As I mentioned in Sunday’s post, my family (husband & pets) spent the weekend on the beaches of North Carolina, specifically on Oak Island. It was a much needed time away, a time to disconnect from my work email, the dozens of home projects, and the mounds of laundry and worries. We had a few unplanned adventures (having to call a locksmith late on a Saturday night, or the night we spent hours removing hundreds of burs from our dog). However, the unplanned adventures were far over-trumped by all the fun things we had a chance to do. For your benefit, I’ve compiled a “must do” list whilst visiting wonderful Oak Island.
1) First things first: enjoy a sunset! If you drive to the west end of Oak Island there is a spot where you can park and walk along the banks of the sound (parallel to the Atlantic ocean side). The sunset = unbelievable. I wish I could say I was that amazing of a photographer, but I cannot claim Mother Nature’s work.
2) Enjoy the beach! Opposite the sound you’ll find the beaches of the Atlantic. Grab an umbrella, some beach chairs, towels, and sunscreen and you’ll have yourself a wonderful time. This trip to the beach was Frankie’s first ocean experience and he loved it! He would get hyper and sprint around (on leash this time of year), chasing the waves as they’d hit the edge of the beach. A word of warning: you aren’t going to catch the sunrise on the beach. I woke up early one morning for a walk on the beach in hopes to catch a great sunrise and then realized … the beach is on the south side of the island. Duh!
3) Visit Airlie Gardens in Wilmington. Wilmington is a 30 minute drive from Oak Island and Wilmington is filled with lots of inland adventure. The first place we went to was Airlie Gardens, which I have been wanting to visit for a long time. The gardens have an admission of $9 and are full of character and beauty. With both living beauty and artwork, you can spend hours exploring the grounds. My only regret was that we didn’t pack a picnic and find a shaded spot under the 467-year old Airlie Oak for lunch. Next time!
3) Tour the lots of EUE/Screen Gems Studios. Wilmington is the location of the biggest sound stage studios east of Hollywood. In North Carolina, producers receive a 25% tax credit when they film in state. Therefore, it is the filming location for a lot of popular shows, movies, and commercials. One of the first films shot in Wilmington was Firestarter in 1984, staring a young Drew Barrymore. The most recent, and popular was One Tree Hill. Currently they are filming Under the Dome and so we got to tour the sets of Under the Dome and hear more about the show (I’ve never actually seen it, but might now that I’ve seen the set).
4) Pay your respects at the USS North Carolina. The Battleship USS North Carolina has been stationed in Wilmington since 1962 when it was dedicated “as the State’s memorial to its World War II veterans and the 10,000 North Carolinians who died during the war.” Since this weekend was in fact Memorial Day weekend, I felt it was only appropriate that we found a way to remember and pay our respects. The USS North Carolina is open from 8am to 8pm every day of the year, as it stands as a memorial for those that have fought, currently fight, and have died for our countries freedom. It was a powerful tour in which we got to go into the ship and explore what it was like for soldiers to live in those conditions for months at a time.
5) Take a ferry to Bald Head Island. Bald Head Island is a short ride from Southport, which is close to Oak Island. While the ferry ride isn’t cheap ($25 per person) the experience is totally worth it. Bald Head Island is a car-free island. On the island you can rent a house and stay for a week, or just go for a day visit, which is what we did. On the island you can rent a golf cart, a bike, or do a lot of walking. On our visit we enjoyed some lunch on the ferry harbor and saw the Old Baldy lighthouse. We even walked to the markets and everyone was so kind on the island that when they would pass us in their golf carts they would offer us a ride. What a beautiful way of life.
6) Eat some great food. We had some amazing food in Oak Island, Wilmington, and Bald Head Island – all of which I recommend! Ahoy! Doughnuts (OKI), Pizza Shack (OKI), Flying Pig (OKI), The Little Dipper (WILM), and Mojos (BHI). In the past I’ve been to Island Way (OKI) and Provisions (Southport) which both are amazing for sea food.
Have you been to Oak Island and have additional recommendations for all? xoxo ‘n lols, crystal