Destination Wrightsville | Things to know

by Staff
June 2008

PARKING

Parking at Wrightsville Beach

The Metered Parking Season — or so we’ll call it — spans from March 1 to October 31. During this period, all meters and pay stations are enforced seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The parking rate for meters and pay stations is $1.50 per hour. Parking meters accept nickels, dimes and quarters. The parking office is available to provide up to $10 in change, and parking ambassadors, who can be spotted along the beach stretch, may offer up to $2 in change on the spot. Park-by-Phone takes an annual membership of just $5.95 and a simple cell phone call. Pay stations require coins, bills ($1, $5, $10) or Visa or MasterCard. For locals or those looking for a smart alternative to pay-by-the-hour parking, $8 daily passes and $50 weekly passes may be purchased from the parking office. Parking citations are $20 or $30, depending on the violation, and may be paid by cash, check or credit at the parking office or by credit online. Be sure to pay on time, too, because the late fees rise with the tide.
The Lanier Parking office
5 Live Oak Drive in Wrightsville Beach
(910) 256-5453


SAFETY AT THE BEACH

On the hottest summer days —and every day —always wear appropriate attire, especially a hat if you’ll be spending a lot of time in direct sunlight. And lather up with sunscreen, of course, and drink plenty of water. While in the water, stay alert and pay attention to the weather, water conditions and lifeguards. Have an emergency plan in case you get separated. Park where you’re supposed to do, keep an eye on your kids, look both ways before crossing Lumina Avenue and keep emergency phone numbers (listed below) in your pocket..

Rip Currents

Rip currents are formed when waves break near the shoreline, piling up water between breaking waves and the beach. They can turn a leisurely swim into an extremely frightening experience. Be sure to look for warning flags posted across Wrightsville Beach: green flags signal calm conditions, yellow flags urge caution, red flags warn of dangerous conditions and black flags mean there is no lifeguard on duty.

If you are caught in a rip current, don’t try to swim directly to shore. Swim parallel to the beach until you are out of the current and then make your way back. If you have trouble escaping, don’t fight it, call and wave for help.


Lost children

If your child gets lost, contact the nearest lifeguard or law enforcement officer immediately. Tell your child beforehand to do the same if he or she cannot find you.

Skin Cancer Info

Did you know, according to the Skin Cancer Association, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States? If that doesn’t get you reaching for SPF 70, take note that more than 90 percent of all skin cancers are caused by sun exposure alone, and one in five Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. So although you long for that bronzed, summery glow, give your skin the protection it deserves, using sunscreen with at least SPF 15 at all times.

What to Do During an Emergency

Okay, here’s the part of your vacation no one (including us) wants to talk about. If you’ve got kids at the beach — and even if you don’t — accidents are bound to happen, and any outing can turn into an emergency situation. In order to keep you and your family safe, be sure to always put safety before fun, and take note of the following information so you can be as prepared as possible in case of an emergency.

In any emergency, especially if immediate medical attention is necessary, contact:  Any lifeguard or law enforcement officer.

The Wrightsville Beach Police Department: (910) 256-7911

Wrightsville Beach Fire Department: (910) 256-7920

The New Hanover Regional Medical Center: (910) 343-7000

Cape Fear Hospital: (910) 452-8100


USEFUL INFO

Pets on the Beach

Here at Wrightsville Beach, pets are a huge part of day-to-day life. We’ll do whatever we can to keep ours happy. The following are some tips to keep your pet visitors to Wrightsville Beach safe.

1.  Never leave your animal unattended in a vehicle. Even on just a warm day, your dog could die in a few minutes from heat stroke or exhaustion. Dog-friendly water stations can be spotted around Wrightsville Beach for a bit of refreshment on the doggiest days of summer. But, the safest plan is to leave Fido at home. The town in summer is no place for a dog. Here’s a quick rule: if it’s too hot for you in bare feet, it’s too hot for your dog.

2. No pets are allowed on the beach strand from April 1 to September 30.

3. You must clean up after your pet and have the means to do so at all times anywhere in the town. Dispose of waste in available trashcans. Animal waste needs four weeks to degrade, and if left on sidewalks and grass, it can get into our water supply. Several stations around town feature complimentary dog waste bags.

4. Pets must be on a leash at all times.

Litter

Don’t do it. Instead, toss waste into the trash, and if possible, recycle! The town of Wrightsville Beach has an impressive recycling center, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Located at 321 Causeway Drive, they recycle glass, aluminum, plastic, newspaper, mixed paper and cardboard. Remember, if you bring it in, take it out with you.

Handicap Access

There are 8 ADA accessible ocean access points across the beach strand:
Access #2, 2698 N. Lumina Avenue
Access #3, 2498 N. Lumina Avenue
Access #4, 2398 N. Lumina Avenue
Access #8, 1800 N. Lumina Avenue
Access #9, 1700 N. Lumina Avenue
Access #16, 25 E. Salisbury Street
Access #36, 650 S. Lumina Avenue
Access #43, 1000 S. Lumina Avenue

The Wrightsville Beach Parks and Recreation office has a few sand/beach wheelchairs available for three days at a time. The chairs allow users to roll down the beach and get their feet wet in the ocean. The chairs aren’t motorized or user-propelled; you’ll need someone else to provide the horsepower. There’s no fee, but advance reservations are a must. Last year, the chairs were in and out of the office all summer long. The Parks and Rec office is located at 1 Bob Sawyer Drive in Wrightsville Beach. Call (910) 256-7925 for more information.

