include The Blane Creek Tour, the Tubbs Inlet Tour and the Bird Island Tour. The Tubbs Inlet and Blane Creek tours are 2 ½ to 3 hours in length, requiring moderate to low levels of fitness for individuals. The Bird Island Tour is longer, lasting 3 ½ to 4 hours in duration and requires a moderate level of fitness for participants. Summertide can also put together a custom kayak tour for your group based upon your wishes.

The other unique experience for anglers, or “wanna-be” anglers is a kayak fishing tour. Summertide also has kayaks that are specially designed to serve as fishing kayaks. Kayak fishing affords the opportunity to reach areas of the marsh that are not navigable by boat. It also allows fishermen a year-round fishery whereas boat fishing does not. During the colder winter temperatures, fish migrate to the shallower areas of the marsh where the water is warmer, so this makes kayak fishing the only option during that time of year. Target species include Redfish, Speckled Sea Trout, Flounder, Black Drum and Sheepshead. A kayak fishing trip can last from 4 to 6 hours and Summertide will supply all of the gear needed. Participants need only worry about wearing proper attire, including shoes that will protect the feet, and their own drinks and snacks. You will be certain

“Between Dave’s and Summertide, you can find a full line of attire, beach supplies, fishing rods and reels, bait, tackle, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and friendly, knowledgeable service ”

to see a variety of wildlife on these tours as well, and they also offer the opportunity to sight-fish. In sight-fishing, kayakers literally attempt to spot fish and target their casts directly toward a particular fish. This type of fishing can be more active and exciting than traditional boat fishing. Whether you are seeking to go it alone and fish on your own boat or kayak, or try a guided tour, you can find Rip and Cari at their new location housed within the new Dave’s Outpost. Dave’s Outpost has joined the Sunset Beach business community this year and looks forward to their inaugural season serving residents and visitors to Sunset Beach for all of their outdoor activity needs. Between Dave’s and Summertide, you can find a full line of attire, beach supplies, fishing rods and reels, bait, tackle, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and friendly, knowledgeable service at their shared location. In fact, you will even be able to fill up a growler of craft beer from Blind Squirrel Brewery after a hard day’s fishing… so feel free to stop by, say hi, check out their gear and grab a beer! | 7


ach e B t e Suns ies SerDeGroot t r e c n Co by Jack

Where can you go to be entertained by some of the area’s best bands while sitting in your favorite beach chair, with your favorite libation in hand, enjoying a balmy summer evening with friends—for free?

Adjacent to The Village of Sunset Beach, at the Village Park Gazebo on Queen Anne Street on the mainland, that’s where. Even the parking is free and plentiful along Sunset Boulevard, in front of closed businesses, and at the Ingram Planetarium. The concerts begin at 7:00 p.m. each Wednesday evening during the summer season and end at 9:00 p.m. Come early to get settled and either bring a picnic dinner or enjoy the concessions offered: Darel’s Croissant Sandwiches, Papa John’s Pizza and Chicken Wings, Dixieland Kettle Corn, and Sunset Slush Classic Italian Ice to name a few. Catch the best beach, blues, pop, rock, Motown, bluegrass and country music anywhere on the strand. Dance into the night with your sweetheart, take your grandchildren by the hand and sashay them around, and be sure to join the local line and shag dancers as they strut their stuff. It’s great family fun you’ll want to share with others, and do over and over again. Visit for the season’s concert schedule.

Sunset Beach Turtle Watch Program by Jack DeGroot If you’re walking the beach between 5:30 and 7:30 a.m., it’s likely you’ll come upon members of the Sunset Beach Turtle Watch Patrol.

Sanctioned by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the members monitor nests and rescue stranded turtles and hatchlings. They record nesting sites and move them to safety when they are threatened by the environment or predators, they record “boils” or hatches, and help hatchlings reach the ocean. The SBTWP is a non-profit organization and is comprised of over fifty volunteers who tirelessly walk the beaches to spot turtle activity and to educate visitors. The weekly turtle talks are a fun and informative way for families to experience a unique beach presentation on the various turtle species, including the Loggerhead Turtle, the most common to Sunset Beach. Talks are given every Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. at Sunset Beach Properties. Additional talks given upon request. 8 |

To report turtle tracks, nests or hatchlings, injuries or stray turtles, call 910.579.5862. Harassment of sea turtles, an endangered or threatened species, or their nests, is a violation of State and Federal laws, punishable by a fine up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment. Sunset Beach loves their turtles, come learn about them!

Photos: Mark’s Images


Sunset Beach Park & Waterfront Market

by Jack DeGroot

The new Sunset Beach Park is the perfect place to walk your dog, jog, push a stroller, picnic under a tree, or just sit on a swing and watch the boats go by. With its winding

path of pervious pavers, the trail is easy on the feet while being environmentally friendly.

