Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One of these days we'll actually see this in person

The Holiday Flotilla was held recently, and it sounds like an extremely cool thing.

"It’s a floating parade with fishing boats and pleasure craft decorated with thousands of lights that present a spectacular display on the intracoastal waterway," says WWAY. "Hundreds venture down to Pleasure Island each Christmas season to watch the sparkling event."

Unfortunately, we typically have a little holiday party of our own (in Raleigh) the same day as the Flotilla, which means we've never been able to enjoy it. Some day.

"We just thought it would be different. A lot of places in Raleigh, you know, there are parades and the usual Christmas stuff, but there are no flotillas because there's no ocean nearby,” Joan Plotnick of Raleigh said. “So we thought, we want to do something we've never done before, and then I saw this flotilla listing in the magazine and thought, that's different!"

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's the most wonderful time of the year ...

Well, if you're at the beach, perhaps SUMMER is the most wonderful time. But, aside from that. the holidays can be nice too.

From a press release ...

Celebrate the season coastal-style and experience the color and pageantry of holiday events that reflect the traditions, creative culture and independent spirit of Wilmington, North Carolina's historic river district and island beaches. Visitors can choose from more than 40 holiday events to create a meaningful vacation or memorable getaway in Wilmington, N.C. and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach. Annual traditions include candlelight home tours, light displays, Colonial & Victorian celebrations, flotillas, cruises, parades, and fireworks. And that's not all-the arts are alive with music and theatre galore! To download a holiday events brochure, visit www.GoWilmingtonAndBeaches.com/holiday or call 1-866-266-9690 to request a free copy. For holiday specials, featured events and experiences, visit www.GoWilmingtonAndBeaches.com.

Among the CB items highlighted are:

-Nov. 25-Dec. 17-Christmas by the Sea. Boardwalk lights up at 8pm on Nov. 25. Then on Saturdays from 5pm-9pm, enjoy family holiday activities & entertainment. Carolina Beach Boardwalk, www.boardwalkmakeover.org

-Nov.25-Dec.31-Island of Lights Festival. Holiday lights & events. Carolina/Kure beaches. www.islandoflights.org.

-Nov. 25-Dec. 31-Light-Up Celebration & Walking Tours of Lake. 7pm. Ceremony (Nov. 25) begins "Island of Lights Festival," Carolina Beach Lake. Lit nightly for walks thru Dec. Free. 910-458-6885. www.islandoflights.org

-Nov. 26-Dinner Cruise to view NC Holiday Flotilla. Board at3pm. Admission charge. Advance reservations. Royal Winner Princess, Carolina Beach Marina. 910-458-5356; www.winnerboats.com

-Dec. 2-Island of Lights Christmas Parade. 7:30pm. Extraordinary nighttime lighted parade announces Santa's arrival on the island. Lake Park Blvd/ Hwy 421 S, Carolina Beach. Free. www.islandoflights.org

-Dec. 31-Island of Lights New Year's Eve Countdown Party. 9pm-12am.Music, fireworks, lighted beach ball drop. Carolina Beach Boardwalk. Free. www.islandoflights.org

Monday, November 21, 2011

N.C. still committed to an educational pier in CB

From WECT:

Council members in Carolina Beach have been hoping to build a pier near Carolina Beach Avenue by 2014, but there has been some issues with funding.

Last week, Town Manager Tim Owens received and email from the NC Aquariums Division Director David Griffin saying the state is still committed to an educational fishing pier in the area.

Griffin said the economy is to blame for the delay.

There is still an $800,000 grant available, along with an additional $350,000 from the aquarium that could be used to purchase the ocean front lot.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

CB keeps its character

From a press release:

There’s always something new and nostalgic to discover in Carolina Beach (http://www.carolinabeachgetaway.com), a North Carolina beach destination known for its vintage and authentic appeal.

Thanks to the vision of community leaders, Carolina Beach is experiencing a revitalization of its boardwalk that helps to preserve the vitality and originality of this classic beach town. These efforts will also ensure that Carolina Beach remains a fun, safe and clean place for families and future generations to enjoy. Family-friendly events and new businesses help to keep things fresh and exciting for visitors, all the while enhancing the personality and allure of Carolina Beach.

