I love old places and old things. The West Coast lacks old cities, so I’ve been excited about this aspect of the East Coast. Wilmington, North Carolina is one of my top favorite old cities we’ve traveled to. It’s not too big, not too small, and its history is kept well preserved.
My all-time favorite story is the Outlander series. I’ve been reading the books (maybe on repeat more times than reasonable) and watching the show for about 15 years. A good portion of the story is set in North Carolina. Thanks to the author’s detail-filled writing style, I feel familiar with these places I’ve never been to. With a little mental creativity I can erase the cars and current fashion here in Wilmington and look out to these old buildings, brick-lined streets, and wooden river walk; and in my mind’s eye see horse-drawn carriages and ships and imagine life how it was here in the beginning years of this city.
We had a field trip day at the U.S.S. North Carolina Battleship where we toured a huge WW2 Navy vessel with giant guns. It was cool to walk around and get a grasp of what life serving on a ship would be like. I’ve likely said it 1,000 times, but the experiences these kids get to learn things that I learned in a classroom from textbooks feels like such a remarkable education. Hooray for roadschool.
This area of the country offers a lot of American history learning opportunities. We have been studying the Civil War so we took a day to visit Fort Fischer Beach and Battleground. The little museum was very informative and walking around the fort led to great conversations about the battles that happened right there at the fort that defended Wilmington. Another unique classroom and roadschool win.
Where we Stayed:
The downside to this area is that there isn’t a whole lot of public land. We had to get creative with our stays. We have and love a Harvest Host/Boondockers Welcome membership. It’s a nationwide network of businesses and/or private landowners who open their space to travelers. Farms, wineries, museums, and restaurants host travelers in exchange for support of their business and individuals host us out of their love for travelers or the kindness of their hearts.
Interested in joining? Sign up here so they know we sent you 🙂
We had a lovely night at a winery. We like these because they give us an opportunity for little bonus dates. The Airstream is generally within our site where we can keep an eye on the kids while we get to enjoy some time together. We stayed at Silver Coast Winery and had a wine flight and a lovely walk.
We stayed at Grayce Winds Wild Horse Refuge. We met some really kind people who taught us all about the wild horses in the region. I loved waking up on the ranch and walking around seeing the horses while I had my morning coffee.
Then we were hosted by a great down to earth family through Boondockers Welcome. They have property by the river and they treated us like friends and took us on a boat ride. We shared a meal and a fire and had great conversations. I was touched by the kindness of these strangers. Someday when we have land, I hope to pay it forward to the nomad community.
What I Read:
The book I read, Guests on Earth by Lee Smith, isn’t based in Wilmington, but it is North Carolina. It’s a historical fiction novel that tells the story of a mental hospital in Ashville in the 1940’s. There was a fire that took the lives of several patients including Zelda Fitzgerald. It provides a wonderful insight to different yet beautiful minds, offers great descriptions of the region and educates the readers on an important historical event.