Travel Destinations

Wilmington to Wrightsville Beach, NC

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September 2018
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By
Kevin
Harvey

While it might not sound very welcoming, Cape Fear River has carried that name since around 1585, and locals just think of it as part of their unique regional charm. Plus, the river's lovely waterfront adds a special personality to Wilmington. The town's coastal proximity on the Eastern seaboard sets the tone for community culture and activities in this rapidly growing city.Mild winters and warm summers send the seawater to a comfortable 80 degrees in the summertime. Beautiful landscapes and diverse activities make Wilmington a lively haven for visitors and locals alike. Wilmington is bordered by Wrightsville Beach to the east, and it's an easy stop on the Intracoastal Waterway for transient boaters.The summer season kicks off with the spring North Carolina Azalea Festival, entering its 71st year in April of 2019. This festival celebrates all of Wilmington's finest organizations, businesses, restaurants and of course, the azalea. Plant lovers can also enjoy a trip to Airlie Gardens, located just inshore of Wrightsville Beach and known for sprawling oaks set along Bradley Creek, Spanish moss and landscaped walking trails.When the weather heats up, everyone and takes to the water. Surfing has a long history in the region with local legends and beginners paddling out to their favorite break. Other popular outdoor activities: sailing, paddle boarding, kayaking, kite boarding, biking, rowing and running. Throughout the year, Wilmington hosts triathlon events amidst the rolling farmlands a short drive outside of town.Downtown Wilmington's historic homes and buildings might look familiar; many served as sets in movies, a strong-hold industry for some time. Running along the Cape Fear River in downtown you find the Wilmington Riverwalk, a 1.75-mile stretch of wooden boardwalk that follows the curve of the river from Cape Fear Memorial Bridge to Isabel Holmes Bridge.Venture off the riverwalk for a bite to eat at one of the many local restaurants, from sandwich shops to fine dining. Stop into a local store or gallery or enjoy a show at the newly constructed Wilson Center, a 1,540-seat performance hall. Ample dockage is available downtown, with city-run docks and private marinas capable of handling vessels up to superyacht size with deep-water access along with the 38 feet controlled-depth shipping channel.When fall arrives and the crowds dwindle, head to Wrightsville Beach for the North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, an annual tradition culminating in a lighted boat parade each November. With beautiful landscapes, activities for every personality and, most of all, a seaside setting, it's no question why so many flock to North Carolina's southeast corner where Wilmington shines.

WHERE TO DOCK

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH

Seapath Yacht Club

(910-256-3747)This premier transient stop provides first-class floating docks including 190 slips and 600 feet of face dock.

WILMINGTON

Bennett Brothers Yachts/Cape Fear Marina

(910-772-9277)Celebrating 26 years repairing, building and brokering boats, its staff of 20 skilled craftsmen and technicians are ABYC certified. With a 70-ton Marine Travel lift, they can haul boats up to 90 feet.

Port City Marina

(910-251-6151)The protected, deep-water, full-service marina, features state-of-the-art floating concrete wet slips, accommo-dates boats up to 250 feet and has 6,000 feet of linear dock space.

Wilmington City Docks

(910-520-6875)About 15 miles from the ICW on the Cape Fear River in downtown Wilmington with 1,200 feet of floating dock space that can accommodate vessels up to 100 feet.

WHERE TO DINE

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH

The Bridge Tender

(910-256-4519)This waterfront seafood and steakhouse is located at the foot of the drawbridge.

Poe's Tavern

(910-509-2739)Come taste gourmet hamburgers and craft beer on South Harbor Island.

Tower 7

(910-256-8585)Fish tacos and Baja-inspired Mexican fare washed down with margaritas.

WILMINGTON

Savorez

(910-833-8894)Traditional Latin American cuisine with fresh flavors and local ingredients.

Dock Street Oyster Bar

(910-762-2827)Hang with the locals and devour steamed oysters and seafood in a casual climate.

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Lyman-Morse: Breathes New Energy into a Coastal New England Town
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The buzz of construction at the docks of Camden, ME, is finished, and it’s been replaced with an air of excitement among residents and visitors who watched a beautiful new development emerge along the waterfront.

