Coastal NC

VOL13ISS1 2017

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18 THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — CAPE FEAR NC | VOLUME 13—ISSUE 1 Wilmington is riding the tidal wave of popularity as one North Carolina's favorite destinations. The historic town with ties to a certain river and island beaches is one of the most visited locations in the state and nation. Wilmington boasts dozens of "best of" kudos in nearly every lifestyle category including nautical based lists such as "Number 7 on Best Marina in the Southeast" by Marinas.com, "Number Four Best Museum Ships" by USA Today and "America's Best Riverfront" by USA Today. Wilmington and its island beaches have racked up dozens of accolades including a nod from U.S. News & World Report as a "charming under-the-radar Southern city worth exploring." Jetsetter.com recognizes the town as one of "America's Coolest Southern Towns." The best way to get-to-know Wilmington is with a walk on the riverfront at your own pace or on a tour. Built along the banks of the scenic Cape Fear River (named by early explorers as ships ran aground and sank due to dangerous shifting shoals where the river meets the sea),Wilmington's award-winning walkable River District embodies an eclectic mix of culture in a vibrant, yet historic setting. A new marina, event pier, arts center and hotels make the district and downtown a favorite place to gather and see the sights. A few blocks from the central business district is the Castle Street Arts and Antique District where art, antiques, restaurants, wine stores and other retail offerings collide. A favorite shop to stop in is the Fifth & Castle Design Shop owned and operated by popular interior designer and HGTV host Meg Caswell. "Downtown Wilmington is experiencing unprecedented growth and success," said Ed Wolverton, president and CEO of Wilmington Downtown, Inc. "Since 2014 over $371 million in new projects have been completed, announced or currently underway. These projects run the gamut with hotels (Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Aloft, Indigo), condominiums, apartments, a marina and a new office building. Additionally, the city has expanded the Riverwalk that meanders along the banks of the Cape Fear River and voters recently approved $20 million for a new 6.6 acre park in downtown. Along with this explosive growth, downtown still retains its historic charm and is home to more than 140 shops, galleries and boutiques, 85 restaurants and pubs, six craft breweries and a variety of performing art venues." Adding to the building boom is an estimated 800 new living spaces including apartments downtown. Retail projects are on the planning boards. Everyone knows that North Carolina has a strong beer reputation across the U.S. but it might surprise beer lovers to learn that the national beer craze has descended on the coastal city in a big way. Craftbeer.com includes Wilmington in a roundup of "America's Beeriest Beach Towns" and SmartAsset.com ranks it as number 7 among "Best Cities for Beer Drinkers." A dozen breweries have joined Front Street Brewery over the past three years including Flytrap Brewing, Wilmington Brewing Company, Waterline Brewing Company, Bill's Front Porch and others. More breweries and bottle shops are on tap for 2017. Dozens of craft beer events take place in the spring and fall. Throughout the year beer lovers can hop on the Port City Brew Bus for a guided tour of breweries and bottle shops. Or plan a self-guided tour using the Wilmington Ale Trail. Wilmington's culinary landscape has always been good but in recent years local restaurants have ratcheted up the quality in established eateries while supporting new standout chefs and restaurants that are using locally sourced foods. Southern Living magazine chose PinPoint Restaurant as one of the South's Best New Restaurants in 2016 with Scoutology.com recommending Manna (AAA 4-Diamond) and Rx as "North Carolina's Top 21 New American Restaurants. "Top Chef" contestant Chef Keith Rhodes continues his signature seafood dishes and award- winning crab cakes at CATCH Modern Seafood restaurant. To handle a sweet tooth craving go to Wake 'N Bake Donuts winner of The Cooking Channel show "Donut Showdown," where it has opened its second location in downtown Wilmington. >> WILMINGTON BY LINDSEY GREY Wilmington popular, progressive, performing arts

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