March 27, 2009

Clouds at Fort Fisher Make for a Wonderful Morning.

Although it was a cloudy, dreary and sometimes rainy morning, I decided to go for a 4X4 drive at the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. As I headed out the door, I grabbed my camera just in case something ended up catching my eye. Considering the weather, I wasn't expecting much in the way of photos but by the end of the drive, I sure was happy that I had brought it along. It turned out to be a wonderful morning for photos.

BTW, I was able to identify the birds using the website listed in the
'What is that bird?' post. If not for that site, I would have never known I was looking at an American Oystercatcher.

(Click any pic to enlarge)
fort fisher basin

(Basin stillness)

water reflections (Morning reflections)

pelicans in flight(Eleven pelicans in flight--one could not be faulted for thinking they were watching the Blue Angles)

American Oystercatchers (American Oystercatchers patrolling the beach)

Laughing Gull (Laughing Gull taking beach reservations)

pelicans flying (Ahhh, so this is where Pelicans hang when they are not fishing. Just off to the right you can faintly see the Bald Head Island lighthouse.)

Ibises, Great Egret(Enough with your pics, time to move on)

ocean driftwood (Two Ibises and a Great Egret on the breakfast hunt. The building in the background is the Fort Fisher Aquarium.)

kayak basin(12 foot piece of driftwood. It has been on the beach for several months awaiting the next storm tide.)

kayak seagull (Kayaks weaving through the creeks that lead to the Basin)

(The welcome home party. Kayakers -in the background- returning to the Fort Fisher boat ramp area)

(It may be cloudy but this group of school children found the right breeze to test their kite skills in front of the Park's Visitor Center.)

March 26, 2009

Hiking at the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area

Looking to do something different this weekend, check out these free guided hikes being offered by Rangers at the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area:

Bird Hike: Sat, March 28, 2009
Spend some time viewing the magnificent shore birds that live in our coastal community and discussing what we can do to protect them. This hike takes us over soft sand that is of moderate difficulty. Meet at the park office at 2:00 p.m.

Basin Hike: Sun, March 29, 2009
Take a hike and discover the basin. On the way learn about the significance of the basin area and the plants and animals that live there. This hike is about 1.5 miles and of moderate difficulty. We also ask that you wear shoes that may get muddy just in case. Meet at the park office at 2:00 pm

You can check for future events at the park website.

March 24, 2009

13th Annual Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-off April 18th

Gates Open at 11:30
11:30-4:00pm-Chowder Tasting & Live Music
5:00pm-People and Judges Choice Awards
Cost: $5/person

[EDIT- 04/18: Click here to see who won]

Wilmington, NC – March 2009 – With warmer temperatures and money-saving shoulder season specials and packages, springtime is ideal for an affordable getaway to Wilmington & NC’s Cape Fear Coast. Need another good reason to visit the coast this spring? Consider planning a trip to Carolina Beach during the 13th Annual Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-off on Saturday, April 18th. A modest admission charge of $5 will get you into the tastiest festival in town where you can savor the flavors of the area’s best seafood chowder.

One of the best ways to experience the flavor of a destination is to sample its regional foods and music. The 2009 Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-off is all about delicious food, good music, and family fun, so bring the kids along to this family-oriented event. Chefs from southeast North Carolina’s finest restaurants will prepare the region’s best seafood chowder recipes between the hours of 11:30am and 5:00pm. Folks can sample a taste of Cape Fear during this friendly chowder competition held at Carolina Beach Lake Park in Carolina Beach. Children can enjoy the park’s playground and a Kidz Zone with face-painting, balloon art, a giant inflatable slide, contest, and more. And for an additional fee, there will be paddleboat rides for the entire family.

During the chowder festival, enjoy live music and chowder-tasting (and voting) between 11:30am and 4:00pm, but make sure to arrive early while the chowder is abundant. Area restaurants that have already committed to participate this year include: Jack Mackerel’s Island Grill, Harbor Masters Restaurant, Michael’s Seafood Restaurant, Olde Salty’s, Seaside Grill at Courtyard by Marriott, Tangerine Caribbean Grill, and Rucker Johns restaurants. The day-long chowder showcase also features live entertainment at the park’s Stingray Amphitheater by the bands Category 4 and Triple Play. At approximately 5:00pm, be sure to join in the celebration of People’s and Judges’ Choice awards.

