Of course it wouldn’t be a complete trip down to Wilmington without a visit to the ocean. The beach area has been popular as far back as I can remember, with three main beaches easily within driving distance. Claire (my sister) and I always had a great time at the beach, but to be honest, how can you not enjoy the beach? Anyway, it was the first time I had been back in a long time, and really the first time since Papere passed that I had been down there so I was aware that this trip might stir up some emotions. Luckily, the beach was beautiful as always, here we are enjoying the view from one of the big piers.
I was fortunate to be able spend so much time with my grandparents as a kid, especially with Grandma and Papere down in Wilmington. I like to think that I had a special bond with my grandfather, and many of my memories are of activities the two of us undertook. One such activity was fishing either along the inter-coastal or directly off the Johnny Mercer pier. Pictured below is that pier.
It looks a little different than I remember. Actually a lot different. The pier I remember got washed away a few hurricanes ago, and they rebuilt it with concrete and ReBar instead of wood. The name of the pier is the same, and they still have a bait shop on the top and charge a $1 fee for the average guy to walk down it. Chelsea wasn’t too happy about this fee, but I expected it and sort of liked that some things never changed. I never would have imagined that 20 years after walking down that pier with Papere, I would be walking there with my beautiful wife making our own memories. It might seem like something silly, but it was actually pretty special to me.
Don’t worry though, we were never really far from home.
We then decided to head downtown to check out the area and grab a bite at one of the nice restaurants. Above, Grandma and I are enjoying a beer at Front Street Brewery. Their beers are a little chewy, but again this was a place I had been to with Dad and Papere so I wanted to go. Plus you don’t ever really have to twist my arm to go for a pint.
We headed down to the waterfront and walked along the docks for a while, checking out the shops and restaurants along the way. We also got a nice view of the bridge and the Cape Fear river. I don’t really remember much about downtown, so it was cool to see the old buildings and the history of the cotton industry now that I can appreciate it. Also, we were dying for a good surf and turf meal, and our dinner choice didn’t disappoint. Man we really missed USA steak.
Here we are at the end of the night and the end of our trip to NC. My only regret is that we didn’t spend more time in Wilmington. Grandma certainly kept us entertained, and it was great to see her. It might be a few years before we are back again, but we’ll definitely be back.