January 31, 2011

Wilmington Star: 64-year-Old Kure Beach Mom Keeps up 11-Mile Pace

What a great story about Kure Beach resident Beth Moon! It's nice to see the local paper uncovering these wonderful human interest stories.

January 31, 2011
By Ashley Barker

Beth Moon made a New Year’s resolution in 1999 to run 10 miles every day for 100 consecutive days. Reaching her goal was just the beginning of the story, though. It’s been over 4,400 days since that first run, and the 64-year-old hasn’t missed a day since.

“I just thought well, what the heck? If I can run for a hundred days straight, it’ll be a habit, and I’ll just keep doing it,” she said. “It got easier and easier. Then I just didn’t know what to do if I didn’t run.”

Regardless of rain, snow, heat or sickness, Moon has started each day for the past 12 years with typically an 11-mile, two-hour long run. That’s approximately 48,400 miles and she’s steadily counting...

Read the full Wilminton Star story

Photo credit

January 30, 2011

Carolina Beach Named as Second Best Beach in the USA by HotelbyCity.net

First it was Kure Beach, then Pleasure Island as a whole, and now Carolina Beach is cited in a top ten beach ranking list. This time, HotelbyCity.net has ranked Carolina Beach, NC as #2 in its Top Ten USA Beaches list. Here's what they had to say:

"Wilmington is a great city to visit but take the half hour drive and explore Carolina Beach. This is an all around fantastic place to enjoy a day in the sun. Located along the Atlantic Coast the beach here is packed full of water activities from deep-sea fishing to body surfing. Plus, the locals keep the sand clean making it ideal for families. Once the sun goes down though the parties get started. Spend time along Carolina Beach’s boardwalk and choose your perfect restaurant. Relax at one of these Carolina Beach hotels."

And in case you were wondering, they listed the number one beach in the USA as Sunset Beach in Oahu, Hawaii. For us to fall in line directly behind them is pretty fantastic.

See the complete list

Recent related posts:
NC Named as a Top Location for Diving in US by Scuba Diving Magazine
Carolina Beach, Kure Beach & Fort Fisher Named Best Beaches in NC
Kure Beach Makes Top 10 Beautiful Beaches in US List

Photo Credit: Scott Blackmon

January 29, 2011

Kure Beach Disc Golf Information

Quick Info:
•Park Opened January 28th. (Official Ribbon Cutting Grand Opening Feb 20th)
•Course located at Joe Eakes Park in Kure Beach (K Ave and 7th St)
•Hours are same as Eakes Park
•Admission is Free and open to the general public
•Course is 18 holes with longest 500 feet
•Course is a PAR 61

It's here...disc golf is now on Pleasure Island! After over a year of planning, designing, and clearing, the Kure Beach Disc Golf Course is now officially open to the public.

Over the last several months I've been keeping track of the course progress on the Disc Golf Course Review
website and was pleased to read that yesterday the course had opened to the public. And although it is just the soft opening, they are still tweaking parts of the course, I had the opportunity to run down there this morning and have a first hand look. BTW, the official ribbon cutting grand open will be on February 20, 2011.

Several posters on the DG Course Review forum had already played the course late last month and their reviews had been quite positive. One poster, BrotherDave, who played the course in late December (before all the baskets were in place) had said the following: "It's going to be a good one. Otter gave me a tour this past weekend and I'm pretty stoked. The vegetation/terrain is unlike any course I've ever seen and the trees are just really neat, it's like regular trees got buried up to the point where they just start branching out, like dwarfed trees. Lots of neat moss everywhere too, I hope foot traffic doesn't trample too much of it away. The course really makes great use of the elevation and it's in a top-notch park."

Since I'm not a disc golf player, I can't say much about the technical side of the course but I can tell you that it is gorgeous. They made great use of the oak trees and natural sand areas. They cleared enough areas to make it easy to navigate but left the majority of the vegetation in place to increase the course difficulty. After wandering around this morning and checking out some of the layout, I can ensure you that I'll soon be out there with my old school Whamo Frisbee in hand. And yes, at my skill level, I don't have the gall to call it a disc. And here is an interesting tidbit for non players (I sure didn't know this), disc golf players carry multiple discs with each one being a different weight and size-very much like traditional golf.

So as we wandered about snapping a few photos of the course and some players in action, we were fortunate enough to bump into Michael Jones, aka Spiderman, who helped make the course a reality and was also instrumental in the course design. Spiderman said he was very pleased with how everything turned out and noted that he has been receiving nothing but positive feedback from everyone in the disc golf community.

