Coastal NC

VOL13ISS1 2017

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34 THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — CAPE FEAR NC | VOLUME 13—ISSUE 1 BEACHES & COASTAL COMMUNITIES Beach Towns of North Carolina BY LYNNE BRANDON Cape Fear beaches preserve the days when quaint towns and mom-pop businesses were all we knew. Wrightsville, Kure and Carolina Beaches are perennial favorite destinations with those seeking a slower pace with vintage experiences. Wrightsville Beach (easiest North Carolina beach access from I-40) is feeling the love lately. Accolades touting its assets roll in as frequently as crashing waves that call to surfers who come for the Wrightsville Beach Surf Camp. Learning to surf scratches an itch for some and for others checks off a bucket list item at the beach considered the birthplace of surfing in North Carolina since 1909. The friendly town of about 2,500 (year round residents) has more "bling" than neighboring Pleasure Island beaches but the vibe is still small-town USA. Locals line up for the best breakfast in town at the Causeway Café (have a cup of coffee while waiting in the inevitable line), grab a hot dog to take to the beach from the Trolly Shop and head to Dockside at night where boats tie up at the pier. If you need a grocery item, stop in at Robert's Market. It is Wrightsville Beach's only grocery and where everyone goes for homemade chicken salad. Generations have stayed at Blockade Runner, an independent hotel since the '60s where friendly service and familiar faces make it a reunion each summer. EAST in-house restaurant is where "Hell's Kitchen" contestant Jessica Cabo works culinary magic. Kure Beach (Cure-ee) with its estimated 2,000 year- round residents welcomes newcomers and returning families each year with its quirky sign—"Population – variable, climate – variable, hospitality – constant." It sets the tone from the moment you drive in with your car windows down to let in the salt air. The beach and the Kure Pier is the main draw but there is a bonus with the nearby aquarium and state historic site. The Kure Pier is one of the oldest piers on the Atlantic Coast and where everyone winds up for a walk, to fish or for a scoop of ice cream. For a day off the beach, drive mere minutes away to the nationally recognized North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher and Fort Fisher Historic Site, the site of the largest amphibious battle of the Civil War. Take a day trip to Southport on the Southport-Fort Fisher ferry leaving from the tip of Fort Fisher. Barely a breath away, Carolina Beach (estimated population 5,700) is the home of a nationally recognized seaside boardwalk, Carolina Beach State Park, world-class surfing school, and foremost, miles of beautiful beach. Young-and-old learn to surf from Olympic gold medalist and award-winning Surfer Tony Silvagni, owner of Tony Silvagni Surf School. To experience nature take an overnight expedition with Overnight Kayak Expeditions - Paddle North Carolina or visit Carolina Beach State Park, one of the only places in the world indigenous to the Venus flytrap. In the summer there is no better place to be than the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, named one of the "Top 10 boardwalks" in the country by Food & Wine. Shops sell beach ware and gifts, and lines form for Britt's Donuts early in the morning. A small amusement park keeps the carnival feeling alive for the young at heart, and fireworks and live music are crowd pleasers. Stop by Squigley's Ice Cream for one of 4,000 handmade flavors. Beach music is thriving here with signature events like the Carolina Beach Music Festival, the only music festival held on the beach along the North Carolina coast, and Pleasure Island's Seafood, Blues and Jazz Festival in the fall. Beach nightlife is a colorful experience at Carolina Beach. Favorite hangouts are the Fat Pelican, voted as one of "The 32 Diviest Dive Bars in America" by impulcity.com, thanks to its legendary walk-in cooler, a surfing cow on the roof, and a bar made out of a boat. Live music ends the day well at The Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar – named one of "America's Best Beach Bars" by EndlessVacation.com. Be sure to try Surf House Oyster Bar & Surf Camp where chef/owner Craig Love's focuses on sustainable regional seafood. To plan a trip to Cape Fear beaches go to, visitkurebeachnc.com ,visitvcarolinabeachnc.com or visitwrightsvillebeachnc.com. [] surfing, paddling, dancing, and the boardwalk

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