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FRIDAY POSTCARDS FROM THE SUNRISE ON CAROLINA BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA
By Keryn Means Posted April 9, 2015 In USA 0 3
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Some days I feel like we lived on the west coast forever. I got so used to sunsets over the Pacific that I forgot all about the gorgeous sunrises over the Atlantic. Although I don’t normally make an effort to get up early enough to see the sunrise, part of being a mom is that you do work some odd hours.
My oldest son Dek was up just as the sun started to peek over the horizon at Carolina Beach, North Carolina a few weeks back. I really, really wanted to go back to bed. However, a little part of my brain wanted to grab my big camera and tripod. I compromised with popping out onto the balcony in the 40- degree morning air with my iPhone to capture the sunrise. I think it was worth it, don’t you?
Oh, and I promptly jumped back into bed under the warm covers and slept for another hour or two until my toddler woke me up. That’s the life of a mom traveling with her kids at the beach I guess.
Carolina-Beach-North-Carolina-Sunrise-001
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FRIDAY POSTCARDS
READ FIRST: Welcome to Friday Postcards, a place where I will share a small memory or “postcard” moment from our travels. I hope you will join me too. Link your favorite photo-driven post here if you have a blog so we can share the joys of traveling with each other. If you would like to spread the word, please link back to this post in your own post so others will know where to find a little travel inspiration to end their week. #fridaypostcards
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Guide to eating and drinking your way through Carolina Beach
Updated: Apr 3, 2015 - 12:54 PM
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Hitting the beach and enjoying the sun are obviously on the agenda while visiting Carolina Beach, but there’s so much more to do. Here’s our guide for where to grab a bite to eat and more.
Where to eat:
Visitors to family-friendly Carolina Beach can enjoy classic, Southern hospitality and regional cuisine at any one of the area's notable restaurants, but there are a few that deserve special recognition. If you’re in the mood for live music, dining at a beachfront patio, enjoying an island cocktail at a tiki bar or enjoying some of the freshest daily catches available, head to the Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar. It’s the perfect place to eat fresh-caught seafood for lunch or dinner overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Carolina Beach Boardwalk gets a facelift
Another standout restaurant is Surf House, which encapsulates a laid-back beachy atmosphere with gourmet coastal fare. Well known for its philosophy of serving seasonal sustainable food, the restaurant sources ingredients from farmers and fisherman that share the value of providing food that does the least amount of harm to the environment. In true farm-to-table fashion, they pride themselves on knowing exactly where each ingredient comes from for each meal, which is just one impressive reason why visitors should put this place on their must-eat list.
Looking for a great oyster bar? Look no further than Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar. Named one of the “Best Seafood Dives in America” by Coastal Living Magazine, Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar is a place where friends and family can enjoy a great meal of fresh seafood served in a casual atmosphere. Their menu offers everything a seafood lover can imagine – jut think delectable oysters, shrimp and crab legs.
Where to drink:
If you’re in the mood for a delicious selection of beers, head over to Carolina Beach’s Good Hops Brewery, which just opened last spring. Stop in for a free tour and tasting at the ale-focused brewery with more than two dozen varieties of beers being distributed to local bars, restaurants and hotels. Dips and spreads, as well as chips and salsa, guacamole, and crackers are available for snacking. Or pick up takeout from one of Carolina Beach’s many establishments and bring it with you for a two-in-one experience.
America's Most Romantic Towns
Need a pick me up? Stop by North Carolina's first and only small batch artisan coffee roastery, Island Roast Coffee, specializing in high quality Arabica coffee from around the world. Most of the coffees are either Fair Trade, Rain Forest Alliance, Certified Organic or have more than one of these certifications. If you want a truly great cup of coffee, give some of their freshly roasted coffee a try – you won’t be disappointed.
Last but not least, you can’t miss out on the extra delicious donuts, hot from the fryer at Britt's Donut Shop when visiting this side of the coast. The 70-year-old institution is located on the boardwalk and is a staple for locals and visitors alike. Handmade to perfection, there’s no need for any sprinkles or filling – they’re as good as it gets, hot and glazed. They open for the season each April, so stop by and remember to bring cash as they don’t accept plastic.
Whether your appetite leans toward fine dining or beach casual, Carolina Beach offers a variety of choices for every taste and budget. Visit today to experience the local cuisine first-hand – you’ll be tempted to keep coming back for more.
