Overcast over the shores of Carolina Beach, N.C. PN Photo/ Mitchell Doub.
Students will soon be pulling out their sweaters as the holiday season quickly approaches. Is there time to hit the beach one last time in 2020? Of course, there is! Students need to look no further than the Wilmington/Carolina Beach/Southport area, to get that one last sunshine and surf getaway of the year. Even with today’s Covid-19 restrictions, students can see the world if they wear a mask and practice social distancing.
Watch the weather and pick a weekend when it is going to be sunny and warm, plan on leaving campus by noon. Students should set their GPS for 6301 Oleander Drive, Wilmington, NC. The Original Salt Works restaurant is a start for lunch. This place has been serving locals and tourists for decades and will not disappoint, with burgers, hotdogs, fries, grilled cheese, and more. The Original Salt Works is a great way to start the day.
After lunch students should travel towards Water Street. This is downtown Wilmington, and it has plenty of metered parking along the street ($1-$2 per hour) and any of the adjoining streets. Walk along the riverfront and enjoy the shops in The Cotton Exchange (use masks and social distancing please), the stores on Market Street, or just get lost going in and out of historic streets and alleyways that have served residences since the 1700s. If students want to tour a historic home, they can purchase tickets and tour the Bellamy Mansion or the Cornwallis House (where British General Lord Cornwallis stayed before he ventured to Yorktown).
Front view of The Bellamy Mansion in Wilmington, N.C. PN Photo/ Mitchell Doub.
More mansions can be seen from the sidewalk by turning onto Market Street and then right onto Front Street. If students want a “hands-on” experience, cross the bridge by car and visit the battleship USS North Carolina which lies across the river. The battleship is a fascinating look at life on a floating “city”, where over 2000 sailors lived during World War II. The ship closes at 5:00pm and tickets are $14.00 (only the main deck and above are open during phase II).
Next, students should head for Carolina Beach Avenue North. There is ample metered parking throughout Carolina Beach, and students could head to the Carolina Beach boardwalk where they can stroll along the newly renovated walkway or get access to Carolina Beach and spend a while enjoying the beach.
Students should then set their GPS for the Fort Fisher visitors center. Fort Fisher is an important Civil War site, for this was where the last major Southern fort/port was captured at the end of the Civil War. Students can tour the visitor center and grounds for free as they imagine over twenty-thousand Union forces storming the fort in the Spring of 1865.
Front view of Provision Company in Southport, N.C. PN Photo/ Mitchell Doub.
Continue down the road to the state ferry towards Southport. Students can park their car on the ferry and enjoy the 25-minute, $7 ride to the historic town of Southport. Students are probably hungry by now and should head over to The Provision Company. Along the way to the restaurant, students can enjoy seeing the quaint town and many of the historic homes. The Provision Company is a Southport institution that has great views of the water, complete with seafood as well as the “landlubber” choices. After supper, you will be ready to make your 1.5-hour trip back to Pembroke. What a day!
Rear view of Provision Company in Southport, N.C. PN Photo/ Mitchell Doub.