February 28, 2011

Guest Photographer Series: Scenic Images from Around Pleasure Island by Danny Rose

This weeks' Guest Photo Series will be with Danny Rose. Look for his photos to be out mid to late week. But until then, here is a fantastic photo that Danny took from the Snow's Cut Bridge.

February 27, 2011

Last Chance to Observe Space Shuttle Discovery from Wilmington, NC on March 8th

For all you amateur space watchers whose primary means of viewing the stars are your eyes, Tuesday, March 8th will be your last opportunity to see the Space Shuttle Discovery hurdling through space.

According to the NASA tracking website, Discovery will be visible at 7:21pm on March 8th. The approach will be at 16 degrees above the NNW and will depart the horizon at 34 degrees above the NE. The max arc height will be 34 degrees. In simpler terms, if your are near the entrance of Freeman Park (my favorite viewing point), you'll want to orientate yourself so you are looking low on the horizon facing roughly towards the point where snow's cut intersects with the intracoastal waterway (upper backside of Freeman Park).

As an added bonus, the International Space Station will be visible at basically the same trajectory one minute later (7:22pm).

This is Discovery's last space flight and will be followed by final flights from Endeavour (April 19) and Atlantis (June 28) marking the end of NASA's space shuttle program.

Photo Credit: MSNBC

February 26, 2011

Carolina Beach's Proposed Mooring Field Generating Boater Buzz

The proposed Carolina Beach, NC mooring field in Myrtle Grove Sound has caught they eye of boaters who frequently pass our area.  The below thread is from Dozier's Waterway Guide and references an article in the January 26, 2011 Island Gazette (Carolina Beach Moving Forward with Mooring Field; Seeking Permits) discussing the construction time frame. 

The proposed mooring field will have anchorage for 10 boats that are between 26 to 55 feet in length.  Boaters will then be able to come ashore in their dinghies using the town's municipal dock.  In addition, the town is working on creating a new dinghy dock at Sandpiper Lane.

Kudos to the our town leaders for not only identifying a need in our community but also taking action to make this a reality.  Getting Pleasure Island back on the radars of transient boaters will ultimately lead to a big boost for local businesses.

Here's what Capnchuck (from Annapolis, MD) has to say about the mooring field:
"We knew it was only a matter of time before other States followed the lead of Florida in proposing and implementing mooring fields. It now appears that one of our favorite stops along the Waterway in Carolina Beach, North Carolina is now planning to do just that."

And here are a couple comments that Capnchuck has received on this topic:
"About time, a few more good mooring fields with good dinghy landings will help all of us. Carolina Beach is a nice place, a place we enjoy and a mooring would be very nice. Couple of nights on a reasonably priced mooring, a place to land the dinghy, dinner ashore and a walk through town...sounds good. Please do not tell me about anchoring rights; does anyone who has been cruising awhile, like us, remember what Stuart's South Point Anchorage was like before the mooring field? And think about the mess in Salt Run, tried anchoring there lately?"

"That helped a lot, Chuck. Thanks. It's going to be located right where we usually anchor; the holding was always problematic so I like the idea of a mooring field there."

Read the Dozier's Waterway Guide thread here.

February 25, 2011

Possible Trolley Service Coming to the Beach

According to WWAY, next year we may have a trolley service that runs from Carolina Beach to Kure Beach. But for this to happen, the WAVE bus service is going to have to convince county and city leaders to tack on extra $7 for New Hanover County vehicle registrations.

From the WWAY article:


This afternoon the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority discussed adding an extra fee for vehicle registration. That money would help pay for public transit to the beach (Wrightsville, Carolina & Kure)...

Wave Transit Executive Director Albert Eby said the state Department of Transportation would collect and allocate an extra vehicle registration fee to Wave to fund three separate routes to the area's beaches.

"The plan will be that starting next year, during the tourist season, we can provide trolley service both to Wrightsville Beach, as well as a connection from Monkey Junction to Carolina Beach and then a trolley service on Pleasure Island," Eby said.

Read/Watch the full WWAY story
here.

Photo from the 2009 Chowder Cook-off

February 23, 2011

Photos: Sunset At the Carolina Beach Lake

Here are a few shots from tonight's incredible sunset. Unfortunately, one of my camera lenses is in the shop so I only had the use of my 70-300 lens which didn't allow for a wide shot to capture the fullness of tonight's light show. The first two photos are from the Carolina Beach Lake and the last shot is from across the street ocean side. For more photos, visit our Facebook Page.


Affordable Adventure This Spring — Explore Kure Beach, North Carolina

After Countless Days Of Dismal Weather And Cold Temperatures, Warm Weather Is On The Horizon. It's Time To Plan A Spring Getaway To Kure Beach, NC. This Is A Cozy And Welcoming Coastal Town That Offers A Look Back In History, The Opportunity To Enjoy Nature At Its Purest, And Abundant Water Sports.

PRWEB) February 20, 2011
Kure Beach (http://www.visitkure.com) is located just 19 miles south of Wilmington, North Carolina. It offers several miles of unspoiled, uncrowded Atlantic oceanfront with large, natural sand dunes, casual restaurants and shops, and special rates on accommodations.

The town is the place to vacation for those who enjoy water sports such as boating or fishing. The convergence of the Cape Fear River, the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean make fishing in the area — whether surf fishing, bottom fishing, shell fishing or deep-sea fishing— the best around. Fishermen have been enjoying the over 700-foot Kure Beach Fishing Pier, the Atlantic Coast's oldest fishing pier, since 1923. The pier has been a magnet for fishermen since it was first built to 120 feet. In 1984, it was expanded to its present length, and along with constant updating of amenities, has become the centerpiece of this water-oriented community.

