Thursday, February 24, 2011

Reinvention Intervention

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
Sarasota, Florida
Portland, Oregon
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 

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. 



  1. This is the perfect time of year for reinvention. Looks like you had a fantastic trip and the photos turned out great. Okay, I'm going to go look on the internet for those "one on one" photos!

  2. I love your sense of awakening and awareness and reinventing yourself! I'm "kind of" doing that, but not nearly as exciting as you are...and the warm weather photos look so welcoming! We're getting rain/sleet/flurries, etc. at the moment. ICK!

  3. You had to pick the one part of the NC coast I have yet to visit. It looks wonderful and I will be checking into that boat B&B. Still need to visit the Cape Fear light house :) That red dot... is an orb. Don't you know the south is haunted :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  4. I love your stories and photos, and the fact that you are using this method to find a new place in life.

  5. Absolutely Awesome. I'd love to just run away...but I know the boys would all find me. :)

    And hurricanes are as predictable as sunshine or snow. You are given ample time to leave if necessary, and everyone's usually prepared. Therefore... not scary. I lived in FL for 7 years, after Hurricane Andrew, people either rode it out or left. It was that simple.

  6. It sounds like you had a great trip. I enjoyed your pictures! I think this is a great time of year to be thinking of reinvention.

  7. I live in the north western part of NC, it's beautiful here, I love going to the beach, The Outer Banks is colorful and fun, and there are a lot of lighthouses there.

  8. Dreams are healthy as is adventure in ones life. Go for it, we did when we moved to Italy, with no regrets! Good Luck with your plans and dreams.

  9. That is awesome! love the photos. love the doggies.
    huge dog fan

    what about Kansas City. They have great BBQ

    Looks like you had an amazing time

  10. What a wonderful plan to reinvent and take journeys of discovery! I enjoy the sense of adventure you bring to life.

  11. Have you looked into reinventing yourself in Seiad Valley, CA? It is wonderful, cheap, great river, great views, the dogs would love it! Seriously, I think you should check it out. We could be neighbors!

  12. Gorgeous! What an amazing trail you have taken of self discovery and rejuvenation.. Looks absolutely refreshing! I wish you have a great time wherever the trail takes you forward and more importantly you get whatever you search for at the end of it all:-)
    Have a wonderful day, Shannon:-)


Thank you for encouraging my JOY of writing. By reading and commenting you are feeding my soul, stroking my heart, and in the end...making me a better writer.

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison