Captivated by Charleston’s Charm Again

It is hard to resist Charleston’s charm, so we didn’t even try.  Be warned – This is a long blog post. I don’t want to forget any of this visit to one of my favorite cities of all time.

In 2013 we stayed at the Charleston City Dock on the Ashley River, known as the “mega dock” for 2 nights – very expensive! (Our 2013 visit –  Charleston Charm) This time we tried the other side of the peninsula at the less expensive Charleston Maritime Center in the Cooper River. The current is always an issue when docking here in Charleston, so we waited in the anchorage for slack tide, around 10:15 am.

Charleston is a busy harbor, with cruise ships, tankers, barges, fishing boats, tour boats, and pleasure crafts of all kinds. The Maritime Center is close to the cruise ship docks and the Port Authority.

A study in contrasts - tanker and a an old schooner.

A study in contrasts – tanker and a an old schooner.

Magnolia passing by the cruise ship. We all agree that we would rather cruise on our little ships than travel on one of these big boats!

Our friends on Magnolia passing by the cruise ship. We all agree that we would rather cruise on our little ships than travel on one of these big boats!

Across formt eh Maritme Center is a large old battleship. We assume it is not in use any ore because so many boats anchor near it or dial around it. The top photo is our Kindred Spirit - looks so tiny next to a battleship. Thanks Magnolia for the pic!

Across from the Maritme Center is the aircraft carrier, USS Yorktown (Thank you, Sam, for the identification!) on site at the marine museum. The top photo is our Kindred Spirit – looks so tiny next to a battleship. Thanks to Magnolia for the pic!

The Maritime Center is a good choice for staying in Charleston, primarily because of its price (especially when compared to the “mega dock”), its location (most of Charleston is within walking distance), its friendly staff, and the free laundry (that’s important to cruisers.) But, you have to put up with huge wakes from the river that will rock and roll your boat even while at the dock, and the busy sounds and sights of the Port Authority and the tour boats.

Approaching the Charleston Maritime Center

Approaching the Charleston Maritime Center

Kindred Spirit is settled into our corner of the dock.

Kindred Spirit is settled into our corner of the dock.

Carolina Belle, a tour boat, was right there across from us when at the dock. The dock above and in front of our bow (lower photo) is the same dock that Carolina Belle is on. At least the music they played was enjoyable and the people waiting in line were fun. A few came down the ramp on our side to talk with us.

Carolina Belle, a tour boat, was right there across from us when at the dock. The dock above and in front of our bow (lower photo) is the same dock that Carolina Belle is on. At least the music they played was enjoyable and the people waiting in line were fun. A few came down the ramp on our side to talk with us.

At the end of our long dock, which held three boats, was a wide catamaran, named Impossible Dream – look at the name and see what they did with it. I thought this was an awesome name, especially when we learned that this boat take handicapped veterans out for rides.

At the end of our long dock, which held three boats, was a wide catamaran, named Impossible Dream – look at the name and see what they did with it. I thought this was an awesome name, especially when we learned that this boat takes handicapped veterans out for water rides.

On land, across from the Maritime Center was a terrific city park with soccer fields, swinging benches under pergolas, and very cool playground equipment in the shape of boats.

We passed a strange old partial structure every time we took the back streets to the market or into the downtown region. It sits there in the middle of the Port Authority region. It bothered me that I did not know what it was, just sitting there surrounded by an industrial site. Google is so useful, isn’t it?? 😉

It is the Bennett Rice Mill façade standing at the center of the South Carolina State Ports Authority's Union Pier Terminal in downtown Charleston. The mill, opened in 1845, is considered one of the finest examples of 19th century American industrial architecture. In 1960, Hurricane Donna almost demolished the mill so the Port Authority built a steel frame to support what was left. 90% of the braced façade survived 1989’s Hurricane Hugo. In the 1990s, a series of restoration projects teamed local master masons with high school students to repoint the façade and repair the cracked brick arch. Considered to be one of Charleston 's architectural gems, the mill is continually maintained and monitored. My curiosity was satisfied.

It is the Bennett Rice Mill façade standing at the center of the South Carolina State Ports Authority’s Union Pier Terminal in downtown Charleston. The mill, opened in 1845, is considered one of the finest examples of 19th century American industrial architecture. In 1960, Hurricane Donna almost demolished the mill so the Port Authority built a steel frame to support what was left. 90% of the braced façade survived 1989’s Hurricane Hugo. In the 1990s, a series of restoration projects teamed local master masons with high school students to repoint the façade and repair the cracked brick arch. Considered to be one of Charleston ‘s architectural gems, the mill is continually maintained and monitored. My curiosity was satisfied.

Our first walk was to the City Market. Established in the 1790s, the market stretches for four city blocks. The entire market is a series of sheds with breaks at intersections and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the 1800s, the market provided a convenient place for farms and plantations to sell their products and as a place for locals to gather and socialize. Today the City Market’s vendors sell souvenirs and other items ranging from jewelry, spices and southern treats, clothing to Gullah sweetgrass baskets.

The “sheds” and structures vary in size and style, from fancier to utilitarian. Insides are the same. This photo shows one of the “fancier” sections. It’s a great place to wonder around for the afternoon – a “must do” in Charleston.

The “sheds” and structures vary in size and style, from fancier to utilitarian. Insides are the same. This photo shows one of the “fancier” sections. It’s a great place to wonder around for the afternoon – a “must do” in Charleston.

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Danetta gave me the green grass roses to go with it.

 

I had to buy another sweetgrass basket, or “low country coil basket.” I have a small one from the last trip and thought a slightly larger one would be nice for fruit or bread. They are pricey, but it is a souvenier that has culture and history behind it. Supposedly, the value of these baskets increases with age and they will last forever. I don’t really care about that, if it is even true. The most important thing to me is that it will remind me of our visit to Charleston and South Carolina.

 

On one of our walks, we passed a lovely white church, and then recognized it as the Charleston church where 9 people were killed in June during a mid-week prayer meeting. The oldest African Methodist Episcopal Church in the south, the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church has always stood for freedom and civil rights. Founded in 1816 by blacks fleeing racism, it’s services were conducted in secret for many years. and was a part of the Underground Railroad. The congregation played a major role in anti-slavery movement, the Underground Railroad, and was burned down after a thwarted slave rebellion in 1822. Destroyed again by an earthquake in 1887 and rebuilt on its current site, the church has continued to be a focal point for the civil rights movement.

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Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church – It’s beauty, inside and outside, has survived years of turmoil and stands for freedom.

I signed us up for a culinary tour because Charleston is known for its food. My original plan was to do the “Downtown Tour” in the historic district, but that one wasn’t available, so I chose the Upper King Street tour. In the final analysis, this might have been good because we experienced a different Charleston than on our last visit. This “midtown” area had fallen on hard times by the 1970s. Few people would venture there after dark, Charleston natives and tourists. Over the past 15 years the neighborhood has been revitalized with galleries, boutiques, bustling restaurants and nightlife options. The renovations integrate new and old by utilizing reclaimed materials and architectural details with the new construction.

