One of our traditions is to not spend Thanksgiving with family…well, except for the family comprised of my wife and myself. It got started when we first got together and decided instead of trading off the Thanksgiving holiday between our families we were going to take advantage of a long weekend and go on trips ourselves. We see our families pretty regularly anyway, so no one worries about it. I think it’s seen as just one of our quirks.
The first time we took a trip on Thanksgiving, we went to Wilmington, NC and figured out the real trick to traveling on Thanksgiving is finding a place to eat. We ended up with Waffle House for lunch and room service for dinner, since we didn’t have reservations anywhere. We had a good time, though, and the city turned into one of our favorite long weekend destinations.
We decided to recreate it this year and drove down to Wilmington on Thanksgiving day. We stayed at a place downtown, and had Thanksgiving dinner reservations at the Pilot House. (Lunch was a convenient Wendy’s.)
We found out that the hotel’s staff was going to be out of town for the day, so we were able to let ourselves in and pick up our key. One advantage to more of a bed-and-breakfast-style place, but we really didn’t see anyone around much otherwise either, despite a few trips past the office. I’m guessing Thanksgiving may not be a big travel holiday for them.
Dinner was good. The Pilot House has a fairly traditional Thanksgiving menu, despite its reputation for seafood. No pecan pie left by the time our reservations rolled around, unfortunately.
Our hotel room was…interesting. I’m not going to mention the name, because I don’t want to give an unfavorable review to a place I’ve only stayed in once. However, I’ll just say the best I could describe the decor is “quaint,” by which I mean “1985,” we had one 20″ TV that was situated to make it hard for both people to watch it from bed, and no alarm clock. I’m cool with the decor, and the TV, but the missing alarm clock was different. Admittedly, they didn’t list alarm clocks as one of the features of the room, so maybe I shouldn’t complain. 😐
Breakfast/lunch (brunch?) the next day was at Front Street Diner. Good food, and normally crowded with locals. I miss their fried bologna sandwich, but it’s probably best that it’s gone. I think the greasy goodness probably cuts my life expectancy short a few minutes each time I have one.
I started to take some pictures of the trip, and the camera battery died immediately after taking the first shot. You can see photos from our past vacations here, though, and imagine what I would have taken pictures of this time. 🙂
We hit a used bookstore, as usual. This trip was to McAllister & Solomon Books, which has a decent selection of pulp SF & Fantasy novels. I always end up finding a couple of Doc Savage novels I don’t have. Another good bookstore is Daughtry’s Old Books. Mr. Daughtry is usually in his shop, and he likes to talk to visitors.
Dinner was at Caffe Phoenix, another downtown eatery that we’ve walked past in recent years and passed up because the food seemed too…ah…complex for our tastes. Trying it this time was a good decision. Thinly-sliced marinated flank steak for me, and vegetarian lasagna for Lorrie, were both excellent dishes. We’ll be back when we get down there again.
The next morning, after the skylight in our room started leaking, we realized we really didn’t have anything planned for the day that required us to be in Wilmington as opposed to our house. So, one early checkout and a remarkably easy drive later, we were back home, relaxing in familiar surroundings. Not the most exciting trip, but fun because of the company I shared it with.
I will have to say, though, I’m still craving the one thing Wilmington…well, Wrightsville Beach…has that we couldn’t replicate back home: The Oceanic. We’ll be back in Wilmington again soon, though. It’s one of our places.