While the classic Carolina Beach Boardwalk evokes nostalgia for the past, a variety of shops and activities put this local and visitor favorite very much in the present (http://bit.ly/jKDdqW). New shops, restaurants and rental stores provide visitors with a fresh alternative to the “same old, same old” beach trip. Families can enjoy everything from riding around in surrey carts to tasting the best of the beach’s culinary delights.

Carolina Beach businesses, residents, and civic groups are committed to an ongoing “boardwalk makeover” campaign to restore the Boardwalk’s charm and to keep people coming back year after year. As a result, visitors now enjoy a Boardwalk with park space, aesthetic improvements, blossoming local businesses, and year-round activities.

This fall and holiday season, fishing tournaments and holiday events draw visitors to Carolina Beach, including the annual Christmas by the Sea celebration and month-long Island of Lights Festival, which both kick off in November.

For fall visitors who enjoy supporting local farmers and producer growers, the Pleasure Island Fresh Market serves up a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables at the Carolina Beach Marina each Saturday through early December (http://bit.ly/rr8xfa). Fresh food and a fun atmosphere contribute to the constant renewal and community evolution of Carolina Beach.

Click here for more.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

CB has possible pier land buyer

From the Star-News ...

A developer is interested in purchasing two Carolina Beach hotel properties that were supposed to be used for a future state-operated aquarium pier and park, the town's attorney said at the Tuesday night council meeting.

But the developer did not present a written proposal, so the council will continue to move forward with its plans to find a new manager for the hotels, which are in poor shape and need renovations, and to discuss the project's chances with state officials.

Steve Coggins, the town's attorney, said he met with a hotel developer and was told that the purchase price "would certainly encompass that all debt on the property would be paid off."

Unless additional state grants or assistance come through to cover the cost of the properties, Carolina Beach taxpayers are on the hook for paying more than $4 million in debt on the land purchase.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

We've got Wi-Fi!

We actually made it down to Our Beach Place on Sunday for the first time in months, and we're happy to say that you all have taken great care of it. Everything looks great. (And Irene did no damage - yeah!)

In the coming months and years we plan to do a few minor modifications. The first priority is to replace the couch. It wasn't nearly as awful as I was expecting -- in fact, it looks great! -- but we do want to upgrade it, perhaps as early as this fall. Our other future plans include replacing the carpet with some nice hardwoods or pergo, and perhaps a better TV. But all in all, OBP looks fantastic!

One small upgrade we made: we now have wireless internet for our guests. We have had a modem for some months, but we had not gotten around to actually adding a wireless router. Now we have. Now our guests can surf on the beach and ALMOST surf from the beach.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's all good

In case you were wondering, Our Beach Place made it through Hurricane Irene unscathed. We brought in the porch furniture and that seemed to be enough.

So, if you wanna enjoy Carolina Beach in the late-summer or early fall, let us know. Personally, it's my favorite time of the year to enjoy the beach.

Monday, August 22, 2011

In case you haven't heard, there were waterspouts in CB

Some waterspouts came ashore in Carolina Beach last week. But those wanting to get away to the beach should not be alarmed. I've been going to the beach on a regular basis for more than 30 years, and I've seen waterspouts just once -- and I've never seen them come on shore.

For those unaware, waterspouts are essentially tornadoes that form over the ocean. On Thursday morning, up to three -- according to officials -- came on shore in Carolina Beach near Atlanta Ave., Canal Drive and the Boardwalk area of Carolina Beach, according to NBC17.

An initial storm survey report from the National Weather Service indicates that 65 mph winds from the waterspout moved onshore near the Marriott in Carolina Beach, then tracked south paralleling the beach to around the Boardwalk.

It then moved inland and dissipated over Carolina Beach Lake.

A witness says 20 feet of decking south of Hamlet Ave. was lifted by the tornado. Umbrellas were also reportedly tossed near the same location.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Towns pitching in for CB Inlet

Like many inlets along the N.C. coast, Carolina Beach Inlet is filling in with sand and is in need of some serious dredging.

Unfortunately, the Army Corps of Engineers has no money to dredge, so the towns of S.E. N.C. are being asked to pony up, according to reports.

