Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wilmington, NC – Very, very nice though a little cool, today, for the beach.

Our plans to watch the space shuttle launch on May 12th got scuttled! It just took too long to get the specifics nailed down tight and then they bumped the launch up a day and the combination made it pretty irrational to try to force fit this 12 hour drive to Cape Canaveral into this week of vacation.

So, the last minute destination switch was to… drum roll please…..   Wilmington, NC!

We opted to stay at the KOA Wilmington Campground (more on this, later) as there are few other campgrounds in the immediate area and our friends, Donna and Bill, would much more enjoy some urban American activities rather than just sitting in a state park in the wilderness.  Sure, doing that would have been a nice venue but, heck, they were driving 8 hours from West Virginia for only a 2 day visit with us and then returning to WV to fly back to the UK the following day so, they deserved to have some sort of excitement while down here.

So, here I sit doing this blog while Merrily, Donna and Bill are out “excitement-ing” in Wilmington Historic downtown on the river walk. We have always loved to come to Wilmington ever since we moved to Raleigh in the early 1980s. There is a lot of great stuff to do including touring the Battleship, beaches, Aquarium, riding ferries.

Wilmington is not (at least not yet) the glitzy tourist Mecca that Myrtle Beach has devolved into but it does have a lot of interesting places and things to do. The famous Wrightsville Beach is very close by. Public beach access parking is scattered all along the area but its all metered parking (ugh!) but the beach is worth it.

Carolina and Kure beaches are not far away with great beaches and mostly free access parking. Those areas are much less commercialized than Wrightsville and more like '”home-boy” beaches.

But, as usual, I digress…

Bill is into birds and serpents so he is off visiting the Wilmington Serpentarium for a few hours while Donna and Merrily wander around the “oos and ahhhhhs” land of shops and stores along the nearby river walk .

Me?  I am still not feeling too swift because I got too much sun (allergy to it) the day we left to come here and also probably ate something else that I can’t handle anymore and am quietly recuperating in DakotR with Katie. I am having my kind of fun, too, so no one loses, today.

Chances are I will get a call from them about dinner time to meet somewhere to eat and all will end well.

I am generally not a raving fan of KOA camping, mostly due to price but I have to say that the Wilmington KOA really is something a cut above.  There are a lot of big rig suitable sites with easy ingress/egress (unlike the KOA Myrtle Beach with its old stand of pine trees encroaching on the roadways).

50 amp FHU sites just about everywhere, a 3 pen off leash pet exercise area and plenty of places for kids to play. The sites are all level beach gravel and Clifford and DakotR fit nicely with room for the Smart car to fit without anything hanging out or sitting on the grass.  Its surprisingly quiet with no nearby railroad tracks, Interstates or airports to rattle us.

A decent promo video gives a good perspective of the available amenities.

The staff has been mostly college kids with a few workamping older folks like us, thrown into the mix and I can easily see Merrily and myself working in a place like this sometime in the future.

We reserved a Lodge (not a cabin with no bathroom) for Donna and Bill. Its a short Park model with a log cabin motif inside but complete with everything but linens.  They are loving it!

Talk about convenience, there is a Hess gas station at the entrance which, at the moment has the lowest fuel prices that I can find in this whole area. On the opposite side of the KOA driveway is a big vehicle pull through car wash with lots of bays tall enough to handle any sized RV. That’s just too darned convenient!

As I said, I am not a big fan of KOAs and have stayed in a few that were not acceptable but this one is something special and is well managed and cared for. Its certainly better than many of the Coast to Coast Deluxe resort properties we have stayed in.

We will definitely come back here.


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