Quaint southern charm, beautiful beaches and thriving farm-to-table cuisine all rooted in community.
Nestled on the southern coast of North Carolina is a vibrant riverfront city that is oftentimes overlooked by eager vacationers. Wilmington, North Carolina is a city that brings a flavor all its own which will entice every traveller searching for a unique coastal getaway.
Brimming with antebellum architecture and charming oak-tree lined streets, travellers are immersed in 18th century history while exploring the downtown’s new and noteworthy restaurants, breweries and shops. The beautiful beaches with an array of activities, local events, museums and iconic sunsets, makes Wilmington a top choice for the solo traveler, couple or the large family getaway.
One thing is for certain, Wilmington will capture your heart (and taste buds) with their focus on preserving culture and highlighting the local community within each business, flavorful dish, and entertaining activity.
Stay At The Hive Wilmington
To experience the very best of Wilmington, we highly recommend booking your stay with The Hive in Downtown Wilmington. Wilmington offers several hotels, motels and boutique stays in town, however, The Hive’s convenient location, luxury guest accommodations and amenities put them in a category of their own that exceeds any traveler’s expectations at every turn.
Conveniently located in the heart of downtown Wilmington, the Hive offers a private parking lot to drop your car so you can explore the city by foot. Within walking distance to eclectic shops such as Papercut Books, coffee shops such as Bespoke, exquisite dining and historic sites such as the Burgwin Wright house and the iconic Riverwalk (OTH fans rejoice), the Hive offers a boutique hotel luxuries with a focus on guest experience.
Comprising of 14 private entry suites, these one-of-a-kind units were designed and decorated by local designers to delight the senses and accommodate each guest for their stay. Whether you’re travelling for work or for pleasure, with the family or solo, the Hive units are equipped with full kitchens, spa-like bathrooms, separate living and bedroom space as well as laptop friendly work spaces with hi-speed internet.
The beds at the Hive are super comfortable and conveniently included a white noise/nature sounds machine just like the one we have at home. There is also a smart TV mounted directly in front of the bed so signing in and watching your favorite Netflix show before bed is seamless. Just don’t forget to sign out before you leave!
You will also find laundry and a full gym on the property as well as creative outdoor nooks to rest, reflect or converse with friends. Our favorite in-suite features include the reverse osmosis water filter and complimentary sustainable water bottles as well as the complimentary basket of treats. The luxurious amenities and its central location to downtown makes the Hive a perfect spot to enjoy Wilmington.
In lieu of the ongoing pandemic, the Hive has been committed to creating a safe and comfortable experience for their guests. The unique setup, with no front desk, lobby, nor elevator, ensures that guests will have limited contact with other guests and hotel staff. However, the Hive staff is always available with their virtual concierge accessible by text or phone call. For us, this was very convenient and made our trip that much more comfortable and safe.
We found the Hive to be one of our favorite stays, as it’s check-in and out experience was seamless, and the location and luxurious amenities were beyond perfect for our stay.
Sandy Beaches and Iconic Carolina Sunsets
For some R&R, we jumped at the chance to explore the Wilmington Beaches. First up, and a 20 minute drive from downtown was Wrightsville Beach. Situated on a barrier island, dotted with boats and beautiful summer homes, Wrightsville eludes the quintessential laid back beach town vibe. Though crowded in the peak summer season, (parking is a bit of a trick), the long pristine beaches, endless beach activities (including surfing, SUP, fishing at the pier, kayaking, swimming and boating) makes it easy to see why so many flock to this popular activity rich spot. Outfitted with beach motels, vacation home rentals, some tasty local fare, and the ever famous sunrise and sunsets- if you’re lucky to stay in Wrightsville, you won’t be disappointed.
If Wrightsville isn’t in the cards for your stay, not to worry. Head south to Pleasure Island, where you’ll find Carolina and Kure Beach. The laid back beach vibes continue in these tight knit beach communities, which also boast a beachside boardwalk, a state park with miles of trails, idyllic beaches, fishing and the NC Aquarium as well as the Civil-War-era Fort Fisher State Historic Site. The sunset over Fort Fisher is not to be missed. Drive to the tip of the island and through a tunnel of wavering trees, reminiscent of something out of GOT, once you hit the Fort Fisher site, walk out onto the expansive property to take in the vibrant colors and the stillness of the transition from day to night. Be a tourist here and take all the pictures you can, its truly breathtaking.
Local Wilmington Flavors + Sustainable Cuisine
When you’re ready to hang up your bathing suit, head back to downtown Wilmington for several newly opened restaurants whose flavors and style we are still pining over. At the forefront of their culinary vision, is a strong focus on sustainable cuisine and the local farmers and fishermen of Wilmington whom provide their bounties to
Set in a historic building and central to the Riverwalk makes Seabird a top spot when exploring downtown cuisine. From the carefully preserved architecture, to the upscale 1960’s Mad Men-like interior, the experience at Seabird offers a balance of relaxed southern charm with a chic twist for a night out on the town. Chef Dean Neff infuses his lifelong passion for fishing and sustainable seafood in his thoughtfully crafted menu. The seasonality of ingredients enhances each dish and offers the patrons a delicious experience of local flavors with a nod to the local seafood community.
Starters include highly rated raw oysters local to the Carolina shores and a stunning Seasonal Seafood Tower that will wow any guest. Complete with smoked tuna, pickled North Carolina shrimp, raw little neck clams, deviled grouper, crab salad, king crab, cucumber slaw, harissa mayo and champagne mignonette, this dish is a showstopper. As for your entree, the Swordfish Schnitzel and the Seared Bavette Steak are not to be missed.
Slightly off the beaten path in the Castle Arts District, is Rx– uniquely located in the historic Hall’s Drug Store, Rx gives a nod to its former past while incorporating a strong dedication to their community. Their menu won our hearts and palettes as they named each ingredient and paid homage to its origin farm and farmer, such as Dave’s Chicken, from Changin’ Ways Farm, Meg’s mushrooms from Shelton Herb Farm and Stefan’s Tomatoes from Black River Organic Farms. Each supplier is represented and celebrated in each dish. The distinct flavors and combinations are fresh, inventive and enjoyed down to the last bite. Pair it with an Rx Elixir- we recommend the Rx Bourbon & Ginger featuring local crafted bourbon and ginger beer and Zack’s Green Gingerade Featuring local gin and Stefan’s cucumber ice cubes.
When out on the town, we suggest making a stop at Mon Ame Chocolate + Wine Bar to peruse their eclectic wine selections from around the globe and relax in their wine room with a glass of wine and a taste of their curated chocolates.
Located a few blocks away and serving up spectacular cuisine is Circa 1922. Set in a historic bank, this classic Wilmington spot delivers a prix fixe menu featuring some local favorites like the tagliatelle bolognese made with homemade pasta. Catch the prix fixe menu Sunday-Thursday nights. PinPoint Restaurant, also gets our vote for exceptional farm to table cuisine and a focus on excellent flavors and experience. The in house sommelier greets each table and offers their suggestions to pique your taste buds and enhance your dinner.
We would be remiss not to mention Adapt Kitchen, located steps from Wrightsville Beach and serving up a well balanced mix of health, nutrition and wellness in every breakfast, lunch and juice option on their menu. Featuring adaptogenic superfoods and clean plant-based options, this spot will keep your body fueled and healthy for your day at the beach.
We already began planning our trip back to Wilmington and are eager to explore this captivating city for another round of sweet southern charm, possibly some swells at Wrightsville and definitely an Rx Elixir with Stefan’s cucumber cubes.