Wilmington, NC is definitely not to be confused with Wilmington, Delaware. The Delaware city is home to many large banks and during my many business trips there was all about business. The North Carolina Wilmington is brimming with southern charm and operates at a leisurely pace.
The first stop this morning was to the Airlie Gardens. It was closed throughout covid, having just opened in March 2022. Plants didn’t care about covid and continued to thrive. The camelias and azaleas were in full bloom. Tulips were a bit past their prime, but in a few shaded areas were still looking lovely. The live oaks are magnificent. But what really marks the garden as southern is the Spanish moss waving from every branch. For anyone not familiar with Spanish moss, it doesn’t kill the tree, it simply uses it as a place to call home.
A lovely treat in the garden was the Minnie Evans sculpture garden. Minnie was a self-trained (outsider) artist. Her glass house is made from hundreds of bottles. You might think of it as unbelievably artistic recycling.
From there we drove to the historic center of the city on the banks of the Cape Fear River. After walking around a bit, we went on a horse-drawn carriage tour of the historic district. The guide made it a point to explain that the horses are all rescues and treated exceptionally well. Had they not been rescued that would have had a horrible fate. The tour took us past lovely old homes, brick and stone streets and we were treated to a lot of bad puns and a little history.
When in the south, do as the southerners do—lunch was fried green tomatoes, fried okra and grits.
We arrived in Charleston early evening and met a friend for dinner at Prohibition, one of many speakeasy-looking restaurants downtown. The food was fabulous.