Carolina Beach on Tuesday agreed to pay as much as $55,000 for the $450,000 project. Other communities in New Hanover County will consider money for the dredging at meetings in the coming week. The state has already said it will pay half the cost of the project.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pleasure Island known for the water sports

(From a press release)

Visitors to Carolina, Kure and Wrightsville beaches find ample opportunities to dive into water sport activities. Whether it is taming the area's world class surf, trying something new like stand-up paddle boarding or simply grabbing the boogie boards with the entire family, the three communities offer a variety of options for all ages and skill levels entering the last weeks of summer fun. Area residents and visitors alike are expected to flock to this year's 15th Annual East Coast Wahine Surfing Tournament, held at Wrightsville Beach Saturday, Aug. 20 and Sunday, Aug. 21. The nationally-recognized tournament draws almost 200 women surfers and even more surfing fans each year to the renowned Columbia Street surf break. The area is also known for the annual Southeast SUP Championship, drawing stand-up paddle surfers from around the region since 2009 for the nationally-recognized competition. Those considering a trip to one of the beaches might want to check out the rich local surfing culture. At Carolina and Wrightsville Beaches, families can take advantage of a number of surf school and camp options that make life easy for adults and children alike. Both private and group lessons are available for novice as well as advanced surfers. At Kure Beach, the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher hosts summer surf camps for children ages 10 and up. ...

Carolina Beach, part of North Carolina's coast, remains a uniquely "original" beach. With a classic boardwalk, fascinating festivals and colorful characters, the beach remains an enjoyable destination for the entire family all year. For more information, visit http://www.carolinabeachgetaway.com or call (800) 641-7082. ...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

CB Brew Thru feels the love

The Brew Thru at Carolina Beach is getting some love from Wilmington's Encore publication.

Having first originated in the Outer Banks back in the late ‘70s, the Carolina Beach location opened in May 2009. Store owner John Childers explains it’s “the original drive-thru convenience store, where you can actually drive into the store and be waited on by our ‘cartenders.’”

Yes, it’s true. Customers drive through the store, as rows of coolers align either side, along with snacks, ice, tobacco products, kegs and even tchotchke beach memorabilia like t-shirts. In the coolers aren’t only bottles of water and soda, but the finer adult beverages so many associate with beach lounging.

Outside of the establishment, the building resembles the colors and architecture of a car wash. When pulling through, customers are greeted with a huge selection of craft beer, domestics and imports, and a friendly cartender who aims to provide a unique and personal experience. Anyone who’s in a rush to get home after a hard day’s night will find Brew Thru’s to-go convenience top notch. “One of the things we really love about North Carolina is that it is one of the top states in the craft beer movement,” Childers says.

Presently, the Carolina Beach store carries 50 different craft beers and they hope to keep expanding in that department. “Just in the last couple years, we have seen customers come through who previously only drank domestics, gradually move into the more complex flavors of craft beers. It is really exciting watching the change and seeing our customers’ knowledge increase. At the store, the staff and managers continuously educate themselves, so that we can make suggestions and recommendations to customers who want to explore the world of craft beers.”


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Some CB food thoughts

I don't know Don Lesser, who has a blog devoted to seemingly food and eating, but he recently visited Carolina Beach (and is still there?) and wrote about his experiences there. You can read the full post here.

[M]y brother offered us his condo in North Carolina and we both thought a change would be good. Not to mention water that is actually warm enough to get in. Anyway, the trip included a BBQ stop off 95 in North Carolina and then on to the home of sweet tea and fried food, Tiki bars and “Island” cuisine.

I’ll leave out the duds for the moment. We did find two places that I’d call worth visiting. Bowman’s at the Beach we found on our own. It looks old-school, a brick building nestled on the strip, and inside, it feels like it’s been there for a while. The staff is incredibly friendly and, yes, most of the food is fried, but unlike a lot of the places at the beach, the food feels like it was made in the back rather than defrosted. I had some fried oysters, with mac n cheese and fried okra. Sarah had the BBQ pork. The basket of hushpuppies accompanied the meal were the best I have had on this trip. The oysters were fried but greaseless and the BBQ pork tasted meaty. The sweet tea was also the best we’ve had this trip. Sarah, who normally eschews anything with sugar, has been scarfing down the sweet tea like a pilgrim at the holy waterfountain. Sarah pronounced the fried okra great, so I’ll go with her. She makes it rolled in cornmeal, which is the way I’ve gotten used to it. Around here, they cover the pieces in batter. Still, the frying was pretty greasefree–not much grease left on the plate when we were done and I never got the “whoa, too much grease” feeling hours later. ...

