Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Quirky Carolina Beach: Floating convenience stores, donuts and more

One thing that drew us to Carolina Beach was its "feel" as an old beach town. You can still walk a little ways to a run-down (yet charming) little store for the necessities and there's that perfect mix of old and new.

Apparently I'm not the only one who feels that way.

This beach still has a bit of an old school flavor, especially at night [says the Daily Reflector].

Wednesday night there was a DJ blasting oldies at the boardwalk, while children rode the carnival rides and about 100 adults played cash bingo just a few feet from the beach.

Oh, and don't forget Britt's Donuts.

This places rocks.

Open since 1939, Britt's Donuts has the best donuts I have ever tasted.

This unassuming spot was probably my favorite shop or restaurant that we visited.

It is just a simple counter with a very simple menu.

They have donuts, coffee and soda. That's it. And it's not a bunch of different flavors. It's one flavor: glazed.

So don't order a chocolate filled or something like that. Just say, "I want two donuts and a coffee." Better yet, make it a half dozen.

We went there Wednesday night and we just had to go back Thursday morning before we left Carolina Beach. Britt's Donuts is awesome.

In addition, there's just enough quirkiness in Carolina Beach to keep you on your toes.

Case in point: The Bait Barge, a floating convenience store.

Yes, a floating convenience store.

If you’re a boater and frequent the waters near Carolina Beach Inlet, you’ve likely noticed the Bait Barge [says the Island Gazette]. It’s a convenient location where boaters can buy live bait, ice and other necessities.

Owner Nick Kintner was informed by the Division of Coastal Management earlier this month that state law considers his operation a “floating structure” and regulations prohibit it from staying in one location more than 30 days.

Kintner said he wasn’t aware of that law and didn’t intentionally try to violate the rules. To resolve the situation, Kintner registered the floating bait shop as a vessel.

The Bait Barge sells both live and frozen bait for all types of fishing.

In addition to ice and bait, they also sell snacks, beverages, sun block, and many other items.

The entire Bait Barge is run on electricity that is self generates through solar panels and windmills. They run business hours every day of the week opening at 7:00 a.m. on weekdays and on weekends they open early at 6:00 a.m. Barring inclement weather the Bait Barge will be open and available as your convenient bait shop on the water.

The Bait Barge accepts credit and debit cards and they hope to be an asset to all of the water loving people in our area. Stop by the bait barge for all of you bait and supply needs the next time you are on the water.

(Photos by the Island Gazette and the Daily Reflector)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Economy slows travelers

Because of the economy, fewer people are visiting the Cape Fear region, according to the Star-News.

More than 15,000 fewer commercial passengers have flown into or out of Wilmington International Airport this year. Through May, 311,852 passengers flew ILM, down 4.6 percent from 326,947 a year ago. Gary Broughton, ILM operations director, said discretionary travel is down because of the economy. But, he added, June’s numbers are looking up.

“I’m hoping now that schools are out the vacation travel might start picking it up pretty well,” he said. ...

From February through May, 49,026 vehicles took the Southport-Fort Fisher ferry across the Cape Fear River, down 13 percent from 56,234 in 2008. The ferry was shut down in January for maintenance.

The biggest hit to ferry travel is coming from out-of-state travelers. From February through May, 2,793 out-of-state vehicles crossed the Cape Fear River on the ferry, a decrease of 48 percent from 5,320 vehicles during that time last year, according to N.C. Ferry Division statistics.

All the [hint] more reason [hint hint] to look for an affordable [hint hint hint] vacation option in Carolina Beach!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The place is 99.5 percent done

We've gotten the correct shade of yellow painted, so here are some new photos of the place. (We even added some orange Adirondack chairs to the porch, which the girls love!)

Catch free flicks at CB

Enjoy free fireworks and movies this summer in Carolina Beach. The fireworks take place at 9 p.m. on Thursdays at Lake Park.

Here is the movie schedule (via the Pleasure Island blog) ...

