TRAVEL DIARY: WILMINGTON + WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH PART 1
If you follow me on Instagram, then you know a few weeks ago, we got the chance to visit Wilmington, NC and Wrightsville Beach, NC with the Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau! Michael and I love NC beaches and we visit them often. Wrightsville Beach is one of my favorite beaches in NC and I have been to both Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington many times since I was a kid. One of my favorite things about living in Raleigh is how close I am to the beach. Our drive to Wilmington was only a little over 2 hours! Our favorite things to do when traveling are trying out local restaurants and getting outside and participating in fun outdoor activities. The Wilmington and Beaches CVB booked some amazing things for us and I also did my research to make sure we had a schedule full of exploring. Today, I’m sharing a travel diary with you all! Check back soon for part 2!
When we first arrived in Wilmington, we checked into Hotel Ballast, Tapestry Collection by Hilton. Hotel Ballast is located downtown Wilmington and within walking distance of a ton of great restaurants and venues. They let us choose our room and we both knew we wanted a room with a view of the Cape Fear River. Seriously, the view was gorgeous! I’m not going to lie though, the molasses cookies might have been my favorite part of check in! If you have never had molasses cookies, make sure you ask for two packs!
After checking in, we only had about an hour before we were scheduled for a gourmet food tour with Taste Carolina. The tour was a foodie’s DREAM! Not only did we get to try a ton of popular food and drinks from local favorites around downtown Wilmington, it was a great way to explore the city and we got to meet some really great people who were also on the tour with us! One couple is was from our hometown so we chatted with them the entire tour!
During our tour, we visited Rebellion. Rebellion had the best candied bacon and wings I’ve had in a long, long time! After Rebellion, we visited RUMCOW. At RUMCOW we got to try their crispy pork belly pockets with rumcow peach chutney, fig goat cheese, arugula (yum) and margaritas. One thing we learned on our tour is how fast the craft beer scene is growing in Wilmington. We learned all about Wilmington breweries and tried a few beers at Bombers Beverage Company. We even got a visit from the owner of On A Roll deli. Of course she brought over the most amazing sandwiches. After we left Bombers, we walked down to Anne Bonny’s Bar and Grill.
Anne Bonny’s sits right on the river, so the view is great. The bar is known for their frozen cocktails. We tried the Dreamsicle and Strawberry Frozen Rose. So perfect for a hot day! They also sent us an order of crab cakes which was the perfect light bite. Next, our tour guide took us to a hidden gem, Mon Âme Chocolate & Wine Bar. When I posted on Instagram from this bar, I got so many messages from people who live in Wilmington who had no idea about this place. I told them they were missing out! Gourmet chocolate and a huge wine selection? What more could you ask for? We grabbed a bunch of chocolates to take back to our room.
Our last stop was Tails Piano Bar. Tails is one of the most beautiful bars I’ve ever seen. I really felt like I was stepping back in time! Wednesday through Sunday, Tails offers live music (on a piano, of course). We were able to try their Strawberry Smash, Jim Beam Bourbon, strawberry, citrus and balsamic simple syrup, organic bitter, on the rocks with a lemon twist. Before the end of the tour, we were able to ask our guide for places to visit at Wrightsville Beach the next day. It was great to be able to get her opinion since she’s also a huge foodie and a Wilmington local.
We were so beat from traveling and walking on our tour, we went to bed as soon as we finished off our chocolates! We knew we had an early start to the next day and wanted to be refreshed.
Day 2 in Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach was so fun! Day 1 we got to satisfy our foodie sides. While we still ate amazing food on Day 2, we really got to explore some fun things to do in the area! The Wilmington and Beaches CVB signed us up for a paddle boarding lesson with Wrightsville SUP. We have been paddle boarding before, but we never took lessons. As simple as paddle boarding seems, we quickly learned that there were some tips that make it a lot easier! We learned the proper way to stand, steer and hold the paddles. It makes a huge difference!
Our lesson was early in the morning on Saturday. Normally not as many people in the water. However, our lesson coincided with The Carolina Cup paddle boarding race! It was so cool, and a bit scary, to paddle alongside experienced paddlers. We really are amateurs! Apparently, there is a graveyard race that’s over 13 miles long. I have major respect for those racers because paddle boarding is not easy! During our paddle, our instructor took us to Palm Tree Island. Palm Tree Island is a super small island that’s only visible during low tide. We were lucky enough to visit it during our lesson, before it disappeared that afternoon. Not only does Wrightsville SUP offer paddle boarding lessons but, they offer paddle board yoga, night paddle excursions, fitness classes, surfing lessons and rentals! On our next trip, we want to try surfing lessons and rent kayaks!
Check back tomorrow for part 2 of my Wilmington Travel Diary and see what we did on the rest of our trip!
Thank you Wilmington and Beaches CVB for sponsoring this post!