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Outdoor Movies! Adventure! Museums! We’ve Got You Covered


Casual Style With a Bold Edge is This Season’s Hottest Trend

Restoring the George Williams House


Women in Business

Simple Salads & Sandwich Spreads

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W W W. T H E U M S T E A D. C O M C A R Y, N O R T H



May / June 2013


Modern Romance Casual style with a bold edge is this season’s hottest trend.


Returning to the Past

Like turning back the hands of time, the restoration of the Williams House showcases its original grandeur.

By Elizabeth King Humphrey


Summer Fun!

Here are 50 possibilities that both locals and tourists can use to fill up their calendars for the next few months. By Judy Royal


Simple Salads and Sandwich Spreads

New twists on classic summer fare. By Kim Byer

Departments »


Women in Business The spirit of the entrepreneur is alive and well. Meet the female entrepreneurs who have proven they have the skills and business acumen necessary to achieve success in Wilmington’s competitive market. From interior designers to attorneys and jewelers to medical professionals, these women are enhancing the future of Wilmington. Photos by BROWNIE HARRIS and SUSAN FRANCY

15 Buzz 15 16 18 19 20 24


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 he Show Must Go On T Center stage at Thalian Hall. Art Seen Functional ceramic sculpture of Shayne Greco. Local Chatter UNCW baseball highlights. About Town Inaugural Wilmington Wine & Food Festival. Events Your guide to planning your social calendar. News Maker A conversation with Tony Rivenbark, the star-performer behind Thalian Hall. Outside Shawn Nasseri’s mission–certify more divers to help save the oceans. Profile An interview with novelist Karen E. Bender. Staff Picks New book titles for some good reading.


ON THE COVER Model Ashley Sgambati. On location at Graystone Inn. Photograph by JULIE PHILLIPS

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Well Styled  Women in 35 Upscale Consignment Business Modern day high-end


May/June 2013 | 71

36 40

44 46

furniture consigning. Beauty Moisturizing during the summer months. Home Finding highquality consignments from Wilmington’s finest homes at Home Again. Entertaining Table setting ideas for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Fashion Casual style with a bold edge is this season’s hottest trend.

Special Section 71

 rom interior designers F to attorneys and jewelers to medical professionals, these women are enhancing the future of Wilmington.

86 52 Southern Drawl 52

 ayor Bill Saffo M digresses about his passion for the community.

Health 86

 elicious and super D healthy fruit smoothies.

Dining Review Manna Libations A recommended selection of summer ale. 94 In The Kitchen Simple salads and sandwich spread recipes. 102 Restaurant Guide The best spots for eating and drinking in Wilmington. 89 92

108 77 Travel 108 O  tranto, Italy Live like a local at this remote hideaway.

Fundamentals 12 Reader Services 14 Publisher’s Letter 112 The Last Reflection

Furniture • Lamps • Accessories • Pictures • and More!

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

CEO & Publisher Robert Sweeney ■■■ Associate Editors Julie Yow Susan O’Keefe ■■■

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

Account Executive Marilyn McConnell Art Director Shanna Thomson Graphic Designers Devender Sellars Nicole Szews 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

Contributing Writers Courtney Webb, Edna Cox, Elizabeth Humphrey, Gwenyfar Rohler, Jamie Walker, Jennifer Glatt, Judy Royal, Kathy Pettit, Kim Byer, Kim King, Linda Lamb, Liz Biro, Mackenzie Taylor Photographers Brownie Harris, Erin Whittle, G. Frank Hart, James Stefiuk, Jay Browne, Julia Phillips, Kim Byer, Lou Rose, 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

Production Coordinator Dana Maskin Distribution Coordinator Les Gibbons Web Developer Nikki Muhammad ■■■ Customer Service Local Office: (910) 352-8102 Corporate Office: (843) 856-2532

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16 North Fifth Avenue Wilmington, NC 910-763-2426

Wilmington Magazine (Vol. 1, 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 © 2013. 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.

Reader Services 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) 856-2532 or reach us via email at or on the web at www.wilmingtonncmagazine. com.

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! l a n o i t a r Inspi


here’s nothing more relaxing than to take a dip in a cool pool on a hot afternoon. Whether you take the full plunge or merely sit and dangle your feet, the cold water invigorates and beats the heat on a summer day. Summertime always meant adventure for me as a child growing up. During these months I could count on some good road trips to visit family and partake in all the activities that summertime brings. I am excited about sharing and introducing the premiere issue of our magazine! Wilmington Magazine is the publication for people who love reading about the culture and rich heritage of this port city. Our editorial focus will inform, engage and entertain our readers with an insider’s view on culture, fashion trends, history, interior design, food, travel, and unique local residents. Wilmington Magazine dispatches the best of local Southern writers as we invoke a sense of passion through well-written stories and images of Wilmington and the Cape Fear coast. In this first issue we focus on finding things to do to entertain us and have fun during the summer months. Inspired by the city’s salubrious lifestyle, we put together a list of 50 things to do over summer that will appeal to all ages. Whether you’re in to fishing, hanging out at the water park, or strolling a museum, we’ve got something for everyone (see Summer Fun, page 64). We also have a special section in this issue that highlights some of the female talent in our city. Meet these women entrepreneurs who have proven they have the skills to achieve success in Wilmington’s competitive market (see Women in Business, page 71). There are many more great stories throughout the pages of this issue, including the completely restored George Williams historic home (see Returning to the Past, page 56), and just in time for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we bring you some great recipes for making easy and delicious sandwiches and salads (see Simple Salads & Sandwich Spreads, page 94). This is a wonderful time of year to enjoy the outdoors with your family. So get out and have some fun - go experience something new. It doesn’t take much to make lasting memories, whether it’s walking on the beach or merely running through the sprinklers in your own backyard. I hope you have a front-row seat on all the best our South has to offer this season. Enjoy!

Robert Sweeney

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Outdoor Movies! Adventure! Museums! We’ve Got You Covered


Casual Style With a Bold Edge is This Season’s Hottest Trend

Restoring the George Williams House


Women in Business

Simple Salads & Sandwich Spreads

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

PHOTO courtesy thalian hall

Your Local Rundown on News and Culture

The Show Must Go On Preparations are under way for the next performance on the main stage at Thalian Hall.

See page 24

Rekindled Passion Local artist Shayne Greco hit the mark with his ceramic sculptures that offer functional beauty with a side of octopus By JAMIE WALKER


ilmington ceramics artist, Shayne Greco, finds his inspiration in the marine beauty that keeps all Cape Fear residents close to the shore. Through his work, sea creatures and riparian shore life emerge from chunks of white clay creating a feeling of authentic connection through sleek, winding tentacles of octopuses, newborn sea turtles balancing steps away from left-behind cracked eggs, and slender, life-like amphibians that don the rims of bowls and serving dishes. Greco’s creatures, even the octopuses with their sprawling, flexuous tentacles, that curve and spiral at the base of candelabras and around the edges of platters, leave room for the function that their beauty supplements. “I love combining functionality with sculpture,” Greco said. “I wanted to create art people can use.” And in less than a year and a half, hundreds of people are doing just that with pieces designed and made by Greco in kitchens and homes along the coastal southeast. His ceramic pieces have become coveted items and are available in eclectic shops from Wilmington to south Florida. Trained as a painter at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in the late 90s, Greco had given up on making a living with his art when he moved to Wilmington. He continued to paint out of a love for the creative process, but didn’t rediscover ceramic

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sculpture until a few years after he moved to Wilmington. He rekindled his high school love of ceramics out of necessity. “I just needed a serving platter,” he said, with an unassuming grin. Like any true artist, Greco’s taste was of the highest quality. “I couldn’t afford the Vietri platter that I coveted. So I said, ‘I’ll just make one.’” And the result was beyond even his own expectations. He took the one-dimensional, Italian hand-painted Vietri platter of his dreams to new heights. The octopuses painted on ceramic

dinnerware he’d once seen came to life in a three-dimensional form all its own. “Composition was a big challenge for me with painting,” Greco said. “With ceramics, it just sort of all came together,” Greco’s first piece turned out so well that he thought he’d see what the locals thought. It was on display at the Thrill of the Hunt, his mother’s furniture consignment shop, for less than a month before it was snatched up by an elated customer. And Greco’s hands have been deep in clay ever since. It was his mother, Greco says, who encouraged his creative process. At the early age of 5, his mom began carting him to and from art classes each Saturday. “If there was an art class I wanted to try, she’d drop everything to make it happen.” Greco’s ceramic pieces are on display on tables and in nooks throughout the shop. His paintings hang on walls among hundreds of others. It’s Greco’s artistic and physical presence in the shop, said his mother in a 2010 Star News article, that helped to save it from collapse in 2007. “Shayne is really the taskmaster around here,” she said. That and his artistic flare, she said, worked wonders. “His painting did so much for us,” she added. Greco came to Wilmington to return the favor to his mother who, in 2006, began to fear the Thrill would soon be gone. He dropped everything and brought himself to Wilmington. Greco helped to re-design the layout of the shop, and worked to market their wares to residents and area designers with more specificity. Local designer, Hooper Patterson, with Birds of a Feather Design, recently blogged about Greco’s ceramics on display at Thrill of the Hunt. She cited Thrill as one of her favorite local consignment shops and credits both Shayne and Linda with providing unique, quality pieces that she loves to incorporate in her design work. A favorite of Patterson’s was a piece that Greco and his mother co-created a lamp wrapped in the tentacles of an octopus complete with a burlap shade made by Linda. “Shayne Greco has painted some cool pieces for me, but I had no idea he was the man behind these amazing works of art,” wrote Patterson. In contrast to Greco’s vibrant paintings hanging throughout the shop, his creatures are brushed only occasionally with watered-down gritty red clay, creating a vivid contrast to the shiny, sealed white clay finish that dominates most of his ceramic sculpture. The dynamic, he says, helps bring the pieces to life. Greco has had some success, he says, selling paintings and hand-painted furniture to local residents and designers, but ceramic sales have increased steadily since the sale of his first piece. So steadily that he had to hire help. “I have pieces in 15 shops along the east coast and they seem to be moving pretty fast. I can barely keep up with the demand,” he said. Greco says that while he loves making them, he also loves using them. “They’re so fun to serve with!” He said. W Greco’s work can be found locally at Thrill of the Hunt, The Fisherman’s Wife, Dragonflies, and Nelson Fine Art Gallery. For more information visit

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Southern Standouts from UNCW Baseball By JOE BROWNING

BEFORE THE BOYS OF SUMMER reign supreme in the summer months, college baseball offers plenty of excitement and fun in Wilmington as the UNCW Seahawks gear up for another run to the NCAA Tournament. Coach Mark Scalf’s team is one of the area’s most p opu l a r d r a w s . The NCAA Division I team entertains Colonial Athletic Association rivals Northeastern (May 3-5) and William & Mary (May 9-11) at Brooks Field. The Seahawks captured their third Colonial Athletic Association title last spring and are picked to successfully defend the crown behind a strong pitching

staff, opportunistic offense and lockdown defense. The mound corps features junior southpaw Mat Batts, sophomore righthander Jordan Ramsey and junior lefty Christian MacDonald. The trio is backed up by a talented young group that gives Scalf and his club one of the deepest staffs in the CAA. Offensively, the Seahawks feature a unique blend of speed and power. Seniors Hunter Ridge, the school’s all-time hits leader, and Tyler Molinaro, the CAA’s home run king one year ago, provide the punch. Senior second baseman Michael Bass gives the club speed and savvy on the

base paths. Scalf is one of a handful of coaches in the NCAA Division I ranks with more than 700 victories. In 22 seasons, the veteran skipper has piloted the Seahawks to five NCAA Tournaments. Good seats are available to most games at beautiful Brooks Field. Ticket prices are $7 (reserved) and $5 (general admission) for adults, $5 for youths 15-under and $5 for UNCW faculty and staff. Tickets may be purchased at the UNCW Athletic Ticket Office in the Trask Coliseum or visit for more information. Mention this article in person and receive a special discount. W


Inaugural Wilmington Wine & Food Festival By JUDY ROYAL

A GROUP OF PEOPLE IN THE local food and beverage industry have been working since last year on a new event for the area, and their efforts will soon come to fruition. Tickets are on sale now for this inaugural event, held May 19 from 2-5 p.m. at the St. Thomas Preservation Hall, 208 Dock Street, in historic downtown Wilmington. They’re available at participating restaurants and shops or online. Proceeds go to local nonprofit organizations Cape Fear River Watch and 1,000 People Who Care.

Husband-and-wife wine enthusiasts Amy Siler of Choice Specialty Wines and Shawn Underwood of Juice Wine Purveyors came up with the idea for the festival after attending last year’s Beaufort Wine & Food Weekend. They’ve teamed up with Chrissy Absi Bonney of Wilmington Wine to get the first event off the ground. “I thought, ‘Why can’t we do this in Wilmington?’” Siler said. “We wanted the local businesses to benefit, which is first and foremost,” Under wo od added. “We want everybody to get something out of it.” During the event, which will host live music, participating restaurants will serve food samples paired with selections from wine vendors. Attendees can vote on their favorites, and there

Beautiful Kitchens come from

will also be a professional judging panel as well as a chance to buy discounted wines from local retailers. “Wilmington has this great foodie community, but the wine’s still catching up so here’s an opportunity for us to showcase how wine and food go together. A sampling of sponsors and participants is as follows: Sponsors: Wilmington Wine, Rx Restaurant and Bar, Reeds Jewelers, 128 South Events & Catering, Wilmington Magazine, and Wide Open Technologies. Participating Restaurants: Rx Restaurant and Bar, Tamashii, The Olive Café and Wine Bar, Aubriana’s, The Basics, 9 Restaurant and Manna. Participating Wine Shops: House of Wine & Cheese, Wilmington Wine, Divine Wines, Wilmington Homebrew Supply, Fermental, Taste the Olive, and The Seasoned Gourmet. For tickets or more information visit W

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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 24 JUNE 28 JULY 26 AUGUST 23


THE GALLERIES 621N4th Gallery 621 N. 4th St.

ACES Gallery

221 N. Front St., Suite 101

Acme Art Studios 711 N. 5th Ave.

Art Factory Gallery & Studios 721 Surrey St.

Bottega Gallery & Art Bar 208 N. Front St.

Cape Fear Native 114 Princess St.

Crescent Moon 24 N. Front St.

The Golden Gallery 311 N. Front St.

The Wilma W. Daniels Gallery 200 Hanover St.

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

New Elements Gallery 201 Princess St.

Projekte Gallery & Lounge 523 S. 3rd St.

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

River To Sea Gallery 225 S. Water St.

Wilmington Art Association 120 S. 2nd St.


17th Annual Battleship Blast: July 4th Family Fireworks Noted as Coastal Living’s 10 spots to celebrate the Fourth of July, and recent recipient of Southeast Tourism Society’s award of Top 20 things to do in July, the Battleship North Carolina will present the 2013 17th 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. 910-251-5797.