The other place we liked was Gulfstream Restaurant, another old-time place. We got that recommendation off of chowhound.com and it was good. I’m a little overloaded on fried food, so I opted for the broiled flounder covered with deviled crab stuffing. Not exactly diet food, but the broiled fish at the previous night’s Deck House had left me ready for something with a little flair. The fish was fresh and the crab stuffing had crisped up nicely without extending the cooking time into the overdone phase. Good cole slaw and the baked potato I opted for over the french fries was wrapped in foil but OK. Hushpuppies and sweet tea not as good as Bowmans, but there was a Shrimp Creole on the menu that I want to try. There is someone cooking out back, not just some college kid with a fryolator and a freezer. ...

Thursday nights there are fireworks on the boardwalk. The boardwalk is small and slightly seedy, like all boardwalks I’ve been to since I was a boy. But there is live music. A good Southern rock n roll band was playing before and during the fireworks which were going off behind their stage. The fireworks were low and some of the shells seemed packed with a little more explosives, leading to a big POW as it blew apart the chrysamthum shells. But listening to good rock n roll while they were going off was a real treat. Aside from some choreographed fireworks in New Orleans that were “big city” fireworks, this is the first time I’ve heard that at local fireworks. Highly recommended.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Column: Carolina Beach is 'my beach'

Came across this touching column from Carolina Beach native Kris Worrell, editor of the Utica Observer-Dispatch about her memories of what she called "my beach."

... I’ve lived at (and visited) many beaches in my day – Virginia Beach, the Outer Banks, the Cape, Galveston, Ocean Beach in San Diego – but nothing compares to “my beach.”

My beach is Carolina Beach, a small, unpretentious place about 15 miles outside Wilmington, N.C., between the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Fear River. My grandparents built a house, which my grandmother designed, and two cottages next door during the 1950s. My mother and aunt spent summers there, then my cousins and I did the same. The four-bedroom house never had air conditioning other than the breeze blowing from the ocean but we could always keep cool with a dish of Grandmother’s homemade peach ice cream.

All summer long, Grandmother would rent the two cottages out, mostly to families from West Virginia or Kentucky who saved up all year for this one week in the sun. They would drive up in their cars, the kids pressing their faces to the windows as they saw the ocean for the first time. After they got the key, and often before even unpacking the car, the whole pack would run, stripping off shirts and shoes, arms outstretched, into the waiting surf.

I was born in Wilmington, but only because Carolina Beach, where my parents lived at the time, didn’t have a hospital. Years later while I was pregnant with my first child, my cousins went to the beach house and scooped up a container of sand and shells, then mailed it to me in New York. My husband placed it under the hospital bed (both times) so my children would be born over Carolina Beach soil.

The last time I saw the house and beach was 2001. Monday, Sept. 10, 2001, to be exact. We had gone to meet my cousins and show my new husband this place I’ve talked about for years. The vacation didn’t turn out as planned, as we spent most of the week trying to contact our friends in New York City and watching news of the terrorist attacks instead of lounging in the sand.

My kids had never seen the beach or the house, which my grandmother sold decades ago when the upkeep became too much. So, on this trip, we drove over the bridge and into the small town. The boardwalk, though a bit bigger, still had the obligatory arcade and the wonderfully simple Britt’s Donuts shop, voted the best in the country by numerous magazines, tourists and natives alike. They’ve been selling one kind of donut – basic, glazed, perfect – since 1939. Donuts, coffee, milk. That’s all that is on the menu. What else do you need? ...

I snapped pictures of my kids in front of the house, with the same view I used to see spread out behind them. There were lots more people on the beach than I ever had to tolerate, the tide was coming in and we got caught in a terrible lightning storm that sent us under the porch for a time.

Still, like a sweet, delicious donut, it was perfect.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Michael's does it again!

Congratulations to Carolina Beach's Michael's Seafood and Catering for winning firstplace at the Great Chowder Cook-Off in Rhode Island for a third straight year.

