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May/ June 2014

Plus: summer Getaways women in Business Homemade ice cream reciPes

Great BurGers 21 Pl aces Where

You can eat Well


UNDER CONTRACT

UNDER CONTRACT

The lure of the sea has always been with us. Over 100 years ago, a magnificent Beaux Arts design mansion was sited on one of the area’s prominent bluffs; nestled under a canopy of stately, moss draped live oaks. Today “Live Oaks At Masonboro” still stands on nearly 8 acres with 300 feet of prime waterfront overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway and Masonboro Island. The Henry Bacon design masterpiece features solid coquina concrete construction made with local Masonboro oyster shells and slate roof with octagonal cupola. This is a must see for the connoisseur of classic architecture of historical significance. Price available upon request.


Life’s Most Memorable Journeys Begin Off the Beaten Path.

Less than an hour from Wilmington, Bald Head Island offers a true departure from the everyday. You’ll arrive by passenger ferry, then travel the island by golf cart, bicycle or on foot. The island’s 14 miles of beach, extraordinary seaside golf, and welcoming spa make it an exceptional getaway for the entire family. Call Bald Head Island Limited Property Management today or go online to plan your vacation.

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May / June 2014

66

Coastal Charm

Designer Kathy McKenzie rolls out a whole-house interior plan that combines soothing coastal colors with casual, yet elegant furnishings. By Johanna Colburn

74

Great Burgers

Comfort food of the highest order. That’s a great burger, and we’ve found plenty of them worth every big, messy bite. By Liz Biro

82

Summer Getaways

Wherever you want to go – alone, romantic escape, family trip or girlfriend weekend, these destinations offer fabulous ways to relax and unwind. By Katie McElveen

92

Ice Cream Class & Sundae School

It’s time for the kid inside us all to scream for a cold cone of creamy, melting, dripping, delicious ice cream.

PHOTO G. FRANK HART

By Kim Byer

4 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com


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Departments »

May / June 2014 SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Women in Business

In demanding times, dedicated leaders step forward and ramp up their game. Meet the female entrepreneurs and executives who are progressing Wilmington’s future, one smart decision at a time. Photos by KELLY STARBUCK, HORACE LONG, SUSAN FRANCY and BROWNIE HARRIS

13

39

Buzz

Well Styled

13 Legal Jargon Joseph O. Taylor, Jr with his award ribbons from duck decoys

39 Fashion Icon A night with NY fashion designer Yigal Azrouel

14 Calendar Our five musts from this issue’s calendar of events

40 Beauty Expert advice on changing your hairstyle and finding the right hair products

16 Events Your guide to planning your social calendar 20 Entertainment Reviews of new movies and music 21 Events-Designer Showhouse The Arts Council of Wilmington’s inaugural event 22 Art Seen Gina Gambony brings the world of shadow puppetry to life 24 Local Chatter The law firm of Murchison, Taylor, and Gibson is intertwined in Wilmington’s history 28 Newsmaker Sea Scape Properties offers top-notch rentals and personal service to their homeowners 32 Southern Drawl Ken Dull of McKinley Building Corporation on fostering preservation and growth

6 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

SPECIAL SECTION Women in Business

55 Meet the female entrepreneurs and executives who are progressing Wilmington’s future, one smart decision at a time

44 Fashion Today’s resale consignment stores offer name brands and vintage clothing

Food+Drink 89 Dining Review The George on the Riverwalk 92 In The Kitchen It’s time for the kid inside us all to scream for a cold cone of creamy, delicious ice cream 99 Restaurant Guide The best spots for eating and drinking in Wilmington

49 Design Discover the artist in you with a fun night of guided instruction and a little wine on the side

Fundamentals

51 Garden The Airlie Gardens harmonious setting from seedlings planted hundreds of years ago 53 Grooming The expansion efforts roll on for Salon Beyond Basics and Day Spa

89

55

10 Reader Services 12 Publisher’s Letter 112 The Last Reflection

108 Travel 108 Cape Charles, Virginia Crossing to the Cape for a view of gardens, sand and sea, and the orchestra of birdsong

May/ June 2014

Plus: summer Getaways women in Business

Great BurGers 21

Pl aces Where

You can eat Well

Homemade ice cream reciPes

ON THE COVER » Double bacon cheeseburger at Jimbo’s. Photograph by JAMES STEFIUK


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Serving Southeastern N.C.’s Business Community for More Than 5 Decades Prompt, High Quality, Cost Effective Representation

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Joseph O. Taylor – Real Estate Transactions & Development

Frank B. Gibson, Jr. – Business & Tax – Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning & Estate Administration

Michael Murchison – Litigation – Health Care – Labor & Employment

Senior Account Executives Alex Hoggard Marilyn McConnell Account Executive Jamie Penn Art Director Shanna Thomson

W. Berry Trice

– Business & Tax – Mergers & Acquisitions – Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning & Estate Administration

Fred B. Davenport, Jr. G. Stephen Diab – Life Sciences – Business & Tax – Mergers & Acquisitions – Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning

– Business & Tax – Mergers & Acquisitions – Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning & Estate Administration

Graphic Designers Carl Turner Shanna Thomson Contributing Writers Bridget Callahan, Cece Nunn, Courtney Webb, David Howell, Denise James, Donna Armer, Jamie Penn, Jennifer Glatt, Johanna Colburn, Katherine Pettit, Katie McElveen, Kim Byer, Kim Henry, Liz Biro, Teresa McLamb Photographers Brownie Harris, G. Frank Hart, Horace Long, James Stefiuk, Kelly Starbuck, Susan Francy

James W. Latshaw

– Commercial & Banking Transactions – Mergers & Acquisitions – Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning & Estate Administration

Andrew K. McVey

– Labor & Employment – Litigation

Faison Gibson Sutton – Real Estate Transactions & Development

■■■ Distribution Coordinator Joy Brown ■■■ Customer Service Wilmington Office: Marilyn (910) 352-8102 Alex (910) 616-6717 Corporate Office: (843) 856-2532

Scott M. Holmes – Real Estate Transactions & Development

Frances Y. Trask – Real Estate Transactions & Development

Amanda K. Hannon – Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning & Estate Administration

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Wilmington Magazine (Vol. 2, No. 1) is published 6 times per year by DueSouth Publishing, LLC, 3853 Colonel Vanderhorst Circle, Mount Pleasant, SC 29466. The entire contents of this publication are fully protected and may not be reproduced, in whole or part, without written permission. We are not responsible for loss of unsolicited materials. Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. SUBSCRIPTION price is $19.95 per year. POSTMASTER send address changes to Wilmington Magazine, 3853 Colonel Vanderhorst Circle, Mount Pleasant, SC 29466.


This is a moment. No.13

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©2014 Porsche Cars North America, Inc. Porsche recommends seat belt usage and observance of all traffic laws at all times.

Reader Services

Amazingly light, considering the weight it takes off your shoulders. Experience the new 2014 Boxster. Pick-up and delivery available for the Wilmington area.

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Visit Our New Murphy Bed Showroom at Wilmington Blind Shutter & Closet Company!

Subscriptions Subscribing to Wilmington Magazine is easy, and you save 30 percent off the newsstand price. Your subscription includes 6 issues, delivered right to your door. Subscriptions and billing are handled in-house, providing you with the best in customer service. Please call or email us if you experience any problems with your subscription, and we will assist to resolve them right away. You can subscribe by calling Customer Service at (843) 8562532 or reach us via email at service@ wilmingtonncmagazine.com or on the web at www.wilmingtonncmagazine.com. Gift Subscriptions Wilmington Magazine makes an excellent gift! Use the subscription card found in each issue or order by phone, email, or our website. We will send out a complimentary gift card to each recipient indicating who the gift is from. Change of Address If you move or change your address, please call or email us and provide both the old and new addresses. The postal service does not automatically forward magazines, so please send us your change of address as soon as you know it. Letters to the Editor We welcome your comments and letters. Send letters to Wilmington Magazine, 3853 Colonel Vanderhorst Circle, Mount Pleasant, SC 29466 or contact us via the web at www. wilmingtonncmagazine.com. Please include your phone number in case we need to contact you. Back Issues When available, back issues of Wilmington Magazine can be purchased for $7.00, postage included. Writing Opportunities We are always interested in receiving article ideas from our readers as well as considering freelance writers. Please mail or email your ideas or writing queries to editor@ wilmingtonncmagazine.com.

Wilmington’s Only Hunter Douglas Gallery 910-799-8101 • 6617 Market St. • WilmingtonBlinds.com

How to Advertise If you would like advertising information for promoting your products or services, call either Marilyn McConnell (910) 3528102, Alex Hoggard (910) 616-6717, Jamie Walker (270) 779-1551, or on the web at www.wilmingtonncmagazine.com.


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May/ June 2014

Plus: summer Getaways women in Business

Great BurGers 21

Pl aces Where

You can eat Well

Homemade ice cream reciPes

Give the gift that lasts all year long... a subscription to

Just fill out the postcard in this issue, call 843.856.2532 or go to WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

12 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

Bring on the Summer! May in the South is Mother Nature’s best floor show, and there’s no cover charge. Riotous azaleas and rhododendron colors provide the glitz in our own backyards. There are so many shades of pink, white, orange, and lavender, even Paris Hilton would be envious. It’s a simple pleasure that reminds me why I love living in the South. Here are a few of my favorites from this issue I think you’ll especially enjoy. Inspired by our city’s wholesome outdoor lifestyle, we present you with an array of southern getaways for all types of travelers in our summer travel feature. Most all of them are drivable, and each providing their own style of luxury, from lush swimming pools, to great golf grounds, to views of the big city, there’s something for everyone (see Summer Getaways, page 82). And what would summer be without the smell of juicy hamburgers sizzling on the grill. Our local food expert rounds up a list of where to find some of the best tasting burgers throughout Wilmington and the beaches (see Great Burgers, page 74). This is also our annual issue highlighting

some of the top female talent in our city. Meet the female entrepreneurs and executives who are progressing Wilmington’s future, one smart decision at a time (see Women in Business, page 55). There are many more great stories throughout the pages of this issue, including our sit-down interview with famed New York fashion designer Yigal Azrouel, where we get the scoop on his 2014 collection (see Charmed by Design, page 39), and just in time for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we bring you some great recipes for making easy and delicious homemade ice cream (see Ice Cream Class & Sundae School, page 92). This is a wonderful time of year to enjoy the outdoors with your family and plan a venture, near or far. No matter if you’re traveling North or South of the MasonDixon line this summer, when someone asks “Where y’all from?”, you know you haven’t left the South behind. I hope you have a front-row seat on all the best our South has to offer this season.

Robert Sweeney robert@wilmingtonncmagazine.com

We welcome your comments. Please send us your feedback to “Letters to the Editor,” Wilmington magazine, 3853 Colonel Vanderhorst Circle, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29466 or you can email us at editor@wilmingtonncmagazine.com

Find Us Online!

Visit us on our website at wilmingtonncmagazine.com

Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/wilmingtonmagazine


PHOTO KELLY STARBUCK and HORACE LONG, SALT STUDIO

Your Local Rundown on News and Culture

Legal Jargon Joseph O. Taylor, Jr., a senior partner at Murchison, Taylor & Gibson, in his office with his antiques and ribbons from duck decoys and fishing contests.

See page 24.

May/June 2014 | 13


calendar

The Reveal: MAY-JUNE

Our five musts from this issue’s calendar of events.

29th Annual Carolina Beach Music Festival June 7 Listen up all you beach music aficionados this is your chance to dance barefoot on the sand or just sway to the beat while standing in the surf. The Beach Music Festival hosted by the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce is billed as “the biggest and only beach music festival actually held on the beach on the North Carolina coast.” You can access this festival via the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. Enjoy a full day of live entertainment with the hottest beach music bands in the south such as The Band of Oz, the Craig Woolard Band and Jimmy Quick & Coastline. Gates open at 10:30am. Tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the gate. 910-458-8434. pleasureislandnc.org

Designer Showhouse May 2 - 14 Some of the area’s finest designers will transform interior and exterior 14 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

spaces of 1909 Gillette Drive for the first Arts Council Designer Showhouse. Located in one of Wilmington’s premiere communities, the stately 5000 square foot Georgian, designed by architect Charlie Boney, overlooks the Cape Fear Country Club golf course. Celebrity Meg Caswell will serve as chair of the event. She has recently completed 18 episodes of “Meg’s Great Rooms” on HGTV since becoming the season six winner of “Design Star,” along with half a dozen specials and guest judge spots on the network. 910-343-0998. artscouncilofwilmington.org

Wilmington Choral Society’s Spring Concerts May 18 Featuring Viva Vivaldi’s “Gloria” and “In Memoria Aeterna” and other pieces from the period. Guest soloists: Nancy King, WhitneyLanier and Shelia Bron. Chamber Orchestra and the 105 Voice Chorus directed by Paula Brinkman. Please bring non-perishable items for Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard. Kenan Auditorium UNCW, 4pm. 910-962-3500. wilmingtonchoralsociety.com

18th Annual Battleship Blast: July 4th Family Fireworks July 4 Noted as Coastal Living’s 10 Spots to Celebrate the Fourth and recent recipient of Southeast Tourism Society’s award of Top 20 things to do in July, the Battleship North Carolina will present the 2014 18th Annual Battleship Blast Fireworks show. The celebration will not disappoint and at 9:05pm the Battleship fireworks spectacular will begin. You don’t want to miss this year as the fireworks display will light up the skies of Wilmington. Music from 5-9pm. 910-251-5797. battleshipnc.com

North Carolina 4th of July Festival June 27 - July 4 Held in Southport, this is one of the largest festivals in the state, and features arts & crafts, a parade, a running race, food and drinks, live entertainment, activities for kids, fireworks, and the popular naturalization ceremony. Times and activities vary. 910-457-5578. nc4thofjuly.com


May/June 2014 | 15


of interactive epicurean experiences such as countless samples from the wine and food participants, live music and even educational culinary demonstrations. Held at the Bellamy Mansion. 910-202-4749. wilmingtonwineandfood.com

Independence Day Fireworks July 3

Celebrate Independence Day a day early with free fireworks and live music by the sea! Musical entertainment will commence at sunset at the gazebo on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. The fireworks will begin at 9:00 pm so be sure to arrive early to grab your spot at the gazebo or on the beach. Make sure to check our events calendar to view dates for this awesome weekly event all summer long. Boardwalk at the Gazebo. Music starts 6:30pm, fireworks 9pm. 910-458-8434. pleasureislandnc.org

Event Calendar Looking to fill your social calendar? We’ve got the rundown on what to do this steamy season. Wrightsville Beach Waterman Ocean Festival May 1 - 4 Celebrate 50 years of Wrightsville Beach surfing with the inaugural Waterman’s Ocean Festival. Enjoy four days of surfing with competitions, special guest stars and history surf lessons for kids. On Saturday get ready to watch contestants race in the Longboard Classic Pro-Am heats and semi-finals and on Sunday enjoy the SUP Ocean Race and Longboard Finals. In addition, until May 2, enter for your chance to win a replica of the longboard-surfboard used by Robert August during his world travels. wblasurf.org

16 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

Wilmington Wine & Food Festival May 2 - 4 The Wilmington Wine & Food Festival will give you the opportunity to experience exquisite culinary pairings from top area chefs and their notable wine selections. Expect a grand wine event; champagne and beer brunch; VIP pig-pickin’ with a local restaurant barbecue sauce competition; and bartender mixology contest. Wine dinners featuring guest chefs working with area talent, wine tastings and other food and wine-related celebrations are planned in the days before the festival. The festival will provide a diverse range

Mother’s Day Dessert Cruise May 11 Don’t let the celebration end after brunch is over - take Mom on an hour and a half long Dessert Cruise! Cruise along the Cape Fear River as the captain enlightens you with historic facts of the mighty Cape Fear River, pirates, blockade runners and the importance of the river to the area today. In addition to a beautiful cruise and relaxing afternoon breeze, an assortment of desserts will be offered along with a full bar complete with frozen drinks ready for Mom to enjoy! Wilmington Water Tours, 1pm or 3pm. 910-338-3134. wilmingtonwatertours.net Carolina Beach Double Sprint Triathlon May 11 Known for being the very first “Formula 1” or super-sprint style triathlon in the U.S., the Carolina Beach Double Sprint Triathlon will be sure to keep you on your toes with the most talented athletes showing off their abilities. This race is a USAT Sanctioned event with a two and a half hour cut off time for completion. Participants will start out with a 375 meter ocean swim followed by a 1.5 mile run. Competitors will then complete a 20k bike ride on a closed course, then it’s back to running for another 1.5 mile stretch to get back into the ocean once again to complete the last portion of the race by swimming another 375 meters to the finish line. setupevents.com Wilmington Greek Festival May 16 - 18 The Greek community of Wilmington NC shares its culture, faith and heritage. This festival will include delicious Greek food, popular Greek music by “Lazaros”, Greek dancing, cooking demonstrations and a market place (for a full schedule of events please see website). This festival is an


annual event that draws thousands from the area. Come and enjoy an authentic taste of Greek culture in Wilmington. St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Fri & Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11am-7pm. 910-392-4444. stnicholasgreekfest.com Annual Seaside Soccer Classic May 17 - 18 The tournament is open to all U9-U18 Boys and Girls (girls up to U16) Club teams. The annual soccer tournament features some of the best soccer teams in the region. Come and enjoy the opportunity to watch some excellent soccer in a family atmosphere. Held at various fields throughout New Hanover County. 910-392-0306. soccerincollege.com Carolina Beach Street Arts Festival May 17 Come and enjoy the Carolina Beach Street Arts Festival, a celebration of visual, culinary, and performing arts at the beach! Artist vendors from around the region will have their fine arts and crafts available for sale and will demonstrate their creative processes from iron pouring and blacksmith techniques to an interactive art area for the kids. Don’t miss cooking demonstrations and educational programs conducted by local chefs, restaurants, and shops. This year’s theme will be focused on Mosaic art, a community project where artists and festival goers can add to the piece that will be later shown in galleries around the region. Artistic performances include comedic dueling pianos, jazz bands, salsa dancers with salsa dancing lessons and much more. 10am-5pm. 910-909-7643. Fourth Friday Gallery Walk May 23 & June 27 A free monthly event where downtown

galleries open their doors to the public in an after-hours celebration of art and culture. Art walk is a self-guided tour featuring various artistic mediums including oils, acrylics, watercolors, ceramics, and more. 6-9pm. 910-343-8997. wilmingtonfourthfridays.com Fireworks by the Sea & Boardwalk Blast May 23 - June 26 Enjoy free fireworks near the Carolina Beach Boardwalk at sunset every Thursday night during the Summer months. Be sure to arrive early to grab your spot at the gazebo or on the beach. Fireworks begin at 9:00pm and the gazebo entertainment begins at 6:30pm. 910-458-8434. Boardwalk at the Gazebo. pleasureislandnc.org Orange Street ArtsFest May 24 - 25 Wilmington’s largest downtown arts festival returns for its 19th year. More than 55 artists from Wilmington and across the Southeast will be featured with paintings, pottery, jewelry, glass, and paper creations. Saturday 10am6pm, Sunday 10am-5pm. 910-251-1788. thalian.org 49th Annual Battleship NC Memorial Day Observance May 26 On Memorial Day, people of all ages from across the State will gather on the deck of the Battleship to pay their respects. Ceremony and 21 gun salute. 5:45pm. 910-251-5797. battleshipnc.com Quilters by the Sea Guild Quilt Show May 30 - 31 As part of the 2014 NC Quilt Symposium, a Quilt Show and Merchants’ Mall will be open to the general public on Friday and Saturday. Come by and see beautiful works of art that were spawned from one of the oldest sentimental past times. Warrick Center, UNCW campus, Fri 9am-8pm, Sat 9am-6pm. 910-371-0501, quiltersbytheseaguild.com


Downtown Wilmington, NC

Join local art galleries and studios in an after-hours celebration of art and culture on the fourth Friday of each month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. MAY 23 JUNE 27 JULY 25 AUGUST 22

SEPTEMBER 26 OCTOBER 24 NOVEMBER 28 DECEMBER 26

THE GALLERIES ACES Gallery

221 N. Front St., Suite 101

Acme Art Studios 711 N. 5th Ave.

Art Factory Gallery & Studios 721 Surrey St.

The Artworks 200 Willard St.

Bottega Gallery & Art Bar 208 N. Front St.

Cape Fear Native 114 Princess St.

Crescent Moon 24 N. Front St.

The Wilma W. Daniels Gallery 200 Hanover St.

MC Erny Gallery at WHQR 254 N. Front St., 3rd Floor

The Gallery at Salt Studio 805 North 4th St.

The Golden Gallery 311 N. Front St.

New Elements Gallery 201 Princess St.

Port City Pottery & Fine Crafts 307 N. Front St.

River To Sea Gallery 225 S. Water St.