Sunday June 14 | Hotel for Dogs (G)
Sunday June 21 | The Tale of Despereaux (G)
Sunday June 28 | Indiana Jones, Crystal Skull (PG-13)
Sunday July 5 | Madagascar II (PG)
Sunday July 12 | Pink Panther II (PG)
Sunday July 19 | Space Chimps (G)
Sunday July 26 | Ironman (PG-13)
Sunday August 2 | Monsters vs Aliens IN 3D (PG)
Sunday August 9 | Journey to the Center of the Earth IN 3D (PG)
Sunday August 16 | The Goonies (PG)
Sunday August 23 | Bedtime Stories (PG)
Sunday August 30 | Wall-E (G)
Sunday September 6 | Night at the Museum II (not yet rated)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Star-News: A postcard history of CB

From the Star-News (article and photo):

The rides are back on the Boardwalk at Carolina Beach, and Elaine B. Henson thinks they're picture-perfect. Well, she'd actually be happier if the rock music coming from them weren't so loud. But as a longtime devotee of Carolina Beach, she likes the idea of carnival rides returning to the beach.

She said the carnival rides and stores opening in the Boardwalk area are bringing new life to the heart of the beach town.

Henson is author of "Carolina Beach: A Postcard History," part of Arcadia Publishing's Postcard History Series.

The book, available at stores and shops in Carolina Beach and at Barnes & Noble, traces the beach town's history through postcards. ...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Something close by to do: Catch the Hammerheads in action

Full disclosure: I've never been to a Wilmington Hammerheads match, but the fact that the soccer team has been around since 1996 (longer than many Major League Soccer teams) is a testament to the enjoyment of the games.

The Hammerheads play in the United Soccer League (USL)'s second division, and are Wilmington's first professional sports team. They play at Legion Stadium on Carolina Beach Road, just miles from Pleasure Island.

Here's some info on "Sledge," the Hammerheads' mascot:

While traveling the depths of the Atlantic, Sledge became separated from his family and ended up drifting off the shore at Fort Fisher. He was spotted by staff at the North Carolina Aquarium, looking tired and lost, and was brought to a tank there until he recovered his strength.

During his stay at Fort Fisher, Sledge got along well with the other sharks but was happiest when children would come up to his tank to watch him swim around. Many of these children would wear their Hammerheads strip when visiting Sledge. Over time, the staff at the aquarium started to notice how happy Sledge would get when he saw these children. They decided to contact the Hammerheads about making him part of the team.

Now that Sledge is with the Hammerheads, he is even happier than he was when he lived in the ocean. He loves soccer and never imagined that cheering on the team would be so exciting. Sledge is looking forward to his second season with the Hammerheads and spending time with all of his soccer friends!

To purchase Hammerheads tickets, go here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pleasure Island: A NY Times 'Summer Destination' spot

The New York Times recently featured Pleasure Island in its "One Summer, 14 Weekends" piece.

"The Cape Fear River rambles past the historic and picturesque city of Wilmington, N.C., widening and creating slivery barrier islands with the river on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other," says the paper. "Pleasure Island, about 12 miles south of Wilmington, has the towns of Carolina Beach and Kure Beach as well as pleasurable beaches for catching a tan.

"But you can tackle the area by hiking in Carolina Beach State Park (910-458-8206), home to the carnivorous Venus’ flytraps. Or you can rent a surfboard or body board at SandBarz Surf and Skate Shop on the Boardwalk in Carolina Beach. ..."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The renovation is (99 percent) complete!

Well, it wasn't easy, but we spent all day on Saturday putting the finishing touches on the Carolina Beach condo. Aside from a minor communication flub on the paint color for the living room, everything looks fantastic. (We'll be getting a brighter shade of yellow painted next week.)

Around 2 p.m. on Saturday the place looked like this:

Finally, around 11 p.m., it looked like this:

If you are interested in staying at our place, please email us. June is pretty much booked, but we have some weeks and weekends available in July, August, September, October and so on. Contact us with your interested dates and we'll "sea" what we can work out.

The place is literally 100 feet from the ocean with 3 public accesses within a short walk. (One of which is Freeman Park.) We have cable in the living room, a queen bed in the bedroom and a pull-out sofa. Also (not pictured) is a 9 feet-by-10 feet porch with ocean views.

Oh, and if the above shots aren't promising enough, here is a reminder about the pool and view.