Saturday, April 17, 2021

North Carolina Sunset

At the Wilmington Embassy Suites Rooftop Bar...

A Cape Fear River Cruise on Henrietta

We stroll the entire one-mile length of the RiverWalk today between our hotel and the other end.

 We board a sightseeing boat, Henrietta, for a reasonably-priced one hour cruise, and learn a couple of interesting facts along the way.

First, those big logs we see floating by before boarding are actually going upstream. Post-dredging, Cape Fear River is tidal and changes waterflow direction a couple of times a day.

The river got its name from the fearfully hazardous shoals near the
mouth. Today it hardly seems fearful.

The Cape Fear Memorial Bridge is actually an elevator bridge.

It’s 408-foot center span can be raised 135 feet.

The massive Port of Wilmington loads petroleum, wood chips, wood pellets (used for heating in Europe), and containers.

A pleasant hour on the water.

Wilmington: Dinner at Marina Grill

A short walk from the Embassy Suites.

We again fail to accurately estimate the portion sizes by ordering two appetizers, hush puppies (right) and a house version of deviled eggs.

For the mains, Kathy chooses shrimp and grits. She brings the boxed leftovers back to the hotel to microwave tomorrow.

Brian’s seared tuna is also excellent.

All in all, a fine place for dinner less than a 10-minute waterfront stroll from our hotel. Now to try to walk those calories off Saturday morning...

Friday, April 16, 2021

Embassy Suites - Wilmington, North Carolina

After leaving Raleigh (actually a forgettable Hilton Garden Inn in Morrisville near RDU, we set off in a reasonably pleasant two-hour drive on I-40, often lined with trees, to arrive at the Wilmington, NC Embassy Suites located on the Cape Fear RiverWalk.

Lo and behold, our suite was ready for us at 12:15 in this newish and modern hotel - no atrium in this ES! We have lovely suite with a great view of the Cape Fear River from our seventh floor perch.

That includes the battleship North Carolina, moored across the river and open for tours.

The weather is perfect for us so we dropped our luggage and immediately headed off to walk nearly the entire two-mile length.

We’ll try out the Embassy Suites “Manager’s Reception” at 5:30 PM and make a 10-minute walk from there to the Marina Grill, well recommended, for dinner.

We’re hoping to have walked enough today to burn a few calories.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Dinner at Babymoon Café near RDU

Big portions and tasty,,,

Skagit Valley Tulips

In all our years living in Birch Bay, we’d never gotten around to seeing the. Skagit Valley tulips and daffodils in April bloom. 

This past year at least has given us a chance to explore our own little part of the world, including a quick tiptoe through the tulips about 50 miles south of us.

And the daffodils...

First Flight of the Day

We’d booked seats 1A-B in an Alaska Q400 on the early flight BLI-SEA but they’re blocked due to COVID.

Row 8 isn’t that bad.

A beautiful morning to fly...

Next stop is RDU.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Surviving a Hotel Fire

 We mentioned in our most recent post that we were sleepless in Seattle for awhile yesterday when an alarm went off at the Seattle Airport Hilton around 3:00 AM. 

Now safely back at home, we realize that this is at least our fourth such alarm experience in our travels, although this was the first one that woke us up in the middle of the night. 

There was that time in 2012 after breakfast at the Seattle Hilton, coincidentally the morning we were about to start a train trip with members of Kathy's family that would end in New Orleans a few days later. 

The very next year we were getting ready for dinner at the Zagreb Doubletree when the bells rang. 

In 2014 at the Hilton Lyon, we evacuated with other guests and learned afterwards that the staff had failed to deliver the letter informing guests that this "training drill" was scheduled to occur. 

We read an excellent FlyerTalk post some years ago, How to Survive a Hotel Fire, and one of our habits now when we arrive at a hotel room is to learn exactly where the nearest emergency exit is, in case we have to crawl there through smoke. We do not hang around for an announcement or try calling the front desk. We evacuate asap.

We'll be re-reading that post and check out a few other sources before our next trip.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Fire Alarm

It was about 3:00 AM at the Seattle Airport Hilton.

It’s not a high rise so it was a relatively short walk down from the third floor.

First, Brian had to persuade Kathy the horrific noise was not an alarm that he’d accidentally set on his bedside table.

Now it’s back to bed.