Kure Beach is also the perfect place for history buffs. The Fort Fisher State Historic Site & Civil War Museum is home to the largest earthen fort in the south. The North Carolina Military History Museum, which contains indoor and outdoor exhibits, features artifacts and military vehicles encompassing all branches of service. And those looking to explore exhibits on dive sites and maritime history (dating from prehistoric to Civil War to the present) can visit the North Carolina Underwater Archaeology Center.

For a unique opportunity to see nature at its best, head over to the Fort Fisher State Recreation Center, which offers a five-mile stretch of undeveloped beach that is home to nesting loggerhead sea turtles. Nature enthusiasts can explore the North Carolina Birding Trail for a close-up look at some of the area's most beautiful species.

Nearby Fort Fisher is also home to the North Carolina Aquarium, which showcases marine life in the Cape Fear River basin and nearby beaches, estuaries, and ocean. Kids love the 230,000-gallon saltwater shark tank, and roaming through the half-acre Cape Fear Conservatory with alligators, sturgeon and other freshwater species. The Open Oceans Gallery (that focuses on marine creatures and nearby ocean reefs), and an “Exotic Aquatics” showcase that features lionfish, cuttlefish, a living Pacific Coral reef, and Pacific sea nettles are also big hits. One of the biggest stars of the Aquarium is Luna, a rare albino alligator.

There's always something special happening at the aquarium. On March 5 and 6, the North Carolina Aquarium will host the 4th Annual Scales & Tails event. Visitors will have the unique opportunity to see, touch and learn about such animals as alligators, snakes, iguanas, lizards, and turtles. The event is free with aquarium admission.

Friday, April 1, and Saturday, April 2, visitors will definitely want to come out to the Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Center to see some cool cars and trucks at the Back to the Beach Car Show. This family-friendly event will also feature raffles, music, and food and beverage vendors.

Kure Beach shares Pleasure Island with nearby Carolina Beach where the 15th Annual Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-off will be held on Saturday, April 17. It's an opportunity to taste some of the best chowder in the area, then cast a vote for the best. This family-friendly event will also feature live music, and a Kidz Zone with face painting, balloon art and a giant inflatable slide. Fun foods like hot dogs, funnel cakes, and pizza will also be available.

While visiting Carolina Beach, head over to the Municipal Marina for the Pleasure Island Fresh Market. Fresh produce and other delectable goodies will be available on Saturdays, from April 2 through May 7.

With Kure Beach as home base, it's a short drive to the activities and events in other nearby areas. From April 6 through April 10, Wilmington hosts the annual NC Azalea Festival. This celebration of Wilmington's beautiful signature flowers features exceptional artwork, gardens, rich history and culture and entertainment includes a parade, street fair, circus, concerts, and pageantry.

Kure Beach is the ideal location for a spring getaway. It offers vacationers the opportunity to relax, or have a blast at events like the Kure Beach Street Festival on April 30. With all this to do, it's not surprising that Kure Beach is known as the small wonder that's a big playground.

For more information on all spring happenings, featured experiences, and special offers in Kure Beach, go to http://www.visitkure.com/spring/. Follow Kure Beach on Facebook or Twitter.

February 22, 2011

Video: Close Encounter with a Pod of Whales off Nags Head, NC

Here is a close encounter whale video recently posted on Youtube by Mrpoacher123. According to the video description, the whale pod was located approximately one mile off the Nags Head shoreline.
Closer to home, Bobby Brown had a close encounter with a whale off of Wrightsville Beach back in November 2010. His Youtube video became an immediate hit as it pulled in over 30,000 hits.

Within days of posting his video, he was contacted by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and they politely asked if he would remove his video. According to Bobby, NOAA informed him that it was illegal to be within 500 yards of a marine mammal. They explained that the law's aim was to protect the whales natural habitat and to keep people from either intentionally or unintentionally harming the mammals.

Bobby was very appreciative of NOAA's handling of the situation and he removed it from Youtube. He then made a follow up video explaining to viewers what happened to the original video and took the opportunity to educate viewers about the marine mammal law. Here is Bobby's informative followup video.

The 7th Anuual Steve Haydu St. Patrick's Day Lo Tide Run - March 19, 2011


It's that time of the year for everyone to sign up for one of the 'must do' events on Pleasure Island. The 7th Annual Steve Haydu St. Patrick's Day Lo Tide Run will take place on the morning of March 19th. If you register before March 9, 2011, the registration fee for the 10k Run or the 5k Run/Walk is $22.00. If you register after the 5th, the cost will be $27 (military men/women will receive a registration discount of $5).

The 10K Race will start at 8:45 AM at the corner of Harper and Canal St. in Carolina Beach. The 5K Race will start at 213 Cape Fear Blvd. (in front of Sea Merchant) at 9:00 AM with walkers/shufflers asked to make way for the runners at the starting line. The 10K runners will pass through before the start of the 5K. This is a Flat PR course with USTAF Certification. Course maps are available for download on the official website. All public parking is FREE for this event.

A Lo Tide t-shirt is guaranteed to all pre-registrants and to post registrants while supplies last.

Following the athletic events, there will be live music along with food and beverages. Booths and vendors will be set up around the Gazebo area and many downtown restaurants, bars and businesses will be open to keep the morning fun flowing.

To learn more about the race or to register online, visit the official LoTideRun
website. You can also keep up with the latest on Facebook.

All proceeds from Registration Fees, Sponsors and Individual Donors are distributed to Recipients selected by the Volunteer Board of Directors to assist local cancer victims in financial need in memory of Steve Haydu of Carolina Beach who died from cancer at a young age. The recipients must be residents of New Hanover County, preferably of Pleasure Island, diagnosed with cancer, and without medical insurance or in financial need. All donations are tax deductable. Over $40,000 was distibuted directly to recipients from the proceeds of last year's race.