Want to go? Gates open at 11:30am. Admission fee is $5 (children 6 and under are free). No coolers permitted, as beverages and food will be available for sale. Chairs, blankets and children are welcome, but please leave pets at home. Park for free at the Federal Point Shopping Center, then ride the free trolley to Carolina Beach Lake.

Festivals and events provide a fun and affordable way to experience the history, culture, and food traditions of a region. This annual event is one of many presented throughout the year by the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce. For additional information on the 2009 Pleasure Island Chowder Festival and other events, please call 910-458-8434 or visit For a free 2009 Visitors Guide, please call the Wilmington/Cape Fear Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-866-266-9690 or 910-341-4030. Please visit website for a complete Calendar of Events.

March 23, 2009

2 Wine Guys @ the Grind...Carolina Beach's Very Own HOUSE OF BLUES

Looks like our friends over at 2 Wine Guys @ the Grind (now the Treehouse Bistro) have again hosted a performance by Everly and this time they performed for over an hour to the delight of the crowd. Shawn states in his blog that it was standing room only as the duo sang both original/cover songs this past Saturday night. They even tossed in an original Irish drinking song titled Cowboy Joe which turned out to be a huge hit with the crowd.

Following the performance, Everly hung out until closing sipping wine and mingling with friends and patrons. I'm told that a couple fans even brought them each a personalized Everly sweatshirt which they greatly appreciated. The appeal of this duo is wide ranging as everyone, including the few younger patrons who were sipping hot chocolate/coffee, all had a wonderful time.

The Grind has been a comfortable venue for Everly to practice as they prepare for their upcoming concert in Nashville, TN on April 4th. For details on the 17th Annual Songwriters Festival and to get details on their scheduled performance, click

To read the 2 Wine Guys @ the Grind blog and see photos from Saturday's performance, visit their website.

March 21, 2009

Right Whales on the Rebound

If you followed the news this year about Right Whale beachings, you might get the impression that the future for this species is rather dismal. But that is not the case, things are beginning to notably improve for our slippery friends.

This year, researchers recorded the births of 39 Right Whale calves which surpassed the 2001 record of 31.

“It’s a bumper year for calves,” Richard Merrick, an oceanographer for NOAA’s fisheries service, said in an interview. “That’s a good sign.”

Actually, it’s one of so many good signs that researchers are beginning to hope that for the first time in centuries things are looking up for the right whale. They say the species offers proof that simple conservation steps can have a big impact, even for species driven to the edge of oblivion.

here to read the full NYT article which includes photos & videos

Click here to read past blog stories about beached whales in the Carolinas.

Photo Credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

March 20, 2009

Boardwalk Makeover 2009--Let the Fun Begin!

(e-mail from the Carolina Beach Makeover group)


Carolina Beach BoardwalkIts time to begin our 2009 program for improvements and entertainment!! This is going to be one great summer at our "island's living room" (The Boardwalk). While we have several substantial Boardwalk improvements scheduled for this year, we have increased our efforts on activities and entertainment events for our visitors and locals. This includes the following:

Carolina Beach BoardwalkThursday night Bands and Fireworks.
Friday evening Shag/Beach music at the Gazebo with dancing and demonstrations.
Saturday kids open air bingo (early evening), Jazz Under the Stars (at the beach stage late evening).
Sunday Trop-Rock (Jimmy Buffet type music) at the Gazebo before the Sunday movies at the lake,

Britt's DonutsTuesday family nights, with amusements and activities for families.
Wednesday evening, adult open-air bingo.
So you see we have a lot of great events planned!

The updates will be coming more frequently now as we launch our volunteer teams and finalize the improvement and event calendars.

