In the Town of Topsail Beach, there are still numerous old photographic towers, some of which have now been converted and renovated into island homes. Several large, three story stone structures can be seen as you drive about the island. There were eight towers in all. During Operation Bumblebee, they were used to house timing instruments and cameras to record performance data during a missile launch.
The Assembly Building, located in the heart of town, was used to assemble several hundred rockets tagged the “Flying Stovepipes.” The building is open to the public and is used for various meetings, social gatherings and is a popular site to watch the annual Greater Topsail Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism’s Christmas Flotilla, next scheduled for November 25, 2005. The Assembly Building is sometimes even the site for an authentic island wedding or reception.
Also within the Assembly Building, the Topsail Island Historical Society houses the Missiles and More Museum, which exhibits uncovered and donated artifacts from the Island’s military past. The Museum offers an extensive amount of information on the history of Operation Bumblebee and has just completed a large renovation project. A ribbon cutting held April 2, 2005, celebrated the new and expanded Missiles and More Museum. The completed project allowed the staff to display many new historical items that had not been able to be shown before. Information can be found on their website: http://topsailmissilesmuseum.org/.
The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center is a sea turtle sanctuary in Topsail Beach. The center is a non-profit organization made up of volunteers that treat sick and injured sea turtles. At their website, http://www.seaturtlehospital.org/, you’ll be able to watch the progression of turtles they have rescued. You can also track “Progress”, a sea turtle released in 2004, as he travels through the ocean. Progress was released with a tracking device attached, courtesy of Progress Energy and Star/Geo Track, in the first ever attempt at using a solar powered transmitter.
Even after the typical summer season, Topsail Beach keeps the fun coming by having an annual fall festival. Autumn With Topsail is an event that is held the third weekend in October. It is staged on Anderson Blvd (NC Hwy 50 E) and Flake Avenue in front of the Assembly Building. Many regional artists display and sell their creations, along with a juried art show, food vendors including the Kiwanis pancake breakfast, activities for children and live entertainment to name a few. Proceeds benefit the Assembly Building.
Tiopsail Beach’s popular October festival: http://www.autumnwithtopsail.com/
The Town of Topsail Beach is a welcoming community if you are looking for a permanent residence. Many of the island homeowners have a great advantage by having a view of both the ocean and the sound. Some of the oldest homes on the island are within the town limits. Residential areas are pricey but well worth the money. Living along the sound areas can cost you more than oceanside, but the view is breathtaking and the atmosphere peaceful.