February 21, 2011

Guest Photographer Series: Scenic Images from Around Pleasure Island by Kirsten Jacobs

Here are some wonderful photos from around Pleasure Island. The photographer is Kirsten Jacobs and she has been nice enough to share the photos with our blog readers.

The first photo is from N Street in Kure Beach and the second photo is near the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. The last three photos were taken around the Fort Fisher area. Enjoy!


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.

February 20, 2011

Video: A Cloudy Sunset on the Lower Cape Fear

Even though clouds obscured the setting sun's rays, the beauty of the lower Cape Fear still shined through this evening.

Photos: Polar Plunge 2011 at Carolina Beach, NC

Here are a few photos from yesterday's Polar Plunge at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. The event had a huge turnout as temperatures made their way into the 70's. It truly was a beautiful day here in Southeastern North Carolina.

Kudos to everyone who helped make this event a huge success this year. And please, keep the Special Olympics New Hanover County in mind whenever you are considering making a charitable contribution.

The guys over at The Dive posted some cool shots of the event on their
Facebook page and were nice enough to allow us to post a few here on the blog. Make sure to check out their page for additional photos. And when visiting Carolina Beach, make sure to stop by their fun establishment for some food, cold drinks and live music.

Visit their website at
http://thedivefoodandspirits.com




February 19, 2011

Bridal Breakfast and Wedding Expo at the Courtyard Marriott in Carolina Beach on March 27, 2011

Are you dreaming of a beach wedding this year? If so, head to the Carolina Beach Courtyard Marriott on March 27th for a wedding planning event. The beachfront resort hotel will be presenting for the first time, an exclusive and unique wedding show concept which will prove to be invaluable for anyone in the process of planning their special day.

'A Blissful Morning of Wedding Planning Including an Exquisite Bridal Breakfast & Wedding Expo'

This informative event will include the following:
❤ Elegant breakfast
❤ The area’s top wedding vendors
❤ Motivational guest speaker
❤ Gifts, giveaways and more

•Date: Sunday March 27, 2011
•Time: 10 am to 2 pm
•Pre Sale Ticket $12.95 (Tickets are subject to availability)


Purchase tickets:
Courtyard by Marriott Carolina Beach
100 Charlotte Ave. Carolina Beach, NC 28428
OR
contact the Sales Office at 910.458.2618 x 2616

For additional information, click on "Wedding Day Expo"

February 18, 2011

2011 Back To The Beach Car Show: April 1st and 2nd

Sun Coast Cruisers
Back To The Beach 2011 Car Show


For Vehicles 25 Years and Older

Ft Fisher Recreation Center, Kure Beach, NC
April 1 & 2, 2011
Rain or Shine

•Trophies •Top 75 Vehicle Plaques •Sponsor's Choice Awards •Dash Plaques •DJ Music Provided •50/50Raffles •Friday Night Cruise & Social •On Site Housing Available •Food, Beverage, & Vendors on site •Ample parking for trailers

The Sun Coast Cruisers are excited to again bring the Back to the Beach Car Show to Ft Fisher this year. This year the show is under the management of Rich Walsh (910) 707-0060. Rich and his wife Kathy will also be in charge of the Friday night cruise from the Food Lion parking lot at the Snows Cut bridge to the Ft Fisher complex where the SCC will host a free social for all attendees. We have decided to move the date to the first week-end in April to take advantage of the warmer weather. As a special treat we have the famous COCO-LOCO band for your entertainment. As you look through this web site you should find the answers to most of your questions. However, if you can not find your answer please call Rich at the above listed number to get your answers.

For more information, visit their website

February 17, 2011

The Book "North Carolina’s Ocean Fishing Piers: From Kitty Hawk to Sunset Beach" Due Out March 2011

For everyone who loves fishing or spending time on NC piers, this book is written for you. The book's author, Al Baird, traces the history of fishing piers from the Kitty Hawk down to Sunset Beach and is written from the perspective of a true pier fisherman. Al's love of the sport motivated him to start the North Carolina Fishing Pier Society in 2006.

In describing his motivation for writing the book, he explains that it "grew out of my desire to preserve the memories of these great wood, steel and concrete structures and it was greatly inspired by two other books on North Carolina pier fishing (Coastal Fishing in the Carolinas and Pier Fishing in North Carolina)."

Al spent 10 years researching the book and over that time, he met dozens of people who shared information about the early days of fishing piers. Not only does he share their stories but the book is filled with numerous pictures from days gone by.

In the book, our very own Kure Beach Pier takes center stage as the book begins by highlighting the very first fishing pier in the state (the KB pier was built in 1923). From there, the book moves chronologically forward discussing every other ocean fishing pier built along the North Carolina coast.

And right now, you can pre-order the book from Barnes & Noble for only $10.11 with free shipping if you spend $25 or more. (Amazon is taking pre-orders at $14.95 and Borders at $14.99).

Click the book to enter the B&N website:

Book Description:
From the sweltering summer heat to the biting winter chill, thousands of dedicated anglers flock to North Carolina fishing piers to cast lines into the salty depths, hoping to reel in anything from whiting and shark to the highly prized sheepshead, red drum and even the elusive king mackerel. Fishing pier enthusiast Al Baird recounts the history of these windworn structures, from the incredible story of the oldest pier in North Carolina to the tales of the destructive hurricanes that ripped through the Outer Banks. Discover how seaside towns have grown and changed while their piers remain the same, as Baird recounts the memories and accomplishments of the men and women who have visited and loved these slowly disappearing landmarks.

February 16, 2011

Photos: Sunset from the Fort Fisher Boat Ramps

Well, since we were able to get some sunrise photos today we figured we would put a bookmark on this beautiful day with a few sunset pics. The photos were taken at the newly renovated Fort Fisher boat ramp area.


