A Weekend at North Topsail Island, NC

00 Gerry at the beach 1 sm

(9/28/2014) Last weekend I got to spend a couple of days at North Topsail Beach on the coast of North Carolina. My friend Cutter bought a condominium there in January and invited Gerry Z and me along for a ride. (That’s Z in the first photo, right, smiling as we’re about to walk out onto the beach.)

It was great riding there and even better riding home. However, for the two days we were there, it was overcast with on and off again rain. We stuck to riding around the area, which was OK, because there was the ocean, of course, and two fun bars nearby, (1) The Tiki Bar, and (2) The Trailer Bar.

The Tiki Bar

On the first night there, we walked to The Tiki Bar, which is located on New River Inlet Road almost to where the road ends on the north end of the island. We walked out onto the beach—that’s when I took that photo of Z—and headed north for about half a mile and then inland to The Tiki Bar. Cutter’s new condo is in the St. Regis complex of three buildings on the same road about three quarters of a mile to the south. How convenient. :-)

Rob and Victoria own and operate The Tiki Bar and they they had a big bash that evening, celebrating multiple birthdays and the return home from Afghanistan of a wounded veteran named Pat. We gave him a warm welcome befitting someone who has served his country overseas in a war zone. Rob and Victoria served a tasty buffet dinner to all. Thank you Rob & Victoria! I was really hungry, as I skipped lunch and we didn’t reach The Tiki Bar until about eight o’clock.

I have to admit, I’m not much of a drinker and had trouble keeping up. I fell behind early and never caught up. I get a nasty headache from too much alcohol and wisely minimized the shots of fireballs and drank only a few beers. I went home feeling good and headache free. 

One of the highlights of the night was sharing jokes with a young woman named Mo, a nickname for Maureen. Soon after we had arrived, we were sitting out front drinking our first round when up walked this young woman and introduced herself as Mo. She then soon asked if we wanted to hear a joke. For the rest of the evening—about four hours—we exchanged jokes with her. She is of Irish descent and excels at Irish jokes. :-) 

Mike at Buddys sm

Buddy’s Crab House

The next day we slept late and hung around the condo, mostly on the patio overlooking the Atlantic. For lunch on Saturday we rode south to Buddy’s Crab House & Oyster Bar in Surf City. Buddy’s is one of my favorite places because you have a great view of the ocean while you eat. It’s casual dining the way I like it.

Z pointed out at the end of our meal as we were planning our afternoon, “Well, we can’t go east.” We’d just come from the west the day before and weren’t keen on anything in that direction. North ended pretty quickly as we were already near the north end of the island. (Yes, we could have gone inland and then north, but it would have used up the rest of our day.) That left south. We did agree to ride about six miles south to make a quick tour of the island, but we were not eager for a big adventure.

01 Mike at the Trailer Bar sm

The guys were pleasantly surprised when I suggested we just ride around the area and not go very far. (I’m the one who usually likes to ride a couple hundred miles before lunch.) I was more concerned about staying dry as the skies looked threatening, but it worked out great as our next stop turned out to be a lot of fun. I explained to Cutter and Z later that after riding to British Columbia and Western New York this summer, I wasn’t feeling the need to ride many more miles.

The Trailer Bar

Our next stop was the “almost regionally famous” Trailer Bar in North Topsail. They have a great tag line: “Come on in, we only look expensive.” I’m now an official member there, having paid my dues and received my official membership card. I’ve included a copy of my membership card here for proof. :-)

02 Trailer Bar membership card smIt turns out we didn’t actually go in much because they were hosting their annual “The Coast is Clear” charity fundraiser. The tourists were mostly gone—people such as me being the exception. They had a great band playing while we were there called Fried in the Boat. It was a new group comprised of two former separate bands, “In the back of the boat” and “Fried” (something, I forget).

Fried in the Boat did a great job with a mix of country and country-rock tunes. We were very fortunate to arrive just before they started their first set and we stayed for the entire two hours they played. They were a lot of fun and very talented.

Flanagans Pub sm

Cutter’s Bardar & Flanagan’s Pub

One last topic…Cutter has a great memory for hole-in-the-wall bars and the ability at finding them seemingly by instinct. I’ve come to call it “bardar.” I learned of it last year when we rode to Key West. I came to trust him when he signaled a U-turn to investigate yet another pub. They almost always turned out to be fun. (Alabama Jack’s in south Florida comes to mind.)

On the way to North Topsail we stopped at a place called Flanagan’s Pub. We were greeted by a very friendly bartender who served us beer and pickles. It’s worth a stop if you find yourself riding by on US 17 just south of Jacksonville. And just an FYI: the Jacksonville Harley dealership is just down the road.

03 Cutter on the patio sm

They Know How to Party at the Coast

If there was one big lesson I learned this weekend, it was that the people who live at the coast love to party and they're really good at it—comes from lots of practice I imagine.

That last photo, left, is of Cutter on his new patio, with the Atlantic Ocean in the background. He looks happy because he is…he is in his element in North Topsail.

Me, I’m more of a mountains kind of guy. I’ll be riding out there next weekend to see my ladies.

As always…keep the shiny side up.

-The Long Rider


P.S. Special thanks to Kevin Albritton at Jockeys Cycle. He fixed a second oil leak on my bike. My bike is without any problems for the first time in 2-3 years. Can I get an "Amen!"?

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