Sometimes, it takes some time away from a place to truly appreciate what it was and what you enjoyed about it. When I left Fremont, I longed for the place that I came from, and I still look at it with a nostalgic eye. When I left Ashland, the nostalgia set in immediately and I looked upon my college years fondly, even though they were mere hours behind me.
But Wilmington, NC–I loathed it while I was there, and for about three years (OMG it’s been 3 years since I finished my Master’s), I couldn’t see why anyone wanted to go back. I think I hated Wilmington so much because I didn’t like why I was there. I hated grad school and I didn’t get on well with the people around me. I felt so different than everyone else–and I really was. I am Midwestern and fairly conservative (but socially liberal), and I thought they were all a bunch of crazy hippies. There were maybe 5 students I connected with, and I only made about 4 true friends down there. And that’s good enough for me.
But now one of my coworkers is on a cross-country road trip, and mentioned on his blog that he was on his way to Wilmington, NC. I immediately had the urge to tell him where to go. It was then that I realized a small SMALL part of me missed CERTAIN PARTS of North Carolina.
So to those of you who are going to Wilmington, NC, here are my Midwestern suggestions:
You MUST eat at Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn (on Oleander). You must big the Big Jerk or the Thai Me Up. And you must must must try every salsa, especially, the pineapple jalapeno.
Go to the Battleship North Carolina.
Go downtown and walk the streets (mainly Front, Market, and Water).
Go to the Barbary Coast on Front St. It’s the oldest bar in Wilmington.
If you make your way to Carolina Beach, go to The Fat Pelican. Just walk to the back of the bar and into the cooler and pick whatever beer you want. Pay at the register and then wander around the bar and look at the walls. You’ll ALWAYS find something new. And if you see a black lab, his name is Atta Boy and he loves Cheez-Its.
And if you’re really feeling adventurous, go a little further south to Fort Fisher–old war monument. The trees are gorgeous, and if you look hard enough, you can find the bunker of the Fort Fisher Hermit
Proof that I didn’t hate Wilmington as much as I thought.