He gave me some info on the course that I can pass on to readers. The course is open to the public on a first come/first serve basis and is open during the same hours as Joe Eakes Park (where the course is located). There are a total of 18 holes with holes 1, 9, 10, and 18 being closest to the parking lot. This allows for easy access for people who only want to take in nine holes. The longest hole is number 15 with a total distance of 500 feet. He says that the pros can make a 200 foot throw. Hmmmm, 200 feet? Yeah, I could probably manage that if I had a hurricane at my back.

Michael also went out of his way to give lots of praise to the Kure Beach Public Works personnel who had helped create and clear the course. It's evident that they were careful to keep as much of the natural setting in place yet make sure that the walking areas were clear of debris. Micheal noted that it was not an easy job and that it turned into a very time consuming endeavor. The fruits of the labor of all parties involved is crystal clear to anyone who plays or walks the course.

Keep your eyes open for a Pleasure Island Disc Golf club that will soon be in operation. Micheal said that they already have several members with quite a few applications to process. They are still working out the club details but they will soon have a website up and running. One of the cool things that he pointed out is that they will have alternative placements for the baskets so they can be moved during tournaments or when the disc golf club gets together for monthly club games. This will change up the course for regulars and make it more challenging.

PS. This post may be updated as new information comes out.

January 28, 2011

Photos: Sunset at Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area

Mother Nature delivered a wonderful Friday evening light show (all natural-no lens filter used tonight) at the Fort Fisher AF Rec Area. Tonight's warming sunset was a prelude to what is expected to be a lovely weekend on the Island with temperatures predicted to top the 60 degree mark. Ahhhhh, 60 degrees :-)

January 26, 2011

Miss North Carolina USA Coming to Carolina Beach for the Polar Plunge

Miss North Carolina USA, Brittany York, will be attending this year's 7th Annual Special Olympics Polar Plunge event being held at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk on February 19, 2011. Miss York won't be coming alone, she'll be joined by her best friend Lacie, who is her one-year-old golden retriever. And this year, Lacie will be in luck because the Polar Plunge is introducing a new event called the Pooch Plunge, which from the sounds of it, should be right up Lacie's alley.

For information on the Polar Plunge/Pooch Plunge, visit http://www.plungenhc.com/

To learn more about Miss North Carolina USA, visit www.missnorthcarolinausa.com/

Photo Credit

North Carolina Named as a Top Location for Diving in US by Scuba Diving Magazine

by Jannette Pippin

The latest readers’ poll by Scuba Diving magazine ranks North Carolina as a top underwater destination along with North American hotspots like the Florida Keys.

Or, as diver David Osborne sees it: “They rank high with us.”

The magazine recently released its 18th annual Top 100 Readers’ Choice awards, which lists the world’s best destinations for SCUBA diving according to ratings by its readers.

North Carolina received top rankings as the best destination in North America for wreck diving and diving with big animals. It also placed second for diving value for the dollar...

Read the full ENToday article here
Rankings from Scuba Diving Magazine (this takes you to page 3 which covers US diving. For best in the world, click on page 1)

Local Dive Shops
Cape Fear Dive Center (Carolina Beach)
Sea Dock Divers (Carolina Beach)
Scuba Now (Wilmington)
Aquatic Safaris & Divers' Emporium (Wilmington)
Diving Carolina (Wrightsville Beach)
Here's a very cool dive video recently posted on Youtube by Black Jack Tech Diving based out of Aberdeen, NC. They are diving the Hyde wreck, which is off the coast of Wrightsville Beach, and are accompanied by numerous Sand Tiger sharks.

January 25, 2011

Daytona Beach News Journal: Whale Freed in Rare At-Sea Sedation

Here's a very cool story about a right whale that was in distress along the Atlantic seaboard. Fortunately, NOAA Scientist were able to intervene and give this story a happy ending. Make sure to click the full story link for photos and an 11 second up close video.

By DINAH VOYLES PULVER, Environment writer
January 19, 2011 12:05 AM

An endangered right whale swam south along the Florida coast this week, free of 50 feet of rope that had been wrapped around its head and flippers after scientists performed their second-ever sedation at sea.

Scientists successfully sedated the young female whale and cut the rope away on Saturday in the open Atlantic Ocean east of Cape Canaveral, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries service announced Tuesday.

It was only the second such operation ever to be completed on one of the rare whales...

Read the full story (with pics/video)

Kure Beach Named in 10 Ten Best Beach List by My Travel Guide Posts

Last week we posted that the beaches of Pleasure Island were ranked as the number one beach in North Carolina by a writer with Yahoo. Now, Kure Beach, NC has just been named as one of the top ten most beautiful beaches in the United States by MyTravelGuidePosts.com.