The Upper King Street Culinary Tour took us around the Cannonborough-Elliotborough neighborhood (King/Cannon/Rutledge Streets), a region that has emerged as an area showcasing culinary innovation, and numerous James Beard award winners and has been named one of the top 10 food neighborhoods in America.

Our tour guide, Guilds Hollowell, is a native son of South Carolina, fourth-generation. He certainly knew the history, the culture, the restaurants, and the secrets of Charleston. Here is a quick recap, in picture form, of our 2 ½ tour food and history tour —

HoM (pronounced “home”) - burger boutique and ping-pong lounge. We had a turkey burger, calamari, and a delicious flatbread.

HoM (pronounced “home”) – burger boutique and ping-pong lounge.
We had a turkey burger, calamari, and a delicious flatbread.

Cannon Green – doesn’t open until 5:30 pm but we got to walk through it. Exquisite décor with an outside courtyard and an interior that incorporated part of an older structure within the dining room.

Cannon Green – doesn’t open until 5:30 pm but we got to walk through it. Exquisite décor with an outside courtyard and an interior that incorporated part of an older structure within the dining room.

At Lana's, we had a tomato based fish soup and rutabaga pom frites. Thats' our guide, Guilds, chatting with us.

At Lana’s, we had a tomato based fish soup and rutabaga pom frites. Thats’ our guide, Guilds, chatting with us.

R Kitchen, on Rutledge Street, was opened by Ross Webb (my question – is it named R for Ross or Rutledge??), to be a “culinary collective” where 5-course dinners are served for $30. We heard that guest chefs stop by and cook and that reservations need to be made 3 weeks in advance. The building is so nondescript (and that’s an understatement) that you would never even know it was a restaurant. We sat at rustic dining tables out back on a porch.

R Kitchen, on Rutledge Street, was opened by Ross Webb (my question – is it named R for Ross or Rutledge??), to be a “culinary collective” where 5-course dinners are served for $30. We heard that guest chefs stop by and cook and that reservations need to be made 3 weeks in advance. The building is so nondescript (and that’s an understatement) that you would never even know it was a restaurant. We sat at rustic dining tables out back on a porch while the chef and Guilds served us and described the food – fish, chili and filet.

Sugar Bakeshop - former NYC architects turned bakers in the fall of 2007, Sugar Bakeshop has been committed to using fresh, local ingredients including farm fresh eggs, herbs from the borough's garden plot, and seasonal fruits.

Sugar Bakeshop – Owned and operated by former NYC architects turned bakers in the fall of 2007, Sugar Bakeshop has been committed to using fresh, local ingredients including farm fresh eggs, herbs from the borough’s garden plot, and seasonal fruits. The cupcakes were really delicious!

You would think we would be stuffed form all that food (and we were) but we couldn't pass by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. No synthetic flavorings, dyes, or off-the-shelf mixes, just fresh stuff with a very unusual twist on flavor combinations. Al had the "darkest chocolate & double toasted coconut."

You would think we would be stuffed from all that food (and we were) but we couldn’t pass by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. “No synthetic flavorings, dyes, or off-the-shelf mixes, just fresh stuff with a very unusual twist on flavor combinations.” Al had the “darkest chocolate & double toasted coconut.”

As we walked through the neighborhood on our culinary tour, this blue building was pointed out to us by Guilds. The family-owned men’s store, Bluestein's, was founded in the mid-1880s and later moved into their signature blue brick building in 1907. It survived a fire in 1987 and was rebuilt including the blue bricks ($45 each).

As we walked through the neighborhood on our culinary tour, this blue building was pointed out to us by Guilds. The family-owned men’s store, Bluestein’s, was founded in the mid-1880s and later moved into their signature blue brick building in 1907. It survived a fire in 1987 and was rebuilt including the blue bricks ($45 each).

Saturday mornings are Farmers Market day in Marion Square. Annette and I spent the morning there while Al puttered in his engine room. I definitively had the better day! This was one of the best Farmers Markets I have ever seen – variety of local produce, plants, herbs and cut flowers, breakfast and lunch vendors, live entertainment and an assortment of juried arts and crafts from local artisans.

A Farmers Market is the perfect way to spend a sunny Saturday morning. If I lived in Charleston, I would be here every Saturday.

A Farmers Market is the perfect way to spend a sunny Saturday morning. If I lived in Charleston, I would be here every Saturday.

Annette and I had a breakfast crepe to start our morning. Yum!

Annette and I had a breakfast crepe to start our morning. Yum!

For our last day in Charleston, I could not resist the urge to revisit the historical downtown streets, so we took a walk which turned out to be a long walk, especially for me and my leg. But it was worth it!

I have always enjoyed looking at a region’s unique architecture, and Charleston is a feast for the eyes. There are architectural features in Charleston that are worth repeating and photographing again (to me, anyway.)

A strong earthquake hit Charleston in 1886, estimated to be 7.3 on today’s Richter scale and the most significant earthquake have occur in the southeastern U.S. Many of the city’s buildings were left in ruins or severely damaged. Without enough funds to rebuild everything, buildings were stabilized by running iron bars from one end of the structure to the other, with iron bolts fixing them in place on the face of the structure.

Just two examples of buildings with earthquake bolts.

Just two examples of buildings with earthquake bolts. Although the bolts have a purpose they are decorative, too.

A closer look at the bolts show that some are made more distinctive than others.

A closer look at the bolts show that there is some variety.

Throughout the city, you can see what is known as the “Charleston single-house” architectural style. Wide piazzas (Charlestonese for porch) are built on the side of the house facing the prevailing winds. The houses are only one room wide, but that could be a 10 ft – 25 ft wide room, so that all rooms in the house have the advantage of the sea breeze. The home could be many rooms long and many stories high. The narrowest side of the house faced the street. This style was built throughout the 1700s and 1800s. Supposedly, at its peak, there were 4,000 Charleston single houses in existence. Today there are estimated to be around 2,700.

My favorite story about the Charleston Single house is the front door to the piazza/porch on the side. Known as hospitality doors, these portals were a way of communicating with friends and neighbors. Leaving the door open meant you were home and ready to receive guests – good old southern hospitality!

"Charleston Single Houses", a distinctive style

The “Charleston Single House”, a distinctive style.

Charleston’s ironwork is another architectural treasure. I found a nice description of the ironwork’s history on a blog called, Charleston Past.    “….Charleston’s love affair with the beauty of finely crafted wrought iron is evident. Charleston’s affinity for decorative wrought iron came about early in the history of the city. In 1772, a wrought iron communion rail was imported from England and installed in St. Michael’s Episcopal Church. Blacksmiths, who had made a career of providing nails, horseshoes, and wagon wheels to the growing city, now began to expand their craft to include patterns and scrollwork. The earliest designs were taken from British pattern books, but it didn’t take long for the ironwork of Charleston to develop its own style. Unfortunately, much of the earliest ironwork did not survive the multitude of fires and natural disasters that plagued those early inhabitants.”

