Wilmington, NC is a special place for Paul and me to return and celebrate our 4-year wedding anniversary a little early (August 27, 2011). We came here a couple of years ago for our Babymoon, visiting famous Dawson’s Creek sites and driving down the coast. On our visit this time around, we did a little bit of old and new.
At Hieronymus Seafood (named after the Greek owner), Paul and I tried their clam strips, grilled flounder with sides, shrimp with bay seasoning, and peanut butter pie. The shrimp I ordered were freshly caught and perfectly steamed. A family-friendly establishment, we can’t wait to bring Lucas to Hieronymus Seafood. He’d especially love the shadow box dining tables full sand and seashells. Eating seafood always reminds us of our days in Baltimore, MD where Paul and I first lived as a married couple. We used to treat our friends and family to local crab restaurants or oyster bars.
After lunch we headed to Wrightsville Beach, one of the most popular beaches near Wilmington. It could not have been a more perfect day! We sat on the beach reading our books on the sand, cooling off in the ocean, and collecting seashells for our son.
For dinner Paul and I headed to Front Street’s famous French restaurant, Caprice Bistro, in downtown Wilmington. With its tall mirrors, intimate seating, and impeccable wait staff, Caprice Bistro succeeds in giving you a French dining experience (I even saw a waiter whisk past us transporting two baguettes in straw basket from one side of the kitchen to the next). We ordered their curry mussels, gazpacho, asparagus, and grouper. The curry mussels was my favorite dish. Just don’t ask the wait staff to take a picture of you. Ours said she didn’t have time to. I tried not to take it personally, but it was a little disappointing. Perhaps wait staff are trained not to cater to this request (?).
The next morning, Paul and I drove to one of the best new restaurants in the area, Wake N Bake, a coffee and donut shop. But of course these aren’t your average donuts. The staff member behind the counter, wearing a red shirt and baseball cap, was a terrific cross between beach and grunge. We asked him to describe about half a dozen donuts and he did so graciously. After much debate, we settled on the Samoa, crème brulee, and glazed donuts. I couldn’t believe how closely the Samoa donut aesthetically resembled and tasted just like the Girl Scout cookie (did I just use ‘aesthetically’ to describe a donut?). Of course the crème brulee donut was out of this world! Good thing it was hot outside, otherwise we would have bought more to take home!
In the afternoon, Paul and I drove to Fort Fisher, another beach we returned to since our Babymoon. It was peaceful to walk on the coast, explore more of the area by the gracefully windswept (literally!) trees, and talk with a few couples who were sitting at a gazebo lookout by the coast. One young man walked into the gazebo and started taking photos, bursting out that he was going to get married in a year and this was a potential venue. One young couple (ok, very young) with a set of dogs told everyone they had been married in this gazebo a year ago. I couldn’t stop thinking about how simple and poetic their ceremony must have been. Sorry to be sentimental but the scene felt magical for a moment. Those two young lovebirds were a good representation of love—love is simple.
Paul and I looked out at the sea, taking everything in for a few breaths, not having to say anything but just being present. When I turned around the couple was gone, they were already halfway up the path with their dogs, going who knows where, but it didn’t matter, they had each other.