One of my favorite places in North Carolina to visit is Wilmington, NC and the “off season” of the beaches is a perfect time to experience all that the area has to offer. In recent trips, I’ve visited with David, so I was excited to visit with my friend, Clarke, and try some new-to-me restaurants and stay at Wrightsville Beach. Despite being born and raised in North Carolina, I had never actually stayed on Wrightsville. Here is the itinerary for a perfect spring weekend in Wilmington, NC including the best things to do, where to eat, and where to stay!
A Spring Weekend in Wilmington, NC: the Best Things to Do
A Spring Weekend in Wilmington, NC: What to Do
Stroll through Airlie Gardens
A trip to Airlie Gardens is a must-do on any trip to Wilmington, but especially during the spring. The tulips were simply stunning and I got to see more of the property than I’ve previously seen. I love learning about the gardens and exploring new spots on the property. This was my first time seeing the Bottle Chapel, which is the centerpiece of the Minnie Evans Sculpture Garden. Minnie Evans was a self-taught artist from New Hanover and this piece was inspired by her artwork and features various recycled bottles and pieces of glass to complete the glittering structure.
Located at 300 Airlie Rd., Wilmington
Explore the Area’s Finest Boutiques and Beach Shops
There are lots of cute places to shop in Wilmington, including shops downtown near the Riverwalk, in Lumina Station, in the Forum, and along Wrightsville Beach. Some of my personal favorites include Redix, Monkee’s, Airlie Moon, and Zia Boutique.
Redix is Wrightsville Beach staple and hidden gem that sells everything from souvenirs and beach gear to designer resort wear. It’s a fun place to browse! Monkee’s and Airlie Moon are located in Lumina Station, which won Coastal Living’s first-ever award for contextual design. It is a beautiful space and makes for a local and unique shopping experience. Monkee’s is always a favorite of mine for clothing, shoes, and accessories. Airlie Moon has such a great selection of home wares, baby gifts, and accessories. The Forum has a lot to offer as well, including bistros, fine-dining, and charming boutiques, including Zia Boutique, which is another great boutique for women’s fashion and accessories. It is owned by Zelle of A Southern Style and is the cutest.
Visit the Riverwalk
Even though it was a chilly, rainy weekend, we still headed down to the Riverwalk for a little stroll before lunch. It was worth it to stretch our legs some and to check out some places for our next trip back!
Grab a Coffee from Drift Coffee and Kitchen
I grabbed a cup of coffee from Drift before heading to Airlie Gardens and it’s a cute spot with great coffee. It’s located right in Mayfaire.
Located at 1005 International Dr., Wilmington
Board a Sunset Cruise on the Carolina Runner
This hour and a half cruise is the best way to enjoy golden hour. It’s the Blockade Runner’s most popular cruise and a great way to wind down after a day of adventures in the area. This cruise lets you explore the local area and offers the best views of the Island. Matty and Taylor are a lot of fun and offer fun perspectives and history of the area.
Located across the street from the Blockade Runner Beach Resort
Take a Yoga Class with Longwave Yoga
Longwave Yoga offers yoga classes, standup paddle board yoga, yoga retreats, and yoga teacher trainings. Clarke and I got to take a private yoga class with Mary from Longwave Yoga at the Blockade Runner. Typically, these classes are held in the seaside gardens at the Blockade Runner; however, since it was chilly and windy, we moved inside to one of the spaces at the Blockade Runner. It was an incredible class and Mary was a fun, patient, and challenging teacher. She had us try handstands before we left, which was both exhilarating and not something that I’ve incorporated into my practice yet. I appreciated her getting me out of my comfort zone and encouraging me to try something new safely!
Longwave Yoga also offers online classes and a variety of in-person classes. If you can sign up for one where Mary is teaching, I highly recommend! She is fabulous!
Located at 203 Racine Dr., Wilmington or inquire about private classes
Enjoy a Walk on the Beach at Wrightsville
Whether you’re staying at the Blockade Runner or not, taking a stroll on Wrightsville Beach is a must. The sunrises and sunsets are spectacular, and I especially love taking a walk to look at the houses and look for shells no matter the time of day or season.
Wrightsville Beach Museum of History plans to reopen in April and is located in a historic beach cottage in Wrightsville Beach Park. There is also Harbor Way Gardens, which offers a quiet place with lovely gardens.
New Hanover County Arboretum is seven acres of beautiful seasonal gardens that are open year-round. There are paved pathways with unique features including a water garden with hundreds of colorful Koi, a Japanese garden with an authentic tea house and numerous Japanese maples. It’s free to the public and open from 8:00am to 5:00pm daily.
A Spring Weekend in Wilmington, NC: Where to Eat
Enjoy Dinner at Brasserie du Soleil
Honestly, I cannot say enough good things about our dining experience at Brasserie du Soleil. There is a reason it is a Wilmington staple. It’s located in Lumina Station and a wonderful dinner spot. Whatever you do, ask for Jeremy as your server because he is not only knowledgable and offers great recommendations, he is a lot of fun and definitely made our visit. We ordered a round of French 75 to start plus escargot and charred octopus. The sauce the escargot was served in was absolutely divine and the charred octopus was delicious and I especially liked it paired with the Fresno chili.
For our entrees, Clarke ordered the bouillabaisse and I ordered the scallops thanks to the recommendation from Jeremy. The scallops were served with creamed leeks and sautéed spinach and I would 10/10 recommend. I also tried Clarke’s bouillabaisse and will absolutely order that on my next trip to Brasserie. For dessert, we had the Pots de Creme and a glass of Madeira. While I’m typically not one for a dessert wine, the Madeira was quite tasty. All in all, it was an amazing dining experience and highly recommend adding to your list. Be sure to make a reservation in advance!