From gates to rail to balconies to windows, and fences —

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Many of the homes have private courtyards with gardens that are just lovely. Like a secret garden, except that people can peak through the ironwork gate and catch a glimpse. We did.

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Many of the homes have private courtyards with gardens that are just lovely. Like a secret garden, except that people can peak through the ironwork gate and catch a glimpse. We did.

At the intersection of Meeting and Broad Streets, stands the “Four Corners of Law”, named such because the four buildings represent federal, state, municipal and canon law.

Southwest corner - United States Post Office and Federal Courthouse, built in 1896. Southeast corner - St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, constructed between 1752 and 1761 Northeast corner - Charleston City Hall, constructed between 1800 and 1804. Northwest corner - Charleston County Courthouse, originally constructed in 1753, rebuilt in 1792 for use as a courthouse.

Southwest corner – United States Post Office and Federal Courthouse, built in 1896.
Southeast corner – St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, constructed between 1752 and 1761
Northeast corner – Charleston City Hall, constructed between 1800 and 1804.
Northwest corner – Charleston County Courthouse, originally constructed in 1753, rebuilt in 1792 for use as a courthouse.

It was a long walk down to the Battery, the fortified seawall at the very tip of the Charleston Peninsula, originally used to help defend the city from Union attack during the Civil War. It is now a public promenade with a great view out over the water. We enjoyed the view and rested for a while in White Point Gardens.

White Point Gardens, a nicely shaded park for a walk.

White Point Gardens, a nicely shaded park for a walk.

Cannons line the Battery as a reminder of its original purpose.

Cannons line the Battery as a reminder of its original purpose.

Walking north from the Battery are the beautiful historic antebellum homes on East Bay Street. Although these are also in the Charleston Single House style, they don’t seem to make use of the open/closed door to the piazza to invite folks inside. Although the basic concept of the Charleston Single House style is seen all over the city, I could see the differences in neighborhoods and “status.”

The mansions along the Battery on East Bay Street as seen from Kindred Spirit on the water.

The mansions along the Battery on East Bay Street as seen from Kindred Spirit on the water.

And the view on foot as we walked by some of these gorgeous mansions.

And the view on foot as we walked by some of these gorgeous mansions.

We continued our walk northward, passing “Rainbow Row.” This section on East Bay Street, built between the 1720’s-1790’s, was considered the ‘slum’ area of Charleston after the Civil War. It was renovated in the early 1900’s and given the Caribbean colors that are still seen today.

"Rainbow Row", a touch of the Carribean influence.

“Rainbow Row”, a touch of the Caribbean influence.

We sure needed sustenance after all that walking! I had been asking everyone I met, cruisers and Charlestonians, where I could find the best shrimp and grits. I really wanted to try it again, give it a second chance. The first time I tried shrimp and grits was less than outstanding. The name, “S.N.O.B. was mentioned over and over – “Slightly North of Broad.” The bartender assured me that their shrimp and grits was simply the best.

S.N.O.B. = Slightly North of Broad

S.N.O.B. = Slightly North of Broad

Al ate Geechie grits with fried chicken and green beans - delicious, he said. My shrimp an grits were amazing!

Al ate Geechie grits with fried chicken and green beans – delicious, he said. My shrimp and grits were amazing!

It might seem as though we ate our way through Charleston, but the walking makes that ok. What could be better? The food and streets of a beautiful city. Charleston can really capture your heart with its charm.

With full bellies and wonderful memories, we said our good-byes to Charleston. Thank you for another great visit.

With full bellies and wonderful memories, we said our good-byes to Charleston. Thank you for another great visit.

Through the Waccamaw River

We made the next two days another new experience for this voyage by traveling in the ICW instead of going outside to the ocean. We heard the Waccamaw River is beautiful so off we went. In the cold! For three days (and nights) the weather was very chilly for these southern states. High 40s at night and only low 60s in the day. Our cabin went down to 50 degrees on two of the nights! I wished I had packed that extra comforter………….

Wearing 4 layers and my gloves! Thank goodness the sun is shining. Makes all the difference.

Wearing 4 layers, a scarf, and my gloves! Thank goodness the sun is shining. Makes all the difference.

We had to pass through Myrtle Beach before reaching the Waccamaw.

A very pink house and matching dock. Nothing much to say except, wow, that catches the eye.

A very pink house and matching dock. Nothing much to say except, wow, that catches the eye.

The 28-mile Pine Island Cut (ICW Mile 346.8-374.8) was the last section of the ICW to be completed, finished in 1936. The infamous “Rock Pile” (ICW Mile 350-352) in the Pine Island Cut, is a 2-mile stretch made of fossiliferous limestone. The danger sign is to warn you that it would not be kind to your hull if you ventured too close to these rocks. The Army Corps of engineers discovered it in the 1930s when they were working on this cut. The rock slowed their progress, required dynamite, and forced them to progressively narrow the channel. The cretaceous limestone at the lowest point is 65 to 144 million years old (end of the dinosaur age) and is loaded with fossils.

Danger - Warning! But we really didn't see any of these "rock piles", only a hint of rocks once in awhile. Perhaps because the stare level has been so high due to the recent flooding.

Danger – Warning! But we really didn’t see any of these “rock piles”, only a hint of rocks,  once in awhile. Perhaps this was because the water level has been so high due to the recent flooding.

 This stretch has a few bridges, high and low. There were seven 65-foot bridges.

An attractive 65 foot bridge. No I really don't remember which one it was!

An attractive 65 foot bridge. No, I really don’t remember which one it was!

Speaking of bridges, high and low, we were approaching one of the 65 foot fixed bridges width a narrow passage opening. We could see this tug ahead and radioed to him so that we could discuss our passage through. No answer. Twice – no answer. Another boater chimed in and said “he wouldn’t answer our call either.” So we went on ahead and made it through, but it was close.

Facing with an uncommunicative tug approaching us. Just don't understand why he wouldn't answer his VHF when we inquired!

Facing off with an uncommunicative tug approaching us. Just don’t understand why he wouldn’t answer his VHF when we inquired!

Swing bridges were the style for the opening bridges. There were four today, two of which required that we request an opening.

Little River Swing Bridge

Little River Swing Bridge

Barefoot Landing Bridge with a 31 foot clearance that was only 29 feet today. Either way, we can go under without requesting an opening.

Barefoot Landing Bridge with a 31 foot clearance that was only 29 feet today. Either way, we can go under without requesting an opening.

Socastee Swing Bridge opens with a line of trawlers coming through towards us.

Socastee Swing Bridge opens with a line of trawlers coming through towards us.

Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center floating swing bridge. AL thought floating was a great idea for a swing bridge.

Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center floating swing bridge. Al thought floating was a great idea for a swing bridge.

What is this?? We have no idea what this structure might be, but it sure caught our eye. Anyone know??

What is this?? We have no idea what this structure might be, but it sure caught our eye. Anyone know?? UPDATE: It is a VORTAC used by aircraft pilots for navigation. Thank you, Brian McCarthy! I love it when people answer my questions.)

