Carolina Shore - Ocean, Seafood, History & More!

Discussion in 'Travel Stories' started by giradman, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. giradman

    giradman iPad Super Guru

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    Well, I've been posting in my NC mountain thread for a while, which I might just expand to include the Virginia & West Virginia mountains. BUT, the other area of the mid-Atlantic region the we visit often is along the shorelines of Virginia, North & South Carolina, and into Georgia - for us the spring & fall are the best times of the year - school is in session, crowds are less, and most importantly the hot & humid summer months can be avoided. SO, will be posting in this thread both recent & past visits, and hopefully interest others who may be 'passing by' to check out some of these towns, cities, and beaches. Dave :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013
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  2. giradman

    giradman iPad Super Guru

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    Wrightsville Beach - Susan & I are on a short trip to the Wilmington, NC area (about a 4 hour drive from home virtually all on I-40 which ends in Wilmington. This is a popular barrier coastal island just over 2 miles of beautiful beach - plenty of excellent restaurants in the area plus the attractions of Wilmington and the surrounding environs.

    We usually stay at the Holiday Inn & Susan likes an oceanfront room - so, first pic below our 6th floor room overlooking the outdoor pool w/ the Atlantic Ocean in the background (wish that I could add the fresh breeze & the ocean's sound). Second pic (top right) showing Johnnie Mercer's Pier - this is now a concrete (and hopefully storm proof) structure replaced in 1996 after the old wooden one was demolished by Hurricane Fran.

    The island is small but quaint - no pretensions - actually there are several islands that comprise the 'town' w/ intervening wetlands and marshes - the opposite side of the hotel looks out upon these pastel & nautically decorated houses and the wetlands. The lower two pics of several houses (the blue one is probably one of my favorites on the island - lagoons and water inlets w/ boats abound.

    P.S. Using my iPad, a BT keyboard, & a new photo app from Photoshop (eliminated the Wrightsville Beach water tower from the top of the 'blue' house) - usually wait until I'm home on my laptop but will give it a try! More to come - Dave :)

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    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
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  3. skimonkey

    skimonkey Administrator Staff Member

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    What lovely pics you have giradman!! Love the nautical fashion of those homes in the two pictures. You are very fortunate to have such beautiful beaches so close to home!
     
  4. giradman

    giradman iPad Super Guru

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    For those who might be interested and missed my comment on eliminating the 'water tower' from the pic of one of my favorite houses on Wrightsville Beach, below is the pic that I took (left) and the one 'touched up' (right) using the Adobe iPad app called Photoshop Touch - I was actually somewhat surprised by the depth of features in this tablet program - does much more and this is just my first experience - not only crops & resizes but adds many features seen in imaging editing apps on standard computers - not free but quite inexpensive - Dave :)

    P.S. I took 3-4 pics of this house but liked the one w/ the tower best because of the trees, BUT just inserted a more 'frontal' third one (water tower is 'out of the image' in that position) - :D


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    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013
  5. giradman

    giradman iPad Super Guru

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    Wrightsville Beach (continued):

    The Atlantic Ocean is usually rather 'gentle' off this barrier island, but on our last full day, the waves did pick up a little as seen in the top (left) pic below - actually, this is a popular surfing spot and a half dozen surfer dudes in wet suits were out trying these modest waves (just nothing like those images of the huge waves on the West coast, in Hawaii, or in other parts of the world) - like skiing in North Carolina, surfing is also a pale comparison to other choices - ;)

    Another more quaint smaller house w/ palms in front (top right) - on our first full day we did an afternoon 'small' boat ride w/ a marine biologist (use to work for the Army Corps of Engineers) - he took us from the western end of the island to Masonboro Inlet to view the island of the same name which is a nature preserve, i.e. no development but can be visited by boat - amazing commentary from this guy (Susan & I were the only ones on the boat) about what was in the water, on the land, and flying overhead - lower left view of the salt marsh inlet w/ mainly gulls and one cormorant (the darker bird) - dozens of pelicans (the brown variety) flew overhead and I leaned a lot more about this bird from the guide - could be another post! And just a last image showing yet another fabulous house on the way back from this boat ride! Hope all enjoy - Dave :)

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  6. giradman

    giradman iPad Super Guru

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    Airlie Gardens - Flora & Fauna - Part 1

    Along the Carolina & Georgia Coast are many 'gardens' to visit - Airlie Gardens is in Wilmington, NC near Wrightsville Beach - located on the salt marsh inlets w/ plenty of old live oaks & flowering plants - spring would be the best season to visit when the azaleas are in bloom.

    Below just a few pics - top ones show the famous Airlie Oak - story HERE - started as an acorn in the mid-1500s before the founding of the 'Lost Colony' on Roanoke Island, NC (think Walter Raleigh & Elizabeth I) in the 1580s - trunk is over 21 ft in circumference - the Spanish moss is just magnificent - plenty of other live oaks are on the property - for those who may not know, 'live oaks' keep their leaves and the branches grow horizontally - these were prized trees for lumber, especially for ship building.