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The view of the marshes, the Waterway, and the island beyond makes it the perfect place to take in all the area has to offer. And if you happen by on a Thursday from May to October, you’ll experience the delightful new Waterfront Market. Vendors of all types gather to display handcrafted items and foodstuffs. It’s a great place for residents to reconnect with old friends and a wonderful way to start the day as the sunrises across the water are spectacular. Bring a cup of coffee or buy one. Bring a muffin or buy one. Saunter around and enjoy the serene and lovely new memorial to the Armed Forces. Read the names on the bricks and recall cherished friends. Watch the dogs and children play. Enjoy life in And if you happen the slow lane . . . by on a Thursday and then take from May to October, you’ll experience home a bunch of the delightful fresh flowers. new Waterfront Market




It all began with a little boy, a fish in a bucket, and a man who had already learned how to dream big. Forty-three

years ago Stuart Ingram was surf fishing when he spotted a young boy bent over his bucket looking at his catch. Moments later he walked back to the bucket to add another fish and the boy was still there, staring into the bucket. The boy pointed to one of the fish and asked, “Mister, what kind of fish is this one?” Stuart told him and then he pointed to another one, and then another. The little boy was fascinated by the different shapes and colors. Stuart was fascinated by the little lad’s interest and curiosity.

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“It’s the most fun you can have while getting an education and having a memorable experience for families.” As he taught the little tyke how to catch his own fish an idea bloomed in Stuart’s mind: wouldn’t it be nice to have a display of all the different types of fish that could be caught on the North Carolina coast? That led to the Museum of Coastal Carolina opening in 1991. Stuart’s experience as a World War II navigator gave him the desire to share the wonder of the stars, and eleven years later, The Ingram Plantarium at Sunset Beach opened. The Sky Theater boasts one of three of the world’s SciDome HD digital projectors, installed in 2009. It’s the most fun you can have while getting an education and having a memorable experience for families. Each year record crowds enjoy planet flybys, cosmic visualizations, and a spectacular persepctive of the Milky Way Galaxy, more than 200-million lightyears away. The Lobby also houses a gift shop for that perfect souvenir for the science-minded.


FORE! Whether you’re a serious golfer or a weekend warrior, Sunset Beach offers golfers some wonderful courses very close to home base. Continued on next page | 13

SANDPIPER Bay Golf & Country Club Sandpiper Bay Golf & Country Club is a local 27-hole gem, giving golfers a high-quality golfing experience at an affordable value. The staff at Sandpiper prides themselves on their Southern Hospitality that entices golfers to return season after season. That can be felt immediately upon approaching the newly renovated, Carolina-style clubhouse. Its wraparound porch just begs visitors to relax after a round and enjoy the setting. In fact, Golf Digest recently bestowed the Four Star Award upon Sandpiper for their hospitable service. Also located in the clubhouse is Piper’s Bar & Grill, which serves tasty breakfast and lunch items every day and also offers a full bar. Perhaps the other enticing reason golfers return to Sandpiper Bay is their award-winning courses that challenge players of all ability levels. Sandpiper has proudly demonstrated their commitment to impeccable standards with their recent renovations. All 27 greens have been converted to MiniVerde Bermuda grass, considered to be the best of the new ultradwarf Bermuda strains. They have also removed 280 trees to increase playability, seal-coated the parking lot and Piper course cart paths and added new bunker sand to improve drainage. If a little bit of practice is what you’re in search of, you can feel free to enjoy Sandpiper’s well-kept practice facilities. The driving range boasts three levels of tees on a range that is 14 |

800 N. Sandpiper Club Dr. Sunset Beach, NC 28468 910-579-9120 well over 300 yards to accommodate all of you long-ball hitters. Is your short game in need of some quality time? No worries! There is also a large putting green and dedicated chipping green, both of which contain the same MiniVerde Bermuda grass as is found on the course. In the spring and fall, visitors can also join the Sandpiper pros for their weekly clinics on Mondays and Tuesdays for a fun way to learn in a group setting. And of course, if private lessons are more appealing to you, Sandpiper’s staff of golf pros will be happy to accommodate you as well.

SEA TRAIL Sea Trail Resort offers three distinctly different signature courses that can be enjoyed by players of all levels, and challenge the most accomplished golfers. There are two clubhouses with fullservice golf shops, lounges and fine dining. Amenities include putting greens, a driving range, a chipping green and a PGA-sanctioned Golf Learning Center. The Rees Jones Golf Course is a straightforward layout featuring generous, mounded fairways bordered by scenic lakes and towering trees. This course is a perennial favorite of both residents and guests and its recent renovations have made it even moreso. Though the fairways are wide, water comes into play on 11 of the 18 holes on this par 72 championship course. In addition to this, many pot and large expanse bunkers serve to provide challenges to anyone’s game. This course measures 6,761 yards from the blue tees, 6,334 yards from the white tees, 5,716 yards from the gold tees and 4,912 yards from the red tees. The Willard Byrd Golf Course requires a distinctively different approach as a result of a constricting tree line, challenging greenside bunkering and lakes that range in size from 14 to 20 acres. Strategically-placed tee shots are imperative for successful play on these undulating greens of Champions Bermuda. The picturesque 18th hole has golfers finish between two beautiful ponds to approach the Jones-Byrd Clubhouse. This course measures 6,740 yards from the blue

75 Clubhouse Rd. Sunset Beach , NC 28468 800-508-1204 tees, 6,251 from the white tees, 5,561 from the gold tees and 4,621 yards from the red tees. The Dan Maples Golf Course is more of a traditional, southern course, framed by twisted, old oaks and tall Carolina pines. This medium-length course demands accuracy. Five of the holes wind along the scenic Calabash Creek, boasting elaborate landscaping and undulating greens. Still regarded as one of Maples’ finest, this par 72 course offers a different experience from the Jones and Byrd with its A1/A4 blended Bent Grass greens. There are also numerous waste bunkers along the course, one of which extends the entire length of a fairway. This course measures 6,797 yards from the blue tees, 6,330 yards from the white tees, 6,035 yards from the gold tees and 5,110 yards from the red tees. | 15