The accolades keep rolling in for our beaches as more and more people find out exactly what Pleasure Island has to offer.

Here's what they had to say about Kure Beach:
"Kure Beach is located in the southern tip of North Carolina, just minutes away from downtown Wilmington NC.

Beaches in North Carolina don’t come as beautiful as Kure Beach, which is definitely one of the best beaches in the state!

This beach boasts a beautiful family friendly-feel without the large tourist crowds and hotel resorts other nearby beaches such as Hilton Head brings. The waters are warm and crystal clear, while the sand is...well, soft and lovely!"

Pirates...Arrrrren't Just for Men Anymore

Connie Mason, historian/folklorist will present Bad to the Hair Bun: an Overview of Woman Pirates through History, a fun-filled hour of facts, humor and song about the feminine side of piracy. The talk will be held on Monday, February 21, 2011 from 7:30-9:00pm.

The program is free and is open to the general public. It will be held at the Federal Point History Center located at 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd (just south of the Carolina Beach Town Hall.)

The History Center is open Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10am-4pm. Membership in the society starts at $15 for individuals and $20 for families. For more information, call: 910-458-0502 or visit their website at

January 24, 2011

Video: Amazing Fort Fisher

Here is a full length version to the earlier video featuring still shots/videos taken at historic Fort Fisher on January 22, 2011. All the photos and video clips offer true life colors as no camera or editing filters were used. As before, the song is Amazing Grace by the Celtic Girls. I think you'll like this one ;-) Enjoy!
PS. For best viewing, change the viewing setting from 360p to 720p HD on the lower right tab.

January 23, 2011

Video: Waning Sunlight at Fort Fisher on January 22, 2011

Following yesterdays short lived period of afternoon wintry precipitation (sleet and snow with no real accumulation), the clouds began to break as we ended the day. It made for a very nice sunset with some wonderful colors on the western side of the sky.

The following scenes are from Fort Fisher and the ending music is by Celtic Girls singing Amazing Grace. Enjoy!

January 22, 2011

Video: The Inbound Fort Fisher Ferry on a Snowy & Windy Day

January 22, 2010
While many of the NC ferries to the north of Pleasure Island were cancelled today due to snowy conditions, the Fort Fisher Ferry continued to operate. This is the inbound ferry that departed Southport at 1:00pm and arrived at Fort Fisher at around 1:30pm.

Guest Photographer Series: Scenic Images from Around Pleasure Island by Mike McGirt

Here are five fantastic Pleasure Island photos from photographer Mike McGirt who has been nice enough to share the photos with blog readers. The pictures were taken at Carolina Beach State Park and Fort Fisher.

Mike is in the process of creating a website and should have it up and running in a week or so. We'll update this post when the website is up.
[Edit 03/09 website is up: http://www.mikemcgirtphotography.webs.com

NOTE: If anyone else has some favorite photos from Pleasure Island and would like to share them with blog readers, please send an email to

January 21, 2011

Valentine's Dinner at Fort Fisher Aquarium Feb 14, 2011

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is hosting “That’s A Moray”, a Valentine’s Day evening dinner. With limited couple seating, each with their own unique view, the evening features a candlelit dinner, delicious dessert for two, a commemorative photo, and dancing amongst the galleries.

Private tables for two will be arranged throughout the Aquarium’s galleries, with select tables in front of the exhibits. Couples may reserve the table/exhibit of their choice on a first-come, first-serve basis. Group seating is also available.

The evening’s menu, prepared by Thyme Savor Catering, will feature:
•Appetizer of seasonal fruit, cheese, and crudité vegetables
•Caprese salad; and choice of braised beef short ribs in chocolate sauce over red bliss smashed potatoes
•Coq au Vin (classic French chicken dish) cooked in red wine with pearl onions, mushrooms and bacon over smashed potatoes
•Vegetarian entrée of homemade sweet potato gnocchi with julienne roasted vegetables in a champagne sauce
•Mini pastries
•An extended beverage selection

The event takes place Monday, February 14, 2011 at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, 900 Loggerhead Rd., Kure Beach, NC. Tickets are $200-$300 per couple, dependant on table location or $400 for the private dining room, all-inclusive, with proceeds benefiting the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

For more information, click
here and to make reservations, call the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher at (910) 458-8257, ext: 218 or 202.

January 20, 2011

Carolina Beach, Kure Beach & Fort Fisher Named Best Beaches in North Carolina

We've always known it to be true but it's always nice to see others agree. Back on July 1, 2010, Yahoo contributor Tricia Sabol wrote an article titled "The Best Beaches in North Carolina" and she chose the beaches of Pleasure Island as the best in the state. The three beach areas of Pleasure Island were lumped into one due to their close proximity to each other.

