November 23, 2013


9th Annual Event Features 300,000 Lights, Music, Santa & Colorful LEGOs  

November 2013, Wilmington, N.C.: Tis the season to be enchanted! And what could be more enchanting than a glittering landscape of lighted oaks and twinkling displays in a coastal garden setting?  Visitors who travel to Wilmington, North Carolina’s historic river district and island beaches during the holiday season will have the opportunity to experience “Enchanted Airlie” each Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening from November 29 through December 21, with additional dates on Wednesday, December 18 and Sunday, December 22. 

Now in its ninth season, Enchanted Airlie (Nov. 29-Dec. 22) presents a holiday light extravaganza with tastefully decorated gardens, magical evenings and fond memories for visitors and local residents. On select dates beginning the Friday after Thanksgiving and continuing into late December, Airlie Gardens is transformed into a visually stunning wonderland of theatrically illuminated large oaks, small native trees, holiday flowers, and elegant displays. Prepare to be enchanted by a world of holiday fantasy that features 300,000 lights and whimsical LEGO exhibits to delight visitors of all ages.  

Always a crowd favorite, the colorful LEGO exhibit returns with more than 250,000 LEGO bricks that set a world record as the largest crowd to see a single LEGO display. Inside the garden services center, guests will marvel at an actual running LEGO train set constructed by NCLUG (North Carolina Lego Group Users). Other highlights include: a Poinsettia Paradise with more than 400 holiday plants; live musical entertainment and visits with Santa. Families can also have their pictures taken in Airlie’s 2,400-square-foot floral conservatory. Refreshments will be available for purchase and the Airlie gift shop will be open.  

Want to go? Enchanted Airlie runs November 29-30; December 5-7, 12-14, and 18-22 in two time slots: 5:00-7:00 p.m. and 7:00–9:00 p.m. Enchanted Airlie tickets must be purchased in advance, no later than 4:00 p.m. the night of the event. Due to the popularity of this event, it is recommended that visitors purchase tickets for their preferred dates prior to arrival. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.airliegardens.org or in-person at Airlie Gardens service center (300 Airlie Rd., Wilmington) between 9am and 4pm. Single admission tickets cost $10 for individuals over the age of 4. Children under age 3 are free. Couples arriving in the same vehicle can purchase a couples ticket for $15. An economical green option is the carload ticket for $22, which will cover as many people as will safely fit into an automobile; no individual tickets or parking passes are required for this option (excludes buses and large, multi-passenger vans).

Airlie Gardens, located at 300 Airlie Road, is a 67-acre historic public garden bordering Bradley Creek in Wilmington, North Carolina. Visitors are encouraged to dress warmly and comfortably for the half-mile outdoor walking tour on gravel, sand, and mulch paths. For details about Enchanted Airlie, please call 910-798-7700 or visit the Airlie Gardens website www.airliegardens.org for event information, rules, restrictions and rain policy.  

Go “coastal” this holiday season! From the river to the sea, more than 50 holiday-themed events celebrate the season in Wilmington, North Carolina’s historic river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach. To download a free holiday brochure, visit http://tinyurl.com/2013HolidayBrochure. For seasonal specials and visitor information for Wilmington, N.C.’s historic river district and island beaches, visit www.GoWilmingtonAndBeaches.com. For a free official visitors guide, call 1-866-266-9690, email visit@wilmingtonandbeaches.com, or stop by the Visitors Information Center at 505 Nutt Street, Unit A, in historic Downtown Wilmington.     

November 22, 2013

Island Women Embarks on Recyclable Beach Bag Initiative

Some of the members from the Island Women Bag Committee who meet weekly at Port City Java.  L to R are:  bottom row:  Becky Murphy; Carol Konicki and second row:  Sara Smith, Kim Faust, Noel Stevens, Juliet Wright, Cindy Linville, and Committee Chair Debi DiNatale

