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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Time for a trip to the beach!

Wilmington Fishing Pier

Nothing quite melts the cold of winter like thoughts of a favorite beach. The Texas Gulf Coast is home to me and spending time on the beach never grows old.

Today, however, I'm looking out the window at a North Carolina beach - Wrightsville Beach near Wilmington. It is December and the weather ranges from warm one day to cold the next, and back to somewhere in between. While I read posts of "minus zero" degrees throughout the Midwest, I'm thankful for the opportunity to enjoy and explore North Carolina.

Carolina Beach
It's always a thrill to discover that each beach has its own personality, from the sand and the dunes to the surrounding community. Wrightsville Beach speaks of a wide-open space with small community shopping and eating establishments nestled along the way. The seemingly endless beach beckons one to walk and unwind, while the shopping areas invite the exploration of a variety of small businesses. I enjoy both aspects. Two short causeways take the visitor from the town to the beach. The beachfront road is filled with beautiful homes and apartments - each one with its own unique personality. Looking at home designs always brings out the fanciful thoughts - who lives there and why did the builder pick that style of home?

But back to the beach. It is easily accessible from a number of beach access points. The sand is clean and white, and so far I've not seen any trash. I noticed a park bench at several accesses - a great place to while away a few minutes or more.

Carolina Beach
I would love to visit in the summer when the beachgoers and water sports activities are at their peak. It's easy to imagine the laughter, good times and relaxation that accompanies a visit to a North Carolina beach.

Located on the southern North Carolina coast, the area is apparently a favorite spot for boating. Ranging from runabouts to sailboats, yachts and fishing boats, the Intracoastal Waterway is home to just about any kind of boat your heart desires.

Cape Fear River
We also visited Carolina Beach and the fishing pier in Wilmington. We spent a couple hours along the boardwalk on the Cape Fear River. On one side of the boardwalk, the river is wide and beautiful. Since my knowledge of Cape Fear was related to the movie of that name, I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty and size of the river. On the other side of the boardwalk, small shops will attract your attention. There are several boats that offer rides on the historic river. The river is also home to the Battleship North Carolina.

I find the Intracoastal Waterway of special interest because it runs down the Atlantic Coast and along the Gulf Coast to its end in south Texas at South Padre Island.

Prickly Pear Margarita
I've only had the opportunity to try a few of restaurants but they have been excellent. Famous Toastery is only open for lunch and breakfast and the food is yummy. I tried the Crab Cake Benedict and Joyce had the Chicken Salad Melt, which she is still raving about.

I always love checking out Mexican restaurants and found K38 delicious, starting with my prickly pear margarita. I tried a chicken fajita burrito and a side of queso. Good food!

We also tried Sweet and Savory, which offers a full menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For breakfast, I tried the Southern Chicken Biscuit, and loved it. Joyce tried the Eggs Benedict served on focaccia bread, and she cleaned her plate.

Tomorrow afternoon I head back to Raleigh-Durham International Airport but in the morning, I plan to enjoy sand and surf.

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