Sunday, March 11, 2007

Wilmington, NC

Donna and I traveled to Wilmington, NC this past Friday and Saturday for an overnight getaway. On our way we stopped at Moores Creek National Battlefield just northwest of Wilmington; this was the site of an important Revolutionary War battle in which the Patriots heartily defeated the Loyalists by using a sneaky ambush as the Loyalists approached the bridge crossing the creek.

We made it to Wilmington around dinner time, so we checked into the hotel and then headed down the road to the Old Chicago restaurant. Donna had an antipasto salad and lasagna, and I had a calzone and a pint of Azalea Coast Navigator lager beer. I'm usually not a big fan of lagers, but the waitress recommended it, and after trying a sample I found that it was quite tasty; it was somewhat fruity, which is a trait I usually don't attribute to beers, but I really liked it; it complemented the calzone nicely. The food and service were great. We then spent some time driving around downtown before retiring to the hotel for the evening.

Saturday morning we headed down toward downtown, and en route we saw a sign pointing toward the Oakdale Cemetery, so we detoured to check it out. It was a beautiful cemetery with many old graves and interesting tombstones, and the grounds were gorgeous.

Once we made it to downtown, we strolled around a bit and ended up at Elijah's restaurant, where we had lunch. We ate outside on the Cape Fear River; we both had barbecue chicken BLTs. Yum! We then continued strolling around, checking out the interesting little shops along the river. One featured a wall signed by many celebrities, including Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta; Wilmington is the "Hollywood of the East," serving as the location for movies such as "Sleeping with the Enemy" and shows such as "Dawson's Creek" and "One Tree Hill."

We then went to the Cape Fear Serpentarium, which features about 80 snakes from around the world, some highly venomous, including several cobras, the green and black mambas, and the bushmaster. We saw a trio of pythons enjoy their weekly dinner of rabbits; it's quite incredible how they can unhinge their jaws to consume large prey; they can even consume a human!

Before heading home we ended the day by eating ice cream on the banks of the river while watching the sun set. I snapped a few photos of a docked Coast Guard boat and the USS North Carolina across the river:

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Peachtree Rock Nature Preserve

There is a jewel just minutes from my house called the Peachtree Rock Nature Preserve [link]; the prominent feature and source of the name is an upside-down pyramid of sandstone, formed by erosion of the lower portion.

Not far from the rock is a small waterfall, the only waterfall in the sandhill/coastal region of South Carolina.

The rock and waterfall are not too far from the parking area; there are two trails if you feel like exploring further. There is a 1/2 mile red trail and a 2 mile blue trail, which is the one that I took. The trails are well-marked but a bit rugged at times, so sturdy footwear is a must. About halfway around the blue trail is another inverted rock formation which isn't as large as the first one, but still pretty neat.

There were a good number of wrens and other small birds out and about, as well as a few doves and several vultures.

This is really a nice area, worth visiting to see the unusual rock formations and waterfall, but also a nice retreat to hike, and it'd be a nice place to take a book and find a nice spot out in the sun for a lazy hour of reading.