Event Calendar Looking to fill your social calendar? We’ve got the rundown on what to do this steamy season. Impressions of the Lower Cape Fear May 1 - Oct 27 Take a photographic journey of Southeastern NC, a region rich with diverse habitats, wildlife, culture, and history. Featuring more than 100 printed and digital works by Cape Fear Camera Club. Cape Fear Museum, Tuesday-Saturday 9-5pm, Sunday 1-5pm. 910-798-4350. $7 adults, $4 for children. Ivey Hayes: A Retrospective May 1 -17 The Bellamy Mansion Museum presents the specialized artwork of Hayes in acrylic and watercolor paintings. Hayes received presidential and celebrity awards, and used his art to connect across cultural divides. A unique exhibit of 21 original pieces will be displayed. Reproductions will be available for purchase and both acrylic and watercolor works will be on display. 10-5pm. Guided tour $10, self-guided donation $5. 910-251-3700. River to Sea Bike Ride May 4 A casual-paced bike ride from downtown Wilmington to Wrightsville Beach on Wilmington’s river to sea bicycle route. Bikeway is mostly neighborhood residential streets and off-road multi-use paths. Refreshments and drawing for prizes. Bring your friends and family to join in on a day of fun. Helmets are required and there is a trolley for riders returning to downtown. 8am. 910-256-7925. National Migratory Bird Day May 11 Carolina Beach State Park will be celebrating National Migratory Bird Day with a day

filled with bird hikes, presentations, and craft activities for the kids. 910-458-8206. Airlie Gardens Concert Series: Bibis Ellison May 17 Enjoy Airlie Gardens 2013 concert series, held onsite on select Fridays. Bibis Ellison is a North Carolina indie, pop and soul artist. 6-8pm. Adults $8, children $2. 910-798-7700. 20th Annual Seaside Soccer Classic May 18 - 19 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. 910392-0306. Kona Waterman’s Classic May 18 - 19 A two day event for watermen from our local and regional area. Saturday is the Longboard Classic, and Sunday is the Standup Paddleboard ocean race. Awards ceremony complete with raffles and music. Proceeds to support scholarship and outreach programs. Prices vary. Carolina Beach Street Arts Festival May 18 Come and enjoy a celebration of culinary and performing arts at the beach. Vendors from around the region will have arts and crafts available for sale and an interactive art area for the kids. Cooking demonstrations and educational programs conducted by local chefs. 10am-6pm. 910-909-7643.

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Wilmington Wine & Food Festival May 19 This inaugural event is at St. Thomas Preservation Hall in downtown Wilmington, and brings together top area chefs with notable wines from around the world to celebrate gastronomic greatness, while supporting Cape Fear River Watch and 1,000 People Who Care. Guests will have the opportunity to sample more than 100 different wines and scrumptious bites from 15 of our best locally owned and operated restaurants. Attendees vote for best dishes and wines with medals to be awarded to the winners. The event also features raffles, discounted wines, and live music. 2-5pm. $40-$48. 910-202-4749. Fourth Friday Gallery Walk May 24 & June 28 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. Orange Street ArtsFest May 25 - 26 Wilmington’s largest downtown arts festival returns for its 17th year. More than 55 artists from Wilmington and across the Southeast will be featured with paintings, pottery, jewelry, glass, and paper creations. Saturday 10-6pm, Sunday 10-5pm. 910-2511788. 28th Annual Carolina Beach Music Festival June 1 Shagger’s and beach music lovers, come dance barefoot on the strand or just sway to the beat. Enjoy a full day of live entertainment with the best beach music bands in the South. Shag competition. Gates open at 10:30am. Tickets $15 in advance, $20 at the gate. 910-4588434. Shop Hop June 6 Featuring nine boutiques in downtown Wilmington, offering ladies exclusive deals

and first dibs on new fashion styles. 5-9pm. 910-763-7349. Thalian Association Children’s Theater Presents: Les Miserables June 7 - 9 Designed to give children and young adults a chance to perform as well as learn and grow in the medium of performing arts. Performing Les Miserables, the beloved, heartfelt Broadway musical based on Victor Hugo’s novel adapted for young performers. The opening performance Friday night will include a gala before the show. Friday gala starts 6pm, Saturday 7pm, Sunday 3pm. $15 Saturday, $12 Sunday. 910-2620470. Free Movies at the Lake: The Odd Life of Timothy Green June 9 An inspiring and magical story about a happily married couple, Cindy and Jim Green, who can’t wait to start a family but can only dream about what their child would be like. When young Timothy shows up on their doorstep one stormy night, Cindy and Jim learn that sometimes the unexpected can bring some of life’s greatest gifts. 8:45pm. 910-4588434. Kure Beach Double Sprint Triathlon June 15 Don’t miss this annual event, now in its 17th year. Competitors start out with a 375 meter ocean swim followed by a 1.5 mile run, then complete a 20K cycle, 1.5 mile run, and once again into the ocean for another 375 meter ocean swim. Come on out to compete or cheer on athletes. 7am. Prices vary. 910458-8216. North Carolina 4th of July Festival June 29 - 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.

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The Business of the Show

A conversation with Tony Rivenbark, the star-performer behind the curtains at Thalian Hall By JAMIE WALKER

THALIAN HALL Center for the Performing Arts has been the cultural pacemaker in Wilmington since it opened in 1858. It’s presence dominates much more than the downtown block it occupies. Throughout its 155 year history, the spirit that it represents has continuously proved, with each dramatic dip in Wilmington’s political and economic heart-rate, that the “show must go on”. Not even the fall of Wilmington to Union troops in 1865 could keep Thalian’s doors closed. In less than two weeks following Union occupation, actors danced across Thalian Hall’s main stage, the theatre filled with eager patrons. Early 20th century threats by commissioners and various law-makers to demolish the theatre only brought more community support. Thalian Hall has made it through fires and has undergone dramatic face lifts. At each turn the community has rallied to sustain the historical icon. It’s the cultural importance of theatre, a collective passion for “the show”, says Thalian Hall director Tony Rivenbark, that continues to generate the business responsible for the existence of the quality of theatre that Wilmington residents have come to expect from Thalian Hall.

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“People come to the theatre or to a concert, they walk in, and they see only the work that the performers have put into that two hour performance. But, so much has gone into upholding the quality and artistic integrity of that show. We are providing support months and even years ahead, negotiating contracts, promoting the performance, arranging volunteers,” Rivenbark said. When patrons step into the 150 year old grand lobby filled with the buzz of fellow patrons and concession volunteers, he said, there’s a sense of security and familiarity. And while the structure itself is a marvel, considered by Rivenbark to be the “jewel in Wilmington’s crown,” it’s the precise planning and meticulous


Thalian Hall Main Stage

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organization that keeps the box office busy, selling some 80,000 tickets each year to over 500 shows and events. “We ensure that people know what to expect. Whether it’s theatre, a concert, or a special event, it’s the same process every time.” When Rivenbark began managing Thalian Hall operations in 1979, the ship wasn’t nearly as tight. “It was basically a different show every night,” Rivenbark said. Every production was run by individual production companies, often

leaving patrons disillusioned. Under Rivenbark’s direction, Thalian Hall pulled in the reigns. The board of trustees created a larger staff, implemented a volunteer program, and designed operations to accommodate and direct each production, actor, musician and patron in a uniform fashion. “People are very proud of the building. But it’s the unique operation behind the performances that give them the experience they keep showing up for,” Rivenbark said. In his tenure as director, Rivenbark has experienced many shifts in population and political climate. He continues to focus, he said, on catering to all segments of an increasingly diverse community. “We don’t try to create a series of programs that speak to specific market segments, but rather focus on a wide range of programs that will appeal to many people. Indefinitely there will always be crossover,” Rivenbark said. Thalian Hall houses performers from all over the world as well as smaller productions born of local theatre companies, acting troupes, dance companies, and local bands.

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“It’s such a part of life in the community. We like to call it Wilmington’s living room.” “It’s a right-of-passage in this community to attend a performance here or to perform,” Rivenbark said. “It’s such a part of life in the community. We like to call it Wilmington’s living room.” Once people get there, Rivenbark said, they almost always keep coming back. But, it hasn’t always been that way. In a recent address to members, Rivenbark wrote: I remember what Thalian Hall looked like in the 1960’s. It was shabby, poorly equipped, unsafe, uncomfortable, and for the most part, completely underutilized. The walls were an unappealing grey/green and the proscenium was painted pink and white with touches of faded gold paint. There had been no real maintenance or improvement in over a quarter of a century. The maroon carpet was worn and ragged, the seats were 40 years old and had come out of a demolished New York movie theatre. There were less than 20 performances a year attracting an audience of a couple of thousand people annually. Most people in Wilmington had never been inside the building. And outside of Wilmington, hardly anyone knew of its existence. And as far as the City government was concerned, it was an albatross around the City’s neck. And the reason for this state of affairs is that no one was invested in the day to day management of the facility. It was all about show business but nothing about the business of show. Rivenbark, a trained actor starring in over 150 productions since the mid 60s, performed his theatrical debut on Thalian Hall’s main stage in 1966, in the midst of such a state of affairs. Thalian Hall had

been the facilities management company for a short three years and funds were an issue. The next fifteen years would bring financial and organizational challenges, fires and eventually complete renewal. Rivenbark arrived in 1979 to slowly turn the theatre into what it was meant to be. Today, Thalian Hall’s attendance and the number of events it hosts is unprecedented in North Carolina. While Thalian Hall is responsible for the production of at least one show per year, namely the Pied Piper Children’s theatre founded by Doug Swink in 1970, it is otherwise strictly responsible for the management of the facilities. A theatre historian, Rivenbark lectures across the country at various schools and events. He also attends conferences from here to the California coast, always actively pursuing the business of the show. “Our focus is always on the future,” he said. “I often hear people say that performers are ‘coming’ to Thalian Hall. But they don’t just show up here. We actively pursue them.” Renowned actor Hal Holbrooke, known for his role as Lincoln in the 1976 television series, and his one-man show as Mark Twain (performed since 1954), was invited by Rivenbark to come to Wilmington last year after meeting at the League of Historic American Theatres conference in San Diego. Holbrooke, a huge fan of historic American theatres graciously accepted. “Mark Twain never made it to Wilmington,” Rivenbark said. “Now, we finally get to bring him here.” W


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Clear Vision Shawn Nasseri's mission is straightforward, certify more divers to help save the oceans By KIMBERLY KING Photos by G. FRANK HART

IT'S 7 P.M. ON A MONDAY NIGHT, and while 47-year-old Shawn Nasseri's job running a multi-million dollar software company called Computersoft is done for the day, his second gig, he’s most passionate about, has just begun. "We're going green, no more paper!," the trained captain and certified dive instructor with the infectious personality exclaims to his class, as he hands each student a one gigabyte flash drive. The drive is filled with quizzes, nearly 300 slides, "your entire instructor's manual and, all your homework. You've got to do it!" Now before you cry Uncle at the thought of going back to class, read on. Shawn has a captive audience, and you simply can't help but want to learn from him. Tonight's group, about ten men and

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women of all ages, have clocked off their day jobs for a series of night classes to become certified scuba diving instructors. Many are well aware of Shawn's reputation, teaching thousands of firsttime divers while keeping all of them safe. "We have a 100% perfect record. Our accident record is zero. It's something I'm extremely proud of." His passion for diving began more than two decades ago when Shawn worked for Duke University's Medical Center in Durham, writing software programs for their microbiology department. "I dove at a place called Water World. I got certified and fell in love with diving. It was the only time I had no stress. Once I entered the ocean no one could call me, no one could talk to me. All I could hear was bubbles, and all I could see was fish."

He continued working for Duke, but the selfdescribed workaholic also started his own software company on the side. And if that wasn't enough, he started taking PhD level classes at Duke, working towards a degree in computer science. "I was taking my second class and I got a call from Glaxo Wellcome." The big pharma company, now known as GlaxoSmithKlein, wanted Shawn to write software for them. "I was working really hard. I had to leave my PhD program, but Duke actually became my client." At the same time his start-up was taking off. "It became super successful to the point where I quit all my other jobs." His company was based in Cary, but Shawn's family was in Wilmington. He decided to make a move to be closer to them. But in the back of his mind, his dream was still very much alive. "I told a friend of mine, I want to open a dive shop. And, he told me you need money. He said it takes two million dollars to open a professional dive shop. That's exactly what he told me don't do the wrong thing. Don't kill people." Shawn never forgot those words. In 1996, with the move to Wilmington, Shawn continued to grow his firm. The company, he says, creates software to make businesses more efficient. After moving to Wilmington, Shawn continued to dive. But as his passion grew, so too did his frustration that, in his opinion, the coastal beach town didn't have a true professional dive shop. "People kept coming to me telling me, Shawn, why don't you open a dive shop." Thirteen years passed. Shawn had now finally saved enough money to open the kind of operation his friend had so impressed upon him to do. And in 2009, Scuba-Now officially opened its doors. "We started with 1,000 square feet, now we are 8,000." And he proudly boasts, "Everything is paid for." "You see these buildings, all of these

and bonitos, and beautiful spadefish which look like three-foot-long angel fish." In 2012 Scuba-Now earned what Shawn considers his greatest achievement so far. NAUI, the National Association of Underwater Instructors, recognized his shop as one of the top three in the world for its outstanding record, certifying hundreds of divers safely. Shawn, ever the over-achiever, wants to become number one Shawn Nasseri nationally, never forgetting his core mission: Training safe. units are owned. The boats we have are "You have to learn the skills. Remove worth $350,000 each. They're paid for. The pool I have where I train people to dive. your mask, remove your regulator, put it It's all paid for. The reason I did that is back on. There are 22 different skills they because I didn't want to worry about rent. must do, plus swim 500 yards, and show Safety is the highest priority in diving. us they can tread water." The store has Money is second. You have to understand a special Purple Heart program offering any wounded war veteran with a Purple that." The shop recently added a 35-foot Heart, scuba lessons for free. Shawn is proud to tell his story, that new dive boat to its fleet, "Shawncy's Revenge," named after Shawn's beloved his business has grown largely through labrador retriever who does great stunts word of mouth and customers who keep diving down underwater, swimming coming back. "I got recertified again here after Frisbees. Change is also underway because I haven't dove in so many years," at the training swimming pool, where a said Todd Welch, a retired South Florida construction crew is transforming a former police officer who now owns a surf shop in residential home into showers, lockers and Southport. "I've been taking every course, a changing area, making things more their rescue courses, their navigation courses. Essentially I've been taking convenient for scuba students. "My mission has always been to courses for the last two years. Everything make diving affordable to everyone. I'm passionate about that. I would love to make everyone a diver. Yes, we have to sell gear, we have to train, but my vision is bigger. I love the oceans, that is one of my big things. How do you save the oceans? You get divers in the water to see what's going on." Along with taking groups on Florida dive trips, Shawn says Wilmington's coastline has great spots for scuba as well. "There is the Hyde shipwreck about 20 miles off the coast. It has the most beautiful sand tiger sharks all over, with 40 to 60 feet visibility. It's full of fish. The Liberty ship is three miles out, but you have to catch it on a good day for visibility. Sometimes you can see schools of bluefish

May/June 2013 | 29

I can get my hands on." 35-year-old Lisa Sprod is a professor at UNCW specializing in exercise science. A major sports enthusiast, Lisa grew up in Colorado but has loved the water and has been diving for over ten years. "I've been

Chapman. For 25 years Frank served as UNCW's Director of Diving and Water safety, and director of the school's NOAA Underwater Research program. He knows Shawn well. The fact the store has earned NAUI's top award isn't lost on him.

