Coastal NC

VOL12ISS1 2016

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24 THe oRIGINAl ReloCATIoN GuIDe — CoAsTAl NC | Volume 12—Issue 1 Each spring a special group comes to the river city of Wilmington — the men of WWII who were shipmates on the USS Battleship North Carolina. On Memorial weekend, the men who manned the battleship returned to celebrate history with their former shipmates. It is a special time for the men, now in their 90s, who relive their past and the part the battleship (celebrating 75th anniversary in 2016) played in their lives. The ship is a major attraction and brings in thousands of visitors annually. In 2015, Destinations Travel magazine included the Battleship North Carolina in its roundup of "Best Museum Ships." The battleship sits across from the Cape Fear River near the award winning waterfront voted as "America's Best Riverfront" by USA Today. The award shines a spotlight on Wilmington's vibrant riverfront with more than 200 shops, restaurants, attractions, tours and cruises within easy walking distance. Accolades surround the city like a beach blanket with awards for its outdoor dining, Number One Best Al Fresco Dining Neighborhood (2015) by USA Today, "America's Beeriest Beach Towns!" by CraftBeer.com, "20 Coolest Beach Towns in America" by MatadorNetwork.com, and others. The city revels in its designation as "America's Best Riverfront" and continues to expand with renovations. Progress along the northern riverfront continues with the new Port City Marina and Pier 33, an event pier and band shell. Adjacent to the marina, Wilmington is developing a new park with green space. An integral piece of the waterfront is the popular Riverwalk. The 1.75-mile wood-plank Riverwalk connects the modern northern riverfront to Wilmington's historic district with shops, restaurants, attractions, tours, cruises, and the Wilmington Convention Center all within easy walking distance. The Riverwalk is the scene of farmer's markets, craft fairs, concerts and dozens of annual events such as the N.C. Azalea Festival (STS Top 20 Event) in April, Independence Day Celebration in July and Riverfest in October. Visitors can experience Wilmington's historic river district by horse-drawn carriage, Segway, riverboat cruises, walking and motorized trolley tours. For those who like themed tours the city has ghost walks, culinary, literary, history, beer and movie tours. Food and beverage choices are among the best in the nation in Wilmington. In the past two years, the city's craft beer scene has exploded, going from one craft brewer— Front Street Brewery (since 1995)—to eight breweries, with more planned. Take a guided tour with Port City Brew Bus or go at your own pace with a self-guided tour on the Wilmington Ale Trail with a list of 'top hops spots.' The culinary crowd is in foodie heaven in the city where mild weather, great restaurants and river views combine for an unbeatable dining experience. One way to experience several of Wilmington's best eateries is to sign up for a Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tour or visit during spring and fall Restaurant Weeks. Scoutology.com includes two downtown eateries— award-winning Manna and Rx (farm-to-table restaurant)— on its list of "Top 21 North Carolina New American Restaurants." Thrillist.com includes a popular midtown restaurant, Flaming Amy's Burrito Barn, among its "33 Best Burritos in America." Longtime favorite restaurants include The Pilot House, Catch, Circa 1922, Elijah's, and PinPoint among others. The food city has festivals celebrating food all year. Some to try are: Wilmington Wine & Chocolate Festival (Feb.), Wilmington Wine & Food Festival (May), Epicurean Evening, Taste of the Town (Sept.), Wilmington Seafood Festival (Oct.), Food Truck Frolic (spring and fall) and the Riverfront Farmer's Market (Saturdays, April-November). Fresh food fans go to U-Pick locals farms to gather their own produce. At Lewis Farms seasonal berries are offered along with delicious homemade ice cream from the end of March to the frst week of July. Locals head to under-the- radar Poplar Grove Farmers' Market on Wednesdays. Theater, performing arts, galleries and a flm festival give culturally minded residents a full calendar. Architectural Digest (2015) features Thalian Hall Center >> WilMington by lindsey grey Wilmington historic, fourishing, vibrant

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