11 June 2013

A Trip To Wilmington, NC

Recently My husband and I made a trip to visit friends in Wilmington, NC. Friends we met while we were living in Costa Rica, were in Wilmington for the wedding of their granddaughter. Since Wilmington is only a 3 hour drive we jumped at the chance to get to see them while they were Stateside. We also really enjoyed getting to visit with the rest of the family, that we haven't seen since 2009, when they left Costa Rica with their 5 children and sailed to the Mediterranean.

Wilmington is my favorite North Carolina city. It has a beautiful historic section, lots of good restaurants, Flaming Amy's Burritos is a family favorite, and Indochine is another. Both offer an interesting variety of vegan friendly selections. The WWII battleship North Carolina, is moored across the river from downtown Wilmington. It has been turned into a museum and is open to the public. The New Hanover County Arboretum is a lovely place, it is not large, only 7 acres in total, but it well worth the time to visit. Our time this trip was limited. There was too much going on at home to make it a "beach trip", and spend some time enjoying the lovely light sand beaches that are just minutes away from downtown Wilmington. But we did go for a brisk walk at Wrightsville Beach, between rain storms, just so we could enjoy the ocean view for a few minutes while we walked. Once things settle down at home we will make a trip back, specifically to spend some time at the beach.

Inside the Bottle Chapel
On this particular trip we spent what free time we had walking the extensive grounds at Airlie Gardens. Airlie Gardens is  67 acres of gardens, with live Oaks, ponds, thousands of azaleas and camellias, as well as fountains, statuary, art and other features. On a green not far from the entrance to the gardens stands a 467 years old Live Oak. Just past the Airlie Oak stands the Bottle Chapel, constructed by local artists in honor of Minnie Evans, a long time employee of the gardens and resident artist. The chapel's sunny location brings the color of the bottles to life. What a wonderfully unique way to recycle bottles!

The Bottle Chapel

While we were strolling the grounds we spotted a pair of swans on the lake. Upon closer inspection we also saw that the swans were proud parents of a single fuzzy gray signet. I was totally enchanted and spent the remainder of our available time photographing the swan as they fed.

I was really surprised that the swans let me get so close. Swans are notoriously protective of their young.

 It was a great day and I can't wait to go back to Wilmington, but next time I will actually spend some time on the beach!

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