Yep, here we go again. Save the date on your calendar, here comes Art Basel Hong Kong right around the corner. Art Basel has a pretty good spread across the globe at this point, of course the annual in Basel Switzerland itself, the somewhat iconic although over rated Art Basel in Miami for all of […]
With a wonderful beach house in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, my cousins couldn’t understand why I would take a couple of days out of my precious vacation time to explore Wilmington, two hours to the south. Maybe it’s a love for Spanish moss, azaleas, magnolias, antebellum homes and Civil War history that has long drawn me to Wilmington, the poor step-cousin of the southern east coast’s more famous antebellum cities of Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. Whatever the case, Wilmington did not disappoint, as its relative small scale belied the power of its southern coastal charm. In short, it can be considered a junior version of its richer cousins and all the southern charms they offer, yet it definitely remains distinct. Maybe it’s fostered by a sense of pride, as long after the Yankees had closed the ports of Savannah and Charleston, Wilmington’s defenders and citizens kept holding off the blockading fleet and made Wilmington the Confederacy’s last operational port until the waning days of the Civil War.
As with most southern cities, Wilmington’s charms are hidden until you get into the city’s heart, as it is surrounded by that endemic of urban sprawl with miles of strip malls, convenience stores, and fast food restaurants lining the incoming streets and highways. But then, depending upon your approach, you either cross the Route 17 bridge or notice a rapid change in architectural style and you are there. If you are near the downtown waterfront and see antebellum houses, magnolia trees and/or Spanish moss, just park the car and start walking. Keep within the old town waterfront and 300 square block historic district and you will undoubtedly become beguiled…and find plenty to do, as well as savor some excellent southern cuisine.