MiniMoon 2: Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach (Part 2)

To read about what we did last Thursday, check out Part 1. I thought I should start this post by talking about the unusual elements of this particular hotel stay. First, that couch on which I slept made it difficult for one to do much other than sleep. This is because the back was so low that I found it difficult to sit up straight. It was somewhat uncomfortable actually, save for modifications we made in the pillow arrangements. But, I guess this was not a particularly big deal as we didn’t spent a whole lot of time there.

The other unusual thing occurred as we awoke on Saturday morning. As I dressed for the day, my wife decided to turn on the TV and check out some of the programming. On doing this, she was greeted with the on-screen message: “Hello, Miller. The weather is…” and an ad featuring someone enjoying time at a Marriott property. We thought this was amusing, if not a little unnerving. It’s another step hotels are taking to personalize, I suppose.

We then prepared to leave the room fairly early by our regular travel standards: around 10 AM. We had no concrete plan, except to have breakfast which we did in one of our favorite spots. Cracker Barrel was not too packed or loud, and so I wolfed down a couple of sausages, some cheese scrambled eggs, grits, and biscuits. It was delicious and filling as always.

Then, it was time for the fun. We cruised to a parking deck on Market Street, after a considerable time trying to find somewhere to put the car. Of course parking is almost always going to be an issue in urban areas, and given that I’m more of a pedestrian/public transit person I don’t have a big issue with cities not being so built for it. But for those times that cars are used, I am glad that decks do exist.

When we hopped out with the intent to just stroll around downtown Wilmington, we immediately encountered a horse and carriage ride leaving in a few minutes. I had been on something of a horse and carriage when at Camp Dogwood, a facility on the shores of Lake Morman that houses blind people for weekly sessions throughout the summer, many years ago; but I had little memory of what that was like. This tour was fun, and bumpy as I sat somewhat precariously on the end of a tightly packed row. It was slow going though, so there was no real concern that I might be bounced. I kind of got the feeling that we should go back to traveling in this manner more often, though I wonder how hard it is on the animals to clomp clomp along that pavement day after day. The guide noted that all of their horses, and I guess they have a considerable fleet of them, were rescued from different areas. Also, the guy had to navigate down the streets while standing and watching traffic in front of and behind us while narrating, which sounds like a difficult feat indeed.

It was hard to hear much over the already noted clomping of those hooves and general roar of traffic, but I think much of the tour showed off some of the old Southern houses. One tidbit I did hear that interested me was about the pastor who founded Carolina Beach, believing correctly that Wilmington residents might want to flock down there especially during the summer. Of course in those early days, it was not as easy to venture long distances.

Once this relatively short ride was over, we hopped onto the boat for a longer ride along the Cape Fear River. The winds were blowing something fierce though, and so especially the outbound trip was a little nippy. This was fine, though. The tour, which my wife suggests was probably still new, was not as well-developed as that we took in Charleston. Basically, the only thing the driver told us was about the large container ship that had pulled into port a few days ago from Turkey. I think it was due to stay there a couple weeks before heading back out. He noted that they dredged the Cape Fear River, a previously fresh water body, so that boats could get farther in. This had the unintended effect of making the waters brackish and the river tidal, allowing for continuously increased salivation, killing some of the native trees and doing other environmental damage. Interesting. On the return trip, we simply listened to music blaring from the speakers, and I basked in the trickle of sun and much-diminished winds. This was a nice experience, though.

After this, we mostly just strolled. a quick walk through downtown, an accidental foot long cheese coney from Sonic (I’d only ordered a regular) and a swing by the hotel to grab some things, then we were off to Wrightsville Beach. She said some adventurous folks were actually swimming in the water, and others sat bundled up like Alaskans. We had secured only an hour of public parking, so we moseyed along heading out along the ocean. I could feel the lactic acid accumulating in my leg, and so kept joking that I would need a “back ticket” meaning I would pay some dough to hop aboard her back. There was less housing and/or hotels to see than on Myrtle, so we just enjoyed the sound of pounding surf until she looked back and realized she could hardly see the Johny Mercer Pier, our starting point.

“Uh-oh, we’re gonna have to book it back to the car,” she said as more than 35 minutes had expired. We made good time heading back in though, arriving with a out 12 minutes left.

Wilmington traffic can be a. bit insane, and so the stop and go of it lulled me to sleep until we stopped for a quick visit to Kure Beach. Here, I was struck by the slight difference in the waves’ sound. This area was even less developed than our former location, and we didn’t remain very long. But I liked that I could truly smell the sea salt on the breeze.

And that was the substance of our vacation. We made another trip to Kickback Jack’s, where I this time consumed a delicious buffalo wrap. And then, it was time to relax my tired body, enjoy some togetherness, and rest up for the jaunt home.

So, I don’t know what journey we will take next, but it’s likely to be to the fourth conference of the Norrie Disease Association in August. More on that soon though. Till then, I await another story.

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