Although we love the beach, we also enjoy going into downtown Wilmington, which is built along the Cape Fear River. The area is steeped in history, both good and shameful. It was explored as early as the 1500’s and the town was founded in 1739.
On Water Street where the riverboat docks. the street is paved with bricks, but down at the end where the old houses have been made into restaurants and specialty shops, the bricks give way to the original cobblestone street and trolley tracks. The combination makes for a very bumpy ride, but it IS the street at that point.
Behind the row of small houses on Water Street, the old seawall protects the large, gracious historic homes which face Front Street. Some of the homes are B&B’s now and the right bedroom gives one a marvelous overview of the river. More than a few actors came to make movies or TV shows in “Hollywood East” and bought homes here. We’ll do the home tour another time. Or the ghost tour.
Did you ever see that most suspenseful movie, Cape Fear? The original one with Robert Mitchum as the bad guy and Gregory Peck as the good one? Nobody could be badder than ‘Mitchum’ or ‘gooder’ than Peck. Neither that movie nor its remake was filmed on the Cape Fear. Robert DeNiro is the bad guy in the remake and is said to have had Southerners in several different small towns read his lines so that he could hear the accents. Director Martin Scorsese found the one DeNiro chose really creepy, so DeNiro would call Scorsese’s home and leave messages in THAT voice.
The downtown, mile-long River Walk is a popular tourist attraction. It widens in spots to allow for outdoor cafes like the one we chose Sunday evening, a lovely place to watch the sunset.
This boat was docked in front of the restaurant. Guess who had the curtains closed.
The Battleship USS North Carolina is docked here permanently and is open for tours. Seeing the dentist chair and the operating table made me woozy, imagining what it would have been like to have appendicitis or an abscessed tooth on a rough sea. Kayaks, barges, pleasure boats all share the river and the Coast Guard ship, the USCGC Diligence is moored downtown near the Hilton Hotel.
Part of the river is a segment of the Intercoastal Waterway and it also gives us our drinking water.
In all the years we’ve lived here, I’ve never seen this drawbridge lift.
Until this trip.
That’s even more obnoxious than Mr. Popular.