Wilmington, North Carolina

Living in Wilmington, North Carolina

Iyna Bort Caruso

Wilmington, North Carolina, was founded in 1739, so it’s no surprise it is a city of historical note. Wilmington has eight districts on the National Register of Historic Places encompassing 230 blocks in downtown, making it one of the largest such districts in the country.

Preservation efforts formally began in the mid-1960s with the formation of the Historic Wilmington Foundation aimed at stopping the demolition of the city’s architectural gems, an effort still going strong today. Residential architecture runs the gamut, from plantation homes and Colonial Revival to Craftsman and Queen Anne. Many homes were the result of an early 20th century building boom.

Wilmington is situated on North Carolina’s southern coast between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean with 110 enviable miles of shoreline. A city centerpiece is the scenic RiverWalk along the Cape Fear waterfront, lined with restaurants, galleries, shops and attractions.

Residents enjoy the coastal lifestyle in this low country region of the state. Activities beckon on land and sea year-round. Spring and summer seasons are wonderfully long, while winters are mild. The combination of agreeable weather, gorgeous natural backdrops and financial incentives has made the area the darling of the entertainment industry and the star of hundreds of commercials, movies and TV shows. Wilmington has one of the largest production facilities on the East Coast.

Top beach towns are within a half hour drive of downtown. In the mid 19th century, communities like Wrightsville came of age as summer colonies for the wealthy from Wilmington, Atlanta and other southern cities.

Wrightsville Beach, the closest beach to Wilmington, is a small, affluent coastal community. Some of the most desirable homes are set on deepwater-fronting lots with long-range water views.  South of Wrightsville is Carolina Beach, known for its lively vintage boardwalk of shops, eateries and arcades. For golfers, the Wilmington area offers gated country club communities including a premier development with championship courses along the Intracoastal Waterway.