For some, the celebration of fall evokes loyalty to a different set of colors – the blues and greens and grays of the coast.
Wilmington, between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic, is known for natural beauty, diverse entertainment, exciting history and great food. Plus, it’s not unusual to see television and movie stars walking about town. This fall you might catch a glimpse of the cast of Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow” or ABC’s new series “Secrets & Lies.” The region is often referred to as “Hollywood East” because it is home to EUE/Screen Gems Studios, the largest production facility east of Los Angeles. Weekend walking studio tours ( http://bit.ly/1un3cmO) include sets from current productions. Note: Call ahead for tour times.
Wilmington has much to see and most attractions are open year-round, including Battleship North Carolina ( www.battleshipnc.com), Cape Fear Museum ( www.capefearmuseum.com) – which is unveiling its new digital planetarium this fall – Wilmington RR Museum ( www.wrrm.org) and Children’s Museum ( www.playwilmington.org). A visit to Fort Fisher State Historic Site ( www.nchistoricsites.org/fisher), and right near it, the N.C. Aquarium ( http://bit.ly/1utpDrB), is a must for all ages.
Shopping is a cinch downtown. Wander through the Cotton Exchange ( www.shopcottonexchange.com), reminiscent of when the city was one of the largest and busiest cotton exporters in the world. Today, 30 unique specialty shops and restaurants can be found inside eight restored buildings that are connected by brick walkways and open-air courtyards.
Carolina Beach Fishing Pier, Kure Beach Fishing Pier and Johnnie Mercer’s Fishing Pier in Wrightsville Beach draw anglers from near and far. There are also charter boats and group fishing excursions ( www.winnerboats.com).
Wilmington is a fun and scary place to be for Halloween. For those brave enough to face the scary legends along a secluded maritime forest trail, show up on Oct. 25 for the Fort Fisher Halloween Festival & Haunted Trail Tour ( http://bit.ly/1qwxfbc).
Nov. 12-16, catch one of the coolest film festivals in the U. S.: The Cucalorus Festival of Independent Film ( www.cucalorus.org) features more than 200 indie film screenings.
Welcome the holiday season with a stroll through Enchanted Airlie – Airlie Gardens’ holiday light show ( www.airliegardens.org). It runs Nov. 28-Dec. 22 and features holiday flowers, festive lights, trains, live music and more. Zenda Douglas