Wrightsville Beach, NC

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Wrightsville Beach, NC. “Voted North Carolina’s Best Beach.”  Considering the myriad of beautiful beaches along North Carolina’s three hundred mile coastline, being voted Variety Vacationland’s best beach is a pretty strong statement.  For cruisers docking at one of Wrightsville Beach’s marinas, the beach is just about a mile walk or four minute Uber ride away.

The beauty of Wrightsville Beach marinas is their convenience to restaurants, the beach, and shopping.  It’s a little unusual to find a West Marine so close to marinas, but their 1930 Eastwood Road, Wilmington location is within a half mile of Bridge Tender and Dockside marinas, (technically located in Wilmington, but directly across the ICW from Wrightsville Beach Marina) and Wrightsville Beach Marina, and just over a mile from  Seapath Yacht Club. I know, several years ago – before Uber – I had to find it to buy a new VHF  while staying at the Wrightsville Beach Marina.  With only a bike for transportation, the convenience of the store was a blessing.

This past July, between our trip north on the ICW and then cruising back south, we spent about five days at Bridge Tender Marina.

Blue Heron and Slow Dance from the WB BridgeThe marina staff was as great as the location, I only wish they had shower and laundry facilities.  The adjacent Bridge Tender restaurant is a local favorite, and having tried a couple of their dinner specials, I can understand its popularity!

Though we haven’t used the Dockside Marina, on the ICW just south of Bridge Tender, we have eaten at Dockside Restaurant numerous times over the years.  It’s another favorite among locals.

Before leaving on our cruise north, a neighbor told me that if we overnighted in Wrightsville Beach, we HAD to have at least one breakfast at at the lengendary causeway-cafe-from-theCauseway Cafe.  We did, and it was a great, totally Southern experience next door to Wrightsville Beach Marina and within easy walking distance of Bridge Tender.

One thing is for sure, Wilmington and the Cape Fear Coast has no shortage of great restaurants!  Another “Southern experience” one that became an instant favorite is one that an old friend, now living in Wilmington introduced us to,  Lanes Ferry Dock and Grill.  Located at 1101 NC Highway 210, Rocky Point, NC, it’s on the North Cape Fear River, about a 45-minute drive from Bridge Tender Marina.  Their hot dogs with butter-grilled buns are definitely worth the ride if you’re a connoisseur of hot dogs.  The homefried potato chips, R.C. and Cheerwine sodas – or their homemade sweet tea – are simply bonuses! Kenny “Big Mac” and Marie McManus try to make sure that every customer leaves full and satisfied!  A parking lot filled with cars in the middle of nowhere is always a sign of great food!

 

 

Wilmington, like Charleston on the South Carolina coast, is blessed with being a historic seaport city complimented by beautiful beaches.  Wilmington is approximately 18 miles up the Cape Fear River from the ICW at Southport, NC. In that 18 mile distance are three marinas with transient dockage along the River. Two, Port City and Cape Fear marinas are located adjacent to downtown and the historic district.  Wilmington Marine Center is on the Cape Fear, approximately three miles south of downtown.  All three are popular among cruisers.

While the ICW and beaches of the Cape Fear Coast may be “attractors” to the area, Wilmington offers an abundance of excellent attractions for the entire family.  The WWII battleship, North Carolina, moored on the Cape Fear River, across from the historic district, is one of North Carolina’s premier attractions, and has been named one of the “Best Ship Museums in America.” Antebellum homes, historic gardens, Fort Fisher, site of the largest amphibious battle of the Civil War, and the award winning North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher are just a few of the attractions of the Cape Fear Coast. The Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau website gives cruisers an in-depth, easy to navigate overview of all this beautiful, historic seaport has to offer. Don’t take my word for it, check it out!

 

 

Fair winds and following seas!

 

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Historic Seaport of Georgetown, SC

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Georgetown, SC.  This historic, seaport town has become our favorite “long weekend getaway” destination.  From our slip in Mount Pleasant to the Harborwalk Marina is a leisurely six hour cruise aboard Slow Dance.  Recently, when making the supreme effort to get there before sunset, we made the trip in five hours, and were still respectful of all No Wake zones.

Georgetown is the County Seat of Georgetown County, also know as the Hammock Coast of South Carolina, thanks to its popular beach communities of Garden City, Murrells Inlet, Pawley’s Island, and Litchfield Beach. Though we typically stay at Harborwalk Marina, there are three others within walking distance of the historic downtown shopping and restaurant district.  Currently, the marina is undergoing a welcomed expansion, but is definitely still open for business.  For the 2017 Georgetown Wooden Boat Show we were docked on inside of their new face dock, and loved it.  Of course it puts Slow Dance‘s 34-foot size into perspective when there’s a 75-foot Off Shore yacht on the other side of the dock!

Being creatures of habit, we stay at Harborwalk Marina because it is the closest to downtown.  All of the marina’s slips are only a very short walk to land and marina facilities – which is important to any cruisers traveling with a crew that includes canines.  Our “first mate,” Kate, gives Harborwalk “two paws up!”

 

On Front Street, which runs parallel to the town’s riverfront Harborwalk, there’s a good selection of restaurants from which to choose.  Kate’s first choice has been The Big Tuna, thanks to it welcoming canine crew members. My “Admiral” has tried a myriad of their offerings, but seems to come back to their crab cake or grouper sandwich. My two favorites are their seared tuna, and when available, their awesome whole fried flounder. Have yet to have a meal without the house salad, with housemade ranch dressing.  Prices are very reasonable!

Kate at Big Tuna

Kate loves Big Tuna!

Big Tuna dinner

Big Tuna’s tuna with house salad

Big Tuna’s incredible crab cake sandwich

Check out the Historic Georgetown website for more on this inviting South Carolina seaport destination.