“My mission has always been to make diving affordable to everyone. I would love to make everyone a diver. Yes, we have to sell gear, we have to train, but my vision is bigger. I love the oceans, that is one of my big things. How do you save the oceans? You get divers in the water to see what’s going on.” wanting to take the next step to become a scuba instructor on the side. It would fit in well with my exercise science background, and so I'm just taking advantage of this opportunity. I've heard great things about Scuba-Now and everyone I've met here's been phenomenal." But perhaps the strongest endorsement comes from UNCW dive instructor Frank

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"It's a really big deal. It's one of the biggest, most respected, certification organizations in the world. " Frank also feels Shawn is bringing in revenue to the town. "He's drawing people from all over to spend their money in the Wilmington area. Spending the night, over holidays, during the summers, and so forth. So commercially he's been good for everybody." Shawn has a team of nine instructors and has never felt more confident about the crew he has in place. His dream is to one day franchise and expose more people to the underwater adventure sport he so loves. "How cool would it be to go to a ScubaNow in other cities, and for it to be a safe, friendly, professional shop where staff are always there to help you out. Money isn't the objective, but taking care of you and safety always is." 910-395-5111, W

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Identity Perceptions An interview with novelist Karen E. Bender By GWENYFAR ROHLER

KAREN E. BENDER SAYS SHE NEVER FEELS SHORT, “But I know it’s the first thing people notice about me.” She is talking about identities and perceptions, the main theme of her new book A Town of Empty Rooms. “Here [in Wilmington] I was very conscious of people seeing me as Jewish.” She pauses and looks at her small, fine hands. “I think sometimes identity is a complex thing, and you are not sure how someone sees you, and how that interfaces with how you see yourself. Jewish, from the North, a writer…” she trails off. 32 |

It’s a question of identity that she’s been wrestling with since the family arrived here from New York City in the fall of 2001. Bender had been invited as a visiting writer by UNCW’s Creative Writing Department. “People feel like outsiders in all these different ways in their world — I think it's a really common experience. I like seeing how people respond to that.” Maybe that’s why Catcher in the Rye is one of her favorite books. “It expressed something I was feeling at a time, and it was ‘Oh I don't feel alone’, so I want to write things that make other people not feel alone.” Bender might be diminutive in stature, but she radiates an outsized joy and zest for life that is contagious. With dark curls and an effervescent grin that lights up her heart shaped face, it is impossible not to smile when you meet her. Her nurturing, supportive spirit manifests in her interactions with adults and children alike. It’s a quality that makes her a natural educator. “I wanted to teach because I realize, that actually I had some really mean and sadistic teachers as writing teachers, who really taught the wrong things.” Bender tries to help her students at UNCW develop patience, to learn to see writing as a task, and perhaps most importantly to develop some perspective about rejection. “There is so much of it for writers,” she shakes her head. “So much.” Many people spend their lives trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. Bender knew at the age of six. Though it didn’t come with a flash of lightening — it did come from getting hit on the head with a rock. She was at a classmate’s birthday party and was the unfortunate, and un-intended, victim of the birthday boy who had lobbed a rock at a crowd of his guests. The experience made her want to narrate, and to explain and control the events she saw and experienced. Is that a surprising response from the child of a psychoanalyst? She laughs at the question about her father. “Well, my mother was a dancer and choreographer,” she offers. It’s a family where everything is about story, expression and analysis. Of the three sisters, one became a psychiatrist and the other two, Karen and Aimee, are both writers. The family focus on analysis and story underpins Bender’s work in both her debut novel, Like Normal People, and her follow up book, A Town of Empty Rooms. Both of which turn on questions of identity. A Town of Empty Rooms focuses on the struggles and questions that adults ask themselves, when they realize that slowly their lives have shifted off course and away from what they recognize. But, Like Normal People is a gentle coming of age story, which looks at maturing not just from the perspective of a young girl becoming a woman, but also her mentally challenged Aunt Lena, who though physically an adult, has not matured mentally and emotionally on schedule with everyone around her.

“Lena had to be simplified for the book. She was inspired by my Aunt Joan,” Bender explains. “She had certain mental challenges but she was also really smart.” Simplified or not, the character of Lena is a sensitive and complex portrayal of a character that many people would stereotype. But Bender dug deeper for the universal story, for the parts of Lena that everyone experiences: the desires for respect, independence and romance. In the search for Lena’s story, Bender shows us the struggles that people have throughout their lives for these touchstones of the human experience, especially the need for companionship. “I always wanted to marry a writer,” Bender confesses with a blush. She explains, “Because I wanted someone who would be a partner in this odd endeavor. It's helpful — Robert is my first reader — we are really on the same wave length as terms of what we think is good writing.” She pauses then adds, “I trust Robert and Amiee more than most writers — really deeply so it's good to have them as a community.” A Town of Empty Rooms signals a shift in her focus as a writer, now a mother of two exceptionally brilliant children. The questions Bender asks about the world come from a parent’s perspective in a family. “One thing I did want was to write honestly about parenthood. That is more sentimentalized than anything in this culture.” Besides the stress and the difficulties that come with raising a family, Bender points out that for many people one of the biggest changes is to no longer be center stage. She and Robert have a code name for the feeling: “Brad Pitt’s Assistant.” Because that’s what it feels like: you show up as a chauffeur and purveyor of food, drinks and money, but no one is interested in you. It can be a tough adjustment. Just as experiences are a source of inspiration for her writing, so too is sense of place. Bender is a person who has crisscrossed the country: from childhood in California, to New York to break into writing, off to Iowa for her MFA, then back to New York before landing here. “It is interesting to see how settings influences you as a writer, and creates a lot of different experiences. There is a lot that I experienced emotionally because of living here,” Bender points out. Part is a sense of safety and gratitude. “During September 11, we lived a few blocks away from the World Trade Center,” she notes. Taking a deep breath, she says that her son Jonah was supposed to start preschool that day, only a few short blocks from the towers. But they were spared, because the family was here for the month for Bender’s residency. “It felt in a way like a special place — it saved us — we weren't there.” More than a decade later there is still a catch in her voice when she talks about it. “We were here. We were safe.” W

May/June 2013 | 33

Happy Literary Mother’s Day: Celebrating Women in Fiction & Reality By Courtney Webb



s we come together in the month of May to celebrate the miracle, joy and trials of motherhood, it’s also seemingly appropriate to commemorate women in all the supportive and challenging roles they play on a daily basis within our lives and throughout our lifetimes. To cherish women, not only as mothers, but also in their roles as wives, sisters, aunts and friends. They are our biggest cheerleaders, the shoulders we cry on and when all is said and done, our ultimate heroes. For many of us, we never truly realize their impact, sacrifice and supreme love until we have the honor and true test of becoming mothers ourselves.


In the case of the three women featured below, these remarkable literary stars not only excel within their personal lives but also in a professional capacity as they represent the lives of women in today’s world on the pages of some of the most sought after fiction of the summer. They and the women in their lives serve as inspiration for the women they write of to some degree and their stories create fiction from reality. Whether their particular tale is light hearted, pleasingly comical or heart wrenching in nature; the talent within their work is undeniably magical. They are the mothers of books that not only entertain but also prove when the last page has been turned to become part of a reader’s heart and soul.

Jodi Picoult – The Storyteller One of the most beloved female novelists of our modern time Jodi Picoult debuts her most intricate and soul wrenching work to date in The Storyteller. Delving into one of the most horrific periods in history, Picoult demonstrates once again that her talent for engaging and touching readers emotionally comes from a place very few writers have ever or will ever journey. Picoult’s bravery and talent shine as the Holocaust comes to life in a manner that brings to light not only the evil contained within human nature but also the hope. Once again her work makes for reading that is not only essential in nature but philosophical and life altering as well.

Sarah Pekkanen – The Best of Us Internationally best selling author Sarah Pekkanen was once one of the best-kept secrets of the book world. However over last few years and with the release of her latest work The Best of Us, it has undoubtedly been proven the secret is out and with it has come massive success. A writer with an uncanny knack for character creation and the capturing of the bonds and strength of female friendship, Pekkanen’s books are ones to be shared and discussed again and again with those women closest to you. The ladies of her books are the women in our lives, they are strong, they are complex, they are fallible but above all, they are real, which makes her fiction transcend into something so much more than just another story among the many in a passionate reader’s life.

Jane Green – Family Pictures If British author Jane Green were best known for one specific trademark within her writing it would most assuredly be her portrayal of women in everyday life and the roles which that entails. Marriage, motherhood and the reality of being a woman are most often the focuses found within Green’s most cherished works. Family Pictures continues this tradition with its honest, poignant and riveting tale of two women meeting middle age with a shocking twist. Bringing everyday life into an extraordinary circumstance, Green has once again created a novel that will delight her most loyal readers and attract new devotees alike.

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Moisturizing During the Summer Months Beat humidity at its own game with moisturizers that are perfect for your skin type and your geography By MACKENZIE MATTHEWS-TAYLOR

Of course, regardless of the moisturizer you choose or skincare regimen you follow, you should always be sure to protect yourself from the damaging effects of the sun. 36 |



try to be fair and impartial in all aspects of my life, but when it comes to months of the year, May and June are without a doubt my favorites. May is jam-packed with major celebrations like Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and several family birthdays. The arrival of June means that I get to honor the day I married my sweet husband and welcome the official appearance of summer. But, while I bask in the excitement of all of these wonderful and fun events, I have to confess that there is one thing I despise about these glorious months: the humidity that settles across the Southeast. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever lived in Wilmington during the changing of the seasons. Humidity creeps and seeps into every aspect of the great outdoors this time of year, and quite frankly, it can turn a woman’s beauty routine upside-down. Suddenly, there’s a need for humidityresistant hair styling products and smudge-proof makeup. But, while it’s easy to remember to change our cosmetic beauty products when the temperature and air changes, we shouldn’t forget about the basic products that we put on our skin, especially our moisturizers. During the winter months, our skin tends to be drier and in need of heavier

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moisturizers because of the artificial heat we are exposed to frequently. In the warm summer months, though, most people choose to switch to lighter formulas to avoid clogged pores, breakouts and other

problematic skin conditions. Ultimately, experts say the decision about whether or not to switch moisturizers when the seasons change is up to you. But, you should take into consideration your own skin’s needs and your climate conditions. “Sometimes people don’t mind heavier moisturizers, but a lot of times in the summer, especially with our humidity levels, they want something that is a little lighter,” said Shannon Dangerfield, a licensed esthetician. If you do want to change up your moisturizer this summer, here is a breakdown of products that Dangerfield recommends based on skin types. Normal to Dry Skin People with this skin type should choose a more traditional type of moisturizer to ensure optimum hydration. Dangerfield recommends a product with Vitamin C, such as Natura Bissē’s C+C Vitamin

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Cream, because the Vitamin C will help fight hyper pigmentation and provide some exfoliation. This particular formula by Natura Bissē will also help with elasticity and skin firmness and is recommended for those with severely dehydrated skin. Another moisturizer that Dangerfield recommends during the humid months for people with normal to dry skin is Chantecaille’s Vital Essence With Arbutin. This product is more gel-like and is full of antioxidants, so your skin not only receives moisture, but anti-aging properties as well. The arbutin in this formula also helps to eliminate age spots and other forms of hyper pigmentation. Normal to Oily Skin It’s a common misconception that people with oily skin should not use moisturizers. Experts, though, say that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, some moisturizers contain ingredients that can help keep oil production under control. If you fall into this skin category and are looking to lessen the steps in your beauty regimen this summer, Dangerfield suggests trying Chantecaille’s Nano Gold Firming Treatment. This particular product is composed of both a serum and hydrating ingredients, so you can accomplish several different results with one product. “A lot of times in the summer, that’s what the goal is when you have all this humidity. So you’re trying to get the most impact with as little layers as possible,” said Dangerfield. Another great product for people with normal to oily skin is Fresh’s Soy Moisturizing Cream. Dangerfield says this moisturizer delivers great levels of hydration without making skin feel greasy or product-laden. Plus, it’s loaded with Vitamins C and E, so it’s great for soothing and softening summer skin. Of course, regardless of the moisturizer you choose or skincare regimen you follow,

you should always be sure to protect yourself from the damaging effects of the sun. While some moisturizers do contain SPFs, Dangerfield suggests applying sunscreen separately. “I want my skin care to go into my skin and treat the skin and I want my sunscreen to stay on top and protect it,” said Dangerfield. If you choose to follow this advice, a good process to follow when preparing your skin for the day is to cleanse, apply a serum, moisturize, then layer on your sunscreen. Of course, during the humid months, it’s more refreshing when your skin doesn’t feel like it’s swimming in products, so talk to your esthetician to determine a skincare line and regimen that will work for you. Cheers to lazy summer days and great skin! W

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rom hutches to headboards, settees to slip-covered sofas, Home Again Fine Consignments is a veritable treasure trove of bargains. But you’ve got to move quickly—things don’t stick around long here. Furniture industry veteran Jeannie Bethel, who has lived in Wilmington for 16 years, was a former executive for national furniture brands that sold furniture to retailers. She says she always thought there was a need for an upscale consignment store here—she just didn’t realize that it would be herself filling that need. Upon visiting a similar store in Massachusetts, “the idea just clicked with me,” she shares. Her 20 years of wholesale experience certainly serve her well, now that she owns and runs her own store, which she affirms has proven to be a success from early on. Home Again was first opened in September 2009 in Wrightsville Beach’s Galleria shopping center, but recently

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moved to The Forum shops when the Galleria closed in April 2012. It was a fortuitous move, granting Bethel almost 3,000 square-feet more of showroom space and access to the busy Military Cutoff thoroughfare. The furnishings are “casually elegant and carefully chosen to work in fine coastal homes.” Inside the 7,500-square-foot space are sectionals and ottomans, accent tables, bedroom sets, curio cabinets, coffee tables, desks, prints, rugs, lamps—the list goes on. “We are very

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particular about what we accept on consignment,” Bethel says. That means current furniture and décor, in “like new” condition, manufactured or sold at furniture or home décor stores within the last five years. That also means no antiques or collectibles or any furniture that requires refinishing. However, “with my industry connections, I am able to offer some new items, High Point Market samples, closeouts, overstocks and liquidations,” she explains. Bethel also offers items from estate sales, carefully curated to meet her standards. In addition to furniture and décor items, you’ll find Lumina Gem within Home Again. She partnered with Brad Bass, a GIA graduate gemologist, creating “essentially the same concept as Home Again, except Lumina Gem offers a mix of new and consignment fine jewelry,” Bethel explains. Lumina Gem also offers jewelry repairs, appraisals, custom designs and gold buying. Displayed in attractive vignettes throughout the space to show what pieces might look like in a home, Bethel says many people remark that they can’t tell the difference between the new items and the consigned items, and that is by careful design. “In the last three years, the consignment industry has exploded,” she notes. With the economic challenges facing us today, she says that most people are more careful with their money, and are looking for ways to stretch their dollar. “We offer upscale items

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at good prices,” she states simply. Bethel credits social media as a “tremendous” help to growing her business, declaring it a real key to success. Highlighting notable new arrivals on Home Again’s Facebook page is a surefire way to sell pieces often the very same day. (It’s fun to browse the posts even if all you’re looking for is inspiration.) Facebook has proven to be an excellent forum to encourage conversation, answer potential buyers’ questions, and in the case of one recent Facebook follower, plan travel. “This is definitely my kind of place; I plan to visit soon— or as soon as my husband leaves town for at least a day.” Bethel also maintains a website and sends out a weekly e-blast to members of the “Just-In Club”, with a slideshow of new arrivals and store happenings. Once a year she runs a “Show Us Your Stuff” contest, where customers send in photos of their newto-them items displayed in their home. Winners receive a gift certificate to Home Again. If you’re looking to freshen up your home, you’ll be pleased to know that Home Again’s prices are typically 30-60% off retail prices. Consignees earn 60 percent of the sale price for items Bethel and her staff accept, with a consignment period of 90 days—and often less. “We’re like a modern day Trading Post,” Bethel says with a laugh, remarking that delivery trucks are constantly coming and going. “I like the element of the unexpected” with this business, she says. “We never know from day to day what will walk through the door. It’s never the same day twice.” 910-679-4302, W

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2817 N. 23rd Street • Wilmington, NC 910-762-0944

The Wilmington Wine & Food Festival will bring together top area chefs with notable wines and wine makers from around the world, while supporting local businesses and charitable organizations. Sample over 100 different wines paired with food bites from locally owned and operated restaurants including Rx, Manna, Aubriana’s, Tamashii, The Olive Café & Wine Bar, Nine, The Fortunate Glass, Basics, and many more. Don’t miss this exciting event. During the festival we will be counting your votes for the best dishes and wines with medals to be awarded to the winners. Proceeds to benefit 1,000 People Who Care and The Cape Fear River Watch.

