A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Poplar Grove Candlelight Tours WILMINGTON • NOVEMBER 27 & 28, DECEMBER 4 & 5 The Foy family’s peanut plantation comes alive with Christmas spirit as all eight rooms of the

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Poplar Grove Candlelight Tours WILMINGTON • NOVEMBER 27 & 28, DECEMBER 4 & 5 The Foy family’s peanut plantation comes alive with Christmas spirit as all eight rooms of the

Wilmington Holiday Travel Handbook

Poplar Grove Candlelight Tours


The Foy family’s peanut plantation comes alive with Christmas spirit as all eight rooms of the manor house are decorated with festive trappings that reveal the family’s Colonial through Victorian-era history. On November 29 and December 6, families can have their portraits made on the manor house’s front porch or in front of the Christmas tree in the parlor.

Tours on the hour, 5-8 p.m. Poplar Grove Plantation. Adults $12. Children ages 6-15 $6. poplargrove.org.

North Carolina Holiday Flotilla


The 32nd annual North Carolina Holiday Flotilla is an on-the-water parade of boats of all shapes and sizes decorated to celebrate the holidays. This floating parade is a delight to onlookers young and old, and at the conclusion, a fireworks show over the water welcomes the holiday spirit in style. View the flotilla from the Banks Channel Bridge, Blockade Runner Beach Resort, or any number of places along the route.

6 p.m. Wrightsville Beach. Free admission. ncholidayflotilla.org.

Ocean Isle Beach Flotilla


Starting in front of the Inlet View Bar & Grill and ending at Sharky’s Waterfront Restaurant & Marina, the 12th annual Ocean Isle Beach Flotilla brings a parade of festive boats and a party to kick off the holiday season. With local music, an auction benefiting the Brunswick Family Assistance Program, and merry making at every turn, this promises to be a fun event.

5:30 p.m. Ocean Isle Beach. Free admission. oceanislebeachflotilla.com.

bread & lights


This festival celebrates the creativity of Wilmington-area artists through gingerbread creations and holiday-themed lanterns. Other events include a Jingle Bell Breakfast with Santa & Mrs. Claus, a children’s gingerbread cookie decorating workshop, and a lantern floating ceremony.

Cameron Art Museum. Adults $12. Children ages 5-18 $6. Children 4 and younger free. breadandlights.org.

Enchanted Airlie

WILMINGTON • NOVEMBER 27 & 28, DECEMBER 4-6, 10-13, 16-22 

See the lovely Airlie Gardens lit up in holiday splendor during Enchanted Airlie. A half-mile stroll through the gardens and paths includes holiday-themed floral and light arrangements, the four century-old Airlie Oak, cocoa and cookies, and a visit with Santa Claus.

Airlie Gardens. $27 per car, $17 per couple, $12 per individual. airliegardens.org.

Poplar Grove Arts & Crafts Festival


The grounds of Poplar Grove Plantation are open for a day of holiday shopping as local artisans sell plenty of gifts to warm heart and hearth. Snack on seasonal treats like hot cider, cocoa, and kettle corn while taking a wagon ride or waiting for your turn to talk to Santa.

10 a.m.-7 p.m. Poplar Grove Plantation. Adults $12. Students ages 6-15 $6. poplargrove.org.

Battleship Alive: Christmas Edition


While the Battleship Alive program reveals the daily life of the crew aboard the USS North Carolina, the Christmas edition shows a slice of holiday life for the sailor aboard the battleship. Guests will experience a 1940s Christmas in the battleship’s auditorium, adding to the authenticity.

8 a.m.-5 p.m. USS North Carolina. Adults $14. Children ages 6-11 $6. Children 5 and younger free. battleshipnc.com.

Old Wilmington By Candlelight Tour


Tour private homes, historic sites, and churches in Wilmington’s historic districts, and see these places dressed in the finest of holiday finery. This event, put on by the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society, is in its 41st year.

Saturday 4-8 p.m. Sunday 1-5 p.m. Historic Downtown Wilmington. Admission $30. lcfhs.org.



Historic Southport kicks off the holiday season with its 11-day Winterfest. Activities include Christmas in Song at the Amuzu Theatre, Supper with Santa’s Elves, cookie contests, and a fire engine parade. The Christmas Tour of Homes is always a big hit.


Southport Christmas Flotilla


Grab a seat anywhere along Southport’s waterfront for this floating parade of decorated boats. Locals say the illuminated and decorated boats light up the night “from the North Pole to South-Port,” and it’s true. The show is great and the setting sublime.

7 p.m. Free. Southport waterfront. downtownsouthport.org.

A Christmas Carol


Charles Dickens’s tale of Christmas redemption gets a new twist as the story is transported from Victorian London to Depression-era America. This fresh take on a holiday classic will delight audiences as they witness the story of Ebenezer Scrooge anew.

Thalian Hall. Admission $25. thalianhall.org.

North Carolina Symphony Holiday Pops Concert


Songs from Frozen and The Polar Express join the lineup of classic Christmas songs yule love to sing along to. This year’s event will be held in the brand new Humanities and Fine Arts Center.

3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Humanities and Fine Arts Center at Cape Fear Community College. Admission prices vary. ncsymphony.org.  

Its A Wonderful Life


See one of Frank Capra’s best, and most iconic, films on the big screen at Wilmington’s historic Thalian Hall. Whether this is your first or tenth viewing of Its A Wonderful Life, you’ll find that this uplifting film will fill you with an appreciation for everything around you.

7 p.m. Thalian Hall. Admission $10. thalianhall.org.

About First Bank

We love calling North Carolina home. It’s why we’ve been here for more than 80 years. With branches from the mountains to the coast and rated as one of the best small business lending banks in the nation, First Bank offers rewarding checking accounts, competitive loan rates, and digital banking tools to help you manage your personal or business finances efficiently and securely. Online or in-person, find out what it means to have a local banker at your service.

Find your local First Bank at localfirstbank.com. Member FDIC.

This story was published on Nov 17, 2015

Jason Frye

Frye is a freelance writer who lives in Wilmington. His articles appear in Bald Head Island’s Haven Magazine, Wrightsville Beach Magazine, and North Brunswick Magazine.