Peter and Cathy Meyer – Coastwalk North Carolina

Peter Karl Meyer MD died on April 12, 2016, at the age of 63. He was a loving husband, exceptional father, dedicated physician, talented writer, inquisitive coastal naturalist, and an exemplary role model to many.  StarNewsOnline April 17, 2016

Background: Peter and Cathy Meyer – ‘Coastwalk North Carolina’

Rebecca Taylor introduced the main speakers of the July 20, 2015 FPHPS Open Meeting , Peter and Cathy Meyer with ‘Coastwalk North Carolina‘.

Rebecca first met Peter when she was a New Hanover County librarian and Peter’s best-selling Nature Guide to the Carolina Coast was regularly stolen from the library by discerning patrons and regularly replaced by library staff as a must-have reference volume. Peter and Cathy have extensive knowledge of the North Carolina coast, and the Nature Guide is filled with photographs, drawings, and information on the flora and fauna of the region.

Cathy and Peter Meyer

Cathy and Peter Meyer

Several years ago, Cathy proposed that the couple walk the entire length of the North Carolina shoreline. So, over the course of 18 months, the Meyers walked every bit of the North Carolina coastline (with the exception of off-limits Browns Island at Camp Lejeune), from South Carolina to the Virginia border: 425 miles of coastline along 21 barrier islands.

Tonight they presented an informative and inspiring talk—complete with numerous photographs, short videos, and shells and other artifacts they collected on their walks—to chronicle their forays along the barrier islands, which Peter referred to as “the necklace gracing the neckline of the mainland.”

The Meyers divided their presentation of their Coastwalk into four sections, based on the titles of their four e-books ‘Coastwalk North Carolina’:

* SOHO—Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, Holden Beach, Oak Island (the shortest section, at 4.5 miles)
* Between Capes—Cape Fear to Cape Lookout
* The Wild Banks—Cape Lookout to Hatteras Inlet (5 islands, very much undeveloped)
* Out There—Hatteras Inlet and Bodie Island to the Virginia border (the longest section, with 56 miles)

Coastwalk North Carolina - Outer Banks

Coastwalk North Carolina – Outer Banks

The Meyers’ knowledge and appreciation of the Carolina coast was evident in their Coastwalk experience and presentation.

Their talk, incorporating both photographs and videos of the shoreline wildlife they encountered, as well as maps and diagrams detailing the logistics of how they completed sections of their walk, was varied, informative, and made several important points.

Some of their presentation highlights:

First, the North Carolina coastline belongs to all of us. According to the North Carolina Public Trust, all beach lands up to the vegetation line are public lands and we all have the right to access these beaches. That means there are no private beaches in North Carolina (unlike some other states) and we are all able to take advantage of the entire coast (with the exception of Browns Island.)

Second, Coastwalk North Carolina can be done in any way that works—as much or as little as anyone wants to do, or is able to do. The Meyers showed us various ways they put together pieces of their coastline walk: sometimes they approached a segment by car, sometimes by boat, sometimes with the assistance of a bicycle to keep from having to double back by foot to their starting point for the day. As Peter put it, “It is like the Appalachian Trail but shorter, flatter, kinder, great for beachcombers and the public can access every beach with the exception of Browns Island.”

Third, beaches should not become piles of rocks. They should be allowed to be the wide expanse of sand they are naturally, serving as barrier islands.

Finally, the Meyers reminded us to appreciate our coast for all that it is, and preserve it. As they quoted Thoreau, “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”

The presentation ended with a lively Q&A session. One of the young people in the audience asked if they considered doing a coastline walk from Florida to Maine and Peter answered that it was up to the questioner’s generation to make that walk.  Passing it forward!

Marybeth Ray – March Meeting

Marybeth Ray croppedThe Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, March 16, 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

Our speaker will be Marybeth Ray, Captain of the MV Southport ferry.  Marybeth Ray is one of just three women among the 60 Captains of the North Carolina ferry fleet.

Working seven 12 hour days on followed by 7 days off, she pilots the MV Southport across the Cape Fear River in all kinds of weather and conditions.

Ferry signMarybeth grew up as a “military brat,” her family moving all over the Southeast. When she was twelve her family settled on Andros Island in the Bahamas and her love of boats, sailing and all things involving salt water was born. Her early work experience involved working for the U.S. Navy at their Undersea Test and Evaluation Center as a civilian contractor.