Urban Revival 606 Castle St.

www.artscouncilofwilmington.org 910.343.0998 DOWNTOWN WILMINGTON

18 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

Friday Variety Shows May 30 - June 27 Join Kure Beach Ocean Front Park on select Fridays throughout the summer for some incredible family-fun. Pick from a variety of comedy shows, concerts, impersonators and magicians to find the very best fit for your night out. Bring a chair or blanket, sit back and enjoy the show. Times vary. 910-458-8216. townofkurebeach.org Mayfaire’s Music on the Town Presents: Groove Fetish May 30 In the mood for some relaxing reggae mixed with alternative rock? Well then come sway to the sounds of Groove Fetish.  For the kids, there will be 3 moon bounce castles, cotton candy and snow cones, while adults can enjoy all the goodies and activities put on by this year’s sponsors. Just bring a blanket or chairs for comfort and pack your picnic basket with whatever you please. You can bring your own dinner; snacks and even coolers are welcome or feel free to enjoy one of Mayfaire’s 22 eateries. Mayfaire Event Lawn, 6pm. 910-256-5131. mayfairetown.com The Gentleman Pirate (Musical) June 6 - July 12 Argh! Enjoy this musical pirate adventure featuring the stories of famous NC pirates such as Stede Bonnet and Blackbeard all while relishing a delicious three-course meal fit for the most fierce of pirates. TheatreNow, 7pm. 910-399-3669. app.arts-people.com Pier to Pier Run & Crab Crawl June 7 Join in on the fun at this year’s Pier to Pier Run & Crab Crawl! This race will start off at Johnny Mercer’s Pier and go to the Crystal Pier and back so you will have plenty of time to enjoy beautiful

views of the ocean. Johnny Mercer’s Pier. wrightsvillebeachfoundation.org 5K Race for the Planet June 8 It’s almost Earth Day and what better way to start celebrating than by participating in our 5K Race for the Planet. Fort Fisher will be your route as this race starts and ends at the Aquarium. This flat, mostly asphalt course is scenic with views of the ocean, maritime forest, and historic Fort Fisher Civil War site. NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, 7:30am. 910-458-7468. ncaquariums.com Cape Fear Clash June 14 - 15 G e t r e ady for t he Clash! T his lacrosse competition, in its second year, consists of U-11, U-13 A & B Divisions, U-15 A & B Divisions, High School Division and Girls Middle School and High School Divisions. All teams play a minimum of 5 games so there’s plenty of opportunity for spectators to watch up and coming lacrosse stars. Veterans Park. 910-467-5059. capefearlacrosse.org Father’s Day Sunday Cruise June 15 Treat Dad to a spectacular cruise on the beautiful Cape Fear River this year. Sit back, relax and embrace the wondrous scenery, nature and afternoon breeze this Father’s Day with our special cruise. This cruise is complete with hot dogs and all the trimmings catered by the one and only Front Street Brewery as well as a cash bar ready to serve your dad’s favorite drink. This cruise is a one-of-a-kind adventure and the perfect way to celebrate your father on his special day. Wilmington Water Tours, 1pm or 3pm. 910-338-3134. wilmingtonwatertours.net


WalkerWorld Organic Artist Retreat

Come have the time of your life... An eclectic vacation rental home on the Northeast Cape Fear River fifteen minutes from everything. 453 Blossom Ferry Road • Castle Hayne, NC • 910-200-1720 • walkerworldnc.com • find us on airbnb.com


Reviews: Movies & Music DENISE K. JAMES ON NEW FILMS AND MUSIC

A Better Tomorrow Wu Tang Clan

If I had a dollar for every time a person mourned the loss of 1990s rap out loud, I’d buy them a copy of Wu Tang Clan’s new disk, A Better Tomorrow. With distinctive beats, back notes and lyrics you can actually listen to, this might be the happy result to fans frowning on the Clan’s recent endeavor — producing just one copy of the last album for sale to the highest bidder. With the debut of A Better Tomorrow this summer, we’ll all have a chance to listen to songs like “Keep Watch” and pretend we’re on MTV.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

4 Stars

Starring Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Bill Murray; Direct by Wes Anderson; R

20 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

Turn Blue

The Black Keys

Turn Blue is this alternative rock duo’s first album since 2011, and fans have been pumped for a while, after a series of creepy YouTube videos featuring a hypnotist surfaced on the Web to announce the album debut. One of the tracks, which was released as the initial single and titled “Fever,” is just as useful for pounding the pavement around your neighborhood as for cranking in the living room during a Saturday night get-together.

PHOTO C/O SONY PICTURES

A lot of us are accustomed to the Walt Disney version of a fairy tale. You know — all tied up with a ribbon and bow in the end and even the sad, scary or violent parts aren’t particularly grisly or graphic. Sure, we might have heard that the original versions of some of our favorite stories such as Cinderella or Rapunzel had odd twists and not-so-pretty turns, but as kids, we rarely encountered them. For adults who still crave some whimsy, Wes Anderson’s quirky film directing and settings often fit the fairy-tale catalog. His newest, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is the sort of tale that appeals to both the bitter and naive at heart, with a complex storyline, beautiful scenery, fantastic occurrences and plenty of plot suspense. And, yes, even some blood. As my movie buddy, Aaron, pointed out, one of the more unusual aspects of this movie is how layered the narrative is. The film begins with a scene of a young woman visiting the grave of a writer on a snowy afternoon, with a book tucked beneath her arm. She opens the book, begins reading .... and we see the writer, middle-aged, telling the story of his trip to The Grand Budapest Hotel and how he met the hotel’s elderly owner, Zero Moustafa. Next, we are treated to Zero’s own flashbacks as he shares information with this young writer which will later become the book. It’s a reminder of just how complex the process of passing down a story can be — and of the oral tradition itself. One could venture to call the plot a “whodunit,” since Zero’s story revolves around his adventure as a young bellhop during the time he was entrenched in helping his dearest friend, Gustave H, the hotel’s esteemed concierge, escape unfair accusations that he murdered a certain wealthy Madame D. It’s clear to the viewer, of course, that Gustave H. loved Madame D., and she, him — and the result of her bequeathing him a rare painting after her death causes a jealous, vengeful game of cat and mouse with her other family members. Regular fans of Wes Anderson’s directorial work will not be disappointed while watching this flick. Set in the fictional European country of Zubrowka, it engages viewers with the far-fetched visual effects that are Anderson’s trademark — but also throws in some modern mystery intrigue. In other words, everyone should be happy to book some time at The Grand Budapest Hotel.


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Inaugural Designer Showhouse By TERESA A. MCLAMB Would you have the nerve to paint your dining room walls bright pink and hang a puka shell chandelier over a vintage table? Meg Caswell does, and that’s one reason she’s the season six Design Star winner and host of HGTV’s Meg’s Great Rooms. Caswell’s work, and that of other Wilmington designers, will be revealed at the inaugural Designer Showhouse, May 2-18, to benefit The Arts Council of Wilmington and NHC. Caswell is a Chicago native who now calls Wilmington home. Designers will transform the interior and exterior of 1909 Gillette Drive. The 5000 square-foot Georgian home was designed by Charlie Boney and overlooks the golf course at Cape Fear Country Club. “This show house is a great representation of the local design talent Wilmington has to offer, mixed with amazing artists Wilmington is known for. It is a great platform for the two to come together,” Caswell said. Each room is styled by a local designer and incorporates the work of a local artist. For the dining room, Caswell will hang paintings by her sister, Jennifer Meyer, also a Wilmington resident. “I’m playing on the traditional with a fun, colorful feel that is warm and inviting where you can envision creating

memories around the dining table.” She will mix vintage pieces from Palm Beach with texture, such as a bamboo Greek-key mirror. Colors include pink and chocolate, and the fabric is all new from Brunschwig & Fils. “It’s a big statement,” she said. The table setting is by The Fisherman’s Wife. “They’ve put together a stunning table setting mixed from lines they sell at their store.” Describing her style as “a preppy mix of Palm Beach chic,” Caswell said one of the best parts of designing a show house is that designers can reflect their true style. “You can see what designers do for fun. It’s not for a client. I don’t have to get permission to paint a pink wall.” Attendees can expect to see unique ideas that can be incorporated in their own homes, she said. Many of the pieces will be for sale. Tour tickets are $20 each. The house is open from 11am to 6pm, May 3-4, 8-11 and 15-18. An opening preview gala featuring food, drink, live entertainment and tours will be held 7-10pm, May 2, at the home. Tickets are $100. Tickets for the event and the gala are available on the Arts Council’s website, artscouncilofwilmington.org.


Dreamy Atmosphere Gina Gambony brings the world of shadow puppetry to life By KIM HENRY

22 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

old form gave birth to Gambony’s unique style and became her passion. “A shadow is the most simple of any image. A flat, nonexisting, shifting image. It has no weight or color. It is primal. And yet it can have

immense power to move people, create a surreal, dreamy atmosphere, make you laugh and cry. It is simplicity in motion and it touches me to the core,” Gambony’s dedication is palpable.

PHOTOS COURTESY Gina Gambony

M

eet Gina Gambony – director, teacher, puppeteer, performer, writer and maker of all things extraordinary. This eclectic Wilmington artist cannot be pinned down by one defining label, a clear reflection of Gambony’s multi faceted artistic expression which is the driving force behind her love of experimental theatre, and the dreamy world of shadow puppetry. Born in Libertyville, Illinois, Gambony’s childhood was not the archetypal American dream of cherry pie and lemonade stands. It was turbulent and challenging and as she was regularly on the move, the arts became a life line of creative escape and valuable expression. “I was always involved in some kind of project. A show or dance recital or band performance. I was happiest when I was immersed in the chaotic crunch time that comes hand in hand with that preshow moment,” Gambony’s eyes glint with excitement just talking about it. Branching out beyond performance, Gambony gradually began to explore visual art when she discovered puppets. She now uses wool roving and a combination of needle felting and wet felting to create quirky 3-D hand and rod puppets. One of her personal favorites is the insane narrator that she made for a Stageworks production of ‘Shadowy Tales for Unusual Minds,’ in 2010 that was performed at the Cameron Art Museum. His huge eyes, bulbous nose and wild hair effectively played with the lighting to bring this eccentric character expressively to life. When Gambony discovered shadow puppets, her creative world expanded just that little bit further. Delving into this age


(clockwise from left) Macbeth, audience view 2013; Talking With Bugs, Brawdeville, City Stage 2011; The Tree: Shadowy Tales from Unusual Minds, Cameron Art Museum 2010 ; Gambony as “Saucy” in Pied Piper’s Bossy in Space, Thalian Hall Main Stage 2011; BFG Giants: Puppets from The BFG by Roald Dahl, Thalian Hall Main Stage 2009.

One of her most extensive shadow shows to date was ‘The Sandman and Other Wonders’ which was co-directed with her shadow mentor, Chris Neely in 2006. The two women met when Gambony was an eighth grade teacher at Williston Middle School. Neely shared her extensive experience of working with the iconic San Francisco based shadow company, ‘ShadowLight’. The brutally honest working relationship that these two women shared and clearly valued, led to an innovative show that fused 3-D and 2-D puppetry, live performance and masks, using a shadow screen that was 15 feet wide and 12 feet tall. It was exceptionally well received and was awarded the Best Use of Inspiration by Encore magazine, among other honors. Taking this leap into the world of shadow puppetry further developed Gambony’s artistic skills and provided insights that she readily brings into her teaching. Gambony has worked within schools and community arts organizations, including Thalian, Cape Fear Shakespeare, Journey Productions and Wilmington Ballet for nearly twenty years. “I am a teacher and community organizer in my bones,” Gambony says with the conviction that would make any parent want her as their child’s teacher. She is currently a guest artist

with Theatre Now’s outreach team, and at Dreams, an after school arts center for children at risk. “Creating shadow shows has taught me many things that I like to pass on to my students. First, practice drawing, stay with an image, edit it like writing until it’s what you want it to be. It is attainable if you want it badly enough. Too many kids, especially by middle school, try to draw a frog, it ends up looking like a bear, and then they say “I can’t do this,” and they don’t want to suffer failure so they stop and refuse to go on with it. I say to them – mistakes are important. Rub it out, do it again, make it how you want it to be, accept your style.” She speaks passionately about having art and drama programs within schools, believing that, “the arts are extremely important for young people, and I mean real, uninhibited, unrestricted art. I have been involved in integrating art into education for almost 20 years, because the arts will no doubt save some percentage of the population in their challenging journey through youth.” With her infectious laugh and open smile, Gambony’s zest for life and all things out of the ordinary flows from her and into every area of her busy life with unabashed abundance. She seamlessly moves from making a shadow show film with special needs children at Laney High School, to co-directing Big Dawg’s next production, ‘Motherhood Outloud,’ to being the in-house manager at Kennan auditorium, to rounding off the day with the symphonic band at UNCW where she plays the flute. Mother of nineteen year old Oskar who is studying music in Asheville, Gambony is a clearly a creative tour de force! W

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« Pictured:

(back row L to R) W. Berry Trice, G. Stephen Diab, Michael Murchison, Joseph O. Taylor, Jr., Fred B. Davenport, Jr., Frank B. Gibson, Jr., Scott M. Holmes; (front row L to R) Faison G. Sutton, Frances Y. Trask, Amanda K. Miars.

Deeply Rooted The law firm of Murchison, Taylor, and Gibson is intertwined in Wilmington’s history By DAVID HOWELL

»

Photos by KELLY STARBUCK and HORACE LONG, Salt Studio

Oak trees, Spanish moss, brick streets, and historic homes… these are a few of the more prominent features of the landscape in downtown Wilmington. They are equally representative of the culture and community here, the town’s rich history, and the people who have made the Cape Fear Region’s past unique and enduring. 24 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

Those who take spring and summer walks through downtown’s lower five or six blocks stop frequently to admire these natural and architectural wonders as if a painting in a museum. They take photos so they can carry a bit of Wilmington home, not realizing that many of the historic homes downtown have been renovated and preserved not only as cherished residential spaces, but also to house some of the region’s most well respected business offices. Four of these homes near the corner of Fifth and Market, on the same block as the Bellamy Mansion, house the law firm of Murchison, Taylor, and Gibson, PLLC, comprised of 14 attorneys and their staff, with many practice areas, including business and tax law, mergers and acquisitions, health care, real estate and development, employment law, litigation, and wills and estate planning. When taken as a whole, the firm’s work and commitment to the community has involved it in many aspects of Wilmington’s civic life, and make it an important part of the town’s history in the last half-century. The firm was started by Wallace C. Murchison and Oliver Carter in 1955. James C. Fox and Louis K. Newton joined the firm shortly after its founding. Founder Murchison was with the firm for forty years from its origination until his retirement in 1994, and among various other affiliations, was a part of some of Wilmington’s most important community institutions, including the Cape Fear United Way, the UNCW Foundation, the Bellamy Mansion, and the Historic Wilmington Foundation— one of Wilmington’s most vital non-profits responsible for preserving historic homes. Wallace’s son and current partner, Michael Murchison, has also served as president of the Historic Wilmington Foundation. Another one of the firm’s early partners, the Honorable James C. Fox, was with the practice for over twenty years, before he was nominated by President Reagan for


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(above) One of four historic homes that houses the law offices of Murchison, Taylor, and Gibson. (left) Managing partner Andrew K. McVey (on left) and Frank B. Gibson, Jr., standing by a portrait of the firm’s founder, the late Wallace C. Murchison. Portrait by Martha Grove Williams.

appointment as a District Court Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Prior to his appointment, he had served as County Attorney for New Hanover County. Some 26 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

of the cases heard by Judge Fox from 1982 onward were significant enough to draw the attention of the New York Times and even major television networks. Today, the firm’s attorneys are proud to carry on this tradition of commitment, community involvement and service. Since 1990, when Interstate 40 was extended from Raleigh, North Carolina, to Wilmington, the city has seen unprecedented growth that continues to this day. Many of southeastern North Carolina’s largest and most respected real estate developers work closely with the firm’s real estate department, whose practice is primarily devoted to commercial real estate. Led by partner Joe Taylor who has been with the firm for over 40 years, the real estate department spends their time dealing with everything from land and property acquisitions to financing and development issues. The firm also handles a number of mergers and other transactions for companies and health care providers which have been longstanding contributors to the economic health of the community,

as well as newer companies, such as PPD and Live Oak Bank, which are essential to Wilmington’s future growth. “We’re pleased that we have a strong legacy of service to the community and that we remain a strong part of Wilmington’s business and cultural life,” says Attorney Andrew McVey, a member of the firm’s litigation section. On being a part of the larger community, Michael Murchison says, “We’ve always prided ourselves on providing excellent professional services to our clients, and tried to foster community involvement and the betterment of the community.” To that end, it’s not surprising when you learn that the firm has been closely involved for many years with the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, UNC-Wilmington Foundation, the Landscapes of Opportunity Foundation at NC State University, and the Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts. Attorneys in the firm have been active with numerous other local and regional non-profit, charitable and religious groups and causes, including the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust, Wilmington Business Development, New Hanover County Community Foundation, North Carolina Community Foundation, Coastal Horizons Center, Good Shepherd Center, Southeastern Community Development Commission, NHRMC Foundation, Hospice Foundation, and Greater Wilmington Chamber Foundation. “All of our attorneys contribute to the community in substantial ways,” says McVey. That the law firm Murchison started in 1955 can still play such a prominent role in our centuries-old community appears to be a historical fact that many of us don’t even realize, but should appreciate. The firm’s ties to Wilmington should also be enough to give us pause… When we stop on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Market Street to admire the widow’s peak atop the Bellamy Mansion, we might wonder who makes that possible. Or when we take pictures under giant oaks in front of downtown’s oldest homes, we might consider that the very people who make many of them possible are sitting right there inside, working quietly and diligently to keep our community what it is. 910-763-2426, murchisontaylor.com W


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Home Away From Home Sea Scape Properties offers top-notch vacation rentals and personal service that puts their homeowners at ease By TERESA A. MCLAMB

T

aking a cue from all-inclusive resorts, a local property management company is making its mark by stocking their rental properties with all the amenities of vacationing. Customers just need to bring their clothes, their food and their beach attitudes. Founded a year ago by Bobby Huckabee, Sea Scape Properties manages long-term rental homes from Southport to Holly Ridge. Many are inland, but vacation

28 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

rentals is an important piece of their business. Their vacation homes have “all the amenities of home,” said Nicole King, property manager and broker-in-charge. “The linens are included. We have beach cruisers, coolers, umbrellas. The kitchens are fully stocked. We can even buy groceries for them.” Through Wrightsville Beach Adventures, they offer discounted half and full day cruises and fishing charters. “For people who are not from here, it gives them a different perspective by being in

a boat,” said Jessica Elliot, marketing manager. Sea Scape is developing a concierge service for expanded services. “I think it’s also important to know that as we grow the inclusive packages, we use local companies so we can grow together. Bobby is a local, so he’s invested in the community. We’re invested in helping local small businesses. Many are run by people who have been here their whole lives, and can share their knowledge of history with the customer.” Clientele for the rental properties – which are on Wrightsville, Carolina and Topsail Beaches – come from across the country. They’re often here for a wedding or family reunion. The area’s popularity as a destination includes the many activities available in Wilmington and the environs. Prior to their visit, King or Elliot introduce them to the area. “We handle a lot of questions by phone. Especially for those coming for the first time, we provide advance information and planning to help them feel comfortable.” Some renters are locals who have family coming in for the holidays or other special events. They get a large house that can handle the entire family so everyone can gather in one place. The properties they represent can sleep from six to seventeen. They all have ocean views; one has a boat slip. Keyless entry systems allow vacationers to go directly to the house rather than an office to check in. The properties are important, but King said the key is the people. “They’re spending a lot of money and coordinating two or three families. They appreciate that when they get here the property is beautiful, and everybody loves it, and they see their money was well spent. These are important events in families’ lives. If you can help them to make it perfect, it’s very important.”

PHOTOS COURTESY SEA SCAPE PROPERTIES

Located on the north end, spectacular water views of both sound and ocean make this one of the most unique homes on Wrightsville Beach.


