Standing Still on the ICW: Wrightsville Beach, NC


Disclaimer:  This is a long post, so go and grab a cold (or hot) beverage, and sit down and enjoy.

October 1, 2015:  The weather was definitely not on our side on Thursday.  We went to the marina office at Seapath to watch the Weather channel. After viewing the forecast, we decided to wait out the low-pressure front. The front was producing heavy rains, combined with the potential impact from Hurricane Joaquin. We spent the previous night docked along the channel at the gas dock. The marina staff found us another spot inside the marina where the boat would be better protected in high winds and torrential rains.IMG_1821LRIMG_1819LRThe Captain put the camper top on the boat to help keep out most of the rain.

We called Enterprise and secured a car rental until Monday, October 5th, and also made a reservation at Fairfield Inn and Suites from Friday, October 2nd through Monday, October 5th.IMG_1849BWLRThe hurricane ended up going out to sea, thankfully; however, Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington got its share of really nasty weather, with torrential rains, thunderstorms, high winds and flood warnings.

Wilmington reminds me of a mini Savannah, very quaint with old buildings lining the historic district.IMG_1873LRIn spite of the forecast for 100% rain, Saturday turned out to be a beautiful and sunny day. We rode up to Topsail and Surf City.  The wind was churning up the surf and there was no room to walk on the beach, for fear of being dragged out to sea by the current.  It was really beautiful to watch though.IMG_1855LRIMG_1858LRPart of a barn door washed up and then got washed back out to sea.IMG_1859LRIMG_1887LRThe pier at Surf City.  The waves were alsmost up to the fishing pier, and kept rolling in.IMG_1881LRThere were some serious flooding issues in Wrightsville Beach.  The boat began taking on water in the engine compartment, and we had to get a sump pump to pump out the water.  Not a huge issue, but one that needed to be taken care of, and that’s why the Captain stayed with the boat the entire duration of the storm. I am not a fan of high winds and rocking boats, and I took my leave in a nearby hotel.IMG_1849BWLRWe weren’t able to leave Wrightsville Beach until Tuesday, October 6.  We became very well acquainted with the area during our stay, and we really like it here.  The people are nice and friendly, and welcoming.IMG_1843B&WLR

Here is our list of where we visited and dined while we were in the area:

Slice of Life Pizzeria and Beach Pub, 125 Market Street, Wilmington, soups and salads, nachos, chicken wings quesadillas, tacos, pizza (whole pies or slices), and subs and wraps. Good pizza, especially since you can order a slice, and the hard tacos were also good.

The Peppered Cupcake, 105 Front Street, Wilmington, traditional cupcakes, and those with a little something extra like crumbled bacon on top. Definitely worth a visit.

Bluewater Waterfront Grille, 4 Marina Street, Wrightsville Beach. Say hi to Molly, the resident cat who lives outdoors at the restaurant. Fine dining, great seafood, and beautiful views of the Intracoastal Waterway.IMG_1833LRIMG_1831LRIMG_1830LRIMG_1829LRIMG_1828LRCasey’s Buffet, $8.79 all you can eat – opened at 11, by 11:15 a.m. parking lot was full. Full on southern eats, pigs feet, chitterlings, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, black eyed peas, stuffing, baked chicken, fried chicken, fried catfish, beef stew, baked beans, and all of the desserts: peach, blueberry and apple cobbler, banana pudding, bread pudding.

IMG_1835LRWaffle House, locations throughout the south. Great waffles, light and filling. Wish they served real butter instead of the fake stuff.

Mellow Mushroom 224 Causeway Drive, Wrightsville Beach, pizzas and subs, calzones, salads. They also offer two burgers: one beef with Swiss cheese, caramelized onions, garlic aioli, romaine lettuce, sliced tomato, and pickle chips; the other is veggie burger made from quinoa, kale, brown rice and roasted mushrooms, seasoned with roasted garlic an shallots, and comes with fresh avocado, cheddar cheese, garlic aioli, romaine lettuce, sliced tomato and onion. Both burgers are served on a brioche bun. Both burgers include a side of roasted potatoes with caramelized onions, and seasoned with fresh rosemary, kosher salt, fresh garlic and a hint of paprika.  (The description taken directly from their menu).

Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar (downtown Wilmington)  Stopped there for a bite to eat on Saturday night.  I wasn’t hungry, and the Captain was, and he had spiced shrimp, which he said was cooked perfectly and a Caesar salad.

Causeway Café:  Great breakfast/lunch place.  I had sausage gravy over toast, and it was a little different.  The sausage gravy had cut up sausage in it, which provided a nice punch of flavor.  I am still searching for a really good white gravy combination with lots of fresh black pepper.

Jerry Allen’s, 38 N. Lumina Street, Wrightsville Beach.  Went there to watch Sunday football.  Again, I wasn’t hungry, so I can’t attest to the food quality, but the atmosphere was great, in spite of the weather.  Friendly wait staff.

Texas Roadhouse  We ate dinner here on Sunday because we wanted to be close to the hotel and boat due to flash flooding as there were torrential downpours all day long. In fact, during dinner, flash flood alerts came over the cell phone and the restaurant closed early because of the danger.  The food was good, and I would consider eating at another location in the chain in the future.  I ordered beef tips served on a bed of wild rice with a side salad.  Tasty and filling.

Dockside Restaurant  The Dockside Restaurant is located right on the ICW. We went there on our last night in town, Monday, October 5th.  The weather was cloudy, rainy and windy.  There were very few patrons in the restaurant, understandably.  I ordered a “Low Country Grilled Cheese Sandwich,” which consisted of fried green tomatoes, cheddar and swiss cheeses, bacon, and Texas Pete aioli on Texas Toast.  It was SO GOOD.   The restaurant has huge decks overlooking the ICW, and I am sure they do a great business during happy hour and dinner when the weather is nice.  In fact, I’d like to go back to many of these places and visit when the weather is cooperating.

Old Time Pottery  They sell home furnishings and decor for less.  I always find something totally cool and unexpected in this store.  Their selection of holiday merchandise (for any holiday) is amazing, and best of all they have a great selection and great prices.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a store anywhere close — in fact the closest one is in Wilmington, NC.  I hope the chain expands into Maryland soon.

Ella Vickers Sailcloth Collection  We stumbled upon this store on one of those many rainy days, and what a great find.  The store sells home goods, clothing and bags (for a day, weekend or even longer) that are not only fashionable and downright adorable, but also durable enough to take on your boating adventures, whereever they may be.  When we visited the showroom in Wilmington, a lot of the inventory had been shipped to Annapolis for the sail and power boat shows.  I am definitely going to order a crab inspired shower curtain from the collection.


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