North Carolina: Blackbeard & Boardwalks
After an eventful first day, we were ready for more adventures! We started our second day on the Southern Atlantic Coast Highway with a delicious breakfast at Waverider’s Coffee & Deli in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. With full bellies, we hopped on the road and took off on a 3.5-hour drive to Beaufort.
Our first stop was the North Carolina Maritime Museum, where we got a glimpse into the life of the infamous pirate Blackbeard. The museum is the official repository for artifacts from the Queen Anne’s Revenge, Blackbeard’s ship, which was shipwrecked hundreds of years ago. Researchers are still finding artifacts from the original ship to this day!
After the museum, we walked over to Front Street Grill at Stillwater for lunch. We were told this was one of the best restaurants in town, and it did not disappoint. The restaurant sits right on the water and the owner told us that dolphin sightings are quite common. We soaked in the great ocean breeze and enjoyed some amazing Tuna Tacos and Chicken Wraps. It was the perfect meal to fuel us up for the two-hour drive to Wilmington.
Once we arrived in Wilmington, we took a tour around the incredible 67 acres of the Airlie Gardens. We loved being surrounded by thousands of aromatic azaleas, camellias, magnolias, and wisterias. The gardens date back to 1886, and there’s even a 467-year-old Airlie Oak tree that locals say has watched over Wilmington throughout the centuries. But our favorite part was the Minnie Evans Bottle Chapel, a beautiful and unique chapel made from hundreds of recycled glass bottles and inspired by the art of the Spanish artist Antoni Gaudí.
Just half an hour from the gardens, we found Carolina Beach, located at the northern end of Pleasure Island. It was named one of the top beaches in the USA and we quickly understood why. It’s a hot spot for beachgoers, water sports, family activities and world-class fishing. We loved seeing all the colorful characters walking around and were so excited when we discovered our hotel, the Courtyard Carolina Beach Oceanfront, was right by the boardwalk. Our stay was made that much better by the super friendly staff and unbelievably comfortable rooms. We felt like royalty!
As the sun was starting to set, we walked to Havana’s Restaurant for dinner. This local favorite has plenty of outdoor and indoor seating, and we loved the lively, friendly atmosphere. We went all out and ordered the New York Strip steak, seafood paella, mussels, shrimp and scallops. Everything was so good that we honestly can’t pick a favorite! Luckily, we saved some room for dessert and walked over to Britt’s Donuts. We heard that people drive from all over the state to try one of their amazing glazed donuts. Once we had a bite, we could see why! We have to admit, they were so good we ended up ordering 12.
A great day, a delicious dinner and unforgettable donuts made for an amazing second day on the road. Next up: South Carolina!