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The company is beefing up its marketing through advertising on multiple websites and participating in travel expos and local events. Guests who meet them at an expo and make reservations within 30 days get a discounted rate. They’re re-making their website, and promoting the staycation to locals. To further distinguish themselves, Sea Scape spends a lot of time getting to know their property owners. “They need and want to know the property manager is getting the right guest in place, is spending the time needed to get the property booked and making sure the homes are taken care of,” said Elliot. “We know what recommendations to give to home owners if the property needs to be updated and what will make a difference in their bottom line.” The better condition a property is in, the better the tenant it will attract, she noted. They also work with investors wishing to purchase rental properties. Deciding whether to use a property manager often goes to the bottom line rather than convenience. King said she generally is able to get more from a property than the owner can. “It frees their time, and they’re not losing any money in the deal either.” Often, the owners do not realize how much of their own time they are spending managing their property. “Sometimes people don’t want to use a property manager because they’re afraid it won’t be looked after properly,” said King. “Especially with vacation home owners, some feel they might lose the personal touch they want for their renters if a management company takes over. As a company, we strive to give that personal touch. Our guests, long-term rental tenants and property owners know we care about their property. We take the time to build a relationship with them.” 910-332-7284, seascaperealestate.com W 30 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com


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All in a Day’s Work Wilmington Magazine talks with Ken Dull, owner of McKinley Building Corporation, about fostering the friendship between preservation and growth By JENNIFER GLATT

You can see evidence of his handiwork all over Wilmington, yet Ken Dull and his company, McKinley Building Corporation, occupy a business location that is wholly unassuming and modest. You might expect a prolific commercial builder with millions of dollars in annual sales to monopolize a landmark building downtown, or perhaps hold court in a contemporary conflux of brand new construction, but no. His second-floor office is tucked away off quiet Peachtree Avenue, amid the live oaks and the pine trees and the crape myrtles that are lazily waking up after the long, cold winter. Constructing a Builder’s Foundation

Quiet and unassuming himself, Dull has lived in Wilmington long enough to call 32 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

himself a local (27 years to be precise), but grew up in High Point, NC. His namesake grandfather grew up west of there in Farmington, NC, and built houses for a

living. “He worked with his hands his whole life,” Dull recalls. “He told his kids if he could do anything, he didn’t want them to labor like he had to do, and he had the


PHOTO KELLY STARBUCK and HORACE LONG, SALT STUDIO

McKinley Dull

» B irthplace:

High Point, NC

» Family:

Wife Vicki, Daughters Madison (19), and Catie (17)

» Education:

Bachelors’ degreeCivil Engineering, N.C. State. Currently holds a Professional Engineers License.

» Favorite Hobby: Travel and golf

» F avorite

Wilmington Event: “The Azalea Festival, especially the Friday luncheon. It’s my favorite day of the year.”


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(top) Carolina Cove apartments. (above) Mayfaire II building.

foresight to send all five of his children to college.” One of those children, Dull’s father, became a professional educator— really, just a builder of a different sort (of minds, rather than materials). When it came time for Dull to attend college at NC State, he blended his grandfather’s building heritage with his father’s focus on learning, and chose to pursue a degree in civil engineering. “I would think of something in my head and had this need to make it happen, so I followed the path of engineering,” he explains, noting, “it’s good to have a skill.” Dull’s first job out of college was with Landmark Builders of Winston Salem, a design/build firm that employed their own architects

and engineers. Working there, “I had the best of both worlds,” he says with a laugh. “I was able to be involved in the design process and the construction process, which was perfect. I enjoyed that.” He says that wanderlust got the better of him for a while, but what drew him to Wilmington was nothing more than a want ad “with my name on it,” answered on a whim on a Sunday afternoon while he was in town visiting. He took a job as the construction manager for Leader Construction, then realized his dream of forming his own commercial construction firm in 1992. “We started the company during the Gulf War; times were not good,” he


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(left to right) Bank of America building; Bannerman building.

acknowledged. “In hindsight, starting during a poor economy is actually a good thing. It allows you to get your foundation established properly before good times happen. It gives you a better chance for success.” And success has surely come.

to be high performance. When you build a culture around expecting excellence, mediocrity can’t exist there,” Dull explains. Then, he continues, “If you build your culture around people that expect the best, it takes root.”

“The only thing constant is change. If you’re conscious about what you’re doing then you can have good growth.” As a company, “our philosophy is not to be the biggest, but to be the best,” he explains. “We want to have the ability to have the expertise to be like the biggest firms, but big isn’t a goal. Being technically good at what we’re doing is the goal.” With 41 total employees, one way McKinley Building has achieved technical expertise is by hiring well. The company’s staff includes a registered engineer, a professional land use planner, a team of LEED construction managers, and an army of others. “We have what I call a high-performance culture. High performance people expect other people 36 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

He adds that you have to lead by action. “If you lead by action, everyday you get up and you try to treat people fairly—not just the client, but the people that work for you.” Dull also notes that because of the company’s culture of respect, accountability and performance, they have virtually no employee turnover. “Its what you do every day that defines you,” he states simply. “It’s not the accolades or the ribbon cuttings or any of that stuff (although that stuff is fun). Your reputation is all you have—you’re only as good as you are right now. It’s not what you did 10 years ago, it’s not what you did last

year, it’s what you’re doing today.” And today, Dull is doing plenty. Take a look around town for his trademark McKinley Building Corporation sign; you’ll find it mounted at worksites that include Atlantic Marine, US Cellular, Derm One, Wells Fargo Wealth Management, Corning Credit Union, Cambridge Village, Lake Park Village, Hamlet and Assoc., and more. Other recent builds include The Offices at Mayfaire (multiple phases), the new Bank of America building downtown, Bannerman Station, Carolina Cove Apartments, Regions Financial Center, First Baptist Church Activity Center, Thunder Alley Bowling Center, Walgreens, Wilmington Animal Healthcare, and even the recent renovation of the WECT studio. The company has a well-earned reputation for quality on diverse projects, from office buildings to warehouses, freestanding retail stores to entire shopping centers, clubhouses to medical centers, restaurants to schools. They build from the ground up and also perform upfits and renovations.


Nod to the Past, Eye on the Future

Watching the city as it grows, Dull acknowledges that his company is changing the landscape of Wilmington. He takes a decidedly proactive role, however. “Decisions will be made. You can either sit on the sidelines and watch them happen or you can be part of the solution,” he says. He spent six years on the New Hanover County Planning Board (serving as chairman for two years) and has served on the City of Wilmington Planning Commission since 2005, chairing that commission since 2007. He maintains positions in many other civic, professional and religious organizations, including the Cape Fear Rotary Club, of which he has been a member since 1989. “I’ve got core commitments—to my family, to my church, and to my business,” Dull notes. “And, I believe you should be civic-minded and do things to help others.” Preserving Wilmington’s classic culture is important to Dull, even as he is part of the change that the Port City is undergoing. The key, he says, is good planning. “The only thing constant is change. If you’re conscious about what you’re doing then you can have good growth.” With Wilmington, we don’t want to create a museum, he remarked, we want to create a vibrant community. “If your objective is to stop growth and make things frozen in time—if the city fathers believed that 100 years ago, where would we be now? You always have to have positive transition. There’s a place for the historic foundation, and there’s a place for the guy that wants to build the new waterfront marina. They should complement each other. I believe that preservation and growth can be friends.” “I think a lot of times people think that because you’re in the building business that you’re anti-environment or anti-preservation, but it’s really the opposite. We’re the people that have the most impact on getting things done right. That’s my goal: to do the things I can in this community not just with my business, but with helping people and doing things for the city that would make this a better place.” W

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PHOTO ANNE MCQUARY

Yigal Azrouel One on one with the legendary New York based fashion designer.


fashion icon

Charmed by Design An intimate conversation with New York fashion designer Yigal Azrouel

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By Lisa Arnold

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Photos by Anne McQuary

s I prepared, I began to think about Yigal the man: 41 years of age, single and gorgeous – and yet he’s remained a mystery to most of the world since he launched his line at the age of 27. Yigal, a New York based fashion designer who was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and is of French-Moroccan descent, has been rocking the fashion world since starting his own line in 1998. Yigal is best known for his feminine designs and expert draping. Many fashion critics have referred to Mr. Azrouel’s Fall 2014 collection as a “celebration of dimension” which I personally think describes him perfectly as a designer. Pleats, textures (including nubby boucle knit, mohair, lambskin and leather) and geometric prints were all included in this 40 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

collection. The colors were subdued neutrals...think gray, black and a hint of navy. The morning of the interview I dressed in a Yigal skirt and jacket, grabbed my notebook and headed out the door to interview him. And then, anxiety set in. I arrived a few minutes early in anticipation of Mr. Azrouel’s arrival and as my photographer, Anne McQuary, was setting up, I looked over at her and shared my sudden attack of nerves. Just as Anne looked back at me and replied, “You’ve got this Lisa, you’re a pro,” he casually strolled in, looking more handsome than in his photographs. As the models started coming in for their fittings I observed Yigal asking each woman if they were comfortable walking the runway in what he had chosen for them. Understand that this is atypical of most designers; but for Yigal, how the models felt was clearly important.


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LA: You’ve said that you never thought you would be in the fashion business. I read that while in France you went to a Dior show with a friend and your passion for design took off from there? YA: Yes, I was 20 at the time. Gianfranco Ferre was the head of Dior. The energy and excitement was amazing; I enjoyed the entire experience. LA: I heard that you started designing by deconstructing vintage pieces for friends? YA: Yes, that is true. I would go to flea markets and bring home vintage pieces and take them completely apart. Then, I would create something totally different. I loved doing it and my friends enjoyed wearing my designs. LA: You were born and raised in Israel. What made you decide to move to the United States? YA: I came to the United States to visit my sister and really liked it. I decided to move to New York and live with a friend of mine. LA: You launched your line in 1998 at the age of 27. What made you decide to launch your own line? YA: I could not find a job. No one would hire me. I saved a few thousand dollars and went down to the Design District and purchased some fabric. I just started designing and put together my first collection. It was all black (actually my first two collections were all black). I presented it to Barney’s and they picked up my line. LA: I understand that you have no formal training in fashion, which is a testament to your unique and incredible talent. When and how did you realize that this was what you wanted to do and that you had such a natural ability? YA: It came about organically. I believe that every person has a job in this life – this is my calling – it is my passion and love. LA: You were inducted into the CFDA* in 2004, which is an enormous honor. What was that like/how did it feel? YA: It was great. It wasn’t something I was chasing. I felt honored and I love the support of the fashion community and other American designers. LA: Your designs are a balance of strength and femininity. That juxtaposition is a hard balance to achieve. You were once

quoted as saying, “I’m designing for real women; not models and celebrities.” Define the Yigal woman. YA: The Yigal woman is feminine and confident. I don’t love designs that are overly fussy or overtly sexy. My designs are minimalistic and modern, with just enough sex appeal. The reality though is that it is all about the energy the person wearing the clothing exudes. I love to dress real women and it is exciting to see them wear my designs. I was once invited by a friend to a luncheon at Gwyneth Paltrow’s house in the Hamptons. When I was introduced to her she asked me what I did and told her I was a fashion designer and she said ‘tell me your name again’ so I did. A while later she came back and said, “Come with me.” We went down the hall to her closet and she said, “I just got it.” She then proceeded to start pulling out all of the pieces that she owned that I had designed. I was very flattered but I don’t design with that in mind. LA: Muse(s)? YA: I don’t really have a muse except perhaps the French musician Francois Hardy. I grew up listening to her music and attending her concerts. She was and still is gorgeous to me. Francois reminded me of myself; she loves her privacy and is not looking to be in the spotlight all the time. She lives her own life in her own way and I admire that about her. LA: I have read that you produce 90% of your designs in NY? YA: Yes that is true. My flagship store is on Madison Avenue and the production facility is in the Garment District. I love and am involved with every detail of production. LA: Two of the things that I admire about your line are the consistency of quality and sizing. Tell me about how you do this? YA: I am involved with every detail of the design process. I don’t know where I am going when I start the process of designing a new collection. I usually start by picking out the highest quality fabrics and then I move into shape. In the end, it’s really about the juxtaposition of hard and soft; refined and sexy, I just know when it feels right. With regard to the consistency of the sizing, I have used the same sample model

*Council of Fashion Designers of America

fashion icon


for 8 years and it is amazing because her body never changes. LA: You have collaborated with Dror Benshetrit, a childhood friend, on quite a few projects. I understand that he is an architect; tell me about your relationship. YA: Yes, Dror is amazing. He’s a little out there so I guess we speak the same language. I love collaborating with him because I admire him so much. He designed my first boutique in the Meatpacking District back in 2003. We also collaborated on the design of my house in Costa Rica. LA: Tell me about the collection and show that you did at your boutique that Dror was involved with, based on the infamous “imperfect vase” which he designed? YA: Ah...the imperfect vase. The vase is about transformation and contrast. One side is smooth and perfect and the other side nearly destroyed. I believe that beauty comes from experience; when you look in someone’s eyes and can see that they went through something, it makes them all the more beautiful. The show was very untraditional; it was at my old boutique and the models were seated in chairs. The hair and makeup was very Dior fifties. We even used Polaroid photos. LA: You started showing internationally in 2004. How many shows are you currently doing around the world? YA: I’m currently just showing in New York and Paris, which is the major place to show for the European markets. LA: I love that you use convertible zippers in many of your pieces that double the functionality, which I understand as I own a few of those jackets myself. Tell me how that came about? YA: It is so versatile you get two looks in one. LA: You are the youngest of eight children and you have five older sisters? Do you feel that growing up with that much female energy in your family inspired your designs? YA: I am sure it has subconsciously, but I have never really thought about it as a direct connection. LA: Do you really surf or is that just a rumor? YA: Yes, I really surf! Surfing is my other passion. I particularly love nighttime surfing. There are only a few beaches in the world that you can do that and one is back home in Israel. W

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fashion

Consignment Chic Today’s resale consignment stores offer top name brands and vintage clothing at deeply discounted pricing By CECE NUNN

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hopper Charlene Pete recently got a pair of $400 Prada sunglasses for $40. In the same week, at a different store, Lily Pulitzer dresses originally priced at more than $200 were selling for $99 each. But these bargains aren’t unusual at Wilmington’s consignment and resale clothing and accessory stores, especially those that cater to women who want high-end items at lower prices. Several of the stores sell designer label clothes and accessories, from Ann Taylor to Michael Kors, for a third of the price (or less) of other retailers. Bargain-hunting shoppers start taking advantage of the deals more often as the weather warms up, and more events require ensembles that stand out. Here is a highlight of three stores in Wilmington that resell some of the most sought-after clothing.

44 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

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Photos by SUSAN FRANCY

Encore! Consignment Boutique

Of the growth of consignment stores, Encore! Consignment Boutique owner Claire Mains says, “I think everybody’s realizing that you don’t have to pay full price to find something that’s really nice, and a lot of women have a need to wear something only once or twice. They like to clean out their closets every season and start over, and there’s customers that can pick up on that and find a good deal.” Mains has operated Encore! Consignment Boutique for eight years at 5814 Oleander Drive. Her store has an inviting atmosphere and is carefully lit to highlight clothes that look brand new (and some are, with the tags still on). “I’m an artist so I have a flair for designing and color, and I wanted something that was open and spacious. The lighting is good and the color of the

walls is good. It’s very organized; it’s not cluttered; and it smells fresh when you walk in here,” Mains said. The way consignment works much of the time, people can bring in items they want


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fashion to sell and split the profits with the store. For example, Mains gives her consigners 40 percent of the selling price. “Consigners can walk in and drop their clothes off at any time,” Mains said. “If I’m here, I go through them on the spot and if I’m not, the girls who work for me will take them and I go through them when I come in.” As spring started, the store was filled with sleeveless tops and dresses and other spring and summer clothing, including brightly colored Lily Pulitzer dresses for $99. Detailed information about the store and how to sell clothes on consignment there is available on the store’s website encoreconsignmentstore.com, or 910-452-4468.

A Second Time Around

To Meredith McCahan, owner of downtown Wilmington’s A Second Time Around resale shop at 143 N. Front St., it seems like everyone wants to make a vintage statement. “Everybody has always loved the vintage jewelry, but now more people are definitely wearing the vintage clothing and mixing it with their more contemporary pieces, their designer pieces, just for that more personal look,” McCahan said. “We’ve probably seen the biggest upswing in sales of hats. We sell a lot of contemporary and new hats as well, but I’ve sold lots and lots of vintage hats.” At the same location for 10 years, McCahan mostly buys items outright rather than working with consigners, including designer- and departmentstore labels and vintage clothing and accessories. She says the store’s clientele is a very eclectic mix of people of all ages, both locals and tourists, who buy not only for fashion but also for proms and periodthemed (1920s, etc.) private parties and fundraising galas. Clothing with a 1970s look has been popular recently. “We’ve never seen any polyester we didn’t like,” McCahan joked, “and we do really well with the 70s. Who would have thought?” Halloween is another busy time for the store with shoppers looking for costumes. Owing to its historic background, the store has a vintage feel; it was a Butler’s Shoe Store decades ago and McCahan has some of the tiles that spell out the shoe store’s name in A Second Time Around’s


fashion

classic store-front windows. The windows are always ornately decorated, for which McCahan gives credit to employees Mical Caldwell and Amanda Moore. From April until December, the store is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and sometimes until 7 or 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays during the summer. People who want to sell their items can come in at any time, but calling first is a good idea, McCahan said. She is building an email list and a bigger presence on Facebook and other social media outlets to announce the stores many sales. 910-343-1043

48 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

Repeat Boutique Fine Consignments

Pete, the shopper who scored the marked down Prada sunglasses, isn’t new to consignment shopping. “I’ve bought clothes here that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed wearing,” Pete said of the store owned by Georgeanne Banks and located at 5629 Oleander Drive. “She’s got some phenomenal stuff.” Banks, who’s been in the consignment business in the area for 20 years and lived in Wilmington most of her life, said shoppers like Pete want unique things without having to pay full price. “It’s kind of like a treasure hunt,” Banks

said. “You never know what you’ll find because it’s constantly changing. It’s not like a normal retail store where there’s just racks and racks of the same thing. I have a lot of customers who will come in once every week or once every two weeks just to see what’s come in.” Banks and her employees work to create a welcoming atmosphere. “All the ladies that work for me are like that — very welcoming, very warm. They get to know the customers and the customers get to know us,” Banks said. While her items on consignment are already reduced from retail prices, Banks also marks items down further and holds sales. “I do special sales where everything is half off for a couple of days,” Banks said. “I have a long email list and a big Facebook following.” Banks, who has two teenage children with her husband of 22 years, previously owned a consignment store called Repeat Performance with her mother-in-law and a store called Trade Secrets. “I have a lot of loyal customers,” Banks said. “I have customers who come to my store who remember when I was pregnant with my children at Repeat Performance.” In April, Repeat Boutique was accepting consignment items from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays. For more information and a list of brands the store sells frequently, visit repeatboutiqueconsignments.com or 910-399-1327. W


Get Your Art Buzz On Discover the artist in you with a fun night of guided instruction and a little wine on the side By KIM HENRY Photos by SUSAN FRANCY

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nce upon a time in 2010 two young ladies from Raleigh, North Carolina went to a party, and enjoyed some wine with friends while they got creative with paints and canvas. Everyone had such a fun time that these age old friends wanted to do it again. Four years later, they are the proud owners of the very successful Wine and Design Franchise that is taking America by storm. Then in 2012, Claudia WootenOutlaw was looking for her next business

Claudia Wooten-Outlaw

venture when the Wilmington branch of Wine and Design came up for sale – and so began the next chapter. Born in Kinston, North Carolina, Wooten-Outlaw has always been an entrepreneur with a spirit for adventure and business. Her degree in business management was attained at age forty-two, once her two daughters had finally flown the nest. Her youngest daughter, Sarah, is studying to be a veterinarian and her elder daughter, Kathleen, is the Events Planner for Blockade Runner. Having Kathleen in town made the move to Wrightsville Beach from New Bern all the more desirable for Wooten-Outlaw. “Ironically we hardly ever see each other,” she laughs, surrounded by little wooden easels and a collage of paintings that adorn the walls of the Landfall Wine and Design studio. “We are both so busy but we just love our work and that’s a wonderful thing to be able to say.” Wooten-Outlaw began her career as a travel agent and spent 15 years in the industry, thriving from the constant interaction with people from all over America. “I’m very much a people person. I love meeting new people and it’s a huge part of why I love Wine and Design – I get to chat to all sorts of people, from the scouts, to the seniors and everyone inbetween!” explains this vivacious lady.

