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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Experiencing Wilmington NC

This will be the master link to reviews of restaurants, hotels, and attractions we dine at, stay at, and visit while on our 36th anniversary trip to Wilmington NC.

We intend to try as many of the places noted by the local newspaper as being among the best in town, while running it by restaurant and other reviews in TripAdvisor and Google.


  • A Proper Garden.  This is located one block off the waterfront area of Wilmington.  This had a lot of interesting items that were both unusual as well as original.  There was a garden theme to a lot of these items.  My wife bought some candles that are inserted into a wine bottle from here.
  • Creations by Justine. These are art objects that are created by three ladies.  They are all very unusual.  I haven't seen items like these anywhere else, in any city.  We thought they were very reasonably priced.  We bought a couple of wine bottle stoppers (one a shark with a hat smoking a cigar, the other a shark with a foot sticking out of its mouth), as well as a 'mushroom' for a potted plant.  We liked a lot of what we saw, but couldn't quite figure out where we could put it in our house, so we passed on items we really liked.
  • Una Luna World Gallery. Also down by the water, one block off.  This too had a lot of interesting and original pieces.  We found a bar and two stools that we thought would look great on our back porch, but didn't feel that we wanted to put that much into them.  The bar stools, each hand-made, from Wando SC, were hand tooled leather.  Looked great, well made, and a piece of art unto themselves.  We didn't feel that the $495 price for each was too much, but it was more than we wanted to put into bar stools.  The bar top was a big slab of Oak suspended over two wooden wine barrels.  I didn't price the bar, since the stools were past our budget.
  • Crescent Moon.  This is in the Cotton Exchange, across from the Wilmington Hilton, where we are staying (we have a river view).  They had very pretty pottery, hand crafted art-glass and metal sculptures.  My wife felt their prices were very reasonable.
The Good: We stayed at the Wilmington Hilton, which is on the river.  We felt it was reasonably priced, and the room we had (river view) was a nice room.  Nothing fancy.  The King bed had 'memory foam' mattress, and we both liked it very much.  I stayed here once in 1974!  It's been updated some since then, so it looks freshened.  It has wide-open (not secured) wifi.  It also had a hard wired connection, but I didn't have a cable and they didn't supply one. I set up the Ipad for my wife on this, while I used my secure Verizon Wireless broadband card for my laptop for stock transactions.  We plan on eating at Ruth Chris' Steakhouse for our anniversary, which is located at the hotel.  Parking is available off-street, but you have to pay for it.  The hotel is convenient to the tourist stuff down by the water.

The Bad: Somehow, our room didn't get serviced by the maid service this morning.  We did have a 'do not disturb' sign out first thing, but later removed it while they were still servicing our floor.  Maybe that was the reason....anyway, we called at 4:00 PM to have our garbage removed and new towels, etc delivered.  We called back at 5:00 PM and commented that we needed to shower and get ready for going out, so we needed our linens delivered.  It's 5:30 now, still no one has come by with our linens.  I'm on the phone with the 'guest services' person right now to let her know I'm coming into the lobby with the dirty linens and garbage in 10 minutes to drop it off.  Update: the management came up while I was putting my shoes on to present my garbage and linens to the lobby.  He apologized, and presented us with free breakfast passes in the hotel for our troubles.

Overall: We would return.

River Cruise.  On Thursday, 7/21/11, we went on the noon river cruise.  We chose the larger ship "Henrietta III" for our cruise.  It was $15 each, as we opted to skip the onboard lunch.  We are glad we did, as it didn't look all that interesting to us later when we saw it onboard.  However, the cruise itself, which lasted 1.5 hours, was a lot of fun.  While going against the wind, we sat on the rear covered deck.  The outside temperature on this day was around 97 dF, and we were OK while going against the wind.  However, on the return back to the dock, we were going with the wind, which meant we didn't have any wind at all; we ended up moving inside to the air conditioned sitting.  This is an important consideration if you are going in extreme temperature conditions, such as hot hot summer!  We first headed north for a brief ways (upriver) before turning around and heading downstream towards the ocean.  We went under the bridge, and up to the state-ports area before turning around to come back to the dock.  We enjoyed it very much.

Note: the city offers a lot more in the way of entertainment, but we opted to limit our entertainment venues.  The heat index during our stay was 115!

Crime near the waterfront in the tourist section appears to be a problem, based upon city information supplied by the local newspaper.  Here's the link to a map.  We noticed the crime mainly consisted of car break-ins.  During our stay, we never had any issues or problems. While the potential to be crime victims concerned us, we took steps to avoid problems:

  • We removed everything from our car, and parked it in a highly visible area.
  • We did not walk around after dark.  Instead, we drove anywhere we were going to go.
  • We walked to and ate in the area for lunch, and drove out of the area for dinner.

TRIP SUMMARY: Since both Charleston and Savannah are closer to our home, we think we would opt to go to one of those waterfront cities instead of Wilmington, so we probably won't be back this way anytime soon.  However, if the city of Wilmington is closer for you, then I would certainly recommend it.


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