Beach Life

Bird Island by Jack DeGroot

Photos: Mark’s Images

Bird Island is the last undeveloped barrier island in Brunswick County, and one of only three remaining in North Carolina. It is a place that is truly special to many people and is especially treasured by local naturalists, who through the long purchaseto-protect process became astute legal and regulatory environmentalists. The private island was bought by the State of North Carolina in 2001 to thwart plans for a commercial resort. Buying the island was one of three possible ways to protect the land and ensure that the island would be preserved in its natural state. Protesting development was turning out to be a continual face-off in one legal battle after another, and clearly the island was never going to be donated, so the state optioned to buy the unique coastal resource that was Bird Island. With its accompanying wildlife, habitats and nesting grounds for both turtles and water birds, it is a unique eco-system. Some of the plants and animals that are on Bird Island cannot survive anyplace else as they are too fragile. Beach-nesting birds and turtles, along with their eggs, would be prey to dogs, cats, recreational vehicles, or simply be tromped on in a more mainstream environment. There are thirteen species of birds and animals that are rare, endangered, or deemed to be of special concern. Among the rare birds that inhabit the island are piping plovers, pelicans, wood storks and terns. The plants tucked into the dunes are rarer still. Seabeach Amaranth is so rare it is on the endangered list. The sea grass is exclusive to Bird Island, where despite the odds, it manages to thrive. 16 |

Over the years, other forms of wildlife have included goats, foxes, cougars, fiddler crabs, and sand crabs—all able to roam the long sandy stretches without threat of extinction. The varieties of seashells that can be found make the island a beachcomber’s dream. Aside from being a haven for disappearing species, Bird Island, as an undeveloped barrier island, also serves as protection from hurricanes. The island, with its pristine beaches and teeming wetlands, is an awe-inspiring place for people to seek solace by walking or biking the coast while enjoying the flora and the fauna. Many hands worked on securing funding to buy the island and now its stewardship is in the hands of The Coastal Reserve and The Bird Island Preservation Society. They work as a team to provide protection for the birds and turtle nesting sites and they monitor all wildlife. As a coastal nature reserve, Bird Island is an environmentalist’s paradise. The State acquired Bird Island in two payments that totaled $4.2 million in 2001 and 2002. It was the culmination of a ten-year struggle. The State now owns the island it originally owned until 1823, when it transferred title to Bird Island to William Frink for ten dollars. An interesting fact: Tract I (1,200 acres) is owned by North Carolina. Tract II—parts of both NC and SC— (28.88 acres) is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. | 17

Beach Life

Photo: Mark’s Images

The Kindred Spirit Mailbox by Jack DeGroot

In 1981, a young woman named Claudia Sailor came to Sunset Beach to “plant” a mailbox in the sand. For many years she’d

envisioned a mirage consisting of a mailbox stuck in the dunes. She didn’t know what it meant, but it reappeared so many times that she finally decided to do something about it. The day she dragged a mailbox mounted on a post to the east end of Sunset Beach was the day she met Frank Nesmith, who offered to help stabilize it for her. For several years they tended to it and watched as people visited and wrote in the journals. When the currents threatened to wash away the mailbox it was moved to the west end, to Bird Island, where it is now. The weathered “post office” by the sea has been operating for almost thirty-five years now. What started as a lark, and a tribute to the beauty and solitude of the area, is now an established landmark that thousands of nature lovers visit annually. Hundreds of photographers and artists have captured the essence of the mysterious mailbox tucked high in a sand dune, and many a beach walker has rested on the handcrafted benches made by Tom Thomas of Atlanta, Georgia. 18 |

For many years Claudia, a kindergarten teacher from Hope Mills, pondered the signifigance of her visions. All was revealed after a tenyear struggle that began in the late 1990s to stop the threat of development to Bird Island. As negotiations ensued, the state, along with several funding agencies cobbled 4.2 million dollars together. Yet, in the end, a big question loomed: Did the people of North Carolina want their money to go toward buying Bird Island? Frank Nesmith carted boxes of journals to the meeting to act as a petition. In each journal, and there were many, hundreds of people attested to the fact that they did not want the 1,200 acres of pristine beach, dotted with high salt marshes and strewn with twisted tidal creeks, with its accompanying wildlife habitats and nesting grounds—an ecosystem unlike another—to disappear. Thousands of entries were signed by North Carolina residents. In the end, it was the journals that convinced the legislature that the people of North Carolina had spoken. The culminating words attributed to that final hearing were: “They ain’t makin’ beaches anymore.”