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Carolina (Beach) on My Mind
Coastal town mixes retro attractions with new development
by Paul Karns August 20, 2015 10:50 AM
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At four hours away from Richmond, Carolina Beach is just close enough for a quick weekend escape. Load up some tunes, and head down the highway. Just south of Wilmington, North Carolina, in the Cape Fear region, Carolina Beach is an odd blend of old school boardwalk and beach town, and halfway point to someplace else. Modern hotels contrast with 1950s-style motor inns, and central gathering spots like the park surrounding Carolina Beach Lake — where you’ll find vendors on Saturday mornings and free movies on Sunday nights — give it a community feel. There are ample restaurants and bars to satisfy all tastes, but that’s mostly an accent to the sprawling beaches and the rolling waves filled with boogie boarders and families.
Sugar, Sugar
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Fresh fried sweet treats at Britt's Donuts. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington and Beaches CVB)
Given Richmonders’ affinity for doughnuts, you should start your visit at Britt’s Donuts (11 Carolina Beach Ave. North, [910] 707-0755), just off the boardwalk. In operation since 1939, Britt’s is a cash-only, one-style operation. The doughnuts come hot out of the fryer and are drenched in a sweet glaze. A true seasonal operation, Britt’s opens on Memorial Day and closes “sometime in September.” Their doughnuts may not change a Mrs. Yoder’s Kitchen devotee’s mind, but it’s certainly worth a visit.
No Particular Place to Go
While you’re still on your sugar rush from Britt’s, head two blocks east to the boardwalk that lines downtown. From there, the beach stretches as far as the eye can see in either direction. It is broken to the south only by a tiki bar that occupies a pier at the Golden Sands Hotel. We recommend heading south to avoid some of the more crowded sections near the boardwalk. Settle in, and prepare to while away the day.
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Golden Sands Hotel’s tiki bar. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington and Beaches CVB)
Please Please Me
When it’s time to satisfy lunch cravings, you can hit one of the many restaurants that dot the downtown near the beach, or head to The Veggie Wagon (608-B S. Lake Park Blvd., theveggiewagon.com). Carolina Beach’s equivalent of Union Market in Church Hill, The Veggie Wagon is the go-to place for everything from gelato to growlers, house-made pickles to imported Parmigiano-Reggiano, sundries to sandwiches — you can satisfy breakfast and lunch needs, and stir up the ingredients for a great dinner, as well. If you’re there on a weekend, be sure to pick up their freshly made mozzarella.
Here comes the night
After you’ve spent a few more hours on the beach becoming sun-baked and happily exhausted, grab dinner at any number of the town’s restaurants before hitting the after-dark carnival rides near the boardwalk. In addition to many other options, your dining choices include upscale fare from Ocean Grill (oceangrilltiki.com) at the Golden Sands, surprisingly good sushi at Nikki’s Gourmet and Sushi Bar (nikkissushibar.com), or very solid Mexican at El Cazador (elcazadormex.com). After dinner, follow the lights to the rides — or hang with the big kids at The Fat Pelican (thefatpelican.com). Nearly every surface inside and in the beer garden is covered with visitors’ signatures and carved notes, and you’ll find nearly 300 beers to choose from in a refrigerated walk-in. Rated as one of the best dive bars in the state and even the country, the Pelican deserves its own feature.
Wake Up Boo!
The next morning, before you decide to hit the beach once again, be sure to grab brunch at The Surf House (surfhousenc.com). Widely loved by the locals, Surf House sources nearly all its ingredients locally. The staff is attentive and knowledgeable, and the food is excellent —
buttermilk waffles with fruit, a catfish bánh mì and the “Good Ol’ Boy” with eggs, bacon, sausage, grits and toast are among the highlights. You can even rent a stand-up paddleboard in the side room. (Note: If you’re going there for brunch, you won’t be able buy alcohol until after noon.) Don’t ask, just go. In general, that’s kind of the mantra about Carolina Beach. Don’t ask, just go.
doughnuts Carolina Beach Mexican food Carolina Beach Lake travel The Surf House The Fat Pelican Wilmington, N.C. excursions beer The Veggie Wagon Ocean Grill North Carolina El Cazador gelato Nikki’s Gourmet and Sushi Bar Food & Drink bánh mì Britt's Donuts
by Paul Karns August 20, 2015 10:50 AM

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Carolina Beach Day Trip Guide
The ocean isn’t the only draw at Carolina Beach, where the boardwalk will remind you of simpler times and childhood summers. Revisit your youth with our fun-filled guide.
written by OUR STATE STAFF
carolina beach day trip
1. Start your morning off right with Britt’s Donuts. Britt’s serves donuts so legendary that there can be lines out its doors day and night, but trust us – they’re worth the wait.
