Winds History

The History of The Winds Resort

The Winds Resort, Ocean Isle Beach

In the 1970s Helen And Miller Pope came upon Ocean Isle Beach. It was mostly undeveloped, with long stretches of windswept dunes crested by waving sea oats. Only the occasional screeching of sea birds interrupted the sound of the breaking surf. In such a delightful climate, they were surprised to discover so much undisturbed absolutely beautiful beach within easy reach of two jetports.

Miller had spent his adult life up to this time as a successful free lance illustrator. He had started out early, as a seventeen year old illustrator in Washington DC, on the staff of the Leatherneck Magazine, the official U.S. Marine Corps. publication.
The freedom from a regular job had made it possible for Miller and his wife to spend summers traveling on this continent as well as overseas. They had looked at beach property in the US, Spain, the Caribbean, Mexico and Morocco, but somehow nothing quite suited them until Ocean Isle came along.
At about the same time that the couple first visited Ocean Isle Miller formed a business to produce highly illustrated books for major publishers. The business was an overnight success. It was written up in publishing magazines and soon the list of clients included Readers Digest, Time Life, and most of the biggest names in book publishing. Miller, however, was unhappy because he was spending his time with business details instead of doing anything creative.
Helen, who had always found something lacking in every place they had considered, before liked Ocean Isle. On the first visit, she had turned to Miller as they were neck deep in the warm ocean. She announced “This is where I want to be.”

They had to return home to Westport Connecticut the next morning. But Helen soon returned alone, for Miller was too busy to leave. She purchased a seventy five foot lot for a beach house and Miller got to work designing a house. Then he decided to make it a duplex. Before long it was a fourplex.

They needed a name and when Miller was relaxing with a friend in the Bridgeport, Conn. airport he noticed the little napkin under his beverage bore the title “Four Winds Bar”. Whala! It was the perfect name for a fourplex at the beach.
With every visit to Ocean Isle Beach, it got harder and harder to leave and the decision was made to sell the business in Westport and retire to Ocean Isle. It took several years to sell everything in Conn. during which time the Popes commuted back and forth between Westport and Ocean Isle Beach, mostly by air. During this time more property was acquired and the Trade Winds, the East Winds and the Seawinds were built. It was a natural to call the assemblage “The Winds”.

The original building was located about one half mile east of the present winds complex. A storm in 1996 caused a lot of erosion and it had to be moved. The building is now on Shallotte Blvd. and is now owned by others.

Soon the couple’s children and grandchildren joined their parents at Ocean Isle Beach. Their son Gary is the president and daughter, Debra, is the vice-president.

Sadly, Helen passed away in 2005

Today the operations are under the care of  Gary and Debra and our very capable General Manager Kathy McLaurin. Kathy was the first employee hired at The Winds and has been working there for over 30 years!

Some of the The Winds’ buildings have been around for over 30 years (most are much newer) and most properties of that age would be old and run down and we are anything but that. Our philosophy (going back to Helen and Miller) has always been you are either “moving forwards or backwards there is no standing still”. So every year the property undergoes renovations and upgrades. The latest being the addition of a new elevator.

We think our guest will agree that The Winds is “Ship Shape” and as nice a place to visit as there is.

We invite all to come by and walk around. Our gardens and ground, accommodations and amenities are truly unique in this area.