Wine and Design Wilmington is her most exciting venture to date and she is clearly loving every minute of it. The concept of Wine and Design is simple and yet genius. Every evening of the Calendar month there is a new painting on offer. You simply go to the Wine and Design web site, choose the painting that inspires you and walk into the studio on that given night. There you will find your own easel, canvass and paints awaiting you, complete with the original artist of the painting who is ready to guide you through the steps to completing your own unique creation. “We really encourage people to have fun with it,” smiles Wooten-Outlaw. “The artists are there to lead people and give advice about which brush to use and how to blend the paints, but they also make sure that everyone feels free to add their own twist and get creative!” Wine and Design is the ideal opportunity to explore art and get experimental with something new, especially if you are heading out on your own for the evening. The Landfall Wine and Design studio is a hive of activity, with a wide range of themed nights and facilities for private parties. They regularly host bridal showers, team building events, paint-yourpet night, kids classes and fund raisers where a portion of the evenings income May/June 2014 | 49


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goes to the chosen charity. There is also a date night where a couple get to paint one another. “That’s a lot of fun,” grins Wooten-Outlaw. “It’s great to see their faces when they finally reveal the paintings to one another. We’ve even had three proposals of marriage in here!” Not one to waste a minute, during the day Wooten-Outlaw opens her doors to the local treatment center where people recovering from addictions can benefit from the therapeutic nature of art. “Everyone gains from getting creative. I’m not an artist by any means, but I see the positive impact an evening spent in the studio has on people every day – it’s a real blessing,” Wooten-Outlaw gestures around her to the myriad of diverse art work. And just in-case you can’t make it in to the studio, design-on-wheels is the mobile version of this venture and Wooten-Outlaw loves to travel. There are ten local artists sharing their talents at the Wilmington branch of Wine and Design, each with their own unique form. From surrealism to detailed fine art, there is a style to suit every taste. “I once had two huge hell’s angel dudes come in as they traveled across the country, for an evening of fine wine and painting – they loved it. When

people ask me who my cliental are, I can honestly reply – everyone!” W


gardening

Seeds of Time The Airlie Gardens attracts visitors from near and far, to tour their harmonious garden from seedlings planted hundreds of years ago By JAMIE PENN

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Photos by GARY BREECE

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irlie Gardens has a coastal history besttracked by the 490 year-old Live Oak that towers over a sprawling green lawn, offering picnickers and visitors young and old an expansive reprieve from the spring and summer sun. The “Airlie oak” dates back to 1546, around 240 years before Airlie gardens was imagined. Deeply Rooted From owner, Thomas Henry Wright in 1836 to subsequent owners, Pembroke and Sara Jones in the late 1880s and early 1900s, the “seeds” that have been cultivated at

Airlie over the years, were planted. The quaint Mt. Lebanon Chapel, situated under a perfect canopy of trees, built by Wright on a 6-acre spit of land, has been restored through the years and has hosted hundreds of weddings.   Sara Green Jones, near the turn of the century, dreamed the garden that Airlie would become - one that follows the land, that harmoniously cohabitates with surrounding flora and fauna.  She saw to it that 1,200 long leaf pines were planted; 500 live oaks; 5,000 camellias; and around a quarter of a million azaleas.   The wisteria, magnolias, and native azaleas inspired Jones to follow the beauty in the blooms that naturally graced the land. She saw to it that the theme continued. The seeds that the Joneses’ employees, Mrs. Minnie Evans and her husband Julius, planted - Minnie, mimicking and recording the beauty that surrounded her in her vibrant, dream-like sketches from her seat at the gate, and Julius, guiding visitors through the Airlie’s wonders - are mainstays at Airlie today. The dreamy bottle house built by local artist Virginia Wright Frierson captures the essence of Evans’s art, twisting colors and light together in walls

that surround a copper and rebar “tree” in the center of the house, all accentuated, of course, by the bright azaleas, and old, glossy-leaved camellias in surrounding beds. Flowers adorn the entrance and the grounds around this marvel. And, as for Julius Evans, the expansive knowledge that he acquired and shared with visitors of the past is now shared with visitors today by Airlie educators. Tradition Continues Sara Jones goal of preservation and harmonious gardening has carried through at Airlie. Over a hundred years later, Scott Childs, garden superintendent, works to find cultivars as close to home as possible. “We definitely maintain a native focus. Right now, we’re adding a lot of flowering trees, redbuds, deciduous magnolias, some of which are native, and dogwoods. We’re working to restore the canopy that has been affected by storms over the years,” Childs said. In February of this year, the first ever “tree mob” was organized at Airlie. Volunteers and Airlie employees planted over 400 trees on the property. This effort was recognized by the Wilmington Tree May/June 2014 | 51


gardening

(above) Bottle house built by local artist Virginia Wright Frierson.

Commission and on April 1st of this year, Airlie was presented with the Wilmington Tree Commission “Tree Award”. While all flowering trees and shrubs provide needed nectar for insects including the butterflies that inhabit Airlie’s butterfly house, Childs has shifted the southern azalea standard a bit by implementing a deciduous azalea garden to try to keep the blooms 52 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

coming in keeping with Airlie’s roots. In the inspiration phase of Sara Jones vision at Airlie, she had a deciduous azalea transplanted from the woods closer to her home, deciding that azaleas would be a mainstay in the garden. While deciduous azaleas are native to the coastal plain and the piedmont, there are now hundreds of evergreen cultivars, both of which can be found shaping Airlie’s beds.   The deciduous azalea garden, Childs says, could be in bloom as late as September. Foundation for Growth Airlie has been open to the public since

1999 and has seen more visitors every year. Last year alone, around 110,000 visitors passed through Airlie’s gates from all 50 states and 39 countries.      Janeen Powell, fundraising director for the Airlie Foundation, a nonprofit organization designed to offset the costs of improvements and programs at Airlie, says that attracting visitors and keeping them coming back, is a challenge that the foundation is happy to be a part of.  The foundation supports 35% of Airlie’s operating costs. Improvements and maintenance are the foundation’s focus. While the Airlie butterfly house was funded privately as a gift to the gardens and the community, the foundation organizes and funds appropriate planting and maintenance of the house.   Most recently, the foundation has been focused on projects such as the new traffic circle at Airlie’s entrance, which adds beauty and function to the garden. “Now that we have made Airlie accessible to tour buses, we’re working more closely with the North Carolina Motorcoach Association. We can now accommodate tourists arriving on cruise ships docked down at the Bridge Tender.”   The Airlie Foundation also heads conservation and preservation projects, such as the Milkweed program, that could serve to bolster the floundering monarch population. The Airlie Foundation has purchased thousands of seeds and soil blocks to provide area parks with milkweed that could help replenish the monarch population. At Ease So, this summer, whether it’s to catch a favorite band at one of the many concerts in Airlie’s summer concert series, to see Gary Caldwell’s stunning metalwork art throughout Airlie as a part of the “A Sculpted Garden” summer art exhibit, or just to breathe in a long history of garden love, don’t miss the opportunity to explore this time-honored natural wonder in all its flowering glory. For more information about summer events go to arliegardens.org or call 910-798-7700. W


PHOTOS COURTESY SALON BEYOND BASICS

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Salon Sensation A local icon spreads its wings from salon expansion to product distribution and continues to give back to the community By CECE NUNN

In May, Salon Beyond Basics and Day Spa will celebrate its 20th anniversary. During the past two decades, the business has grown from an eight-chair salon and spa on Oleander Drive to a 5,500-square-foot facility on Floral Parkway, with a product distribution facet of its own and enough space to train experienced and up-and-coming stylists in the use of new products. Teaching has been a focus lately at the salon and spa, something that stylists, employees and clients said they appreciate about the business. When surrounded by people who strive for excellence, “you want to do better as well,” said Natawsha Vondrak, a stylist who recently joined Salon Beyond Basics and was also recently certified at the salon to use a professional smoothing treatment in the KeraSpa Collection. Owner Kendall Fuqua said he chose the KeraSpa line of products not only because of a demand, but because he felt they were safer than other similar treatments on the market for controlling frizzy hair or unruly curls. “It’s safer for the client and better for their hair,” said Brenda Williams, the salon’s concierge director, who handles the front

desk and reception, and often answers questions about the salon’s products and services. Some of the latest offerings, in addition to the smoothing treatments, are hair pieces and wigs. Over the years in Wilmington, the salon has become increasingly more involved in community service and charitable causes. “The business has changed so much,” Fuqua said. “We’ve always been a salon and day spa. We’ve always done everything we do, except for the wigs and hair pieces, but we are so ingrained and we’re so partnered with the community now more than ever.” On a recent Friday afternoon, a client sent a bouquet of tulips to the salon with the note, “Thanks for seeing my potential and May/June 2014 | 53


grooming then some.” The woman, who was struggling with life-changing stresses in addition to dealing with thinning hair, came to the salon for help after another client recommended she go there. “I love it because you change people’s lives,” Fuqua said after reading the card. “It’s amazing to me. People give me more than I ever feel like I give them.” J. Gibson, a stylist who has worked in the Floral Parkway facility since its doors opened, and who Fuqua considers a mentor after working for Gibson when he was just starting out in the business, said the number of different personalities involved in running the salon has kept him interested in working there. Vondrak echoed that sentiment. “It’s like a big family,” she said of the other stylists and employees. “You’d think there’d be drama but there’s not. It’s more like friendships.” Salon Beyond Basics and Day Spa has about 40 employees most of the time, Fuqua said, and is willing to add talented people who work well in the business. “We’ll just continue to grow with the times,” Gibson said as he worked on a client’s hair. The salon’s menu of services is not limited to higher priced cuts, styles and treatments. A client can get a haircut there for as low as $30, Fuqua said, with stylists working to make sure each customer is happy with the end results. For example, when Rachel Spalding needed help with a color treatment that didn’t meet her needs, Fuqua stepped in, Spalding said. “He knew what I was looking for, and he didn’t want to let me leave until I was satisfied,” she said. “Not everyone would do that.” The distribution arm of the business is called Beyond Basics Beauty Supply and was born from the efforts of Terry Allgood, the salon’s management consultant, after discovering there were a lot of products available in the industry that were not being sold in the area. “Now Terry sells and distributes new, innovative,

“He knew what I was looking for, and he didn’t want to let me leave until I was satisfied. Not everyone would do that.” specialty beauty product lines to professionals in the salon and spa industry in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and beyond,” Fuqua said. The salon will celebrate its 20th year with a sale of 20 percent off everything in the salon and likely other festivities, Fuqua said. In addition to serving clients, the business makes a point of helping charitable causes, including New Hanover Regional Medical Center Foundation, the Red Cross, Make-A-Wish, Coastal Horizon and others. “If it’s a charity, we will be there to support it,” Fuqua said. 910-452-0072, salonbeyondbasics.com W 54 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com


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Women in Business

In demanding times, dedicated leaders step forward and ramp up their game. Meet the female entrepreneurs and executives who are progressing Wilmington’s future, one smart decision at a time. Photos by KELLY STARBUCK, HORACE LONG, SUSAN FRANCY and BROWNIE HARRIS


Andrea Cumming Uptown Market 910-686-0930

My Mission: To provide a warm and welcoming environment where my customers can find unique quality items at a fair price. To strive for 100 percent customer satisfaction. My Business: Uptown Market is a retail cooperative featuring industrial-chic, coastal-cottage, primitive, mid century, repurposed and custom furniture. We also have a broad gift category which includes clothing, art, custom signs, home decor, garden, baby, jewelry and accessories and a chocolatier. Words of Wisdom to Other Women: Doing the right thing is not always the easy choice. Embrace change, it will propel you forward. One Thing I’ve Learned Along the Way: Hard work does pay off, and just when I think I have it all figured out, something new seems to come along every day.

Claire Mains Encore! Consignment Boutique 910-452-4468 encoreconsignmentstore.com My Business: We are an upscale boutique providing contemporary, chic and trendy styles. We are a one-stop shop for all fashion needs. Our merchandise changes daily with new and exciting consignments arriving every day. My Mission: To provide the latest and most soughtafter looks in consignment, and to provide excellent and friendly customer service with a focus on styling tips for women of all ages. We view ourselves as partners with our consignors, customers, our employees, our community and our environment. My Strengths: I love people! I genuinely enjoy meeting new people, making them feel special and bringing out the best in them. In my business I am disciplined, persistent, organized and not afraid of hard work.

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Words of Wisdom to Other Women: Focus on your strengths, don’t listen to negative self-talk and always believe in yourself.


Landon Barker

Premier Homes and Communities 910-799-6830 • premierhomesonyoursite.com My Mission: To deliver excellent quality products and services to clients and customers, and build a legacy for my children to continue. My Businesses: I am a partner in Premier Homes on Your Site, LLC, a building company that specializes in beautiful home designs and communities perfectly suited to Wilmington’s many amenities and attractions. I have the privilege of assisting clients with building their dream home. My husband and I also

own Leland Ace Hardware, a wellstocked full service neighborhood hardware store located in Leland. Words of Wisdom to Other Women: To work hard and play hard. Yes you need to put your time and energy into your work, but you also need to reward yourself and have fun. My Strengths: I am organized, dependable, and I don’t procrastinate. I love setting a goal, a time line, and an action plan to get there. I apply this to both my personal and

professional life. I Lead By: Connecting – I try to put myself in the other person’s shoe. In the building business I realize that this is a huge investment for a person. The building process is exciting but also can be overwhelming, so it’s imperative that you respect people’s concerns and feelings. I tell my 4 year old daughter to treat others as you would like to be treated. I practice that same golden rule to all aspects of my businesses.


Debbie Baxter D. Baxter’s Lamps & Shades 910-791-8431 • dbaxters.com

My Business: To provide the most up to date styles, colors, and products in lighting and picture framing. My Mission: Help each customer with their personal décor selections concerning lamps, lampshades, and custom picture framing. In addition, to provide a quality product at an affordable price to enhance their home. My Strengths: Having owned the business for 21 years, I have the expert knowledge of what products to buy that will work best for the Wilmington area. Tools of the Trade: Our great sales staff that have many years of experience, the repair men in the background, my web page, email and constant contact, advertising in the yellow pages, newspaper, and magazines.

Pam Thibault Crabby Chic 910-799-4216 crabbychic.com 58 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

My Mission: To create a fun, creative and inviting atmosphere where every woman can find the luxury item she is looking for…whether that luxury be as small as a bar of French soap or as large as the perfect mirror or piece of art for a room she is decorating. My Business: Crabby Chic is a retail shop where we focus on Coastal-Inspired gifts and décor. We have everything from fine soaps, local art, jewelry, linens, shabby chic furniture and scents galore. We have something for everyone! One Thing I’ve Learned the Hard Way: I’ve learned that I can’t do it all myself no matter how hard I try and yes, my mom does know a lot more than I do about almost everything.


Monika Williams Nest Fine Gifts & Interiors 910-256-6378 • nestfinegifts.com My Mission: To provide an enjoyable shopping experience in a beautiful setting. My Business: Nest Fine Gifts is an upscale home and lifestyle boutique, that offers full service interior design, gift registries and more. Best Business Advice Received: Do what you love, and find a way to make a living doing it!

Tools of the Trade: These days, with all of the online competition, it’s our fabulous customer service and knowledgeable staff that make the difference. Words of Wisdom to other Women in Business: When there are frustrating days, I just try to remember how lucky I am to have this opportunity and run a business that I love.

One Thing I’ve Learned the Hard Way: That no matter how hard you try, there are going to be people you cannot please, and you must have thick skin about it. It’s so easy to take criticism personally, but you really have to take it all with a grain of salt. My Strengths: My husband would say I have a keen sense of style and ability to forecast what our customers will respond to.


Samantha Nguyen Samantha’s Coastal Interiors 910-448-0381

My Mission: Very simple – I listen carefully to the client’s needs and desires. It is my passion to create a space that reflects the client’s tastes and lifestyle in the most stress free environment possible. My Business: Bringing hands on experience in all aspects of interior design. I offer my clients experienced professionalism, and years of on the job experience. Whether freshening up a single room or a beach house re do, I have the experience and skill set of having been there, and know how to get a job done correctly, on budget and on time. Best Business Advice: Devote yourself to an idea and go make it happen. Struggle. Overcome your fears. SMILE! Breath. And never forget: this is YOUR dream.

Nicole King

Sea Scape Properties 910-343-8200 • seascaperealestate.com

My Mission: To build genuine relationships with my clients in order to provide useful (and profitable) guidance in the real estate market when buying, selling, and renting property. My Business: At Sea Scape, my goal is to exceed expectations with outstanding personal service, thoughtful experience and proactive communication. If your objective is to make sound investments that profit, I can help. Whether you’re a first time homebuyer, tenant, or experienced investor, I’ll “make sense” of the real estate market and create customized success plans based on your goals. One Thing I’ve Learned Along the Way: If you’re good at what you do, no marketing or social media can compete. People are people, and personal service, knowledge and going the extra mile to help makes all the difference. My Strengths: I offer a refreshingly positive attitude and innovative style to real estate. Buying, selling and property management take experience, initiative and vision.

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Rosalyn George, MD, FAAD Wilmington Dermatology Center 910-256-4350 • wilmingtondermatologycenter.com My Business: Wilmington Dermatology Center offers the latest advancements in dermatology treatments and has been recognized as a top volume cosmetic practice in eastern North Carolina. At WDC, our passion is Skin Care, and our expert staff is involved in treating a wide array of conditions, from Acne to Skin Cancer and difficult to treat skin conditions, to the latest anti-aging treatments and aesthetics. My Mission: To provide comprehensive dermatology services and leading edge cosmetic treatments focused on results,

using the latest advancements and technology, in a practice focused on service excellence. I Lead By: Example. When I was a dermatology resident at Penn State we practiced the Fish Philosophy which is a book about service based on fish market. There were four aspects of making your work life enjoyable. 1. Be there- for your patients and your co-workers. 2. Play- having fun at work is important. 3. Make their day- go the extra mile to make someone happy 4. Choose your attitude- this is my favorite. If there is

one person who is always negative or not looking to find a solution, it can be such a detriment in business and in life. A positive attitude is contagious. One Thing I’ve Learned Along the Way: Surrounding yourself with hard working, passionate, and intelligent individuals can really make the difference in the success of your business. Having a great supporting cast in work in and life can help you take your endeavors to the next level, while keeping a happy workplace because everyone has mutual respect.

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Georgeanne Banks Repeat Boutique Fine Consignments 910-620-6906 repeatboutiqueconsignments.com

My Mission: To provide beautiful designer fashions and accessories at a fraction of the retail prices, and to present them in a warm, welcoming, relaxing environment with excellent customer service. My Business: Upscale women’s consignments providing name brand fashions and accessories. Words of Wisdom to Other Women: Always remember that the relationships you develop with the people you deal with in your business, will be what will move your business forward. As a business owner, you, as a person, represent the ethics and standards that your business portrays to the public. You and your business are one and the same. My Strengths: My work ethic, my compassion and empathy for my customers and consignors, my faith, and my love of family.

Shanda West

Tickled Pink Sophisticated Gifts 910-679-4555 • tickledpinkonline.com

My Business: An upscale, sophisticated boutique and collective of 50 shops offering handmade items, gifts, home décor, clothing, artisan baked goods and items exclusive to North Carolina. My Mission: To provide an atmosphere where our customers enjoy a sophisticated shopping experience. Best Advice I Ever Received: To enjoy the journey and be the change you want to see in the world. I Lead By: Having a vision. My Strengths: Good listener, always ready to step in and help. Words of Wisdom to Other Women: Be an exhorter. Be ready to share who you are with others who need to hear your story, and give them support and wisdom.

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One Thing I’ve Learned Along the Way: Stay focused on your vision.


Mary Martin Network Real Estate 910-395-4100 networkwilmington.com My Mission: To serve clients and agents with the best education and knowledge of all aspects of the real estate business for great results and success. My Business: Real Estate Broker, Training and Sales manager for over 23 years.

One Thing I’ve Learned Along the Way: Patience really is a virtue. I Lead By: Example. Words of Wisdom to Other Women: Don’t bow your head, hold it high and look the world straight in the eye. My Strengths: I’m willing to work hard

to accomplish goals, and have a strong optimistic and enthusiastic personality. I am very people oriented in building strong relationships with clients and agents. Best Advice I Ever Received: A good deed makes for a good day in your life.

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Susan Eaton

Wilmington NC Convention Center 910-251-5101 businessmadecasual.com My Mission: The overall success of the WCC is my primary focus – to make every event the very best it can be. I use my creative vision to help ensure one of a kind experiences and lasting relationships. My Business: As General Manager, I lead a great team of individuals who display their dedication everyday by creating wonderful event experiences in our beautiful, multi-use Wilmington Convention Center. Best Business Advice I Ever Received: Always do your best to run a good operation which will ultimately reflect well on your customers and the convention center industry. Words of Wisdom to Other Women in Business: Be confident, compassionate, smile and most importantly, always have a sense of humor. My Strengths: Quick decision maker, creative, compassionate, loyal, sensitive, thoughtful, open minded, and a good sense of humor.

Wanna Samedang and Mai Burch Southern Thai Restaurant 910-769-3193 • southernthairestaurant.com Our Business: We prepare and serve authentic, homemade Thai food and offer friendly service to all of our customers.

Words of Wisdom to Other Women in Business: Always believe in yourself and except good advice from others.

Best Advice We Ever Received: To be strong and never give up on anything that comes into your life’s journey.

One Thing We Have Learned Along the Way: It is hard working for others sometimes, but it is much harder working for yourself as your own boss.

Our Strengths: Our strength comes from inside. If your heart tells you this is your path to succeed, then you will find the power to persevere. Our power always comes from inside. Listen and do what your heart tells you.


Jennifer Young and Laura Heal Do Good Real Estate 910-547-2106, 910-547-2107 dogoodrealestate.com Our Mission: Do Good Real Estate is a homegrown, socially minded realty company focused on delivering a “feel good” experience that no one else offers. Quality, transparency and giving back come standard. Do Good is revolutionizing the way we do real estate today.

Our Business: Together we have over 25 years of real estate experience to share with local buyers, sellers and builders. We offer the time, technology, marketing and adaptability that you can only get from a boutique firm like ours. We also believe in using our business for good. We donate 6% of our

fee to a local charity. Our Strengths: We enjoy our work and share that passion with our clients. Communication & honesty is key to building lifelong relationships. There is no better feeling than making someone feel worthy, appreciated and respected.