Photos: Beach Sunrise in Front of the Carolina Beach Boardwalk

Here are a few images from this morning's beautiful sunrise. With temperatures expected to near 60 today (70's by the weekend), it seemed like a good idea to throw on some shorts and flip flops and head to the Carolina Beach Boardwalk to catch the sunrise. I guess I should have paid closer attention to Eric Davis (WECT) this morning as it was still in the upper 30's at sunup. The shorts were fine but after awhile, my toes had something to say.

In the photos you'll see one of the old lifeguard stands as well as one of the new ones. If you are a business and are looking for a unique and positive way to advertise, the Carolina Beach Ocean Rescue is still looking for sponsors for the new stands.

And one quick note on the Boardwalk, I noticed that there has been a fair bit of activity as businesses are in the process of sprucing up their exteriors (and some are doing major interior renovations) in preparation for the summer season. If you haven't been to our town's Boardwalk in the last year or so, you really need to check it out this summer. The entire area has undergone a facelift and their has been an explosion in family friendly businesses.

As we enter the 2011 season, I have no doubt that this year will greatly surpass previous years as the Boardwalk Makeover continues to evolve. So check it out, you and your family will love it!


Note: View more photos of this morning's sunset on Facebook






2011 Be A Tourist in Your Own Hometown March 6, 2011

"Come & Play" during the 16th Annual "Be A Tourist in Your Own Hometown" Residents' Appreciation Day for New Hanover County residents on Sunday, March 6, 2011. It is on this day that participating area attractions (see list below) open their doors to New Hanover County residents free of charge. It's a fun way for residents to find out more about our travel destination so they can become Wilmington/Cape Fear Coast tourism ambassadors. It's also a rewarding way for the attractions to thank residents for their support. We hope to see you and your family and friends! A complete list of participating attractions and events follows. A complete list of participants will also be published in ENCORE magazine during the week of the event.

List of Participating attractions & Events. NOTE: Events in Kure Beach & Carolina Beach are highlighted in RED.

Airlie Gardens, 9am-5pm, 300 Airlie Rd, Wilmington, 798-7566. Stroll through the winding paths of this century-old garden by the sea.

Arboretum at New Hanover County Co-op Ext., 9am-6pm, 6206 Oleander Dr., Wilmington, 798-7660. The Wilmington Garden Show (11am-4pm) at The Arboretum features presentations on trees and shrubs (12 noon) and bonsai (1:30pm) and 50+ vendor booths.

Bellamy Mansion Museum, 1-5pm, 503 Market St, Wilmington, 251-3700. Visit the formal areas and kitchen in the basement of the mansion, hear the history of the original slave quarters and its restoration, and peruse the gift shop.

Blue Moon Gift Shops, 12-5pm. 203 Racine Dr., Wilmington, 799-5793. Over 100 eclectic shops feature works by artists and craftspeople. Tastings and craft/vendor demonstrations.

Burchetta Glassblowing Studio & Gallery, 10am-3pm, 201 Red Cross St., Wilmington, 399-7614. See live glassblowing demonstrations and tour the gallery.

Burgwin-Wright Museum House, 12-5pm, 224 Market St., Wilmington, 762-0570. The house will not be open; however, visitors may tour the historic gardens and visit the Colonial kitchen and the former jail. A self-guided garden tour is available, with layout, historic facts, plant identification, etc.

Cameron Art Museum, 11am-5pm, 3201 S. 17th St., Wilmington (corner of Independence Blvd and 17th St.), 395-5999. Southeast NC's premier art museum. View 2 exhibitions and visit the Museum Shop: From Heart to Hand: African-American Quilts from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts (in the Brown Wing) and Remembering BIG, an exhibition of Big Al, Allen D. Carter (in the Hughes Wing).

Cape Fear Museum of History & Science, 1-5pm, 814 Market St., Wilmington, 798-4350. Discover the history, science and cultures of the Lower Cape Fear. Visit the Museum's newest exhibits - Photography in Focus; B.W. Wells: Pioneer Ecologists; and Cape Fear Treasures: Seeing.

Capt'n Bill's Backyard Grill, Noon-9pm, 4240 Market St. (behind "17" North Shopping Ctr.), Wilmington, 762-0173. Free volleyball. Grill will be open with food & drink specials.

Carolina Beach State Park, 8am-8pm, State Park Rd, Carolina Beach, 458-8206. Bring picnic, fishing supplies. Explore nature trails, visitor center, marina and more. (Boat ramp/campsite rentals not included.)

ADVANCE TICKET REQUIRED: EUE/ Screen Gems Studio, 11 am- 2 pm. 1223 N. 23rd St., Wilmington. 343-3500. Screen Gems will give tours on Sunday at 11am, 12pm, 1pm & 2pm. ADVANCE TICKETS REQUIRED. To tour Screen Gems, you MUST pick up tickets on Friday March 4th at Screen Gems from 12-2pm only. Tickets given out on a first come, first serve basis. Limit is 2 tickets per adult (18 and over, must have ID).NO TICKETS GIVEN OUT THE DAY OF THE TOUR.

Federal Point History Center, 1-4pm, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach, 458-0502. Enjoy exhibits & audio-visual presentations portraying periods in the Federal Point community, including pre-historic, colonial, Civil War and development of Carolina-Kure Beaches and Seabreeze as tourist attractions. Refreshments.

Fort Fisher State Historic Site-Civil War Fort, 1-5pm, Hwy. 421 Kure Beach, NC, 458-5538. On display for the first time will be the site's new exhibit on the post war experience of Ft. Fisher's veterans. Visitors to the site will also enjoy our scenic tour trail, educational museum and artillery demonstrations.