The other two beaches making the list were Duck and Emerald Island.

Ms. Sabol noted in her article that because North Carolina is filled with so many wonderful beaches that it can often be difficult for visitors to chose one for their vacations. To help them out, she came up with her list of the top three in the state and here is what she had to say about naming the beaches of Pleasure Island as her top pick:

"This is my pick for the best beach area in North Carolina. I have lumped Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Fort Fisher into one entry because of their very close proximity to one another on the southeastern coast of North Carolina. This area is less commercially developed than nearby Wrightsville Beach, so there are not many great options for shopping. However, what you will find at Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Fort Fisher are fewer crowds, gorgeous beaches, and a very relaxed atmosphere.

Both Carolina Beach and Kure Beach have small fishing piers, and Carolina Beach even has a small boardwalk with an arcade. A visit to Britt's Donut Shop on the Carolina Beach boardwalk is a must!

When you are ready to take a short break from sitting on the beach, you can visit the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, which is a great activity for kids. And for the history buffs in your group, you can also check out the Fort Fisher State Historic Site and Civil War museum. Even if you aren't particularly interested in history, the beaches and the historic site itself at Fort Fisher are stunning and are absolutely worth a visit!

If you are looking to get out on the water, you can take a 30 minute ferry ride from Fort Fisher to the town of Southport, North Carolina. There are some great views of lighthouses along the way, and doing a little shopping in the town of Southport is a wonderful way to spend the afternoon..."

Read the full article

About Tricia Sabol:
I have a full-time job working as a lawyer, but it doesn't define who I am. I am also a part-time wedding officiant, massage therapist, handwriting analyst, and certified laughter leader. I am passionate about travel, running, wine, and Raleigh NC restaurants, bars and events!

Photo: Fort Fisher Serenity

Accuweather: For the Remainder of Winter 2011, Cold Will Persist in our Area

Sigh, it appears that for the remainder of this winter, we will be better served by keeping our snow skis waxed as opposed to preparing to dust off our water skis. Accuweather has recently updated their 2011 winter forecast and they are calling for continued cold weather for our area.

So who is to blame? Well, La Nina of course. Turns our our girl will be overstaying her welcome as forecasters are now predicting that the current La Nina my persist through the Spring and quite possibly through summer.

So what does this mean for the Southeast? The article states the following: "the cold that continues in coming weeks will be significant enough to make temperatures for the entire winter average out below normal for much of the region. This would be an impressive feat, considering that La Niña winters in the Southeast are typically warmer than normal." For a detailed look at how this La Nina is impacting our weather, check out the article link above.

So bundle up folks and look on the bright side, Spring starts on March 11th. Wait a minute, that's 51 days away :-( I'll shut up now.

BTW, you have to give it to the folks over at the Farmer's Almanac, they were spot on with this year's winter forecast. Just take a look at their prediction that was released last Fall. Click

January 18, 2011

A Carolina Beach Business Sheds Light for an Alaskan Bush Pilot

If it's January in Dillingham, AK you can count on two things, extreme cold and limited sunlight. And if you are an Alaskan bush pilot, it's these two extremes of mother nature that can weigh heavily on the mind.

The extreme cold temperatures, which often hover in the -20 to -30 range, can be especially harsh on aircraft batteries. For this reason, pilots often avoid using the aircraft's lights while doing their preflight and instead rely on secondary light sources. And although a flashlight works just fine, it is helpful if the pilots are able to have full dexterity as they go about their check. Well recently, a pilot in Dillingham found a unique solution to this problem thanks to L&B Monograms of Carolina Beach, NC.

Scott Garrett, the Pastor of Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Dillingham, AK, posted a youtube video where he talks highly of a particular L&B Monograms baseball hat that had built in LCD lights. You see, Father Scott is not only a Priest but he is also a veteran Alaskan bush pilot.

Father Scott ministers to the largest geographical parish in the world (his parish encompasses the majority of SW Alaska). Because the vast majority of his territory is not accessible by vehicle, Father Scott's primary mode of transportation is his mission's single engine Cherokee Warrior airplane.

So how did he end up with this L&B hat? On a hunch.

A few weeks back, Father Scott, who is a regular customer of L&B Monorgams, submitted a new hat order. Upon arrival of his hats, he found a surprise gift which had been slipped in by Linda Dameron who is the proprietor of L&B Monograms. She had included a baseball hat that was wired with LED lights. Linda had a hunch that the hat might come in handy for Alaskan bush flying and it turns out, her hunch was spot on!

