Topsail Island Real Estate Blog
Market Conditions, Trends & More!
Topsail Island, North Carolina is an amazing place to live and vacation. In addition to the latest real estate news and trends in the Topsail Island real estate market, our blog is also a place to learn more about Island activities and lifestyle. There are many great places to visit on Topsail Island, including restaurants, galleries, shops, piers, museums and more.
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The gorgeous, uncrowded beaches on Topsail Island are arguably the biggest draw for visitors. However, there is so much more to do on the island than simply enjoying time out on the sand. Fishing, boating, and surfing are well-established water sports in the area. Soon, we may be able to add paddling to the list.
On Saturday, November 16, from 10 AM - Noon, there will be a public meeting at Topsail Beach Town Hall to discuss the proposed paddling trails on Topsail Beach. Paddling is the second fastest growing outdoor activity in the country, behind bird watching. Faculty and students at UNC Wilmington have worked alongside the local business Ecological Marine Adventures to help the town identify 3 possible trails through the marshes.
The intent of the upcoming meeting is to get input from the community about trail locations and the signs that would be erected throughout the route. The longest trail would cover approximately 6 miles. There would be multiples accesses for paddlers along the western side of Topsail Beach. Two of the accesses would offer restroom facilities. Currently there are 2 accesses for paddlers on the sound side. The town recognizes that these paddling trails are an opportunity to heighten ecological awareness and help out the local economy.
The Pender County tourism department attempted a similar project years ago, but it was never completed because of lack of funding. This time, Topsail Beach has been given a $2,500 matching National Park Service grant from the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is also on board with the proposal.
The community is invited to come out and show their support of the project and contribute more ideas to the conversation. All are welcome!
Families are always on the hunt for fun activities everyone can enjoy. For a memorable day or evening, consider taking a ride over to Mike’s Farm in Beulaville, NC. It’s a short drive from Topsail Island, Sneads Ferry, or Jacksonville.
Over the course of decades it has grown from a small family operation for their private sustenance to a charming local tourist destination. The picturesque grounds are the backdrop for a petting zoo, restaurant, country store & bakery, and functioning farm.
The old country store sells seasonal items, more scented candles than you can count, and other goodies for the home. The bakery can bake unique cakes for any occasion, made to order. On any given day there are fresh cookies, pies, cakes, candies and homemade fudge for sale. They even make fresh fruit preserves in an assortment of flavors. Wash down your treat with an old-fashioned soda, fresh cider, or hot chocolate.
The hayride around the farm and over to the pumpkin patch is a perennial favorite. Visitors can enjoy a special holiday light show from the hayride during the Christmas season. Afterwards, visit the barnyard full of farm animals. The animals love making new friends, especially ones that feed them! Meet rabbits, chickens, peacocks, ducks, turkeys, sheep, goats, and fan favorites Pedro the donkey and Peetie the cow.
The restaurant offers an amazing homemade fixed menu. It is a hearty “bottomless” meal of country cooking, including fried chicken, pork loin and gravy, and much more. Dessert and beverage are included in the price. Mark your calendars for holiday-themed dinner shows at special times of the year, like Valentine’s Day and Independence Day.
Mike’s offers specialized school tours for class trips. Students can learn all the daily workings of a farm. The knowledgeable staff teaches the way crops grow, how they harvest the pumpkins in the fall, strawberries in the summer, and the production of Christmas trees. They learn how cider is made at the cider mill and then get to explore the farm.
There is also a 2,000 square foot banquet room for special events that can seat up to 100 guests. For less formal events for the kiddies, they offer birthday party packages.
For directions and details, go to www.mikesfarm.com
Author: Eloni Temple
The benefits of living on Topsail Island and the surrounding towns are endless. Access to 26 miles of pristine, uncrowded beaches, great schools, and wonderful neighbors are just a few. The Surf City Community Center and all of their fantastic programs rank highly on that list.
Located on the mainland, the Center runs athletic programs, fun-filled classes, and recreational activities for all ages and proficiency levels. You can play some Scrabble on Tuesdays, learn to Argentine Tango on Wednesdays, hit a power yoga class on Thursdays, and get competitive on Friday nights at Volleyball. They have tennis courts, a playground, indoor gymnasium, fitness center, locker room with showers and more, all on site. Whether at the center itself, or at another location, all their activities and events are open to members.
