I <3 Wilmington, NC

Oh dear. Considering the fact that our trip to Wilmington was over a week ago, I believe I am now officially a front-runner for “Worst Blogger of the Year Award.” It’s all good though, I own it.

I blog for me. I keep this baby running so I can reflect on things and share stories with family/friends who are far away. The telephone only goes so far when it comes to catching people up, and I think pictures speak a thousand words. (And yes, I realize there is facebook and that new google+ thing that I still do not understand despite signing myself up…but all of those things do not allow me to capture  and share anecdotes and stories in the way I’d like to). Anywho, I guess what I am trying to say is… if you are reading these words, thank you.

No really.

I truly appreciate you stopping by, and I hope that you find yourself entertained when you read my stories. I know my updates are sporadic, but it’s only because I blog when I feel inspired.

I mean, let’s be honest. I know y’all don’t really want to read about the crazy busy week I had at work…or the group module I moderated for my online class last week. And that huge epidemiology exam coming up tomorrow? Yeah, I know that’s only a mountain in my eyes. And I know y’all could care less about my yearly physical (and how much I adore–adoreeee!– my new doctor). I must say, though, I feel so blessed to have a clean bill of health with all the things going on in the blogworld.  However, the dermatologist appointment I have coming up in a few days has got me shaking in my boots.  But for now, I’ll keep my worries to myself. No need to dwell on speculation, right? Especially when there are more important things to reflect on… like last weeks trip to the coast!

Ohhhh yes.

I present to you, Our trip to Wilmington: (WARNING: Find yourself a comfy seat, as you’re in for some picture overload).

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MAHHHHMMMM! Where are we going this time?!?!

For the 4th of July weekend, our little famjam hightailed it to Wilmington, North Carolina, home of the set for Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill. Too bad I’ve never really watched a full episode of either of those shows… (Kind of funny when we’d run into locals and they’d proudly blabber on about said shows and wait patiently for an excited response, and I’d only return a blank stare.  Oh well.)

It was only about a four-hour ride, and a pleasant one at that. Anything under 6 hours to me is a piece of cake. (To put things in perspective, Ryan and I take 12-hour long road-trips every winter to Florida to visit my parents in South Florida. So 4 hours is like a warm-up. A stroll around the block, if you will. Err, I mean… the coast.)

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True daddy’s girl right there… dreaming of the World Cup. And steak. (duh).

Being the angel of a traveler she is, Happy was zonked out for half of the trip. I keep telling myself that my future kids are going to be absolute hellions because my first dog is such a sweetheart.

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A-N-G-E-L

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Such a good little sleeper…

Somebody’s excited…

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And it’s not this guy…

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Party POOP-AH!

After a chillaxful drive, we finally reached the historic downtown of Wilmington. Oh my goodness y’all. This city is so charming. It reminded me a little bit of Charleston and Asheville, all at the same time. And the fact that it’s on a river, has tons of marshland, and a BEACH nearby? Uhhhh. Let’s just say this place was like a slice of heaven to me. You all (should) know how much I adore the water.

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Oh hey there, Battleship

Other things I love?

Tree Canopies.

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swoooooon

And old historic buildings.

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Hello, history

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Fancy

Ryan and I stayed at a Marriott that was equal distance to the beach and to the historic downtown. In a word, it was perfect. Every morning we’d get up for the (free!) breakfast, fill our bellies and head out to “the loop” before the heat of the day set in. This loop was like my dream come true. It was pretty much like a park, but I’d equate it to an adults playground. There were soccer fields galore, and Ryan would play soccer and kick the ball around with Happy while I’d run circles around him. That sounds weird. Let me paint a better picture. I wasn’t circling him like a shark while I ran my circles…I gave him his space and did my own thing on the 2.5 mile trail that looped around the park, the marshes and the beach. So I guess you could say I ran big circles around him. Like an orbit? Whatever. You get my point — it. was. amazing.

View from the Loop…

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Better than coffee

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This loop was glorious, y’all. The running-route was just so peaceful. I am seriously missing it. You know that doctor’s appt I had last week? Yep, in addition to my physical, the Doc diagnosed me with “beach-withdrawal.” We all know what the Rx for that is. (You listening, Ry? We need to go back. Doctor’s orders. I hear it’s deadly if not treated right away.)

Our first night there we dined at the Oceanic, a waterfront restaurant with the most amazing views.

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On or way to dinner

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Everything about this place was amazing.

Check out the view from our table…

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Right.On.The.Water.

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Not too shabby, eh?

Instead of bread, they brought out hushpuppies (although, I kinda wished they brought out bread, too…). They also had this BALLIN’ seafood gumbo that melted my heart on the spot.

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After dinner, we had our hearts set on some froyo. Ever heard of Fuzzy Peach? Yeah, we hadn’t either. But now you have. And you should know that it is defreakinglicious.

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Go here now.

In fact, that joint was so amazing that Ryan and I may or may not have hit that place up every single night we were in Wilmington (emphasis on the may have… don’t judge us).