The LED hat was an immediate hit with Father Scott. Not only did he find it practical for flying, he stated that it would really come in handy when fishing in low light.

To check out Father Scott's latest video about the LED hat, check out his
blog and Youtube site. And while your there, take a look at some of his other videos as he offers an interesting perspective of the Alaskan bush and he has some great aerial views of remote areas.

For anyone with monogram needs, make sure to give Linda a call at L&B Monograms. Linda has been in business on the island for several years and has developed a strong and loyal customer base. This loyalty has developed from the fact that Linda always treats people honestly and fairly. Not to mention, her prices are extremely reasonable.

L&B Monograms--your full service monogram company from Alaska to Carolina Beach. Now that's a tag line!!

L&B Monograms
Carolina Beach, NC
(910) 458-6912

January 17, 2011

Video: Signs of Fort Fisher

Check out this humorous Youtube video posted January 16, 2011 by JimPenny.

Jim provides a light hearted account of a recent trip he took to Fort Fisher and points out some of the perils he faced that day from sand spurs to "untamed" children. Unbeknownst to Jim, he visited the park on the same day that Fort Fisher was celebrating their 145th anniversary. In other words, he had lots of company that day.

Thanks again to Jim for allowing me to post this video. I'm sure you all will enjoy it as much as I did!

January 16, 2011

Calling All Kure Beach Lifeguards...Applications Now Being Accepted for the 2011 Season

The 2011 Kure Beach Lifeguard season is underway as the Ocean Rescue program begins to gear up for the upcoming season. Tryout swims and runs are scheduled as follows:

Date: May 15, 2011

Time: 9:00am
Location: KB Guard Shack (rain or shine)
Tryout: Timed mile and 550 meter swim
NOTE: If you are selected, there will be another cut at the end of a two week training period.

Visit the Kure Beach Ocean Rescue website to download an
application and/or obtain additional information.

If you have any additional questions, contact
kboceanrescue@yahoo.com or call Lt. Edmund Kennedy @ (910) 458-7586 Ext:211

About KBOR:
The Kure Beach Ocean Rescue operates under the command of the Kure Beach Fire Department. They have a seasonal staff of 32 lifeguards, including the head guard and 4 Captains. In performance of their duties, they operate an Artic Cat, John Deere Gator, and five Honda Rancher 4 wheelers. KBOR responds to all public safety emergencies along the beach including both ocean rescue calls and medical emergencies. All of their staff are trained to a minimum of First Responder and several are Emergency Medical Technicians. They have an excellent working relationship with the Kure Beach Police Department and closely work alongside the Carolina Beach Ocean Rescue department.

KBOR operates 9 tower locations and are spread out evenly throughout the 3 miles of guarded beach strand.

Kure Beach is guarded 7 days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Guards are on duty between the hours of 10 A.M and 5 P.M.

The Kure Beach Ocean Rescue program is a recognized agency of the USLA (United States Lifesaving Association).


Photo from the KBOR FB page

Click here for information on 2011 Carolina Beach Ocean Rescue employment.

January 15, 2011

AOL News: Team May Have Found Sword Hilt Belonging to Blackbeard

January 15, 2011
by Lisa Holewa

Archaeologists who have been searching the sunken Queen Anne's Revenge for more than a decade found a gilded sword hilt that may have belonged to the infamous 18th-century pirate Blackbeard.

National Geographic published photos released by the team, which has been excavating the sunken ship off the coast of North Carolina since 1997. The Queen Anne's Revenge was the flagship of Edward Teach, known as Blackbeard, until it ran aground in an inlet in 1718.

The sword hilt was found in pieces, but reassembled the picture released by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources...

The department does not directly claim that the hilt belonged to Blackbeard, but speculates the hilt may have been discarded after the shipwreck...

Read the full article here

National Geographic photos of the sword
Additional relic photos by Nat Geo.

Are you faster than a sixth grader? Today, the answer is no.

I just received word that Auri Schrider was the victor in today's race challenge. And although Auri was able to cross the finish line without Joel Macon even showing up in the photo background, I'm told that he was not too far off and that he did complete the race without any medical assistance.

Congrats to both athletes. Anytime a local event helps raise money for the Boardwalk Makeover, well, everyone is a winner (even second placers)! I'm not sure if that helps in the pride department Joel but unfortunately, that's all I have to offer.

PS. I just saw on the Island Gazette Facebook page that they will have a story about this epic race in this week's paper. You can also see a great shot of the race start on their page. After viewing it, you won't be able to tell me that these two aren't serious competitors. Gloves off baby!