Create the Perfect Table Setting for Mom and Dad Follow these simple tips for entertaining this Mother's Day and Father's Day Photos by G. FRANK HART

Entertaining should be comfortable, easy and suit your own personal style. Make this Mother’s Day and Father's Day magical by treating your mom and dad to a special day that allows them to spend time enjoying the family. Whether you’re having an intimate brunch or the entire family gathering, make sure the table is set with elegant details and tasteful preparations that include their favorite flowers, colors and china. If you don’t know what to do, or you have no time to come up with ideas on how to decorate the table, then check out these easy table décor ideas made especially for Mother’s Day and Father's Day.

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Tips for Decorating the Table Remember Mother’s Day and Father's Day is all about family. Family photos or hand-made drawings from children are the best decorations. Get the kids involved by using twine to make easy and creative napkin rings, and instead of formal name cards, your children can draw pictures instead. Candles are essential, even during the summer. Using candles brings warmth and should definitely be a staple on any table. Add candles with various sizes, designs, and colors for a great touch. Platters or bowls filled with berries or water melon are always attractive to look at. Remember height when setting your table — it’s difficult to have to look around tall vases of flowers — try floating flower buds in glass bowls. You can also add lemons or oranges around the pot of flowers or in a separate glass vase for a lovely citrus smell. Add special touches to the plates like putting a card with Happy Mother’s Day on it, or add a decorated menu. Arrange dinner ware around the plates, and add elegant plates, cups, and tea pots to complete the look. For a more formal table setting, set your table using a runner with matching flowers. Use layering to add depth with crisp white tablecloths. W

Retail Information: (opposite) Table settings by Nest Fine Gifts & Interiors 1125 Military Cutoff Road 910-256-6378; (this page) Table settings by Paysage 1908 Eastwood Road 910-256-6050;

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Casual style with a bold edge is this season’s hottest trend

PHOTOGRAPHY: Julie Phillips MODELS: Anna Mixon, Ashley Sgambati, Sam Proffitt MAKEUP: Meghan Bryan, Salon Beyond Basics HAIR: Erica Eisel, Salon Beyond Basics LOCATION: Special thanks to Graystone Inn

THE DETAILS: (opposite) Left: Rebecca Taylor top, $150, Joe’s Jeans, $158, Rebecca Taylor booties, Vanessa Mooney cuff, $88, Dean

Davison ring, $163, Folia earrings, $33, Ax+Apple necklace, $147, at Oliver. Right: Hard Tail pants, $120, and tank-top,

$45, Wooden Ships sweater, $78, Brightly Twisted scarf, $88, at CoolSweats. Matiko sandals, $38, at Oliver. (above) Left: Gladys

dress, $52, bubble necklace, $24, at Aqua Fedora; shoes, $47, at Lure. Right: Lace dress, $149, belt, $14, necklace, $35, shoes, $54, at Lure.

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THE DETAILS: (above) Left: Beth Bowley dress, $99, bubble bracelet, $12, at Encore Consignment Boutique; Butter

wedges, $322, at Monkees. Right: Flying Tomato pants, $34, Fate top, $38, necklace, $24, Dolce Vita booties, $125, at Island Passage.

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(opposite) Civil Society pants, $88, and shirt, $65, Jakimac bracelet, $35, Keds shoes, $65, at Bloke.

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THE DETAILS: (above) Left: Just Jill top, $81, and skirt, $87, Nature necklace, $93, at Ropa Etcetera; Cynthia Vincent

wedges, at Oliver. Right: Cynthia Rowley dress, $35, necklace, $18, at A Second Time Around; Stuart Weitzman wedges,

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$375, at Monkees. (opposite) Peter Millar sport coat, $795, Hickey Freeman shirt, $165, Gardeur jeans, $195, Donald Pliner loafers,

$138, Robert Talbott pocket square, $65, at Gentlemen’s Corner.

Shopping Guide


Aqua Fedora 30 N. Front St., 399-7358 1900 Eastwood Rd., 679-4745 A Second Time Around 143 N. Front St. 343-1043 Bloke 1427 Military Cutoff Rd. 679-4137 Cool Sweats 7208 Wrightsville Ave. 509-0273 Encore Consignment Boutique 5814 Oleander Dr. 452-4468 Gentlemen's Corner 1900 Eastwood Rd. 509-3838 Island Passage 4 Market St., 762-0484 1900 Eastwood Rd., 256-0407 Lure 2 N. Front St. 251-3737 Monkees 1900 Eastwood Rd. 256-5886 Oliver 1055 Military Cutoff Rd. 256-2233 Ropa Etc. 120 S. Front St., 815-0344 1125 Military Cutoff Rd. 256-8733

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Saffo greeting members of Wilmington Downtown Inc.

The Greater Good Mayor Bill Saffo digresses about his passion for the community By JENNIFER GLATT

AS TO-DO-LISTS GO, MOST PALE IN COMPARISON TO MAYOR BILL SAFFO’S. Balance Wilmington’s budget. Encourage economic development. Improve public facilities. Enhance the city’s infrastructure. Better public safety. Tackle transportation issues. And really, it’s not as if these items can be checked off the list. They’re perennially present, affected by the changing tides of the economy, the needs of the community, and even public opinion. (Perhaps especially public opinion.) On an early spring afternoon in March, I ask what compels him to persist with public service, despite this never-ending list. His answer is surprisingly simple. “Giving back,” he says with conviction. His usual affability is replaced with an earnestness in his voice. “Having the opportunity to make good, positive decisions that affect and improve people’s quality of life.” He says it’s also a family value that was passed down from his parents, who are first-generation Greek immigrants. “This community has been good to my family,” Saffo continues. In

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turn, buoyed by the belief that everyone has a passion and talents that can be used for the greater good, Saffo strives to be good to his community. Saffo, born Vassilios Avgerinos Saffo, is a native Wilmingtonian, graduating from Hoggard High School and then UNC-Wilmington with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. Saffo stayed local following graduation, and

had a hand in helping shape the local housing market through Hanover Realty, a land development and home real estate company originally opened in 1965 by his father Doky Saffo. The company merged with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty in 2010, but the market experience only solidified Saffo’s unique perspective on the city he helps manage—he’s still charmed by his hometown.


Mayor Bill Saffo

» Birthplace:

Wilmington, NC

» Family:

Wife, Renee

» Education:

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from UNCWilmington

» Favorite Hobby: Reading

» Favorite

Wilmington Event: The Azalea Festival. “This tradition is a great way to bring in the change of season. It’s Wilmington’s grand party.”

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“Wilmington is the sweet spot. I really do believe that it has a little bit of everything. It has a rich cultural scene, with the theater and visual and performing arts. It has natural beauty—the ocean, the river, and the Intracoastal Waterway. It’s laid back with Southern charm but it’s a city, too.” “Wilmington is the sweet spot” in the state of North Carolina, he declared. “I really do believe that it has a little bit of everything. It has a rich cultural scene, with the theater and visual and performing arts. It has natural beauty—the ocean, the river, and the Intracoastal Waterway. It’s laid back with Southern charm but it’s a city, too.” He also remarks that the city’s residents are kind and helpful, inviting and hospitable—“just sweet, good people,” he notes. And he is enthusiastic about the direction in which Wilmington is headed. Looking Ahead “The city has good momentum,” Saffo remarks. “Like all communities in the state and country, we have gone through tough times. But as we’re coming out of an economic downturn, the city council has taken bold steps, making critically important decisions and major investments.” Identified in his January 2013 State of the City address, just a few of these include: • A balanced budget, with money in our savings account for a rainy day (or a hurricane); • Appropriating $41 million dollars to fund a 5-year infrastructure plan to include paving streets and sidewalks, shoring up our Riverwalk, and repairing public facilities; • Increasing tourism through support of the local film industry, events that draw spectators, participants, vacationers and visitors, and encouraging development

Saffo crowning Heather French Henry, the 2011 Azalea Festival queen.

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like the new convention center and associated projects. Citing tourism as Wilmington’s mainstay industry, Saffo notes that tourism in Wilmington enables employment of over 5,000 people and has had an economic impact of over $425 million dollars. He regards the early success of the convention center—with more than 135 events already on the books for the year—as an impetus to increase tourism and boost the local economy. He is eager to see multiple downtown projects come to fruition, such as Cape Fear Community College’s Humanities and Fine Arts Center (slated to break ground in 2013), Union Station, streetscape improvements on Third Street, hotels that will be built both on Second and Grace streets and adjoining the convention center, as well as a 200-slip marina, and construction on one of the few remaining sections of the Riverwalk, extending it from bridge to bridge. Add spectacular beaches, historical gems, a thriving culinary scene and more ways to play outdoors than can be listed, and it’s easy to see why this city is such a draw. And, as the “Hollywood of the East,” Saffo notes that Wilmington continues to lead the state in overall film production. “Of the $376 million dollars that was spent in the state last year, $240 million dollars was spent right here in our community, creating hundreds of jobs, putting money back into our local economy and bringing us national recognition.” Multiple film and television projects are slated for the year, which Saffo affirmed is a testament to the quality of crews and professionals that are based in Wilmington. Pathway of Progress Progress is often difficult to measure, but Saffo points to one project that is “very important” to him and of which he is particularly proud: the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail. According to the City of Wilmington’s website, this primarily off-road, multi-use trail traverses the city and reaches Wade Park, Halyburton Park, and Empie Park to the Heide-Trask Drawbridge at the Intracoastal Waterway. It provides bicycle and pedestrian access to numerous recreational, cultural and educational destinations in Wilmington. “I saw personally the challenges people

faced” regarding safe transit throughout the city, he says. “The city saw a need for it, and with the help of many others we were able to complete this project.” He reported in his address that the entire 15mile trail is now fully funded, with just a 1.2-mile long stretch left to complete. He mentions this goal could not have been met without support from numerous sources: the federal government, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina, taxpayers of the city, and others. Saffo acknowledges that even in light of the positive opportunities the city possesses, “the issues and challenges facing our city are many.” In fact, those challenges could be the very same items on Saffo’s to-do list: balancing the budget, encouraging economic development, improving public facilities, enhance the city’s infrastructure, bettering public safety, tackling transportation issues. Yet Saffo says these challenges create opportunities where city council must look for ways to make government more efficient and responsive to the needs of citizens. “I see nothing but good things for the community. We will continue to see growth,” he says confidently. “People continue to want to come here for the quality of life,” Saffo continues, and if you live here, or have spent any time here at all, you understand what he means. The landscape is changing as the city grows in the push-me-pull-me fashion for which social change is known, but Saffo returns to giving back to the community as the benchmark for all citizens. Public Service, Private Commitment “As Mayor I have the honor and opportunity to see so many people volunteer—there’s an organization here for everyone. So many positive things are happening and I get to witness that day in and day out.” The privilege of witnessing public service from the citizens-at-large is one aspect of his job that Saffo relishes. In fact, his own civic involvement includes the Community Boys and Girls Club and the Rotary West Club. As a public servant, Saffo seeks to encourage everyone to get involved. “Even a little bit of your time makes a big difference in changing the face of your community.” W

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Returning to the Past Like turning back the hands of time, the restoration of the Williams House showcases its original grandeur By ELIZABETH KING HUMPHREY


ucia Hughes saw the For Sale sign at the beautiful Italianate-style house on Fifth Street and peeked through the windows. It was enough to pique her interest in the house. Hughes was drawn to the architecture of the three-story home. According to details of the house provided by Debby Gomulka, ASID, the house has a “two-over-two sash, arched transom and low pitched hip roof. The one story addition on the south elevation has a patterned slate roof.” Gomulka was the designer for the renovation project. When Hughes later entered the home, she witnessed the results of an 8,000-square foot house that, in the 1950s, had been chopped into apartments. Hughes determined she was going to bring the Williams House back to its former splendor. Hughes is no novice to renovations and has a passion for historic preservation. She says she has restored each home she has lived in. But she discovered the George Williams House, built for the merchant in 1868, was loaded with amazing, oneof-a-kind elements. The ones that resonated with her included the gentlemen’s smoking parlor, original gasolier light fixtures, and the intact etched-glass sliding glass doors. Hughes found the brides’ room to be stunning—with all original woodwork—and full of “potential.” According to Gomulka, the George W. Williams house is also a “contributing structure in the Theater Historic District (HD).” The renovation process Gomulka says, involves the Wilmington Historic Preservation Commission from the beginning of a project, and the homeowner must adhere to strict guidelines for the renovations. The commission provides a “Certificate of Appropriateness” to the homeowner. At the same time, Gomulka says she works closely with the contractor throughout the process to ensure the design concept, and the designs compliance with the commission’s requirements. “We brought back the original homeowners’ design influence to honor their vision, while adding some modern updates. The

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Front view of the fully restored George Williams House, circa 1868.

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Entry foyer before.

Entry foyer after.

Bride’s room before.

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Bride’s room after.


details are so very rich and appealing, but at the same time not overdone—it will make people think. We wanted the Williams to be proud of our work, had they come back for a dinner party 150 years later,” Gomulka says. At the same time, the house project has a green aspect, as well. “This project is extraordinary because of the extent to

who take on a restoration project such as the Williams House not only affect the home they are restoring, but now the entire neighborhood benefits from such a stunning piece of architecture, as it adds so much to the charm of the community,” Gomulka says. The homeowner mentions there are unique features in every room “that

would rock any crying babies on the third floor. Those living on that floor apparently used to hear babies’ cries. Hughes wanted to take down the walls that had divided the house into separate apartments and put it back the way it had been, as a single-family residence. Because she had renovated other homes, she knew that “patience and specialized

“We brought back the original homeowners’ design influence to honor their vision, while adding some modern updates. The details are so very rich and appealing, but at the same time not overdone. We wanted the Williams to be proud of our work, had they come back for a dinner party 150 years later.” which original materials were reused. In the kitchen for example, original wood beams found under the house were reused to comprise part of the wood ceiling design. Original wood doors from the 1830s were refinished in an authentic blue to complete the Moroccan Kasbah design. This home is a fine example of cultural sustainability; that is, the owners

you don’t see in every home.” Only four families have owned the home throughout its history, which she sees as being “special”, and she appreciates hearing the history of those families, even a ghost story or two that tenants passed down through the years. One such tale mentions that Mrs. Williams, who gave birth to 13 children,

tradespeople” could do the work. The house is well built and exhibits amazing craftsmanship. According to Hughes, the plaster walls showed no signs of cracks. But some changes needed to happen, such as fixing a sewer pipe that ran along one wall. After the plaster was removed, a skilled local plasterer managed to repair the site of the

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Wrap around porches make for the perfect gathering place in the summer.