Beach Life


Beach Canopies by Jack DeGroot

As one of the few remaining beaches that allow canopies, it behooves beachgoers to obey the rules and follow the ordinances to the letter. It’s for the

good of everyone if professionals install and take down the beach canopies daily. They know the spacing that is required, the fact that there is now only one row that can be set up, and they know how to anchor for the strong gusts that can suddenly arise. If you are one of those families who value your time in the sun under a canopy, it’s so much easier to have someone provide the canopy and handle the task of setting up and taking down daily. Tents and canopies cannot

In the Shade Beach Canopies Sunset Beach, NC 28468 910-200-6843 be left out overnight. There are fines involved, and quite frankly the right to even have them on the beach depends on everyone complying. If you need a canopy to protect you or your family from the sun, please take the time to ask questions and arrange your canopy early. Due to the space requirements, there is a limit to how many canopies can be put up. In the Shade Beach Canopies is a service company promising a carefree, fun-filled day for beach-goers. No worries mate. | 19

Beach Life

Sunset Beach Trading Company Located on the island of Sunset Beach, Sunset Beach Trading Company is a local, family-owned business that has served the island community for over 25 years. It started when its original owners abandoned the corporate world and left snow shoveling behind. They built the store in the underbelly of a relocated beach cottage that was once oceanfront. Whether you know it as Sunset Surf & Soda Shop, Cliff & Lynn’s, Sunset Beach Trading Company, the Green Awning Store, or John & Tracy’s, this local landmark prides itself on maintaining its local charm and hospitable service. Over the years it has evolved to meet the needs of Sunset Beach residents and visitors alike, and has become a cherished destination that is a part of many families’ vacation experience. The Sunset Beach Trading Company carries authentic clothing and apparel, unique gifts, beach sundries including toys and chairs, hermit crabs, delicious ice cream, world-famous fudge, and the best shaved-ice SnoBalls around! Their 42 flavors of Sno-Balls include classics like cherry and grape but also new and interesting flavors developed by SnoWizard in New Orleans. You can find flavors like Buttered Popcorn, Dill Pickle and Wedding Cake in their repertoire! This is just one reason why no visit to the island would be complete without a visit to this local iconic trading post.

423 Sunset Blvd. S Sunset Beach, NC 28468 910-579-0194 20 |

The Island Market The Island Market, located on the island of Sunset Beach, is another local, family-owned treasure. They have been serving the island community of Sunset Beach for two generations. Whether you’re a visitor staying in a beach house, or a resident living permanently on the island, the Island Market stocks all the necessary convenience items and foodstuffs. Snacks, cold beer and wine, ice, deli sandwiches with daily specials, and a hot cup of java are all available along with a large selection of beach necessities.

430 Sunset Blvd. S Sunset Beach, NC 28468 910-579-0815

Beach Life

Sunset Beach Pier by Jack DeGroot

Photos: Mark’s Images

The Sunset Beach Pier, also known as The Vesta Pier, is as picturesque as a postcard. Just to stroll its length and peoplewatch as the fishermen (and women) reel in their catch and display their prize is a delight. If you’re into history there are memorial markers along the way that tell about the people who developed the island. Learn the story of The Vesta, a Civil War blockaderunner that ran aground in ten-feet of water off the Sunset Beach Coast in 1864. Its carcass is now embedded in the sand under the parking lot of the pier. Hear about the island’s humble

Photo: @Mark’s_Images

beginnings, the shore birds, the hurricanes, and the progress the little island has made since the 1950s. Grab a hot dog and a soda, and take your time. There’s a lot to see. | 21

Who is this Guy? by Colleen Teifer

You may have seen him in his fluorescent vest walking along the road or camped out at the side of the road or at the beach taking pictures… Everyone is aware of him but not everyone knows his name. Well everyone, meet Mark Head. Mark has become a bit of a local icon, recently featured in our Brunswick Beacon newspaper, whose beautiful pictures have been published by the Brunswick Beacon, Carolina County Magazine and South Brunswick Magazine. News stations WECT and WWAY also frequently post his pictures on air. He has won several photography contests including 1st place, 2nd place and two Honorable Mentions in the Brunswick Beacon’s Calendar Contest, the Carolina County Magazine photography contest, the Readers’ Choice Award for Grand Strand Magazine and one of his photographs is currently receiving consideration to be the cover photo for the April/ May issue of Grand Strand Magazine. Mark is known not only as a terrific local character, but for bringing many smiles to the faces of those who follow him on Facebook. Mark posts many of his photographs on his Facebook page, “Mark’s Images. The World Through My Eyes.” One visit to the page and you will be hooked… it is entirely possible to be captured by his work for hours, sitting, viewing the pictures and smiling away. Most of the pictures in this publication have been generously furnished 22 |

by Mark, so you can enjoy a small assortment of his work while you are browsing this guide. Mark has an uncanny gift of being able to capture those fleeting moments in nature at just the right times… a heron that appears to walk on water, an osprey perched in a tree snacking on a fish, a sunrise peeking through a tree or reflected upon the still water and an array of birds all carrying sticks on their way to build this year’s nest. One might begin to think that these moments must oddly unfold before Mark’s eyes, or lens as it were. Not exactly. Mark rises literally earlier than the crack of dawn to be certain he will be in the proverbial right place at the right time. The walk from his home to his target location varies from approximately 45 to just over 60 minutes in duration, and the goal is to be at the target location for sunrise. Enter exhibit B: Mark’s stunning array of sunrise and morning sky photographs from varied locations within the Calabash and Sunset Beach communities. While Purple Haze may have been in Jimi Hendrix’s brain, “purple sky” has been artistically captured by Mark Head’s camera. What began as an effort to improve his health and well-being, combined with the desire to “rub it in” to his friends back home in Rochester, NY has ended up giving Mark an entirely new calling. According to Mark, the pictures of all the beautiful scenery in the area started as a lark (no bird pun intended) when he would post them to torture his snowbound friends in upstate New York. He ended up meeting someone who taught him more about photography and he sought out better equipment. His following gradually began to increase as he continued to share the moments in nature he captured each day. Mark now has over 2,000 followers on Facebook and has begun making a living with his photography. In season, Mark can be found at the Sunset Beach Waterfront Market and local festivals such as Sunset at Sunset and Sunset Beach Paddle Fest where he sells his breathtaking work in the form of prints and calendars. What better way to commemorate your visit to the area than a picture taken by a true, local artist. | 23