Myrtle Beach is a golfing haven. There are over 80 golf courses in Myrtle Beach and some of the courses line the banks of the ICW. I am not a golfing fan, at all, but I can imagine this must be paradise if you are.

We could catch a glimpse of some of the golf courses because we were riding up on the flybridge.

We could catch a glimpse of some of the golf courses because we were riding up on the flybridge.

But this really was curious - Gondolas, overhead cable cars, at Mile 356.3 ferries golfers from the parking lot to the pro shop of Waterway Hills Golf Club. Like a ski resort!

But this really was curious – Gondolas, overhead cable cars, at Mile 356.3 ferry golfers from the parking lot to the pro shop of Waterway Hills Golf Club. Like a ski resort!

At times, there isn’t much new to see as you slowly travel along, but then, at other times, you just see interesting and curious sights, natural and manmade.

Red nuns and green cans – a graveyard or a repair shop?

Red nuns and green cans – a graveyard or a repair shop? They look so big when they are out of the water.

 I’m sure everyone remembers the recent torrential and constant heavy rains that hit the east coast, especially in South Carolina where it caused serious flooding. The Waccamaw River was above flood stage for 13 days. October 7th saw the third highest water level on record of 16.1 feet. By delaying for a few days, we hoped that the waters would recede before we reached this region. Even though our passage was almost 2 weeks after that record high, the Coast Guard still had small patrol boats out on the ICW asking boats to slow down enough so that they made little to no wake. Some of the homes are so close to the water and so low that boat wakes caused the water to rise up and into their homes again.

Look closely and you can see how low these houses sit to the water. It would take much to bring the water right back up to their front doors.

Look closely and you can see how low these houses sit to the water. It wouldn’t take much to bring the water right back up to their front doors again.

Some of the docks suffered form the flooding waters as well.

Some of the docks suffered from the flooding waters as well. Ramps aren’t supposed to go UP to the dock, and the other ramp leads to a missing dock that must have floated away. 

We finally reached the Waccamaw River, traveling along, but not always together, with our current buddy boat, Magnolia.

Magnolia cruising down the Waccamaw River.

Magnolia cruising down the Waccamaw River.

This section of the Waccamaw is lined with trees.

This section of the Waccamaw is lined with trees.

Magnolia and Kindred Spirit snugly anchored in Bull Creek off the Waccamaw.

Magnolia and Kindred Spirit snugly anchored in Bull Creek off the Waccamaw.

Spotted this crane at the edge of the water when we dinghied over to Magnolia for dinner. He kept his back turned to us. Maybe we should have invited him to dinner, too.

Spotted this crane at the edge of the water when we dinghied over to Magnolia for dinner. He kept his back turned to us. Maybe we should have invited him to dinner, too.

 Dinner on Magnolia with Annette and Anthony.

Dinner on Magnolia with Annette and Anthony.

The night is so dark and the stars and the moon shine much more brightly when you are out here. It was so nice to be away from it all. Just wish I had a better camera for photos like this.

The night is so dark and the stars and the moon shine much more brightly when you are out here. It was so nice to be away from it all. Just wish I had a better camera for photos like this.

Love the way the water reflects the trees in the early morning sun.

Waccamaw day 2 reflections-2 Waccamaw day 2 reflections

 Spanish moss drapes the living oak trees that line the Waccamaw River. It is lightly attached and does not harm the living oaks. It’s one of those sights that quietly states you are in the South, that you are not at home anymore. Spanish moss isn’t Spanish and it’s not moss. It’s an air plant that likes the water in the humid air. Historically, Spanish moss has had many uses – made into rope, used as gun wadding, mattress and furniture stuffing, and even air conditioner filters. (Just a little trivia.)

Spanish moss drapes the oaks.

Spanish moss drapes the oaks.

Even the dead trees are fascinating and interesting.

Even the gnarly dead trees are fascinating and interesting.

 Magnolia and Kindred Spirit parted ways on the second day, but we would meet again in Charleston. We anchored in Graham Creek (ICW Mile 439) after passing up the Minim Creek Canal and Santee River anchorages because the day was still young, and then deciding that Five Fathom Creek and Awendaw Creek anchorages didn’t offer the best protection or the best depths. This little creek was narrow and shallow at the entrance, but we managed just fine. We were tired by then and wanted to stop for the day.

Our anchorage in Graham Creek - How different the view was, depending on the direction you looked. One side looked over the marshes to the ocean and the other was lined with trees.

Our anchorage in Graham Creek – How different the view was, depending on the direction you looked. One side looked over the marshes to the ocean and the other was lined with trees.

Dawn over the marshes.

Dawn over the marshes.

Shortly after the sun rose, I looked over at the trees and saw this silhouette of Kindred Spirit. Really cool.

Shortly after the sun rose, I looked over at the trees and saw this silhouette of Kindred Spirit. Really cool.

These are pictures of different turtles, all from this one day. We are seeing many more turtles than we did on the first trip. Is it because we are now a trawler, and members of MTOA???

These are pictures of different turtles, all from this one day. We are seeing many more turtles than we did on the first trip. Is it because we are now a trawler, and members of MTOA???

These two large birds were soaring overhead. I tried hard to catch a photo of them!

These two large birds were soaring overhead. I tried hard to catch a photo of them!

Best photo that I was able to get. Is it a hawk or an eagle?

This is the best zoomed photo that I was able to get. Is it a hawk or an eagle?

Much of the time on our second day in the Waccamaw, we were flanked by grassy marshes on both sides, giving meaning to the term, “low country.”

Grassy marshes and the remnants of an old rice gate used to control the water in the rice fields.

Grassy marshes and the remnants of an old rice gate used to control the water in the rice fields.

 As we neared Charleston, the marshes changed to civilization again with more houses and resort communities on the Isle of Palms and Sullivans Island.

This was the opposite side of the ICW from the resort island communities. Just another one of those things that make you curious. What's the story behind it?

This was on the opposite side of the ICW from the resort island communities. Just another one of those things that make you curious. What’s the story behind it?

AIS - Cutting Class is the pink diamond at the dock (leftist). We are the upper right pink boat in the ICW. Magnolia is the lower pink boat heading towards the inlet entrance. I thought it was pretty cool that we were all there.

AIS – Cutting Class, Magnolia, and Kindred Spirit all in one shot.

 

I checked the Marine Traffic app on my phone and saw that Magnolia was close to entering Charleston Harbor from the outside. By using the “My Fleets” feature onto app, I can set it to show me which of our friends are near by.   Cutting Class is the pink diamond at the dock (leftist). We are the upper right pink boat in the ICW. Magnolia is the lower pink boat heading towards the inlet entrance. I thought it was pretty cool that we were all there.

The Ben Sawyer Bridge is the last one before we enter Charleston Harbor. This time we don't have to request an opening.

The Ben Sawyer Bridge is the last one before we enter Charleston Harbor. This time we don’t have to request an opening; we can slide right under.