Shanna Blue and Becky Seegers Peanut Butter & Jelly 910-256-4554 • pbjbaby.com Our Business: Our business has been open for 28 years! We provide the best baby clothing, furniture , and products for your family. We adapt swiftly to trends and new fashions, getting you the first look at the new styles.

quality for our customers, while maintaining our high standards of customer service. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will always provide the best service to our customers.

Our Mission: Here at Peanut Butter & Jelly, we strive to provide the best

One Thing We Have Learned the Hard Way: Mastering the art of time

management and delegation. We have learned we cannot be in control of all aspects of the business at all times. Best Business Advice We Ever Received: Love what you do, be passionate about it, and build a business around it.


Coastal Charm Designer Kathy McKenzie rolls out a whole-house interior plan that combines soothing coastal colors with casual, yet elegant furnishings that accentuate the homes breathtaking views of the marsh and water surrounding it By JOHANNA COLBURN

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Photos by G. FRANK HART

estled along the picturesque Topsail Sound in Hampstead lies a home where New England architectural-style meets with contemporary coastal. Built in 2013, the 4,500 square-foot house, designed by Wilmington architect Scott Sullivan, makes the perfect permanent address for the owners Bill and Lynn Gaches. The retired couple knew they wanted the waterfront to be given prime positioning, with no obstructions in order to provide a view that would bring the outside in. “I wanted a house set-up for entertaining that would enable me to still be a part of what is going on,” explains Lynn. With these initial ideas in mind, the couple collaborated with Kathy McKenzie, principal interior designer and co-owner of Wilmington-based McKenzie Baker Interiors. They started working together before construction and with Sullivan’s plans in hand, began the design project which lasted a little over a year. McKenzie’s highest priority was to reflect the Gaches’s personality, aesthetics, and lifestyle in a design plan that provided them with high quality, beautiful furnishings that did not exceed their design budget. The Gaches’ resided in Maryland during the entire process which can sometimes prove challenging. Despite this, the Gaches’ and McKenzie made good use of their time when they were in town and communicated through email, phone and photos to make decisions and keep the process moving. “The Gaches’ were great to work with,” explains McKenzie. “They made decisions quickly and were enthusiastic about my design ideas.” Immediately upon entering the foyer, one cannot help but notice the breathtaking view outside, anchoring the center of the home and brightening the entryway. In the main living area, soaring high ceilings and tall glass windows maximize the scenic view and make the home breathe. Large plate glass windows frame 66 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com


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(opposite) Foyer offers breathtaking views outside as seen through the living room (above) as you enter the home.

the view and combine the perfect balance of nature and natural scenery, flooding the home with light. The design of the house revolves around the beauty of the outside, making it a perfect spot for star gazing at night, sunsets and being bathed in golden sunlight by day. A telescope and binoculars located around the home

glass doors that withstand the wind, and fold back to give the most uninterrupted view possible. The Gaches’ wanted to use a soothing coastal palette of blues, greens, taupe and grey inspired by the coast with the view in mind. They preferred not to use the furniture from their previous home, as

was perfect, combining soothing coastal colors with a casual yet elegant style that the Gaches’ wanted to evoke throughout their home. Together, McKenzie and Lynn were able to pull in the room’s palette from this favorite fabric. Upstairs, McKenzie continued the nature-inspired color palette and curated mix of furnishings in the bed

“The view of the marsh and water from their home is spectacular, and I felt that it should be appreciated from the moment you enter the home.” implore the curious to soak in more of the outdoor landscape. “The view of the marsh and water from their home is spectacular, and I felt that it should be appreciated from the moment you enter the home,” explains McKenzie. In order to achieve that a glass front door was selected which was both fresh and functional, and provided some privacy while still allowing a glimpse of the seascape colors. McKenzie advised using low furnishings and arranged them to maximize the outside view with sliding

it was heavy, dark, and formal. Now the home is just the opposite – bright, cheery and open. Downstairs, the open-floor plan incorporates separate seating, dining, and cooking areas in a space that feels light and connected with nature. McKenzie selected several finishes and fabrics that provided inspiration and direction. Lynn fell in love with a beautiful paisley from Brunschwig & Fils that was then used on the club chair, and as pillows on the custom linen sofa in the living room. The fabric

and bathrooms. The home also features a striking balcony and gym, creating a sanctuary of health overlooking the sound. The space truly exceeds expectations, inspiring health and wellness. The home boasts carefully selected artwork and accessories throughout that beg for backstories. McKenzie kept her eyes open throughout the design process for the two huge show pieces that she knew they would need ― the contemporary seascape in the foyer and the abstract May/June 2014 | 69


(clockwise from above) Front elevation; Outside patio leads out onto the pool deck; Pillows adorn the teak bench; Plenty of counter space in the kitchen; Office.

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clockwise from top left) One of the guest bedrooms; Master bath; Dock walkway out to the pierhead; Dining area is open to the kitchen and living room.

metal piece above the fireplace. Lynn approved both pieces without hesitation through McKenzie’s photos at the point of discovery. Many of the smaller pieces of art and some of the accessories are the Gaches’ that they have collected from their travels. McKenzie incorporated these treasures with a few new items to create a cohesive design. Pops of color are sprinkled throughout the home, anchoring all of the design pieces together to form a united look while maximizing the view. A porch is not complete without a place to take in the idyllic scenery, and this home does not disappoint. The outdoor patio leads to a stunning pier and a salt water pool surrounded by a landscape brimming 72 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

with palm trees. The outdoor living space is both comfortable and beautiful, with decorative pillows in varying shades of blue and green, creating a memorable visual contrast. Strategically-placed ceiling fans above are a must for providing a breath of fresh air in the summer heat. Thoughtful consideration was given to the selection of cabinets, tile, mill work, hardware, fixtures and remaining furniture pieces evolved from that starting point and flowed easily. All of the rooms have skillful furniture placement, scale, proportion, and layering. Mosaic tile work sparkle both upstairs and down, and family photos are lovingly placed throughout. The only place that they

felt pushed a little out of their comfort zone was with the paint color choices. Happily, they were willing to take a leap of faith and went with McKenzie’s paint suggestions. The end result is exactly what the couple envisioned. The airy kitchen is clearly the heart of this home and the go-to gathering spot. “We are now able to entertain several people in the same area, and the conversation stays fun and inclusive,” said Lynn. Southern style is all about connecting to the landscape and this home is a superb example. Interior Designer: Kathy McKenzie, McKenzie Baker Interiors, 910-762-4222. mckenziebakerinteriors.com W


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PHOTOS (JIMBOS, DIXIE GRILL, WINNIES) JAMES STEFIUK

Double bacon cheeseburger deluxe at Jimbo’s.


Comfort food of the highest order. That’s a great burger, and we’ve found 21 of them worth every big, messy bite. From Angus beef to fresh seafood, lamb, bison and vegetarian, these burgers fit the bill. We dare you to try them all. By LIZ BIRO

Winnie’s Tavern

When pro cooks need a burger, many choose a Winnie bacon cheeseburger. The juicy, tender, half-pound patties made to order, are sandwiched with bacon, ultra-melty American cheese, lettuce and tomato, all between a sesame seed bun. Some people love it so much, they’ve been known to ask for a double Winnie. The special order, standing nearly six inches high, is rare. The single is usually enough for most people, which is why Winnie’s offers Mini Winnies. On the side: Try sweet potato crinklecut fries. Did you know: Winnie’s has been in business since 1962. Insider tip: Winnie’s has appeared in movies, most notably “Blue Velvet.” 1895 Burnett Blvd., 910-762-1799, facebook.com/winniestavern

Copper Penny

Arrive at Copper Penny 10 minutes before the kitchen closes and still get a great half-pound burger – picked from the specialty list or made to order with a choice of toppings. Devoted cooks get the beef just right every time, making a perfect canvas for the likes of roasted red peppers, basil pesto mayo, blue cheese, guacamole, roasted garlic or good old lettuce, tomato and American cheese. Did you know: Kids eat free on Monday nights and Build Your Own Specialty Burgers are just $8.99. What to drink: Numerous beer taps offer a regularly changing array of craft beers. Insider tip: Philadelphia Eagles fans find a refuge here. Team colors are a prominent part of May/June 2014 | 75


the décor. 109 Chestnut St., 910-762-1373, copperpennync.com

Wayfarer Delicatessen

Thick, juicy, all-American burgers earn added stars and stripes at this little, downtown deli. A half-pound of organic, free-range, Carolina Bison from North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains shapes every half-pound, hand-pattied burger. Bison has fewer calories than beef, but diners wouldn’t know it. The chef’s creations change regularly. The Southern Bourbon’ Bison Crunch Burger features applewood-smoked bacon, from-scratch slaw and bourbon barbecue sauce, red onions, N.C. sharp cheddar and crunchy salt & vinegar potato chips. Did you know: Bison has less fat and cholesterol than beef. Insider tip: Check Wayfarer’s Facebook page for pictures of bison burger specials. Save room for: Raspberry-ChipotleChocolate ’n’ Bacon N.Y. Cheesecake. 110 S Front St., 910-762-4788, wayfarerdeli.com

Poor Piggy’s BBQ & Catering

Pitmaster Ed Coulbourn holds titles for best ribs and pulled pork, but he’s equally famous for his Smokehouse Angus Burger. Coulbourn handpatties a half pound of Angus beef, seasons it and then smokes the burger in his wood-fired cooker. Sharp, aged cheddar, smoked bacon, pickles, crispy fried onions and thick barbecue sauce crown the chefd’oeuvre. Don’t miss: An alternate to fries – a basket of hot-from-the-fryer hushpuppies. Did you know: Poor Piggy’s food truck schedule is posted on Facebook /PoorPiggys and Twitter @PoorPiggysBBQ. Insider tip: Poor Piggy’s will come to you. The food truck is available for private events. Food Truck, 910-632-4229, poorpiggys.com

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Rx Restaurant

The chili cheeseburger is an eastern North Carolina classic, so it’s fitting that Goldsboro born-and-bred Rx owners would feature one. Stacked three-thin-patties high – each perfectly cooked to order – and oozing with American cheese and housemade chili, plus obligatory mustard, onions and slaw, the burger is a Sunday brunch favorite, especially with a little hair of the dog at the bar. Insider tip: Top the burger with a side of Heritage Farms bacon, locally produced, no hormones, no steroids, no artificial processing. While you wait: Sip a DIY Mimosa. Juice and sparkling wine are provided to custom mix. Keep a lookout for: Bacon cinnamon rolls. You never know when they’ll show up on the brunch menu. 421 Castle St., 910-399-3080, rxwilmington.com

Jimbo’s Breakfast & Lunch House Stop for lunch or roll into town in the wee hours. This classic 24-hour diner will put a burger on the grill for you. That’s the kind of Mom service that has made Jimbo’s famous. The burger is like one Mom hand-pattied, lovingly cooked and stacked exactly to her baby’s order. The waitress will probably deliver it with a “Here you go, Honey.” Someone’s mom may be at the cash register to say “Drive careful.” This family diner spans two generations. On the side: Good conversation. Customers are as friendly as staff. Did you know: Jimbo’s has been open for nearly 40 years. Insider tip: Patty melts are just as yummy as the burgers. 1529 S. College Road, (910) 799-2211

Lovey’s Natural Foods & Café

Think there is no such thing as a healthy burger? Think again. Lovey’s free-range turkey burger is just one choice. Get it with classic lettuce,

tomato and red onion. Not good enough for you? Opt for one of four vegetarian burgers, including a grinder with a veggie burger, lettuce, tomato, onion, carrots, sprouts, cheese and Goddess dressing, all tucked into a whole-wheat wrap. That and a side of kale chips is almost a day’s worth of vegetable servings. Did you know: Lovey’s has vegan cheese, gluten-free bread and an extensive, all-organic hot and cold food bar. What to drink: Fresh fruit and vegetable juice blends made to order on-site. While you wait: Check out the grocery section’s grass-fed and free-range meats and poultry for burgers at home.  1319 Military Cutoff, 910-509-0331, loveysmarket.com

Rucker John’s

Watching the carbs? As Rucker John’s says of its Texas Burger, “No buns about it.” The hefty patty arrives smothered with homemade chili, grated cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses, chopped tomatoes and scallions, all topped with a dollop of sour cream. Bun? Who needs a bun? No one. That’s why there’s no bun. On the side: What the heck. Sneak in some carbs. Order mac and cheese instead of fries. While you wait: Try the Crab Fingers appetizer. Battered and deep-fried crab claws are served with homemade cocktail sauce. When to go: Tuesday nights feature Live Music and HalfPrice Bottles of red wine. 5564 Carolina Beach Road, 910-452-1212, ruckerjohns.com

Courts & Sports Bar & Grill

Fans turn up the heat on game day, whether their watching the playby-play on televisions or on the live volleyball court outside. Nothing matches their fire like the Cracked Pepper Burger. The black peppercoated, half-pound patty’s spice is barely tamed by melted provolone cheese, sweet balsamic onions and sautéed mushrooms. Did you know: You may burn off your burger by


Bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg at Dixie Grill.


The Southwest burger at Copper Penny.

playing cornhole, bocce, volleyball or sand soccer. Insider tip: Sacks of five, 10 or 15 sliders with fries and sodas are available to-go. Save room for: Deep-fried Oreo cookies. 3525 Lancelot Lane, 910-228-5791, courts-sports.com

Dixie Grill

If you can’t decide between breakfast or a burger on those mornings after partying until the wee hours, consider the Stafford Burger. Part apple-sage pork sausage, part ground sirloin, the char-grilled patty, topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo and melted provolone on a toasted kaiser roll, is the perfect in-between to help stop the spinning and get the weekend back on track. Introducing its new burger menu, Chef Mayberry aims to please meat eaters, pescatarians, vegans and vegetarians alike with a line of new burgers. What to drink: A Bloody Mary, of course. When to go: Sunday 78 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

mornings can be busy. Arrive early or after lunch. Insider tip: Biscuits are fresh-baked. Get a few to-go. 116 Market St., 910-762-7280, thedixiegrillwilmington.wordpress.com

Catch The Food Truck

Coastal North Carolinians have a thing for seafood burgers, and Wilmington chef Keith Rhodes satisfies their cravings. Rhodes is well-known for crab cakes at his award-winning Catch restaurant. The meaty little morsels land in sliders on Rhodes’ food truck of the same name. Never at a loss for ideas, Rhodes may serve the sliders BLT-style or crown them with cilantro slaw. The truck makes regular rounds and is available for private events. On the side: Try chicken-fried, organic, local okra. Pair up: A crab cake slider with a

lobster slider featuring cilantro slaw and curry mayo. Did you know: Chef Rhodes has been a James Beard Award semi-finalist. 6623 Market St., 910-799-3847, catchthefoodtruck.com

Temptations

Lots of Wilmingtonians get their old-fashioned pimento cheese fix here. The sharp and creamy housemade blend, with ample sweet red pepper, is especially sought after on the Pimento Cheese Burger served at the Porters Neck Center store. A thick layer coats a halfpound, grilled Angus beef patty along with lettuce and tomato – no mustard, ketchup or mayo required. Insider tip: Keep your napkin close for this juicy, cheesy burger. Did you know: The pimento cheese is available in to-go containers. What to drink: Temptations carries around 300 wines from around the


world. Might we suggest a fruity pinot noir? 8207 Market St., 910-686-9343, temptationseverydaygourmet.com

P.T.’s Olde Fashioned Grill

The best burger in Wilmington or anywhere is a matter of personal tastes, but P.T.’s consistently wins citywide polls. Certified Angus Beef burgers are never frozen and always cooked to order. Patrons grab an order form at the counter and pencil in their preferred burger size (four- or eightounce) and toppings, and whether they want to eat outside, inside or take the burger to-go. Sitting inside and watching cooks work the grill is most fun. Did you know: P.T.’s fries earn nearly as many accolades as the burgers. The fresh-cut-daily, Idaho potatoes come with every burger. Insider tip: P.T.’s operates a food truck available for private events. What to drink: Each cup of lemonade is individually fresh-squeezed. Locations throughout Wilmington and one in Leland, ptsgrille.com

The Cork ’n’ Fork

Pender’s Café

The Pender Burger consists of two beef patties that start as balls of ground beef. The meat is dropped on a hot griddle, cooked a bit and then flattened with a spatula, providing some exterior crispness against the burger’s soft interior. The no-frills burger is cooked in an open kitchen behind the old-fashioned diner counter lined with red stools. Did you know: Pender’s has been in business since 1977, but a soda shop first opened at the address in the early 1900s. When to go: Pender’s is open for breakfast and lunch only, Monday-Saturday. Insider tip: Solo diners love Pender’s for its friendly staff. They make everyone feel like family. 205 N. Front St., 910-762-4065

Pine Valley Market

What better place to get a burger than a café that runs its own butcher shop? One-third pound of Certified Angus

Beef chuck is hand-pattied for each burger, each one cooked perfectly to order. Toppings are up to diners. Bacon? Cheddar? Mushrooms? A fried egg? Maybe fried green tomatoes? Choices and combinations abound. While you wait: A butcher is always available to answer questions, and beef is aged inhouse. Save room for: A hunk of cake. Local bakers supply luscious pound cakes and tall, scrumptious layer cakes like coconut mousse and mint chocolate mocha. Where else is the beef?: Ready-to-cook, take-out family meals include beef pot pie, shepherd’s pie and meat lasagna. 3520 S College Road, 910-350-3663, pinevalleymarket.com

The Original Salt Works Locals are loyal to this Wilmington institution, which boasts that its burgers have been curing hangovers since 1971. Everyone from grandparents to teenagers, construction workers, attorneys and

The Hickory burger at Hells Kitchen.

Chef James Smith made a name for his burgers via The Patty Wagon, one of Wilmington’s most popular food trucks, especially on Friday and Saturday nights downtown. In spring 2014, he turned the business into a full-fledged restaurant, scheduled to open in April. Smith plans upscale pub foods like lobster pie, brisket layered mac and cheese and duck burgers. But no worries. Smith’s always tender and juicy, Angus beef, 1/3-pound burger on a brioche will remain on the menu. Insider tip: Smith’s thick, homemade meatloaf sandwich on sourdough nearly rivals the burger. Did you know: Smith has clocked time at Wilmington’s Ruth’s Chris Steak House. He understands beef. Keep an eye out: Look for a Cork ’n’ Fork website and Facebook page this spring. 122 Market St. May/June 2014 | 79


full cocktail bar are available 1908 Eastwood Rd., 910-256-2226, brasseriedusoleil.com

All American burger at Rucker Johns.

Hell’s Kitchen

office workers keep coming. Burgers, especially the double cheeseburger, are among reasons they return. Thick, fresh, homemade patties are wellseasoned, have true flat-top griddle flavor, always hot and always made exactly to order. Insider tip: Arrive early at lunch to help avoid a wait. On the side: Don’t miss housemade onion rings. While you wait: Keep your ears open. You’re likely to hear lots of news and friendly opinions. 6301 Oleander Dr., 910-350-0018

tray that hooks to the car window, just like the old days. Crinkle-cut fries in paper boats and low prices add to the nostalgia. Insider tip: Look for the food paintings on the outside walls. Merritt’s has been in business for more than half a century. What to drink: Locals prefer a Sun Drop soda. Save room for: A hot apple turnover. 2338 Carolina Beach Rd., 910-763-5844

Merritt’s Burger House

Lunchtime sliders at this cozy, French-themed Wilmington favorite are much more than just mini burgers. Salmon, short ribs and ground brisket are among selections, but the merguez lamb sausage slider stands out. Chilled cucumber salad and fresh tomato confit cool the spicy patty. Goat cheese adds soft zest. When to go: Lunch begins at 11:30 a.m. Monday-Saturday. Did you know: Brasserie du Soleil is a leader in its use of local produce and meats, and is devoted to from-scratch fare. What to drink: A nice wine list and

Leave your debit and credit cards home. Bring cash. Old-fashioned style dictates this drive-in spot. Pick a parking place and wait for a server to come take your burger order. No-frills, thin patties are topped with lettuce and tomato on soft, squishy buns, nothing fancy – although cheese, chili, slaw and other burger dressings are available. The burgers arrive wrapped in wax paper and lined up neatly on a 80 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

Brasserie du Soleil

When Burger Day comes around here, fans needn’t break their piggy banks. Any of the Certified Angus Beef burgers on brioche buns cost just $6.99 each, but the signature Hickory is a spicy, sweet favorite. Award-winning Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce and its little kick flavor the stack’s bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato and beef layers. Simple with a twist. What to drink: Fresh-squeezed juice cocktails like the Ruby Red Crush with citrus vodka, triple sec, grapefruit juice and a splash of lemon-lime soda. When to go: Game days are especially fun at Hell’s Kitchen. Televisions and outdoor speakers broadcast the play-by-play. Did you know: Hell’s Kitchen was created for the college bar setting depicted on the final season of the CW Network show “Dawson’s Creek.” A restaurateur purchased the site and much of the decor after the show’s run and turned the set into a real pub. 118 Princess St., 910-763-4133, hellskitchenbar.com

Tazy’s Burgers & Grill

A fine-dining chef traded in his fancy whites for a no-fuss, from-scratch menu close to his beloved golf and surfing. Tucked inside a shopping strip, fans know to find this place where Angus burgers are made-toorder, dressed with a choice of toppings – including remoulade and chili – and served on buns baked in-house. The kitchen is keen on fresh ingredients and from-scratch cooking. On the side: Fries are great, but cooks pride themselves on premium pasta and potato salads. Did you know: You can ask for a burger patty on a garden salad. Save room for: Housemade chocolate chip cookies or bread pudding with sabayon sauce. 4107 Oleander Dr., 910-397-2944, tazys.com W


The Tavern burger at Winnie’s Tavern.