Unfortunately, there can be no four-peat.

Now that his world-famous clam chowder is a three-time winner, Chef Michael McGowan from the Carolina Beach restaurant has to retire the champion chowder from the competition.

Paul Tarasco has worked at Michael's for six years. After the first win in 2009, Tarasco said that the three-peat was no surprise to anyone who has tasted the soup.

"We knew for a fact we were going to sweep it ," said Tarasco. "There's no way we weren't going to win the next two years."

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Don't believe us? Then read this!

We LOVE Carolina Beach. (Of course we do; we wouldn't have Our Beach Place if we didn't.) But don't just listen to us.

With temperatures and gas prices on the rise this summer, many families are planning affordable getaways to Carolina Beach, N.C. Coastal breezes and free seaside activities combine to offer great value, family fun and a refreshing break for everyone. With a conveniently-accessible location, Carolina Beach is also easy on the gas. Major highways make the trip there quick via I-40, US-74, or NC-421.

Carolina Beach offers the best of a North Carolina beach experience. A variety of free events and affordable activities create a destination that is literally music to the ears. In June, vacationers can dance barefoot in the sand at the Pleasure Island Beach Music Festival—the largest and only music festival held on the beach along the North Carolina coast. There are also free concerts every Friday evening throughout the summer at nearby Fort Fisher.

One of the “must-sees” of Carolina Beach summer vacations is the free “Film & Fireworks Series.” On Sunday evenings, visitors grab beach chairs or blankets and head over to Carolina Beach Lake Park for free, first-run, family-friendly movies. On Thursday nights, the place to be is on the beach, near the boardwalk, where there's a spectacular display of fireworks. And, any night of the week, families can take in the sights and sounds of Carolina Beach's classic seaside amusement park.

Whether combing the beach for shells or treasured sea glass or taking in all the shopping, dining and arcade activity along the boardwalk, there's something to engage and delight everyone. There are water sports galore including surfing, boating and fishing. Or enjoy a slightly slower pace of life at Carolina Beach Lake by renting a paddleboat, canoe or kayak. Landlubbers can enjoy a hike along the many scenic trails at Carolina Beach State Park or rent a surrey bike and pedal through the center of town. ...

For all shaggers and beach music fans, the 26th Annual Pleasure Island Beach Music Festival on June 4 is an opportunity to sway to the beat. Widely recognized as the biggest and only beach music festival actually held on the beach on the North Carolina coast, this fun festival is hosted by the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce. ...

With so much to see and do in Carolina Beach and its surrounding areas, it's no wonder visitors call it the summertime headquarters of sun, sand and smiles!

Click on the link at the top for more.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Surfing is big biz in CB

From the balcony of OBP, you can watch for hours the many surfers who make the trek to Carolina Beach. The stretch in front of our condo seems to be one of the most popular spots on the island for catching waves.

Apparently the influx of surfers is a great economic boon for the town, according to WECT.

Memorial Day weekend is considered the start of the summer tourist season, but it's starting early for local beachside businesses. ...

Carolina Beach already has a vibrant surfing community, but it's the out-of-town wave riders that make summer so profitable.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Do you love beach music?

Then the Cape Fear Coast is the place to be!

[B]oogie on down to Wilmington and North Carolina’s Cape Fear Coast during the month of June for back-to-back weekends of beach music festivals. Two summer festivals will feature the best in beach music, a laid-back style of rhythm-and-blues with roots on the Carolina coast. On Saturday, June 4, Carolina Beach is the place to be during the 26th Annual Carolina Beach Music Festival. The following Saturday, June 11, the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA will host a Beach Music Festival at Battleship Park to celebrate the ship’s 50th Anniversary as a World War II attraction in Wilmington.