SHOPPING Want to know where the locals go for unique finds? Let us give you our insider tips! We have some hidden gems that you might miss if you aren’t looking for them. Whether you are “power-shopping,” or just looking for something special to bring home as a memento of your visit, our charming local shops will be sure to please! Continued on page 28

Ana Paula’s Beach Boutique


Blue Heron


Dave’s Outpost


Island Breeze


Ocean Presence


Pelican Bookstore


Boutique Around the Corner


Spiritquest Healing Center

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& Angel Gift Shop


The Olive Press

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Ana Paula’s Beach Boutique

Whether you’re a beach-bound bathing beauty or just appreciate a find that just cannot be gotten anywhere else, Ana Paula’s is definitely worth a visit! Ana has made her way to Sunset Beach

to bring us exclusive, beautiful and colorful fashions from her native Brazil. Fashion and clothing design is truly in Ana’s blood as she was born into a Brazilian family that owned and operated their own clothing factory for over 35 years. Ana was introduced to the fashion world at an early age, and her passion for it drove her to pursue formal fashion design training and a degree in international business. Ana’s boutique offers exceptional beach-related attire such as bathing suits, cover-ups, dresses, skirts and flowing tops. Discriminating shoppers will immediately appreciate the luxurious feel of the fabrics and the overall quality of every piece. Every item has been designed and handmade by experienced professionals. There are also accessories such as beautiful beach bags, handbags and wallets for those who appreciate a complete ensemble. In fact, the completeness can even extend to your pooch, as Ana Paula’s has not forgotten man’s (or woman’s) best friend. The boutique also offers fitness wear made from exceptionally high-quality fabric in a variety of colors and patterns that makes each item a statement piece. A visit to Ana’s is a must for residents and visitors alike!

e, 1790 Queen Ann Suite 3 8 each, NC 2846 B et Suns 5 71 910-338-6 28 |

Blue Heron Gallery

Let art engage your imagination!

The Blue Heron Gallery is one of Sunset Beach’s local treasures. If you weren’t looking for it, you might just miss this beautiful and eclectic array of artistic pieces. Owner JoAnn Johnston has spent much of her life seeking out interesting and practical pieces of art that can be enjoyed by all. She truly enjoys providing a showcase for North American artists and artisans and her natural eye for selecting and displaying pieces makes a visit to her shop a treat. There is a feeling of warmth and sincerity upon entering this charming gallery, signaling that this is not your garden-variety or stuffy art gallery by any means. Blue Heron offers a selection of wall art, jewelry, pottery, art glass, clocks, handbags and other apparel and accessories that have all been painstakingly selected by JoAnn for their quality, beauty and appealing nature. Visitors often express appreciation for the variety and types of pieces on display. In fact, it is almost impossible for visitors not to find a piece that speaks to them on some level. A visit to Blue Heron Gallery is certain to please and has proven a pleasant surprise for those who do not regularly visit art galleries.

rs Lane 1780 Chandle 10 e Suit 68 each, NC 284 B t se n Su 8 910-575-508

Download our Visit Sunset Beach app to guide you around town! Complete with full descriptions of all attractions, contact information and driving directions! | 29


Dave’s Outpost

Sunset Beach is thrilled to welcome Dave’s Outpost to our community! If you

are travelling along Shoreline Drive you can’t miss this establishment, located adjacent to the boat ramp at the end of Sunset Boulevard N. For the avid or occasional enjoyers of outdoor life, a visit to Dave’s is a necessity. For fishermen, Dave’s carries rods, reels and all fishing-related gear including bait. If you are a new fisherman, no worries! You can get your fishing license through Dave’s as well. And if you are on the market for fishing apparel, you have found the right place! For families seeking inexpensive beachrelated gear, Dave’s will be offering discounted Sunset Beach apparel and accessories during this 2016 season as well. After a day of fishing, you can enjoy a growler of craft beer from Blind Squirrel Brewery in North Carolina’s High Country. Dave’s Outpost is also the new home of local family business Summertide Adventure Tours. For those of you seeking an interesting and beautiful, truly unique Sunset Beach experience, Rip and Cari VanVinkle offer kayak tours of varying lengths through the Intracoastal Waterway and marsh areas of Sunset Beach. They also have a variety of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for sale or rent and the accompanying gear as well. In fact, you can go on a kayak fishing tour that will enable you to reach areas of the marsh that cannot be accessed by boat. You know this is where the best fishing is! So for all of you adventurers out there, a trip to Dave’s Outpost and Summertide Adventure Tours is the perfect one-two combination for a terrific experience and great gear.

