Friday afternoon, J and I packed up our gear and Laylz into the Honda and drove off to explore the southern coast of North Carolina. THe weather was rainy and windy and we hit rush hour traffic through downtown Raleigh and Garner. Even though we started out in high spirits, it soon lagged by the time we were done fighting traffic and out of the city. We decided to stop at a gas station and get a drink and get some caffeine. We took an exit for Newton’s Grove and the sign by the off ramp said the station was .5 miles away. We kept driving, only to discover we were in the middle of a hickville swamp. The “town” was basically a roundabout and half the stores were boarded up with various broken machines and used furniture on their porch. The Hardees in town took atleast 15 mins to get us our order of 3 piece chicken strips and 2 cokes.
Anyway, after a good buzz from the caffeine we continued on our way to Wilmington North Carolina. We got into Wilmington around 7ish and found our hotel pretty easily, since it was on the main road. It was already dark and raining consistently and when we had finally settled into the hotel room, we worried about what we would do with Layla that night. The plan was to have an old fashioned night out on town – Dinner and then going bar hopping and getting roaring drunk in Wilmington’s historic riverwalk. Since we didn’t know how Layla would do with being left alone in an unfamiliar hotel room for that long we decided to go to dinner at a restaurant closeby and comeback and check on her progress. We went to dinner to Sticky Fingers a restaurant specializing in southern style ribs. I am not a big ribs person,but it seemed to fit the mood and locale. We ordered a pitcher of Bud , some spinach dip and decided to share their sampler platter. The Sampler platter had Memphis Dry, Memphis Wet , Carolina Sweet and Habanero Hot. I think my favorites were Memphis dry and Habanero Hot.
After dinner, we checked up on Layla and headed to historic downtown wilmington, it was raining even harder now, so we took the first available parking spot and decided to just find one great bar and hang out there all night instead of running around in the rain. We went to Rum Runners, a tropical themed duelling piano bar and did exactly what we had planned- Got really drunk!! The performers were funny and J and I had fun watching the other drunk people in the bar. We did manage to make it back to the hotel without too much drama.
I was woken up by a knock on the door saying housekeeping and was surprised and went back right back to sleep, thinking it was some kind of mistake, especially since the clock in the room said 9:30 and we didn’t have to check out till 11. I was woken up again by the phone ringing, where front desk very politely that I needed to check out by 12:00 if i didn’t want to pay for another night. Confused and groggy ,I asked him what time it was , and he replied, 11:40. I guess there had been a power outtage the night before and the clock had slowed down, because the clock in the room said 10:45. Anyway we hurried and packed and managed to finally get our act together and check out of the room. Since it was already noon , we decided to grab some fast food for lunch and buy some necessities at target and headed out for Carolina Beach which is 30 mins from Wilmington. We had hoped to hang around wilmington and explore Wrightsville Beach (5 mins from wilmington) in the morning, but those plans were scrapped.
The drive to Carolina Beach was really pleasant and relaxed and we got to drive over the intercoastal waterway for a couple of minutes before we made it to Carolina Beach. We found Carolina Beach state park and picked out a camping site and decided to not waste anymore of the afternoon and go straight to the Beach. It was a great afternoon, the only drawback was that it was really windy and we kept getting pelted by sand, so we decided to walk inside of town instead of on the beach. We explored the cute little beach town and did a little shopping in the surf shops. We also got some awesome Pizza at Michelangelos pizza parlour and homemade tiramisu.
We headed back to the campground and found out that the gates of the campground closed at 8:00 so we couldn’t really go to the cute bars in town or eat out, since it was 6:00 and we were really full from Pizza. We decided we would just make a fire and cook some simple Brats and drink beer around our fire. We bought firewood at the marina and headed to food lion to get supplies. Right before entering Food Lion we could smell delicious chinese food so, we did a last minute change of plans and ate at the chinese restaurant. After buying beer, we headed back to the campsite to settle in for the night and get our fire going,but we were in for a nasty surprise. J and I have both gone camping since we were itty bitty kids and know how to make fires and it took us three tries and loads of kindling and we still couldn’t get the fire going. The problem we discovered on our third and final try was the logs were wet and every time we would get it going, all this water would seep out of the logs and put out the fire. We gave up in disgust and took a walk around the campground and looked at the stars and just went to bed. We sure were glad we had decided to go with chinese food, otherwise we would have had to go to bed hungry.
Sunday morning we were able to get our lazy asses out of bed around 9:30, but since it was daylight savings time, it was already 10:30. We hung around the campsite for a while and packed up all our belongings and headed to Kure Beach. Kure Beach is less popular than Carolina Beach and more locals go there. We found free parking and the Beach was almost deserted, so it was like having our own private beach. After playing around for a while we got hungry and decided to get lunch. While we were wondering which restaurant to go to, a guy going to the Old Pier House Restaurant walked by and commented that “They have good food in there”. So we decided to give it a try. It was a tiny little room and it was packed!!! And since most people in there knew each other we figured they were locals. We ordered thier variety platter, which had Flounder, Fried Shrimp, Clam Strips and Deviled Crabs.It also came with Fries , Hush Puppies and Coleslaw. I think we finished everything other than the hush puppies. Since we were so full, we decided to take a little walk on the pier and walk off all that delicious food.
Afterwards, we headed back to the State Park and decided to the Venus Fly Trap Trail. Carnivorous plants are the specialty of the park, because of the dry soil plants have to supplement their nutrition with insects. Most of the plants weren’t in bloom yet, so we walked around looking for Venus Fly Trap. But we couldn’t see any till a nice old couple showed some to us. We kept looking to find some of our own, but we didn’t see anymore. It was only 3:00 and we didn’t feel like going home yet. So we drove to the Marina and walked along the Sugarloaf Trail, which follows the banks of the Cape Fear River and the Wetlands around it. It was absolutel beautiful. Finally around 4:15 we called it good and decided to head home.
It was a really great vacation. I think Kure Beach is one of my favorite places , and J and I are planning to go back in a month and camp again. I think Kure Beach is going to be our little spot where we keep exploring it, till we know every thing about it.
Kure Beach Rules!!!