Wherever you want to go – alone, romantic escape, family trip or girlfriend weekend, these destinations offer fabulous ways to relax and unwind. By Katie McElveen

Bald Head Island

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ome people start planning their summer vacations in September. Others wait until May. Or maybe

June. If you fall into the second camp and are just starting to think about where you’ll spend your precious time away from work, we’ve got you covered. Each of these seven locales, some near, some far, offers something special, be it a fabulous culinary scene, lots of history or remarkable scenery.

Bald Head Island, North Carolina There’s nothing like a week at the beach, but between finding parking and battling traffic, having a car, though necessary, can be a hassle. This year, instead of fighting the battle, give up, and head to Bald Head Island, where you’ll park your car in a lot, hop onto a ferry and, 20 minutes later, emerge in a blissfully car-free zone where visitors and residents get around on bikes, golf carts and their own two feet. And where can those modes of transport take you? First stop is the beach, 14 miles of golden sand lapped by the seemingly endless Atlantic, positioned so that you can see the sun rise and set over the ocean every day. During the summer, the Bald Head Island Conservancy offers sea turtle walks for members several nights during the week. Then there’s the M. Kent Mitchell nature trail, which winds through an ancient maritime forest and a sunny tidal salt marsh. Finally, climb the 108 steps to the top of Old Baldy, the 1817 lighthouse that was commissioned by Thomas Jefferson. There’s also shopping, golf, tennis and a spa. When it’s time to get off the land, hit the creeks on a kayak or canoe, charter a boat for a day or fishing or try your hand at sailing, kiteboarding or stand up paddleboarding. Island rental homes come in all shapes and sizes, from cozy cottages to sprawling beach houses. For more information, visit baldheadisland.com

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Sonoma

Park City, Utah It’s no secret that Park City, Utah is one of America’s top ski destinations. But come summer, when the mountains shed their wintry coats, the temperature hovers around 80 degrees and hotel room prices plummet, a new different Park City emerges. Hikers and mountain biker replace skiers and snowboarders on the chairlifts, passing over horseback riders on their way to the top. Activities abound: Mountain roller coasters and slides, bobsled runs and ziplines keep adrenaline junkies happy, but there’s also fishing, golf, free summer concerts, Park City’s Olympic Park and a zillion activities for kids. Park City actually comprises three resorts: Deer Valley, Canyons and Park City Mountain, all lined up along a sevenmile stretch of roadway. Within each resort, you’ll find easy access to activities along with hotels and restaurants at every level. Park City’s historic Main Street, where Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival takes place every January, sits between Deer Valley and Park City Mountain resorts. Boutiques, galleries, coffee shops and restaurants line the streets. For dinner, head to the stylish Riverhorse on Main, where chefs work wonders with preparing regional dishes like buffalo tartar, Snake River Kobe beef, sockeye salmon and elk. Still, the potstickers and panna cotta are worthy competition. Saunter into the saloon-like High West Distillery for stick-to-your-ribs eats updated with chef-driven twists— burgers are a blend of organic bison and beef and come with house-cured pickles— and creative bourbon drinks crafted from

the distillery’s own hootch. Top stays include the St. Regis and Montage in Deer Valley, in town, the historic but chic Washington School House Inn. For more information: visitparkcity.com

Sonoma, California Most people experience Sonoma as part of a wine-fueled day trip from nearby San Francisco, but the county, which is about the size of Rhode Island, is worth getting to know better. Beyond more than 400 wineries, you’ll find a dramatic Pacific coastline, majestic redwood trees and winding rivers. With shops, tasting rooms and restaurants arrayed around a pretty town square, Healdsburg is a charismatic base camp. Bed down at Hotel Healdsburg, which is steps away from dining and shopping. Rooms are edgy but comforting Anguilla

thanks to fluffy down comforters on the beds, colorful Tibetan rugs, mustard-hued walls and oversized soaking tubs. For dinner, beeline to Dry Creek Kitchen, where local, seasonal ingredients give New American cuisine a dose of California cool, or to Scopa, for homestyle Italian specialties in a hip, bustling space. Biking is one of the best ways to explore Sonoma County, for a real workout, try the Coleman Valley Loop, a scenic 30-mile round-trip from Healdsburg to the seaside town of Bodega Bay. While you’re there, kayak with harbor seals or check out scenery from Hitchcock’s classic movie The Birds, which was filmed in town. When it’s time to visit a winery, make it special with Jordan’s Estate Tour and Tasting, a moveable feast through the 1,200-acre estate with stops like Chardonnay pairings at Jordan Lake and a seated Cabernet Sauvignon pairing on Jordan’s highest hilltop with 360-degree views of three wine valleys. For more information, visit Sonomacounty.com

Anguilla, British West Indies

Park City

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Surprise! When the temperature and the humidity have both reached 98 in Columbia, chances are it’s a breezy, sunny 88 in the Caribbean, with a lot less humidity. And if it’s low-key luxury you’re after, head to Anguilla, a diminutive isle located just a few miles, yet a world away,


from bustling St. Maarten. Rimmed with billowy pale-pink sand lapped by evanescent turquoise water, Anguilla is a star in its own right, as beautiful as any island and as tranquil as a daydream. And whether it’s served in an elegant dining room or yards from the beach, the island’s food is some of the best in the Caribbean. Diners flock to Veya’s for crayfish in ginger beurre blanc and shrimp in a coconut curry sauce, all served on a second-story porch tucked into a tropical garden. At Blanchard’s in Meads Bay, order anything bathed in the restaurant’s signature red thai curry sauce and the cracked coconut dessert – a handmade chocolate shell filled with coconut ice cream and a nip of Bailey’s. The island’s top resorts have also gotten into the culinary scene. The hippest spot in on the island is the Sunset Lounge at Viceroy Anguilla, where creative sushi, salmon poke and kobe beef sliders are served on low-slung couches with views over the infinity pool to the ocean. If you decide to stay the night, book one of the rooftop studios, which sports a spiral staircase to a very private top-floor balcony set with a plunge pool and lounge chairs. For more information, visit ivisitanguilla.com

Savannah,, Georgia With Charleston less than two hours away, Savannah is often overlooked by many Carolinians, but the city, with its checkerboard of 22 leafy squares and riverfront location, has a personality all its own. There’s plenty to do beyond the squares, too. If it’s just too hot to be outside, check out the modernist Jepson Center for the Arts, the more classic Telfair Academy and the interactive children’s ArtZeum. Or just shop. Broughton Street is the city’s best-known block, and for good reason: locally-owned boutiques like Paris Market, Villa Savannah and 24e are fresh, friendly and chic. Closer to Forsyth Park (and just around the corner from Mercer House, which was made famous by the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil), Savannah’s design district runs along Whitaker Street. Here, you can check out modern edgy designs at Custard or

Savannah

Trunk 13, immerse yourself in antique furnishings, peruse E. Shaver’s twelve rooms of books or check out home design trends. Save time for shopSCAD, where you’ll delight in the works from the artistic minds of the students and instructors from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Savannah is filled with unique stays: Perched above the Savannah River, the Bohemian Hotel echoes the city’s maritime heritage with nautical artwork and river-inspired elements like driftwood and industrial ironwork; rooms have shellcovered chandeliers, furnishings built to resemble old sea chests and large, modern granite baths. Occupying a prime spot in front its namesake green space, the Mansion on Forsyth Park is both exuberant and eclectic: one-of-a-kind Versace furnishings and 200-year-old pink marble columns fill a lobby that peeks into a pool area covered with a dramatic white canopy. For more information, visit visitsavannah.com

Beaufort, South Carolina Beaufort gained fame for its starring role in the movie The Big Chill (you’ll recognize the house at 1 Laurens Street); star Tom Berenger loved the city so much that he stayed. It’s no wonder: attitudefree galleries, boutiques (a few chocolate alligators from the Chocolate Tree make snappy gifts for your dog sitter and plant waterer), coffee shops and restaurants

Beaufort

are tucked under the city’s ancient liveoak trees and along the pretty waterfront; stroll the neighborhoods behind New Street and just try to choose a favorite among the rambling historic homes that sit shaded under veils of Spanish moss. Locals flock to hip Breakwater for tapas and grilled mahi; cruise east on the Sea Island Parkway to the Shrimp Shack, where you can feast on signature shrimpburgers on the back porch. That same road will also take you to the Penn Center, which was founded by Quaker missionaries as a school for freed slaves in 1862 and has become a museum and center for Gullah culture. The 50-acre site includes historic buildings (including the cottage where Martin Luther King stayed) and old burial grounds; at the museum, you can listen to the recorded voices of students sharing their stories. Beaufort’s maze of rivers and tidal creeks are easily explored by kayak; choose nature tours where you’ll be eye-toeye with alligators and snapping turtles, or get a different perspective on the town’s graceful downtown and view it from the water via kayak. May/June 2014 | 85


Sophisticated but beautifully rustic, Barnsley’s 73 rooms, suites and cottages are individually decorated and come with amenities like oversized soaking tubs, pine floors, working fireplaces and window seats. Choose from single rooms, or rent one of the charming multi-bedroom timbered homes within the property. For more information, visit barnsleyresort.com

Big Canoe, Jasper, Georgia

Barnsley Resort

Big Canoe

Stay at one of the city’s many historic inns, or go modern and book one of the two rooms at Greyhound Flats, with their funky bright-and-brown color scheme, heavenly bathrooms and central downtown location.For more information, visit beaufortsc.org

Barnsley Resort, Adairsville,, Georgia When Prince Hubertus Fugger Babenhausen of Augsberg, Germany purchased the former Woodlands Plantation outside Adairsville, Georgia, in 1989, the gardens were overgrown and the historic buildings in ruins. After two years of painstaking restoration, he opened it to the public as Barnsley Gardens, 86 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

naming it for Godfrey Barnsley, who owned the original plantation. Today, the 3,300acre property has been transformed into Barnsley Resort, a garden-filled retreat where, beyond pursuits like golf on the Jim Fazio-designed course or treatments in the spa, guests can, among other activities, hunt for quail, pheasant and turkey, shoot sporting clays, ride horseback through cool meadows, fly fish, kayak and play tennis. A full-time historian cares for the on-site museum, which is filled with artifacts from both the Barnsley family and the Civil War and sits next to the ruins of the plantation’s original home; walking trails lead past additional 19th-century structures that dot the property. Dine at one of the resort’s two restaurants – one of which is located in an 1850’s plantation house – or find your own perfect spot within the resort and let the staff create a dining room just for you. There’s even a European-style beer garden.

Family vacations can be daunting. Too much to do, and you come home more exhausted than when you left. Too little, and the television or computer becomes the sole source of entertainment. And then there’s your lodging. It’s tough to relax when everyone is sharing a single hotel room. That’s why families flock to Big Canoe, an 8,000-acre private community an hour outside of Atlanta. There are lots of cool activities for kids and their parents to pursue together, while summer camps give parents time on their own for golf on the 27-hole championship course, a massage at the community’s own spa or tennis. Three lakes, one with a sand beach, mean families can spend time swimming, fishing and exploring by electric boat, kayak, canoe or even pedal boat. Landlubbers can discover the landscape on the 22 miles of hiking trails that loop through a property filled with deer, woodpeckers and other wildlife. Community activities – canoe races, holiday festivals and movie nights – offer a place to visit with other families. Lodging options are equally varied, from one and two bedroom condominiums to spacious five-bedroom homes with screened-in porches, large designer kitchens, Jacuzzi tubs, playrooms for the kids and large flat-screen televisions. Whatever you choose, bed linens, towels and the final cleanup are all included in the price. Best of all, some of Big Canoe’s home can be rented for less than a week, making the community an easy weekend getaway. For more information, visit bigcanoe.com W


The Swag Country Inn Remote, Rustic, Refined Remarkable By Katherine Pettit

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wag Country Inn, perfectly sited next door to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, has become an enduring tradition for families, couples and friends who’ve discovered its tranquil beauty and appealing amenities. The Inn rests along the Cataloochee Divide, which is a huge ridge forming one of the National Park’s boundaries. In fact, four of North Carolina’s highest mountain ranges are visible from the inn. No newcomer to the area, Swag Country Inn has been in operation for more than 30 years, winning many awards along the way. A few notable achievements: It made 1000 Places to See Before You Die, the New York Times bestseller; for five of the last six years, it’s been on Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List of “Top Places to Stay in the World;” it’s listed as one of “America’s Most Charming Inns” by Departures magazine, and Wall Street Journal calls it one of the “10 coziest Hotels in the United States.” Part of the charm of Swag Country Inn comes from a rustic exterior that gives way to an interior with all of the pampering amenities you’d expect from the finest luxury hotel. Guests enjoy steam showers, satellite radio, Bose sound systems and Wireless Internet service. Your in-room coffee maker includes a bean grinder for the freshest brew. Your refrigerator is well-stocked. You may want to leave the electronics at home (or at least unplugged), because there are so many ways to relax and unwind while you enjoy the beauty of your surroundings. Remember to take your personalized hiking stick with you for a long walk in the woods (it’s yours

to carry home). Or discover one of the three Swag ‘hideaways’ on the property. Be sure to take advantage of the outdoor hot tub with endless views, or perhaps a sauna after your hike is more your style. In addition to long walks and/or mountain hikes, guests enjoy racquetball, wallyball, croquet, horseshoes, corn hole and badminton courts. For some, grabbing a good book from the library and cocooning on the lawn is the ultimate form of relaxation, but for those who love a bit more stimulation, The Swag offers special events throughout the season. You may want to make your reservation when a birding expert is offering before-breakfast birding on the lawn, or when Don Davis, renowned storyteller, is leading hikes in the mountains. Another favorite event is “Black Bears ad Unhuggables,” with Michael R. Pelton and Tamra L. Willis, who lead memorable hikes, programs and conversations about all things wild.

Songwriters, storytellers, naturalists, and experts of all kinds have become favorites for families who return to The Swag year after year. There are family reunions, romantic getaways, anniversary celebrations, girlfriend escapes and unique corporate outings. The food is delicious, and they’ll even pack your lunch to take on a morning hike. Don’t miss The Swag’s renowned Picnic each Wednesday at 5,000 feet up on Gooseberry Knob! Note: The Swag Country Inn is in a dry county, so bring your adult beverages with you. Your wine can chill in your in-room fridge while you play around the property. W

Near Waynesville, NC and about 50 minutes west of Asheville. 1-800-789-7672 www.theswag.com

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The Other Place Just outside Wilmington we found a little known retreat for those just needing to get away By JAMIE PENN

»

Photo by KELLY STARBUCK

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alkerworld Organic Artist Retreat is not easily explained. It’s as romantic as it sounds and as unexpected and magical as any visitor could hope. The main abode, a 3,500 square foot architecturally inimitable structure, is situated on ten acres, tucked away in a gorgeous patch of woods on the Northeast Cape Fear River, twelve miles from Wilmington. Being there is like stepping out of the world as we know it, and stepping into one each of us wishes we could create for ourselves. The dream begins on Blossom Ferry Rd., as it stretches out toward the Northeast Cape Fear River just as the pavement ends and the dirt road begins. Anticipation heightens as the car turns onto the gravel drive marked with a quaint wooden handpainted, Walkerworld sign, situated beneath a towering Palmetto palm. The driveway winds through the woods past an eclectic shed, a classic car or two, and a one-acre organic garden. The 500 square foot art studio just up the hill from the main house, built mostly from reused lumber, is just a taste of what’s to come.  A vibrant, lush garden surrounds the house, a log cabin gone wild.  It becomes instantly clear that the adventure has just begun. “When people come here, they feel freer,” says owner Allen Walker. “No one knows why. It just is.” The house itself is a marvel. Walker is an artist, a free-thinking philosopher and 88 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

a world-class tour guide. And his dream, when building the house, was to create that “other” place. The place that people said couldn’t be built, a lifestyle that people didn’t know was possible.   He’s the man George Bernard Shaw described when he said, “Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.”   A 60 foot wooden rowing scull pierces through the eaves of the original log cabin structure, the laces of the leather shoes still in place dangling. Colorful glass bottles that surround the boat at each end send dreamy flashes of light throughout the house.  Light is a theme. Windows are everywhere, stained glass from a downtown Wilmington church, sliding glass doors where no one would think to put them, anything to create more light. Artist or not, creativity welcomes every visitor at the door.  There are easels and sketch books everywhere, and art on every wall from past visitors, Walker and his children, and artists from all over the

world. A Knabe grand piano, complete with a player, awaits the musician in everyone. From the upstairs loft, with its romantic curved roof and colorful light streaming from the stain-glassed window behind the brass-framed bed, guests can witness the river, the sunset, and the property in all its glory. Walkerworld is for everyone. With trampolines, up the hill and on the river, a ping pong table, a 10-foot outdoor pool table with a drop light, and a fuse ball table, entertainment is endless for little and big kids alike. It sleeps up to 15 and is the perfect place for weddings, birthday parties, weekend or week long stays, or just a great excuse to climb out of the boxes we’ve all created for ourselves. “ Walkerworld is the common denominator,” Walker said. “It’s a place of discovery.It’saplacewherepeopleareallowed to find themselves finding themselves.” 910-200-1720, walkerworldnc.com. W


dining review

in the kitchen

restaurant guide

local flavor

PHOTO JAMES STEFIUK

Bangkok Tuna

Sashimi-grade tuna with steamed white rice, seaweed salad, sides of pickled ginger and wasabi, then drizzled with soy-sweet chili glaze, at The George.

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The George on the Riverwalk By DAVID HOWELL

128 South Water Street 910-763-2052 thegeorgerestaurant.com

» Photos by JAMES STEFIUK

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ituated on the Riverfront at the intersection of South Water Street and Orange, The George on the Riverwalk is one of three restaurants on the Southern waterfront of downtown Wilmington that allow you to overlook the ebb and flow of the Cape Fear River. If you’re looking south, you can see the historic Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, lighting the way for more new comers to the city. Looking north, you can see the overall cityscape of Historic Downtown spread softly up the banks. Like you, it sits humbly and happily at peace along some very old shores. As you dine, you notice some familiarities. There is a look folks get on the waterfront in Downtown Wilmington. They all tend to glow with a similar awe. It’s the kind of look you see in the eyes of visitors and locals alike. Underneath that expression, that attitude, what is really happening is this: their state of consciousness, like yours, has just settled itself comfortably in a new place that’s located somewhere between luxury and a breeze of thankful relief. There are several forces along the river that come together to make us feel this way, and whether you were born here, just moved here, or you are on vacation, the result is the same. You can finally relax. The first time I had this moment was shortly after moving here 10 years ago. My wife and I went out to eat at The George. True story. It was the first restaurant we ate at in Wilmington, and for the entire duration of that first dining experience in our new home, we might as well have been on permanent vacation. As it turns out, the feeling and the ambience we enjoyed that night was neither typical nor an accident. It’s the ambience that restaurants like The George 90 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

Bacon Encrusted Scallops prepared with Panko, Applewood bacon, and fresh herbs, panseared, served with parmesan herb Risotto and grilled asparagus, finished with a Red Wine glaze & Beurre Blanc.

create for us. “In fact,” says Julie McDonald, the restaurant’s general manager, “people come to this town wanting an experience, and I want them to be comfortable and entertained. It’s not a ‘tourist-like’ atmosphere, or a tourist trap, but a quality, consistent, full dining experience.” McDonald also says that, in a way, The George offers Wilmingtonians and visitors alike two recognizably different types of dinner experiences, and both of them complement that feeling of relaxation.

