I have returned! Unfortunately, I returned to a state seeing a wintery mix of snow and rain, but we won’t talk about that. Michigan.
Get ready for a photo-heavy post!
My partner in crime and I were lucky enough to spend time in North Carolina for a small vacation thanks to the generosity of a couple of friends. I’ve never been to the east coast before, so I was more than excited to take in some sun and sand! We spent about 18 grueling hours on the road (airfare is ridiculously expensive) until we finally arrived in Wilmington, where Miranda, one of my best friends, lives.
Let me first just say I’m completely jealous that she gets to live in beautiful apartment complex that features palm trees for natural decor.
We began our first day with what else —a trip to the beach! It’s pretty much a rite of passage for staying in a coastal city. So we ventured to Kure Beach, even though it was incredibly windy and only about 70 degrees. I say “only” ironically, guys.
This was my first time seeing the Atlantic Ocean, and I never wanted to leave. I was immediately transfixed on how large the waves were, the sound they created, and the sheer knowledge of the vast distance in between land masses. And the area surrounding the beach featured cute beach houses in pops of color perfect for the coast.
The pier was one of my favorite pieces of the beach! It was really fun to photograph.
We also visited the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, which is a very nice facility featuring local fish, amphibians, plant life, birds and reptiles. It’s a great attraction, especially if you have young children. As you can see below, Miranda wasn’t too thrilled about the albino alligator. But we got to touch a shark, take a look at sting rays, sea horses, jellyfish and other types of creatures that live in the ocean. They also had a small outdoor exhibit featuring animatronic dinosaurs that were so lifelike they startled us!
Once night fell, Miranda took us on a tour of downtown Wilmington, which really has an awesome atmosphere and great nightlife. There are plenty of restaurants, shops, breweries, and bars to keep one occupied. There’s also the riverwalk, which travels by many sights from the popular show One Tree Hill. If you’re a fan of the drama series, you’ll definitely be excited to see familiar landmarks and purchase T-shirts and other types of swag. For more of those types of photos, check out my Instagram account.
Day two was a little more relaxed. The morning included a little bit of window shopping and lunch at Bojangles, which is a fabulous fast food chicken joint similar to KFC or Chick-fil-a, though I guarantee it’s even less healthy. But so good. Miranda also took Justin and I to one of her favorite resale stores called Recollections Vintage Village.
This place is a hidden gem if you’re looking for unique decor, antique items, or collectibles. Behind the main store sits a yard with a dozen or so smaller buildings filled with items, and those items change each week! The owners are very nice and not pushy, which I really appreciated, especially since we took so long going through everything! I found a great wine rack, but I was so tempted to purchase some pillows that kept catching my eye. Maybe one day if I have a beach house…
And who can say no to a fun tree swing, right?! Oh, props to Miranda for styling my hair that day. It looked fabulous.
To end the day, Justin and I went back to Kure Beach on our own to enjoy it one last time. We stayed for quite a while, soaking it all in and making sure to get the photographs we wanted. Sure enough, we took advantage of a group who was skimboarding, got some great shots, and connected with a few of them (hi, guys!) before saying goodbye to the ocean. It looked like a ton of fun, and there were quite a few people who stopped to watch as well.
Before I end this post, I leave you with a few more of my favorite shots from Wilmington — specifically the beach.
I definitely fell in love with the ocean, and I can’t wait to see it again.
Stay tuned to see part 2 of my vacation, which took place in and around Charlotte!