Monthly Archives: March 2013

Wilmington Beaches: Spotlight on Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach NC

Location and General Info

Located to the North of Wilmington, Carolina Beach is a family-friendly beach town that has something for everyone. With a historical beachside boardwalk, a state park, miles of white sandy beaches, world-class fishing, and tons of events; Carolina Beach is a tourist attraction with fun activities for the whole family.

To get there from Wilmington: take Carolina Beach road, (also known as Highway 421). It will take you about 20 minutes from the downtown area.

The Beach

The white sands of Carolina Beach are perfect for a leisurely day of soaking up the sun. The ocean is inviting, especially at low tide where there are numerous tide pools to relax in. There are also a many water based activities for you to try out, such as kayaking and paddle boarding.  Surfing is also popular in Carolina Beach when the conditions are right. Fishermen can cast into the surf from the beach or hangout at the local pier and toss a line into the water.

The Town

After a day of fun on the beach, enjoy a stroll around the town center and boardwalk. Check out numerous jewelry, local art, and clothing shops; then walk out on the pier to watch the fisherman or catch live music. Numerous restaurants and bars line the streets and several attractions including a historical boardwalk (listed below) can be found in the town.


  • Britt’s Donuts– This bakery is known for its fresh, homemade, hot donuts on the Boardwalk. They’ve been written up by newspapers and magazines all over the state and a lot of the nation.  You will likely see a line outside this little establishment when its open but there is certainly a reason why. This is a local favorite and shouldn’t be missed; make sure to eat one while it is still hot!
  • The Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar– If you are looking for fresh steamed seafood and a few beers, this is the place to go. A casual, laidback oyster bar; Shuckin’ Shack serves oysters, shrimp, crab, clams and features daily specials (like 50 cent oyster Monday). Towards nighttime it turns into more of a bar atmosphere with several televisions for sporting events. Nothing fancy, just a fun place to hang-out and eat delicious seafood. Keep in mind this is a small dive-style bar and not appropriate for children.


  • Carolina Beach Boardwalk– The bustling historic boardwalk is lined with pizza, donut and ice cream stands, and numerous entertainments for the entire family. Choose from miniature golf, batting cages, an arcade, and an amusement park. This is one of the last remaining beach boardwalks on the East Coast. Get your fill of donuts, ice cream, and fudge, play in the arcade, watch an outdoor movie, see the ocean from the Ferris wheel, dance to live music, and end your day with a display of fireworks.
  • Carolina Beach State ParkConsists of over 760 acres of unspoiled natural wilderness. With over 6 miles of trails, you can enjoy a walk while taking in the scenery. Packed with birds and other wildlife, the park consists of several coastal ecosystems including dunes, swamps, so the variety of inhabitants is quite varied. You can even find a Venus Fly Trap growing in its natural habitat. The park also has a marina providing access to some of North Carolina’s best fishing spots and a camping ground.
  • Fishing, boat, kayak, surfboard and bicycle rentals are also available in the town center


  • Carolina Beach Farmer’s MarketSupport local farmers, bakers, and craftsmen at this Farmer’s Market held every Saturday from 8:00am – 1:00pm, May through September.  Shop an abundance of fresh and local fruits and vegetables, dairy products, wines, meats, baked goods and natural soaps while listening to live music; a great way to get outside and spend a Saturday morning.
  • Beach Music FestivalThrown annually for almost 30 years, the Carolina Beach Music Festival is one of the top beach music festivals in the United States. The event is held on the beach every year in June and promises a full day of live outdoor entertainment from the best beach music bands in the South. The whole family is welcome at this Festival and you may want to bring a cooler along with beverages and food. Tickets are $15 in advance. Children 12 and under are free.
  • Fireworks By the Sea and Boardwalk Blast MusicEnjoy free fireworks on the beach near the Carolina Beach Boardwalk at sunset every Thursday night during the Summer Months. The fireworks will begin at 9:00 pm. There is also live music on the boardwalk these nights from 6:30-9:30pm. The fireworks and music entertainment are free and open to all.
  • Movies at Carolina Beach LakeThe town has a free movie showing throughout the summer on Sunday nights at Carolina Beach Lake Park. Bring your chairs or blanket and find a spot on the lawn where the whole family can enjoy a newly released movie. Typical move refreshments such as soda, popcorn, and candy are for sale but you are also welcome to bring your own food and beverages. Movies start at dusk.=

For more information about Carolina Beach on the Visit Carolina Beach website.

Wilmington Biz Conference & Expo

Wilmington Biz Expo


Port City Marina Representatives attended the Wilmington Biz Conference & Expo today at the Wilmington Convention Center.  Thank you to the Greater Wilmington Business Journal for putting on the event and thanks to Morvil Advertising & Design Group, IndustryPigeon, and Tayloe Gray Kristof for the wonderful marketing presentations.

Airlie Gardens

Airlie Gardens

A quiet oasis in the middle of a bustling city, Airlie Gardens is a historical treasure in coastal North Carolina. One of the most beautiful places in Wilmington; it is a great way to spend a leisurely morning or afternoon. Located on Bradley Creek, this 67-acre garden is full of native plants, numerous gardens, a bottle house sculpture, a chapel, a butterfly house, the historic century old Airlie Oak and hosts many great events.


