Where I Live Wednesday – Wilmington, NC

Sami is another favorite blog friend of mine and she lives in Wilmington, NC, where one of my favorite shows (One Tree Hill) is filmed. Not to mention that NC is one of the places Dustin and I are considering moving to. And if you read her blog (which you definitely need to) you’ll get to see even more cool things about where she lives. Enjoy!

Name: Sami
Blog: Sami by the Sea
Location: Wilmington, NC

How long have you lived there? It was two years on tax day, April 15th! (We moved here in 2008.)

If you moved from somewhere else, where did you move from? Why? We moved from Germantown MD, a busy suburb of Washington DC. We were -so- ready to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city life.. it’s fun for a while, but the constant go-go-go can kinda wear on you! Everything was always so crowded, the traffic was nutty, and it was just too urbanized for us. We wanted someplace with a bit of a warmer climate and a more laid-back lifestyle, and we also have a unique situation in that my boyfriend can telecommute for his job, so our options were virtually endless! On the recommendation of a friend we visited Wilmington on a balmy February weekend in 2008 and immediately fell in love, and promptly moved two months later.

What’s the climate like? I love Wilmington in that we do get to experience all four seasons here, but the gnarlier ones (read: winter) are severely neutered. (I’m originally from Massachusetts so I’m delighted with this!) This past winter was pretty rough – actually the 9th worst winter recorded here – but temperatures generally don’t get worse than the 50s or 40s during the day. Our summers can get pretty toasty, but we’re right on the coast, so we’ve always got a great sea breeze to keep the air moving and cooler. We do have a somewhat active hurricane season in the fall, but since I’ve been here things have been pretty mild.

What are some of your favorite things to do during a typical weekend where you live? We’ve got Wrightsville Beach right over the bridge, so if you can get over there before the tourists do (or know someone that lives on the island) you’re good to go! :) We’re about 10 minutes from the beach, so that’s a HUGE selling point. For a smaller town we’ve got a wonderfully vibrant and active restored downtown with music, theater, arts, nightlife, and more local events than you can shake a stick at! ( Plus many websites dedicated to all of the goings-on here, like Creative Wilmington and What’s On Wilmington) Our Farmers Market is outstanding and worth many trips, and is downtown every Saturday morning on the scenic and lovely Cape Fear river! :)

Wrightsville Beach – a shot of a lone surfer on the beach before the tourist crowd hits!

Weekly farmer’s market every Saturday morning, downtown on the river.

Cape Fear River from the waterfront riverwalk.

What are some of your favorite restaurants in your town/city? Favorite shops? Wilmington is SO huge on locally owned and run business, and so many of my favorite restaurants are local one-offs — 22 North on the beach has the most inventive and fresh menu you’ll find, Bluewater Grill has great views and great seafood, Circa 1922 is a wonderful downtown choice in a lovely restored building with some of THE most amazing tapas I’ve ever eaten, Nikki’s has converted me into a sushi fiend… the list could go on and on. :) It really is a foodie’s paradise here; we’ve been here for two years, and there are still so many places we want to try!

Suggest some must see places for an out of town visitor. Easily, the beach! Unless you’re staying at a hotel out there, parking is metered, so bring your quarters! (Eat brunch on the pier at The Oceanic if you get the chance!!) The Mayfaire area is a great outdoor shopping area and has boutique shopping with some fun restaurants, a Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, etc. (We go there a lot, it’s close to where we live!) And visiting downtown is a necessity; so much local shopping and dozens upon dozens of amazing restaurants… horse-drawn carriage tours are very popular downtown, as well as nightly ghost tours and movie tours! Wilmington has filmed oodles of movies here, as well as Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill, so location tours as well as set tours are a fun option also. 😀 Airlie Gardens is also one of my favorite places to go… gorgeous walking trails through lovely southern foliage and gardens on Bradley Creek. GREAT for photography! :)

One of our many tree lined, downtown streets full of boutiques and restaurants! :)

A great little area with walkable local shops and gorgeous foliage and decor.

Tell us why you love your town/city. While we get a decent amount of tourism in the summertime (I think we’re still under the radar on big tourism! ;), our local community is really amazing and supportive of the town and its business year-round, and coming from a big urban city it’s SO refreshing to see! There are always events going on, so there’s always something to go do or see for every budget (lots of free events and concerts!), so there’s a huge active social culture here as well. The food and shopping here are both amazing and unique experiences… oh, and the beach. 😉 I LOVE the beach!!!

Anything else we should know about where you live? VISIT US! :) Seriously, if anyone is ever interested in visiting, don’t hesitate to drop me a line (nikineu@gmail.com) to ask any questions, or for advice on what you should visit tailored to your interests. There’s a lot to see here so I’m happy to help!! ♥

Thanks so much Sami for sharing your favorite things about Wilmington with us!

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  1. says

    I cannot believe that I've never been there. It looks amazing! Eventually I'd love to move to either North of South Carolina.

    Awesome interview! Sami is one of my new faves!

  2. says

    I'm so glad you posted this so I could not only find Sami's blog but to relive my love of Wilmington NC. My heart fluttered at the pictures. My family owned a beach house about 45 minutes – 60 minutes driving time from Wilmington and We always took a day to explore downtown when we had a beach week. I adore this city and I think it's even cooler that Sami and I are from the same area of Maryland!

    Congrats on your move and all the new success in your new home Sami! ox

  3. says

    My grandparents live in Wrightsville Beach and it really is amazing. I JUST got back from my trip there so I was excited to see this post, not many people know about Wilmington AT ALL! I'm glad others enjoy it as much as I do! Did you ever find the secret mailbox on the beach? It's just past Shell Island condos!

    My fav places to eat for breakfast are Causeway Cafe next to Redix and Sweet and Savory. Oceanic and Bluewater are my two favs for drinks and music!

    I am hoping to move there in the next 2 or 3 years:o)

  4. says

    Ah, this truly looks like a town straight out of a TV show or movie – everything is so quaint and charming. The thought of a weekly farmer's market is the cutest thing ever – and those little antique shops and boutiqes. I want to live there!! :)

  5. says

    awe, its SOOOOO cute in Wilmington. We definitely considered moving to NC but ended up in Orlando, so it is on our "one day" list. Thanks for the pics!

  6. says

    OMG, it's me!! We must have a mind connection or something, I was just thinking about my WILW yesterday afternoon, and here it is! Yaaaaaay! 😀

  7. says

    This place looks amazing! That is so cool that that is where One Tree Hill is filmed too! Love that show! Whatever happened to Peyton and Lucas? So much better when they were on it!

    I am so excited to check out Sami's blog, sounds great!

  8. says

    There's a sushi place called Nikki's?!?! I need to visit! Not to mention I was a big One Tree Hill fan until they got rid of Peyton and Lucas.

  9. says

    I LOVE Wilmington! I live in Charleston, SC, now, but last year, I was living only 45 minutes from Wilmington. Her descriptions really made me miss it! This was a great post.

  10. says

    As a lifelong NC resident, I have to say Wilmington is one of my favorite places in the state. Sami did a great job of highlighting the best of Wilmington!

  11. says

    What a gorgeous, gorgeous place to live! I've always wanted to visit after hearing Dawson's was filmed there! You are one lucky lady to live in such a beautiful place!

  12. says

    Oh it looks so perfect here! I love that the water is close by but it's not as crazy populated. I think The Notebook was set in NC so I've always had a crush on it :) haha

  13. says

    ahhh – Wilmington is my hometown! thanks for stopping by my blog :) can't wait to read more posts – you've caught my attention seeing as ILM is my favorite place to live!

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