On the 8th day, God made . . .
Sweet Tea! This isn't really exclusive to Wilmington, but it is exclusive to the South. Sweet tea has been a beverage around these parts since, well, as long as I can remember. It's actually just tea with sugar brewed together and is offered on the menu just about anywhere you eat, including Chinese restaurants. You can also put in a couple of lemons in there to add to the taste. To feel like a local (and if you're able to have sugar or caffeine in your diet), order some sweet tea to go along with your meal. It's so ingrained in the Southern culture that a South Carolina band (now disbanded), Cravin' Melon, wrote a song as a tribute to it, simply named "Sweet Tea," which is where I got the title of this tip. For my money; PT's, Bojangles (fast food chicken restaurant), and Priddy Boy's make the best ones.
Head to Front Street and the...
Head to Front Street and the Historic Downtown and you'll find a number of restaurants and bars to mingle and have a good time.
If you're looking for live music, you might try Bessie's on Front Street for rock and blues on the weekends.
If you're heading towards Wrightsville Beach, you can stop in at this restaurant. Most locals love hanging out here because of the view from the pier. You have the option of eating in or outside (during the sunny days). A former colleague of mine usually hangs out there after work on Fridays with friends. I've gone a couple of times if I'm in the mood to just kick back and relax. I usually get the fried shrimp combo. I like Dockside, but I'm surprised that it's a bit pricey for the level of food that it serves. $8 is the average price for a basket of food.
I did not get seasick.....
I have a real problem with boats. I can get sick just standing on the dock, watching small craft bob up and down.
But I had no problem with this big bad boy, the USS North Carolina.
US NAVY INFO:
35000 tons, 730 ft by 110 ft, 27 ft draft.
crew of 1900, top speed 27knots,
+55 guns (nine are 16inch barrell diameter).
Launched in 1940, first US Battleship in WW2, nickname "ShowBoat" for its celebrity.
Action in World War II:
Guadalcanal, Tulagi, Solomon Islands,
guard ship for carriers Enterprise and Saratoga.
Torpedo damage in 1942. back in action in 1943.
Makin, Tarawa, Abemama, Gilbert Islands, Nauru, Kavieng, Marshall Islands.
Marianas, Saipan, Tinian, Guam, Lyte, Luzon, Okinawa, coast of Japan.
15 Battle Stars, retired in 1962.
This was an impressive array of firepower from a heavily armored "sea tank". The size is tough to describe unless you have been on deck. Below deck, it is a maze of heavy doors, narrow halls, still narrower stairways.... shadowy, cold. (My wife's aunt is a tea-reader so when my wife says that she does not want to be below deck anymore I know she is getting the heebie-geebies). She said she felt a weird presence down there.
The day was cloudy-bright and mild, so we were able to stay on deck and check out everything. I would imagine on a hot day, you might need to find some shade.
Prior to going aboard, they have a half-hour video and a diorama and a small museum of momentos.
All in all, it was a great three hours.
Wilmington's Thalian Hall
This is Wilmington's premier center for the performing arts, with over 450 performances annually. It's located inside the old City Hall.
Designed by John Montague Trimble, it was completed in 1858. It has served as the City Hall, library, and opera house. The Thalian Hall hosted many luminaries, including John Phillip Sousa, "Buffalo Bill" Cody, and Maurice Barrymore.