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When Seagulls Fly Inland

It would become the measure of every storm to ever hit the Virginia peninsula.  Most people say there hasn’t been one like it since.

Long before weathermen named storms, this one was called the “King Storm.” In August of 1933, with tides nearly ten feet above normal and mountainous waves, it devastated the beaches and flooded the nearby towns and pasture lands.  

When Seagulls Fly Inland is a novel based on true stories of that hurricane. It tells of the people who were staying in a remote cabin. They played Michigan rummy while the storm outside began to rip apart the cottage.  It tells of the woman who ran a boarding house at Bay Shore who refused to leave when rescuers came to evacuate the beach house. The book takes place in a period of about a week.   

An underlying truth is revealed as the story of the storm is told. Separated from the big Buckroe Beach Amusement Park was a resort for “colored.” There weren’t many such places on the East Coast in the early ‘30s. Like the whites’ beach, Bay Shore had a roller coaster and hobby horses, hotels and good food. But Bay Shore had one thing that the white beach didn’t have.  It had many of the most renown jazz musicians come there to entertain. “Colored” were not allowed to cross over to the “white” beach, but at night when the music was going strong at Bay Shore, white boys jumped the fence. They stole their way to the music hall to hear such greats as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.  

Group Discussion Questions

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For those who like nostalgia, When Seagulls Fly Inland is packed with memories of the wonderful “trolley parks” of another era; the barkers along the midway, the amazing carnival rides, and the penny arcade.


Ann's newest book, "Along the Road to Hell for Certain Creek" is now available!