You can choose to eat outside on an expansive covered porch, with its tropically designed floral arrangements, or inside in an equally chic dining area with a new modern feel. The entire space has been recently remodeled to provide customers with a fresh dining experience that is both innovatively hip and classically elegant. One of the key changes to add to your comfort was ditching the ever-popular porch umbrellas for awnings to cover your lunch with full, rather than partial, shade. If you’re meandering down the Riverwalk,


(top) Parmesan Encrusted Sea Bass with mushroom risotto, steamed asparagus, topped with a sundried tomato pesto and a parmesan wheel. (above) Chef Larry Fuller and manager Julie McDonald.

you can stop off at The George for dinner. They’re also the only restaurant on the river with available docking, so if you’re boating on a Saturday or Sunday, you can dock for free and grab brunch there—it’s offered both days from 10am to 3pm with a lunch menu. Another special feature most folks in Wilmington will appreciate is parking. The George has it’s own lot across the street. So, if you drove into downtown for lunch or dinner there’s a place for you there. Either way, all entrances to The George are unique. When you enter the restaurant from Water Street you are welcomed by a warm host and a large and interesting portrait of

King George III. Beneath that is a plaque that reads: “The George Restaurant is named after King George III, 1738 – 1820, who once ruled the Cape Fear River. We remember him as the King who lost the North Carolina Colony in 1776.” The irony in the message is reminiscent of the feeling I’ve already described above, in that it confirms the ownership we all share concerning a location so promising and pleasing to its public. The portrait is, moreover, a double entendre in a way, as the restaurant also carries the name

Cajun fried or citrus grilled and served with a spicy roasted red pepper aioli. » “George’s” Shrimp and Grits: sauteed shrimp, applewood smoked bacon, diced tomatoes, scallions and garlic in a white wine sauce with stone ground white cheddar grits. » Pecan Encrusted Grouper: pan-seared, topped with honey butter and parmesan risotto and grilled asparagus “We’re proud of our menu,” says McDonald, “but we will always accommodate special diets or requests.” On average, dinner for

The George restaurant is named after King George III, 1738 – 1820, who once ruled the Cape Fear River. of its owner, George Coffin. He built and opened The George in 2004, and it blends in perfectly with its historic surroundings. Several large mirrors strategically placed inside the dining area and bar greatly enhance the size of the room. If you’re out for a nice dinner, they add an element of space that extends the atmosphere even further to match their unique cuisine. Of the food, McDonald says, “It is all fresh, and Chef Larry Fuller is rooted by the South. His influences transform The George’s offerings into Southern Coastal Cuisine.” Some samples from the restaurant’s different menus include: » Alligator Satay: prepared two ways;

two at The George will cost $47 - $53. It is a no-reservations restaurant that offers resort-style treatment. Ultimately, suggests McDonald, what matters most is that at the end of your meal, you feel relaxed, satisfied and befriended. Also, just to mix in that extra bit of down-home friendliness with martini-grade taste, each member of The George’s professional wait-staff has the city they’re from written on their nametag. It’s a reminder that in this particular riverfront atmosphere, we gather for fine food and spirits with people from many parts—a cheery, yet subtle suggestion that all roads lead to The George. W

May/June 2014 | 91


S ummer H omework Required Reading

Ice Cream Class & Sundae School Text and Photographs by Kim Byer

92 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com


Lesson no. 1: Know thy scream.

It’s summertime: time for humid, lazy days when the musical lilt of the ice cream truck – the original food truck – drifts through the neighborhood trees like a fisherman’s slow cast. It’s time for kiddie pools and blow up rafts, bicycles and beach vacations. It’s time for tank tops and sunburns, painted toenails and flip-flops, sunglasses and paperbacks. But better yet, it’s time for the kid inside us all to scream when someone offers us a cold cone of creamy, melting, dripping, delicious ice cream. Even though the screaming kid inside us is now responsible for either purchasing it or making it, it’s no less fun. Picking up a grocery store carton from the freezer aisle has been our reflex for decades now. It’s not always cheap, but it is convenient. However, we’re beginning to realize that if we care about the ingredients and the food we eat, we’re often better off making our ice cream. And as these lessons illustrate, making it is half the fun.

Lesson no. 2: Go old school.

If your inner child cries out for a bowl of rich-with-real-cream, luxurious ice cream, this Vanilla Bean Ice Cream will knock your tennis socks off. Based on David Leibovitz’s French Vanilla Ice Cream, with less time standing at your stove, this recipe produces a quart of ice cream indiscernible from your grandmother’s rock salt and hand-cranked churn versions. She told you about those, didn’t she?

Lesson no. 3: How I made Snow Cream over Summer Break

This simple ice milk recipe will have you spooning up bowls of slushy, frozen goodness with minimal effort and without cooking. You’ll need a bowl, an appliance that churns, and four ingredients that you may already have on hand. After a few hours of freezertime, you will be revered as an ice cream goddess. Own it.

Vanilla Ice Milk Serves 4-6

1 1/2 cups whole milk 1 cup sugar 3 cups half-n-half 1 1/2 tablespoons good quality vanilla extract

In a medium-sized bowl, stir or whisk the milk and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.

Add half-n-half and vanilla extract and pour into an ice-cream

maker (following manufacturer’s directions) or stand-up mixer freezer bowl and churn until thickened. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for several hours. Allow ice milk to thaw for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Makes a little less than 1 quart Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Leibovitz 1 cup whole milk Pinch of sea salt 3/4 cup sugar 1 vanilla bean 2 cups heavy cream 6 large egg yolks 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract Heat milk, salt and sugar in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean open and scrape out the seeds. Add seeds and pod to milk. Remove from heat. Strain the milk and remove vanilla bean. Return to saucepan. In a small bowl, stir the egg yolks together. Pour a small amount of the cooled milk into the eggs, whisking constantly. Incorporate eggs back into saucepan. Using a silicone spatula, cook and stir the egg and milk mixture on low until it turns into custard. After approximately ten minutes, the thick custard should stick to the spatula. Strain custard into a very cold bowl (or bowl sitting inside an ice bath) and slowly incorporate the heavy cream. Incorporate the vanilla extract using a whisk. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled—up to eight hours. The colder the ice cream, the less time it will need to churn.  C hurn/Freeze ice cream in ice cream maker following manufacturer’s directions. Note: As it churns, ice cream will dramatically increase in volume.

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Extra credit:

Fruits and berries such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, fresh mango, peaches, grated coconut and cherries are easy additions to banana soft-serve. Or mix in your favorite nuts, chocolate chips, raisins or candies. Swirl these in by hand after the initial blending.

Lesson no. 5: The Tale of the Magical Frozen Banana

Lesson no. 4: Sundae! Sundae!

Continuing this primer on homemade ice cream, I’d be remiss if I didn’t pause for a construction tutorial/reminder. The classic American sundae is what happens when pure vanilla goodness goes bad. Super bad. Sundaes are to ice cream what sprinkles are to frozen yogurt. Assemble and devour. Repeat.

The average American consumes over 26 pounds of bananas each year. Don’t be average; be above average and stop trashing-or even composting-- the two or three overripe bananas that linger on your kitchen island each week. Frozen bananas are the one fruit whose sugar vs. water ratio allows them to magically transform into the creamy consistency of a dairy-based ice cream when blended. Bananas contain high amounts of potassium, fiber and vitamin B6 and along with a string of other A, B, and C vitamins, they’re also low in calories. This healthy ice cream imposter has been lurking around the Internet for a few years now and, if you haven’t tried it yet, make this your summer to indulge without fear of the bulge.

Summer Sundae

Soft-serve Banana Ice Cream

Makes one sundae

2 -3 maraschino cherries 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, soaked in 2 tablespoons maple syrup Whipped cream (in the can—yes!) 1/3 cup hot fudge sauce or chocolate shell (see recipe) 2 scoops Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (see recipe) 1 brownie, blondie or cookie

Simple Chocolate Shell

Makes 2 cups (Note: Sauce hardens when drizzled over ice cream.) 1 cup powdered cocoa (100% cacao) 1 cup coconut oil 2 tablespoons agave sweetener or maple syrup Pinch of sea salt Stir all ingredients together. If using solid coconut oil, place chocolate into a microwave for a few seconds to make it pourable.

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3- 6 frozen bananas  In a high-powered blender or food processor, chop frozen bananas on low, stopping occasionally to stir, until they transform from a small ball texture into a thick, creamy soft-serve consistency. Serve immediately or freeze for an hour or two in an airtight container. Tip: Cut ripe bananas into ½ disks and wrap with aluminum foil. Freeze for 2-4 hours before using.

Soft-serve Strawberry Banana Ice Cream 3 frozen bananas 1/2 cup fresh strawberries  In a high-powered blender or food processor, chop frozen bananas and strawberries on low, stopping occasionally to stir, until they transform from a small ball texture into a creamy soft-serve consistency. Serve immediately or freeze for an hour or two in an airtight container.


Extra credit:

Want more of an adult treat? Swirl in caramel sauce and sprinkle with sea salt. Or, try adding crushed lavender, mint, saffron or cardamom. Flavored balsamic vinegars, such as blueberry or espresso will also kick up the intensity. And liqueurs add a bit of decadence to any creamy dessert. Try kahlúa, Irish cream, or crème de menthe.

May/June 2014 | 95


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Double Dark Chocolate Cream 3 frozen bananas 2 tablespoons chocolate milk or chocolate non-dairy milk 1 tablespoon dark chocolate cocoa (100% cacao) Optional: 1 ounce dark chocolate bar, broken into small chunks 1/4 cup cacao chips 1 tablespoon chocolate covered espresso chips In a high-speed blender, chop frozen bananas, chocolate milk and cocoa until mixture transforms from a small ball texture into a soft-serve consistency. Add chocolate bar chunks, cacao chips and espresso beans and pulse until desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately.

Lesson no. 6: Whole Fruit Sorbet -- an easy “A”

Sorbet is the healthier and fruitier cousin of the extended ice cream family. Spun from a fruit base rather than a dairy base, short-cut homemade versions are possible in minutes by using frozen fruit, a single ripe (not frozen) banana and a heavy-duty blender. Create luscious, whole fruit desserts with seasonal ingredients. Shortcut sorbet variations are as unlimited as your imagination, but those made with one or two farm-fresh, local ingredients will be as welcome on your lips as the most exotic pairings.

Sorbet Shortcut Method In a high-powered blender or food processor, process sorbet ingredients on low, pulsing and stopping occasionally to stir. Serve immediately or freeze for an hour or two in an airtight container.

Peach Sorbet Serves two

2 cups frozen peaches 1 ripe banana 2 tablespoons agave, honey or maple syrup (optional)

Blueberry Sorbet Serves two

2 cups frozen blueberries 1 ripe banana 1 orange, peeled and seeded

Pineapple Sorbet Serves three to four

3 cups frozen pineapple chunks 1 1/2 ripe bananas

Extra credit:

Want a more sophisticated freeze pop? Try adding citrus zest, chocolate shavings, or nutmeg. Or, to kick up the hipster factor, add chia seeds, bee pollen, boba tapioca pearls or even bacon to your creations. You’ll either be crowned Popsicle King or kicked out of your supper club.

May/June 2014 | 97


Lesson no. 7: Pop(sicle) Quiz!

Popsicles made a comeback a couple of summers ago. They’re still the “it” dessert of the summer and these velvety variations are the stuff of dreams. Control-happy cooks will know exactly what they’re feeding their families: Lactose and peanuts are no longer worries in homemade frozen treats. And although the sugar may not be saintly, it’s measured and countered by the healthy fat (and oh-so-delicious) coconut oil. In the solar vortex of a Carolina summer, a tongue-freezing popsicle is the best kind of love a cook can share.

Chocolate Popsicle Makes six popsicles

1 1/2 cup dark chocolate almond milk 1/4 cup agave sweetener 1/3 cup coconut oil (liquid) pinch of sea salt Blend all ingredients on high for 15 seconds. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid. Tip: If coconut oil is solid, heat gently until dissolved.

Berries & Creamsicle Makes six popsicles

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk or non-dairy milk of choice) 1/4 cup agave sweetener 1/4 cup coconut oil (liquid) 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice Pinch of sea salt 1 cup mixed fresh berries, such as raspberries and blueberries Blend first five ingredients on high for 15 seconds. Divide berries among popsicle molds. Pour almond milk mixture over berries and freeze until solid. Tip: If coconut oil is solid, heat gently until dissolved. W

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bocce and cornhole facility on the East Coast. Lunch and dinner daily. Dixie Grill 116 Market St., 762-7280. Casual dinette known for great breakfasts and brunch in the heart of downtown Wilmington. Front Street Brewery 9 N. Front St., 251-1935. Wilmington’s only restaurant and brewery, offering great food and micro brews. Menu has over 25 gourmet sandwiches and burgers, and over 35 entrees to choose from. Steaks, seafood, or try their famous Scottish Ale Brew-B-Q Ribs. Lunch and dinner daily. Henry’s 2508 Independence Blvd., 793-2929. Considered a top local favorite, with locally sourced classic American fare in an inviting and casual environment. Live music nightly and outdoor dining available. Lunch and dinner daily. Jerry’s Food, Wine and Spirits 7220 Wrightsville Ave., 256-8847. Fine dining in a casual bistro atmosphere with an ever changing creative menu. Nick’s Diner 127 N. Front St., 341-7655. Their specialty is the Iron Skillet casseroles and great burgers, salads. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.

Ready to Eat?

Use our restaurant listings to find the best eating and drinking in Wilmington. American Bluewater Waterfront Grill 4 Marina St., 256-8500. Offering spectacular panoramic views of Wrightsville Beach’s Intracoastal Waterway. Watch boats cruise past while enjoying the casual American menu. Dinner mainstays include fresh seafood, baby back ribs, char-grilled steaks, and delicious homemade desserts. Lunch and dinner daily. Boca Bay 2025 Eastwood Rd., 256-1887. Find dining near the beach, with sushi, raw bar, seafood, lamb and steak. Light and colorful, one of the best restaurant bars in town. Dinner nightly, Sunday brunch. Cameo 1900 1900 Eastwood Rd., 509-2026. A fun and stylish place with memorable dishes and drinks, for the

perfect spot for a night out with friends or an intimate dinner. Menu includes flavorful, high-quality dishes served tapas style. Dinner Tue-Sat., Sunday brunch. Catch 6623 Market St., 799-3847. Awardwinning local chef Keith Rhodes has been voted the city’s best chef for three consecutive years. A stickler for wild caught and sustainably raised seafood, his modern seafood cuisine comes through in every bite, with dishes like NC sweet potato salad and seafood ceviche. Acclaimed wine list. Lunch Tue-Fri, and dinner Mon-Sat. Courts and Sports Bar & Grill 3625 Lancelot Ln., 228-5791. First class sports bar and grill, serving up burgers, and some vegetarian. The best outdoor volleyball,

Oceanic 703 S. Lumina Ave., 256-5551. Situated on the beach overlooking the pristine Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy wonderfully fresh seafood, exciting land lover dishes and breathtaking views. Outdoor seating is available at the adjacent Crystal Pier. Lunch and dinner daily. Oceans 1706 N. Lumina Ave., 256-2231. Located inside the Holiday Inn Resort, it offers the perfect locale for fresh seafood and steaks while enjoying the magnificent views of the ocean. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Riverboat Landing 2 Market St. 763-7227. Historic building on the corner of Water and Market houses a cozy restaurant inside. But get there early to dine outside on one of the balconies on the second floor. Southern fare with French, Mediterranean and Asian influence. Lunch and dinner daily, Sunday brunch. Rucker Johns 5511 Carolina Beach Rd., 452-1212. High quality food served up in a fun and relaxing atmosphere. Burgers, steak, chicken, and salads. Lunch and dinner daily.

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Sweet & Savory Café 1611 Pavilion Pl., 256-0115. A full menu breakfast lunch and dinner restaurant with dishes made from scratch. Open daily, 7am-9pm. The Pilot House 2 Ann St., 343-0200. Overlooking the Cape Fear River with large outside deck. Menu ranges from down home cooking to Cajun, as well as fused traditional Southern fare with a contemporary twist. Lunch and dinner daily.

7 LOCATIONS 4544 Fountain Drive Wilmington 910-392-2293 2420 South 17 th Street Wilmington 910-794-4544 1437 Military Cutoff Road Wilmington 910-256-8850 5916 Carolina Beach Road Wilmington 910-791-9969 8116 Market Street Wilmington 910-686-6550 1035 Gradiflora Drive Leland 910-399-6808

Towne Tap & Grill 890 Town Center Dr., 256-6224. Situated next door to the Mayfaire Cinema is the place to be seen before or after the movie. Great American fare, with burgers, steaks, and cold beer. Lunch and dinner daily.

Asian Bento Box 1121 Military Cutoff Rd., 509-0774. Asian street food, with a culmination of Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and Thai dishes. Sushi bar. Lunch Mon-Fri, Dinner Mon-Sat. Big Thai 1319 Military Cutoff Rd., 256-6588. Famous for authentic Thai. Don’t miss the Coconut cake as a sweet and savory finale. Lunch and dinner daily. Blue Asia 341 S. College Rd., 799-0002. An Asian bistro offering a wide range of authentic Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisines using the freshest seafood, meats, and vegetables. Lunch and dinner daily.

Memorial Commons Shopping Center Goldsboro 919-739-0110

Double Happiness 4403 Wrightsville Ave., 313-1088. A great mix of traditional Chinese dishes and modern twists on favorites. Prepared fresh daily. Lunch and dinner daily.

Consistent winner of “BEST BURGER” in Encore magazine’s annual poll. Eat inside or on the patio and enjoy tasty sandwiches and salads.

Indochine 7 Wayne Dr., 251-9229. Enjoy the finest Thai-Vietnamese cuisine in a beautifully decorated environment. Voted best Asian 10 years in a row. Lunch and dinner daily. Szechuan 132 419 S. College Rd., 799-1426. Voted best Chinese restaurant 12 years in a row. Fine contemporary dining in a relaxed atmosphere, serving exceptional dishes like rosemary lamb and filet mignon. Lunch and dinner daily.

Planning a party? Book our fully functional food truck. For food truck reservations contact ptsgrillemobile@gmail.com, or call the Fountain Drive Location for further details.

Tokyo 101 880 Town Center Dr., 399-3101. Traditional Japanese with fresh sushi, diverse noodle dishes, combination plates, and appetizers.

Lunch and dinner daily. Yosake Downtown Sushi Lounge 31 S. Front St., 763-3172. Lacquered walls and unique art surround guests as they dine on sushi and Pan/Asian fare. Dinner nightly at 5pm.

Bars Bottega Bar and Gallery 208 N. Front St., 763-3737. Friendly downtown wine bar with ever changing art exhibits. Nibbles available while savoring a choice of wines by the glass. Mon dinner only, lunch and dinner Tue-Sun. Copper Penny 109 Chestnut St., 762-1373. More than a sports bar, offering an eclectic mix of appetizers, salads, and sandwiches along with an extensive selection of mixed drinks and beers. Lunch and dinner daily. Costello’s 211 Princess St., 362-9666. Tiny but sophisticated piano bar. Gather ‘round for sing-alongs and the local spot for much of the late night theatre crowd. Nightly 7pm-2am. Dirty Martini 1904 Eastwood Rd., 679-8050. A stylish, sophisticated night spot with a twist. Come relax or mix things up and make new friends with a lusty martini menu that will leave you shaken and stirred. Wilmington Wine 605 Castle St., 202-4749. Close to downtown, this is a wine shop worth visiting. By the glass or by the bottle, Chrissy knows her wines and offers frequent wine tastings peppered with local conversation. Opens daily at noon.

Cajun Bourbon Street 35 N. Front St., 762-4050. Experience authentic Cajun cuisine in a uniquely decorated setting that has the appeal of being in New Orleans. Come sample their famous charbroiled oysters. Lunch and dinner daily.

Fine Dining Aubriana’s 115 S. Front St., 763-7773. A quaint Italian bistro with a menu that is updated frequently with creative dishes and the freshest ingredients. Trained wait staff assist with pairing an extensive wine list with your meal. Dinner Tue-Sat. East Oceanfront Dining 275 Waynick Blvd., 256-2251. Award-winning cuisine


Wilmington’s Downtown Sports Pub This former Dawson's Creek set stage has evolved into a premier Downtown Wilmington hot spot. Not only is this the place to watch every major sports package on 11 HDTV's and huge projection screen, but also offers daily food and drink specials as well as live music every weekend. This family owned and operated establishment offers something for everyone: Great food, free WIFI, pool table, internet jukebox, full bar and extensive beer list, even a menu for the kids!

FREE DOWNTOWN DELIVERY OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK FROM 11AM-2AM

118 PRINCESS STREET, DOWNTOWN WILMINGTON • 910-763-4133 • HELLSKITCHENBAR.COM

GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS AVAILABLE

Thai food has its own unique style and flair. Southern Thai Restaurant offers Wilmington an opportunity to experience the unique flavors that come from the Southern region of Thailand. Here the mountains and ocean provide an abundance of fresh herbs, vegetables and seafood that are used in curries, stir fry's, soups, salads and sauces. These recipes have been perfected as they have been passed down through generations of Thai people. Come see us and indulge in the amazing taste and smells of Southern Thai.