The Community Center opened on April 22, 2006. The Town of Surf City Department of Parks and Recreation maintains the center, as well as Soundside Park alongside the swing bridge, the Nelva R. Albury recreation area at 101 Broadway Street and Kenneth D. Batts Family Park at 911 S. Topsail Drive. Local residents can become members in order to use all the facilities and sign up for any classes. Visitors can purchase a pass for the day, week, month, or by specific activity. The membership rates are phenomenal, considering all that they cover.
Some activities are free with membership, and some require a small additional fee. Their schedule changes seasonally. For instance, right now they are running Fall adult and youth softball leagues, and Fall adult and youth soccer. Spring 2014 will bring a different schedule. Taekwondo is offered three days a week. Many classes are offered several times a week to accommodate the most members.
Spaces at the center can be rented for private use for meetings, parties, or private classes.
For hours, class schedules, and details, visit www.surfcity.govoffice.com and click the link for Parks & Recreation. Have fun!
Author: Eloni Temple
Poplar Grove Plantation in Hampstead, NC is one of the oldest peanut plantations in North Carolina and a fascinating historical site offering plenty of opportunities for family fun and learning. It opened as a museum in 1980 and has a rich history it continues to share with visitors through tours of the grounds and home, school programs, farmer’s market, and special events.
After the revolutionary war, the land that would become Poplar Grove Plantation located on Topsail Sound was purchased by the Foy family and passed down through generations. The original structure burnt down. The home was reconstructed later on a different part of the plantation, around 1850 in the Greek-revival style with elements of the earlier Federal style. This is the house that can still be visited today. The plantation had a sawmill, brickyard, grist mill, salt works, turpentine still and forge/blacksmith. Up until the end of the Civil War, slaves worked in these capacities to keep the plantation running.
67 acres have been placed into the Coastal Land Trust to be used for hiking, birding, and educational purposes. There are scenic trails showcasing various types of flora. Another way to enjoy Poplar Grove’s outdoor splendor is to attend a wedding there. They can accommodate virtually any size crowd during any season. For the kids, there are farm animals to visit with and learn about. Every Wednesday until late November from 8AM to 1PM there is a farmer’s market on the grounds. Local growers offer fresh produce and other plants, herbs, and specialty foods.
The plantation hosts seasonal festivals such as the Herb & Garden fair, Halloween Festival, Christmas Open House, and classic car shows. They host “Grooves in the Grove” which is an outdoor concert series running throughout the fall. There is never a dull moment at Poplar Grove. Check out www.poplargrove.org to find out everything you need to know to plan your next visit.
Author: Eloni Temple
This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the NC Spot Festival, which raises money for the Pender County School district. It will take place over 2 full days, Saturday, September 28 and Sunday, September 29. The festival showcases live entertainment, food vendors, and local artisans. The cornerstone of the event is the spot itself, a fish that is recognized by a mark above the base of its pectoral fin. Spot are very popular along the Carolina coast, and early fall is the best time of year for them. The fish will be donated by Atlantic Seafood. Spot dinners include 2 spot fish, hush puppies, french fries and cole slaw. The delicious delights will be served from 11 AM to 6 PM Saturday, and until 5 PM on Sunday.
To kick-off the festivities, a scholarship pageant was held the weekend prior to the actual festival. The Princess division included competitors ages 8-12 while the Queen division was for participants from 17-24. The winners will make a special appearance at the opening ceremonies on Saturday. The 2 crowned ladies will represent Hampstead and the Spot Festival for the next year throughout North Carolina during various community events.
Brand new for 2013 will be the 5K Spot Run, starting Saturday at 8 AM. All the event’s participants will get free admission to the festival with their race registration. The race will be put on by PATH, the Pender Alliance for Teen Health. They are a nonprofit organization committed to the betterment of the emotional and physical well-being of the youth of Pender County since 2009.
There is a ton of family fun to be enjoyed, between blow up rides, pony and camel rides, and gem mining. Duplin winery will feature a commemorative wine specifically for the occasion. All arts and crafts at the fair will be hand-made only. A fireworks display will set off at 9 PM on Saturday. Pets and coolers are not allowed, but all are encouraged to bring a lawn chair. Find out more at www.ncspotfestival.com.