Carolina Beach BoardwalkThe first thing we want to get everyone involved in is the creation of the Boardwalk Summer Slogan, to brand the Boardwalk and our Summer Season of Events. (See Below)
Once we have the slogan we will be having another contest to incorporate the slogan into a new t-shirt/merchandise design.

Carolina Beach BoardwalkSUMMER SLOGAN CONTEST
The BWM Group would like you to submit slogans for this summer's promotion of the Boardwalk. We would like a slogan that can be used on our advertisements, t-shirts, etc. that conveys the spirit of the Beach and Boardwalk, especially as it relates to this years events.

Carolina Beach Boardwalk We are awarding a gift basket of cash and prizes valued at $150 for the winning slogan. We are looking for a catchy slogan, that will brand this years events, but that people would also like to see on t-shirts and other novelty items. The slogan could be nostalgic and reminiscent of past days when we had amusements and the Boardwalk was crowded, or it could be something more current.

Carolina Beach Boardwalk
We'd like your suggestion no later than next Friday (March 27). The winning slogan will become this years promotional phrase so please submit your name and contact information along with your slogan!!

These slogans will be associated with the Boardwalk Makeover Project. As an example: The Boardwalk Makeover Project presents "Classic Beach Days" at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, etc...

So let's fire up those creative brains and find our slogan !!!! To enter, please email your suggestion to

Carolina Beach Boardwalk

• To visit the Boardwalk Makeover Website, click here.

• To read more posts on the boardwalk makeover effort, click here.

• To read about the boardwalk pier effort, click here.

• To get the latest on the boardwalk Hilton Garden Inn, click here.

• To read about other beautification efforts in town, click here.

Photo Credit:
Beach & Water picture
Boardwalk & Marriott
Boardwalk pictures

The Last Resort will Have a Grand Re-Opening on April 11, 2009

The Last Resort new owners, Kim and Bob Lewis, have announced their Grand Re-Opening festivities. In addition, the event will feature the opening of their new “Love Shack Cabana, The Outdoor Garden Party Area.”

Date: Saturday April 11, 2009
Time: 4:00 – 11:00 p.m

Event Description:
The Last Resort, a Carolina Beach Bar hosts the “Fun In The Sun” welcome party to celebrate the grand re-opening and introduction of the new fun party garden area known as the “Love Shack Cabana.” The celebration will feature a good southern Pig Pic’n, beer, wine & drink specials; including live music and lots of great prizes too.

Location: The Last Resort is located at 600 N Lake Park Blvd in Carolina Beach NC

Music: Starts at 4:00. Live music begins at 6:00 p.m.

Feature Band: Bakatcha Band- “Livin Large”, one of our local bands, Doug Andrews and his band perform all your favorite R&B, Soul and Beach music. They play pop classics by Lou Rawls, Earth Wind & Fire and Kool & the Gang are guaranteed to have you singing and dancing the night away with tunes originally recorded by the Drifters, Catalina’s Embers, and Otis Redding. The Bakatcha Band will satisfy most discriminate Shaggers. Come down to The Last Resort and hear Bakatcha Play!

Free Prizes: Free tee shirts, hats, koozies, and much, much more. Drawings will be held every hour.

Cost: No charge for entrance and free food items

Contact Information: For more information contact Nancy Reis or Kim Lewis at the Last Resort Phone: 910-458-1128

March 19, 2009

Kudos to 2 Wine Guys at the Grind

Looks like the 2 Wine Guys have created some Island buzz for Carolina Beach. In Shawn's weekly email, he mentioned that the music duo of Everly had an impromptu practice session at their wine bar Friday night. In case you haven't heard of Everly (check out the lower right side bar), they are a duo featuring the talented Bethany Joy Galeotti (of One Tree Hill fame) and Amber Sweeney (a long standing performer hailing from Washington state).

After putting out his email, the blog entry was picked up by the Wilmington Star and then the story went viral as the Everly/One Tree Hill fanbase picked up the story. Shawn mentioned that his blog is now getting flooded with hits from all over the globe reflecting the wide appeal of Everly.

It's nice when a local island shop can garner this type of attention and it showcases the wide range of attraction that our island offers. In other words, Carolina Beach is a pretty cool place!