In 1886, affluent couple Pembroke Jones and his wife Sarah bought a 150-acre piece of land in Wilmington. The Joneses named their estate “Airlie,” after the ancestral Scottish home of the family.

Socialite, Sarah Jones, began planting the property and in 1906 hired German landscape architect Rudolf Topel to transform her land into formal gardens. At the height of the garden in the 1920s, over half a million azaleas and 5,000 camellias were planted on the property, where the Joneses hosted elaborate parties. The wealthy couple frequently entertained friends on the expansive estate and were known for their extravagant entertaining. They used Airlie as a way to accommodate their parties and treat their guests.

The Airlie property was bought by the Corbett family in 1948. The Corbetts allowed the gardens to be viewed by the public and it was an attraction for many years. The gardens were sold to New Hanover County in 1999 at a cost of $10.5 million. The lands have since been restored and preserved and the County now opens the property year round as a public park.


  • Over 100,000 azaleas, a sculpture garden, tranquility garden, spring garden, pergola garden, and camellia garden.
  • A magnificent 462-year-old Airlie Oak, one of the largest trees of its kind in the Carolinas
  • A self-guided .9 mile walking tour; or a tram service for those who would prefer transportation
  • The Minnie Evans Bottle Chapel, constructed with over 4,000 recycled glass bottles, metal sculptures and mosaics. Dedicated to the popular African American folk artist who served as Airlie’s gatekeeper when it was a private estate.
  • The Butterfly House, a 2,700-square foot open-air structure where hundreds of butterflies can be found flying about inside.
  • The Tranquility Garden surrounded by private spaces and areas for reflection.
  • The Pergola Garden built of coquina and surrounded by seasonally changing flowers.
  • The Camellia Garden, a vast collection of antique camellias planted in the 1900s.
  • The Spring Garden, featuring spring flowering bulbs, colorful azaleas, towering oaks and a fountain.
  • Mount Lebanon Chapel built in 1835 by Dr. Thomas Henry Wright.
  • Bradley Creek and Airlie Lake, featuring a tidal creek ecosystem on one side, and a freshwater lake on the other.


The staff at Airlie Gardens offers cultural and environmental education year-round in this natural learning space. Airlie’s Environmental Education Program provides learning opportunities for both youth and adults. The garden’s website explains that the program “teaches concepts in horticulture, wildlife, soil stewardship, water quality, sustainable development, citizen science, history and more. Education offerings are diverse and range from curriculum correlated field trips to summer camps, from kayak tours to bird hikes.”


  • Airlie Gardens Concert Series– Bring a blanket and a cooler and relax under the trees as the area’s premier musicians perform every first and third Friday, May through September from 6-8pm.
  • Enchanted Airlie Airlie’s annual holiday light show begins the Friday after Thanksgiving and runs select days until the Saturday before Christmas. Enjoy beautiful holiday flowers, festive lights, and live musical entertainment.

General Info

The Gardens are open 7 days a week during regular season hours from 9am-5pm. If you can schedule it, the best time to visit is in the spring when thousands of azaleas are in bloom.

Located at 300 Airlie Road, Wilmington, NC 28403

Admission: Adults $5, Children $3 (6-12 years)

You can contact 910-798-7700 for more info or visit their website.

Cape Fear National Golf Course




Located in Brunswick Forest, Cape Fear National is a short 5.7 miles (about a 10 minute drive) south of historic downtown Wilmington on Hwy. 17.


Most people visiting Wilmington are aware of its beautiful beaches and lively downtown area but you should also know that Wilmington is home to one of the best golf courses in the state. Cape Fear National was recently named one of Golfweek Magazine’s Top 10 Best Courses You Can Play in NC (2012). This exceptional public golf course offers 18-holes of challenge for golfers of all levels. Designed by Tim Cate and opened in 2009, Cape Fear National’s layout is a unique combination of forests and wetlands. The course is 7,217 yards and winds through forests of mature oaks, cypress, maples, pines, and magnolia; featuring several waterfalls, bridges, and beaches all surrounded by native coastal grasses and wildflowers. A day spent on this award-winning course is sure to be enjoyable, no matter what your skill level.


Cape Fear National was designed by Tim Cate, a renowned golf course architect with over 20 years of experience. Cate is one of the top golf course designers in the Southeast United States; his golf courses are recognized as high standard, premium facilities.


  • 7,000-square-ft clubhouse
  • Grille and bar with indoor and outdoor dining
  • Full-service pro golf shop
  • PGA Professional staff offering instruction
  • Men’s and women’s locker rooms
  • Expansive putting green
  • Driving range with target greens


Rounds range from $45-95 depending on the day and season. Be sure to set up your tee-time in advance to reduce the cost. You can do this by visiting the Cape Fear National website or calling 910-383-3283. Memberships are not required at Cape Fear National but for people that intend to visit the course regularly, inquire about their Annual Pass Program.


Cape Fear National has received numerous awards since its opening in 2009.

Cape Fear National is an absolute must-play for both the beginner and seasoned golfer. Call 910-383-3283 for more information or to set up your tee-time.