2015 was a great year for Southeastern North Carolina. We saw accolades pour in from publications around the world. Wilmington made quite a ripple on the national scene, as did Wrightsville, Carolina and Kure Beaches. As we look back at some of the recent commendations that our area received we also look forward to the growth and recognition that 2016 is sure to bring.
Placement on “Top Ten” lists and “Best Of” lists is not entirely new to Wilmington, NC. We thought that we had a fabulous 2014 with recognition by The Huffington Post as one of the Most Fabulous Places to Retire. Movoto.com named Wilmington one of the Top 10 Most Exciting Places in NC. And, Forbes.com acknowledged WIlmington as one of America’s Smartest Cities. We were thrilled to receive such outstanding compliments, but that excitement only grew in the year 2015.
USA Today named Wilmington the Best American Riverfront. I can’t say that we were entirely shocked, because our city does, in fact, do the riverfront like no other. USA Today presented downtown Wilmington’s Front Street with a spot on their Top 10 Best Al Fresco Dining Neighborhoods. Foodies in Wilmington rejoiced many times over as various restaurants, both seasoned and newly- established, were awarded high- ranking awards and statuses from around the nation. The craft beer scene exploded in Wilmington in 2015, gaining our town a spot on craftbeer.com’s America’s Beeriest Beach Towns list.
Wilmington has experienced huge growth with an influx of bigger businesses taking notice and calling our area home. Forbes.com named Wilmington one of The Best Places for Business and Careers. The rise of larger companies in our area have not hurt the smaller local and community based businesses though, as everything from area B&Bs, attractions like Thalian Hall and the Battleship, and even our cemeteries garnered awards and attention in 2015.
Wilmington wasn’t the only spot in our area to shine in 2015. Wrightsville Beach earned a spot on the prestigious National Geographic Traveler’s list of The Last Best American Beach Towns. Wrightsville’s large SUP community was thrilled with their inclusion on Outside Magazine’s Top SUP Hubs list. And Thrillist.com name Wrightsville one of the Best Small Beach Towns in the US.
Carolina and Kure Beaches also enjoyed national recognition in 2015. Foxnews.com presented Carolina Beach with the distinct honor of being America’s Best Boardwalk. About.com named these beaches as the Best Family Beach Vacations in the Southeast.
Small businesses enjoyed notoriety as the Best Of as well. The Fat Pelican was named by Impulcity.com as one of the Diviest Dive Bars in America. The NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher ranked in the Top 25 US Aquariums by tripadvisor.com.
There are at least a million things that make our area stand out. There are a million reasons to want to live here. These aren’t even all of the accolades that we have received in the past year, but these do paint a picture of the kind of community that we are. We are smart, fun, business savvy, and unique. If you are looking to make a move in 2016, I would encourage you to check out southeastern NC. Come see how great it is to find your town on a “Best Of” or “Top Ten” list every other week!