Topsail Island Skating Rink

text and photographs by Julie Williams Dixon

Go around. Again and again. That’s what you do at a skating rink. At the Topsail Beach Skating Rink, locals and vacationers have been circling the wooden floor on sticky summer nights since it opened more than 50 years ago. Step inside, and you might think you’ve traveled back in time. There’s a stack of 45s with grooves worn deep. It’s not unusual to hear folks talk about bringing their children, and now their grandchildren here.

Doris Jenkins and her husband, Sonny Jenkins, opened the rink in 1964. Sonny is no longer well enough to work, but Doris keeps things running with the help of her nephew Dan Arnold and his family. The rink is upstairs above the post office, which Doris also runs.

These photographs were taken on a balmy Saturday in late October, long after the usual summer season. When I first photographed the rink a decade ago, it was only open in summer months, so I was thrilled to find Doris and Dan assembling some new skates and tuning up some old ones even into the fall. Dan says that these days, Facebook allows them to announce extra openings post-season and ask the locals and regulars to let them know if they plan to come.  If there’s enough interest, they’ll open their doors.