Kick up some sand at Carolina Beach on Saturday, June 4th during the 26th annual Carolina Beach Music Festival (formerly Pleasure Island Beach Music Festival). Held on the beach near the Carolina Beach Boardwalk between Harper and Hamlet Avenues, the annual summer music extravaganza features beach music where it originated—on the Carolina coast. The fun begins on Friday during a kickoff party with music by The Carolina Breakers and DJ Mike Worley at the Sea Witch Café & Tiki Bar. The Carolina Beach Music Festival gets rocking on Saturday at 11:00am with continuous live music until 4:30pm. This year’s bands include: Jim Quick & Coastline (11:00am); The Band of Oz (1:00pm); and The Fantastic Shakers (3:00pm). Gates open at 10:30am, so bring your chairs, sunscreen, beach blankets, and coolers (no glass; no pets) and spend the day enjoying classic beach tunes. The 26th Annual Carolina Beach Music Festival is presented by the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce. Tickets cost $15 in advance and $20 at the gate (no refunds). Advance tickets (cash-only) are available at the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce (1121 N. Lake Park Blvd., Carolina Beach) and the following Carolina Beach businesses: Courtyard by Marriott, Olde Salty’s, the Silver Dollar, and Touchè. For details and online ticket purchases (credit card only), please visit www.pleasureislandnc.org/beachmusicfestival.asp or call 910-458-8434. A shag dance contest with over $4,000 in cash prizes follows on Saturday night at the Sea Witch Café & Tiki Bar. To register for the shag contest or to purchase contest tickets, call 910-231-8212. The party continues on Sunday at the Sea Witch with music by Soul Beam.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Editorial: Treat Masonboro like a jewel

We've briefly discussed Masonboro and its "issues" before. Recently, the Star-News in Wilmington weighed in.

In an area rich with natural resources, undeveloped Masonboro Island stands out as a gem. The barrier island between Wrightsville and Carolina beaches is a nature reserve and also a popular destination for beachgoers.

Unlike our beach towns and the popular north end of Carolina Beach, there is no regular supervision on the fragile barrier island, which is a sea turtle nesting area, important marine nursery and wildlife haven.

Unfortunately, another sort of “wildlife” has put its mark on the island at times, leaving the beach trashed after busy summer weekends, especially holidays. In addition to trash, there have been fights and injuries amid the throngs of people and anchored boats along the island’s shoreline.

After one particularly wild weekend a few years back, New Hanover County sheriff’s deputies ferried ATVs to the island and patrolled the area. Most people seemed to get the message about the trash, and officials and island supporters were pleasantly surprised to arrive on the island the day after a big holiday weekend and find very little litter. ...

With the weather warming up and people beginning to take the short boat ride to the island, it’s important to get the word out that, although a closure to the public is not imminent, it is always a possibility.

With the folks at the N.C. Coastal Reserve taking a hard look at the rules for Masonboro and all its other sites up and down the North Carolina coast, folks using the island need to be on their best behavior.

And not simply because access could be restricted, but because it is a fragile and unique place that we share with all sorts of marine life, and because taking special care of this jewel is the right thing to do.

Visit Masonboro. Enjoy its isolation and its beauty. And honor it by being a good steward

Water project gets funding

According to news sources, Carolina Beach has received a $100,000 grant from the state to go toward buying a .287-acre parcel that will become part of the Ocean-to-Sound Access Park and future home of the NC Aquarium Pier.

The grants are meant to help towns and counties restore streams, improve stormwater collection and benefit other water resources.

Now if we can only do something about the foul-smelling water ...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Report: Snakes, Venus fly traps and pirates - oh, my!

A nice piece from the Miami Herald about the Cafe Fear Coast.

We thought we’d done every “trail” imaginable, from wine trails to art trails to birding trails. But...a Venus flytrap trail? Sure enough, Wilmington has 12 sites devoted to this carnivorous plant, since this city is the only place in the world, they say, where you can see the Venus flytrap in its native (boggy) environment. That attraction alone was enough to draw us to Wilmington, a city that’s never been on the top of our “must-see before you die” list.

Our young traveling companions were skeptical. “Plants?” Raevin, 7, asked. “Seriously? We’re going to look at a bunch of plants?” She gave us a look that said “Totally lame!” We promised her we’d make a trip to the beach after we visited the flytrap trail at Carolina Beach State Park.

Once Raevin saw the bug-eating plants, with their teeth-y leaves, she was captivated, busily snapping photos. When we decided to check out some other walking trails at the park, there were no complaints from Miss Raevin.

It turns out that Wilmington had other surprises. Far from a snooze, we found Wilmington to be wildly kid-friendly.

Among the highlights were, naturally, the beaches.