.N 205 Sunset Blvd 468 28 C N Sunset Beach, 30 |

Island Breeze

Island Breeze has been a “must” destination for women in Sunset Beach for over 30 years, offering a trendy and timeless selection of ladies clothing, jewelry, accessories, gift items and more. Island Breeze

carries lines such as Brighton, Pandora, Alex and Ani, Joseph Ribkoff, Symplli and other favorites that keep their shoppers clad in the latest fashions. The owner of Island Breeze, Clarice Holden, is a life-long native Carolinean whose mission is to bring the most exclusive fashions and accessories to Sunset Beach. Upon entering this beautiful and expansive store, visitors will immediately sense the comfortable, fun and professional atmosphere. The staff prides themselves on the service and care given to customers to ensure a shopping experience that is second to none. The associates at Island Breeze will do everything within their power to bring a personalized shopping experience to visitors. Sizes offered range from x-small to plus sizes and the store will do their best to order any item for you if they do not have it in your size. They offer a full online shopping experience as well and will ship items five days a week, with free shipping on orders over $50. They also have a seamstress on their staff to assist clients with alterations as necessary. A trip to Island Breeze, where the cool wind blows and the sun always shines, will certainly be worth your while!

Dr. W 101 Shoreline , NC 28468 Sunset Beach 5 910-579-412


Pelican Bookstore

Do you long for those days of yesteryear when you could browse through a small and intimate bookstore? Well you’re in luck! The Pelican

Ocean Presence next to Fibber McGees

Ocean Presence (Yes, that is a play on words!) is a unique gift shop where visitors can find clever and unique items either to be enjoyed themselves or shared with others. The assortment of offerings is

impressive and it is a very good bet that you can even find something perfect for that person who is so difficult to buy for! Ocean Presence’s offerings run the gamut from practical to whimsical to themed gifts. You will be certain to find something that you didn’t know you needed, the perfect gift for that pet lover or golfer, or a memento of your visit to Sunset Beach. Ollie, Ocean Presence’s affable owner, is continually getting new items in this interesting little oasis, so each visit will be certain to yield a new treasure!

1790 Queen Anne Suite 6 C 28468 Sunset Beach, N 910-623-0025

Bookstore is one of those places where the employees are avid readers who have actually read the books and not just the reviews! They have a loyal local following who enjoys not only the selection but the level of service and the feeling of familiarity. If you stop by enough times, they will probably start to remember your name and get to know what kinds of selections you prefer. The Pelican Bookstore carries bestselling hardback books, trade and massmarket paperbacks, used books, children’s books, works by local authors, jigsaw puzzles and greeting cards. This season, they’ve started carrying the beautiful Papyrus Cards. If there is a title for which you are looking, they can even place a special order for you. And for those of you who still prefer to navigate the old-fashioned way, the Pelican Bookstore carries maps as well. Geared toward visitors to the area, you can send and receive faxes, make copies, ship via UPS and purchase a North Carolina Lottery ticket.

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Spiritquest Healing Center & Angel Gift Shop Psychic Medium Lisa Ann wears many hats throughout her days. She is also an

intuitive healer, certified Reiki Master, past life regressionist, holistic life coach, author and speaker with more than twenty years of experience. She conducts readings and healing sessions and also sponsors workshops and classes both at her shop and at other venues. Her shop is beautifully decorated and is certainly worth a stop. If you visit, you can obtain a free sample of Spiritquest’s house blend essential oil and browse the gift shop’s handmade jewelry, candles, essential oils, crystals, bath soaps and angel gifts. To see her upcoming events, please visit her website at

6649 Beach Dr. SW h, NC 28469 Ocean Isle Beac 910-444-2229

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The Boutique Around the Corner

Aptly named, The Boutique Around the Corner is another Sunset Beach gem that one could miss very easily if they were not looking for it! Long

known previously as CuriosiTees, owner Suzanne King decided that it was time to change this charming and eclectic little shop’s name to better suit what it really was. It is located in the same plaza (The Village at Queen Anne) as many of the other great shops, but it is literally around the corner at the end of the row. If you appreciate fashion-forward finds that are stylish and appropriate for all ages, you will love The Boutique Around the Corner and find that those extra few steps around the corner are indeed very worthwhile! Suzanne has a discriminating eye for the funky and fashionable and manages to assemble unique and appealing apparel and accessory collections season after season. She is excited to offer some new collections this season and even items that are customizable.

arket St. 7645 High M Suite 5 , NC 28468 Sunset Beach 5 910-575-760


The Olive Press

Located next to The Boutique Around the Corner is perhaps the tastiest jewel in Sunset Beach’s crown. The Olive Press is proud to offer an astounding selection of extremely

high-quality, imported extra-virgin, infused and fused olive oils as well as aged dark and white balsamic vinegars. You would be remiss if you did not visit Frank and Barbara to see their mouthwatering selection and sample their products at the tasting bar that was custom made for their shop. Not only will you be impressed by their friendly and sincere service, but your taste buds will never be the same again. Most visitors approach and enter the store thinking that they might take a good bottle of olive oil home to as a tasty token of their visit to Sunset Beach, but little do they know that they are more likely to leave with more than they had bargained for. In addition to the delectable oils and balsamics, The Olive Press offers a selection of spreads, dipping sauces, tapenades, stuffed olives and dirty martini mix. And if your olive oil desires extend beyond the edible spectrum, the all-natural olive oil lotions and soaps are another big hit with customers. Drawing upon Barbara’s extensive experience as a “foodie,” The Olive Press can also host private parties serving gourmet-quality food that has been made using Olive Press products. If you are curious about offerings, check out their “Recipes” page on their website! One thing is for certain… Frank and Barbara will be delighted to help you select just the right Dowload our Visit Sunset Beach products, and you will certainly be glad you app for complete and current information on all events, including paid them a visit. the Sunset Beach Concerts!