Both Magnolia and Kindred Spirit anchored off of Fort Johnson near Fort Sumter for the rest of the day. Although it is a little bumpy out here in the harbor, this will allow us to move to the dock at the Charleston Maritime Center during slack tide tomorrow morning.

We have nice views of the southern side of Charleston from our anchor spot. Sure are looking forward to visiting Charleston again!

charleston2

Charleston

Charleston1

Charleston

And we had company for a little while from several dolphins swimming around our boat. I never get tired of seeing the dolphins. 🙂

Dolphins welcome us to Charleston

Dolphins welcome us to Charleston

From North to South Carolina

It was a little chilly, but the sun has felt wonderful after all those days (weeks) of clouds and rain.)

It was a little chilly, but the sun has felt wonderful after all those days (weeks?) of clouds and rain.

On Friday, October 16th, we left Southport and headed back into the ICW. In 2013, we traveled outside for this next stretch, exiting through Cape Fear Inlet and back in again at Little River, then out again and back in again in Wynyah Inlet. This time, in the interests of doing it differently, we are traveling inside, in the ICW.

It was a 5-hour day, traveling  33 nautical miles.

 

There was plenty to look at through this stretch of the ICW.

Just past Southport Harbor where we were anchored is a very nice marina, Southport Marina. as we passed by, we noticed another Mariner Orient, a 40 footer. Looks pretty similar to us!

Just past Southport Harbor where we were anchored is a very nice marina, Southport Marina. as we passed by, we noticed another Mariner Orient, a 40 footer. Looks pretty similar to us!

This was such a stately southern mansion. We both appreciated her fine lines.

This was such a stately southern mansion, sitting along the ICW, surrounded by trees and marshes.

Most of this section of the ICW was lined with large waterfront homes, each with their own docks and gazebos.

 waterfront homes1

myrtle beach waterfront homes2

We waved to this guy as he painted his gazebo. He did wave back without falling off his ladder. Question - How does he move the ladder?

We waved to this guy as he painted his gazebo. He did wave back without falling off his ladder. Question – How does he move the ladder?

Looks like this shrimper has seen better days.

Looks like this shrimper has seen better days.

This stretch reminded us of the Florida ICW with canals dug out like street for homes and their boats.

This stretch reminded us of Florida’s ICW with canals dug out like streets for homes and their boats.

I was watching the chart books carefully and looking for a sign, or something, that would let us know when we crossed from North Carolina to South Carolina.

The border between North and South Carolina

This is the  border between North and South Carolina, I think. It was as close as I could tell from the chart books. Why didn’t anyone post a “Welcome” sign???

Along a quiet grassy stretch, we could just see the head of this ibis peeking up.

Along a quiet grassy stretch, we could just see the head of this ibis peeking up.

Marshes on the west side

Marshes and creeks on the west side

Inlets on the eastern side

Inlets to the ocean on the eastern side

Not exactly part of the ICW's natural wild life, but definitely noticeable.

Not exactly part of the ICW’s natural wild life, but definitely noticeable.

We had made reservations at Myrtle Beach Yacht Club in Coquina Harbor for the next 3 days.

We knew form listening to the VHF that you turn just in front of the black and white lighthouse, a faux lighthouse.

We knew from listening to the VHF that you turn just in front of the black and white lighthouse, a faux lighthouse.

Coquina Harbor is a large man-made basin in North Myrtle Beach, near Little River. three marinas  fit inside-  Lightkeepers Marina, Coquina Yacht Club (a condo community), and Myrtle Beach Yacht Club at the far end of the basin.

We turned into the channel and wove our way to the back To Myrtle Beach Yacht Club.

We turned into the channel and wove our way among the docks to the back of the basin to Myrtle Beach Yacht Club.

Myrtle Beach Yacht Club had a good reputation, very reasonably priced and very friendly. The staff and the other boaters were cheerful and helpful. We were given a dock right near the office, the marine store, the laundry, the restaurant, and the pool. Very convenient. There is boardwalk around the  edge of the entire basin, but each dock has a locked gate so you felt very safe.

We were given a dock right near the office, the marine store, the laundry, the restaurant, and the pool.

Kindred Spirit nestled into her slip for the next 3 days.

The pool was "closed" for the season, but when I asked if I could use it that afternoon while I did my laundry, they said go right ahead, but the water is cold! I'm a northern gal, no problem. ;-)

The pool was “closed” for the season, but when I asked if I could use it that afternoon while I did my laundry, they said go right ahead, but cautioned me that the water is cold! I’m a northern gal, no problem. 😉

A little dock party get-together.

Making new friends  – A little dock party get-together. Bud (yellow shirt) was the first MTOA member we have met on this entire trip.

Staying at a yacht club for three days may sound like a vacation, and in some ways it was. Access to unlimited water and electricity is a luxury when you live on a boat. But this was also a good place to get some boat chores done, like the piles of  laundry. The boat also needed a good cleaning inside and out. Other chores are necessary, but not so much fun………

Each slip had its own pump-out station. For the landlubbers reading the blog, the pump-out is necessary for cleaning out the holding tank which holds the toilet waste. Get it? Here is Al with the "self-serve" pump-out.

Each slip had its own pump-out station. For the landlubbers reading the blog, the pump-out is necessary for cleaning out the holding tank which holds the toilet waste. Get it? Here is Al with the “self-serve” pump-out.

The refrigerator and freezer really needed to be defrosted. To speed things up, Al uses a little heat. Then I quickly get everything back into the chilling spaces.

The refrigerator and freezer really needed to be defrosted. To speed things up, Al uses a little heat. Then I quickly get everything back into the chilling spaces.

Hanging out at a marina did leave Al with a little bit of time on his hands. When he has time on his hands, he starts fussing with things. He has been frustrated with our solar panels at times. Although more powerful than on the Morgan, they seem to get shaded too often. If he had his way, he would probably invent some thing-a-ma-jig so that he could tilt and twirl both panels all over the place to follow the sun.

Playing around with the solar panels to get a better tilt on the back one and increase the amount of solar power.

Playing around with the solar panels to get a better tilt on the back one and increase the amount of solar power.

The result of his tinkering?For now, he has the back panel tilted like this.

The result of his tinkering?For now, he has the back panel tilted like this.

Each morning we took a walk on the boardwalk with our coffee, checking out the other boats. Every boater loves looking at other boats.
Coquina Harbor walkway Coquina Harbor wide view on walkLighthousemorning sun on grasses ICW

While doing our chores, we were eagerly awaiting the return of Magnolia’s crew, Anthony and Annette, from their road trip home to Washington, DC. We haven’t seen them in over a year. Their Magnolia is also a Morgan, a 44 Center Cockpit, and is very similar to our dear Morgan. Magnolia and her crew have had feature roles in my past blogs as our paths cross and criss cross. We will always share the bond of being members of the “freshman cruising class of 2013.”

Magnolia, patiently waiting for her crew to return.

Magnolia, patiently waiting for her crew to return. She is a beauty, isn’t she?