    At the bottom, some chrysanthemums which were plentiful & on a deck onto the salt marsh, a dead tree w/ an Osprey nest at the very top - Dave :)

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  7. giradman

    giradman iPad Super Guru

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    Airlie Gardens - Part 2

    The gardens also have a lot of wildlife, such as the Osprey nest shown in the previous post. Shore birds abound - saw plenty of great egrets & a Blue Heron (see pic below of egrets in a live oak tree hanging over a pond); couple pics of yellow belly slider turtles which are quite common on the coast - love to sun themselves and often hold up a leg in the air. Finally, a large male swan was close to the walking path - started to 'honk' when I got too close - :D

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  8. suenc

    suenc iPF Novice

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    I miss Wrightsville Beach already, and it's only been a week. :eek: Great photos!
     
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  9. giradman

    giradman iPad Super Guru

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    Kiawah Island, South Carolina - we are now on the island (for 3 nights this time); then 2 nights in Charleston @ the Charleston Place - below is a quote from another forum about our stay on Kiawah (just 18 months or so ago, thus late 2012) - pretty much staying in the same lagoon area (different condo) - pics are all the same. The only DRASTIC change is that fabulous grocery/gourmet store has been taken over by Harris Teeter, so Susan was let down - that's where she does our regular shopping @ home; also, putting some posts in the eating thread. Dave :)

     
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  10. leelai

    leelai Administrator Staff Member

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    What a wonderful area to wind down and relax! It's really looks like my sort of place!

    That lagoon looks so beautiful and peaceful and with so much to explore and the wild life there too, I'd love to visit!

    Shame about that Store! I just have to go eat now, after reading your food post and now this I'm quite ravenous! ;)
     
  11. skimonkey

    skimonkey Administrator Staff Member

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    Great pictures Giradman--it looks nice and warm there. Love seeing the beach and also the wild life too.

    I'll have to go back and check the Food thread too, I may have missed it...being distracted by Leelai's strawberry delight she made! ;)
     
  12. giradman

    giradman iPad Super Guru

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    Hi Skimonkey - check out the food thread - last night we ate at the Atlantic Room of the Ocean Course where the 2012 PGA was held (also a previous Senior PGA & a Ryder Cup championship back in the 80s) - I no longer play golf but this is a 'links style' windswept course w/ spectacular views of the ocean. BTW, there are 5 18-hole courses on this island all designed by well known golf course architects - Dave :)
     
  13. The OB

    The OB Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Great pictures and excellent commentary Dave. Adds greatly to my understanding of the States below the Mason Dixon line that, speaking for myself anyway, we don't get to hear about as much in my neck of the woods. Surprised to see South Carolina so "tropical" with alligators etc when it's next to States like Kentucky and Virginia which I've always thought of as more "woodsy" and green, populated by Davy Crocket types lol (ah! Hollywood;)) but yeah, enjoyed your travel write up:)
    Andrew


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  14. giradman

    giradman iPad Super Guru

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    Hi Andrew - along the Carolina coast, alligators extend up into North Carolina (my state), and indeed along the South Carolina coast into Georgia (and of course the next state is northern Florida), the weather is quite tropical from spring to fall (in fact the summers can be unbearable w/ the heat & humidity - I use to head up radiology meetings on this coast in June when the kids were out of school - would have walked around nude if acceptable! ;)). The flora changes dramatically from where I live (Piedmont area nearer the mountains) just 4-5 hrs to the coast - plenty of live oaks w/ Spanish moss & palmetto palms (the state tree of South Carolina - there is an interesting history there concerning the Revolutionary War).

    Most people (even probably the majority of Americans not from the southeast) in the USA (not knowing their geography well) don't realize that North Carolina + Tennessee (both horizontally long states) extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River w/ Wilmington near the Atlantic coast and Memphis on the river - that's a LONG distance! North Carolina is a wonderfully variable state (see attached map) - divided into the Coast (w/ the Outer Banks), Sandhills, Piedmont (our location, Forsyth County, near the Virginia border), and the Mountains - the Great Smoky National Park (the most visited one in the USA) straddles the NC-TN border. From our home we can get to the mountains w/i an hour and the farther reaches of the mountains (including VA & West VA) in 2-3 hrs; then the coast is just 4-5 hrs away; and if you're into American history (Revolutionary & Civil Wars) this really is the center of that action - we're doing an interesting Tennessee-north Alabama vacation in early April (will report back). Dave :)

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  15. giradman

    giradman iPad Super Guru

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    Magnolia Gardens - left Kiawah Island about 9:30 AM and decided to re-visit the Ashley River Road (also known as the 'Plantation Road') - this is the location of a number of historic sites dating back to and before the colonial times - the three of interest are Drayton Hall, Magnolia Gardens, & Middleton Plantation - all are of interest, but Magnolia Gardens probably offers the greatest variety of attractions, including some beautiful gardens (the azaleas were in bloom) w/ numerous live oaks filled w/ Spanish moss, a narrated tram ride which not only provides plenty of historic information but great views of wildlife, a swamp walk w/ plenty of cypress trees w/ their knees, and a platoon boat ride w/ narration about the rice culture on the property and plenty of wildlife.

    The views are spectacular (although the day was overcast and my pics do not reveal the beauty of the place) - saw dozens of alligators of various sizes (one of the largest shown below), turtles, several blue herons (one also below), and plenty of other birds. There is also a house w/ a tour, a small zoo & nature center, and a snack stand w/ decent food.

    If you are planning to visit the Carolina coastal area w/ Charleston as a destination, then a drive along the Ashley River Road and a visit to one or more of the plantations is a strong recommendation - Dave :)

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    Last edited: Mar 28, 2014
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