Saturday Ryan and I hit up the Cotton Exchange, thanks to recommendations from you guys!

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Words do not do this place justice. It was very eclectic and reminded me of my favorite district in Sydney, Australia—The Rocks. Oh, and there was a Fuzzy Peach right across the street… so you know that upped it’s “awesome-factor” tenfold.

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The inside was kind of “maze like” – a maze of shops, if you will.  I loved it.

They even had a store dedicated to Happy!

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Happy’s pupsqueak heaven

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We found these fun-looking signs that I thought could be approriate for certain family members…

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This has Mama Rice all over it

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Haaa. Not naming any names for this badboy.

After the Cotton Exchange, we took a stroll along the Riverwalk.

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Another picture of the Battleship…

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And us…

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(because you can never have too many!)

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Not having an agenda was so relaxing. I love vacations where you can just do anything, and everything, you want. And that’s just what we did.

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Rough life…

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Keeper.

I must move here…

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Because of the flexible nature of our “no-plan plan,” we were able to hop on a little boat cruise that took a tour of the river! That made me one happy girl, as you know I love my boat-time Smile

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I’m on a boat!

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Henrietta the VIII

Pretty river front

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Mer’ca

After the rivercruise we took a stroll along the historic streets of the downtown. It was approaching dinnertime, so Ryan suggested we stop and eat dinner before we embarked on the surprise he had planned. We chose to eat at Café Phoenix, and ohhhh my was that the best decision ever.

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We were seated at the grandma hour (read: 5:45) and had the whole place to ourselves. I loved the individual attention of the waitstaff. And the food? Ohhhmylord, don’t even get me started. Y’all know this is not a foodblog by any means but I cannot NOT talk about this meal. It was to die for. And the ambiance of the restaurant was pretty staller, as well.

It all started with a loaf of bread (x2 because, uhh, we ❤ carbs) olive oil, and vinegar

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So doughy. SO good.

Then came the appetizer…a pickled plate of fresh, local veggies. (And by local, I mean from the chef’s very own backyard.)

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The pickled plate. SODAMNGOOD

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Want.

Then came my cup-o-soup

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The freshest Gazpacho your tastebuds have ever met

And to top it all off? The best entrees ever. I’m talkin Lick-yo-plate-clean delicious.

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My entree: Blackened grouper over ratatouille

And Ryan’s…

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Idontevenknowwhatthisis except for the fact that it was GOOD!

After such a spectacular meal, we had to commemorate the experience with a picture.

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duh

Then it was time for the surprise that Ryan had planned for us…

The symphony!

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Yes, you read that right. Ryan and I spent a wonderful night listening to the North Carolina Symphony! We were probably the youngest ones in the audience by ohhh, about… 30 years, but it was such a great experience! In fact, it reminded me of home. My mom and stepdad have a tradition of going to the symphony for the Cincinnati Pops 4th of July Concert every year, and when I was a youngin’, they’d bring me along. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that to Ryan, so the fact that he picked the 4th of July as the time of year to take me to see a symphony brought out the warm fuzzies.

As always, I had to hold back (major) tears when they played the traditional military marches to honor all of the serviceman. The Veterans in the audience stood up when the march for their branch was played – it seriously gets me every time. (Lot’s of my family has served in the military, so I always picture them standing up during their songs – Navy and Air Force, predominantly). I’m pretty sure I shed a few tears. All of the old men were just SO proud. I told Ryan after the show that it’s a good thing they don’t plant recruitment officers outside the doors, because I’d probably sign up on the spot.  Sidenote: Is anyone else like this? Oh, and you know those military recruitment commercials? Yeah, well they solicit the same response in me. Every time I see one of those military spots on TV and see people jumping outta helicopters, I take one look at myself sitting on the couch and think “Yesss, bring it!” I mean heck, I’ve already jumped out of a plane…and loved it. What a rush. Annnnd then I realize bootcamp would probably crush my soul. On day one. I guess my year in AmeriCorps can count as serving my country, right?  (On a more serious note, I realize the military is something to take seriously, and nothing like a simple skydiving excursion on a study abroad trip… so no need to lecture me. I know serving our country is a one of the hardest jobs out there, and something I doubt I’d be cut out for. So thank you for those of you who serve and protect, or who have family members who are in the service).

Annnnyway… after my emotional rollercoaster of patriotic pride, we found ourselves at Fuzzy Peach.

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Surprise…surprise…

Sunday morning was very similar to Saturday — spending time at the loop and enjoying the beachy scenary. By lunchtime, we found ourselves back in historic downtown Wilmington. We were on a hunt for a trolley ride.

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Searchin’ high…

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Searchin’ low

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Ohhh, what’s that over there? Horses?!

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We actually stumbled upon a horse-drawn carriage tour, and decided it’d be the perfect way to see more of the city and learn about the history. So, off we went!

