A Memory in the Making at Southport, NC

As published in The Florida Villager

It’s hard to think of planning another vacation when one just ended but spring break and summer will be here before you know it and I have the perfect place for you to be thinking about.

There is a little harbor town in North Carolina that sits near the mouth of the Cape Fear River called Southport.  I happened upon it one day and what a little treasure.  Someone mentioned in passing that there was a quaint and friendly town near where I was going to be and “by the way, the movie A Walk to Remember was filmed there.”  Well, being a huge Nicholas Sparks fan, I knew in an instant where I would be spending my day.

I pulled in around 9:00 in the morning and made my way to one of the local bakeries, Side Street, for just coffee until I saw their cinnamon rolls and then the diet was off.  Grabbing my food, I headed outside to take in the uniqueness of this town.  Yep, definitely can see why it was the perfect setting for a Nicholas Sparks movie, also, Weekend at Bernie’s was filmed here along with countless others.  Up and down Howe Street, which is the main vein through town, were eclectic stores, art galleries and antique shops.  I have to say, they are all worth stopping into, but the two you absolutely can’t miss are Bull Frog Corner and The Christmas House.

Bull Frog Corner is a true old-fashioned candy store in every sense of the word right down to the overflowing wooden barrels of candy.  Beware, don’t bring the kids in there if you are in a hurry.  There is one room dedicated to stuffed animals both big and small.  There are games, puzzles, dolls and more to grab your child’s attention and not let go until which point you are walking out of the store, bag in hand.  The Christmas Store is beyond anything I’ve ever seen.  A white picket, fenced house, wicker furniture on the porch and front lawn along with garland and wreaths adorning every square foot of it with everything Christmas imaginable inside is a magical sight to see. Please leave enough time to really wander from room to room in order to take it all in.

By now the noon hour had come and gone and so I found myself at Ports of Call Bistro. I sat at the bar and the bartender recommended the SEA BLT. Without hesitation I ordered one after learning it was stuffed with Maine lobster, lump crab, shrimp salad, a fried green tomato and bacon crumble. I can’t imagine anything in that town can compare to that sandwich!

After lunch and a nice chat with the bartender, who filled me in on the comings and goings of the movie world into Southport, I took a stroll around the docks and looked at the fishing boats and the beautiful homes that gazed out over the water.  I have to admit, after that lunch, I wanted to sit on one of those shaded big porches with a glass of sweetened tea and watch the world go by.

However, I get that there are those that want perpetual motion and don’t find the porch idea enticing, so there are eco kayaking tours of the Blackwater creeks and the Cypress swamps. If land exercise is your thing, you can take a bike or walking tour of the town.  When the beach is calling your name, a ferry can shuttle you to Fort Fisher Recreation Area or you can drive on over to Oak Island. Of course, being a summer destination, there are quite a bit of special events that take place for the entire family during the summer months.

Although there are hotels, I strongly suggest staying at one of the B& B’s for the full harbor town experience. So, put on your flip flops and head to Southport, NC where a vacation memory in the making is waiting just for you!