So in case you haven't seen the 2 Wine Guys blog entry (including pictures of the performance), check them out.

Everly will be performing at Nashville Songwriter festival on April 4th:

The Rutledge
April 4, 2009
Tickets $10.00
Performances by Jeff Cohen, Jaron (Evan & Jaron), Lila McCann, Everly (Bethany Joy Galeotti & Amber Sweeney)
For more information:

March 18, 2009

Taking in Nature at the Carolina Beach State Park

Here is a wonderful HD nature video of Carolina Beach State Park & some nearby beaches.

So sit back and enjoy the many visuals from the lower Cape Fear River. It will be the best three and a half minutes that you spent today.

(Click icon on lower right of screen to view full size.)

March 16, 2009

Cruise of the Lower Cape Fear Bird Islands on May 3, 2009

A Benefit for the Audubon Society of North Carolina
Sunday, May 3, 2009
(Open to the Public)

This cruise will include Battery Island, the first North Carolina Audubon Sanctuary as well as other nesting sites along the Lower Cape Fear River.

Bring your camera and binoculars to view nesting areas of many coastal water birds including white ibis, great egrets and herons. Pack a picnic lunch if you would like. Soft drinks will be sold aboard ship. Our guides for this narrated event include area experts like Dr. James Parnell retired Professor Emeritus of Biology from UNCW, Walker Golder and Andy Woods of the North Carolina Audubon Society.

Sunday, May 3, 2009
1:00 PM Boarding at Carolina Beach Marina aboard Winner Cruise Queen
1:15 PM Departure from dock
5:15 PM Return to dock (approximate time)

$35.00 Adults, $25.00 Children under 12

Winner Cruise Queen
Carolina Beach Marina
100 Carl Winner Avenue
Carolina Beach, NC 28428

Tickets available at the following:
Wild Bird & Garden
3501 Oleander Dr., Wilmington
Hanover Center

Or, you may mail your check payable to "Cape Fear Garden Club" to:
Lower Cape Fear Cruise
c/o Melinda Stewart
5084 Edinboro Lane
Wilmington, NC 28409

For more information:
Send an email message to Melinda Stewart at

March 14, 2009

Steve Haydu St. Patrick's Lotiderun 2009 Photos

Here a few random photos from today's race. I heard that there were well over 1,000 sign-ups which speaks volumes when you consider that it was an unusually cold and damp morning with temps in the mid 40's.

Despite the temperature it appeared that everyone had a good time (I know I did) and following the race, there was a festive amount of 'Irish' style refreshments consumed as people made there way to nearby boardwalk taverns. Festive amount? You can figure that one out.

(Leprechaun on a Harley to escort the 5k participants)
Steve Haydu St. Patrick's Lotiderun

(The 10k runners in full stride)Steve Haydu St. Patrick's Lotiderun (The 5K runners/walkers begin)Steve Haydu St. Patrick's Lotiderun (Irish music for the finish)Steve Haydu St. Patrick's Lotiderun(People gathering for the award ceremony)Steve Haydu St. Patrick's Lotiderun(The finish times are posted)Steve Haydu St. Patrick's Lotiderun(Handing out the awards--now to the beer!)Steve Haydu St. Patrick's Lotiderun

March 12, 2009

Walking Tour of "The Sugar Loaf Line of Defense"

March 26, 2009 @ 3:00pm
Enjoy a walking tour and learn about the history of The Sugar Loaf Line of Defense with Dr. Chris Fonvielle.

Meet at the Federal Point History Center.
1121-A N. Lake Park Blvd
Carolina Beach, NC 28428
$5 donation
Call 910.458.0502 for more information.

From Wikipedia:
Sugar Loaf Line
The Battle of Wilmington consisted of three smaller engagements along the Cape Fear River. Confederate forces under General Robert Hoke occupied the Sugar Loaf Line north of Fort Fisher. On February 11 Schofield attacked the Sugar Loaf Line with Alfred Terry's corps and drove back the defenders. Next General Jacob D. Cox's 3rd Division, XXIII Corps was ferried to the west bank of the Cape Fear River to deal with Fort Anderson the main fortress guarding Wilmington.
Photo Credit Marker for the Battle of Sugar Loaf located outside the center.