The rebirth of Camden’s harbor started in 2015 when Lyman-Morse bought Wayfarer Marine. Based in nearby Thomaston, Lyman-Morse has run a successful boat-building business since the 1970s. More than 120 vessels have been constructed in the yard, located in the same site where Malabar schooners, Friendship sloops and other fine vessels have been built for nearly two centuries. Lyman-Morse has expanded beyond custom sailing and motor yachts, now offering high-quality refits, and other services.

Lyman-Morse’s boatyard and nine-acre facility enjoy a long maritime tradition on Camden’s shoreline, ranging from building schooners in the 19th century to U.S. minesweepers and troop transports in World War II, and servicing vessels from high-end yachts to recreational boats.

The location of this acquisition is idyllic. Nestled in a lovely cove on Penobscot Bay, Camden has been a bastion of seafaring activity and a world-
wide nautical travel destination for centuries. The scenery is dramatic, with forested mountains that meet the ocean and offshore islands that are an explorer’s
paradise. The 1830s Curtis Island Lighthouse near the harbor keeps watch over the town’s quaint homes, shops, restaurants, opera house and galleries.

Inspired by the area’s natural beauty, the new development’s designers also understood Camden’s historic role in the region and wanted to carry that forward in modern form. They studied vintage photos, matched the style and created 33,000 square feet of new buildings for marine services and mixed-use commercial space.

Lyman-Morse’s Camden boatyard attracts maritime professionals and boaters with essential services for carpentry, mechanics, electronics, rigging and more, and brings the general public back to the working waterfront with amenities such as restaurants, a distillery, a few overnight accommodations, and a boardwalk big enough for a morning stroll or brisk dog walk.

Added bonus: Sensitivity to the environment was not overlooked in construction. Engineers took a sustainable approach when they elevated all structures above the flood plain, installed LED lights and upgraded all systems to today’s energy-efficient levels.

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Camden, Maine
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True boaters say the real Maine coast doesn’t start until you reach Penobscot Bay. This is “Down East” from Kennebunkport and Portland. The dramatic stretch of coastline from Camden to Mount Desert Island sparkles with granite shores, dotted with archipelagos of pine-tree covered islands and mountains cascading into the sea. This region offers some of the best cruising ground in the world.

Camden is a magical little seaside town in the heart of Maine’s mid-coast. It’s historic but hip. “Where the Mountains Meet the Sea” is their moniker, as Camden Hills and 780-foot Mount Battie stretch down toward the bustling waterfront where this 1769 New England village sits, creating a postcard scene.

Camden is super foot-traffic friendly, starting at Harbor Park and the beautiful brick Public Library that graces the top of the bay by the Town Docks. Enjoy a picnic on the sprawling park lawn; there’s often a craft festival or free concert at the outdoor amphitheater. From the waterfront, stroll the quaint sidewalks leading to cafés, boutiques, craft stores and art galleries, pubs, and surprisingly trendy restaurants.

You can hike, bike or drive the toll road up Mount Battie in Camden Hill State Park, which encompasses 5,500 acres and 30 miles of trails. Your reward is spectacular panoramic views of the harbor and Penobscot Bay below.

Eaton Point, at the eastern entrance to the harbor, is home to a new Lyman-Morse yacht facility. Camden remains a working harbor with lobster fishermen, boat builders, ferries and tall-masted schooners taking folks out for scenic sails.

Camden hosts festivals throughout the summer season of jazz, film and its trademark Windjammers. In winter, the U.S. National Tobogganing Champion-ships are held at Camden’s namesake Snow Bowl – our country’s only ski area with views of the Atlantic.

Camden is an ideal boater’s gateway with all the services and shops you need in walking distance from the waterfront. Excursions from this protected harbor are countless and legendary. A quick cruise brings you to quiet Lasell Island for a sunset anchorage. Farther on you reach Maine’s Maritime Academy home in beautiful Castine, and the rustic islands of North Haven, Vinalhaven and Deer Isle. Ultimately you can cruise north and east through beautiful Merchants Row, or the more protected Eggemoggin Reach, to Mount Desert Island, home to famed Acadia National Park, Northeast, Southwest and Bar Harbors.

