On Thursday the 15th of June I took a flight to Wilmington is a port city and the county seat of New Hanover County in coastal southeastern North Carolina, to attend my Cousin’s wedding, the 4th I was invited to this year.
Wilmington was settled by European Americans along the Cape Fear River. Its historic downtown has a one-mile-long Riverwalk, originally developed as a tourist attraction, and in 2014 Wilmington’s riverfront was named the “Best American Riverfront” by USA Today.
It is also minutes away from nearby beaches. and city residents live between the river and the ocean, with four nearby beach communities: Fort Fisher, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach, the one we always go to, all within half-hour drives from downtown Wilmington. I personally adore going to this beach as it is bigger than our European beaches but also because, except from the Summer period and week-ends, you can enjoy some peace and quiet (these pictures were taken on a week day).
Wilmington is also known as Hollywood East, is home to EUE/Screen Gems Studios. Popular televisions series’ like Sleepy Hollow, Dawson’s Creek (!!), One Tree Hill, SIX, Good Behavior, Eastbound and Down and Under The Dome used the stages, and multiple locations throughout the city and surroundings, as well as popular movies like Iron Man 3, We’re the Millers, The Longest Ride and The Choice.
10 years ago, when Dawson’s Creek was still very popular, I remember going to see the set! That was, and still is today, my only experience with movie studios, and I remember being really excited about it. In fact that year we did a proper tour of the area, going to museums and old plantations. Since then, because I am returning every year in May/June (each year to attend a Graduation of a different cousin) I just enjoy my holiday participating into my family regular activities.
My aunt and uncle along with my 4 cousins have been living in a complex 10 min away from Wrightsville beach for years. My cousins are now all grown up, living in Washington and New York and getting married, so when I go to Wilmington for special occasions I see most of my cousins briefly and spend a lot of time with my aunt. Our daily activities include going to the morning Gym class, having long walks with the dog and running around “the loop” (a circular route showing beautiful views of the channel and beach houses), shopping at the mall, taking the boat for an afternoon on nearby islands, making BBQ at night and so on. A lot of outdoor activities that city girls like me don’t experience often enough.
- Walking in the area:
- On the boat:
- Reading profound books on life and such (found in my little cousin’s room):
But this year was special as all family came to attend the first ever wedding among the cousins generation. The difference with French weddings is that the outdoor ceremony, which was beautiful of course, was short and touching, the dinner lasted less than an hour and most of the evening was about partying. In France, the ceremony can be more than an hour-long, the dinner about 4 or 5 hours, and the party, which generally starts after midnight, ends between 3 and 6AM. In the end the American format is pretty fun and it was a great evening of dancing and not being exhausted on the next day.
But most importantly it allowed the family to reunite, which had not happened in over 15 years, and reconcile after years of disputes, and for this I am immensely grateful to such meaningful events. In less than a year another cousin is getting married in Virginia, a state where I have never been to, and am already thrilled to meet all the family again.