Located at 1908 Eastwood Rd.
Grab Breakfast and Coffee from The Workshop
I’m a big fan of The Workshop with its variety of smoothies, coffee beverages, pastries, and sandwiches. Clarke and I grabbed breakfast here on Saturday morning before heading out for the day. I ordered a Lavender Honey Latte and a bacon, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel. The Workshop is a great spot to grab something to go and take to the beach or has a nice patio to enjoy. Be sure to check out their Megalodon teeth and shark teeth jewelry collection, too.
Located at 86 Waynick Blvd., Wrightsville
Relax on the Charming Patio with a Leisurely Lunch at Ceviche’s
Ceviche’s is a cozy, Panamanian restaurant and has the most charming outside courtyard. It’s got quite a bit of seating options and houses a bar made of reclaimed wood from Panama. The menu changes frequently as they use the freshest ingredients.
We started our lunch with the Guacamole Sampler which included their regular guacamole, the G.O.A.T. guacamole (made with goat cheese, roasted tomato, green onion, and basil) and the season guacamole (made with roasted corn, roasted garlic, chopped scallions, poblano pepper, red onion, cilantro, and paprika).
For our entrees, Clarke ordered the lunch special, which that day was the Coco Diablo Tacos, which came with two tacos and a side of coconut rice. I ordered the Langoustine Lobster Roll which was served with langoustine ceviche, a side of yucca fries, and jalapeño aioli. It was delicious!
As for drinks, Clarke ordered the Sea Love Margarita, and made it spicy by ordering the Reaper. I ordered Laura’s Lemonade, and one dollar of each of Laura’s Lemonade sold is donated to the progress of sustainable, renewable energy and the education of practical ways to combat climate change.
Located at 7210 Wrightsville Ave.
Dine at EAST Oceanfront Dining
Our last two meals were at EAST, located inside the Blockade Runner Beach Resort. We had dinner here on Saturday evening and loved trying the fried cauliflower and the fried calamari. The fried cauliflower is served with Tokyo bomber hot sauce, smokey blue cheese, cucumbers, and radish, and this was my favorite because of the blue cheese and radishes. The calamari is served with pickled cherry peppers, lemon aioli, and spicy marinara. Those pickled cherry peppers were a delicious addition to this dish.
For our entrees, Clarke ordered the spring salad, which came with champagne vinaigrette, fresh berries, cucumbers, radish, goat cheese, and spiced pecans. I ordered the wedge salad which had blue cheese dressing, burst tomatoes, radish, crispy pancetta, green onion, and croutons. We split the crab cake entree to finish out our meal and it was delicious! Executive Chef Jessica Cabo is an energetic and friendly presence in the dining room. Her dishes reflect influences from California, Mexico, Asia, and the Mediterranean and are vegetarian and seafood-centric.
We enjoyed the Jazz Brunch on Sunday after our yoga class. This brunch is accompanied by live jazz and features classic New Orleans inspired brunch dishes. We were joined by Mary, the owner of Blockade Runner, and Ryan, who is the director of marketing, and thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the history of the property and the upcoming events they have in 2021. Some of the new menu items for the Jazz Brunch include the shrimp and grits, which are incredible, and the Blue Bayou Crab Cake Bennie, which looked delicious! I also loved the Lavender 75, which was a nice touch on my favorite cocktail.
And we finished out our brunch with some delicious desserts. The key lime pie is the perfect size for one person and the lavender honey creme brûlée. I love the bright, airy dining room and the jazz music was so pleasant.
A Spring Weekend in Wilmington, NC: Where to Stay
Despite trips to the area before, I’ve never stayed on Wrightsville and I was thrilled to stay at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort. It’s a locally owned and operated business and has amazing options for enjoying the area without ever having the really leave the property. I have long admired the outdoor spaces and the rooms are recently renovated and simply beautiful. There are some great package options that appeal to various interests, so check those out here.
I honestly cannot wait to make a return trip down to the resort. While we were visiting, there were new pool chairs being set up and I am daydreaming about relaxing by the pool and on the beach. No matter the season, there is always something to do on the property and is a beautiful space to relax and rejuvenate.
Located at 275 Waynick Blvd., Wrightsville Beach
A Spring Weekend in Wilmington, NC: Itinerary
Friday Night: Evening Arrival
Check-In at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort: 275 Waynick Blvd., Wrightsville Beach
Dinner at Brasserie du Soleil: 1908 Eastwood Rd.-Ste. 118
Breakfast at The Workshop: 86 Waynick Blvd., Wrightsville Beach
Shopping at Local Boutiques (Redix, Lumina Station, and the Forum)
Walk around the Riverwalk in Wilmington
Lunch at Ceviche’s: 7210 Wrightsville Ave.
Grab a Coffee to Go from Drift Coffee & Kitchen: 1005 International Dr.
Walk around Airlie Gardens: 300 Airlie Rd., Wilmington
Sunset Harbor Cruise on the Carolina Runner (Blockade Runner dock)
Dinner at EAST Oceanfront Dining (located inside the Blockade Runner)
Yoga Session at Blockade Runner with Longwave Yoga
Jazz Brunch at EAST Oceanfront Dining
Depart for Raleigh
Thank you to Wilmington & Beaches CVB for partnering with I’m Fixin’ To and organizing the itinerary and experiences for this trip. A special thank you to Mary and Ryan from Blockade Runner for their hospitality. As always, all opinions are my own.
What did you find most helpful about this weekend in Wilmington itinerary? Let me know in a comment below!
Shop the Post