• If your new year’s resolutions include participating in programs to learn more about our community and our world, the Museum of Coastal Carolina, Ingram Planetarium, Battleship North Carolina and the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher offer some of your best bets beginning in January.

    And if another goal in 2016 is to save money, many of the programs offered at these local attractions are priced for the budget-conscious, in addition to being family-friendly.

    Museum of Coastal Carolina

  • By Jack DeGroot

    Special to the Beacon

    Customers often come into the bookstore where I work asking for a history book on Ocean Isle Beach — so many over the last few years that it seemed a shame that there was no longer one in print.

    Judging by all the history books major publishers are churning out and their popularity with the masses, readers throughout the country are experiencing a thirst for knowledge about times past.

  • After a sellout performance in 2015, Pete and Maura Kennedy will make their third Listen Up Brunswick County appearance in the series’ first concert for the new year, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, at the Brunswick Community College Event Center in Brunswick Community College’s Odell Williamson Building

  • Just a few years ago, Aubrey and Mandy Faatz were hobnobbing with stardom in Nashville.

    It all came about because of hard times, when the country’s economic slump spurred the Shallotte couple to move with their three small children in search of work and better times to Music City U.S.A.

    Lorie Burcham, Mandy’s older sister, had already found a niche in Nashville, where she had moved a few years earlier to launch her specialty cake-baking business that had started in Shallotte and even led to her competing on the Food Network Challenge.

  • The Robert Ruark Society will celebrate native author Robert Ruark from 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 29, at the Robert Ruark Inn, 119 N. Lord St. in Southport.

    Ruark’s talents will be showcased, discussed and remembered at the event, which includes a tour of the inn. Light appetizers and sweets will be served.

    Ruark grew up in Southport, going on to achieve international fame and wealth sharing his memories and experiences of his early years.

  • New Year’s Eve parties abound Dec. 31.

    The town of Calabash is having its fifth annual New Year’s Eve Bonfire from 8:30 p.m. to midnight in the Hurricane Fishing Fleet parking lot at 9975 Nance St. on the Calabash Riverfront.

    Entertainment this year will consist of the “Mr. Fifties Show,” a 1950s “retro-rockin’ ” dance and revue performing the songs of Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Ritchie Valens, the Everly Brothers, Johnny Cash and Little Richard, to mention a few.

  • BOLIVIA — Joseph was having a come-to-Jesus with Becky the llama. Mary, meanwhile, kept watch over Buttons, a Nativity goat who was trying to nibble Christmas lights and an angel costume.

    It was the fourth annual Winter Farm Fest night at Greenlands Farm, complete with an interactive live Nativity featuring an array of farm animals and festive llama “sleigh” rides at the family homeplace on Midway Road.

  • BOLIVIA — Not many people have the wherewithal to give away an entire house. But earlier this year, that’s just what Bolivia retiree Claire Flachbart did.

    Last June, Flachbart, who for decades crafted miniature furniture and dollhouses back in Connecticut, decided to donate an English tudor-style dollhouse, complete with furniture, accessories and décor, to the Spencer Doll and Toy Museum near Salisbury, the only museum of its kind in North Carolina.

  • By John Nelson

    Sometimes you go into a garden looking for things to harvest, cook and enjoy at the table … and then you find something like this. Too pretty to eat!


    My favorite holiday may be New Year’s Day. It’s a time to reflect on the past year and an opportunity to chart a path for the next. On New Year’s Day, you have the next 365 days to improve your health, relationships and career — a gift to truly treasure.

    While you’re planning your personal improvements, don’t forget your dogs and cats. Here are seven resolutions I wish every pet parent would make this year.

  •  This was going to be the best Christmas ever, Sally thought to herself as she admired her impressive tree. She surveyed her house, noting the care and precise placement of every ornament, stocking, napkin and candle. It was truly a holiday masterpiece. No one would ever accuse her of failing a family festivity. This Christmas celebration would be talked about for ages.

    She quickly changed, freshened her makeup and put on Uncle Matt’s “Favorite ‘50s Christmas Hits” playlist. She took a deep breath as she answered the door for her first guest.


    By Linda Arnold

    Just on the off chance your holidays are not totally Norman Rockwell-esque, take a look at the following checklist.

    Right now I’m feeling:

    ____ Jolly

    ____ Frenzied

    ____ Sad

    ____ Lonely

    ____ Overwhelmed

    ____ All of the above

    As a result, I’ve been

    ____ Kicking my system into overdrive

    ____ Giving up sleep for the month of December

    ____ Beating myself up for not getting everything done

  •  By John Nelson

  • You can’t get much better than free.

    That’s what Old Shally’s Diner at 5300 S. Main St. in Shallotte is offering kids as a Christmas present to the community on Saturday, Dec. 19.

    During restaurant hours from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., diner owner Nick Gavrilis said his eatery is offering free pancakes to all children — “as many as they want,” he said. “There is no limit.”

    He said that includes butter, syrup and drinks. The diner may throw in a few other holiday surprises as well.

  • Horseplay Farms, a nonprofit equine therapy and horse boarding stable in the Bolivia area, is having “Santa at the Farm” from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19.

    Highlights include a free hot dog lunch with Santa, who will arrive with goodies for children of all ages who are invited to the free event.

    Horseplay Farms, at 1757 Clemmons Road off N.C. 211, has only been existence for the past two years, program director Ellyn Burke said.

  • A lineup of llamas, horseback riders, county officials and other participants will highlight the annual Bolivia Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 19.

    Lineup starts at 10 a.m. at the Brunswick County Government Complex, with the parade launching at 11 a.m.

    The parade will proceed from the complex through Bolivia on Old Ocean Highway and will end at Bolivia Elementary School at 4036 U.S. 17 Business East in Bolivia.

    The road will be blocked off before parade start time.

  •  There are times in life you never want to forget — and there are times you can’t. This is the story of one of those. Mostly. 

  • By Linda Arnold

        We all grew up knowing about IQ. Then, several years ago, we started hearing a lot about EQ —Emotional Intelligence — with some researchers even claiming it’s as important in predicting an individual’s success as the Intelligence Quotient.


    By John Nelson

    “Wait a minute, I’m caught.” You hear this expression frequently when threading through a stickery thicket of this stuff on a winter hike in the woods. That gives us a logical common name for this group of plants: the “wait-a-minute vines.” (“Blaspheme-vine” is another name, usually saved for the species forming the baddest, meanest, most prickly patches.)

  • Experience the way American colonists celebrated the holidays as historic Brunswick Town in Winnabow celebrates its annual An 18th Century Christmas from 1 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13.

    Costumed interpreters will offer guided on-the-hour tours of St. Philips Anglican Church and historic Brunswick Town.

    Visitors can also enjoy colonial refreshments in the Brunswick Town Visitor Center, participate in traditional games, and try their hand at making Moravian paper stars and other 18th-century crafts.