NHC-ID REQUIRED: Ft. Fisher State Recreation Area, 8am-5pm, 1000 Loggerhead Road-off US 421, Kure Beach near Aquarium, 458-5798. Visitor center, free access to the 4WD beach and 4-mile stretch of undeveloped beach for shell seekers,bird watchers. Must display valid NHC driver's license. 4WD access free to NHC RESIDENTS ONLY.

ADVANCE TICKET & NHC-ID REQUIRED: Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington, Meets at Cape Fear Riverwalk at Market & Water sts., Wilmington, 233-7630. Guided tours start at 5:30pm only. ADVANCE TICKETS REQUIRED. Tickets MUST be picked up at The Black Cat Shoppe at 8 Market St. on Saturday March 5th from 11am-6pm. Tickets will be given out on a first come, first serve basis. NO TICKETS WILL BE GIVEN OUT THE DAY OF THE TOUR. Guide will take larger than normal groups and tour will be somewhat abbreviated. Space is limited. NHC RESIDENTS ONLY.

Greenfield Grind Skate Park, 1-8pm, Burnett Blvd, behind Parks & Rec offices, Wilmington, 362-8222. Participants get free admission between 1-8pm. NOTE: All participants REQUIRED to wear helmet & pads.

NHC-ID REQUIRED: Halyburton Park, 8am-5pm, 4099 17th St., Wilmington. 341-0075. Join a park naturalist and explore nature up close on a two mile nature hike. Learn about the parks history, Long Leaf Pine forest, Carolina Bays and enjoy the outdoors as you hike from the park to the Cameron Art Museum along the Cross City trail. Hikes start at 12 noon and 3pm and last about two hours. NHC RESIDENTS ONLY

Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center, 12pm-5pm. 2nd & Orange St., Wilmington. 793-6393. Spend a WWII History afternoon at one of the few remaining USO buildings. Tour the restored building, theatre, and WWII home front mini-museum. Meet local WWII veterans & home front workers with wartime memorabilia to swap stories, pose for photos and share experiences. It's an opportunity to say "thanks" to our version of the Greatest Generation.

Haunted Pub Crawl at Fat Tony's Italian Pub, 12pm-6pm, 131 N. Front St, Wilmington, 343-8881. Get a "taste" of the Haunted Pub Crawl and hear eerie tales that will both shiver ye timbers and make ye laugh out loud; starting at 12noon on the hour every hour, with the last one at 6pm. All ages welcome; stories censored to suit audience. Prizes for kids.

ADVANCE TICKETS & NHC-ID REQUIRED: Hollywood Location Walk of Old Wilmington, Meets at Cape Fear Riverwalk at Market & Water sts., Wilmington, 233-7630. Guided tours start at 12:00 noon only. ADVANCE TICKETS REQUIRED. Tickets MUST be picked up at The Black Cat Shoppe at 8 Market St. on Saturday the 5th from 11am-6pm. Tickets will be given out on a first come, first serve basis. NO TICKETS WILL BE GIVEN OUT THE DAY OF THE TOUR. Guide will take larger than normal groups and tour will be somewhat abbreviated. Space is limited. NHC RESIDENTS ONLY.

Hugh MacRae Park & Nature Trail, 8am-10pm, Oleander & S. College Rd., Wilmington, 798-7181. Playgrounds (5-12 year old playground is lighted), lighted tennis courts, athletic fields, picnic areas, nature trails, etc. Free every day (except for shelter, horse ring, baseball fields and garden rentals). Baseball fields must be reserved in advance. Walk the 1.55 mile trail right in the park or visit the Hugh MacRae Nature Trail located across the street behind the NHC Senior Ctr.

Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park, 1-4pm, 5320 Oleander Dr., Wilmington, 791-0666. Offering a choice of one (1) of the following activities to each participant: 1-game of Jungle Golf -OR- 1-free Grand Prix go-kart ride -OR- 1-free Sky Tower ride.

N.C. Military History Museum, Noon-4pm, 116 Air Force Way, Kure Beach, 477-0499. Artifacts, memorabilia, displays from WWI through Desert Storm, w/photos, documents, letters, uniforms, fieldgear, hats, helmets, gift shop, more.

Old Books on Front Street, 3pm, 249 N. Front St., Wilmington, 762-6657. Captain Wilbur Jones, award-winning author and military historian, will talk about Wilmington during World War II.

SPECIAL GUESTS at Riverfront Visitor Information Booth: 1-3pm (weather permitting), Cape Fear Riverwalk (Water & Market sts.), Wilmington, 341-4030. Team and event mascots will greet residents, hand out schedules/flyers, pose for photos, and sign autographs from 1-3pm. Confirmed guests include "Salty Dawg" (Wilmington Sea Dawgs pro basketball team), "Sharky" (Wilmington Sharks baseball team) & "Sledge" (Wilmington Hammerheads pro soccer team) from 1-3pm; Azalea Belles (courtesy of the Cape Fear Garden Club) from 1-3pm; and storyteller/musician John Golden from 2-3pm. Educators from the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher's outreach classroom (1-3pm) will share information about marine life found along NC's coast. Stop by to meet the special guests, get a "Hometown Tourist" sticker, and a list of attractions/tours offering free admission!

Thalian Hall, 2-5pm, 310 Chestnut St., Wilmington, 632-2285. Thalian Hall has been the epicenter of culture and politics in the Cape Fear region since 1858. Take a self guided tour of the facility, which has just undergone a $3.5 million dollar renovation and rediscover this historical gem.

The Black Cat Shoppe, 1-5pm. 11 Market St., Wilmington. 251-6663. Aye, mateys, ‘yer looking for a bit of adventure in the Port City? Drop by to see some magic, hear some true Wilmington pirate stories or to have ye fortune told. Space is limited and we will entertain first come, first served.

Victorian Gardens at Latimer House Museum, 1-4pm, 126 South 3rd St., Wilmington, 762-0492. Self-guided tour of garden only (brochure available at site, weather permitting); house will be closed.

