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1st trip to Wilmington

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Charlotte, NC
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1st trip to Wilmington

I'm starting to plan my first trip to Wilmington... which will be in October. I will only be there for the weekend, but want to make the most of it. What do you all recommend as the "must-do's" for a first visit?

Raleigh, NC
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1. Re: 1st trip to Wilmington

Well being October, obviously swimming at the beach is out but there's still plenty to do. :-)

Top of my list would be downtown Wilmington and the riverfront. There's a great riverwalk/boardwalk along the Cape Fear River up the entire downtown stretch of Water Street. On all the surrounding blocks are tons of historical buildings. I think there's even a "Trolley Tour" you can take that's quite interesting. And of course there's tons of shops, cafe's, restaurants, bars, etc for you to shop/eat/drink. You really can make a whole day of that in of itself. Also there's a riverboat that does tours and waterfront dining as well.

Across the river from downtown is the USS North Carolina. It is a restored World War II Battleship that you can tour.

Near Wilmington is the State Aquarium at Fort Fisher. About half hour drive away, give or take. It's very popular and a great place to visit.

Edited: 22 July 2010, 14:29
Virginia
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2. Re: 1st trip to Wilmington

Downtown Wilmington is fun to walk around. We usually stay in Carolina Beach and go into the downtown Wilmington area at least twice during our trip to walk around, shop and eat. Check out the Little Dipper on front street. Its an awesome fondue restaurant. The park at Fort Fisher is nice and you could take the ferry to Southport if you have time. Wrightsville beach is a very pretty area too. Orton plantation is nice but its a little south of Wilmington, maybe 30 minutes.

North Carolina
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3. Re: 1st trip to Wilmington

I totally agree on visiting downtown, check out Bella's ice cream on Market St. right down near the water for ice cream, coffee and to people watch. Orton is great but has been purchased by someone new and is supposed to be closing so I doubt it will be open for visitors but check if that is something your interested in...close by is Brunswick Town Historic Site not far from Orton. I love taking the ferry from Ft. Fisher to Southport and getting something to eat, cruising around in southport and hanging out down by the water.

Kure beach and Ft. Fisher are nice, less busy beaches where it is easy to find parking as well.

Wilmington, North...
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4. Re: 1st trip to Wilmington

Maybe Airlie Gardens, a nice place to walk and enjoy the outdoors. Take a trip to Southport on the ferry and perhaps onto Bald Head Island for some exploration.

Wilmington, NC
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5. Re: 1st trip to Wilmington

One reply mentioned Orton Plantation in Brunswick county south of Wilmington. It's been sold and is closed to the public.

There are carriage tours in downtown Wilmington and a pleasant riverwalk near shops and restaurants.

Virginia
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6. Re: 1st trip to Wilmington

Wow, I didn't realize Orton platation had closed. Is it not opening to the public again? I'm happy that we were able to visit there back in May before it closed.

We also like Airlie Gardens.

Wilmington, NC
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7. Re: 1st trip to Wilmington

The signs say closed indefinitely. A descendent of the original owner bought it and will be doing extensive renovations. He has said the plan is for his family to spend time living there, but he doesn't know if it will ever re-open to the public.

I'm really sad about it. We live 15-20 minutes away and have enjoyed visiting the gardens (especially in the spring) and seeing the home exterior used in the Drew Barrymore movie (blanking out on the name).

carolinas
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8. Re: 1st trip to Wilmington

Wilmington has something no one else has -- the Battleship North Carolina -- a WWII wonder. You can go all over the ship, and depending on when you are there, they have music, tours, all kinds of neat things. It is living history. Also, if you go to Fort Fisher, you can learn a bit about NC's Civil War heritage. Check out homegrownhandmade.com online for other interesting things in the area, like the farmer market on Saturday mornings. Mazalea

nj
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9. Re: 1st trip to Wilmington

Just got back from a weekend there and enjoyed it a great deal.

Definitely recommend walking along the riverfront and the historic district as well. There was a farmers market on Saturday along the riverfront; not sure if it continues into October? But it was nice- nothing major but certainly a nice plus to buy some peaches to munch on.

We did the horse/carriage tour which was very cute and gave a good overview of the historic district (it was $12 per person and lasted about 30-45 minutes). It was a very walking friendly town- seemed to be a fairly concentrated downtown area.

There are also a few small theatres which are pretty good( though we did not go ) that I would check out.

We realy enjoyed Front STreet Brewery which was very popular and reasonably priced.

JENSEN BEACH
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10. Re: 1st trip to Wilmington

October is beautiful in the Wilmington area! Be sure to ck chamber of commerce site for special events that could be going on while you are there. Oysters are in season and there are several festivals centered around them! If you are a seafood lover visit Oceanic Restauant on the Ocean in Wrightsville Beach. Sit upstairs near a window for a terrific view. Have a cocktail on the attatched pier right over the waves. For a more casual seafood option visit Dockside Restaurant and grab a bucket of roasted oysters to enjoy overlooking the river and marsh. I'll be there in 2 wks...can't wait.

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