MV Southport

MV Southport

Of her 1995 move to Wilmington, Ray says, “We fell in love with this area. Obviously, its very water oriented and Wilmington had a lot to offer as far as downtown.”   Soon after resettling she got a job working as a “deck hand” with the North Carolina ferry system. By 2003 she had worked herself up to full time Captain.

Now a resident of Southport, on her weeks off she and her husband run Southport Paddle and Sail offering paddle board activities ranging from lessons and guided excursions to SPS-Logoyoga “on the water.”

They also offer sailing lessons and tours of the area from their schooner Kitty Hawk and their catboat Catnip.


Chris Fonvielle – February Meeting

Chris-Fonvielle-portrait-1The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, February 16, 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

Our speaker this month will be Dr. Chris Fonvielle. He will be talking about his newest book, To Forge a Thunderbolt; Fort Anderson and the Battle for Wilmington.

Fort Anderson played an important role in the history of North Carolina during the Civil War. It was the Confederacy’s largest interior fortification in the Lower Cape Fear, and guarded the Cape Fear River and western land approaches to Wilmington. Beginning in late March 1862, Confederate engineers built massive earthen defenses at Brunswick Point, the site of the colonial port town of Brunswick, located halfway between Wilmington and the mouth of the river. The works were comprised of elevated artillery emplacements mounting heavy seacoast cannons and an adjoining line of imposing fieldworks that extended westward for more than a mile, from the Cape Fear River to Orton Pond.

By early 1865, General Ulysses S. Grant was so determined to capture Wilmington, the Confederacy’s principal seaport and To Forge covermost important city, that he traveled from Virginia to the Cape Fear to finalize plans for an attack by way of Fort Anderson. His forces had recently captured Fort Fisher and sealed the harbor to blockade running. Grant now wanted to take Wilmington as a means of assisting General William T. Sherman’s legion on its march through the Carolinas toward Virginia to help defeat General Robert E. Lee’s beleaguered, but strongly entrenched, army at Petersburg.

Dr. Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr. is a native of Wilmington, North Carolina, with a lifelong interest in American Civil War, North Carolina, Lower Cape Fear and Southern history. His in-depth research focuses on Civil War coastal operations and defenses, blockade running, and the navies.

Fort AndersonAfter receiving his B.A. in Anthropology at UNC-Wilmington, Fonvielle served as the last curator of the Blockade Runners of the Confederacy Museum. He subsequently received his M.A. in American history at East Carolina University and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina.

Dr. Fonvielle returned to his undergraduate alma mater at UNC-Wilmington in 1996, where he now teaches courses on the Civil War, Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear, the Old South and Antebellum America. He also teaches extended education courses on the history of the Lower Cape Fear through the university.

Beverly Tetterton and Dan Camacho – January Meeting

Beverly Tetterton and Dan Comacho

Beverly Tetterton and Dan Camacho

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, January 19, 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

This month’s speakers are business partners Beverly Tetterton and Dan Camacho who are publishers of a series of “apps” for smart phones and tablets focusing on the history of Wilmington. The wihi app uses your device’s GPS map to lead you down beautiful tree-lined streets to our  many rich historic sites. At each stop you listen to a 3-5 minute history and scroll through fascinating historic pics. Begin when you want. Walk at your own pace. Take a break with a cool drink. Even continue tomorrow if you want. It’s easy!

wihi cover photo

Civil War Wilmington Tour

A longtime friend of the Society, Beverly Tetterton was a research librarian in the North Carolina Room at the New Hanover County Public Library for 31 years. She was a pioneer in digital archives, creating the first in North Carolina. She went on to create numerous digital archive collections which include thousands of historic photographs of the Cape Fear Region. In 2001, the Raleigh News & Observer named her Tar Heel of the Week. She and her husband Glenn live in a 100 + year old house in Wilmington’s historic district.

Dan Camacho has an MBA from Northwestern, an MFA in Creative Writing from UNC Wilmington, and has worked at Hewlett Packard,,,, and  He has not received nearly as many awards as Beverly, but he does live in an older house (160+ years) with his wife Lori and two children.

Watch Beverly & Dan talk about starting Wilmington History Tours:


If yogoogle logoApp store logogu have a smartphone or tablet, you are welcome to bring it along as Beverly & Dan will be available to help people download and install the apps.

For more information about their products visit:

Civil War goes digital in Port City walking tour app

Mike Giles – North Carolina Coastal Federation

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, August 18, 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

Mike GilesOur speaker this month is Mike Giles, from the North Carolina Coastal Federation. He will speak on the Federation’s mission of sustaining a healthy and vibrant coastal ecology. Founded in 1982, with offices in Manteo, Newport and Wrightsville Beach, the organization has a staff of almost 20 who focus on helping to preserve and protect the natural, cultural, and economic resources of the North Carolina coast.

