Before Memorial Day fades too far into the past, I wanted to share our weekend trip to Bald Head Island and Wilmington, NC! Neither John nor I had spent any appreciable time at either location, so we were excited to explore both over the long weekend.
We drove down to Wilmington (about two hours from the Triangle) on Saturday morning. There are lots of beautiful old houses in Wilmington’s neighborhoods and some really neat businesses. I convinced John to pull over and take a photo of this one: an old fire house converted into a home decor store! It wasn’t quite open when we visited, but looked fantastic from peeking in the windows. I found this article after some Google searching. Worth a visit on a future trip!
Instead of eating lunch, we stuck it out until 2:30, when we met up with our group for a food tour of Wilmington! The tickets were my birthday present from John. Neither of us had been on one before; it was really fun. We visited six stops in about 3.5 hours. Highlights included:
— braised pork belly and pimento cheese grits at Pilot House
— zucchini noodles with delicious marinara sauce, sausage, and wine pairings at The Fortunate Glass
— oysters Rockefeller, a mini lobster roll, a pickled shrimp lettuce wrap, and an AMAZING flourless brownie at PinPoint. This restaurant, which had only opened the week before, was the unanimous group favorite. The chef, who has worked with John Fleer and Hugh Acheson, was SO impressive, and obviously very talented!
— macaroni and cheese, brisket, and homemade pickles at Fork n Cork
— mixed drinks at speakeasy The Blind Elephant
— four types of chocolate fondue at The Little Dipper
Needless to say, we were stuffed by the end! We took the long walk back, along the riverfront boardwalk, to our accommodations for the weekend — the genteel Graystone Inn. It was a very nice example of a bed and breakfast. After dropping our things, we hopped back in the car to drive the half hour or so to Wrightsville Beach to see the sunset. So beautiful!
While walking the boardwalk on Saturday, we spotted a sign for The Anchor church, a United Methodist community that meets on a barge. So cool! We try to worship with local churches when we travel (we always learn something!), and this was definitely a neat experience.
After church, we drove down the coast to Southport and hopped on the ferry to Bald Head Island. It was such a beautiful day! After the 20-minute ferry ride, we arrived on the Island and immediately picked up our rental bikes from Riverside Adventure Company (it’s about a two-minute walk from the dock). Then, we moved one more door over to Mojo’s for lunch. It was yummy – a fairly typical example of a casual seaside lunch spot.
There are no cars on Bald Head Island (only golf carts!), so it was quite relaxing to ride the length of the island out to the beach on the far side. There was a pretty severe undertow going on, so we mostly just waded, but it was delightful!
After a few hours, we hopped back on our bikes and completed our circuit of the Island. Before dinner, we strolled around a few of the neighborhoods closer to the marina. These people know how to do blues and jasmine!
Our last stop of the day was dinner at Delfina Cantina. It was delicious and really hit the spot after all of our activities! Because it was Memorial Day weekend there were lots of community festivities going on (hula hoop contest, DJ, pinata) and therefore lots of good people watching. Just FYI, almost every lady was wearing a romper – the BHI summer uniform, apparently. We caught a fiery sunset on the beach before taking the ferry back to the mainland.
Could that sailboat be more perfectly situated? I don’t think so. I would highly, highly recommend a trip to Bald Head Island – either a day trip or something more extended! It would make a great family vacation for sure!
Before departing Wilmington for home, we spent the morning touring the USS North Carolina Battleship. I think it’s important to honor — in some intentional way — days like Memorial Day, instead of just seeing them as a free day off for picnics. It was neat to learn about the battleship, and now we’re so curious to see how a current ship compares to this one that was decommissioned in the ’60s!
Have any of y’all been to Bald Head Island? Wilmington? Do you try to recognize holidays like Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day in some way? I’d love to hear!