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Master bathroom is updated with modern amenities.

sewer pipe. Contractors took two and a half years to renovate the house, always working together with Gomulka. The designer likens it to “an orchestra, where everything must work in concert.” The architect on the project referred the first contractor to the homeowner. In the 1950s, the contractor’s uncle had actually

cherry wood motifs were revealed after restoration.” The contractors removed a wall between the kitchen and old laundry room. No support beams were found between two bathrooms stacked one on top of the other. One challenging aspect was the size of the project. Even though the Williams family kept it in the family until the 1950s, when

The Williams’s had built-in solid Philadelphia cherry display case units for the wedding gifts, and handmade cabinetry drawers built on an angle. Although the room was built in 1886, only one daughter of the several the Williams’s had ever used the brides’ room. It has become Hughes’s favorite room because it is rich with details.

“The original architecture and design of the home has been restored for the first time. Throughout the house, the stunning architectural details and exquisite finishes establish the mood. Moroccan details are evident in the entry foyer and hall. Original mahogany and cherry wood motifs were revealed after restoration.” worked on the house when it was divided into the eight apartments. “The original architecture and design of the home has been restored for the first time,” Gomulka says. “Throughout the house, the stunning architectural details and exquisite finishes establish the mood. Moroccan details are evident in the entry foyer and hall. Original mahogany and

it became a multi-family dwelling, there were changes to the electrical wiring and the HVAC layout. The Queen Anne East Lake addition to the house was built as a brides’ room. Intended for the wedding reception of one of the Williams’ daughters, its qualities include a solid wood cathedral ceiling with an original gasolier chandelier.

At the time of the brides’ room addition, craftsmen added encaustic tiles in the front foyer, which is another special feature of the house, a new mantel in the gentlemen’s smoking parlor, and inlaid African mahogany floors. A specialist in repairing encaustic tiles was brought in to restore and replicate the tiles in the entry foyer.

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Entry foyer leading off from the kitchen area.

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(clockwise from top) Front parlor dining room;. Hand-made encaustic tile floor; Cooktop stove in the kitchen; Etched glass detail.

Hughes appreciates much about the house and has found old photographs of the Williams family, and the daughter’s wedding reception. Original gasolier chandeliers and the brides’ room chandelier were uncovered under the house. Alongside the chandeliers, which needed refinishing, the renovation team found original wood doors from the 1830s and the laundry sink. Hughes calls this a “treasure trove found under the house.” Hughes said she has also found broken pieces of china while working in her garden. Since Mr. Williams was a merchant, he was familiar with shipbuilding construction, so he had the

basement made of sturdy ship’s ballast The homeowners were also drawn to hand-carved details throughout, such as the entry foyer wall and ceiling. Gomulka says that the renovation team included artisans and craftspeople to carry out the design concept and its historical significance. “The finish expert restored several cherry and mahogany wood mantels, exquisite built-in furniture pieces, as well as the hand-carved entry foyer and three-story staircase.” Although many local craftspeople contributed to the renovation, the decorative finish artists came from New York. According to Hughes, “The original

details and architecture display a true labor of love. And, the original construction was the best and thoughtfully designed, a very livable house—the floor plan works, even for modern-day families. Great rooms for entertaining, the formal parlors flow with the family rooms across the grand hall. Even though the home is large, the scale is appropriate and works well for modern day living. Each room has a purpose.” Hughes plans to live in the home and use the rooms as they were “originally planned.” W

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feature summer fun

Summer Fun! By JUDY ROYAL

Summer officially begins on June 21, but here in Southeastern North Carolina we get into the spirit long before that. Whether you use Memorial Day weekend or the last day of school as your unofficial welcome to the season of fun-in-the-sun, the area is brimming with activities for all interests and budgets. Here are 50 possibilities that both locals and tourists can use to fill up their calendars for the next few months. 64 |



N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher Located in Kure Beach, the N.C. Aquarium offers a variety of exhibits for all ages that have everything from an albino alligator to sharks and loggerhead turtles as well as an interactive touch tank. Admission is $6 for children ages 3-12, $8 for adults and $7 for seniors age 62 and older. Find more information at fort-fisher. 2. John Nesbitt Loop Why do you always see so many people out exercising in Wrightsville Beach? They’re taking advantage of the John Nesbitt Loop, a 2.45-mile stretch of sidewalk that circles the town’s heart. The path follows Causeway Drive, North Lumina Avenue and Salisbury Street. Free. 3. Battleship North Carolina Located just across the Cape Fear River from historic downtown Wilmington, the Battleship North Carolina used during World War II

is open daily for tours and often hosts special events and programs. Check the schedule at Prices range from $6 for children 6-11 to $12 for adults. Children 5 and under get in free. 4. Bald Head Island A 5.8-square-mile resort village on the east side of the Cape Fear River in Brunswick County, Bald Head Island doesn’t allow motorized vehicles so residents and visitors get around via golf carts and bicycles. Not only are there plenty of vacation rentals, but it’s a great place for a day excursion. A roundtrip ferry ride from Deep Point Marina in Southport costs $24.75 for adults and $13.75 for children 3-12. Find the schedule and more information at

Island’s secluded beaches and untouched environment. Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours and Water Taxi can take you to the 8.5-mile-long undeveloped island between Wrightsville and Carolina beaches. Cost is $20. Find the schedule and more information, including additional tours and programs, at wrightsvillebeachscenictours. com. 7. Cameron Art Museum Spend the day exploring various exhibits and having a bite to eat at Café Johnnie. Admission ranges from $3 for children 2-12 to $8 for adults. Find hours and more information at 8. Fourth Friday Gallery Nights On the fourth Friday of every month, various downtown Wilmington art galleries open their doors to the public from 6-9 p.m. for free, self-guided tours and refreshments. For a

list of dates and participating establishments, visit 9. Airlie Gardens Located off picturesque Airlie Road, experience the formal gardens, wildlife, historic structures, walking trails, sculptures, views of Bradley Creek, 10-acres of freshwater lakes, more than 100,000 azaleas and the grandeur of the 467-year-old Airlie Oak. Admission is $3 for children 6-12 and $5 for adults. Find more information at 10. Carolina Beach State Park You’ll find a marina, secluded camping area, visitors center and walking trails that traverse various habitats at Carolina Beach State Park, home to the Venus’ flytrap, one of the world’s most carnivorous plants and a native of Southeastern North Carolina. The park is free and open daily.


5. Carolina Beach Boardwalk Pleasure Island comes alive all summer long with a carnival, complete with amusement park rides and food vendors, set up around Carolina Beach’s Boardwalk at the foot of Cape Fear Boulevard near the ocean. That’s also where you’ll find the legendary Britt’s Donut Shop. Prices for rides vary. 6. Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours Shuttle to Masonboro Island You don’t have to own your own boat to experience Masonboro

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14 11. Jet Ski Rentals Experience the thrill of gliding across the water as fast as you feel comfortable with a jet ski at the New Hanover County beaches. Rentals are available from and carolinabeachjetskirental. com. Prices vary. 12. Cape Fear Serpentarium Claiming the distinction of being the state’s largest reptile zoo and museum, the Cape Fear Serpentarium at 20 Orange St. in downtown Wilmington is a unique attraction for all ages. Cost is $8 for everyone except children under 2, who get in free. Find more information at 13. Fireworks If you can’t make it to the popular Battleship Blast in downtown Wilmington on the Fourth of July, there are plenty of other chances to see fireworks all summer long. Not

only does Carolina Beach have its Fourth of July fireworks display a day early on July 3, but the town celebrates all season with fireworks every Thursday night along with live music at the Boardwalk. For a complete schedule, visit fireworks-by-the-sea.

N.C. 4th of July Festival Southport comes alive with its biggest party of the year during the N.C. 4th of July Festival, which attracts more than 40,000 visitors. Events vary and last all week, culminating with a parade and fireworks display on


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the holiday itself. For a complete schedule, visit 15. The Wilmington Ice House Cool from the hot summer sun at The Wilmington Ice House ice rink. Sign up for figure skating or hockey lessons, or come and join your friends during the public skating sessions. Prices and schedules vary; visit 16. Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry Whether you’re going for the journey or the destination, a ride on the Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry is a great way to spend a summer day. Walk, bike or drive your vehicle aboard, and take in the sights of the Cape Fear River along the way. Trips leave at various times daily, and the cost is $1 for pedestrians, $2 for bicyclists and $5 for standard vehicles. Find the complete schedule at 17. Culinary Adventures with Liz Biro Local food writer Liz Biro leads various walking tours centering around the area’s gourmet scene. Prices range from $25 for Drinks Downtown to $42 for Heart of Downtown and $58 for the Top Chef Farmers Market Tour & Cooking Class. Find more information at

18. Summer Rest Trail Explore one of the area’s hidden gems by taking a stroll or bike ride along Summer Rest Trail, a 0.7-mile asphalt path that begins at Port City Chop House on Eastwood Road and winds through a wooded route to Summer Rest Road, which overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway near Wrightsville Beach. 19. Federal Point History Center On the south edge of the Town of Carolina Beach’s municipal complex is the Federal Point History Center, a small museum that showcases various displays about the history of southern New Hanover County, as well as a gift shop with books, T-shirts, maps, games, puzzles and post cards. Admission is free, and the museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Find more information at f e d e r a l p o i n t h i s t o r y. o r g / history_center. 20. Oakdale Cemetery Part outdoor museum and part arboretum, Oakdale Cemetery at 520 N. 15th St. in Wilmington boasts 100 acres and has a Summer Tour Series with five Saturday dates focusing on various sights each time. Cost is $10. Find the schedule at oakdalecemetery. org.


Farmers’ Markets Whether you’re north, south or in between, the Wilmington area offers a farmers’ market of locally harvested and created goods near you. Downtown Wilmington and Carolina Beach hold theirs on Saturday, while Wrightsville Beach’s is on Monday and Poplar Grove Plantation’s is on Wednesday.


21. Silver Coast Winery Silver Coast Winery is an active winemaking facility that has produced several award-winning varieties from its Ocean Isle Beach location. It’s open daily for tours and tastings and has a gift shop and art gallery. Find more information at 23. Endless Summer Sailboat Charter Let a licensed Coast Guard captain take you for a fourhour sail aboard a 38-foot sloop from Southport to the open water of the Atlantic Ocean and back. The board holds 2 to 6 passengers, and the cost is $60 per person. Find out more at 24. SCUBA Diving Scuba Now (scuba-now. com), Aquatic Safaris ( and Cape Fear Dive Center


( are among the local companies that can take you on an underwater adventure. Get instruction or book a spot on a charter to the area’s best dive spots. Prices vary. 25. Fort Fisher State Historic Site The Fort Fisher State Historic Site’s visitor center boasts an exhibit hall with a 16-foot fiber-optic map detailing the Civil War battle there, an orientation film and a gift shop. A half-mile tour trail circles the remains of the western bastion of the fort, and exterior exhibits include interpretive panels and a partially restored gun emplacement featuring a firing reproduction of a cannon. Donations accepted. 26. Fort Fisher State Recreation Area Enjoy 6 miles of unspoiled beaches, and bring Fido, too.

This southernmost part of Pleasure Island past Kure Beach is one of the few waterfront areas that welcome your dog during the summer months. There’s also a picnic area, public restrooms and a large, free parking lot. You can drive all the way to the end of the island if you have a fourwheel-drive vehicle and an access pass, which is $12 per day or $50 for the year. Inquire at the park office. 27. New Hanover County Arboretum Explore 7 acres of plants that grow in the coastal area as well as emerging trends in plant material. Free and open daily during daylight hours, the New Hanover County Arboretum is at 6206 Oleander Drive in Wilmington. 28. Pier Fishing If pier fishing is your thing, you’ll find the concrete Johnnie Mercer’s Fishing Pier in Wrightsville Beach or the more old-fashioned Carolina Beach and Kure Beach fishing piers on Pleasure Island. They charge nominal fees if you want to drop a line, but you can stroll on the Pleasure Island piers for free.

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29. Tregembo Animal Park Located at 5811 Carolina Beach Road in Wilmington, Tregembo Animal Park has more than 75 species of animals including giraffe, lion, tiger, zebra, bear and monkeys. There is also a 4,000-squarefoot gift shop with seashells, nautical items, clothing and toys. The zoo is open daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is $8 for kids 2-11 and $12 for adults. Find out more at 30. Wrightsville Parasailing Company Fly above the water behind a boat without even getting wet. Each flight lasts 15 minutes and costs $65 per person. Trips leave throughout each day. Find out more at 31. Ingram Planetarium Ingram Planetarium, 7625 High Market Street in Sunset Beach, has a variety of programs for all ages, including sky theater and laser music shows, as well as the Paul Dennis Science Hall and Galaxy Gifts. Find out more at museumplanetarium. org. 32. Walking Tours Learn history from longtime resident Bob Jenkins with the Wilmington Adventure Walking Tour (910-7631785) or choose the Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington, Haunted Pub Crawl or Hollywood Location Walk from Wilmington Walking Tours (w i lmi ng t onwa l k i ng t ou rs. com). 33. Dog Parks Want to hang out where the dogs run free? Empie Park at Independence Boulevard and Park Avenue in Wilmington has 2 acres of off-leash fun for pooches. Other area parks that have smaller off-leash areas are Ogden Park, Hugh MacRae Park, Mike Chappell Park in Carolina Beach and Joe Eakes Park in Kure Beach.


Kayaking Whether you want to rent a kayak to explore the area’s various waterways on your own or go on a guided tour, there are plenty of companies that can get you gliding across the water. Among them are Kayak Carolina (kayakcarolina. com), Hook, Line & Paddle (, Expedition Organization (expeditionorganization. com), Wrightsville Kayak Company (wrightsvillebeachkayak. com) and North Carolina Eco Odysseys ( 35. Riverwalk Stroll along the scenic downtown Wilmington section of the Cape Fear River, which has been the backdrop for many TV and film productions, on the Riverwalk, a boardwalk that spans various shops and restaurants. A good place to start your walk is at the foot of Market Street. 36. Freeman Park Also known as the North End,

Carolina Beach’s Freeman Park is a popular spot for enjoying the ocean and is one of only two four-wheeldrive beaches in the area. Get a season pass for $100 or go for one-, two- and threeday options that range from $20 to $50. Purchase them at FreemanPark.aspx. 37. Wrightsville Beach Museum of History Housed in a turn-ofthe-century cottage, the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History at 303 W. Salisbury Street has a scale model of the area circa 1910, exhibits and hurricane information. It’s open Tuesday through Sunday and is free; donations accepted. Find out more at wbmuseum. com. 38. Kindred Spirit Mailbox Get away from the crowds and go on a unique journey to the Kindred Spirit Mailbox, which holds a collection of handwritten thoughts from visitors over the years. To get there, drive to Sunset Beach and turn right at the ocean, going to the westernmost public beach access. From there, continue to walk southwest (right) as the beach turns into uninhabited Bird Island. About 1.25 miles down, you’ll find the mailbox marked by a flagpole.

