Last Sunday, I loaded Belle up and headed off to Brunswick County. The plan was to get in town and have enough time to go sightseeing before attending an afternoon birthday party. Leaving at 6 am gave us 8 hours in Brunswick County; here’s what we did with our time:
8 Hours in Brunswick County
We pulled into Belville just before 8 am, starving. So before starting our adventure, we stopped by Waffle House to grab a bite. Believe it or not, it was Belle’s first time! I had the Two Egg Breakfast with scrambled eggs covered in cheese, grits, and bacon. Belle had a chocolate chip waffle. It was amazing. I have a feeling she’ll be begging for it the next time we’re out that early again.
Brunswick Riverwalk Park at Belville
After we fueled ourselves up, we headed over to the Brunswick Riverwalk Park at Belville. The park is new, so it was a first for both of us. I wish I researched the park before our visit because we missed out on the Nature Trail. Even without the short hike (and you guys know how I feel about hikes), I thought the park was gorgeous. There are plans to expand Riverwalk Park in the future, so we’ll have to make another trip after the expansion.
After Brunswick Riverwalk Park, we planned to explore Old Brunswick Town. We got there to find it gated. They aren’t open on Sundays before Memorial Day; we were off by two weeks. 🙁
Instead, we parked beside Orton Pond to look for alligators. Somehow Belle spent the first ten years of her life in Wilmington and never saw one. It took all of two seconds to rectify this cosmic wrongdoing.
Bonnet’s Creek Monument
Next, we headed to Southport, where our first stop was Bonnet’s Creek Monument. The monument marks the creek Stede Bonnet used as a hideout for his ship during the Battle of the Sandbars.
Old Smithville Burying Ground
Just up the road from Bonnet’s Creek Monument is the Old Smithville Burying Ground. The cemetery is over 200 years old and contains monuments for several notable Brunswick County residents.
Old Brunswick County Jail
The Old Brunswick County Jail is catty-cornered from the Old Smithville Burying Ground. The brick building housed the county jail from 1904 until 1971.
A couple of streets away stands Fort Johnston. Completed in 1749, Fort Johnston was the first fortification in colonial North Carolina. Today it houses a maritime museum and visitor’s center. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open when we visited.
Southport City Pier
After we took a look at Fort Johnston, we walked across the street to the Southport City Pier. It was probably Belle’s favorite place, just because of the birds.
Oak Island Lighthouse
Next, we went to the Oak Island Lighthouse in Caswell Beach. Built in 1958 and standing at 153 feet tall, it’s the newest of North Carolina’s lighthouses.
You can’t visit a beach town without dipping your toes in the water. So after checking out the lighthouse, we took a walk along Caswell Beach. Belle had never seen a beach with such gentle, little waves.
Local Call Surf Shop
I wanted to check out Fort Caswell since we were so close, but Belle was ready for lunch. On the way to the restaurant, we made a side trip to Local Call so I could grab a memento.
Back To Southport
Fishy Fishy Cafe
I’ve been having lunch at Fishy Fishy Cafe when I’m near Southport for over twenty years. And there’s a reason I keep going back: their fried shrimp is some of the best in Eastern North Carolina. Plus, they have dockside seating – and who doesn’t want to eat on the water??
Flava’s Ice Cream Shop
We had dessert at Flava’s Ice Cream Shop. Belle wasn’t overly impressed with the Salted Caramel, but we both loved my Strawberry Cheesecake. Next time, I’ll go with a cone instead of the milkshake, though.
We packed a lot more into 8 hours in Brunswick County than I would’ve thought possible. After all the sightseeing, we met up with the family to celebrate my baby cousin’s first birthday. It was the perfect ending to the perfect day.