2. If beach bumming isn’t for you, Carolina Beach still has a lot to offer. Brush up on your N.C. history at Fort Fisher, and then come face to face with sea creatures at the North Carolina Acquarium at Fort Fisher.
3. When that sweet tooth starts calling again, head over to The Fudgeboat. Inside this landlocked, restored boat you’ll find over 100 kinds of fudge.
4. Next, take an afternoon stroll over to the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. Make sure you bring a couple bucks so you can take in a coastal view atop the ferris wheel.
5. Finish up your day with a fantastic sunset and cocktail. Come for dinner and drinks and stay for the music and the view at the Tiki Pier at Carolina Beach.
See more of our day trip recommendations for other NC towns.
This story was published on September 2, 2015
Our State Staff
Since 1933, Our State has shared stories about North Carolina with readers both in state and around the world. We celebrate the people and places that make this state great. From the mountains to the coast, we feature North Carolina travel, history, food, and beautiful scenic photography.
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Carolina Beach — It’s official: Port City RibFest is moving to Carolina Beach. Today the festival officially announced it has a new location and a new attitude. (Same name though.)
After Port City RibFest producer Allen McDavid was unable to arrange to hold this year’s event in downtown Wilmington, he approached Carolina Beach’s Town Council. After some debate, the town agreed to host the event in November; the 2017 Port City RibFest will be held near the town’s boardwalk, in the area occupied by the carnival and amusement rides over the summer.
According to McDavid, this year’s festivities will have a simplified philosophy to go along with its new location.
“In past RibFests, we offered some really alternative entertainment, like side shows and Lucha Libre wrestling,” McDavid said. “(This year) we’re going back to a simple mix, hot BBQ, cool music and cold Beer.”
McDavid said this year’s event will also feature more local barbecue teams in the competition, at the request of Carolina Beach mayor Dan Wilcox. One local team has already signed up, Poor Piggy’s BBQ. Several national BBQ teams have also committed, Johnson’s BBQ of Portsmouth, Virginia, and Off the Bone BBQ from Columbus, Ohio.
Musical acts will include The Phantom Playboys, The Unity Band and David Russell & the Port City Blues, as well as several traveling bands.
Port City Ribfest’s inaugural Carolina Beach event will run three days:
Friday, November 10, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Saturday, November 11, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Sunday, November 12, noon – 6 p.m.
Admission for adults is $8, children 12 and under are free. Seniors and active military get in for $6. Anyone who shows up before 5 PM on Friday get in free. Attendees bringing a can of food for the Food Bank of Eastern NC will receive a $2 discount.
Port City RibFest will donate $1 from each adult admission charge to the Federal Point Help Center.
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5 Farm-to-Table Restaurants to Visit This Fall
Autumn’s harvest brings with it flavorful, fresh offerings at farm-to-table restaurants across the state. Here are our five recommendations for the season, and make sure to check out our past recommendations for summer, spring, and winter.
written by KATIE QUINE
stanbury
On The Square
After honing their world-class culinary talents in New York City, Stephen and Inez Ribustello brought them to eastern North Carolina, where Inez’s family has lived for generations. In 2002, Inez’s father surprised the couple with the opportunity run a restaurant that had recently gone up for sale in downtown Tarboro. “We went ahead and gave it a whirl,” Stephen says. They weren’t sure how’d long they’d make it. “Now we’re here 13 years later,” he says. It’s a testament to the restaurant’s loyal fan base. The dinner menu changes each week, so don’t let fall pass you by without first trying On the Square’s orecchiette pasta dish, complete with tender squash, smoky sausage, and aromatic sage.
115 East Saint James Street, Tarboro • (252) 823-8268 • onthesquarenc.com
Vidalia Restaurant & Wine Bar
Sam and Alyce Ratchford love to show off the town they love through the food they prepare at Vidalia. Sam, who serves as the restaurant’s chef, grew up in the area. While the dishes he creates are gourmet, they’re intrinsically comforting and very much Southern. Not only does the community inspire the food, but the food also inspires the community. It’s what keeps people coming back time after time. “We have one couple that we’ve seen every Friday evening for the last eight years,” says Alyce, who is the general manager. “It’s very flattering.” Vidalia’s menu changes seasonally, so expect to see ingredients like chestnuts, okra, and pumpkin on the menu this fall.
831 West King Street, Boone • (828) 263-9176 • vidaliaofboonenc.com
Fork!