 

Rose and John, owners of The Officers Club at MBYC have a reputation for their awesome chicken wings, according to Anthony, Magnolia's captain. He ate those wings back in his youth at their former restaurant in New Jersey.

Rose and John, owners of The Officers Club at MBYC, have a reputation for their awesome chicken wings, according to Anthony, Magnolia’s captain. He ate those wings back in his youth at their former restaurant in New Jersey. After a serious taste test, we all agreed!

Anthony and Annette, Joe and Christine, their friends from Southport, and us. Another great evening with old and new friends.

Anthony and Annette, Joe and Christine, their friends from Southport, and us. Another great evening with old and new friends.

Next day? Magnolia and Kindred Spirit will travel together into the Waccamaw River.

Southport, The Happiest Seaside Town in America

Before I write about Southport, we had to get to Southport, which means heading through Snows Cut and into the Cape Fear River, a 12-mile trip, only 2 hours from one anchorage to the next. We timed our passage in the Cape Fear River for slack tide for a smoother ride.

Different views on each side of Snows Cut

Different views on each side of Snows Cut – sand and trees.

Up ahead is Snows Cut Bridge, a 65 foot clearance, usually. With he recent rains, the marker showed 63 feet. This is no big deal,b ut farther south there were sailboats that could not pass below 65 ft bridges because of the high water - only 57 feet in one case.

Up ahead is Snows Cut Bridge, a 65 foot clearance, usually. With he recent rains, the marker showed only 63 feet. This is no big deal, but farther south there were sailboats that could not pass below a 65 ft bridges because of the high water – only 57 feet of clearance under that one

Whoa! Look at those greens and reds. Sometimes you have to watch very carefully when the ICW merges into a new waterway or passes an inlet.

Whoa! Look at those greens and reds. Sometimes you have to watch very carefully when the ICW merges into a new waterway or passes an inlet.

Cape Fear is a very busy waterway, leading up to Wilmington, North Carolina and out to the ocean just past Southport and Bald Head Island. Tankers, barges and ferries are all coming and going.

As we merged into the Cape Fear River, we could just see the top of a tanker over this little island.

As we merged into the Cape Fear River, we could just see the top of a tanker over this little island. We kept an eye on it.

Naturally, without hesitation, we made sure that we were slow enough (not really a problem) so that the tanker would be well past us as we converged into the same water.

Naturally, without hesitation, we made sure that we were slow enough (not really a problem) so that the tanker would be well past us as we converged into the same water.

Not long after that, here comes another tanker towards us. Check out that bow wake - really pushing a lot of water!

Not long after that, another tanker comes along, heading towards us.  Check out that bow wake – really pushing a lot of water!

The ferries seemed like nothing after the two tankers. Easy to maneuver around.

The ferries seemed like nothing after the two tankers. Easy to maneuver around.

We enjoyed our visit to Southport  in 2013 and were eager to stop and spend a day or two here once again.

Welcome to Southport!

Welcome to Southport!

Entering Southport's harbor, wharf on the starboard side, marsh on the port side.

Entering Southport’s harbor, wharf on the starboard side, marsh on the port side.

Southport has a little harbor, and I do mean little. There is room for 2-3 boats to anchor, at most. We were fortunate that we arrived and anchored just before 2 other boats turned into the harbor. The harbor is lined with docks for fishing boats, has a few small docks for private boats, fishing boats, and several wharfside restaurants. Most people don’t anchor here in the harbor and prefer to go on to the marinas.  We like the convenience of the harbor anchorage and the price.

Kindred Spirit in the harbor anchorage. The photo is deceiving because there isn't as much room as it looks. Sometimes I could almost hear the diner's conversations

Kindred Spirit in the harbor anchorage.  Sometimes I could almost hear the conversations at the dining tables.

On our other side, we could see the ICW over the marshes.

On our other side, we could see the ICW over the marshes.

A white ibis in the marshes.

A white ibis in the marshes near us.

We could see the Halloween blow-up lawn decorations from our boat. I think they were there the last time.

We could see the Halloween blow-up lawn decorations from our boat – same ones as 2013, minus one pumpkin. And the only ones in Southport that we saw.

You just have to wonder what possessed anyone to name their boat, Booger or Trashfest. So at odds with the rest of the scenery.

You just have to wonder what possessed anyone to name their boat, Booger or Trashfest. There has to be a reason, right? It is so at odds with the rest of the scenery.

On our stroll around the town we were again enchanted with the place. Everything is well-cared for and well-maintained. The people are outrageously friendly without being annoying. Southport is home to festivals, artists, history, architecture, natural beauty, and culture; and its residents are understandably proud of their little gem.

"Happiest Seaside Town in America"

Southport was awarded the title of “2015 Happiest Seaside Town”, by Coastal Living Magazine, as the part of their “best coastal places to call home—for a weekend or a lifetime.”

Since this was our second visit, we needed to do something different. After a 30-minute walk, we stopped in the Southport Tea House for a spot of afternoon tea and treats.

Southport Tea Hose, a charming little cottage of serenity.

Southport Tea Hose, a charming little cottage of serenity.

“Step back in time. Leave the hustle and bustle of this world behind.  Upon entering our doors, feel the warmth of the welcome you receive as you are guided to your seat.     Don’t give schedules another thought as you drink in the unhurried atmosphere.”  This quote from their website is no exaggeration and is absolutely true. To our fellow cruisers, on your way south and on your way north, if you stop in Southport, you must take the time to visit the Southport Tea House. You will not regret it!

We are not tea connoisseurs, but could tell the difference between these custom loose leaf brewed teas and the bags we use at home and while cruising. Al tried the raspberry tea with his chocolate tart, and I decided to try Southern sweet tea (for the first time) with a lemon cranberry scone. Patrick, the chef, assured me that his Southern sweet tea would not be too sweet. He was absolutely right. I won’t try it anywhere else now because it would never compare to this. Delicious!! We thoroughly enjoyed every bite and every sip, as well as the company and the ambience.

Our tea time treats. Patrick, the chef and Sherry French, the owner.

Our tea time treats.
Patrick, the chef and Sherry French, the owner. Wonderful people – Thank you for making our visit feel so special.

Back on the boat, it’s a nice treat to take the time to cook a warm and relaxing breakfast on those mornings when we aren’t up with the dawn for a long traveling day.

Coffee with sour dough French toast topped with strawberries.

Coffee with sour dough French toast topped with strawberries. The coffee was made in the percolator to save the batteries, which were getting low.

Al was determined to get our solar panels to face the right direction so that they would would soak up more sunshine.

Al was determined to get our solar panels to face the right direction so that they would would soak up more sunshine and add to our batteries.  Out goes a second anchor off the stern to hold the boat facing south.

For our second day of “let’s do something different than the last time,” we played true tourists and took a 45-minute ride on Southport Fun Tours, around the town in an oversized golf cart. Our guide, “Rev”, entertained us with jokes (he rings the bell for the bad ones), as well as tales about Southport’s history and points of interest. I can’t remember half of what he told us!

The cemetery, always a point of interest.

The cemetery, always a point of interest.