Mike joined the staff in May 2006. Mike is a North Carolina native, and before joining the federation, he served as the open-space land manager for Durham County for five years. Mike has extensive stewardship, enforcement and advocacy experience, gathered from positions with the National Park Service and the Army Corps of Engineers and as chief park ranger for Mecklenburg County. He studied wildlife management at N.C. State University, which included additional research and course work in coastal ecology. Mike monitors the Southeast Region from the Wrightsville Beach regional office.

Sam Leake – Life and Times of Robert E. Lee

Sam Leake

Sam Leake

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, July 21, 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

Our speaker this month will be Sam Leake of Wilmington. He will present a pictorial program on the life and times of Robert E. Lee.

Sam became interested in General Lee as a member of the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity at Oklahoma State University. He has served as a volunteer for the fraternity both at the local and national level and is currently on the National Board of Directors.

Sam received his B.S. Business Management from Oklahoma State University, 1964 and an MBA, from Oklahoma City University, 1967.

Robert E. Lee at Washington College

Robert E. Lee at Washington College

He worked in the corporate world for 20 years before relocating to Wilmington and starting his business, Beachwalk Design, Inc. (Luxe Home Interiors) in 2006 with his wife Lynn and their daughter Elizabeth

Why Robert E. Lee?

“The goal of Kappa Alpha is to build the character and prestige of gentlemanly conduct as inspired by Robert E. Lee who they consider their spiritual founder.” The first chapter was formed in 1865 when four young men at Washington College in Lexington Virginia, decided to pledge their friendship as a “mutual pledge of faith and loyalty.”

At that time Lee was President of the college and they considered Lee a model worth emulating.

Learn more about: Robert E. Lee (Wikipedia)


Monthly Meeting Report – April, 2014

Chris Fonvielle

Our April speaker, Dr. Chris Fonvielle, talked about his new book and showed a variety of photos from his new book, Faces of Fort Fisher, highlighting many people who were assigned to the Fort or lived nearby.

He explained how more supplies came in through the two entries into the Cape Fear River than into all the other southern ports combined. The success rate for these valuable trips reached about 80%.

Chris showed paintings of many of the blockade runner ships and their masters.

Fonvielle hopes to follow this volume with at least two additional ones as he expands his collection of original photos.


Faces of Fort Fisher

Monthly Meeting Report – March, 2014

Frying Pan Tower and Lightship

Frying Pan Tower and Lightship

Our March speaker was Michael Vickery, a Board member of Richard Neal’s Frying Pan Tower.

Frying Pan is a shoal area that reaches thirty miles south of Bald Head. In 1854 the U.S. government installed a light ship to warn shipping using the Gulf Stream of the shallows. By 1964 the last light ship was decommissioned and a permanent light tower built to replace it. This included work space and bedrooms to house coast guard personnel.

By 2004 GPS had made the light tower obsolete and in 2009 the Coast Guard put it up for auction. The first bids began at $10,000 and Richard Neal bid $11,137.15, his total assets.

Then the government stepped in and declared every lighthouse to be worth at least $85,000. Mr. Neal borrowed from a friend and there were no other bidders. Since that time he and friends have spent every possible moment scraping away years of accumulated rust and restoring bedrooms, a modern kitchen, and work spaces . It currently can sleep eight and they hope to increase this to 14.

The living platform is 65 feet above the water and the only access is by helicopter or boat with a breaches buoy needed to transport visitors and cargo up to the platform. Primary activities for visitors are fishing and scuba diving with a pool table and sundeck outdoors for rougher days. Weekend rentals are available with food being served,mostly fish, plus whatever is brought from the mainland.

Wilmington StarNews reviewFrying Pan Shoals Light Tower – a new breed of bed and breakfast

Monthly Meeting Report – Februrary, 2014

Lori SanderlinLori Sanderlin, Curator of Education at the Southport Maritime Museum, spoke on how the American culture dealt with death during and as a result of the Civil War era. She talked about the severe rules of conduct and dress for the affluent widows .

Often the hair of the deceased was turned into decorative or useful items. In the big cities there were even large stores that sold only grieving items.

Funeral customs began to change as many soldiers died far from home in battle and of disease in crowded prisoner camps. Lori presented representative costumes of the ladies in mourning.