Spend A Weekend In This Charming Historic City!
Southern charisma is everywhere in historic Wilmington. This striking, riverfront city has a small town charm, with its cobblestone streets, beautiful old-world architecture, and moss-covered oaks dotting the landscape. A steady stream of southern festivals and events complete the allure.
The scenic downtown runs along the Cape Fear River. The mile-long riverwalk, with its many restaurants and shops, is a great place to stroll and is home to the Hilton Riverside. While the Hilton is definitely the best hotel in downtown, if you’re looking for an apartment atmosphere, try the Riverview Suites. Please note these are personally owned condos, so some are better than others. For shopping, stop in at the Cotton Exchange. The buildings, walkways and courtyards have all been restored. It currently houses many specialty shops and restaurants. The Old Wilmington City Market is also a must see!
Every Saturday morning, an open air market offers fresh produce and goods from local purveyors. (If Davis Seafood is there, buy shrimp! Fresh shrimp from North Carolina is much different from the frozen shrimp we’re used to!) There is a farm to table mentality here, evident in many of the area restaurants.
A favorite restaurant in Wilmington is Circa 1922, with its tapas style menu. Of the restaurants on the riverfront, my recommendation for great food is The George. While enjoying a meal on the outdoor deck, the view includes the Henrietta III, available for sunset or murder mystery dinner cruises. Across the harbor, the USS North Carolina, a World War II battleship is docked forevermore, and stands as a memorial to the soldiers lost. It is open to tours every day of the year.
A daily Ghost Walk leaves from the corner of Market and Front Sts. at 6:30 and 8:30 nightly. Or take the Ghost Pub Crawl @ 7:15 from the ‘starting’ pub of the day! Tickets are available from the Black Cat Shoppe. You’ll find that although historic Wilmington is a college town, it’s not just for kids. There are nighttime venues for every taste.
This week, I was at the ‘Taste of The Town’. This event was hosted by Thalian Hall. Fifteen downtown restaurants were given the opportunity to share samples of their best dishes to the patrons of the event. It was a lot of fun and allowed us to find two new places we’ll be sure to return to! The Fortunate Glass wine bar and The Shuckin’ Shack oyster bar! The host, Thalian Hall, has an ever-changing calendar of events with plays, ballets, concerts and comedy shows in their gorgeous theatre. For other downtown shows, check out City Stage Co.
Looking for the real thing? ‘Hollywood East’ is located here in Wilmington. The EUE/Screen Gems Studio has 10 different soundstages. More than 400 film, television and commercial projects have been shot here. The city’s mild climate, old-world charm and surrounding beach and rural landscapes, offer many options for filmwork. Some recent Screen Gems movies are “Iron Man 3”, “The Conjuring” and “We’re the Millers”. Studio tours are available seasonally, but a 90 minute Hollywood Location Walk, is available throughout the year.
What you gotta love about historic Wilmington is the abundance of things to do! A parking lot can become a concert hall for the night! I’ve seen several this way! They have a festival for everything, including when the azalea’s bloom! The Azalea Festival is one of the largest festivals in the area. As their tagline states, this is ‘Southern Charm in Full Bloom’! Check out the event calendar at What’s On Wilmington, before you plan your stay! Check out www.viator.com and www.livingsocial.com for deals in your destination cities.
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