For the first time in the 2.5 years we’ve lived in Durham, NC, we finally made the easy two hour drive down I-40 to Wilmington on Easter weekend. During our two day stay we saw everything on our list including the New Hanover County Arboretum, Airlie Gardens, the historic riverfront, and Wrightsville Beach.
The arboretum offices were closed for the weekend, so we snuck pup in and made sure she didn’t eat any of the flowering plants. Sculptures in the lake along with the multiple daffodils in bloom made for a tranquil setting… until the large dog that lives in the yard adjacent to the arboretum caught site of Riesling! Numerous japanese maples gleefully reminded us how lucky we were to have procured our own two years ago for the handsome sum of $12.
Our next stop was Airlie Gardens, which has only been regularly open to the public for about 9 years. After a leisurely stroll around the 67-acre garden, we all concluded that the $5 donation was well worth the cost—especially in the spring. Hundreds of tulips were in bloom and the whole grounds was encircled in bright pink azalea bushes. There were many attractive vistas to stop and take in the lake and planted gardens.
Pup had to stay in the car this time around, but due to the cold front, she was probably the warmest of all of us! It was clear that the azaleas and tulips were peaking during our visit but, unfortunately for others, the annual azalea festival was still a week away.
At this point we headed downtown to check-in to the Blue Heaven Bed and Breakfast. The owner, Jay, was very nice, helpful, and chatty. He had a giant stash of menus from many of the downtown restaurants and confirmed that the few places we had researched were good choices. Our review with details about the three good restaurants we tried can be found in an earlier post.
Historic downtown Wilmington is charming, clean, and full of second-hand shops and restaurants with catchy names. And although Wilmington reminds me of other semi-coastal towns, Savannah and Charleston in particular, it manages to maintain a sense of uniqueness all it’s own.
On my brisk Saturday morning walk with pup, the only others out and about were dog owners with their pets and we received many smiles and a few good mornings. After a filling home-cooked breakfast (and three (!) coffees for me), we packed up and headed out.
On the way to Wrightsville Beach, we took a detour drive around Greenfield Lake. Although it was too chilly for the three mile walk, Eric managed to get a few shots of the peaceful scene while shivering joggers shuffled by.
The forty-degree weather didn’t deter us from walking on the beach, however, and in fact, my sandled (soon to be barefoot) feet were warmer in the sand!
As usual, Riesling adjusted perfectly fine to the sand and continued her quest to be the first of us to get wherever it was we were going.
The next time we visit, we will definitely stay close to the riverfront area. It was an easy 5-10 minute walk from our B&B past historic homes with tended gardens to Front Street and lots of restaurants.
We picked a good place to stay and tasty restaurants for this visit, but there are still other things to see—when the weather gets warmer of course! Next time, we will travel further south to visit Carolina Beach State Park and try some restaurants we missed the first time.
Additional photos from our trip can be seen on Flickr.