There are a lot of places you might expect to find a boat on a visit to the North Carolina shore, but inside a fudge shop probably isn’t one of them.
The Fudgeboat is well known on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk for its fresh, creamy fudge and the 38-foot wooden boat docked in the middle of the store.
“Our friend found it washed up … after a hurricane,” says owner Duke Hagestrom.
The boat came from Chinquapin, about 60 miles from Carolina Beach, and it took about a month to restore it. The boat received a permanent home on the boardwalk in 2004. Now the Hagestroms use the boat as a counter for making and serving fudge. The fudge cooks in big kettles on the stern, and the starboard bow is a cutting board where the day’s flavors sit on display.
Rich, creamy chocolate and turtle swirled with pecans and caramel are just a couple of flavors you might find aboard the boat’s 15-foot fudge counter. The Fudgeboat has more than 100 flavors.
While flavor is important to a fudge shop, family is what matters most in this business. The store is co-owned by Duke and Tracee Hagestrom, along with Tracee’s mother, Lou Belo.
“Even my 8-year-old daughter loves to put on her little apron and help out Meemaw,” Duke says.
North Carolina was once just a vacation spot for the Hagestrom family from Cleveland, Ohio. But after two years of summer visits, the Hagestroms picked up and moved to Carolina Beach.
They’ve been on the island 10 years now, and Duke will be the first to tell you how happy he and his family are here. And those who walk into their shop and try their fudge will be happy that the Hagestroms anchored here, too.
107 Carolina Beach Avenue North
Carolina Beach, N.C. 28428
Hours vary by season.
Emily Burniston, a senior at Wake Forest University, was an editorial intern at Our State in fall 2012.