3715 Patriot Way - Unit 123 Wilmington, NC 28412 910-769-3193 southernthairestaurant.com Monday - Thursday 11am to 9:30pm Friday & Saturday 11am to 11pm Sunday 12pm to 9pm


A Step Back in Time Retro Dixie Grill has modern-day appeal By BRIDGET CALLAHAN

»

Photos by JAMES STEFIUK

ON A WEDNESDAY MORNING AT 10 a.m., Market Street is fairly quiet. Summer is about to start, and the anticipation hangs in the air. Delivery trucks are parked in front of bars and restaurants, a few stray people are walking in the warm sun towards the river. Inside the Dixie Grill, a friendly, tattooed waitress with teal blue keds is pouring coffee, and bringing out plates of eggs and their famous Louisiana Hash to quiet men in work clothes who congregate in the blue and cream colored vinyl booths, having either a late breakfast or an early lunch. The space inside is deceptive – it stretches long to the back, belying the building’s historic pool hall origins. “You used to get a bowl of beans every day for lunch, and a ham sandwich, for three bucks”, Allen Quigley, one of the owners of the Dixie Grill, tells me. Allen became partners with Brian Mayberry a little over a year ago. Mayberry took over the Dixie thirteen years ago, but the restaurant itself has been a Wilmington staple since 1906. “One of the cool things about this place is how long it’s been around, and the people who continue to come on a regular basis. We have these two old timers who have been coming for thirty to forty five years. They come every day between ten and eleven, and they sit there playing cards until their parking meters run out,” Quigley says. It’s the little things like that, the sense of town community, which make the Dixie Grill a downtown gem. There are many elements of the Dixie Grill that evoke Diner Americana – the red top laminate counter with bright yellow baskets of creamers, the vinyl and chrome bar stools, and the crew of young waitresses in matching black t-shirts that hover around, pouring refills and bringing hot sauce. Look closer though, and you’ll notice how deftly 102 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

the space blends modern hip decor with its retro tradition – from the local art work on the walls to colorful, abstract tile mosaics. The menu has come a long way from a bowl of beans. Regulars already know about the Dixie’s classics, like huevos rancheros and cheesy shrimp n’ grits. But this summer they’ll get an opportunity to try out an expanded burger menu, featuring new items like the Jamaican Jerk burger with charred pineapple, cherry peppers, and ghost pepper jack. Quigley says they are trying to expand their healthy menu items, offering gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian options. In a move guaranteed to thrill lots of downtown locals, starting the weekend of Azalea Fest, April 12th, the Dixie Grill will be staying open later, serving the full menu and a full bar. The restaurant will be open until 10pm, Wednesday through Saturday, all summer. In addition to their catering packages, Quigley and Mayberry will also start highlighting a different local non-profit every month, with fundraiser dinners and table literature. The goal is to raise customer awareness of the amazing community work being done in the Wilmington area today. But even with all the new plans, it’s important to Quigley that their current regulars still have a familiar place to come to. “It’s just great history, and we’re trying to keep that going,” he says. “You know, improve it, but not change it.” W

» The Dixie Grill

116 Market St., Wilmington 910-762-7280 Hours: 8:00am - 3:00pm daily


May/June 2014 | 103


Wilmington’s Premier Sports Bar & Facility

accompanied by the sounds of breaking surf and a soothing coastal breeze. Enjoy fresh local seafood or grass fed beef while you dine under a canopied, oceanfront deck or inside. A great selection of wine, beer and spirits. Dinner nightly, Sunday brunch. Manna 123 Princess St., 763-5252. A favorite among the film industry stars, serving American cuisine with European flare. Dinner Tue-Sun. Port City Chop House 1981 Eastwood Rd., 256-4955. Known for fresh seafood, steaks and chops prepared fresh using the highest quality ingredients. Lunch and dinner Mon-Fri, Sat dinner only. Port Land Grill 1908 Eastwood Rd., 256-6056. Progressive American regional cuisine served in a casual yet elegant coastal setting. Dinner Tue-Sat. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse 301 N. Water St., 343-1818. Nestled inside the Hilton Wilmington Riverside, famously known for excellent steaks and service. Come celebrate a romantic evening. Dinner nightly. Rx Restaurant & Bar 421 Castle St., 399-3080. Best Southern fried chicken. Tickle your taste buds and experiment with local foods prepared with a uniquely Southern twist. Lunch and dinner Tue-Sun.

French Brasserie Du Soleil 1908 Eastwood Rd., 256-2226. French cafe with patio and inside dining. Pick your own salad ingredients from a wide selection of items. Lunch and dinner daily. Caprice Bistro 10 Market St., 815-0810. Elegant dining downstairs with sofa bar upstairs and a great martini selection. Authentic French bistro. Dinner nightly.

VOLLEYBALL ● ● CORNHOLE ● ● BOCCE BALL ● ● TRIVIA ● ●

Open Daily until 2 a.m.

3525 Lancelot Lane • Wilmington, NC 910-228-5791 courts-sports.com

Le Catalan French Café & Wine Bar 224 S. Water Street, 815-0200. Very European and romantic, outdoor dining overlooking the Cape Fear River. Lunch and dinner Tue-Sun. Our Crepes & More 3810 Oleander Dr., 395-0077. Family owned French Creperie. Authentic homemade cuisine. Breakfast, brunch, and desserts, Tue-Sun. Perkeo Wine Bistro 114 Market St.,

769-3338. Wide open spaces and bold turquoise walls with a lighted waterfall up front make this a chic and cozy dining spot. French and Vietnamese infused dishes. Extensive wine list from around the globe. Dinner Wed-Sun. The Little Dipper 138 S. Front St., 251-0433. Unique, nostalgic and fun fondue menu includes premium meats, seafood, vegetables, appetizers, desserts, and homemade sauces for dipping. Enjoy a night out while you dip assorted breads into hot melted cheese prepared tableside by your server. Dinner nightly Memorial DayLabor Day.

Italian Eddie Romanelli’s 503 Olde Waterford Way, 383-1885. A longtime local favorite serving up scratch-made Italian fare in a family-friendly atmosphere. A diverse menu including baked ziti, hand-made pizzas, steak, burgers, and salads. Lunch and dinner daily. Fat Tony’s Italian Pub 131 N. Front St., 343-8881; 250 Racine Dr., 452-9000. Great family-friendly restaurant offering fantastic views of the Cape Fear river. Serving a mix of Italian and American fare, and a full bar, including 25 beers on tap. Lunch and dinner daily. Georgio’s 5226 S. College Rd., 790-9954. From old world style dishes to modern day creations, menu showcases multiple flavors. Offering pasta, seafood, steaks, pork chops, soups, and salads. Dinner Mon, Lunch and dinner Tue-Sun. Kornerstone Bistro 8262 Market St., 686-2296. Traditional Mediterranean fare and wood-fired pizza oven. Homemade desserts. Lunch and dinner daily. Nicola’s 5704 Oleander Dr., 798-2205. An Italian eatery with made fresh daily pasta, sausage, baked breads and more. Dinner Tue-Sun. Osteria Cicchetti 1125 Military Cutoff Rd., 256-7476. Serving a variety of pasta dishes, pizza, salads, and antipasti. Lunch Mon-Fri, dinner nightly. Pizzetta’s Pizzeria 4107 Oleander Dr., 799-4300. (L) 1144 E. Cutler Crossing, 371-6001. Hottest spot for pizza by the slice, offering dozens of pizza choices with a New York flair. Lunch and dinner daily.


Perkeo Wine Bistro

Excellent Wine, Delicious Food & Relaxing Atmosphere

Extensive Wine List Eclectic Menu • Daily Specials & Events

Open Wednesday – Sunday 114 Market Street • Wilmington 910-769-3338 • perkeowine.com

Soho Bakery & Café 431 Eastwood Road Wilmington, NC 28403 910-859-7714

F 5564 Carolina Beach Road Wilmington, NC 28412 ruckerjohns.com

rom the heart of the Big Apple to the Triangle Area to Wilmington – Soho Bakery and Café offers fresh baked goods from our bakery and New York style sandwiches from our deli. Guests are guaranteed an authentic taste of New York. Breakfast • Lunch • Dinner


Get Your Daily Dose of Wilmington

Dixie Burger ground sirloin, lettuce, tomato, onion, & mayo Stafford Burger apple-sage pork sausage and ground sirloin topped with provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion, & mayo Fitzroy Street bacon, fried egg, caramelized onions Tar Heel Carolina Style chili, slaw, onions Blue Devil Black N Blue cajun seasoning & blue cheese

Organic

Jimmy V chicken burger, fresh mozzarella, pepperoni The Redd char-grilled chicken breast, swiss, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion & cajun ranch Meatloaf Cajun turkey with fried pickles Southwest black beans, cheddar jack, avocado, salsa Detroiter bacon, ham, swiss, american

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Salmon Burger dill, smoky dijon Uber Hippie marinated tempeh, sprouts, grill roma, BBQ sauce

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Tree Hugger vegan black bean. swiss, cucumber, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, roasted red pepper, mayo

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Jamaican Jerk charred pineapple, cherry peppers, ghost pepper jack

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Voted Best Breakfast and Best Diner 2014 (Encore Best of)

FULL BAR SERVING CRAFT BEER, WINE AND ALCOHOL 116 Market St., Wilmington 910-762-7280 Sun thru Tues 8am - 3pm & Wed thru Sat 8am - 10pm

Sienna Trattoria 3315 Masonboro Loop Rd., 794-3002. Enjoy authentic Italian food in a warm, casual setting. Dine indoors or the outside courtyard. Perfect for the entire family, with delicious brick oven pizza, seafood, and pasta specials. Fully stocked bar and lounge. Dinner nightly. Soho Bakery & Cafe 431 Eastwood Rd., 859-7714. Offering fresh baked goods like bagels and sweets, and great pastas along with authentic Italian sandwiches from the deli. Guests are guaranteed to get a taste of New York. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

Hamburger Menu

Olympia the Greek lamb burger with feta, spinach, tomato, onions, spinach, pepperoncini

Roko Italian Cuisine 6801-105 Parker Farm Dr., 679-4783. Features authentic northern Italian cuisine. Reservations often necessary at this intimate spot in Mayfaire. Dinner nightly.

Epic Food Co. 1113 Military Cutoff Rd., 679-4216. Choose from a menu of sandwiches, salads, and noodle and rice bowls, with organic and all-natural selections. Sauces and salsas are made from scratch. Vegan and gluten-free dishes also offered. Lunch and dinner, Mon-Sat. Lovey’s Market & Cafe 1319 Military Cutoff, 509-0331. A health food store with fresh, delicious, healthy organic food prepared daily. Offers healthy choices whether its organic groceries, produce or supplements and beauty aids. Includes a wonderful cafe that offers organic smoothies, fresh juice such as wheatgrass, orange juice, and juice blends from organic produce. Freshly baked goods with gluten free options. Cafe menu has something for everyone, whether they are vegetarian, vegan or not. Cafe is open daily 11am-6pm. Tidal Creek Co-op 5329 Oleander Dr., 799-2667. An organic grocery with inside cafe offering organic and vegan friendly options for casual dine-in or take out. Cafe open 11am-6pm daily.

Seafood Black Sea Grill 118 S. Front St., 254-9990. Mediterranean style eatery in a quaint downtown location. Lamb


chops, seafood, vegetarian. Lunch and dinner Tue-Sat. Bridge Tender 1414 Airlie Rd., 2564519. Featuring fresh seafood, certified Angus beef steaks, delicious appetizers, and mouth-watering desserts. Choose to dine on the outdoor patio overlooking the Intracoastal waterway or enjoy the cozy interior setting. Lunch Mon-Fri., dinner nightly. Cape Fear Seafood Company 5226 S. College Rd., 799-7077. Specializing in regional American seafood, hand cut fish, steaks, and chicken along with freshly made desserts all served in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. Lunch and dinner daily. Dockside 1308 Airlie Rd., 256-2752. The place to be for the best seafood on the Intracoastal Waterway, Dockside is synonymous with great food and a casual, atmosphere. Using only the freshest and highest quality local and regional ingredients whenever possible. Lunch and dinner daily. Dock Street Oyster Bar 12 Dock St., 762-2827. Voted best oyster bar 13 years in a row. Come enjoy some great Caribbean style fare in a chic atmosphere. Serving an array of seafood, pasta, and chicken. Lunch and dinner daily. Elijah’s 2 Ann St., 343-1448. Casual American grill and oyster bar overlooking the Cape Fear River. Seafood, steaks, chicken, salads. Lunch and dinner daily, Sunday brunch. Fish House Grill 1410 Airlie Rd., 256-3693. A landmark seafood restaurant for decades, offering a casual, fun place to eat fresh seafood while enjoying the outdoor waterfront overlooking the Intracoastal waterway. Made-from-scratch every day. Lunch and dinner daily. Hieronymus 5035 Market St., 392-6313. Come enjoy locally sourced seafood and fresh vegetables in a casual atmosphere. Voted best seafood in 2011, this is one of the local’s favorites for over 30 years. Lunch and dinner daily. Phun Seafood Bar 215 Princess St., 762-2841. A fun 22-seat eatery serving southeast Asian tapas food, Vietnamese and Thai style. Sample lemongrass pork

wontons, country ham-green mango rolls, and hot noodle bowls. Beer and wine available. Lunch Mon-Fri, Dinner Wed-Sat.

VOTED CITY’S BEST CHEF 3 YEARS IN A ROW!

Shuckers Oyster Bar and Grill 6828 Market Rd, 859-8195. A favorite hang out, offering raw bar, seafood, burgers, wraps, and sandwiches. Lunch and dinner daily. Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar 6A N. Lake Park Blvd., 458-7380; 109 Market St., 833-8622. Come watch your favorite sports team while enjoying some great oysters, shrimp, crab cakes, po-boys, and fresh salads. Casual, family-friendly atmosphere. Lunch and dinner daily. The George 128 S. Water St., 7632052. Enjoy waterfront dining on the RiverWalk, Menu offers southern coastal cuisine with a diverse selection of steak, pasta, salad and fresh seafood, including the best Shrimp ní Grits in town. Outdoor deck, full bar with extensive wine and martini lists. Dock your boat at the only dockínídine restaurant downtown. Lunch and dinner Tue-Sat, Sunday brunch.

Tapas

FRESH LOCAL AUTHENTIC

Serving local sourced seafood using sustainable fishing practices.

Circa 1922 8 N. Front St., 762-1922. Great bar and ever changing small plates, serving the likes of maple glazed pork belly, grilled stuffed quail, and lamb shank.. Dinner nightly, Sunday brunch. 9 Restaurant 9 S. Front St., 523-5912. Breakfast cafe during the day with homemade pastries, and a tapas bar and lounge at night. Jazz and blues music. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Opening in May 2013. The Fortunate Glass 29 S. Front St., 399-4292. A wine bar at heart, the focus is on wines from all regions, with 50 wines by the glass and about 350 wines by the bottle, plus over 30 craft beers. A small menu of fine cheeses, Italian cured meats, and decadent desserts served tapas style will compliment your wine selection. Dinner Tue-Sun.

6623 Market Street • Wilmington 910-799-3847 catchwilmington.com

Visit our sister restaurant serving the best Vietnamese and Thai.

The Olive Café 1125-E Military Cutoff Rd., 679-4772. An Epicurean emporium for everything taste. Wines, bakery, and somewhat bigger than small plates.

215 Princess Street Downtown Wilmington 910-762-2841


Cape Charles, Virginia Crossing to the Cape Text and Photographs by Donna Keel Armer

Am I really here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia? Is this view of gardens, sand and sea, and the orchestra of birdsong my imagination? Did I really find time to leave behind the chaotic schedule of my life to spend a week in Cape Charles? I whisper a resounding “YES” under my breath and take another look at the lush gardens spread out before me. The weariness of yesterday’s drive fades away and I am ready for today’s adventure with my three sisters for our 17th annual girls’ get away. It is during these weeks that we reconnect and catch up, surrounded by new sights, sounds and tastes that feed our memories and senses. The location has to be special and appeal to all of us. This location checks all the boxes. For me, the most memorable part of driving here from the Carolinas to Virginia was crossing the Cheasapeake Bay BridgeTunnel. It is an experience not to be missed. The bridge-tunnel is an instant and graphic picture as you soar into the heavens and then dramatically plunge into the sea for two mile-long tunnels. From shore to shore it’s 17 miles. The bridge is considered one of the seven engineering wonders of the modern world. There is no backing up or getting off once you’ve paid your toll and passed through the gate. You have committed yourself to reaching the other side. And, the other side is another world. As you reach the shoreline and sigh with blessed relief that you made it, you are surrounded immediately by the beauty of the Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge. Any time is good for a visit, but Fall is the perfect time as millions of songbirds, monarch butterflies and thousands of raptors wing their way to this sanctuary on their journey South. Cape Charles (pop: 999 soon to be 1,000 I’m sure) is the perfect lazy sun drenched small town on the coastal Eastern Shore and it’s where we unpack to live for a week. The town is filled with tiny shops and restaurants and friendly people. In each shop I enter I’m greeted as an old friend returning after a long absence. “Can I take a few pictures,” I ask? Of course you can, is the reply. Checking out each small shop is mandatory and a great way to spend the morning and early afternoon. Each shopkeeper from the fish & bait shop to the olive tasting shop has words of wisdom regarding what to purchase. Take your time in each shop, but know that your destination is 22 Strawberry Street. How can you not love a street named Strawberry? And, how can you not love a shop called Moonrise Jewelry? If you’re lucky, the founder and designer, Meredith Restein will be on hand and you will be in for a special treat. Not only is the handmade jewelry exquisite; it is a unique combination of innovation and eco-friendly components for signature jewelry, 108 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

including real orchid blossoms preserved in resin and “reel” fish leather jewelry made from salmon, perch and carp skins which have been discarded by fishing canniers. Meredith comes from seven generations who have lived and worked in this area where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. She is a selftaught designer and grew her company from the ground up not only collecting accolades and awards along the way; but, also reaching out to other women who needed assistance and a way to sustain themselves in this rural community. You will not be able to leave Moonrise without finding an amazing piece of jewelry art that you will never want to part with. Of course, by now, you’ve worked up an appetite so stop in at Kelly’s Gingernut Pub on Mason Avenue. The pub/restaurant is a 1907 converted bank with original brick walls and dining in the bank vault is available. Order a beer (12 varieties on tap and 25 bottled brews) along with Kelly’s Jumbo Wings and Fried Pickle Spears. Or, continue your stroll to any of the small cafes with outside seating that line the sidewalks. There’s still an old fashioned drugstore at 2 Fig Street. Rayfield’s Pharmacy Fountain & Grill is worth a stop. You can try a vanilla coke or a malted shake and cheeseburger or maybe one of the daily blue-plate specials that this genuine sofa fountain offers. Be sure to bring a pocket full of coins to play those oldies but goodies on the 1950’s jukebox and give your partner a whirl … it’s allowed!


Sunlight shimmers, creating an angelic expression on the Madonna with child. The chorus of birds wash away the morning fog with their musical notes and awaken the gardens to a new and profoundly beautiful day in Cape Charles.

May/June 2014 | 109


For more upscale dining try Acqua at Kings Creek Marina. You won’t be disappointed. Every seat has a view of the Cheasapeake Bay and you have a choice of dining inside or out. The food and wine are topnotch. For wine, try the Church Creek Steel Chardonnay for white and the Church Creek Vintners Blend for red. These are local wines from Chatham Winery in Machipongo, Virginia which is just down the road and should be on your “must do while in Cape Charles” list for an enjoyable wine tasting experience. Call ahead for reservations. There is plenty to do on the Eastern Shore. You can fill your days with wonderful little side trips to Kiptopeke State Park (don’t miss the butterfly garden); the fishing village of Oyster; Maplewood Garden or venture as far as Chincoteague which is about an hour and 15 minutes’ drive from Cape Charles. Taking Captain Dan’s Around the Island Tour is well worth getting a glimpse of those ponies that Chinoteague and Assateague are so famous for. You can fish, kayak, bicycle or sail or you can book a self-catered vacation rental with a private beach and move from bed to beach and back again. For our week’s stay I combed the usual vacation rental sites until I found the perfect place for our group … St. Patrick’s on the Bay. If you are a fan of Old World charm, then this is the right place for you. The large family home encompassing 4,500 sq. ft. of comfortable living space is personalized by unique family pieces of history and art. The house is blissfully nestled in 110 | WilmingtonNCmagazine.com

a true Italian garden on 1.5 acres. There are quiet nooks inside and out for reading, resting and quiet contemplation as well as an amazing deck overlooking the bay where congregating for evening cocktails is a much. Each sunset is creativity at its best. This is as good as it gets and before we leave, there will be one more toast to family and the spirit of adventure. Then, it’s back through the bridge-tunnel headed south, to spouses and friends we left behind who will hear our stories and surely want to plan their own Cape Charles getaway. W www.vrbo.com #300156 - St. Patrick’s on the Bay Chatham Vineyards www.chathamvineyards.com Acqua Restaurant Kings Creek Marina and Resort www.kingscreekmarina.com Kelly’s Gingernut Pub www.kellysgingernutpub.com Captain Dan’s Around the Island Tours www.captaindanstours.com Moonrise Jewelry www.moonrisejewelry.com Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge www.fws.gov/refuge/eastern_shore_of_virginia


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Wilmington NC May-June 2014  

The only City magazine for Wilmington NC, showcasing her people, traditions, culture, food and homes.

Wilmington NC May-June 2014  

The only City magazine for Wilmington NC, showcasing her people, traditions, culture, food and homes.

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