Are you an avid gardener with your mind focused on scheduling a summer trip to North Carolina’s Coastal Region? If so, you may want to pack your digital camera and make plans to visit one of the following locations. Each one is among my family’s list of favorites:
If you must, blame it on my long-standing fascination with all things antebellum. Either way, I feel compelled to place Wilmington’s Bellamy Mansion’s garden on top of my list. I am not sure what is more striking, the architecture or the magnolias. Thus, I’d suggest taking a tour of the house too. One of the best times to visit is weekday mornings when the outside temperatures are the most manageable.
Although adult admission fees tend to start at $10, I’d suggest forking over $24 for the passport. It includes access to two other great gardens located in the area. They are known as the Burgwin-Wright and the Latimer. The Burgwin-Wright is the more expansive of the two. Therefore, you may want to consider visiting it before the Latimer. In all, I’d factor at least four hours into your trip’s itinerary in order to thoroughly enjoy all three.
When you’re finished touring the gardens and hitting a few area gift shops, be sure to swing by the Riverboat Landing and ask for a balcony seat. Then order a heavenly plate of shrimp and grits ($19) and enjoy it while you wait for the sun to set over the Cape Fear River.
Another flora and history soaked place that I can’t help but recommend is Roanoke Island’s Elizabethan Gardens. It has so many amazing features that I’m hard pressed to pick just one to highlight. Among my favorites are the sunken garden, the rhododendrons, the roses and the Lion Couchant Bird Bath. The facility traditionally opens daily and adult admission fees tend to start at a modest $9 per person.
If you can, plan on arriving the first Friday morning of the month and staying at the gardens until late in the afternoon. That way, you can leave the grounds and be in the downtown Manteo area by 6 p.m. It’s where the town’s free, monthly, evening celebration takes place. In my opinion, taking part in it is an awesome way to add high dollar value to one’s vacation.
Lastly, I’d recommend visiting Edenton’s Cupola House too. Two of my favorite areas of the garden are the arbor and the herb patch. Additional highlights include stunning azaleas, Cherokee roses and the amazing, period furniture located inside of the home. The one that attracted my eye the most was the china cabinet. It was replete with interesting glassware. After the tour, I’d suggest stopping by the Downtown Café and Soda Shoppe for a drink. The ice cream sodas are fabulous and reasonably priced.
Source: Personal Experience
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