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Best view in Wilmington

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The tour was very well done and the guide was super knowledgable. And the best part?!?  The horses that drove the tour were rescues!

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Fence of Keys

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Original cobblestone

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Best oysters in town

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This pink house actually reminds me of the house I grew up in.  Ohhh yes. The house I lived in for 18 years in Ohio was pastel pink with white trimming and dark green shutters. We had a palm tree in our dining room, and a pool in the backyard. Now do you see why my mom lives in South Florida for half the year?

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Love the Victorian houses. Sooo much.

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Big Oak Tree

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And this color scheme!? I die.

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After the tour, Ryan and I headed to the Riverwalk where we stumbled upon a sidewalk craftshow.  I spotted a necklace and couldn’t walk away without it. I fell in love with it on the spot. In fact, I’ve already worn it 3 times in the past week.

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Money well spent

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The artists other pieces

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Condos right on the river. I want to live here.

Once we got back from our afternoon excursion, we decided to take the pupsqueak to the local dogpark.

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Got my towel, I’m ready to go!

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This dogparks kicks Charlotte’s dog park’s ass. By a landslide. Not only did it have huge sand dunes for the pups to climb on, but it had tunnels for them to run through. Annnnd it was 3x as big.

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Doggie Heaven

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New friends

Considering the fact that I had blown off my studies for the majority of the weekend already, I decided to be a good student and bring along some work. Especially since I was moderating the assignment for the week. You know… no big deal.

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My traveling office

After the dogpark, we headed back to the riverfront for an amazing dinner overlooking the water. This time, we dined at Elijah’s.

Aaaaand this was our view…

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loooove it

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The picture below of the barge? oilrig? bigboat? does not do it justice. This thing was HUGE!

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Monster on the water. Rawr.

After a nice stroll around the downtown area…Fuzzy Peach happened.

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I mean really, do you expect anything less?

The next morning was the 4th of July! We woke up, ate brekkie and headed  out one last time to “the loop” and took in the beach. After lunch, we hit the road and headed home back to Charlotte

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When can we come back?????

It’s safe to say that all three of us greatly enjoyed this trip. Something about Wilmington is just so special. It’s not too big, not too touristy and overall it is a very charming town. I know I loved it… I mean heck, it’s a week later and I’m still relishing in the post-vacation glow!

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Oh hey there, new necklace

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Back to reality. Back to the books.

And if you thought you saw the stick making an appearance… you were right.

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That baby travels well.

Once home, our little pupsqueak got a bath to wash away any critters that coulda been tagging along.

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And then of course… fireworks happened. In between a few storms. (This is Charlotte in the summer time, afterall!).

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Do you have any 4th of July traditions? Do you have any family in the military? Do those army commercials make your adrenalin rush? Have you ever fallen in love with a vacation spot and “missed” it like whoa upon return?

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20 Comments

Filed under recap, roadtrip, running, Travel

20 responses to “I <3 Wilmington, NC

  1. omg! I want to go there because of One Tree Hill! I love that show.

    Seems you had a lot of fun! Hopefully one day I’ll get to go too.

    The houses are soooo pretty!

  2. Holy pictures!! Looks like you had an awesome trip! Btw – that ice cream looks amazing and I adore your earrings!

  3. What a great trip! You guys look like you have a ton of fun.

    Is it sad that I recognize parts of Wilmington thanks to Dawson’s Creek??

  4. Erica

    I LOVE Wilmington I also want to live there. I’ve been there twice and want to go back again. My bf lived there for awhile be4 we met and its our vacation spot when we get the time off work. Looks like you had a good time. 🙂

    • I can see why you love it 🙂 Thank you so much for all of your recommendations in my other post!

      • Erica

        your welcome! 🙂 I am so glad you tried the oceanic they have really good food. i wish i would have tried the fuzzy peach looks like ill be trying that when i go to wilmington the next time. you are so lucky to be 4 hours away because we are about 10-12 hrs away. =)

  5. Looks like an amazing time, I may have to see if I can’t get that way sometime in the near future!

  6. Looks like lots of fun. The houses are so pretty!

  7. Girl, *I* win the worst blogger award. I’ve been back for a couple weeks, and I’m just failing at writing things up!!! I don’t really feel like blogging recently not sure what my deal is haha.

    You look beautiful & it looks like you had

  8. ha oops. looks like you had fun!!! 🙂


    n

  9. Rhonda

    Loved your wonderful post and totally enjoyed all of the pictures! I’m so glad you guys had such a great time….. m.e.m.o.r.i.e.s…… 🙂

  10. Thanks for sharing some of your pictures from your trip. It looks like you had a really fun weekend! I’d love to try the fuzzy peach place… Yum!!

  11. Oh my goodness! It looks like you had a wonderful time! I have been to Wilmington once and although I thought it was beautiful, I visited in December for a funeral so it was cold and a little sad:( I could defiantly visit again there looks like tons to do!

  12. Pingback: Oh, Happy Day! | Happy Tales

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