When you drive down Main Street in Cornelius, you’ll see a bungalow-style house with distinctive plum-colored decorative shingles. Stop. Step onto its wraparound porch. Now, stay awhile. Even before the food arrives at your table, there’s something inherently alluring about Fork!, and chef and owner Tim Groody says there’s a reason for that. “We want people to feel like they’re friends at home,” he says. The simple concept of sharing is the ethos that drives this surprising culinary find. Those who dine here pay no mind when friends pick off of their tapas-style small plates because, hey, we can always order more. Start off with the smoked pork dumplings and save room for the roasted sweet potato fingerlings, which are simply prepared and drizzled with molasses.
20517 North Main Street, Cornelius • (704) 655-7465 • forkdining.com
Stanbury
The name for Stanbury came from the most unlikely of places: a scrap yard. Joseph Jeffers was digging around when he found an old street sign for a Stanbury Road. Despite its name’s origins, the restaurant is everything a scrap yard isn’t. Jeffers owns the restaurant with brother Will, chef Drew Maykuth, and Andrew Shepherd. He views Stanbury as “a balance between comfortable and refined.” Modern light fixtures envelop the room with soft, warm light, and the eclectic décor hanging from the walls makes the place reminiscent of a speakeasy. The majority of the food is grown and raised in North Carolina. In fact, the restaurant even sources much of its produce from Old Milburnie Farm, which is run by an old buddy from Warren Wilson College. Though the menu since it changes daily, Jeffers promises that “fall is our chef’s favorite season.”
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938 North Blount Street, Raleigh • (919) 977-4321 • stanburyraleigh.com
Surf House
You might think that a restaurant’s proximity to the ocean means the fish you’re eating is — by default — locally sourced, but that isn’t always the case. At many seafood joints, the gap between our waters and our plates has widened recently due to issues of affordability and availability. But as owner and chef of Surf House, a farm-to-table restaurant in Carolina Beach, Craig Love is offering a change by vowing to support local fisheries and fishermen. He’s doing so by serving sustainable, lesser-known-but-equally-flavorful alternatives to the fish you’re typically used to seeing on a menu. Instead of mahi-mahi, try the amberjack. Instead of sardines, there are mullets. “We really wanted to put a flag in the ground to highlight what we think is great about the Southeast’s waters,” he says. Fall means oyster season, so don’t miss the mollusks at Surf House, where they’re showcased several different ways.
604 North Lake Park Boulevard, Carolina Beach • (910) 707-0422 • surfhousenc.com
This story was published on October 2, 2015
Katie Quine
Quine is a digital marketing coordinator for the Grand Ole Opry and the former digital editor of Our State. She freelances from Nashville, Tennessee.
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Time Travel: The Carolina Coast Then and Now
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Away for the Weekend: Brazilian Court Hotel Travel: Cocktails + Canvases Is Food and Art Heaven TRAVEL: Your Guide to Seeing Peru Where to Eat, Stay & Play : Tallahassee, FL
UNCATEGORIZED Time Travel: The Carolina Coast Then and Now
ByCarolinaSTYLEPublished on October 6, 2015 SHARE TWEET
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From the Carolina Beach Boardwalk to Fort Fisher State Historic Site, several present-day attractions offer visitors a nod to the past. These coastal communities are ideal for groups like multi-generational travelers – meaning you, the kids, your parents and your beloved grandparents – there’s plenty to please everyone.
Carolina Beach Boardwalk
Then: Captain John Harper built the first boardwalk in 1887 as a walkway on the sand made from boards so visitors could stroll the beach without sinking into the sand. Over the years, the boardwalk was rebuilt and restored numerous times as a result of natural wear and tear.
Carolina Beach Boardwalk
Now: The vintage icon has since made Budget Travel’s list of America’s Most Awesome Boardwalks and has been featured by CNN, FOX News and USA TODAY. The Carolina Beach Boardwalk was recently renovated to greatly enhance beach access, special needs accommodations and enjoyment of the dune ecosystem. Phase two of the facelift will include the addition of even more amenities for visitors to enjoy, including an arcade, swings, gazebos, cool-off stations, landscaped coves, public art, historical and environmental educational kiosks, picnic facilities and open space for music, art and events.
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CarolinaSTYLECarolina STYLE Magazine is a fashion – based lifestyle publication highlighting the essence of fashion & style in North and South Carolina. Designed to enrich the lives of our readers through fashion-based lifestyle editorial, it is our mission to inspire our readers to look, feel and live their best.
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History of Wilmington Beer- Good Hops Brewery
by Jason Frizelle | Nov 19, 2015 | Blog | 0 comments
This entry is part of a periodic series about the growing craft beer industry in Wilmington, N.C. The series is shared with our friends at the Port City Brew Bus. Check our blogs to stay updated on the series. We’ll profile a different brewery in each addition. We begin by looking at the history of Wilmington’s craft beer industry.