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39 and science. Admission ranges from $4 for children ages 3-17 and $7 for adults. Find out more at

Jungle Rapids Jungle Rapids, 5320 Oleander Drive in Wilmington, is a kids’ paradise with a water park, go-carts, laser tag, a climbing wall, miniature golf and more. Prices vary. Find out more at junglerapids. com. 40. Outdoor Movies at the Carolina Beach Lake From Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends, Carolina Beach Lake Park will host free outdoor movies every Sunday at 8:45 p.m. Bring a lawn chair and refreshments, or purchase snacks there. Go to free-movies-at-the-lake for a schedule. 41. Stand Up Paddleboarding Among the area’s companies that can get you up and padding on the water are Wrightsville SUP ( and Carolina Paddle Board Co. ( 42. Cape Fear Museum Cape Fear Museum, 814 Market Street in Wilmington, is open Tuesday through Sunday and offers various exhibits and programs focusing on the area’s history

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43. Winner Party Boats Whether you want to go fishing or take a pleasure cruise, there’s an excursion for you on the Winner Party Boats. Vessels leave from the Carolina Beach Municipal Marina on Carl Winner Drive between North Lake Park Boulevard and Canal Drive in Carolina Beach. Find out more at

Cape Fear Riverboats The Henrietta III riverboat and several smaller vessels can take you on a variety of excursions along the Cape Fear River. The boats are docked off Water Street and at the foot of Dock Street in downtown Wilmington. Find out more at 45. Poplar Grove Plantation Built in 1850, Poplar Grove Plantation, once part of the peanut trade, is now a museum and is on the National Register of Historic Homes. Tour the main house

and tenant farmer’s cabin, visit the craft shops to learn about basket making and see the blacksmith’s shop. It’s located at 10200 U.S. Highway 17 North, Wilmington. Tours happen daily and range from $5-$10. Find out more at 46. Brunswick Air Fun Flights Take off in a Cessna 172 and see the sights like the birds do with Brunswick Air Fun Flights, which leave from the Cape Fear Regional Jetport, 4019 Long Beach Road in Oak Island. Tours start at $90 per flight and can hold up to three passengers. Find out more at 47. The Children’s Museum of Wilmington The Wilmington Children’s Museum, 116 Orange Street in downtown Wilmington, houses hands-on exhibits with opportunities for youngsters to explore and learn. Admission


is $8, and the museum is open daily. Find out more at 48. Museum of Coastal Carolina The Museum of Coastal Carolina, 21 E. Second Street in Ocean Isle Beach, has several themed galleries with dioramas and exhibits about the natural history, environment and culture of the Coastal Carolinas as well as the Nature’s Treasures gift shop. Find out more at 49. Cooking Classes The Seasoned Gourmet, 1930 Eastwood Road in Lumina Commons near Wrightsville Beach, offers cooking classes through the Cape Fear Food & Wine Club. Topics vary. You must be a club member or guest to attend; memberships are $5 for 30 days or $15 for the entire year. Find out more at 50. Horsedrawn Carriage and Trolley Tours Springbrook Farms has carriage and trolley tours pulled by rescued horses leaving daily from Market Street between Water and Front streets in downtown Wilmington. A costumed driver will give historical narration. Cost is $12 for adults and $5 for children under 12. Find out more at W


Women in Business The spirit of the entrepreneur is alive and well. Meet the female entrepreneurs who have proven they have the skills and business acumen necessary to achieve success in Wilmington’s competitive market. From interior designers to attorneys and jewelers to medical professionals, these women are enhancing the future of Wilmington. Photos by BROWNIE HARRIS and SUSAN FRANCY

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Pam Thibault Crabby Chic 910-799-4216 •

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! Words of Wisdom to Other Women in Business: Never let no be the final answer. If you know it is right for you, then make it work.

Debby Gomulka

Debby Gomulka Designs 910-352-7339 •

My Mission: My design team’s goal is to provide a dynamic interior space that will reflect the client’s taste and enhance their lives. I listen to my client and collaborate efforts to translate their vision into beautifully designed interiors. My Business: Debby Gomulka Designs is an awardwinning, Wilmington-based design firm. Combining my 18-years experience in the furniture and design industry with a family background in art and antique collecting, gives me a comprehensive knowledge of interior design. Elegance, style and good taste are the hallmarks of my business. Words of Wisdom to Other Women in Business: Success is a journey, not a place, with equal parts of ups and downs along the way. The key is to have perseverance, patience and strong leadership skills. 72 |

Shahrzad Nasseri-Gardner Gallery of Oriental Rugs 910-392-2605 • My Mission: At Gallery Of Oriental Rugs, we share with our clientele the mystical beauty of owning oriental rugs that have the utmost craftsmanship, and enchanting patterns that captivates everyone. My Business: We have some of the finest Persian, European and Oriental rugs in the nation. Our passion and commitment has earned us the prestigious Number One Rug Retailer

in America Award. Developing solid relationships with our clients is a Gallery of Oriental Rugs trademark. We take great pride to provide you with personal attention to fulfill your needs. This service has enabled us to establish a reputation as one of the most distinguished oriental rug dealers in the nation. Best Business Advice Received: My father taught me to always be

honest and have unbridled passion, and total product knowledge coupled with comprehensive service and community commitment. Words of Wisdom to Other Women in Business: Never underestimate yourself, and never give up. If you love what you do, you will succeed. One Thing I’ve Learned The Hard Way: The best short cut in life is hard work. May/June 2013 | 73

Kristi Johnson Island Appliance 910-790-8580 •

My Mission: To welcome every customer with the expectation of building a long term relationship through honesty, knowledge and extraordinary service. To encourage our employees to be a part of an ongoing company, built together with opportunities for long term success. Best Business Advice Received: Always asking the question “What do you think would happen if…”, is the most powerful, thought provoking exercise that anyone has ever suggested to me. One Thing I’ve Learned the Hard Way: Always give customers a choice. Even though you may know what the customer needs, allowing them to see the alternatives makes the decision theirs.

Claire Mains

Encore Consignment Boutique 910-452-4468 •

My Mission: To create the best shopping experience with an emphasis on customer service. We’re all fashion lovers, and our goal is to make every woman feel special by focusing on her own personal style and budget. We provide a fun environment where customers and consignors are like family. My Business: An upscale ladies clothing consignment boutique, where good name brands and top designer labels can be found at incredible prices. My boutique is fresh, clean and very organized. Over seven years I have built a thriving business based on honesty, integrity and friendly professionalism. One Thing I’ve Learned the Hard Way: I can’t do everything on my own. I have to depend on others, both personally and professionally, to be successful, to keep moving forward, and to retain my sanity! 74 |

Monika Williams Nest Fine Gifts & Interiors 910-256-6378 • 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.

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Star Sosa

Spectrum Art & Jewelry 910-256-2323 •

My Mission: I strive to operate the most exceptional designer jewelry studio in the Southeast. My Business: I am in the business of creating emotion you can wear. I’ve been a jewelry designer for 28 years, and have owned Spectrum Art & Jewelry for the past 16 years. We have received six national design awards from a variety of professional organizations, and our special niche is custom jewelry design and jewelry restyle which includes my signature “Jewelry Box Review”. The JBR looks at a clients fine jewelry collection, and identifies what can be restored, repaired, restyled or recycled into something new. Words of Wisdom to Other Women in Business: Take what you know best and expand on it. Be willing to evolve and grow, as today’s business climate requires rapid response.

Jane Marquard Paysage 910-256-6050 •

My Mission: Collaborating with our clients to create interiors that make their lives happier, and their homes the place where they want to be more than anywhere else. My Business: Bringing furniture and accessories to our stores that are unique, affordable, beautiful and functional! I want the atmosphere to be stunning when our customers walk in, and them to be thrilled when they walk out with their treasures from Paysage. Best Business Advice Received: From my husband and partner: always make your clients happy first and foremost. Accommodate your customers to any length to ensure their happiness with their Paysage experience. Words of Wisdom to Other Women in Business: Stand up for yourself and do what you love. 76 |

Dr’s. Phyllis & Deana Cook Cook Periodontics & Dental Implants 910-256-8486 • Our Mission: To encourage and provide lifelong periodontal and dental health. We are committed to working together as a caring team to provide a friendly, clean environment that will allow us to provide excellent quality dental care to our patients. Our Business: We give patients confidence in their smile by enabling an understanding of the importance of dental health and its relationship to overall health. We create customized treatment plans to specifically address

each patient’s unique set of needs. An array of services is offered, including treatment of gum disease and gum recession, replacement of missing or fractured teeth with dental implants, and extractions. Best Business Advice Received: “Well done is better than well said” -Ben Franklin Words of Wisdom to Other Women in Business: We are happiest and at our best when we are providing

our patients with quality dental and periodontal care. Our advice would be to work with others with the same philosophy who are also striving to do their best. Our Strengths: Our doctors and team have an excellent ability to put patients at ease to help conquer dental phobias. We make each patient feel comfortable in our office and confident in our care, by educating them about periodontics in ways they can easily understand.

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Amy Johnson Courtyard by Marriott Carolina Beach 910-458-2617

My Mission: To provide each guest with a “home away from home” experience and a superior customer service environment. I strive to listen to my clients and earn their business. My Business: As Director of Sales, I generate and maximize revenue for two hotels in the Wilmington area. My clients include local, regional and national corporations, associations, military bases and other social markets. The Fairfield Inn & Suites in Wilmington caters to the corporate and film markets, while the Courtyard by Marriott in Carolina Beach focuses on larger groups and meetings, such as associations and weddings. Words of Wisdom to Other Women in Business: You get what you give. Provide your best effort in everything you do, and you’ll always be successful.

Salon Beyond Basics Day Spa 910-452-0072 •

Our Mission: It has always been our personal belief that true beauty lies within each of us. The Beyond Basics team brings that beauty to the surface for the world to see. Our Business: We are a full service salon with 26 chairs, day spa with 7 78 |

treatment rooms and 3 nail areas. We, as a TEAM, believe customer service combined with excellence in our trade is top priority. We understand that without you, our salon and spa would not be the desired destination it has become over the past 18 years in

Wilmington. Words of Wisdom to Other Women in Business: Always follow your heart, and you can figure out how to make it happen. Never take “no” as the final answer.

Shekhar Mehta Artee Fabrics & Home 910-686-2950 My Mission: To offer the finest home fabrics and furnishings, with high quality merchandise at the very best prices possible. We treat all our customers and vendors with fairness and integrity. This makes everything possible: the ability to offer quality goods, at affordable prices, at all levels of the spectrum. My Business: Home fabric selections and custom furniture for home or office.

We can help design your window and bedding treatments. We carry a large selection of fabric rolls. I have used this to create unique designs at affordable prices.

Words of Wisdom to Other Women in Business: Have strength and persistence and never feel that anything is impossible.

Best Business Advice Received: Change with the times and keep your inventory low.

One Thing I’ve Learned the Hard Way: I cannot do everything on my own. I have learned to delegate, and to standup for what is right.

Tools of the Trade: Knowledge of the latest trends in color and design, fabrics, and styles.

My Strengths: Honesty, integrity, and strong knowledge of fabric designs and trends. May/June 2013 | 79

Rhonda Bellamy Arts Council of Wilmington 910-343-0998

My Mission: To establish the region as an arts destination, promote arts-driven economic development, facilitate communication and collaboration within the arts community, provide a stream of funding to support the sustainability of artists and arts organizations, and to advocate for the arts at the local, state, and federal levels. My Business: Positioning arts and cultural traditions as economic drivers for the region. Best Business Advice Received: Always wait two days before sending something to the printer. Invariably there will always be a revision. Words of Wisdom to Other Women in Business: Don’t allow others to pigeonhole you, and don’t allow yourself to pigeonhole you.

Tina Williamson

T. Williamson Interiors 910-256-3256 • My Mission: To create an environment for each client that reflects their own taste and lifestyle, using our design expertise gained through formal education, and thirty years of working as a professional interior designer. My Business: We offer comprehensive design services from initial design concept through project completion. Best Business Advice Received: Concentrate on interior design services, let others handle office tasks. Words of Wisdom to Other Women in Business: Speak with confidence and authority and bring others into the design process. 80 |

Amber Matthys & Sabrina Yonkers The Red Tulip 910-523-5790 • Our Mission: We intend to be a support to our local community, provide our customers with great service, and exceptional products at great prices. Who doesn’t like getting something beautiful for a great deal? Our Business: We wanted to create a place where treasures can be found. A lot of effort goes into the display and appearance of our store. We enjoy giving the customer an experience unlike

anywhere else. We are always asked “Is this a consignment shop”? It is a great question and a wonderful compliment. Tools of the Trade: Location, Location, Location! We are in a great location with other well known, established businesses with great traffic. We also invested in great software specific to our business that allows us to stay very organized and professional. Spend the extra money, it will make the difference

to you and your customers. Words of Wisdom to Other Women in Business: Believe in yourself and go for it. One Thing I’ve Learned the Hard Way: Everything I’ve learned seems to have been the hard way. Life is full of lessons, but that’s how you Learn. Time makes all the difference.

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Shanna Blue & Becky Seegers Peanut Butter & Jelly 910-256-4554 •

Our Mission: Here at Peanut Butter & Jelly, we strive to provide the best 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 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. Best Business Advice Received: Love what you do, be passionate about it, and build a business around it. 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.

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. 82 |

Shanda West Tickled Pink Sophisticated Gifts 910-679-4555 • My Mission: To create a sophisticated shopping experience where a customer can find a great gift for themselves or for others. We enjoy building relationships with our clientele in an environment that is relaxed and peaceful, and to have a shop where our customers can feel at home. We are passionately committed to featuring local and regional artisans.

sophisticated gifts ranging from home décor, clothing, fine chocolate, jewelry and fine art. We even offer fresh baked goods! We are excited that we offer price points for everyone.

My Business: A retail shop with

Tools of the Trade: I am big on

Best Business Advice Received: Always look for the gifts in people and surround yourself with those that inspire you and help you grow.

checklists! I love to make notes. Absolutely need my journals, iPhone, and iPad. Words of Wisdom to Other Women in Business: Keep your priorities— God, family, work. I am constantly making sure I have these balanced. One Thing I’ve Learned the Hard Way: Don’t put things off that need to be done right away.

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Susan Eaton

Wilmington NC Convention Center 910-251-5101 •

My Mission: The overall success of the Wilmington Convention Center is my primary focus – to make every event the very best it can be. I use my creativity, vision, focus, to help ensure one of a kind experiences and lasting relationships. My Business: As General Manager heading a multi-use facility, I not only guide my employees who are essential to the success of each event, but also my customers who are my true passion. Best Business Advice Received: Always do your best to run a good operation, which will ultimately reflect well on your customers and the convention center industry. Tools of the Trade: Lipstick, cell phone, comfortable shoes, office keys, and I will never be caught without my golf clubs.

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

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 Business: To provide the most up to date styles, colors, and products in lighting and picture framing. 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. 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. 84 |

Amanda K. Hannon, Faison G. Sutton & Frances Y. Trask Murchison, Taylor & Gibson 910-763-2426 • Our Mission: We are committed to providing our clients with high quality legal services in a prompt and efficient manner, for a fair and reasonable price. Because of those commitments, we have earned the loyalty of our clients, and we enjoy long lasting

relationships with them. Our Business: As law practitioners, we are devoted to helping others solve their problems. Founded in 1955, MT&G and its attorneys have deep roots in New Hanover County and Eastern North Carolina, and have

been serving the community and clients for more than five decades. Words of Wisdom to Other Women in Business: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” by Confucius.