WHERE TO DOCK

Camden Public Landing
Town Docks
207-691-4314

Contact the harbormaster for overnight slips, limited but in town, and moorings throughout the harbor.

Lyman-Morse at
Wayfarer Marine
207-236-7108

Across the harbor on Camden’s east shores, this revamped marina is a half-mile walk to town, with new docks and a marina facility, home of Lyman-Morse Boatyard and 30 slips plus moorings.

WHERE TO DINE

40 Paper
207-230-0111

Relish artful cuisine locally sourced from farmers, fishermen and “foragers.” In an historic wool mill in downtown Camden, it’s comfy but chic. Savor octopus, lamb, mussels, salmon and more with fresh produce and creative sides. Save room for dessert made from scratch.

Peter Otts on the Water
207-236-4032

Get your chowder and Maine lobster fix from Chef Peter. This classic setting overlooking the harbor is a Camden staple you “ott” not miss. Open for lunch or dinner.

Franny’s Bistro
207-230-8199

With a neighborhood feel, Franny’s serves up lobster fritters, crab cakes, shrimp dumplings and land-lubber faves, too. A fun menu in a cozy setting.

Bagel Café
207-236–2661

For fresh-brewed morning coffee and daily “boiled then baked” bagels or breakfast sammies served all day.

Read More
Jamestown, Rhode Island
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Located on Conanicut Island, Gould Island and Dutch Island, Jamestown welcomes boaters to Narragansett Bay.  Its southernmost point is on Gould Island and marked by Beavertail Lighthouse and State Park. The northernmost point is marked by Conanicut Island Lighthouse.  While Conanicut Island is the second largest island on Narragansett Bay, it is near the western mainland in Kingston, and Newport lies to the east on Aquidneck Island.  Hop on the Jamestown Newport Ferry to get the lay of the land and sea.

Jamestown was settled early in colonial history and was named for James, Duke of York, who became King James II in 1685.  By 1710, many of Jamestown’s current roads were already in place and a lot of its early architecture is well preserved. Soak up some local history at the Jamestown Fire Memorial Museum, Beavertail Lighthouse Museum and Park, Jamestown Windmill, Watson Farm, Conanicut Island Sanctuary, Fort Wetherill State Park, and the Jamestown Settlement museum.

The main town, shops and restaurants are located on the eastern shore of Conanicut Island.  But even from the western side, Dutch Harbor and other attractions are easily accessed with a one-mile walk.

WHERE TO DOCK

Conanicut Marina
401-423-5820

This full-service marina has a ships store/chandlery, gift shop, extensive dockage and a large mooring field.  It’s located in the heart of town overlooking Newport and the Pell Bridge, but bring your fishing poles for the kids.

Dutch Harbor Boat Yard
401-423-0630

Located on the west passage of Narragansett Bay, this small, local marina has good moorings, launch service and facilities.  At times, the harbor can be rolly from a SW wind up the West Passage.  The holding ground is excellent for anchoring, but the dinghy dock is by seasonal permit only.

Safe Harbor Jamestown Boatyard
401-423-0600

Jamestown Boatyard is renowned for excellent workmanship on all types of boats.  It also has a large mooring field and is in a beautiful location on the East Passage.

WHERE TO DINE

Slice of Heaven
401-423-9866

This family-owned café and bakery with an outdoor patio is an ideal spot for breakfast and lunch, especially if you’re looking for tasty gluten-free and vegetarian options.

J22 Tap & Table
401-423-3709

This lively, year-round restaurant specializes in classic American cuisine and local seafood dishes such as New England clam chowder, lobster tail and seared yellowfin tuna while accommodating meat eaters with wings, burgers and steak tacos.

Village Hearth Bakery & Café
401-423-9282

Take a seat inside this rustic eatery or outside on the patio to enjoy wood-fired bread, pizzas and pastries with a cool beer or wine.  To start your day with a smile, order a cup of the eco-friendly coffee.

Bay Voyage Restaurant
401-560-7979

Inside the Wyndham Bay Voyage Inn, this casual dining establishment presents a seasonal menu of American cuisine standards and seafood with fresh ingredients and a stellar view of Narragansett Bay.

Read More

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