I’m a patriotic person, and not because I’m a veteran, or because I live near Fort Bragg, or because of my political beliefs, but because I am proud to be an American and there is no better day to show your patriotism than the 4th of July! On a whim, and not just because I needed to see some fireworks, I headed towards the coast with my friend. We strategically parked on the roof of a parking deck on the north side of the Riverwalk so we could have an aerial view of the fireworks and the river front later that night.
The City of Wilmington does the 4th of July up big. The streets along the Riverfront are closed to vehicles and pedestrians are free to wander and sample the foods from the numerous vendors or take in The Clams, a Jimmy-Buffett-meets-the-Grateful-Dead band set up in front of the Federal Building steps. We enjoyed taking in the sights and some people watching while strolling along the river.
Most people were dressed festively in various combinations of red, white, and blue, including myself. Just the day before in Roanoke, VA, I purchased a “Party on Your Head” headband from a local shop. Decorated with a garland, sparkly tulle (you can never have enough sparkles!!!), stars, and a top hat, I took the Riverfront by storm. Okay, not really by storm, but I enjoyed walking around with a party on my head and my grandmother’s flag pin to help celebrate the day!
Hungry, we decided to try a new restaurant (to us) the Copper Penny, which had great ratings on TripAdvisor. Upon walking through the door I immediately felt like I was transported to Philly. The interior was decorated with all things Philadelphia-the Flyers, the Phillies, the Sixers, the Eagles, Rocky-the list goes on. On the menu there are things like Cheese Steak Nachos and Honest Abe’s Chicken Sandwich. We skipped the appetizer and went straight to the meal. My friend ordered a Reuben with corned beef, melted swiss, and 1000 Island on rye with sweet potato fries. I opted for the grilled Southwest chicken with pepper jack, jalapenos, bacon, and fried onion rings on a soft bun with a side salad. It was excellent (both sandwiches)!!!!
Back on the streets with a few hours to kill before the fireworks, we walked off the beaten path and took in the local architecture and history. This was a view of the city I never saw before, much like the Holy City of Charleston, grand mansions with airy porches, planters overflowing with plants and flowers, garden niches, all with Southern charm stood high above the river. I wish I could describe all the homes that lined the streets this day, each amazing in its own way. Peering into private gardens and walking past homeowners in their yards, these friendly southerners didn’t mind our inquisitive viewing of their quaint yards and beautiful homes. After a while we walked back down towards the river. The heat and humidity was relieved a bit by the strong winds coming off the river. At one point in time the wind blew my party clean off my head.
In an effort to get ready to take our seats on the parking deck as the time for fireworks drew near, we did a pit stop at the funnel cake / fried Oreos stand to grab snacks to munch while we waited. Funnel cake is always a street vendor win, but I wasn’t so sure about the Oreos. Snacks in hand we held onto our goodies with a death grip lest they get carried off by the wind. Once we got settled on the roof of the parking deck it was time to sample the treats. It turns out the funnel cake was as good as they alway are. The Oreos, which I was skeptical of to begin with, were way too sweet. I was rather disappointed. Sometimes it’s better to stick to the classics.
This July 4th I attempted my first fireworks photography ever, with mixed results, highlighted here in my post. My photographic skills are a work in progress. Not too bad for a first time!
At 9:05 the crowd shouted the countdown from the Riverwalk and you could hear it all the way at the top of the parking deck. With great fanfare, the fireworks lit the night sky, illuminating the Battleship North Carolina in the background and the Riverfront below. This was the perfect ending to another birthday celebration for the USA!