Notifications of any schedule changes will be made through notifications in the app.

arket St., 7645 High M Suite 4 , NC 28468 Sunset Beach 8 910-622-671 | 33

DINING Backstreet CafĂŠ


Candy Island/Sunset Slush


Fibber McGees


LaCucina Italian Grill


Mavericks Java


Mavericks Point


Twin Lakes Seafood Restaurant 39 | 35


Backstreet CafĂŠ

Backsteet CafĂŠ is a local favorite for breakfast, lunch, special coffee drinks and even a snack or dessert!

Steve and his wife Ann offer visitors a nice variety of menu items to make sure that there is something for everyone. If you are looking for a place to sit and sip some java while you surf the net on your computer, this is the one for you! And be sure to leave some room for their homemade desserts! They also offer a catering menu if you are in need of vittles at a particular location.

rs Lane, 1780 Chandle Suite 7 , NC 28468 Sunset Beach 9 910-575-675

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Candy Island/ Sunset Slush

Candy Island and Sunset Slush share a location that is exceptionally convenient for those staying on the island, and offers an excuse for those who do not live on the island to go there! If you are looking for bulk candy,

then Candy Island is the destination for you! But if a delectable frozen treat is what you are seeking, you will certainly not be disappointed by the offerings of Sunset Slush. Their classic Italian ice has been referred to as “designer ice,” and you can never go wrong turning your favorite ice flavor into a gelati!

lvd. S 426 Sunset B C 28468 N , Sunset Beach

Fibber McGees

Fibber McGees has become a favorite hangout for all. On the inside, it is a

perfectly detailed Irish Pub. On the outside, there is plenty of room to dine al fresco at tables beneath umbrellas and enjoy the beautiful Sunset Beach days. The menu offers a selection of appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches, paninis, wraps and entrees that are sure to please. And be sure to try Fibbers’ signature she-crab soup! Fibber McGees also offers a fully-stocked bar as well as a wide variety of domestic and imported beers. You can meet for a drink, watch sports and feel as comfortable as if you were home, and there is even live music on weekends!

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LaCucina Italian Grill

If your taste buds are craving some fine, Italian cuisine, a visit to LaCucina Italian Grill is certainly in order! LaCucina offers

an impressive wine list and their menu goes beyond the traditional Italian dishes to offer a mouthwatering variety of pasta, chicken, beef and pork entrees. And please leave room for dessert! The homemade tirimisu or crispy creme bread pudding have never disappointed‌LaCucina does accept reservations, and that is strongly suggested as there is often a wait for dinner. Of course, your other option is to go early and go often!

rs Lane, 1780 Chandle Suite 11 , NC 28468 Sunset Beach 7 910-579-977

Mavericks Java Mavericks




family-owned business that has become a local destination. As suggested by their name, Mavericks offers a selection of special coffee drinks including espresso, lattes, cappuccino, blended ice drinks and of course, fresh-brewed coffee! They also offer breakfast and lunch fare and a selection of baked goods. It is family-friendly and visitors can also use the Wi-Fi access there. Its location is convenient for those visiting Sunset Beach Park or the Sunset Beach Boat Ramp too!

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lvd. N 303 Sunset B C 28468 N , Sunset Beach 2 910-575-528


Mavericks Point

Mavericks Point is a newly-renovated offering for Sunset Beach this season! Mavericks Java

owners Larry and Vicki Booth decided to bring the old, landmark destination of “The Bridge Grill” back to life so it could be enjoyed by a new generation of locals and visitors. They are even restoring the miniature golf area to make their vision of a true, family destination a reality. Their goal is to be open for this year’s spring season and a sneak-preview of the inside was very impressive with beautiful woodwork, plenty of refurbished booths, a large and attractively designed bar and large screen TVs. Everyone is looking forward to the opening of this local gem that has been enjoyed by several generations of Sunset Beach-goers.

lvd. N 307 Sunset B , NC 28468 Sunset Beach

Twin Lakes Seafood Restaurant

Twin Lakes has been serving the finest in seafood for over 40 years!

Here you can experience true Carolinean hospitality while also satisfying your cravings for hush puppies, crab cakes or shrimp and grits. Located along the Intracoastal Waterway near the Sunset Beach Park and Sunset Beach Boat Ramp, it is the perfect place to go for dinner, followed by a walk along the water or in the park. And if you are in a hurry, take-out orders are always available as well! Chef Jonathan and his staff will consider it an honor to serve you.

lvd. N 102 Sunset B , NC 28468 Sunset Beach 910-579-6373 | 39


Destination Weddings at gorgeous

Sunset Beach... By Margo Sears

Sunset Beach‌ a well-kept wedding secret! The mainland and island of Sunset Beach are ideal for a happy beach wedding or vow renewal ceremony. Whether you prefer an elegant, country club ceremony or to elope in a seacoast garden where you can also enjoy your honeymoon vacation, Sunset Beach has what you’re looking for. {Continued on page 42}