From Interior Designers to Attorneys and Jewelers to Medical Professionals, meet the female entrepreneurs who are enhancing Wilmington’s future. Baxter, Debbie; D. Baxter’s Lamps & Shades ................... 84 Bellamy, Rhonda; Arts Council of Wilmington.................. 79 Blue, Shanna; Peanut Butter & Jelly ................................ 82 Dr. Cook, Deana; Cook Periodontics & Dental Implants... 77 Dr. Cook, Phyllis; Cook Periodontics & Dental Implants.. 77 Eaton, Susan; Wilmington NC Convention Center........... 84 Gomulka, Debby; Debby Gomulka Designs, LLC.............. 72 Hannon, Amanda; Murchison, Taylor & Gibson, PLLC.... 85 Johnson, Amy; Courtyard by Marriott, Carolina Beach... 78 Johnson, Kristi; Island Appliance....................................... 74 Mains, Claire; Encore Consignment Boutique................... 74 Marquard, Jane; Paysage.................................................... 76 Mehta, Shekhar; Artee Fabrics & Home............................ 79

Nasseri-Gardner, Shahrzad; Gallery of Oriental Rugs..... 73 Nguyen, Samantha; Samantha’s Coastal Interiors........... 82 Salon Beyond Basics Day Spa.............................................. 78 Seegers, Becky; Peanut Butter & Jelly............................... 82 Sosa, Star; Spectrum Art & Jewelry.................................. 76 Sutton, Faison; Murchison, Taylor & Gibson, PLLC......... 85 Thibault, Pam; Crabby Chic................................................ 72 Trask, Frances; Murchison, Taylor & Gibson, PLLC........ 85 West, Shanda; Tickled Pink Sophisticated Gifts............... 83 Williams, Monika; Nest Fine Gifts & Interiors................. 75 Williamson, Tina; T. Williamson Interiors........................ 79 Matthys, Amber; The Red Tulip.......................................... 81 Yonkers, Sabrina; The Red Tulip........................................ 81

A special advertising section of Wilmington Magazine.

Delicious and Nutritious Smoothies! Quick and super healthy, if you watch out for hidden sugars and fats. By Edna Cox Rice, RD, CSG, LD


moothies, popular in the 60s, have made a real come back. They’re available at the natural food store, grocery store and many restaurants. Fruit Smoothies! Veggie Smoothies! What’s not to love about these delicious, sweet drinks? And, they sound sooo natural and healthy right? Sure they contain healthful ingredients like fruits and veggies, but often many of the other ingredients are high in fat and sugar. You could end up drinking 600 calories or more. A 16-20 ounce serving at the smoothie stand or the fast food restaurant are 900-1,200 calories, 50+ grams of fat and 20-30 grams of saturated fat, more calories and fat than a double cheeseburger and fries! It is possible to enjoy a smoothie that tastes delicious and is good for you. Smoothies make a quick and easy breakfast or snack for anyone who wants to add more nutrition into their daily diet. Making smoothies at home allows you to avoid the high sugar or fat content of the store bought versions. They make a healthy alternative to a

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fast food breakfast, sugary snacks and convenience foods. Shape it up at the Smoothie Stand:

» A void sugar and honey for sweetening. » S elect fruits or fruit juice for more flavor.

» U se fruit juice rather than fruit

syrups to reduce the calories and sugar content.

» C hoose fat free dairy products to

reduce the calories and saturated fat.

» L imit your serving to 8-12 ounces.

» If

drinking your smoothie as a meal substitute, keep the calories to 300 – 400 calories.

» A s a snack, keep the calories to

200 or less. Homemade is always best and you can control what you put into your smoothie and there is no limit to the ingredients you can use to make your own. You can pack as much nutrition into your smoothie as you like. Don’t worry about a recipe. Just choose ingredients from all or several food categories. Protein Sources most often will add some or all of the liquid to your drink. We all need protein daily to build, repair and maintain body tissue.

» D airy products – skim milk, yogurt,

low fat or non-fat cottage cheese add a creamy texture, calcium and Vitamin D.

» If lactose intolerant, use almond, coconut, rice or soy milk. » 1-2 tablespoons of Nut Butters will add to the texture and offer 6-10 grams of protein.

Fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and give your smoothie the sweet flavor you want.

» A ny

fruit that you like will work – apples, bananas, berries, cantaloupe, kiwi, melon, pineapple, pumpkin – to mention a few. Always thoroughly wash and peel the fruit. Cut into slices or chunks for easier blending.

» F rozen

fruit – berries, peaches, pineapple – will help to thicken the smoothie instead of using ice.

Tip: While sweetening with sugar adds extra, unwanted calories, adding artificial sweeteners turns a natural drink into a partially artificial. Instead, use sweet fruits like strawberries, pineapple, mango or 1/2 cup orange or apple juice to sweeten up your smoothie. Veggies can add a zesty flavor, extra fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals to your drink.

» T omatoes make a great base for a veggie smoothie, especially with a

dash of spices or hot sauce.

» If using vegetable juices as a base, choose low or no sodium varieties. » A ny vegetable fits – carrots,

cucumbers, broccoli, chopped celery, even sweet potatoes.

Tip: Whenever possible choose organic or locally grown fruits and vegetables. Try combinations based on what’s in season. Buying produce in season will help to lower the cost.

» » S pring – strawberries, honeydew, mango. » S ummer – blueberries, cherries, peaches, melon. » Fall – pears, cranberries, grapes. » Winter – kiwi, oranges, grapefruit. » F rozen strawberries are always a good buy. » W hole Grains will add extra B Vitamins and fiber. » R olled oats, whole grain cereals like Apples and bananas are inexpensive year round.

shredded wheat or toasted oats, place in the blender and pulverize before adding other ingredients.

» W hen using boxed cereals, check

the ingredient list and avoid those with excess salt, sugar, and granolas that contain saturated fat.

» O at bran and wheat germ are ready to add to any smoothie.

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Tip: Give your brain a boost. Add

» O mega -3 Fatty Acids by including 1 Tbsp. flax seeds or flax seed oil. » G reen Tea will add that caffeine kick if you need it. It comes in a variety of flavors and is an excellent source of antioxidants.

» T o

save time in the morning, prepare a cup of tea the night before and refrigerate.

» F reeze prepared tea in ice cubes to quickly add to your smoothie in the morning.

» M ake tea with a cup of milk or

soy milk instead of water for added flavor and protein; the next morning just add fruit.

Healthful Benefits of Drinking a Smoothie as a Meal or For a Snack:

» F iber fix for the day; whole fruit or veggies in the blender retain their natural fiber.

» F iber helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol and aids in digestion.

» Feel full with less calories. » A ntioxidant boost. It’s difficult

to get 5+ servings of fruits and vegetables daily. A smoothie may be the way to achieve this goal.

» M akes a convenient, portable, on-

the-go meal. Making smoothies can be fun for the whole family. They’re quick and easy to prepare. Smoothies can provide a lot of nutrition for a few calories. You’ll get out of your smoothie what you put into it. An easy favorite to try today:

Blueberry/Banana Breakfast Smoothie 1 banana, cut into chunks ¼ cup low fat vanilla yogurt ¾ cup blueberries ½ cup Crushed ice (less ice if blueberries are frozen) ¾ cup fat free milk Blend all ingredients. Makes 2 – 8 ounce servings. 155 calories per serving

dining review


in the kitchen

restaurant guide


Vanilla Seared Scallops with carrot/ginger/olive oil puree, roasted radish & cauliflower, and sugar snap peas, at Manna.


New American cuisine By LIZ BIRO




ANNA FROM HEAVEN was a reward for faith. The hopeful had only to trust their beliefs and move forward. Sustenance, they were assured, would arrive. So seems the destiny of those devoted to downtown Wilmington’s Manna restaurant. Born from the idea that laid-back Wilmington desired a new attitude toward fine dining, Manna was a promise. It would be relaxed yet refined; exciting without being experimental; frankly openminded American on the menu, rigid French in technique; most appreciative of local ingredients but unwilling to shun delicacies from afar. If diners believed, they would be nourished to a degree the city had yet to realize. Nearly three years later, Manna has met its potential. The restaurant’s far-reaching American fare, regularly changing craft cocktails and swanky urban feel still create buzz among locals. For celebrities — Colin Firth, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow and cast working the NBC series “Revolution” included — Manna is considered THE place to dine when they are filming in Wilmington. “It’s just different. It’s always a little bit different. There’s always something new,

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Tilefish with chive gnocchi, asparagus, and lemon buerre sherry.

something fresh,” owner Billy Mellon said. “We’re serious about it.” Mellon knows the Manna address well. He managed the bar and wine list for the location’s previous tenant, progressive Tango du Chat. Like Manna, Tango caused a stir. Ingredients such as lavender and preserved lemons were unfamiliar to many Wilmingtonians before Tango’s 2005-to-2007 run. Menu descriptions full of information about cooking techniques read like literary narratives. Odd-shaped dining room furniture stereotyped Tango as strange. Tango captured celebrities but frustrated locals. The restaurant’s closing left Mellon’s bon vivant nature sensing lost opportunity. “I bleed roux,” he has said. “Shallots and buerre blanc come out of my veins.” Mellon’s gut and prior years working the city’s top bars and dining rooms, convinced him that a more thoughtful

Tango riff could thrive. Preoccupied with the idea, he partnered with an ex-Tango chef to open Manna in November 2010 in the exact location where Tango had existed. Manna took off, thanks largely to Mellon’s blend of perfectionism and playfulness. Mellon’s fine manners and movie star looks charm diners in the exposed red brick dining room, set with glossy, black lacquer-like chairs and towering, silky, tangerine curtains. Posture perfect, he scrutinizes the white tablecloths, ensuring that no fork is out of place—ever. A former wholesale wine vendor, Mellon carefully selects Manna’s many labels. Familiar and cutting-edge spirits stock the bar. Yet, Mellon is as jocular as he is determined. In the hours before Manna opens, he ribs staffers, keeping everyone laughing. After work, Mellon often eats a homey meal with a glass of wine at the

The entire Manna team contributes entrée titles. Management is democratic, even among the kitchen brigade. Executive chef Jameson Chavez loosely directs diverse cooks, each contributing their own ethnicities and experience. Inches separate their stations. The small kitchen feeds inspiration. Working under the menu’s “American” descriptor, Manna cooks have a wide range. Chavez blends his native New Mexico influences with classic French, on-the-job training at top Santa Fe shops. Oftentimes, his spicy leanings meet scallops. Manna is known for perfectly searing the sea-fresh beauties. This

presents stories and related drink recipes Finsel gathered while working at a Philadelphia bar. Various publications have heralded both men. Finsel in 2009 was designated as one of America’s top 10 mixologists by The pair grows herbs and blends bitters. They respect old-school drinks but don’t mind tweaking classics, as evidenced by Murray’s tequila-spiked Old Fashioned and clove-spiced mint julep, or Finsel’s Cat Smash Fever, a moonshine spin on the mojito. Dining at the deep-green granite bar is popular, especially for Manna “pop ups.”

“Manna’s assorted elements — theme nights, varying food and cocktail menus, a diverse kitchen team — have kept the restaurant on its distinctive course while allowing it to explore and evolve.”

(clockwise from top) Executive chef Jameson Chavez; Braised and pressed pork belly on Hen of the Woods mushrooms & caramelized onions, sweet pea & jalapeno puree, with Jicama & radish; Cat Smash Fever drink.

bar before heading out to hear live music, his other passion. Mellon has long helped musicians through his work as a volunteer promoter. Manna’s menu reflects Mellon’s lightheartedness. Offerings are intelligent, but Mellon wants diners at ease. Therefore, the seared beef filet with roasted mushrooms and green peppercorn jus is named Iron Chef: Bobby Filet. Fried lobster claw with fennel, sweet pea and lobster barlotto, arugula, and pistachio crème fraiche is “It’ll Work in a Pinch.” Vanilla-seared tilefish with fresh grapefruit and carrot, ginger, olive oil sauce is called “Give ‘em an Inch and They’ll Take a Tile.”

spring, Chavez offered them with sweet pea & jalapeno puree. “I love chilies; I have to show a lot of restraint,” Chavez said, with a chuckle. Pastry chef Rebeca Alvarado Parades, from Yonkers, infuses her New York City experience with Southern touches to create what Wilmington chefs and restaurant insiders consider the city’s most superb desserts. Sweet potato creme caramel with salted butter caramel and a charred cinnamon marshmallow crown was a recent favorite. No matter the muse, Manna chefs cook from scratch. They roll pasta, churn butter, bake bread, even cure meats. “It’s thoughtful, crafted, local fare with a focus on the soul…It’s just delicious,” Mellon said. The bar is just as devoted to fresh ideas and ingredients. Manna employs two respected Wilmington mixologists: self-proclaimed bar geek Ian Murray from Philadelphia and writer Joel Finsel, whose book Cocktails and Conversations,

Thursday's bar tapas visits a different theme each month. A February famous couples tribute meant familiar Romeo and Juliet Italian one Thursday, unexpected Midwest comfort food nods to Bonnie and Clyde the next. Beggars Can’t Be Choosers Sundays provide a no-details list, say beef, fish, vegetables or whatever the kitchen has on hand. Customers make selections; cooks decide preparations. Similarly, Murray’s sort-of Iron Chef Tuesday lets patrons pick liquors and mixers — wacky combinations welcome — and leave it to Murray to create a drink. Manna’s assorted elements — theme nights, varying food and cocktail menus, regular introductions of new bar spirits, a diverse kitchen team, autonomous management styles — have kept the restaurant on its distinctive course while allowing it to explore and evolve. You know, Manna from Heaven,” Mellon said. “It’s the journey.” 910-763-5252; W

May/June 2013 | 91

Summer Sippers By LINDA H. LAMB

North Carolina’s steamy summers send many a thirsty person to the fridge looking for something really refreshing – and we’re talking beer, not lemonade. It’s a great time to experiment with lighter, brighter brews that help wash away the weariness of withering heat and 100 percent humidity. Fruity wheat beers and lighter ales seem to go well with the less-heavy foods you may be enjoying at the pool, beach, patio or picnic. Here are five recommendations to try. Each runs about $10 per six-pack.

» Bell’s Oberon Ale

» White Thai

» Sweetgrass

You’ll think “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer” just looking at the cheery sun on the label. This seasonal wheat ale from a Michigan-based brewery is spicy and fruity, with added wheat malt. “It’s light enough to drink in hot weather, but it has enough body that it’s not too thin.”

We like this brew — from Westbrook Brewing Co. down the road in Mount Pleasant — as a refreshing, citrusy example of the Belgian style. Slightly sweet, slightly spicy, it features Asian-inspired flavors of fresh lemongrass and ginger.

Also lightly hoppy is this brew from Grand Teton Brewing Co. in Idaho. “Thirst-quenching, but with good flavor.” Aromatic, spicy and smooth, Sweetgrass won the gold medal at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival.


» Brooklyn Lager Spicy, fruity, citrusy … for some people, those aren’t adjectives they want in a beer. We suggest this New Yorkbrewed lager as a summer quaff that’s “well-balanced, not too bitter, not too heavy.” Brooklyn Brewery touts it as a fresh, mellow, versatile beer that will go well with whatever you’re serving at your summer picnic.