Check Out Bella!

In case you haven't visited Bella's Life on the Island blog, now is the time. She is a wonderful local blogger and her site has many thoughtful essays about life on Pleasure Island. In addition, she has a strong eye towards photography and her site has a fantastic collection of Island photos (the photo here is from a post she did today on Fort Fisher Weddings). So check out her blog and make sure to spend some time going over her earlier posts as well...they are all very rich with information and date back to 2006. Just be careful with her Feb 24th post of this year, if you read that one you'll find yourself running down to The Fudge Boat for an immediate fix!

Bella's Life on the Island

Her post on the Fort Fisher Hermit was very informative (definitely worth a read):

March 11, 2009

Heads Up and Spot the Space Shuttle/International Space Station Without a Telescope

Gareth McGrath of StarNews has an interesting article on spotting the Space Shuttle and/or International Space station with the naked eye from Wilmington. In his article he referenced the NASA website,, which gives viewing locations and times for NASA assets.

The following are the times for spotting the International Space Station:
Tue Mar 10/06:24 AM
Thu Mar 12/08:32 PM
Fri Mar 13/08:58 PM
Sat Mar 14/07:50 PM
Sun Mar 15/08:18 PM
Mon Mar 16/08:46 PM
Wed Mar 18/08:05 PM

The following are the times for the Space Shuttle:
Fri Mar 13/08:58 PM
Sat Mar 14/07:50 PM
Sun Mar 15/08:18 PM
Mon Mar 16/08:46 PM
Wed Mar 18/08:05 PM
Sat Mar 28/09:26 PM

For very specific and technical descriptors as to where to look, visit their website:

Here is an article from Starry Skies Network that offers some additional pointers:

Here is a very helpful Youtube video which shows exactly what you are looking for (make sure to check some of the related videos, very cool stuff):

Fact: Did you know that Wilmington International Aiport is a designated emergency landing site for NASA shuttles? Read here.

Photo Credit: Night time view of Space Shuttle/ICC

March 10, 2009

Pleasure Island Fashion Show

This year's Fashion Show will be held on Saturday, March 28, from 11 am to 2 pm, at the Courtyard by Marriott in Carolina Beach. Fashions featured will be from Island Colors, Linda's Fashions and the Unique Boutique.

The featured speaker will be Marsha (Mo) Linquist. Marsha is recognized as a Certified Feng Shui Professional by the Feng Shui Institute of America (FSIA). The title of the presentation is “Fun with Feng Shui-What Is Your House Saying?”

Lunch will be provided and in addition there will be a Silent Auction and Raffle.

Tickets for the event are on sale at the following businesses on Pleasure Island: Linda’s Fashions, Unique Boutique, Island Colors, The Checkered Church, Le Soleil, and Blue Water Realty.

The price is $20 and all proceeds from this event support Holiday Events sponsored by Island of Lights.

For information call Linda Cheshire at 617-5945

Town of Carolina Beach Hurricane Volunteer Meeting – May 5, 2009

CAROLINA BEACH, NC-The Town of Carolina Beach is now accepting applications for Hurricane Volunteers for the upcoming 2009 hurricane season. Applications can be picked up at Carolina Beach Town Hall or downloaded from the internet at As with prior years, the Town will select individuals to serve in a variety of roles such as volunteering to man the phones, damage assessment, working the food bank, distribution and control of goods and public information.

The Town of Carolina Beach will hold an official Hurricane Volunteer meeting on May 5, 2009 at 7:00 pm at the Carolina Beach Town Hall in the Town Council meeting room. New volunteer applications will be accepted up to and on the evening of May 5th. Volunteers that have filled out an application in the past will be asked to fill out a new application so that theTown has current information on file. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Tim Owens at (910) 458-2999

Summer Camp at Fort Fisher Aquarium...Talk About Fun for the Kids

Aquanauts, Detectives, Explorers, and Crusaders Trained At North Carolina Aquarium

NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher summer campBy Amy Kilgore, Public Relations Coordinator
Kure Beach, NC - Are you wondering what your kids are going to do for this summer? The NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher has a great idea: summer camp!