Guest Photographer Series: Scenic Images from Around Pleasure Island by Chris Zachary

Here are some wonderful photos from Pleasure Island. The photographer is Chris Zachary (http://www.chriszachary.com/) and he has been nice enough to share the photos with our blog readers.

The first two photos were taken at the Carolina Beach State Park. The third photo is from Fort Fisher and the last two photos are from the Carolina Beach Pier. Chris sent me quite a few shots to choose from and I must say it was not easy narrowing it down to just five for this post.

NOTE: If anyone else has some favorite photos from Pleasure Island and would like to share them with blog readers, please send an email to admin@carolinabeachtoday Thanks!

Guest Photographer Series: Two Bonus Winter Photos from Chris Zachary

Although I was hoping to whittle down Chris' photos to just five, I couldn't let these two winter shots go unposted. Both photos were taken following the snowstorm on February 13, 2010. The first was taken on the footpaths under the Snow's Cut bridge and the second offers a very interesting perspective as you drive down the bridge into Carolina Beach.

January 14, 2011

Video: Whale Off the Coast of Duck, NC

Here's a cool video taken on New Year's Eve 2010 of a whale close to shore in Duck, NC. The video was posted by accornboy on Youtube. Enjoy!

2011 NCDOT Statewide Public Input Questionnaire on Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety

NCDOT would like your feedback on statewide bicycle and pedestrian safety issues.

The survey will take about 10 minutes to complete, is completely anonymous, and will assist NCDOT in assessing the public’s needs and concerns regarding bicycle and pedestrian safety.


Image credit

Birds, Birds and More Birds at the Carolina Beach Lake

Check out these wonderful bird photos from the blog Beth's Blog. Beth has some wonderful photos of the many birds that call Carolina Beach Lake home. And even though the water level has recently been reduced to kill off algae, the lake is still very much alive with bird life. Enjoy!
•An Afternoon Walk at the Carolina Beach Lake
•Another Walk at the Park
•Oh My--Another Walk Around Carolina Beach Lake

January 13, 2011

Fort Fisher Aquarium Offers Free Admission January 17

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher offers free admission to all visitors on Monday, Jan. 17, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The Aquarium is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

As part of the North Carolina Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources, the Aquarium’s mission to inspire appreciation and conservation of North Carolina’s aquatic environments. Admission fees are suspended on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and also on Veterans Day to ensure that everyone, regardless of financial ability, can enjoy the Aquarium.

The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher is 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. The aquarium’s hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. The aquarium is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s days. Admission to the aquarium is $8 for ages 13-61; $7 for ages 62 and up; and $6 for ages 3-12. Children under 2 as well as registered groups of North Carolina school children and N.C. Aquarium Society members are admitted for free.

January 12, 2011

What's New on Pleasure Island, NC in 2011

The Wilmington/Cape Fear Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau recently released a PR with what is new in the Wilmington area for 2011. The list is quite extensive but here is a breakdown of the parts that addressed things here on Pleasure Island.


N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher Celebrates "Year of the Turtle"; Debuts New Interactive Outdoor Play Space & Shark Exhibit: The NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher will promote Partners in Amphibians and Reptiles Conservation's (PARC) 2011 Year of the Turtle with special turtle programs the 2nd day of every month starting January 2, 2011. A 1,200-square-foot "Adventure Reef" interactive outdoor play space is under construction and will open in Summer 2011. A "Megalodon Shark" exhibit is also slated for Summer 2011. www.ncaquariums.com/fort-fisher

The 150th Anniversary (Sesquicentennial) of the Civil War in North Carolina will be observed from 2011 until 2015. North Carolina will commemorate the Civil War Sesquicentennial with initiatives and programs during the years 2011-2015. Fort Fisher State Historic Site near Kure Beach will kick off NC's Civil War sesquicentennial with its 146th anniversary program "Glory Enough for All" on January 15, 2011. New Hanover County offers three sites on North Carolina's Civil War Trail: Fort Fisher State Historic Site, Cape Fear Museum, and Battle of Forks Road site at Cameron Art Museum. For details on NC's Civil War Sesquicentennial: http://www.nccivilwar150.com/ For details about Fort Fisher programs:


Carolina Beach Boardwalk Makeover is an ongoing campaign to improve the historic Boardwalk area. Summer events for 2011 include: Boardwalk Blast (music & fireworks on Thursday evenings), Family Nights (Tuesdays), Boardwalk Bingo (Wednesdays), Jazz Under the Stars (Wednesdays), and Summer Amusements (rides, games). Other events include Saturday Farmer's Market at the Lake (April-Oct.) and Christmas by the Sea (Nov./Dec.).