Pale Ale

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May/June 2013 | 93

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Simple Salads and Sandwich Spreads New Twists on Classic Summer Fare Text and Photos By KIM BYER


is for summer and simple joys. It’s for sundresses, straw hats, sunshades and shorts. Strappy heels and sexy sandals. Salted margaritas and sun-kissed shoulders. Summer in Columbia means steamy days under a searing sun. And once the sun begins to slip away in its majestic blaze of peach, mango, and melon, we venture outside to eat beneath the stars. In my house, summer also means turning off the stove and leaving it off. You’ll find me at my kitchen island most mornings, peeling fruit and juicing green vegetables. If I’m lucky and the heat doesn’t conquer our garden, a freshly picked tomato, sliced and topped with salt and pepper, accompanied by olives and hummus, hard cheeses and pita rounds, is my go-to snack. Around sundown, there’s little more satisfying than the smell of dinner on the grill. Toss a few fresh herbs into fragrant olive oils, break into a crusty baguette, and the meal has begun. On the weekends, long days by Lake Murray call for easy salads and quick sandwich spreads – the more chilled, the better. Halcyon days and their memories make us want to share summer dishes from our childhood. Unfortunately, many of our childhoods were whipped up with cups of mayonnaise and sugar. Perhaps it’s time we tossed in a few superfoods and alternative sweeteners into our grocery carts. As cooks, why not ask our families to sit down to paper plates piled high with fresh and healthy memories? It’ll make the ice cream for dessert that much sweeter. This summer, try some new twists on your favorite recipes. I’m in love with this wilted curly kale in place of lettuce in these notexactly-Greek pitas. I’ve also given pimiento cheese a mini makeover with white cheddar and less mayo. Want to serve a more sophisticated salad? Try this niçoise with wild salmon instead of tuna or this caprese salad overflowing with fresh grape tomatoes. For the adventurous palate, the mustard greens salad with quinoa, feta and lemon vinaigrette will wake up your whistle. And don’t forget the kids! For those of you who’ve been paying attention to the trends, the new PB&J is an AB&J. I’m pairing almond butter with fresh strawberries – it’s a mash-up not to be missed. Summer is a time to make memories. I hope yours are gardenfresh and delicious.

May/June 2013 | 95

Curly Kale and Calamata Olive Pitas Makes eight small pitas

8 cups curly kale, washed and pulled into small bite-size pieces 1 1/2 t kosher or sea salt 1/2 lemon, juiced (approximately 2 T) 1/2 orange, juiced (approximately 4 T) 1 avocado 1 1/2 T sesame oil 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped 2 T sunflower seeds 96 |

1 T black or white sesame seeds 1 green onion, chopped 8 small pita rounds (Jacob’s Flax pita pockets are great) 1. Wilt the kale with the salt, lemon and orange juice for five minutes. 2. Mash avocado and sesame oil together and thoroughly cover all of the kale leaves. 3. Add the remaining ingredients, toss and stuff about 1/2 cup into each pita.

Salmon Niçoise

Serves two

1 filet of wild salmon, grilled (may be chilled and cut into chunks) 1 dry pint of microgreens or lettuce of choice (look for City Roots varieties) 2 eggs, boiled and quartered 4 oz. haricot verts (French green beans), lightly steamed or boiled, then chilled 4 small red potatoes or 1 8-oz. bag mini potatoes, boiled then chilled and sliced 1 small ripe tomato, quartered ½ cup niçoise olives ¼ red onion, sliced into thin crescents 2 T capers

Dressing ½ lemon, juiced ½ orange, juiced 1 T apple cider vinegar 1T Dijon mustard 1 t agave or sweetener of choice 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 1. For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a small jar and shake until emulsified. Makes enough vinaigrette for the dressing and a quick salmon marinade. 2. Marinate salmon in half of the dressing before grilling. 3. Arrange chilled ingredients on a platter, placing the microgreens near the center. 4. Place salmon on top of microgreens and pour the remaining dressing over the platter.

May/June 2013 | 97

Mustard Greens Salad with Quinoa, Feta and Lemon Vinaigrette Serves two, easily doubled

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (cook like rice – in 1 cup of salted water) 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans 4 cups loosely packed mustard greens, torn into bite-sized pieces (baby mustard greens are recommended) 5-10 kalamata olives 3 pepperoncini, cut into slices 1 scallion, chopped Chunks of fresh feta cheese

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Lemon Vinaigrette 3 T extra virgin olive oil 3 T white Balsamic vinegar Juice and grated peel of 1 medium lemon 1 t honey or equivalent sweetener of choice Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 1. Combine all ingredients in a small jar and shake until emulsified. Makes enough vinaigrette for two recipes. 2. In a large salad bowl, combine cooked quinoa, garbanzo beans and half of lemon vinaigrette. 3. Add remaining ingredients and toss.

Caprese Salad with Grape Tomatoes Serves two to four

1 1/2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes (mixed variety) 4 oz. whole milk fresh mozzarella 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil, shredded Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste Scatter all ingredients on a platter, pour on the most fragrant olive oil you can find and serve with a fresh baguette.

May/June 2013 | 99

White Cheddar Pimento Cheese

Almond Butter and Strawberry Mash

2 blocks (approximately 10-12 oz.) extra sharp white cheddar, finely grated (try Premium Cabot Reserve) ¼ cup Duke’s mayonnaise 1 4-oz. jar of pimiento, chopped 1/4 cup loosely packed basil, sliced in a chiffonade Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 T almond butter (chunky or smooth) 6 strawberries, rinsed and hulled ½ t agave or equivalent sweetener of choice (optional)

Yields approximately 1 1/4 cups

1. Combine all ingredients and chill for at least one hour. 2. Serve with crackers, baguette rounds or spread on your favorite sandwich bread.

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Makes one sandwich

1. Mash whole strawberries in a mortar and pestle until macerated; add agave. 2. Spread almond butter on your favorite sandwich bread, and then top with strawberry mixture.

910-399-4292 29 S. Front Street • Wilmington, NC

50 Wines by the Glass 350 Wines by the Bottle 30 Craft Beers

• small plates • global cheese • cured meats • desserts

Indoors or Out... there’s always something to do! NC’s Only Shoc Vodka Chilling k-ASyst Chills Shot to em 4°!

VISIT US ONLINE! 910-256-3130

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• VOLLEYBALL • • CORNHOLE • • BOCCE BALL • • DODGEBALL • • SAND SOCCER • • WORLD TAVERN POKER • • TRIVIA WITH RJ • • LIVE MUSIC • Volleyball sizes m a te s of all ls: ve le l il and sk 2, 4 & 6’s

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5564 Carolina Beach Road Wilmington, NC 28412


3525 Lancelot Lane • Wilmington 910-228-5791

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. 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.

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., 5092026. 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

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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, bocce and cornhole facility on the East Coast. Lunch and dinner daily.

Oceans 706 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.

Dixie Grill 116 Market St., 762-7280. Casual dinette known for great breakfasts and brunch in the heart of downtown Wilmington.

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.

Front Street Brewery 9 N. Front St., 2511935. 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.

The Kitchen 1125 Military Cutoff Rd., 2569133. Home cooking like you have never tasted before. Farm raised and fire roasted fare in a casual and elegant setting. Lunch Mon-Fri, Dinner nightly.

Henry’s 2508 Independence Blvd., 7932929. 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.

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. 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.

Stylish, Sophisticated Night Spot with a Twist. Asian Bento Box 1121 Military Cutoff Rd., 5090774. 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., 2566588. 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.

st Voted Be ar Martini B

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. 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., 7991426. 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. Tamashii 4039 Masonboro Loop Rd., 7037253. Enjoy local sourced sustainable sushi and spoons offering portions of ceviche and tartare, along with kitchen prepared fare like tempura shrimp. Contemporary and relaxing décor, and a full bar. Lunch ThurFri, Dinner Mon-Sat. Tokyo 101 880 Town Center Dr., 3993101. 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 Chinese/Asian fare. Lunch and dinner daily.

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.

910-679-8050 • 1904 Eastwood Road • Wilmington, NC

Copper Penny 109 Chestnut St., 7621373. 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., 6798050. 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.






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Wilmington Wine 605 Castle St., 2024709. Close to downtown, this is a wine shop worth visiting. By the glass or by the bottle, Christi knows her wines and offers frequent wine tastings peppered with local conversation. Opens daily at noon.

Cajun Bourbon Street 35 N. Front St., 7624050. 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 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 TueSun.

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. 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, TueSun. The Little Dipper 138 S. Front St., 2510433. 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 Day-Labor 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.

Serving local sourced seafood using sustainable fishing practices.

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. 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.

6623 Market Street • Wilmington 910-799-3847


Visit our sister restaurant serving the best Vietnamese and Thai.

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.

215 Princess Street Downtown Wilmington 910-762-2841

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910-794-8100 3520 South College Road

Lovey’s Natural Foods and Café • Organic Produce & Groceries • Natural Beauty Products & Supplements 2012 & 2013 Winner of BEST Vegetarian Food by Encore Readers!

DELICIOUS, HEALTHY & FRESH ORGANIC SALAD BAR Café offers unique sandwiches, salads and soups. Visit Lovey’s and shop locally!

Your Local Health Food Store and Café


1319 Military Cutoff Road Wilmington, NC Landfall Shopping Center

Lovey’s Market & Cafe 1319 Military Cutoff, 509-0331. Wheat-free, glutenfree, sugar-free and low-carb products are all the rage at this specialty café. Serving up soy burgers, tofu, organic bean burritos, grilled chicken wraps, and more. Large salad bar area. Café is open daily from 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., 2549990. 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., 2563693. 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. 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.

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

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We invite you to discover an exciting new perspec tive on meetings, conventions, and events. The ideal backdrop of historic charm and river front views, for public, social, and intimate gatherings. Boasting 107,0 0 0 square feet of space, Wilmington Convention Center is the largest convention venue on the Nor th Carolina coast, featuring a sophisticated maritime theme and decor, which honors Wilmington as an impor tant por t city.

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Living Like a Local in Otranto, Italy Magic, martyrs and mosaics overflow in this little known region Text and Photos By DONNA KEEL ARMER

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“Passo Salento,” begins Paolo’s introductory email, “is the name of my company. It means to pass slowly through the Salento region. It is the only way to visit a country specially mine.” On my second trip to Puglia I am traveling solo for the first time. I’m nervous and excited … flip flopping between the two. An Italian friend has recommended Paolo to guide me on my research project. The irony is Paolo will leave on a trip to the States within days after my arrival. Paolo, with an art history degree, assures me that in two days’ time we will cover most of what I have requested of him. I pack my bags, embracing this unknown adventure. Destination: the tiny fortified town of Otranto (pop. 578 in the walled center spilling outward to 5,000) lodged in the heel of the Italian boot. My intention is to live like a local. My apartment is waiting for me. There’s nothing left to do but hop on a plane and wing my way East. Traveling solo or staying in one place for a month may not be your idea of fun. Dawn Breaks on the Adriatic Sea

Sun sets on the Ionian Sea

Otranto’s Lighthouse, Faro di Palascia

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But, if you want an off-the-beaten-track destination, head to the Italian region of Puglia. This southernmost region of Italy offers miles and miles of coastline. My travel philosophy is to let the place choose you. I am returning to Otranto because I heard the call of long-ago voices from Otranto: an enlightened monk, Pantaleone, creator of a magnificent mosaic floor (1163) in the Cathedral; 800 martyrs who fought (1480) to preserve their city…whose bones are ensconced in this same Cathedral; a saintly woman who saved the statue of Madonna of the Sea; and an Aragonese castle that stars in the first ever gothic novella, The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole. If that is not enough reason to return, add the visual and culinary delights that flourish in this rural, coastal region of Italy. Otranto is the easternmost city of Italy. It is called the gateway to the East, based on its strategic location as the main port to the Orient for a thousand years. To stand at the lighthouse (Faro di Palascia) in this easternmost city and watch the sun rise equates to flying with angels. The history of Otranto dates to the Paleolithic period and was settled first by the Greeks, soon to be followed by invading armies of Romans, Byzantines, Normans,

Longbards, and Saracens. When the sunlight radiates off the whitewashed houses, you imagine you are in Greece. The Cathedral in Otranto Piazza Basilica is the main square and houses Panteleone’s magnificent mosaic. The mystery of this ancient craft inspired me to take mosaic lessons at the Scuola Porta d’Oriente. The week was one of the highlights of my time in Otranto. I came away with this sense of wonder at the skill and patience required to create such a masterpiece. Scuola Porta d’Oriente features Italian language, cooking, wine tasting, painting, sculpture, ceramic, and mosaic classes as well as numerous cultural tours…all within walking distance of my apartment. In this ancient city there are wonderful

surprises hidden in the midst of the souvenir shops that line Via Garibaldi. Peek into tiny passageways to find Antica Murrina, my favorite shop that creates stunning jewelry from Murano Glass; Anima Mundi on via Majorano will help you select a local artist’s rendition of the traditional tarantella folk music; stop for cappuccino at the Blu Bar; don’t miss Il Cantico dei Cantici for the best food and hospitality ever. Getting There The best way to reach Puglia is to fly into Rome, hop on a plane (or train) to either Bari or Brindisi and pick up a rental car or a reasonably priced shuttle service. If you prefer viewing the spectacular countryside, rent a car at Fiumicino and drive cross country into Puglia in five hours. Other Areas of Puglia Start in the Northeast corner of Puglia where mountains plunge into the sea and rolling hills turn into flat groves of olive trees that meander to the end of the world and look upon the meeting point of the Ionian and Adriatic seas. Breathe in the salt-studded air as the wind ruffles your hair and the sweetest sun kisses your face.

Cathedral San Nicola Pellegrino in Trani

Every street in Otranto leads to the sea

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Sundays on the promenade in Otranto

Stop in Bari is to check out the shopping on Via Sparanto. After exhausting your bank account, meander through the back streets. Catch the local women making orecchiette (pasta shaped like little ears). Stop at the Basilica San Nicola. Stay at the Central Hotel or the more moderately priced Hotel Moderno. Eat pizza at Il Rustico (arrive before 7:30 or you’ll stand in line) or head to the more expensive seafood restaurants around the port. Travel north to Trani for crystal clear sea views. Eat the best sea urchins at Taverna Portanova before heading into the Gargano Promontory which is fast becoming the “new Amalfi coast.” Spend time exploring the forests, dazzling beaches, sea caves, salt fields, Tremiti Islands, Vieste and Monte Sant’angelo where you will find the shrine of St. Michael the Archangel. Before turning south towards the Salento region, swing inland to visit

The Castel del Monte, an imposing 13th c. citadel built by Emperor Frederick II standing guard in the lonely outskirts of Andria. Alberobello merits spending a night in an ancient trullo, a bee-hive, whitewashed, mortarless stone house built for easy disassembly to avoid taxes. Continue south to Lecce, where baroque architecture rivals that of Florence. Purchase papier-mâché art made locally. Stay at a local B&B where Paolo and Alesandra will greet you like an old friend. Cross to the West Coast, stopping in Gallipoli overlooking the Ionian Sea for delicious seafood. Watch the fishermen repairing their nets. From Gallipoli head towards Santa Maria dei Leuca at the end of the world where the Adriatic and Ionian Seas lock horns. You can take a boat ride with a local who will point out the exact point of contact between the two bodies of water.

Continue up the bottom of the heel to the Caves of Zinzulusa located south of Castro Marina. These caves are simply a WOW factor! Don’t miss! Traverse the Southern tip of the heel in two hours driving time coast to coast. Pop in on numerous coastal towns. Before driving back to Bari or Brindisi for your flight to Rome, stay in Otranto. Pick a hotel, B&B, masseria or vacation rental to suit your needs. Above all have your last meal at Il Cantico dei Cantici. Savor a quiet evening watching locals stroll armin-arm calling out buona sera; relish the succulent plates of carpaccio di tonno, pasta con frutti di mare, torta ai cioccolato washed down with a local wine. Top off the evening with Elisir di Primitivo, a mixture of Primitivo wine, black sherry and almond liquor. It is a magical drink. I linger at the table imagining that I will return. W

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Oh, the Joys of Spring! Orange Rhododendron

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Wilmington NC Magazine  

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