Saturday, June 06, 2009

From Wilmington, NC: Long Grey Day

It was grey and overcast when I first looked out of the window this morning, and now, here at the end of the day, I can report that it stayed overcast to some extent all day.

I should mention the hotel toilets. There is a sort of hybrid tank/flush valve arrangement on the toilets in these rooms; when you push down the handle to flush the toilet, it makes a bang! like a gun going off, which after nearly two days here still startles the hell out of us.

We got underway just after 8, destination Kure Beach. We arrived and simply sat on a bench watching the sea; at the nearby pier it was crowded with some sort of sportsfishing festival. Eventually we returned to the car and drove down to Ft. Fisher, an old Civil War fortification owned by the state of North Carolina. We walked the trail around the old fort, which is situated at the mouth of the Cape Fear River; marshes and salt-spray-tortured live oaks make up the landscape around the old battery mounds. The weather was still grey, and the air still and very humid. Miserable summer weather, to be sure.

When we finished our walk we moved the car to the nearby beach that is part of the Ft. Fisher property, and again sat on a bench watching the grey sea and grey sky. We talked quietly and joked for a while before departing for lunch at a Carolina Beach restaurant, Bowman's, where we dined on calabash-style seafood.

After lunch we visited Greenfield park, a lovely Wilmington city park situated along Greenfield Lake. We saw a fellow catch a large catfish while there, he threw it back in. We didn't linger because there were some dubious looking men in various places and neither of us were armed. The place has a bad reputation after dark for rapes and robberies, a reflection of it being in a poor part of town.

When we returned to the hotel we took a siesta for a few hours and got back up around 5 or so, we decided to check out the Riverwalk area of Wilmington and do a bit of shopping. We found that most of the shops had already closed for the day, only the pubs and restaurants were still open; looks like an interesting area for a return visit when the shops are open. Dinner was at a pizzeria, and then back to the hotel.

Probably we'll visit Wrightsville Beach tomorrow morning before heading for home. The weather made for a disappointing weekend, as I had feared.

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