The next morning, before checking out of our hotel, we walked down the Wilmington Riverwalk towards downtown, stopping to look at both the US Coast Guard Cutter Diligence VI and the Battleship USS North Carolina
(across the Cape Fear River). While we didn’t do tours of either ship on this trip, it is possible, and highly recommended, to tour them if you have the time.
The kids had fun walking up and down the Riverwalk, a mile long stretch of boardwalk on the edge of the Cape Fear, full of shops and restaurants and contributing to the fun vibe of Wilmington.
There are wooden stools and benches all along the Riverwalk so that you can stop and enjoy the scenery and watch the boats travel up and down the Cape Fear.
One of my favorite things to do in Wilmington is to check out all of the places where TV shows and movies have been filmed. Wilmington is often regarded as the Hollywood of the East and over 400 films and TV shows have been recorded in the Wilmington area, with a large percentage filming at EUE/Screen Gems Studios. Favorites like Iron Man 3, We’re the Millers, Under the Dome, Sleepy Hollow, and Dawson’s Creek were all filmed here, but One Tree Hill is usually regarded as the crown jewel of Wilmington since it was filmed here for nine years and even though the show wrapped in 2012, the legacy of OTH is still alive and well.
As diehard One Tree Hill
fans, we made sure to stop and check out the “Naley” bench where Nathan and Haley first started their relationship back in 2003. Ben and Lexie were great substitutes for Nathan and Haley (albeit a bit younger!)- I just wish we remembered to pack a box of Cracker Jacks!
– OTH, Always and Forever –The bench is covered in etchings and writing from OTH fans so it’s easy to find- it’s the last one behind the Visitor Information Booth.
The Riverwalk offers great views of both the USS North Carolina as well as the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge. As we were walking around, we came upon a booth offering river cruises and decided to buy tickets and check it out.
We did a river cruise aboard the Capt. J. N. Maffitt and learned about the history of the Wilmington area and the Cape Fear River as well as their importance today.
The Alton Lennon Federal Building and Courthouse built almost 100 years ago, is an important fixture in Wilmington from a government standpoint as well as a film one. It was used as the outside of the courthouse on seasons 7-9 of Matlock
as well as being a very prominent background on One Tree Hill
As we got closer to the Port of Wilmington, the ships got bigger. It was crazy to see how quickly the cranes could fill the ships!
– The Port of Wilmington –
On our way back up the Cape Fear, we went back under the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge towards downtown Wilmington. The kids thought it was awesome to sail underneath the cars that were crossing the bridge.
After making it back on dry land, we continued through Wilmington on foot and had a delicious lunch at Beer Barrio
before heading back to the hotel to pick up the van.
We ordered an assortment of tacos for the seven of us and the al Pastor was the clear winner. Some of their tacos featured a corn tortilla wrapped around hard taco shell- something I’ve not seen very often before!
– Even Ellie thought the tacos were delicious! –
On our way out of town, we did a quick One Tree Hill driving tour and checked out some of the sites that were used on the TV show. It was so fun getting to see these locations since we’ve come to know and love them over the years!
Karen’s Cafe and Clothes Over Bros // the corner of Grace and Front
Lucas and Karen’s house // 1829 Wrightsville Ave
The side door to Lucas’ room.
Haley James’ House // 1811 Chestnut Street
Peyton Sawyer’s House // 1901 Chestnut Street
Brooke Davis’ house // 2314 Tattersalls Drive
We had such a fun few days in Wilmington! I love that it’s far enough away that it actually feels like getting away, but still close enough that it’s an easy weekend escape. We did some new-to-us things on this trip as well as some past favorites and it left me wanting to go back again soon, especially to Wrightsville Beach– the sign of a perfect getaway!
Where’s your favorite weekend getaway?