NHC-ID REQUIRED: Wilmington Railroad Museum, 1-4pm, 505 Nutt St., Wilmington, 763-2634. Railroad history and features for everyone, all in an authentic 1883 railroad building. NHC RESIDENTS ONLY.

Wilmington Trolley, 1-4pm. Downtown Wilmington. 763-4483. The trolley will offer free shuttle service between the participating attractions in the downtown area. This is shuttle service only, not tours.

Wrightsville Beach Museum of History, 1-5pm, 303 W. Salisbury St, Wrightsville Beach, 256-2569. Visit this 1909 beach cottage and feel what life at the beach was like 100 years ago. Step back in time as you walk through a 1930's kitchen, see our model of Wrightsville Beach in 1910, and rock on the shady porch.

ADVANCE TICKETS REQUIRED: Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours & Taxi, 12 noon. Banks Channel across from Blockade Runner Resort, Wrightsville Beach, 200-4002. The Cape Fear Naturalist, Joseph Abbate, explores the tidal creeks of Masonboro Island. The 1-hour tour focuses on water bird and shorebird identification. Topics include shorebird identification, salt marsh function and water quality issues. ADVANCE RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. Space is limited.

NEW HANOVER COUNTY I.D. REQUIRED FOR LISTINGS INDICATING "NHC RESIDENTS ONLY". SOME ATTRACTIONS/TOURS REQUIRE ADVANCE RESERVATIONS AND/OR TICKETS. PLEASE READ DESCRIPTIONS CAREFULLY. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOURS OF OPERATION AND RESTRICTIONS, PLEASE CONTACT THE INDIVIDUAL ATTRACTIONS. IN CASE OF RAIN, CALL ATTRACTIONS TO CONFIRM OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES. LIST OF PARTICIPANTS CAN BE DOWNLOADED ONLINE AT www.capefearcoast.com/hometown. A COMPLETE LIST OF PARTICIPANTS WILL ALSO APPEAR IN ENCORE MAGAZINE THE WEEK OF THE EVENT.

February 14, 2011

Guest Photographer Series: Scenic Images from Around Pleasure Island by Kevin M. Balfe

Here are five fantastic Pleasure Island photos from photographer Kevin Balfe who has been nice enough to share a few of his recent pics with blog readers. The pictures were taken throughout Kure & Carolina Beach, NC.

Kevin purchased a 2nd home in Kure Beach last summer and has already developed island fever. He stated that he has had a lot of fun taking pictures over the past three seasons. And with the next change of season right around the corner, he best keep his camera close at hand as Pleasure Island will soon explode with nature's Spring colors. With temperaturs today expected to near 70, I'm sure we're are all ready to say farewell Winter 2011.


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!
(To view previous guest photos, click
here.)





Wilmington Star: Snows Cut Boat Ramp Renovations Worth the Wait

Wilmington Star
By Mike Marsh
February 12, 2011

...Keith Morgan is Paragon Building Corporation’s project superintendent for (Carolina Beach's) Snows Cut Boating Access Improvements. The ramp has been out of service several months. Among the most crowded ramps in the state, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission ramp is being renovated to provide more efficient access. Anglers and boaters have become worried that the ramp will not be open in time for spring fishing. While Morgan said the project is behind schedule, the improved access would be worth the wait. It was scheduled to open in February 2011. The revised completion date is March 31.

“We had weather-related problems with snow and rain, as well as soil density problems with the fishing pier pilings,” he said. “We had to put the piers down 31 feet to reach stable soil. The fishing pier is a new feature. It will cantilever two feet over the bulkhead and run 200 feet along the waterway.”

...While the former ramp had just two launching bays, the renovated ramp will have five – two on the north side, two in the middle and one on the south side. The launching bays will be separated by floating docks and there will be docks along the new sheet piling walls...

While the old parking area was sand and gravel, the new parking area will be paved. It will have a tie-down lane and a make-ready lane. Parking spaces will be marked, with 80 spaces for vehicles with boat trailers and 15 spaces for single vehicles...

Read the full Wilmington Star article (includes current renovation work photo)
here.

• Pre renovation Google Earth view
• NC Wildlife Pleasure Island Boat Launches (Snow's Cut, CB State Park & Fort Fisher)

February 12, 2011

Video: Awesome Fort Fisher Wedding

Check out this fantastic beach wedding video that was recently uploaded to Vimeo by Brick Street Cinema. The video features the wedding of Andre and Stephanie and takes place at the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area in Kure Beach, NC.

Over the years, we've seen many beach wedding videos but this by far is one of our favorites. This couple clearly knows how to have fun and their spirit really shines through in the video.

Thanks to Brick Street Cinema for allowing us to post this to the blog. These guys really know how to shoot a professional wedding video. For more information on Brick Street, check out their website:
www.brickstreetcinema.com

Andre + Stephanie from Brick Street Cinema on Vimeo.

Andre and Stephanie were married on the beach at beautiful Fort Fisher, NC.

The day couldn't have gone any smoother as their laid back style washed over friends and family. Stephanie designed all the details of the reception and it looked gorgeous. They celebrated at their house nestled along the beach. With sand for a floor, they rocked into the night.

Southern Cape Fear Coast Bridal Showcase February 20, 2011 in Southport

As hints of Spring begin to surface, it reminds us that we are fast approaching the preferred "I do" season. If you or any of your fiends have future wedding plans, you may want to plan on taking the ferry over to Southport on February 20th for the 2011 Southern Cape Fear Coast Bridal Showcase. Representatives from catering firms, reception venues, entertainment consultants, florists, photographers, jewelers, and more will be on hand to assist in preparation for the perfect wedding in the Southern Cape Fear Coast. The event is being hosted by the Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the City of Southport Department of Tourism. It is sponsored by 3 Cheers Party Rentals.

