Stayed at the Hilton Holiday Inn during my visit to Wrightsville Beach and it was prime property straight on the sand. The view from my balcony was over the pool and common areas and looking right at the beach. I enjoy certain amenities in a hotel room, especially with my travels these days, so it was nice to have parking on the premises free of charge, wifi, tv, fridge, microwave and coffee machine, although it was a little odd seeing the coffee machine in the restroom albeit a convenient option in case of spills. I was pleasantly surprised to hear a knock on my door after I checked into my room and had a ginormous tray of cheese and fruit delivered to the room. Wow. I was a guest of the local CVB and they were certainly treating me well. I also liked the fact that the hotel was located close to a few places I wanted to visit during my stay. Nothing is very far in Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington is only about a half hour away. If you keep along the coast then you can drive to Kure Beach and Carolina Beach but I had only enough time for one so Wrightsville it was. If time permits, do check out Johnnie Mercer’s Pier – the only concrete fishing pier in North Carolina which extends more than 1,200 ft. into the Atlantic Ocean. There is a charge of $1.50 to walk on the pier but if you happen to be in the vicinity then consider giving it a shot.
Surprising that they have studios in Atlanta GA that I have not visited but I did check them out in Wilmington. The tour is about an hour and not too much of a walk. We got to see only 3 stages as the rest did not permit visits. Not allowed to take pictures either. But I can tell you I saw the sets for Under the Dome and also for a new ABC series starring Ryan Phillippe. Even saw the spot for his car. Now if only his car was there, and he was in it, that would have made my day! So the show is called Secrets and Lies and much as the staff was not permitted to divulge that info to us, (as in disclose the name of the show) it didn't take very long for most everyone to figure it out. Apparently Iron Man 3 was the one movie that took over the entire studio and all sound stages when they were filming. FYI if being an extra on set is one of your bucket list musts then I heard thatthesoutherncastingcall.com are always looking for talent. EUE Screen Gems is the largest studio complex east of California and was also where CW's One Tree Hill was shot. Other movies shot here include The Conjuring and We're the Millers. If you visit, wear comfy shoes for walking, be prepared to not be taking any photos at all, and keep your hands to yourself - you are walking in sets where production takes place sand you do not want any of those indoor sets falling apart because of you.
My very first stop on my trip to Wrightsville Beach was the Oceanic, the only restaurant in the area that goes as far out into the sea as it does. It is the only non-hotel restaurant at Wrightsville Beach that is situated on the beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Their newly renovated Crystal Pier is attached to the restaurant and provides breathtaking outdoor seating while you munch on featured fresh seafood. The pier goes way into the ocean, and on the day I visited, the water was so choppy, it felt amazing to be standing in the middle of that action. The restaurant seems to be a favorite with the locals. I got there just about noon Sunday and they were already busy. Andrea there took real good care of me and Scott the manager was happy to take me around on a little tour of the place. Its been a mainstay of the Wrightsville Beach area for ages now and they have 3 whole floors plus an outdoor patio area (huge!) and can at any time accommodate about 500 people. Wow! I couldn't sit out as it was pretty windy but I guarantee you a good view from any area you are seated at. They are well-known for hosting weddings and I can see why. There's views aplenty any which where you sit and there were lots of local regulars hanging out as well. I had a simple egg cheese sandwich and their specialty cocktail. What's brunch without a cocktail anyways?! A grand welcome to the area :)
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