The old jail. Rev pointed out the repaired brick to the lower right of the top left window. A prisoner escaped by digging through there. Really????

The old jail. Rev pointed out the repaired brick to the lower right of the top left window. A prisoner escaped by digging through there. Really????

This is just one of the many waterfront homes that overlook the ICW and out to Cape Fear. What a location.

This is just one of the many waterfront homes that overlook the ICW and out to Cape Fear. What a location.

I love this little stained glass window in the peak of this home.

I love this little stained glass window in the peak of this home. It would look so good on our house………

“Southern live oak” trees are amazing tress with their twisting and turning branches. Just makes you want to go tree climbing again like a child. They are everywhere and most are quite old.  Many of them have the “resurrection fern” growing on them. The fern is not that noticeable during dry weather, because it turns brown and looks dead. But the rains cause a transformation – the shriveled, brown fronds open up and turn bright green again, hence the name “resurrection fern.”

The twists and turns of Southern Live Oaks. In Southport, even the homes change to accommodate the trees -- take a close look at the upper right photo.

The twists and turns of Southern Live Oaks. In Southport, even the homes are built or modified to accommodate the trees — take a close look at the upper right photo.

Rev pointed out the various houses and businesses that have played a role in tv shows and films. For a number of years, North Carolina had a tax exemption for filmmakers which attracted many production companies. The city of Southport has been the location for many TV series such as Revenge and Under the Dome, and Andy Griffith’s house in Matlock. Films which have been made in Southport include I Know What You Did Last Summer, Summer Catch, Domestic Disturbance, Crimes of the Heart, Mary and Martha, Nights in Rodanthe, A Walk to Remember and Safe Haven. BUT, he informed us, the legislature recently revoked that status and now tv and film makers have gone to Georgia. He commented that this has been a huge loss for North Carolina and a big gain for Georgia.

This house was in the 1986 movie, Crimes of The Heart , starring Jessica Lange, Sissy Spacek, Diane Keaton, and Sam Shepard.

This house was in the 1986 movie, Crimes of The Heart , starring Jessica Lange, Sissy Spacek, Diane Keaton, and Sam Shepard. It is now on my list of old movies to watch,especially with a cast like that.

This was the house in Matlock, the tv show starring Andy Griffith, after the Mayberry series.

This was the house in Matlock, the tv show starring Andy Griffith, after his Mayberry series.

And this one was Big Jim's house in "Under the Dome," a very silly and strange tv series that recently ended for good reason.

And this one was Big Jim’s house in “Under the Dome,” a very silly and strange tv series that recently ended for good reason.

Southport is most proud of its fame from Safe Haven, the movie based on the Nicholas Sparks novel. Southport is specifically named as the location and was really filmed here (and we now know that isn’t always the case.) It was released in 2013 and there are still posters and signs about it all over the town. Rev had lots to say about the movie, the actors, and the filming locations.

Top photo - Moore Street Market Bottom - Josh Duhamel's home. I actually photographed this house and included it in the blog from our 2013 visit. It's a darling little house right across from the docks.

Top photo – Moore Street Market
Bottom – Alex’s (played by Josh Duhamel) house. I actually photographed this house and included it in the blog from our 2013 visit. It’s a darling little house right across from the docks.

This little duck statue sits not the brick fence around Alex's house. Rev, our guide, said that the duck is featured in several scenes, but got no billing for it. Yes, the bell rang on that joke.

This little duck statue sits on the brick fence around “Alex’s” house. Rev, our guide, said that the duck is featured in several scenes, but got no billing for it. Yes, the bell rang on that joke.

Rev has this "Wanted"poster hanging on the visor of his golf cart. It's not real - it's the one from the Safe Haven movie for Julianne Hough's character, Katie/Erin.

Rev has this “Wanted”poster hanging on the visor of his golf cart. It’s not real – it’s the one from the Safe Haven movie for Julianne Hough’s character, Katie/Erin. He told us not to call 911.

Al and I hadn’t read the novel or seen the movie, but after this, we had to, right? So on a long, long download over the free wifi we could grab, we managed to rent it from iTunes. The movie’s short description – “A young woman with a mysterious past lands in Southport, North Carolina where her bond with a widower forces her to confront the dark secret that haunts her.” Hmmm, ok. The movie was not all that great. In fact, critics really panned it as “schmaltzy, predictable, and melodramatic, … with a  ludicrous plot twist…”  ~~Rotten Tomatoes. Harsh though that sounds, I have to agree. But, I enjoyed watching it anyway just because we were right there in Southport and could recognize the local sights. I do believe that it must have been a very cool experience to watch a film in production right in your own town, for the residents of Southport.

We spent a short time in the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport, a companion museum to the one we visited in Beaufort in 2013. It holds a nice collection of nautical artifacts from the Cape Fear River and sea. The best one was the periscope from the USS Dolphin, a research submarine used by the US Navy from 1968 through 2006.

The periscope outside on the museum's peak. Al tests it out and surveys the 360 degree sights around Southport.

The periscope outside on the museum’s peak.
Al tests it out and surveys the 360 degree sights around Southport, from inside.

Time for dinner decisions. In 2013 we ate at “Fishy Fishy” on the wharf, which was fun. Looking for something different, we heard good and unique things about the “Yacht Basin Provision Company”, also on the wharf. We “drove” to the restaurant by dinghy and “parked” at their dock. This would be a distinctly different experience than our tea at the Southport Tea House yesterday. 🙂  Fresh seafood, casual and friendly, right on the wharf. Definitely casual and laid back.

The exterior of the Yacht Basin Provision Company. Nice and rustic.

The exterior of the Yacht Basin Provision Company. Street side and wharfside views. Nice and rustic.

What’s unique? The drinks are on the “honor system”, including beer and wine. You take what you want from the refrigerated coolers and let them know when you pay the bill. We have never been anywhere else like that!

Inside the Provision Company - casual, fun, and very tasty.

Inside the Provision Company – casual, fun, and very tasty. We ate right on the porch, enjoying the view, the food, and chatting with other folks, patrons and servers.

We like Southport even more on this second visit and certainly recommend it as a stopover for our cruising friends. Take the time to visit for awhile. IF, and this is a huge IF, I were to ever live in the south, I think I would seriously consider Southport. But I do have one recommendation for Southport – You are a lovely and friendly town, but could you please repair your public dinghy docks?? They are quickly approaching a dangerous condition.

Another lovely sunset brings an end to our time in Southport.

Another lovely sunset over the ICW brings an end to our time in Southport.

North Carolina Beach Towns – Wrightsville & Carolina Beach

Back in 2013, Wrightsville Beach was a low point for me on the trip south. I was so eager to reach a beach, and Wrightsville Beach turned out to underwhelming and disappointing. It was also late October, which may account for the “closed” feeling. Even so, we still managed to find a few things to catch our interest. Now in 2015, we decided to give Wrightsville Beach another try, especially since it is a convenient stopping point after an outside run for Beaufort.

