Hampstead, North Carolina

Once only a small fishing village, Hampstead is now in one of the fastest growing areas in North Carolina. Newcomers of all ages are making the quaint little waterfront community their permanent home, and many of them are retirees, seeking the peace of mind towns like Hampstead provide.

The community first gained fame in the late 1700s, when it served as a temporary home for the first president of the United States. When residents say, "George Washington slept here," they mean it. He bunked in a local public house in 1791 on his tour of the Southern states. In honor of his visit, the Washington Oak, now a massive live oak tree, was planted as part of a monument by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1925, and today it is still the centerpiece of the town.

"Hampstead's popularity today can be attributed in part to the many recreational activities offered in the area."

Hampstead, the largest of many small communities that make up Topsail Township, is still home to rustic fishing shacks on the banks of the Intracoastal Waterway, where generations have lived and plied their trade in the nearby waters. Sadly, a result of progress and rising land values, many of those quaint relics of another time are being replaced by large, modern homes.

Despite the encroachment of the modern world, the history of the area is cherished, and locals work hard to preserve their heritage. The area was a famous target for pirates; Topsail Sound was a notorious hideout for some of the most famous pirates of the time, most notably Blackbeard, Stede Bonnett and Captain Kidd. Township residents are proud of the area's heritage and celebrate it whenever possible.

Hampstead's popularity today can be attributed in part to the many recreational activities offered in the area. Hampstead offers a full-service marina and boat yard, and there are more than a dozen golf courses within a 10-minute drive. Commercial trade is strong, and, with the recent widening of Highway 17 to four lanes, several national chain restaurants have been attracted to the area.

Wednesday, Dec 12, 2018  |  4:12 AM