The Cape Fear Coast has 31 miles of beach, and they’re a big draw. Everyone raves about Wrightsville Beach, but we found it full of co-eds in teensy bikinis. (What Mom needs that? We were here to have fun, not to feel self-conscious about the muffin-tops sprouting under our tankinis!) So we spent most of our beach-time at Carolina and Kure beaches — especially the fishing pier at Kure Beach, one of the oldest on the East Coast. We didn’t fish ourselves, but it was fun to see what other fisher-folk were pulling out of the water. Carolina Beach has a retro-looking boardwalk (circa 1896) with carnival rides (in season), Trolley Stop Hot Dogs, a local landmark, and Britt’s, one of the top donut shops in the U.S. What’s not to like?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Metered parking costs to go up

Beginning today, it will cost $1.25 an hour to park in CB metered spaces from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m., according to WECT.

Parking on the island will still be free after 7 p.m.

There are several pay station lots to make parking more convenient. Those stations accept $10, $5, $1, nickels, dimes and quarters in addition to Visa and Master Card.

[See a detailed map of parking lots and spaces at Carolina Beach (PDF)]

Freeman Park passes will also cost a little more starting April 1. They could be purchased for $60 until the end of March, they jump to $100 in April.

Just know that if you rent Our Beach Place and just hang out and relax, parking isn't a problem.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Don't let the rain and cold weather fool ya: Summer's on its way!

Yes, it's somewhat abnormally cold and dreary, but don't let that trouble you. Summer (and warmer weather) is on its way.

How do I know that?

Britt's Donuts is open!

Life is good.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Freeman Park passes have doubled

People are lining up to get their passes to Freeman Park in Carolina Beach. Last year the town agreed to increase fees after March, so beachgoers are rushing to pay the lower price, according to WECT.

Town officials Freeman Park pass sales have more than doubled compared to last year. This time last year, Carolina Beach sold 1,655 passes. This year they've already sold 3,491.

"We've had a big rush for people who want to get in and save that $40," said Dennis Barbour, owner of True Value in Carolina Beach.

Passes can be purchased for $60 until the end of March. After April 1 the price rises to $100.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bike Week coming? Maybe. Wing Fling? Definitely

Update: OK, so looks like no Bike Week in CB after all.

Danny Swinson, a Carolina Beach citizen, requested that council consider hosting a Bike Week in Carolina Beach, but withdrew his proposal after a public outcry against it.

The concerns in the community centered around the congestion and potential crime associated with an event of this kind. Council voted not to endorse bike week.

There's some chatter about a Bike Week in Carolina Beach, according to WECT.

Carolina Beach Town Hall will vote [tonight] whether or not to host the motor-friendly event.

Danny Swinson is the man behind the idea, and he said it's not meant to be a replacement to the Myrtle Beach Bike Week that has had problems in the past.

Swinson's event would be more like Shallotte's Bike Week, which has become a refuge for bikers wanting to escape the Myrtle Beach hassle.

Carolina Beach already has a couple biker clubs populating the boardwalk area, and the local businesses WECT spoke with said they're ready for more bikers. ...

If residents are worried about rugged, hard-nosed bikers rolling into town, Swinson said they have the wrong idea of bikers. The three biker clubs he plans to invite to the event are Rolling Thunder, The Blue Knights and The Red Knights, which include retired servicemen, police officers and fire fighters, respectively.

One thing that is definitely coming to CB is Wing Fling, again according to WECT.

After some controversy and confusion, it appears the Wing Fling festival will take place in Carolina Beach.

Organizers were recently turned down for an ABC permit to hold the event in downtown Wilmington. Weeks before, they had been turned down by New Hanover County leaders to hold the event at Hugh McRae Park.

In the 11th hour, Carolina Beach leaders gave the organizers their approval. The event will be Saturday, March 26th at Cape Fear Boulevard. Tickets cost $15 and must be bought in advance. Bringing your own alcohol is not an option.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Vendors at Freeman Park?

Freeman Park has long been revered for its unspoiled simplicity. But that could change.

"Town leaders in Carolina Beach are looking for ways to enhance the beach experience," says WECT.

Town council members are expected to talk about allowing push cart vendors at Freeman Park this season. A discussion about the topic is set for a special meeting Tuesday.