(November 22, 2013) – Pleasure Island, NC – A local non-profit organization, The Island Women, recently launched a new fundraising initiative, designing and delivering 5,000 unique and recyclable beach tote bags to the Pleasure Island community before the 2014 Memorial Day holiday. Island Women, dedicated to improving the quality of life on Pleasure Island for residents and guests, designed a campaign to achieve three main goals: First, an illustrative representation of all that Pleasure Island has to offer, noting landmarks such as the Boardwalk, Freeman Park, Carolina Beach Lake, Kure Beach Park and North and Kure Pier, as well as the columns entering Fort Fisher and the Fisher State Recreation Area. Second, the bag will serve as a general navigation tool to attractively illustrate businesses and third, it will serve as a great souvenir for vacationers to take home and share Pleasure Island information with friends and family. The bag also represents the Island Women’s mission in the support of environmental efforts and specifically endorses the use of reusable, recyclable products in our coastal area. The beach bag provides opportunities for businesses on the Island to cameo their locations while supporting the Island Women organization and its mission.

“We are proud to offer this new and unique opportunity for our area with the Island Women’s new beach/tote bag initiative,” said Debi DiNatale, owner of the Carolina Beach Inn and the Chair of the Committee who is volunteering to see the project through. “We have a great response from businesses so far, and it is our plan for the bag to become an annual fundraiser for Island Women,” she added. “The best outcome is that our businesses gain valuable visibility, through an aesthetically-pleasing bag that will, in essence, be walking around the island this summer season. The bonus is that it provides an opportunity to return to visitors’ hometowns as a souvenir depicting a great vacation destination and showcasing all that Pleasure Island has to offer. We are proud, too, that the funds raised will be invested in future efforts of supporting Pleasure Island.”

Businesses can participate in the bag project through sponsorship at varying affordable levels. Each level provides advertising opportunities, Island Women promotions, and a quantity of bags for distribution to business clients, VIPs, or to sell. The bag, designed by Sandpiper Marketing & Communications, a Carolina Beach business, will provide opportunities for island businesses to have their physical business site designed and illustrated on the bag itself, along with their logos and websites on sides of the bag, depending upon the level of sponsorship. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, the Island Women organization, or how you can be more involved, contact Debi DiNatale at 910.622.8393 or islandwomenpi@gmail.com or visit www.islandwomen.org.

Island Women is a diverse group of local women who use their talents and resources to improve the quality of life on Pleasure Island for residents and guests. Island Women is a non-profit group that is not affiliated with any companies, governments or special interests groups. The Pleasure Island recyclable bag is just one of the many projects that Island Women organization supports. Other projects include the Beach Bound project that funded the purchase of beach accessible wheel chairs, island beautification projects and other environmental initiatives.

Press release provided by Sandpiper Marketing & communications.


Sparkle and shine. Dazzle and delight. Lighting up the holidays is a hallmark of Wilmington, North Carolina and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach. During this festive time of year two colorful nighttime flotillas illuminate our waterways: the 30th Annual North Carolina Holiday Flotilla at Wrightsville Beach on Saturday, November 30 and the Island of Lights Holiday Flotilla at Carolina Beach on Saturday, December 7. The boat parades feature brightly lit sailing vessels, ranging from tiny rowboats to luxury yachts.

While flotillas can occur any time of the year, the holidays are perfect for nautical festivities. Each year thousands of visitors travel to Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach to line the waterways and cheer for the twinkling boats as they drift by in competition for the coveted “Best in Show” prize. Captains and their crews go all-out to please the crowds, decorating their boats from stem to stern in themes that range from traditional to contemporary. This originality reflects the independent spirit and creative energy that defines Wilmington, N.C.’s historic river district and island beaches.

A Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event for November 2013, the time-honored flotilla kicks off the holiday season the weekend after Thanksgiving (Nov. 29-30). To celebrate its 30th year, the North Carolina Holiday Flotilla promises an impressive show with a record number of glimmering boats. Visitors can celebrate all weekend, beginning Friday night when the island’s official Christmas tree is lit at 5:45 p.m., followed by visits with Mr. and Mrs. Claus at Town Hall. At 7:00 p.m., there’s an Atlantic Marine Launch Party at the Blockade-Runner Beach Resort with live music and heavy hors d’oeuvres (admission charge for gala). On Saturday, a full day of entertainment begins with a free Festival in the Park from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at Wrightsville Beach Park featuring arts and crafts vendors, antique / classic car show, kids’ activities, food, entertainment, and amusements. Then, at 6:00 p.m. the main attraction—the holiday flotilla—gets underway along Banks Channel, beginning with a fireworks volley, followed by the boat parade and a stunning fireworks show. This year’s event includes a Crowd Favorite winner determined by audience text-votes. Visitors who wish to make the most of their beach weekend can also enjoy the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History, narrated cruises, fresh seafood at island restaurants, and shopping at surf and specialty shops. For details about the N.C. Holiday Flotilla, visit www.ncholidayflotilla.org, email info@ncholidayflotilla.org or call 910-256-2120.

On the first Saturday in December (December 7th), the Island of Lights Christmas Flotilla in Carolina Beach features electrically decorated fishing boats and pleasure crafts in a spectacular display of light and sound along the Intracoastal Waterway. Beginning at 6:00 p.m. the merry boat parade cruises from Snows Cut to Carolina Beach Boat Basin and back. The best viewing station is at Carolina Beach Boat Basin. Visitors who arrive on Friday can usher in the holidays during the annual Island of Lights Nighttime Christmas Parade on Friday evening (December 6th). Santa’s official arrival in Pleasure Island is preceded by an elaborate procession of electrical floats, marching bands, queens, and more. The Friday night parade begins at 7:30 p.m. along Lake Park Blvd. from Atlantic Avenue to Federal Point Shopping Center in Carolina Beach. Plan a weekend getaway that includes the parade and the flotilla, as well as a visit to the Carolina Beach Boardwalk for this year’s Christmas by the Sea festivities. While on the island, you can enjoy Kure Beach’s new Ocean Front Park and visit the Fort Fisher State Historic Site & Civil War Museum, Carolina Beach State Park, and the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher. You’ll also find unique gifts in museum shops and beach boutiques at Carolina and Kure beaches. For details about the Island of Lights Christmas Flotilla and Nighttime Parade: www.islandoflights.org.

Events such as the North Carolina Holiday Flotilla and the Island of Lights Festival provide a fun and affordable way to experience the holidays coastal-style. More than 50 holiday events celebrate the season in Wilmington, North Carolina’s historic river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach. To download a free Holiday Events guide: www.wilmingtonandbeaches.com/media/images/2013HolidayBrochurefinal.pdf

For a free Official Visitors Guide, visit www.GoWilmingtonAndBeaches.com, call 1-866-266-9690, or email visit@wilmingtonandbeaches.com, or stop by the year-round Visitors Information Center located at 505 Nutt Street, Unit A, in Wilmington’s historic river district.

July 18, 2013

Video: 9' Alligator Captured on Carolina Beach

Beachgoers had a bit of a surprise this past weekend when on Sunday, July 14, 2013, they encountered a nine foot alligator on the shoreline at Freeman Park in Carolina Beach.

According to someone on the video, the shark was first noticed by some children at the waters edge. Authorities were summed and they were able to quickly wrangle the alligator and move it off the beach.

The women taking the video was upset because there were no signs stating that alligators will, on very rare occasions, make an appearance in ocean waters near inlets.  In almost all cases, the alligators get caught up in strong currents following a heavy rain and get washed out into the ocean.  Salt water is not part of its normal habitat and the alligator's primary goal will be to find its way back to fresh (or brackish) water.  

To my knowledge, there has never been a case of an alligator biting a human while it was in salt water.

The video was posted on Youtube by dant025 and is 2:06 in length.  (CAUTION: Adult language)

June 16, 2013

USA Today: 24 Best Boardwalks for Food in America

The Carolina Beach Boardwalk made the top 24 list of the Best Boardwalks for Food in America.  The list/article was initially posted on The Daily Meal and then carried by USA Today on June 16, 2013.

The CB Boardwalk was listed as number 8 and the writeup was centered solely on Britt's Donuts.  Here's the part about CB:

[i]There's no embellishment necessary at Britt's Donut Shop, where the big O's have been served hot, fresh, and in one variety only — glazed — since 1939. Unless you want to get glared at by the locals, don't suggest they expand their menu; just order a dozen and try not to eat them all in one sitting.[i]

Read the entire article here.

