History & Gardens At NC’s Cape Fear Coast
Sometimes a change of scenery isn’t enough. Maybe you and your friends need a destination that will transport you to a different place in time as well. If that’s the case, let the Cape Fear Coast serve as your time machine.
A stroll through the antebellum and Victorian architecture of Wilmington’s historic district will help you and your friends recall the days of chivalry. Stay in one of the district’s many bed and breakfast inns and take in a performance at historic Thalian Hall, which has hosted such stage legends as Maurice Barrymore – great-grandfather of Drew. Walk the boardwalk along the Cape Fear River and imagine the sounds of a bustling colonial waterfront as you pop in the shops and restaurants that line Water Street.
Closer to the sea in Wrightsville Beach, you can explore Airlie Gardens, once part of the historic Pembroke Jones estate – the man rumored to have inspired the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses.” A sculpture garden within celebrates the life of Minnie Evans, the longtime gatekeeper who came to fame as a folk artist in the 1960s for her wildly imaginative drawings and paintings.
At nearby Fort Fisher State Park you and your friends can walk the Civil War battleground where the U.S. Army defeated the Confederates to close Wilmington, the South’s last major port. Then board a ferry to travel down the Cape Fear River to Southport. See the riverbank as sailors, pirates and fishermen gazed upon them hundreds of years ago. As you approach Southport, look for the remains of the abandoned Price’s Creek Lighthouse, built of imported English brick and destroyed in the Civil War. At Southport, tour the historic district then lunch dockside, watching the fishing and pleasure boats bob in the waves.
By Amber Nimocks
By Amber Nimocks
added: December 4, 2008
updated: June 1, 2010