Author: Eloni Temple
As the 2013-2014 academic year commences, schools are certainly in the forefront of parents’ minds. For families considering a move, the quality of schools in the area can make or break a decision. Topsail area schools are known to be among the best in the state. Residents of North Topsail Beach, Sneads Ferry, and Holly Ridge belong to the Onslow County School District. Residents of Surf City and Topsail Beach belong to the Pender County School District. Students in the Onslow School District will most likely attend Dixon Elementary School, Dixon Middle School, and Dixon High School. Topsail students in the Pender District will likely attend North Topsail Elementary School, Topsail Middle School, and Topsail High School. All the Topsail schools are located on Hwy 17 in Hampstead.
The percentage of students at or above grade level in Pender County as measured by the end-of-grade subject tests exceeded the state’s averages for the past several years in almost every subject. Dixon High School achieved the distinction of North Carolina School of High Academic Growth last year. Academics are their top priority. The mission statement for Topsail High School is “to offer a diverse educational curriculum that will assist students on their path to individual, community, and global success in the world.”
Both Dixon and Topsail give students the power to become ideal college candidates with plenty of volunteer opportunities, a variety of sports, clubs, and a strong academic program. Universities look for well-rounded students who are involved in activities and in their communities. Both schools offer students opportunities to participate in clubs like Health Occupations Students of America, Future Teachers of America, Future Business Leaders of America, National Honor Society and many more.
Each high school also has a thriving athletic program with both JV and Varsity teams. Football season has already started, so feel free to check out a game and cheer on the Dixon Bulldogs and Topsail Pirates! Visit http://dixon.nc.och.schoolinsites.com and http://thspcs.sharpschool.com for more details.
Author: Eloni Temple
Looking for something different to do on the weekends? Check out some of the exciting events going on this month on and around Topsail. There’s never a dull moment at the beach...
Friday, September 6
Outdoor Concert at Soundside Park
The band Mako will be performing from 6-8 PM at Soundside Park, adjacent to the swing bridge. It’s part of the free concert summer series presented to you by the team at Surf City Parks and Recreation. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the fresh air and the tunes!
Saturday, September 14
Topsail Young Life Tint Sprint
This “color run” will be a 5K race where participants are invited to don white tee shirts and get blasted with bright shades of chalk paint along the course. Speed and ability take a backseat to a fun and unique experience. 100% of the proceeds will go to a great local outreach program for youth, Topsail Young Life. Go to topsailyltintsprint.com for more details and to register.
Saturday, September 21
“Taste of Hampstead” Wine Festival
This annual event, which debuted in 2009, will take place at the Hampstead Community Building from 7-9:30 PM. It offers visitors a sampling of local wines and craft beers to pair with local culinary favorites. There will also be live entertainment to accompany the fine food and beverages. Advance tickets are $25 per person, $45 per couple.
Friday, September 27 - Sunday September 29
North Carolina Shell Show
Visitors will marvel at the largest gathering of shell collections in the state at the Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington. Exhibits include rare and unusual shells and fossils, and entries from amateurs up to seasoned collectors. There will be shells for sale, experts available to answer questions, and some fascinating artifacts. Visitors are invited to bring shells they may have picked up over the summer and learn about their treasures. Visit www.ncshellclub.com for more information.
Author: Eloni Temple
We are famous for having some of the best uncrowded beaches in America:
USA Today named Topsail among the top 10 uncrowded family beaches in the U.S. Those of us who have discovered this hidden gem certainly agree. During the busy season in July and August, as many as 10,000 to 15,000 people descend upon the island every Friday afternoon. That number pales in comparison to the masses to be found in nearby Myrtle Beach, and the more well-known beaches of Oak Island and Wrightsville. In fact, we are so small and family-friendly, Topsail has been dubbed “Mayberry by the sea.”
It was part of the beginning of the U.S. Space Program:
After World War II, the U.S. Navy set up a facility at Topsail, which was largely uninhabited at the time. Dubbed Operation Bumblebee, it was a top secret project to test and develop ramjet missiles. Those imposing towers you may have seen as you drive up and down the beach are the observation towers that have been left behind. The operation was moved as more traffic began to flow onto the island over the years, coupled with challenges associated with stormy weather. Pretty cool.