Carolina Beach State Park News: The park's newly renovated marina is now open. The park also offers a secluded camping area, excellent fishing, and miles of hiking trails, including the Venus Flytrap Trail where this rare indigenous plant grows in its natural habitat.

NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher News: The NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher continues to add new exhibits, programs and activities. The "Shadows in the Sand" exhibit now features three baby bonnethead sharks that were born inside the aquarium's 235-gallon saltwater tank in December 2010. A 1,200-square-foot "Adventure Reef" interactive outdoor play space is under construction and is expected to open in Summer 2011. A new "Megalodon Shark" exhibit is also coming in Summer 2011.


Courtyard by Marriott Carolina Beach recently completed renovations, including its meeting rooms. Guest rooms now include flat screen TVs, new carpet, wallpaper, furniture and artwork. A new bistro was added to the restaurant, serving healthy sandwiches, soups, salads, desserts, and Starbucks coffee beverages. New fitness center equipment includes private TVs and free weights, and the lobby has a touch screen information board, media stations and a business center. Director of Sales: Amy Johnson 910-458-2030;


*Cabana Condominiums (222 Carolina Beach Ave. N., Carolina Beach) now offers condos in a gated community.


Farmer's Markets: Carolina Beach Farmer's Market made its debut in 2010 and will return to Carolina Beach Lake in 2011 (Saturday mornings, April-Oct.

Civil War Sesquicentennial 150th Observance. Events to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War in N.C. will take place across the state from 2011 through 2015. The commemoration of North Carolina's Civil War 150th is sponsored in part by the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, within the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the state agency dedicated to the promotion and protection of N.C.'s arts, history, and culture. Local sites on N.C.'s Civil War Trail include: Fort Fisher State Historic Site, Cape Fear Museum, and Cameron Art Museum. Fort Fisher will kick off the state's sesquicentennial observance on January 15, 2011 with a special "Glory Enough for All" 146th anniversary program. Cape Fear Museum will host a series of Community Conversations on "Life during the Civil War" in October, November, March and April. Other events TBA. For details about NC's Civil War sesquicentennial:

NC Museums and State Historic Sites will once again offer "2nd Saturdays," a series of hands-on activities to promote heritage, arts and fun during summer 2011. The Battleship North Carolina and Fort Fisher State Historic Site will participate in this initiative with special activities planned for 2nd Saturdays in June, July, and August.

For a complete 2011 Event Calendar with hundreds of event listings, visit


Courtyard by Marriott Carolina Beach recently completed renovations, including its meeting rooms. Guest rooms now include flat screen TVs, new carpet, wallpaper, furniture and artwork. A new bistro was added to the restaurant, serving healthy sandwiches, soups, salads, desserts, and Starbucks coffee beverages. New fitness center equipment includes private TVs and free weights, and the lobby has a touch screen information board, media stations and a business center. Director of Sales: Amy Johnson 910-458-2030;


Red Hotz is a new electric car rental business at Carolina Beach. The vehicles seat up to four people and are street legal and allowed on the beach. Red Hotz offers a fleet of 18 cars that reach speeds up to 25mph. They can be rented by the hour, daily or weekly.


Carolina Beach Municipal Marina recently added 8 new transient slips, a floating dinghy dock, and pump-out station. Slips are for boats shorter than 25 feet that can dock for up to 3 hours.

Carolina Beach State Park's newly renovated marina and boat access reopened in Fall 2010 with new floating docks and additional boat slips, as well as boat ramp improvements, walkways, above-ground fuel tanks, and re-designed parking.

An 18-hole Disc Golf Course is being constructed behind Joe Eakes Park by the Town of Kure Beach. Once complete, the facility will be available for disc golf tournaments.


Michael's Seafood Restaurant in Carolina Beach won first place in the 2010 Schweppes Great Chowder Cook off, a national seafood chowder contest held in Rhode Island. It is the 2nd consecutive year that Michael's received top honors.


Future Greenway: New Hanover County Parks Department plans to develop the Pleasure Island Bike and Pedestrian Greenway, a proposed 9.5-mile long, 12-foot wide multi-use paved path from Sumter Ave. in Carolina Beach to the Fort Fisher Historic Site, south of Kure Beach. The greenway will provide a safe and green alternative for traveling around Pleasure Island.
http://islandgreenway.org/ and http://www.nhcgov.com/

NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher will introduce a whale and dolphin exhibit in 2012.

Oceanfront Park in Kure Beach. The Town of Kure Beach plans to construct an oceanfront park with a gazebo, two-story pavilion, and other features.

Long-Range Projects

NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher long-range expansion plans include: The Aquarium will introduce a new whale and dolphin exhibit in 2012. The Aquarium is also partnering with the Town of Carolina Beach on a proposed Aquarium Pier near the Boardwalk (anticipated opening 2016).