Last year the town allowed the delivery of beer from the Brew Thru.

What are your thoughts? Will this "enhance" the beach experience? Or just clutter it?
(Image from foreveryoungphotos)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Azalea Festival: An institution

Wow, 64 years is a long time for one event to have kept on, keepin' on. But the N.C. Azalea Festival has been bringing it for that long.

This year's version will take place April 6-10 in Wilmington.

A springtime tradition since 1948, the 64th Annual North Carolina Azalea Festival(April 6-10, 2011) celebrates the rich history, arts, and culture of Wilmington & North Carolina’s Cape Fear Coast(Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach). During April when our region’s landscape is dominated by thousands of brilliant pink, white, and purple azaleas, we pay homage to these dazzling flowers during the annual N.C. Azalea Festival, a five-day celebration that ushers in spring with Southern hospitality and fanfare. This is why Wilmington, N.C. was recognized as an “Azalea City” by The Azalea Society of America in December 2009.

Highlights of the N.C. Azalea Festival include Azalea belles dressed in period hoop skirts, a parade, juried arts and craft shows, a traveling circus, concerts, fireworks, and a street fair with exhibits, vendors, live entertainment, and kids’ activities. Signature events include the Cape Fear Garden Club’s Azalea Garden Tour (April 8-10), one of the South’s longest-running and most popular garden tours.

Click here for even more information.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

80 degrees? I need to be at the beach!

It was tough to do yard work in Raleigh today knowing that the weather was perfect -- especially when we could be at the beach.

Hopefully this warm weather will stick around. And let us know if you want to enjoy the ol' Beach Place.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Whatta sunset!

Special thanks to Renae again, or I would never have seen this. Enjoy!

Oh, and if you want to enjoy these types of sunsets, just let us know!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pleasure Island among best beaches in the state

According to Yahoo, Carolina Beach is among the best beaches in North Carolina. (Well, duh!)

"Back on July 1, 2010, Yahoo contributor Tricia Sabol wrote an article titled 'The Best Beaches in North Carolina' and she chose the beaches of Pleasure Island as the best in the state. The three beach areas of Pleasure Island were lumped into one due to their close proximity to each other," writes Carolina Beach Today.

Ms. Sabol noted in her article that because North Carolina is filled with so many wonderful beaches that it can often be difficult for visitors to chose one for their vacations. To help them out, she came up with her list of the top three in the state and here is what she had to say about naming the beaches of Pleasure Island as her top pick:

This is my pick for the best beach area in North Carolina. I have lumped Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Fort Fisher into one entry because of their very close proximity to one another on the southeastern coast of North Carolina. This area is less commercially developed than nearby Wrightsville Beach, so there are not many great options for shopping. However, what you will find at Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Fort Fisher are fewer crowds, gorgeous beaches, and a very relaxed atmosphere.

Both Carolina Beach and Kure Beach have small fishing piers, and Carolina Beach even has a small boardwalk with an arcade. A visit to Britt's Donut Shop on the Carolina Beach boardwalk is a must!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

'Welcome to Pleasure Island'

Our friend (and Realtor) Renae Perrett, has put together a lovely video on the beautiful Pleasure Island, which you can view on YouTube. Nice work, Renae!

As Renae says, if you have "six minutes to relax, sit back and enjoy." Indeed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

CB trying to resolve 'road diet' problem

"Last year the Town of Carolina Beach trimmed down it's main road from four to two lanes. The 'road diet' for Lake Park Blvd. has caused some huge headaches for people," said WWAY. The CB town council recently met to talk about possible solutions.

The road diet not only did away with lanes of traffic. It also added a dual purpose turn lane, bike lanes and diagonal parking spaces. Severe congestion problems, safety of bicyclists and small business sales suffering are just a few of the problems the diet has caused.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Book now for great summer deals

It may be freezing around these parts, but if you want to plan ahead for your summer getaways, start planning now.

For one thing, we may be willing to offer cut-rate, early-bird specials on the ol' Beach Place. Be sure to check out our VRBO.com site -- you will see that the calendar is WIDE OPEN for '11. Let us know when you'd like to go to Carolina Beach, and we'll easily work with you on a good rate.

Happy vacationing!