Half of our extended Presidents Day weekend was spent in the car. The other half was spent in Wilmington - a charming port city in the southeastern corner of North Carolina.
Equipped with a half-case of wine, a 6 pack of soda, 2 dogs, 2 suitcases and a tank full of dreams - we left Connecticut at 7:25 Friday morning and arrived at our hotel at 7:35 that evening.
The sun had set. The river was still.
Mark, my captain, did ALL of the driving and I, his first mate, was in charge of entertainment (Sirius XM radio is a wonderful thing).
After 12 hours of driving, the dogs looked confused. Where's our yard? Why isn't it cold? Why are we here?
Why are we here? Both Mark and I are entertained by the idea of reinventing ourselves - new careers, new jobs, new friends. (I'm going to be a writer)
Mark followed me to Connecticut. Now, twelve years later, I will follow him anywhere he wants to go.
Each vacation destination becomes a potential home port...
Saratoga, New York
New Orleans, Louisiana
Lake Tahoe (California - Nevada)
The possibilities are endless!
We've even considered going back to our roots in Dallas, Pennsylvania.
We take into account climate, cost of living, quality of life, crime rate, mill rate, health care and overall hospitality.
For some illogical reason, the vulnerability of hurricanes does not dampen our spirits, but the probability of nor'easters, wildfires, mudslides and earth quakes do.
Mark spends countless hours researching areas online. Eventually, we'll meet up with a realtor/private tour guide.
We were up bright and early Saturday morning. After a quick cup of coffee we took a stroll on the Cape Fear Riverwalk.
Mylo leads the way
A glass venus flytrap sculpture by Wilmington artist Paul Hill, tells me that the hurricane season does not threaten the downtown area.
It was too early in the season for most of the boats, only the diehards remain.
The USS North Carolina Battleship beckons visitors to walk her deck (we declined)
This "Jubilee" is a B & B
no River is complete without a Riverboat
A left turn on Front Street showcases a row of well manicured lawns and well preserved historic homes.
(I have no idea what that red spot is)
We discovered some wonderful and some not so wonderful restaurants. 5 Stars to The George which boasts that it's a unique "dock and dine experience" but warns you to secure your craft before bellying up to the bar.
I was delighted to find a lovely little Tea Room...
that celebrated the art of tea in a grand way!
There were many beaches to choose from and we were thrilled to find that they were dog friendly.
Lucy felt right at home amongst the sand and sun ...
but Mylo wanted no part of it.
For me, the most enjoyable part of any trip is meeting new people and making real connections.
Chris, the bartender at The George, explained his addiction to adrenaline and the negative consequences associated with playfully jumping off Cape Fear bridge (7 arrests, 5 citations, 3 warnings).
(Mar)Chello, introduced himself as he was leisurely walking his children to a neighbors house. He offered us a beer from the 6 pack he was carrying, shared some of his favorite growing up in Wilmington stories, and didn't take offense when I complimented his girls on their patience. "I'm a boy" said his 11 year old "surfer" son. (note to self, never ASSume someones sex)
An afternoon of house hunting with Jeff the realtor turned into drinks, dinner, more drinks, and a round of "Show Me Your Scars" (emotionally and physically). Because Jeff's "time served in Irag" scars easily trumped Mark's "appendix and vasectomy" scar and my "look what my sister did to me when she pushed me down the stairs" chin scar, we kept most our scars hidden.
The view from our top floor hotel room, overlooking the river, was so spectacular that we kept our curtains wide open while enjoying some one-on-one time, and were STUNNED to find 2 men perched on a forklift outside our window, trying their best not to notice our naked playfulness.
(please let me know if you find us on the internet)
As I often say, I think these things happen so that I have something interesting to write about.
It was a long drive home, but we had much to discuss. Our journey towards self discovery and reinvention continues.