After having lived two miles from Wrightsville Beach between the fall of 2006 and the spring of 2008, I admit that I often ask myself the question, “why did I ever leave this place?” when I make return trips. It wasn’t different this time.
There’s something truly magical about the “ILM” atmosphere. Between the beach and the downtown waterfront area and the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) and inlets beyond, there are countless things to capture your attention and interests and heart. Fabulous seafood, true friendship, fond memories and a combined sense of calm and excitement always seem in abundance to me when I visit the Wilmington area.
On this trip I was able to pair my interest in Civil War history with a trip to downtown Wilmington. On a rainy day that led me away from the beach, I participated in a wonderfully led tour of the Bellamy Mansion museum and grounds in historic downtown.
I attended a party at the Mansion more than 10 years ago and recall the fun of socializing and listening to music while on the main floor and front porch. That night, I had a sense of the history of those who had been there before me. This time, however, the history really came alive, as I was able to see the basement level, first, second and third floors of the mansion, as well as the belvedere at the topmost part of the building! What a view!
Before I left, I purchased a book titled, “Back With The Tide: Memoirs of Ellen Douglas Bellamy.” So far, it’s been very interesting to read Ellen’s account (though biased, of course) of growing up during the Civil War and residing in the mansion. I’ve especially enjoyed reading the Southern surnames of long ago that are the given names of some acquaintances of mine today.
I’m glad that the names as well as the members of so many Southern families have survived here in N.C., however, more than that, I’m glad that the Confederacy and slavery did not.
And, that’s just one reason why I keep returning to visit the North Carolina coast — you can discover historic gems that are true diamonds, like the Mansion, though not without flaws.