Timeline-2

In 2012 Rich and Patricia Jones helped their son John Garcia, open Black Mountain’s Lookout Brewing. In 2013 they returned to their retirement home of Carolina Beach and spent the next six months opening Good Hops Brewing. With a craft beer boom in full swing the Jones’ felt the focus was on the I.P.A. style. So they decided to focus on less hoppy styles like their flagship brew Donna Golden Ale.
IMG_1584“We Love the Beach,” Jones said of the couple’s decision to open in Carolina Beach instead of Wilmington. After opening the doors in June of 2014 the brewery quickly became a community institution. Realtors are regular supporters says Jones, “they either bring clients by or pick up beer to have available.”
The brewery includes a family-friendly taproom and outdoor seating area, free of televisions, “I love the fact we don’t have T.V.s, it makes people entertain each other,” says Jones. The taproom’s intimate, community feel allows for conversations, often about the beer. Their reputation for helping local charities in the community has spread; in the first six months alone they donated 38 kegs for events and benefits.
Maintaining a strong relationship with Asheville breweries, specifically their son John at Lookout has helped the Wilmington scene grow in Patricia’s opinion, “we talk everyday with our son,” she says. Almost 70% of their clientele are new customers through word of mouth, often from other breweries. “We get customers that come in and say I just came from your son’s brewery or I just came from Wicked Weed,” says Patricia.
Distribution remains a priority with taproom sales a close second. Rich and Patricia believe quality is most important and have decided not to bottle or can for now. They don’t want the pressure of “filling shelves” to affect the quality, “It’s important that Wilmington continues to put out top quality beer.” When people ask why a style isn’t on tap Rich will often reply, “we’re waiting on the beer.”
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Veggie Wagon takes its hot cocoa bar ‘seriously’
By Hannah Leyva - November 13, 2015
‘Tis the season for cozying up with some hot cocoa in Carolina Beach.
The Veggie Wagon, known for its array of local and homemade goods, opened a hot chocolate bar for the second year in a row at its location on Lake Park Boulevard on Thursday.
One of The Veggie Wagon's hot chocolate drinks, topped with a homemade local honey marshmallow. Photo courtesy of Max Sussman.
One of The Veggie Wagon’s hot chocolate drinks, topped with a homemade local honey marshmallow. Photo courtesy of Max Sussman.
“We take our hot chocolate pretty seriously,” said Max Sussman, who owns the business with his wife, April.
Sussman said the idea for the bar came from a partnership with Island Roast Coffee (The Veggie Wagon’s coffee bar features the local company’s roasts) and a lack of quality cocoa mixes in the market. He said they decided to make use of the espresso machine and frother and offer something different, as “just pouring milk out of carafes wasn’t our style.”
Neither is using pre-packaged mixes. Sussman, who prides himself on creating as much as he can from scratch, made all the powder mixes and syrups that go into the eight different flavors the bar is offering this year.
“We found that all the pre-done hot chocolate mixes have marginal ingredients. There was nothing great out there that we really enjoyed,” said Sussman. “We have an addiction to doing all our stuff ourselves. Sometimes it kills us, but the end result is worth it.”
Sussman tries to incorporate regional ingredients as much as possible. This year, local honey is a major feature in the store’s homemade marshmallow topper as well as in one of the bar’s two new flavors: matcha local honey white chocolate.
“We’re making sure that we’re using local farm products that benefit the local farms and local community as much as possible,” said Sussman.
In addition to the anti-oxidant matcha drink, The Veggie Wagon’s other new offering this year is a white chocolate Irish cream featuring a homemade Irish cream syrup. That brings the bar’s total to three white chocolate drinks and five regular cacao ones.
“There’s not a lot of white chocolate choices other than peppermint, which we also have,” said Sussman. “It was really fun to not just do your traditional hot chocolate flavors but to think outside the box.”
The switch from a slushie bar (the store’s summer offering) is not the only thing happening at The Veggie Wagon this month. Sussman said that along with new seasonal food offerings, the store’s gift baskets are now available for shipment worldwide, just in time for the holiday season.
“It’s really nice because we’re finally getting into a position where we know what works and can rotate seasonally,” Sussman said, noting that the business just finished its fourth summer season. “This is the first year we’ve been able to transition smoothly.”
The hot chocolate bar will be open until March when the warmer tourist season starts up again and the store will switch back to selling slushies. Until then, Sussman hopes that their unique offerings, along with the store’s customer appreciation day on Nov. 21, will keep patrons coming during the off-season.
“It’s a way to make it a little more season-appropriate,” Sussman said. “It’s something fun to do and everyone really seems to enjoy it.”
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