The Wrightsville Beach Mailbox PullOverAndLetMeOut (2)
Anna Marie

Anna Marie

The Wrightsville Beach Mailbox; A Love Story

"Leave A Note"

Those simple words written on the outside of a mailbox launched an 11-year love story at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. As a result, the love story is simply known today as The Wrightsville Beach Mailbox.

In 2003, Bernie and Sidney Nykanen placed a mailbox and a bench at their favorite spot on the north end of the beach. Supplying pens and small notebooks inside the mailbox they left instructions to “leave a note.” For the next 11 years, the Nykanens faithfully maintained the mailbox as a labor of love. In that time the mailbox served as a repository for love notes, marriage proposals, notes of joy, notes of sadness, notes to lost loves – in all the meditations left by strangers filled over 200 journals.

a mailbox on a beach with the flag in the up position
The Wrightsville Beach Mailbox

Wrightsville Beach Mailbox Becomes History

The notebooks became such an important part of the beach that when the Nykanens decided it was time to pass the torch and stop maintaining the box, the volumes of notes and the notorious mailbox were sent to the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History.

Madeline Flagler, from the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History, enjoys speaking with visitors coming to see the notebooks. Many share their memories with her. One guest told how she’d written a note each summer she visited Wrightsville Beach as a child. There are also stories of UNC Wilmington students leaving notes as part of a college tradition. And naturally, there are stories of the many love letters left over the years.

As Flagler says, “the mailbox on the beach became a piece of current history and symbolic of the spirit of Wrightsville Beach.”

A New Era

Though the Nykanens no longer maintain their mailbox on the beach, beachgoers can still leave a note. Today, there are two mailboxes on the north end of Wrightsville Beach.  Student ambassadors from UNC Wilmington are preserving and maintaining the tradition and the love story of this cherished time capsule overlooking the Atlantic.

And yes, they still encourage everyone to “leave a note.”

Wrightsville Beach Museum of History
303 W. Salisbury Street
Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

To read more about the Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach area, click here. 

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The Wrightsville Beach Mailbox PullOverAndLetMeOut (1)

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10 thoughts on “The Wrightsville Beach Mailbox; A Love Story”

  1. I went looking for this mailbox when I was there last week and did not find it. I looked around the Shell Hotel area which is also at the end of the road where the marsh is. Was I looking in the wrong place ? I was hoping to leave a message. ..

    1. I haven’t been to Wrightsville Beach in several months, but the mailbox should have been near Mason Inlet. I hope it hasn’t been moved. You may want to stop in or email the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History, they’ll definitely know and they have all those wonderful journals on display too.
      Thanks for visiting the site 🙂
      Happy Travels,
      Anna Marie
      p.s. I just double checked on online and Four Square still shows it just up the road from the Shell Island Resort – 198 Beach Road.

    2. Hello this is the mailbox keeper. The mailbox has been restored. Yes the original box is gone to the museum, the restored box is located at the #2 and it’s now sporting a new coat of bright orange paint. have fun writing .

  2. This is just wonderful. When we live in a world not as kind as we would like. We need to see that there is still love in this crazy planet that we share. What is so awesome about this is that people would have to sit down and write, on a piece of paper. Thank you this has truly made my day.B

  3. We are visiting now and are staying at Shell Island Resort. I wondered what the mailboxes were for so I went and inspected them for myself! There are journals and written entries from many people!! Very, very cool!! When you walk out of the pool area at the resort the mailboxes are right off to your left! So cool! I think I might leave a note myself before we leave!

  4. Does anyone know if the mailbox survived Florence? I’m doing my engagement pictures tomorrow and would love to take some by the mailbox!

    Thanks!

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