Time:
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Location:
Southport Community Building

223 E. Bay Street Southport, NC

Contact:
Southport - Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce
4841 Long Beach Road, Southport, NC
(910)457-6964

Admission/Fees:

$5 per person

February 10, 2011

Rules for Visiting the North End (Freeman Park) in Carolina Beach, NC

Freeman Park is the name of the undeveloped north end of Carolina Beach, NC stretching from the end of Canal Drive all the way to the inlet near Masonboro Island. People driving vehicles with 4 wheel drive capacity can drive right on the beach with either a $20 day pass purchased at the gate or a $100 (effective May 15, 2010) Freeman Park 4WD Vehicle Access Permit purchased at specified locations.

Bring your surfboard, your ocean kayak, your surf fishing gear, your camping gear, or just your towel and a good book to enjoy the fun and freedom of Freeman Park. You can even bring your dogs on the beach - but please observe the leash law in effect.

The following are the Official Freeman Park Rules and Regulations:

Dunes
•Do not walk or drive on the dunes or disturb the dune fencing and signs. This is a no tresspassing area subject to fines of $100.00 up to $1,000.00 and may result in immediate permit revocation.

Litter
•Littering of any kind is strictly prohibited. Do not leave any type trash on the beach. This includes but is not limited to cigarette butts, fishing tackle, campfire remains, pet waste, and other trash. Littering fines are $50.00 for first violations and $100.00 for each following violations. If you bring it in, take it out.
•No glass containers are allowed on the beach. There is a $100.00 fine for violation.
•Waste water from self-contained vehicles must be kept in a holding tank and may NOT be emptied in Freeman Park.
•Wooden shipping pallets are not allowed within the Freeman Park boundaries.

Driving on the Beach
•Maximum speed limit for driving on the beach is 15 mph.
•No vehicles parking or driving on wet sand. No driving is allowed between the water line and the high tide crest.
•Cutting circles or otherwise defacing the beach is prohibited. Be safe and courteous to others.

Campfires
•Campfires are allowed all year. All fires must be in approved fire pits. Camping and/or fires in designated areas only. No camping or fires are allowed within 25 feet of dune or vegetation line.
•Burning of trash or construction grade materials is not allowed. Natural wood only.
•Fires may not be left unattended and must be extinguished with water, NOT SAND. You must clean up after your fire.

Pets
•Dogs are allowed between October 1st and March 31st off leash as long as they remain under voice command and the owner is within a reasonable distance from the pet. Dogs are not allowed on the public beaches of Freeman Park from April 1st to September 30h without a leash. The owners of a dog(s) who harms or causes offenses or damages to the public, or who deposits waste upon public land or property, will be held responsible for such action and immediate waste clean up. Dog owners must carry a plastic bag, or other suitable plastic or paper container, that can e used to clean up and contain dog waste until it can be disposed of in an appropriate container. The bag must be produced and shown upon request. Clean up after your pet. Failure to do so will result in a $50.00 fine.

Sea Turtles & Other Wildlife
•Sea Turtles are protected by the Endangered Species Act. It's unlawful to harass, harm, capture, or collect sea turtle eggs, live or dead hatchings, juveniles or adults. Violators can be prosecuted under civil and criminal laws and assessed heavy penalties.
•Do not shine lights or snap flash photos at wildlife. Turn off all lights in the immediate vicinity of turtle nests.

Carolina Beach Police Department at 910-798-4200 (non-emergency number).

http://www.pleasureislandnc.org/freemanpark-rules.asp

North Carolina State Parks Declare 2011 "Year of the Turtle"

Carolina Beach State Park, Carolina Beach, NC
Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, Kure Beach, NC

Raleigh -- North Carolina state parks have declared 2011 the “Year of the Turtle,” with plans for a 12-month exploration of this wildlife resource through its interpretive programs, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.

North Carolina is home to 21 turtle species, including the familiar box turtle, which burrows up to two feet beneath its upland forests in winter, and the rare loggerhead, leatherback and green sea turtles that lumber ashore to nest on its beaches. With the catch phrase “Come Out of Your Shell,” the parks will entice visitors to learn more about this abundance with special education programs, guided hikes and activities.

This marks the second year that state parks education programs have revolved around a specific nature theme, with 2010 being the “Year of the Birds,” featuring more than 600-bird-themed park activities. Coincidentally, the North Carolina aquariums and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are also participating in the “Year of the Turtle” through the Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation consortium.

“An annual theme such as the ‘Year of the Turtle’ offers an additional pathway for adults and children to reconnect with nature in the state parks. Education is a core part of our mission, and the free interpretive programs developed by park rangers expand the experience of visitors,” said Lewis Ledford, director of the state parks system.

Once again, the state parks are celebrating the interpretive theme with original bandannas that feature illustrations of eight turtle species, designed from photos by state park rangers. The bandannas are available for $3 at the state parks and through the online web store at www.ncparks.gov.

Every state park has resident turtle populations, and the United States has more turtle biodiversity than any other country. But turtle populations worldwide have declined up to 40 percent. Turtles face threats including habitat loss and degradation, mortality from roads and predators, exotic invasive species and disease and climate change. Raising awareness about turtle species can help address broader environmental issues.

Although sea turtles are generally the turtle rock stars in this area, their land brethren are also pretty cool in their own right and deserve mention. Here are some of the types of turtles that can be found throughout areas of Pleasure Island:
Eastern Box Turtle
Eastern Chicken Turtle
Eastern Snapping Turtle
Striped Mud Turtle
Yellow-bellied Slider

February 9, 2011

A Sweet Wine Tasting Event at the Treehouse Bistro on Thursday, February 10, 2011

If you don't have plans for this Thursday evening, you may want to head down to the Treehouse Bistro for a decadent wine tasting event. The Treehouse has once again paired up with Carolina Beach's own The Fudgeboat to host a joint fudge and wine tasting this Thursday from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.