Real-life pirates hung out here:
According to legend, pirates traveled through the sound and waterway separating Topsail from the Mainland and attacked merchant ships passing through. The merchants eventually caught on that when they saw the top sails of a ship behind the island, it was likely pirates. This is one theory about the origins of Topsail’s name. Legend claims that Blackbeard himself hid treasure somewhere on the island. Move over Captain Jack Sparrow.
Heroic life-saving efforts are made here everyday:
On any given day, the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center located in Topsail Beach is nursing 20 or more sea turtles back to health. Their patients come in with various ailments from viral and fungal infections to fish hook and entanglement injuries to fractured flippers. The staff consists of committed volunteers who share less-than-glamorous tasks like scoop cleaning tanks. It has continued to grow and adopt more sophisticated technology to serve its patients since its inception in 1997 due to donations and support by other local business. It is open to visits by the public from 2-4 PM every day during the summer.
Your favorite movie may have been filmed here:
Nearby Wilmington, N.C. is one of the hottest spots in the nation for filming television shows and motion pictures. Author Nicholas Sparks has an affinity for setting his stories along the Carolina Coast, so it is fitting that they be filmed on location. The film version of his novel Safe Haven was partially filmed in the area, as was Nights in Rodanthe, starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane. Several scenes took place in Hampton Colony in North Topsail Beach. The list of movies connected to Wilmington and Topsail is more extensive than you can imagine, including such varied movies as Weekend at Bernies, The Crow, Sleeping with the Enemy, The Conjuring, Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood, and Iron Man 3. Television shows such as Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill, and HBO’s hit Eastbound and Down all take place in the area.
Author: Eloni Temple
2012 continues to be a very active year in the Topsail Island real estate market. The buyer traffic has been the strongest it has been in the past 5 years. We saw the market beginning to improve here in 2011, and the sales numbers for 2012 show continued improvement. Although the buyer traffic continues to increase, this has not yet translated in to prices increasing but rather holding steady.
Total Topsail Island Sales Jan 1st through Aug 25th 2011: $87,649,404
Total Topsail Island Sales Jan 1st through Aug 25th 2012: $110,815,774
INCREASE OF $23,166,370
Oceanfront Sales Jan 1st through Aug 25th 2011: $32,586,304
Oceanfront Sales Jan 1st through Aug 25th 2012: $51,891,984
INCREASE OF $19,305,590
Island Interior Sales Jan 1st through Aug 25th 2011: $17,107,800
Island Interior Sales Jan 1st through Aug 25th 2012: $27,532,380
INCREASE OF $10,424,580
Deepwater Sound Jan 1st through Aug 25th 2011: $8,337,000
Deepwater Sound Jan 1st through Aug 25th 2012: $9,579,000
INCREASE OF $1,242,000
LANDMARK Jan 1st - Aug 25th 2011 Topsail Sales : $15,361,594
LANDMARK Jan 1st - Aug 25th 2012 Topsail Sales: $26,306,375
INCREASE OF $10,944,781
These are just several examples of how the market is showing great signs of life and improvement. In addition to increasing optimism on the part of buyers, record low interest rates continue to propel the market forward. However, as these interest rates begin to rise we could see the market begin to slow down as a result.
I am proud to say that Landmark Real Estate Group continues to lead the Topsail market, both in number of transactions and total dollar volume sold. In 2012 Landmark has sold over 90 transactions on Topsail Island for a total of $26,306,375. In addition to being the market leader on Topsail Island, Landmark has nearly doubled our sales volume since 2011. I would like to extend a personal thank you to our loyal client base who continue to give us the opportunity to work with you, and for referring us to so many friends and neighbors this year.
If you currently own a property on the island and have been considering selling, but wanted to wait until the market conditions had improved, I can tell you that now is a great time to put your property on the market and get a buyer.
Please call me today (910-620-3370) if you would like to discuss selling your Topsail Island Home. I look forward to the continued opportunity to serve you.
As it turns out, great testimonials are not the ones written in ink, typed or emailed. The best testimonials are the ones drawn in crayon. This gem was hand delivered to Landmark's very own Dean Phillips, and may be the best "Thank You Note" we have ever received. Enjoy!