Discovering Wilmington, North Carolina!
Discovering (for us) a New Town - Wilmington, North Carolina
Travel is my special sauce - it makes me tick - I slurp it up any chance I get. Even better, an opportunity to discover a new place with my hubby. We drove down to this popular vacation destination yesterday for the weekend to cheer on our daughter, Olivia, as she covers 70.3 miles of swimming, biking, and running for Wilmington’s Half Iron Man Triathlon.
But, we’ve never been to the beaches in the tar-heel state for some reason (though we lived in Durham for six months from 2004-2005, but were quite distracted by our son’s Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant at Duke). However, we’ve been to beaches in every state up and down the East Coast from Maine to Florida, just not this powerhouse location. We can see why (even though off-season or shoulder season) thousands of people flock down here during the spring and summer months - it’s fantastic!
Olivia, a D1 soccer player in the early 2010s, still keeps fit as a fiddle while playing the beautiful game at the top level. Due to several knee injuries requiring several surgeries, she can no longer step (she chose this option) on a field to play the game she loved, which offered her so much through her youth. Bill Tomoff recorded and wrote about the ups and downs of her playing years in a book he published (privately) for her while writing in WIC—Forever Changed: One Family’s Adventure through the Beautiful Game of Soccer.
We are excited for Olivia and cheer her on in every discipline in the triathlon. We also plan to discover more of the area of Wilmington and Wrightsville Beaches in the next couple of days.
The weather is perfect, with sunny skies forecasted with mild temperatures throughout the weekend, including race day Saturday. It’s great being a visitor, but for a racer, maybe the biggest factor in any triathlon is the swimming portion of the race (unless someone is heavy on the swimming - i.e., a college swimmer). Thankfully, they swim in the Sound, not the ocean, but salt water. Wet suits are allowed depending on the water temperature on race day - TBD for the event.
Once Bill and I got in the late afternoon and checked into the VROB rental, we drove the two miles to the downtown Wilmington Riverwalk area and had a nice dinner at one of the restaurants on the Cape Fear river.
The sunset was stunning, with the mighty USS North Carolina Battleship in the backdrop in the photo below. As a WW11 buff, it was an unexpected gift to see her from a distance on the Riverwalk until we got across from it to capture the pic. I’m impressed that this ship was commissioned in 1941 and was awarded 15 battle stars for heroic performance in the Pacific Theater, including the battles of Guadalcanal, the Philippine Sea, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.
The ship was decommissioned after the war, and through some forward-thinking North Carolinians, the battleship was transferred from New Jersey to its final resting place on the west end of the Cape Fear River in October of 1961. Shortly after her arrival, it became a popular tourist destination for visitors from around the globe. In 1986, the ship/museum became one of 22 ships registered as a National Historic Landmark.