Ocean Isle Beach: The Early Years (Book)



Enjoy a straightforward and often humorous behind the scenes look at the people who developed Ocean Isle Beach—the people who took the island from a primitive rustic beach town to the quaint upscale paradise the island is today.


Read about the innovators, the visionaries, the planners and plotters, and the salt of the earth, hardworking people who devoted their time and energy to making things work, making things happen, making things beautiful.


Live in the moment and read how quirky things happened that set the tone for future development as the island took shape and people were lured to the area to buy into their share of the dream.


Authors Lomie Lou Cooke and her son Stuart Cooke have written a great book about the early days of Ocean Isle Beach. The Cooke family was the third family to actually live on Ocean Isle Beach, giving Lomie Lou and Stuart a unique perspective on the subject.


This 225 page book is full of color and black and white photos from “the early years” of Ocean Isle Beach!



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“Growing up on Ocean Isle Beach in the 1960s and 1970s, I was honored to be a part of the evolution of this beautiful, isolated spit of land. Watching the transformation of OIB into a thriving village for thousands of people was a true joy. Ocean Isle, an island only six-miles long and half a mile wide, is located in Brunswick County, N.C. just north of the state line between North and South Carolina. It is geographically thirty miles from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and thirty miles from Wilmington, North Carolina. It’s been home to me for over sixty years, and now it’s home to many more.


No one who had a part in this transformation, from those owning this former goat farm, to those earning a living fishing, building beach houses, or cooking up seafood, could have had any idea that in just a few decades OIB would be a thriving beach vacation destination for tens of thousands. Now dotted with million-dollar vacation homes, many flourishing communities and beach resorts, Ocean Isle Beach welcomes families from all over the United States and all over the world.


The following pages offer a glimpse into the people who made Ocean Isle Beach the place we love today. Many of the people in the stories are gone now, but they live on within these pages. Their memories and history shared—each one helped create a cherished patchwork of the fabric that is now our beloved island’s legacy.


These are my personal recollections as well as those of my mother, Lomie Lou Mills Cooke, who was 94-years- young at the time we were preparing to publish this book.


Join us. Go back in time, and experience growing up on Ocean Isle Beach. We hope you enjoy reading about our journey as much as we enjoyed sharing it with you.”

– Stuart Cooke 

Callahan’s of Calabash is a 35,000+ square foot gift shop that sells Christmas decorations, jewelry, apparel, nautical gifts, homemade fudge and so much more. Callahan’s is located on the border of North and South Carolina in heart of Calabash, NC. St. Nick Nacks is its Christmas shop that sells everything from trees to decorations from popular brand names such as Department 56, Jim Shore, Mark Roberts and Christopher Radko. Callahan’s also offers The Lifestyle Co. that sells Spartina bags as well as QUAY Australia, Barefoot Dreams and Maui Jim. Callahan's is located directly next to The Boundary House, down the street from The Oyster Rock, and up 17 from Clark’s and Sea Island Trading Co.