Read the full
Press Release

Three Fantastic Photos from the January 10, 2011 Wilmington Snow Storm

On 10 January 2011, the Wilmington area was subjected to a very discriminating snow storm. At the Wilmington Airport, they saw 3 1/2 inches of the white stuff and at Wrightsville Beach, they weighed in with an inch. But here on Pleasure Island, we didn't even see a trace. We had a brief period of sleet but we primarily just had a few patches of cold rain (and not even much of that).

So, although I was ready with camera and video in hand, there were no winter wonderland photos to be had on the Island. Fortunately, camera buffs from around Wilmington were ready to snap photos. And if you followed the days events on Facebook and the local media websites, you would know that the sheer quantity of photos flowing was quite impressive.

But amoung the large masses of photos, there were three that really caught my eye in a big way and here they are. Enjoy!

Snow Angel Baby
(This photo was submitted by Team Powell to the Wilmington Star My Photos)

(This photo was posted by Mike McGirt on Facebook. Used with permission)

(This photo from Wrightsville Beach was posted by Oliver Earney on Facebook. Used with permission)

January 11, 2011

Wildlife in North Carolina Magazine Annouces Photo Contest Winners

As a follow up to our earlier post about the 2010 contest announcement (click link to view the 2009 winner), the Wildlife in North Carolina magazine has announced their 2010 Photo Contest Winners. This year, the grand prize winner is Jackie Orsulak from Duck, NC. Her winning photo features a sea turtle hatchling making its way to the ocean.

On the local front, two photos from the Wilmington area did earn recognition. Gene Furr of Raleigh took a 1st place prize with a very impressive photo of two Great Egrets fighting. Another 1st place photo was submitted by Mark Stanley of Wilmington and featured a close up of Leaf-footed bug nymphs.

To view the winning photo and all the runner ups, visit the Wildlife in NC magazine
website. Details and rules for the 2011 photo competition will be posted on their website in May of this year, and entries will open on June 1st. When the time nears, we'll remind you on this blog.

January 10, 2011

Are you faster than a sixth grader?

Well, Carolina Beach Mayor Joel Macon will find that out Saturday, January 15th, when he faces Cape Fear Center for Inquiry sprinter Auri Schrider in a race challenge around the Carolina Beach Lake.

Starting at 10:30 a.m., the Mayor and Auri will start their trek around the lake. One lap, one time, one right to brag. And money has already been offered up for the challenge to compensate the runners for giving up their weekend morning.

“I know I am going to win,” Auri said, “ and I am so confident that I am going to pledge half of my winnings to the Carolina Beach Boardwalk Makeover Committee. I love what they have done with the Boardwalk, and I would love to help the Mayor give them even more money, regardless of how much it might embarrass him.”

Chazz Pullman, who owns Hoplite Pub in Carolina Beach, has offered up $20 toward the winner. “I fully support the Mayor, “ Chazz said, “But I have a feeling twenty bucks is going to the Boardwalk!”

Shawn Underwood, Joel’s partner in The Treehouse Bistro, said he, too, would match donations to the Boardwalk Makeover. “I have known Joel for more than 18 years, and I always support him,” Shawn said. “But he has overstepped his bounds on this one, and this little girl is going to beat him like a cheap drum. In the spirit of the moment, though, I love what that group has done with the Boardwalk, and I am happy to support them. When Joel recovers, he will be happy for the contribution as well.”

Although Joel has expressed confidence, paramedics will be standing by at various intervals of the race, just in case medical attention is required.

The race is a simple “first one to the finish wins,” and the after race party will take place at The Treehouse Bistro.

The Snow May Have Been Sly but the Fox Wasn't

As of the noon hour, we have only seen a few brief periods of rain and rain-snow mix. So although no snow photos were to be had, we did get lucky with a foxy visitor near the Carolina Beach Lake.

January 9, 2011

Fort Fisher Evening Fun January 09, 2011

With the announcement this afternoon that New Hanover county was under a Winter Weather Advisory for tomorrow morning (light snow/ice in the a.m. but changing to rain by early afternoon), it seemed like a good idea to head out to Fort Fisher to catch a sunset and enjoy the beach. And although it was quite cold with temps falling into the mid 30's, we did come across a pod of dolphins enjoying the last bit of the day's sunshine.

As for the sunset, the clouds really began to build and the sun ended up tucked behind a heavy winter blanket. But at least I did get one early shot facing towards Southport that had a bit of color in it.

Maybe tomorrow we'll get a few Island snow photos ;-)

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