Road Trip 2010 – Wilmington, NC

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All I really cared about with regards to North Carolina was finally getting to see the Outer Banks for ourselves and maybe hitting Asheville, of which we have heard so much about.   Somehow our plans changed and Wilmington took the place of Asheville on our itinerary. 
 

CW Worth House

I wasn’t too disappointed, knowing we will get to Asheville at some point in the next several months (we are heading south for our next sit come November).  And when we drove up to the CW Worth House , Asheville was all but forgotten.  This Victorian beauty was built in 1893 and has been impeccably preserved, inside and out.  It is the longest operating B&B in Wilmington.  I highly recommend you stay here if you get the opportunity.

Boardwalk along the Cape Fear River

And walking distance from the Worth House is downtown Wilmington, along with its fantastic boardwalk full of restaurants and shops and college students and dogs out for their evening walks. 

Romantic dinner at The Pilot House

Food tastes better when riverfronts, boardwalks, candles and sunsets are involved.  I think so, anyway.  We enjoyed every minute at The Pilot House.  And, although I don’t consider myself a city girl, I do love being able to wander around town and back to our digs on foot.  

Mind you, there are things you don’t notice so much at night.  Things like spiders. 

Big Garden Spider. Very Big.

I know there are some of you who don’t like spiders and would rather I hadn’t posted this pic.  However, they are everywhere in Wilmington and therefore worthy of mention.  According to a gardener we happened to meet on the way to the B&B, this spider is not poisonous to humans.  Excellent news.  It is also known as a Writing Spider, owing to the webs it weaves.  Interesting, I know! Right.  Time to move on.

Downtown Wilmington, NC

August in the South is hot.  I am guessing this is why you don’t see many pedestrians in this photo.  There are some funky little shops and bars.  This is my favorite Wilmington storefront…

Hardwire Tattoo

No, I don’t have any tattoos.  Do you?  Tell us about it via the comment link, won’t you?  And while we are on favorites, this is my favorite building in Wilmington:

St. James Parrish

And I don’t go to church.  I just think this is a magnificent piece of architecture.   Especially against summer blue.  If you enjoy architecture, I am sure you will appreciate Wilmington. 

Brick & Iron

To keep the “favorites” theme going,  guess what one of my favorite southern dishes happens to be? 

Fried Green Tomatoes at Circa 1922

Circa 1922 is in the heart of downtown Wilmington and has heavenly tapas.  Our meal was, however, briefly interrupted by a patron who fell off her bar stool.  Oopsy.  It helps to drink water (instead of booze) if one is dehydrated on a 100+ degree day, methinks.  Anyway, my Circa 1922 refreshment of choice?  Pear Cider.  So refreshing.

The Battleship North Carolina

We didn’t tour the Battleship North Carolina, nor did we see the Wilmington coastline.  Alas, we had to keep movin’.  A fun aspect of cross-country road trips is figuring out what parts of the country you want to see more of; spend more time in.  I’ve fallen for North Carolina.  Couldn’t you see me sitting here with a pint of lemonade and my lappy, writing the next Great American Novel?  Sigh.

Front Porch of the Worth House

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Road Trip 2010 – Roanoke Island, NC

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Settling in at The Roanoke (Manteo, North Carolina)

Paul and I have wanted to explore North Carolina (especially the Outer Banks) for years; how wondrous to finally be here.  

Manteo boasts no “box stores” and no hard liquor.  At first, I was a bit disappointed when I could not order my signature Bloody Mary at Poor Richard’s, but the deli sandwich made up for it.  Didn’t miss those golden arches, that’s for certain.  

We sat next to a park ranger named Tim at the bar, and thanks to him we ended up spending the next morning at Bodie Island Light Station #380.  

John Gaskill signs my book in exchange for a hug : )

Tim had told us about John Gaskill and we were both eager to meet him and pick up a copy of his book, John Gaskill Remembers.  Mr. Gaskill is the son of the last lighthouse keeper on Bodie Island and can be found signing books and answering questions at Bodie Island Visitor Center, which is located in the home he grew up in.  This man is fascinating as well as delightful.  Hard to believe he is ninety-four!  Can’t wait to dig in to his book.  

Mr. Gaskill with his "most favorite boss ever", Jami Lanier, USNPS

Tim told us all about John Gaskill, but didn’t mention that he himself would be leading a guided tour that day as well.  He had recently transferred to Cape Hatteras, so I was pretty impressed at how much Tim knew about the local flora, fauna, etc. etc.  Tim, thank you so much – you are great at what you do!  

On a Marsh Discovery Walk with Ranger Tim Cassidy

My dinky camera does not do the marsh justice (camera is on the Christmas List : ) I tried to get a decent shot of the blue crabs skittering sideways through the water but no such luck.  Believe me when I say this place is beautiful.   

Cape Hatteras Heron

Bodie Island Lighthouse is in the process of being preserved; if you love lighthouses, you will want to see what this one looks like normally, and find out more about it here.   

Preserving Bodie Island Light Station

We met a volunteer couple (Latta and Janice Johnson) while on our marsh walk who just happen to be from Chattanooga, Tennessee.  This is so exciting to me, why?  Because as of November, we will be on a six month sit just outside of Chattanooga!  We are hoping to catch a fall cruise on their river boat, The Southern Belle before it docks for the winter.   

Meanwhile, back in the town of Manteo…did I show you the view from our digs at The Roanoke?  This is basically what you see from the porch…  

Lighthouse at Shallowbag Bay

And a bit further down the boardwalk and you find yourself across from this beauty…  

The Elizabeth II at dusk

Local Authors featured at Manteo Booksellers

As per usual, we found ourselves a great indie bookstore, Manteo Booksellers.  I came across a Leonard Cohen book I’d never seen before, Beautiful Losers written in 1966.  Mr. Cohen, I love your songwriting, your songs, and the artists you collaborate with. I have for decades now.  But what is up with this book? Yikes…Right. My point is that this particular bookseller certainly knew his/her stuff – a truly unique selection.   

Baskets for sale outside a Manteo shop

It is hard to get a feel for a place when you are spending only a night or two.  I did feel very at peace here and would recommend it more as a romantic spot for couples (or a calming place to find oneself, or an educational spot for those who cherish marine life) than a place you would go to party.   For that, you might go to, say, Okracoke.  Which just happens to be our next stop.

Introducing….Thursday Q & A

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I'm ready and waiting...

I love that everywhere we go, we find that people are interested in this lifestyle we have created for ourselves.  Most of the time, questions are asked in person, or via e-mail.  I would love to keep the conversation going here, where more like-minded can participate.

Do you have any questions or comments for us today (whatever day it happens to be) regarding home and pet sitting, travel, writing, or living simply?  How about working from home or the road?  Good!  We’d love to hear them…