Aquarium summer camps provide fun and safe learning opportunities with knowledgeable and competent leadership. Camps run simultaneously for ages 5-6 or Aquanauts, 7-9 or Marine Detectives, 10-12 or Ocean Explorers and 13-14 or Coastal Crusaders.

Diverse summer camps themes include:
* Sensational Senses: campers discover how their senses help animals survive.
* Circles of Life: campers discover how animals are born, reproduce, and return their resources to the planet.
* Junior Naturalist: campers learn basic observation skills and gain an appreciation of what nature has to offer.
* Animal Keepers: Campers get a glimpse of the work required to provide proper animal care.
* Coastal Crusaders: Campers gain a better understanding of how to investigate and preserve the environment we all share.

Summer camp fees for Aquanauts, Marine Detectives, and Ocean Explorers are $180 for NC Aquarium Society members or multiple- siblings and $200 for individual campers. Coastal Crusaders is $225 for NC Aquarium Society members or multiple- siblings and $250 for individual campers. For more information please contact the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher at 910-458-7468 or visit

NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher is located just south of Kure Beach, near the mouth of the Cape Fear River, on U.S. 421. The site is less than a mile from the Fort Fisher ferry terminal. Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day). Admission: $8 adults; $7 seniors; $6 ages 6-17. Free admission for: children under 6; registered groups of N.C. school children, and NC Aquarium Society members. General information:

900 Loggerhead Road, Kure Beach, NC 28449 * (910) 458-8257 * Fax: (910) 458-6812

Photo Credit:
Detective Turtle
Article Credit

March 9, 2009

When Does Britt's Donuts Open?

[For info on the 2011 Season, click here]

Summer Hours:
8:30am until 11:00pm
7 Days a Week
Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day
1 Dozen = $5.75.
Off Season: (April - May & Labor Day to Oct 1st)
8:30am until 11:00pm
Opened only on weekend

Britt's telephone number is (910)707-0755
To view a snapshot of their menu, click here
...End Edit]
-----------------------Original Post Below--------------------------

That seems to be the question with many people. Recently, there has been a notable jump in the amount of Google "Britt's Donuts" searches ending up on this site. And then today, the Wilmington Star had an article about a growing number of inquires to the paper looking for the Britt's opening date (Wilmington Star: Mmmmmmm, Donuts! ). The Star contacted the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber stated that Britt's opens in April. The paper theorizes that they may be open on the weekend of the 4th in conjunction with the Azalea Festival. But Britt's has opened as late as Easter in some years. So to answer the original question, Britt's will open in April (aren't we helpful?). If someone does know an exact date, please leave a comment or send us an email. Thanks.

In the meantime, here's a fun YouTube video of a family's visit to Britt's:

For more info/posts on Britt's, click on the "Food/Drink: Britt's Donuts" label below.

March 8, 2009

Central Business District Streetscape Designs

Here are drawings of the proposed streetscape for the Central Business District. They are in draft form and are subject to change. Personally, I like the look and believe the project would greatly add to the downtown area. Losing a travel lane in each direction would definitely cause some travel issues but big picture, it will encourage more people to use other modes of transportation. And since the island has a bypass, people can always use Dow Road to avoid the Carolina Beach downtown area if in a hurry.

The advantages of these designs are many. Restaurants along the main avenue would be able to offer roomy outdoor seating. Pedestrians would be able to move about without feeling crowded. Cyclist would easily be able to move through the CBD without causing traffic issues or endangering pedestrians. Visually, it would draw tourist to the area to shop our stores and dine in our restaurants. And lastly, Lake Park Blvd is our 'main' street and amping it up to this level would greatly set the feel for the entire island.

Below are the current plans. You can click the pictures to open a larger version in Internet Explorer. From there, you can further enlarge the picture by adjusting the zoom level in the lower right corner.

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