Carolina Shore - Ocean, Seafood, History & More!

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

  1. giradman

    giradman
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    Shuckin' Shack in Carolina Beach - Bonus Eating Post!

    On our last day, we drove south to visit the NC Aquarium & Ft. Fisher (upcoming posts), and planned an early lunch in Carolina Beach at the Shuckin' Shack, just 30 minutes from our hotel and a 'first try.' We were amazed at the quality of the food - started out w/ a dozen oysters and a half dozen clams all on the half shell and SOURCED locally (literally, down the block!) - these were just delicious - then, shared a lobster roll w/ crispy well seasoned french fries - another winner! For dessert, we had another half dozen clams - :) A variety of beers on tap including several local ones - I had an IPA made in Wilmington.

    Below just a few pics - a map of the Carolina Beach location (there is a branch in Wilmington); modest 'hole in the wall' w/ a long bar and high chairs and a row of high tables/chairs - the reviews on Yelp & TripAdvisor are 4+ averages - we will DEFINITELY return on our next trip(s) here - SO, if you are visiting the Wilmington area and like shellfish (raw or cooked), then this restaurant is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Dave :)
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  2. giradman

    giradman
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    North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

    North Carolina has three major aquariums - I discussed the one at Pine Knolls on our trip to Atlantic Beach recently - after our lunch in Carolina Beach, Ft. Fisher (next post) and the NC Aquarium - Ft. Fisher were our afternoon activities and just 10 mins or so from the Shuckin' Shack restaurant (see aerial map). Each of these aquariums have a different layout and a wide variety of exhibits - below is a description of the Ft. Fisher Aquarium. One of the most unique inhabitants is an albino alligator, which we did not see unfortunately - the exhibit was being renovated, but a pic below.

    Just a couple of inside pics, i.e. the Jellyfish Tank and Susan being swallowed by an extinct shark, the Megalodon, which lived 23 to 2.6 million years ago - the tooth of C. megalodon is the state fossil of North Carolina (cool!). A great boardwalk nature trail is on the outside w/ life-size animated dinosaurs that even make noise (see Susan's iPhone video below of the T. Rex) - several more animations. The trail has a bridge over a marsh area - a number of Yellow-bellied Sliders were on a board (and a few in the water, one shown). This is an excellent aquarium for both adults and obviously kids who would love the dinosaurs. Dave :)


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  3. giradman

    giradman
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    Fort Fisher - Gibraltar of the South

    Fort Fisher was just one fortification that protected the two inlets to the Cape Fear River and to the port of Wilmington about 30 miles upstream (see maps for others, especially at the 'Old Inlet'). The aerial views below show the remnants of the northern earthen works of Ft. Fisher, which was much larger and 7-shaped during the Civil War, and protected both a land and sea assault to the 'New Inlet' of the river; much of the sea-side portion of the structure has disappeared because of sea erosion over the last century and a half.

    The importance of Wilmington is discussed in the first quote below - blockade running was crucial to the Confederate economy and its military, especially to Robert E. Lee's army. Ft. Fisher was an earthen fort w/ mounds of dirt/sand which effectively absorbed attempts at bombardment. The Union made two attempts to capture the fort, one aborted in December 1864; and a second in January 1865 which was effective - a combined naval bombardment and land assault led to the surrender of Ft. Fisher; the fighting was fierce, particularly around Shepherd's Battery and the Wilmington Road - there were a combined 2000 casualties. Wilmington fell in February 1865 and Lee surrendered at Appomattox in mid-April (see second quote).

    Pics below - the fourth through sixth images are my own; Shepherd's Battery is open to the public (but was closed during our visit - likely storm damage from hurricane Matthew); a couple of maps of the Confederate fortifications of the times and also the Union attack from the land. Finally, guided tours are available - the final pic is of a book I bought in the gift shop; the author was about to give a tour (wish we had signed up) - he is a PhD professor of history at the University of NC at Wilmington - kind of a neat fortuitous meeting - NOW, I need to read the book (but not that long and a LOT of pictures). Dave :)

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  4. giradman

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    Fort Fisher - continued

    Not much remains of Fort Fisher - the schematic diagram below shows the 7-shaped fort and the main batteries in January 1865; however, only about 10% of the fort remains (see quote), although the Atlantic beach has walkways w/ plaques, as shown in the third image. The remaining 'photos' from the web are of portions of Fort Fisher back during the end of the Civil War - must have been an impressive structure. Dave :)

    P.S. Image #5 is a 'stereoscopic' view of the previously pic - if you can 'cross your eyes just right' then the image is in stereo - as a radiologist, I learned to do this often, especially w/ stereoscopic views of the skull (of course, no longer needed now w/ head CTs & MRIs).

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  5. suenc

    suenc
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    One of my favorite places--the waterfront is an instant tranquilizer.
     
  6. suenc

    suenc
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  7. suenc

    suenc
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    Impressive, but my geriatric knees don’t like climbing all those stairs.
     
  8. suenc

    suenc
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    Boom! I’m definitely the Civil War buff that giradman is, but I enjoyed the walkway around the property.
     
  9. suenc

    suenc
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    Best shellfish we’ve had in a long time. Really fresh--unlike most of the seafood in central NC (us) which is hit or miss.
     
  10. suenc

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    Well designed aquarium. The dinosaurs were a welcome surprise.
     

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