The weather was once again overcast and grayish, and would eventually morph into downpours during our second night here. Somehow we managed to take a walk on the beach, a walk across the causeway bridge, and find time for boat chores. Remember, we have to slow down, so we stayed for 3 nights, anchored in Motts Channel, off the causeway bridge.

There she is, Kindred Spirit, anchored in Motts Channel. WE had a good view of her as we walked over the causeway bridge.

There she is, Kindred Spirit, anchored in Motts Channel. WE had a good view of her as we walked over the causeway bridge.

There were a few hours of pleasant weather on the beach for a good walk.

There were a few hours of pleasant weather on the beach for a good walk.

The beach was covered in fine, polished shells, more orange tones than the beaches at home.

The beach was covered in fine, polished shells, more orange and gray tones than the beaches at home. The purple shades of the “wampum” shells are very deep.

Pelicans are such cool birds. Fascinating to watch them soar and dive straight into he water for a catch. What a wing span!

Pelicans are such cool birds. Fascinating to watch them soar and dive straight into he water for a catch. What a wing span!

Sunset over Wrightsville Beach on our first evening here.

Sunset over Wrightsville Beach on our first evening here.

The second night brought stormy clouds over our heads.

The second night brought stormy clouds over our heads.

And then it just got seriously dark.......... followed by down[ours of rain all night long. But, hey, we're used to that by now, right?

And then it just got seriously dark………. followed by down[ours of rain all night long. But, hey, we’re used to that by now, right?

On the stormiest night, we opted to watch one of our old dvds. What better choice than the 1998 Message in a Bottle with Robin Wright, Kevin Costner, and Paul Newman (the best part of the movie!). It’s a little sappy and sentimental, as most Nicholas Sparks books are, but there was sailing and a message in a bottle. That’s enough to please any cruiser. Sparks set the novel in Wrightsville, although reality certainly looked different than his ideal version of the town. The movie claimed to be on the Outer Banks in North Carolina, but was filmed in Maine. Now that we have spent time in both coastal regions, we can readily see that there is little resemblance. I guess movie makers don’t count on anyone noticing?????

Movie night on Kindred Spirit. Using our drop-down tv. See the message in the bottle that she picked up?

Movie night on Kindred Spirit. Using our drop-down tv. See  the bottle in her hands?

On one of our strolls around, we saw this outside of a local bar. I’ve included it as part of my continuing search for the curious and odd.

Shoes hanging on a palm tree outside of a bar. Any thoughts on why? Must be a local tradition of some sort.

Shoes hanging on a palm tree outside of a bar. Any thoughts on why? Must be a local tradition of some sort.

We did stumble upon a new find – “Loops”, a homemade donut shop, run by Wilmington natives and brothers, Colby and Dylan Dominick, both just college kids. We enjoyed chatting with one of them (was it Colby or Dylan? Don’t know!) while enjoying our fresh donuts and coffee. The donuts were excellent!

Loops, the new handmade donut shop.

Loops, the new handmade donut shop.

Final decision? Wrightsville Beach redeemed itself – a much better visit than two years ago. We enjoyed our “down time” here.

Then off we went to another North Carolina Beach town, Carolina Beach, just 12 miles farther down the ICW. The next three photos really do show how the North Carolina coastline is different than the Maine coastline. Just saying.

The "intersection" of the channel leaving Wrightsville Beach and the ICW - turn left to go south!

The “intersection” of the channel leaving Wrightsville Beach and the ICW – turn left to go south!

Marsh lands of North Carolina, along the ICW

Marsh lands of North Carolina, along the ICW.

If you look closely, you can just see the ocean surf beyond the barrier island.

If you look closely, you can just see the ocean surf beyond the barrier island.

It was an easy 2-hour trip from Wrightsville Beach to Carolina Beach. Cutting Class had gone on ahead of us and were already there.

We could see Cutting Class in the Carolina Bech mooring field.

We could see Cutting Class in the Carolina Beach mooring field.

That evening we had our last happy hour with Dan and Marcia They will be moving on ahead, while we stay slow, for now. for a while, possibly until Thanksgiving.

Our last happy hour with Dan and Marcia They will be moving on ahead, while we stay slow, for now. We may not meet up again until Thanksgiving.

We explored the town of Carolina Beach, but there really wasn’t much to see or do. There was a lot of construction which seems to have disrupted the flow around town. Regardless, we have been getting plenty of exercise in the form of walks, walks on the beach, walks around towns, walks to the grocery stores…..

There is nice boardwalk along the beach fro a short distance. The commemorative fish were a nice twist on the commemorative bricks used to fund new walkways.

There is nice boardwalk along the beach for a short distance. The fish embedded in the boards were a nice twist on the commemorative bricks used to fund new walkways.

Enjoying the swing on the boardwalk.

Enjoying the swing on the boardwalk.

More birds to watch, on pilings, the docks, and on the beach.

More birds to watch, on pilings, the docks, and on the beach.

Speaking of birds...... Our mast may be short and sail-less, but these crows enjoyed sitting there all the same. Had to shoo them off every morning! Is this a "crows nest"?

Speaking of birds…… Our mast may be short and sail-less, but these crows enjoyed sitting there all the same. Had to shoo them off every morning! Is this a “crows nest”?

Our first "redbox" movie! Have seen these in grocery stores at home, but never tired one. For $1.61 we had some entertainment for the evening. TV reception isn't very good at all.

Our first “redbox” movie! Have seen these in grocery stores at home, but never tried one. For $1.61 we had some entertainment for the evening. TV reception isn’t very good at all.

The beach was very nice, especially once the sun came out to stay and play for awhile.

Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach

Only Al would notice that these are old Christmas trees buried in the sand along the beach.To prevent erosion?

Only Al would notice that these are old Christmas trees buried in the sand along the beach.To prevent erosion?

I know, not the prettiest sight, but it is meant to keep things looking prettier. We wondered if there is a connection between the butt problem and North Carolina's tobacco history????

I know, not the prettiest sight, but it is meant to keep things looking prettier. We wondered if there is a connection between the butt problem and North Carolina’s tobacco history????

As we sat on the beach, on a very windy afternoon, we watched draggers trawling for fish back and forth.

As we sat on the beach, on a very windy afternoon, we watched draggers trawling for fish back and forth.

Dragger with his nets out, and fish following. The original "trawler."

Dragger with his nets out, and fish following. The original “trawler.”

A beach combing success! Our first sea glass on this trip. And they are nice pieces, too.

A beach combing success! Our first sea glass on this trip – nice greenish blue pieces, too.

Playful clouds in the sunset - a fish chasing a small bait fish. Do you see it, too?

Playful clouds in the sunset – a fish chasing a small bait fish. Do you see it, too?

Carolina Beach reflections in the stare on a very very still evening.

Carolina Beach reflections in the water on a very, very still evening.

After spending almost a week in these two beach towns, it is time to move on again. The beaches are lovely here, but the towns seem like they haven’t reached their full potential, especially when one considers this natural beauty of the beaches. I found myself thinking about Watch Hill, Block Island, the Vineyard and Nantucket, and missing them.