Shawn Underwood, one of the Treehouse owners, has preselected some perfectly matched wines to compliment the unique taste of the various fudge offerings. You'll often fine that the taste of certain wines can really open up when accompanied with the right food item. Personally, I occasionally enjoy a big boy Cabernet with just a nibble of high cocoa dark chocolate. A little bit of heaven on earth ;-)

One word of advice, it you do plan on going, go early. I remember last year's pairing event was a huge success and they actually ran out of the fudge and wine before the close. But if such a tragedy as that were to happen again, you can be comforted in knowing that the Treehouse always has a well stocked glass list.

Oh, and before I close out, I would be remiss not to mention that the fudge/wine tasting event is free and open to everyone. Yes, I did say free. So head out tomorrow, you won't be disappointed.


PS. Carolina Beach NC...it sure is a wonderful place to live all year long!

Photo Credit

Sponsors Needed for New Carolina Beach Ocean Rescue Lifeguard Stands

When you head to Carolina Beach, NC this year, you will notice something different on the beach...new lifeguard stands. The CB Ocean Rescue is in the process of replacing all their current stands and are looking for sponsors to help fund the $2,500 cost of each new stand.

The new lifeguard stands are being painted in colorful, beachy colors and represent a positive way for businesses to advertise and help the public at the same time. If you want a preview of what the stands will look like, head to Wrightsville Beach as the new CB stands are modeled after the WB stands.

I'm told the stands will greatly improve the efficiency of Island guard staff. The stands will be large enough to accommodate multiple guards and will have lockable storage areas for their equipment. They will offer wind/rain protection on three sides and have a large metal roof for cover. When guards choose, they can also move to the forward area and observe from an open air environment. Lastly, the stands can be disassembled and moved off the beach when severe weather is predicted.

The Carolina Beach lifeguard program is a 501C and donations are tax-deductible. The cost to sponsor a stand is $2500.00 and businesses will have their logo placed on the side of the stand. Individuals donating a stand can decide what to place on the stand pending approval from the Chief of Police.

If you are interested in donating a lifeguard stand, please contact the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce or the Carolina Beach Police Department.

And don't forget, lifeguard tryouts are coming up for both Carolina Beach and Kure Beach Ocean Rescue.


Photo Credit: Wrightsville Beach lifeguard stand

February 8, 2011

2010 Shark Attack Numbers Drop in Florida, Up in North Carolina

On February 1, 2011, the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida released a revised 2010 Worldwide Shark Attack Summary.

In 2010, there was a total of 79 worldwide unprovoked shark attacks which was higher than the 63 unprovoked attacks in 2009 and represents the highest number since 2000 when 80 attacks were recorded. This increase does not necessarily mean there is an increase in the rate of shark attacks but it is most likely "reflective of the ever-increasing amount of time spent in the sea by humans, which increases the odds of interaction between the two affected parties."

In 2010, there were only two fatal shark attacks in the United States - one in Florida and one in California.

Continuing with recent trends, the United States had the most unprovoked shark attacks with a total of 36 attacks. Of this number, "Florida again had most of the unprovoked attacks in the United States. The total of 13 attacks (in FL) was the lowest total since a dozen incidents were documented in 2004 and fell well below the 2001-2010 average of 23.1. Additional U.S. attacks were recorded in North Carolina (5), California (4), South Carolina (4), and Hawaii (4), with single attacks occurring in Georgia, Maine, Washington, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia. Within Florida, Volusia County had the most incidents (6). This area normally has higher numbers of shark-human interactions as a result of very high aquatic recreational utilization of its attractive waters by both Florida residents and tourists, especially surfers. Other Florida areas having attacks in 2010 were St.Johns (3), Duval (2), Brevard (1), and Martin (1)."


In Southeastern NC, we had the following shark incidents: June attack at Topsail Island; July attack at Wrightsville Beach; August attack at Figure Eight Island.

Here are historical attack numbers for select States:
2000 (NC-5) (SC-2) (CA-3) (HI-2) (FL-37)
2001 (NC-3) (SC-5) (CA-1) (HI-3) (FL-34)
2002 (NC-3) (SC-2) (CA-4) (HI-6) (FL-29)
2003 (NC-1) (SC-2) (CA-1) (HI-5) (FL-29)
2004 (NC-2) (SC-1) (CA-6) (HI-3) (FL-12)
2005 (NC-2) (SC-5) (CA-3) (HI-4) (FL-17)
2006 (NC-1) (SC-4) (CA-1) (HI-3) (FL-20)
2007 (NC-2) (SC-5) (CA-3) (HI-7) (FL-31)
2008 (NC-3) (SC-2) (CA-2) (HI-1) (FL-28)
2009 (NC-1) (SC-0) (CA-4) (HI-3) (FL-18)
2010 (NC-5) (SC-4) (CA-4) (HI-4) (FL-13)
**For this eleven year period, there was only one fatal attack in NC in 2001. There were no fatal attacks in SC.

To read the ISAF 2010 release, go here.

Shark Cartoon credit

February 7, 2011

Kure Beach Disc Golf Grand Opening February 20, 2011

The Kure Beach Town Council and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board cordially invite the public to attend the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Grand Opening of the new Kure Beach Disc Golf Course. The event will take place on Sunday, February 20, 2011 from 12:00pm to 2:30pm. The course is located at Joe Eakes Park which is located at 7th St and K Avenue, Kure Beach, NC.

There will be a 9 hole tournament for all skill levels and there will be a drawing for prizes. Refreshments and hot dogs will be served and the ribbon cutting will begin at 2:00pm. For information on the course and to see a few photos, click here.


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