June 6, 2013

Swimmer in Nags Head Has Close Encounter with Humpback Whale

Wow, a swimmer in Nags Head has a close encounter with a humpback whale.  The video was shot from Jennette's Pier by Daryl Law.  According to Daryl, whales and numerous dolphin have been feeding around the pier for three days straight.

New's story: http://wtkr.com/2013/06/05/close-encounters-with-whales-in-nags-head/

April 30, 2013

Carolina Beach Receives $800,000 CAMA Grant to Renovate Boardwalk

We received some wonderful news today from Mayor Bob Lewis regarding a $800,000 CAMA grant to be used for renovating the Carolina Beach Boardwalk.

Here's the email from Bob which outlines the preliminary plans for improving the boardwalk:

We had another great meeting with our legislators, senators and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Steve Shuttleworth, Tom Bridges and I met with numerous representatives this morning in Raleigh to help secure over $800,000 in grant money from CAMA. 

The new boardwalk will feature: gazebos, covered areas, a wide promenade, swings, seating, ocean views, a children's featured playground feature, upgraded showers and more beach access areas. Our plan is to included a number of residents and organizations in various aspects of design features and develop a plan to present to the community within the next 60-90 days. Mayor Bob 

April 26, 2013

Rumor Has It: Indie Surfing Movie to Film on Pleasure Island

Well it looks like Pleasure Island is going to be home to some tinsel town magic in the coming weeks.  The independent movie The Perfect Summer is rumored to heading to Pleasure Island for the bulk of filming and is slated to start in just a couple of weeks.

They are still in the process of casting the movie but according to the blog Wilmywood, Sydney Penny (All My Children and The Bold and the Beautiful) and Jason Castro (season 7 of American Idol) have already been signed on.

Not many details have been released about the film but it does center on surfing and the production company recently held a casting call for surfers ages 16-25.

And for a bit more Hollywood rumor news close to home, the power house movie Tammy, which stars Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Dan Aykroyd, and Kathy Bates, is slated to film at least one scene at Snow's Cut Park.  The movie is described as such: After Tammy (McCarthy) loses her job and discovers that her husband has been unfaithful, Tammy hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking grandmother (Sarandon).  It's also worth noting that Will Ferrell is a producer on the film.

Finally, the movie Arthur Newman, which stars Emily Blunt, Colin Firth and Anne Heche is now showing in limited release.  Scenes from the movie were shot in Carolina Beach and Fort Fisher.  You can view some island filming photos here.

April 23, 2013

The Thread Pleasure Island Kicked Off Last Week

The Thread Pleasure Island, a no-fee network group for business owners in the Pleasure Island and Monkey Junction area, launched this past week at an event Thursday evening.

The Thread was founded by Sandpiper Marketing & Communications, LLC and Linquist/Keenan Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage Realty. Members network with other business owners over drinks, learning about each others’ businesses, trading leads, and having fun doing it! Additionally, members will be giving back to the community it serves as they donate as a collective group to a chosen local charity.

The Thread Network:
•Together, we share perspectives of business ownership;
•Help by giving to others readily--don’t worry about “quid pro quo”;
•Recognize that we achieve more together;
•Encourage through sharing your passion and advice;
•Accept and strive to understand others’ challenges and needs; and
•Do! Reach out and expand each others’ network

Spread the word to Pleasure Island business owners about the Thread and ask them to join online at www.thethreadpleasureisland.com and check them out on https://www.facebook.com/WeAreTheConversation?ref=ts&fref=ts

The Thread welcomes business sponsors for upcoming events! The Thread’s quarterly featured business(es) is a special sponsor who is willing to donate food, drinks, and/or a give-away valued at $150 for the event. For that, your business will be advertised as the Thread's quarterly featured business on the web page with their logo (with a link to your website) and during the night of a Thread event. If any business would like to partner with the Thread for a specific quarter, contact them at info@thethreadpleasureisland.com or 443.333.0571.

Business owners, mark your calendar now for the next Thread event on Thursday, July 18th, location TBD!

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