Destination Weddings

{Continued from page 40} Sunset Beach has unusually stable weather. Weather fronts on the Atlantic seaboard generally bypass this area with mild effects due to the weak “eddy” in the atmosphere caused by our westward-curving coastline (thus this beach faces southward). For this reason, most rain occurs as short-lived scattered showers, and the toasty summer sun actually rises AND sets on this beach! Our oceanfront pier, or the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) on the back of the island are both scenic, quiet places for family and friends to enjoy fishing, boating, paddle-boarding, kayaking or other water sports. Next, this sweet lil’ town boasts many warm and personal businesses to fit your wedding or honeymoon needs. Rent a lovely beach house or condo from Sloane Realty Vacations or Century 21 Sunset Realty. Or snooze and play at The Sunset Inn, Continental Motel & Apartments (with some pet friendly rooms), or spacious villas at Sea Trail Golf Resort. Get yourself more beautiful and relaxed at Oceans Salon & Spa, Oceans Massage & Skin Care, Coral Tree Salon and Day Spa or Sunset Nail Spa and stretch out at Ocean Isle Beach Yoga. 42 |

Soulmates love tying the knot (or re-tying the knot tighter!) on our powder-soft, silver sand, ranked #1 barrier island by Duke University. BeachPeople Weddings can help streamline the planning and ensure that your ceremony is exactly what you have in mind by providing your minister, photographer and live music. Then, feed guests with fresh, delicious food from local restaurants like Backstreet Café, La Cucina Italian Grill, Twin Lakes Seafood or Fibber McGees Irish Pub. Other wed-mates and renewal spouses have also chosen to say vows on verandas or lawns, and in gardens or great rooms. Your delighted guests will find gifts, outfits

Get yourself more beautiful and relaxed at Oceans Massage & Skin Care

Destination Weddings | 43

Destination Weddings and souvenirs at charming shops such as Island Breeze, Ana Paula’s Beach Boutique, The Olive Press, Pelican Bookstore, Blue Heron Gallery, The Boutique Around the Corner, Ocean Presence, Spiritquest Healing Center & Angel Gift Shop, The Island Market or Sunset Beach Trading Company. They can even grab a coffee at Mavericks Java or some classic Italian ice or gelati at Sunset Slush if they need a snack. Need some ways for your guests to be entertained? Summertide Adventure Tours, Ingram Planetarium laser shows, and weekly outdoor Sunset Beach Concerts are big hits for locals and visitors alike. Golfing guests can occupy themselves on the undulating fairways of Sandpiper Bay Golf & Country Club or one of Sea Trail Resort’s three championship courses. And our other fan favorite is the Sunset Beach Waterfront Market held every Thursday in the Sunset Beach Park along the Intracoastal Waterway. With all of these fun and diverse choices, your guests may not want to return home! Every lifestyle is warmly welcomed here. From family-owned motel to million-dollar rental mansions that grace these silvery sands, there is something for every budget and preference. The other draw of Sunset Beach is the fact that we still maintain the charm of a sleepy little southern town, with no high-rise towers, loud venues, neon lights or monstrous signage. Here you see foxes, ospreys and deer in the twilight. Oceanfront beach houses sit back at least 100 yards from the water, and no one is allowed to disturb the natural rolling dunes except grazing bunnies, ghost crabs and ocean wind. American history dwells in this isolated area, too. General George Washington slept here in 1791. So did legions of Revolutionary 44 |

and Civil War soldiers and sailors from here and abroad. Graveyard of the Atlantic, Blackbeard the Pirate, and other legends are in these salty moors. Local history includes the story of our landmark, the last active pontoon bridge on the Atlantic ICW. The Old Bridge Preservation Society was established in Sunset Beach when the bridge was decommissioned in 2010. The bridge can now be seen at this museum and its stories have been preserved for your enlightenment by the volunteers that serve to keep this part of Sunset Beach history alive. Be sure to ask them about the “rain lilies” when you visit! A honeymooning couple could even disappear into the quiet, calm and undeveloped Bird Island end of Sunset Beach, a state sanctuary for wildlife and listed as a Top 10 Beach on Yahoo!© (fyi: other beaches listed are Hawaii and New Zealand). Contemplate the graceful raptors overhead, wild dolphins leaping in the breakers, a loggerhead sea turtle nest in the dunes, adorable sandpipers racing the surf and colorful tiny coquina clamshells shining in the tide pools! You may write your romantic story, or your thoughts and feelings in the famous Kindred Spirit Mailbox journals, found in the Kindred Spirit Mailbox at the secluded, far end of Bird Island. Need some big city salt? Go 30 minutes to Myrtle or 45 minutes to Wilmington for Vegas-style shows, historical sites, wineries, ferryboats, sports teams, dance clubs, aquariums, museums and coastal festivals. Then at the end of the evening, you can return to your serene accommodations at Sunset Beach to wake up to pristine, clean beaches and quiet beauty. Matrimony at Sunset Beach…come celebrate, marry or elope here for a unique, romantic wedding at this well-kept secret! | 45

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Sunset Beach Visitors Guide  

Sunset Beach, North Carolina's official 2016 visitors guide. The guide is the definite guide book to Sunset Beach, attractions, events, acti...

Sunset Beach Visitors Guide  

Sunset Beach, North Carolina's official 2016 visitors guide. The guide is the definite guide book to Sunset Beach, attractions, events, acti...