Alcohol Laws of Wrightsville Beach

The legal drinking age in North Carolina is 21. Alcoholic beverages may be served until 2 a.m. No alcoholic beverages may be purchased before noon on Sunday. Most restaurants and all full-service resorts are permitted to sell alcoholic beverages, as well as beer and wine. Drinking and driving is, of course, illegal. However, most resorts provide transportation to area restaurants and bars. There is no alcohol allowed on the beach, except on private property.

Public Restrooms on Wrightsville Beach

2968 N. Lumina Avenue – 29 parking spaces, ADA accessible, public toilets and a shower. Public access #2.

2398 N. Lumina Avenue – 99 parking spaces, ADA accessible and public toilets. Public access #4.

25 E. Salisbury Street – parking spaces, ADA accessible, covered gazebo, public toilets and a shower. Public access #16.

650 S. Lumina Avenue – 86 parking spaces, ADA accessible, public toilets and a shower. Public access #36.


WILDLIFE

Sea Turtles

Each year, from May to August, Wrightsville Beach is home to some prized visitors, loggerhead sea turtles. All of the eggs hatched on our shores are protected by the Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project, a group of volunteers who guard the nests and perform excavations to make sure that when the babies hatch, they make it into the ocean safely. These excavations are open to the public, and are an exciting opportunity to see the hatchlings up close. If you attend an excavation, please be mindful of the turtles’ safety and refrain from touching the hatchlings or using flash photography, which can temporarily blind them. At all times, be sure to keep your distance from nesting or injured turtles. If you happen upon a sea turtle on the beach, call Nancy Fahey at (910) 791-4541 or (910) 612-3047 day or night.

Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center

Founded in 1997 by executive director Jean Beasley, Animal Planet’s "2007 Hero of the Year," the center’s mission is to conserve and protect all species of marine turtles, both in the water and on the beach; to rescue, rehabilitate, and release sick and injured sea turtles; to inform and educate the public regarding the plight of all sea turtles and the threat of their extinction; and to provide an experiential learning site for students of biology, wildlife conservation and/or veterinary medicine from around the world. The center is open to visitors from June through August from 2-4 p.m. It’s located at 822 Carolina Boulevard at the southern end of Topsail Island on Topsail Beach, across from the water tower.
(910) 328-1000
www.seaturtlehospital.org

Oysters

In the past 100 years, North Carolina has seen a major decline in its oyster beds; more than 90 percent have disappeared due to over fishing, degradation of the shoreline due to over-development, decline in water quality and increase in shellfish diseases. For these reasons, the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF) has stepped in to control the oyster harvest from the beginning of the season, in mid-October, to the end, in late March or early April. Oysters procreate, secreting their larvae, in the spring and summer months — from May through August, depending on water salinity and other factors, such as winter rains, spring storms and summer hurricanes. While oyster roasts are common in this area, an environmentally friendly thing to do is recycle the shells by dropping them off at an access point. At Wrightsville Beach, all oyster shells may be recycled at the NCDMF Lab, located off Causeway Drive (adjacent to the fire department).

Vegetation

The removal of sea oats or any other vegetation is prohibited year-round.


WEDDINGS

You’ve got a fiancé. Congratulations and good work! Now all you need is a place to get married. Today, 15 percent of couples tie the knot at — actually on — a tropical location, as opposed to the more traditional, walk-down-the-aisle-inside-the-church wedding. There are wonderful, memorable benefits to getting married on a beautiful beach strand, and here on Wrightsville, we have the most beautiful beach around. So if your big day is on the horizon and being a bride on the beach sounds good to you, here are some things to consider as you’re kicking off your shoes.

Weddings on the beach tend to be a whole lot (40 percent!) less expensive than those held elsewhere. Very little money needs to be spent on decorations; the sea, the sand and the setting sun are your backdrop. You don’t have to buy shoes — well, maybe flip-flops — and you can plan to have a weddingmoon — a combination wedding and honeymoon, which will save you money on traveling.

But saving some dough is secondary when compared to the memories, the photographs, the fun, the adventure and the pure romance of saying your vows with the echo of the surf in the background. Interested? Here are some simple steps to make your dream beach wedding a reality.

Apply early for a wedding permit

In 2007, 163 couples received Wrightsville Beach wedding permits. As of April 2008, 94 wedding permits have been issued. Prime locations go fast. The applications must be submitted at least five days in advance for weddings with fewer than 200 guests. If you have more than 200 guests, the application must be submitted 21 days in advance. An application fee must be submitted with the form. The price varies depending upon how many guests you’re planning to invite. Applications can be found at www.towb.org/specialevents.htm.

1-25 participants = $100
26-100 participants = $150
101-250 participants = $200
251-500 participants = $300
501 or more participants = $400

Apply for a marriage license

You’re getting married in New Hanover County, so contact the New Hanover County Register of Deeds at (910) 342-2417.


Find a specific location

The far north and south ends of Wrightsville Beach tend to be the least congested and so provide the most open beach, but both require a little bit of a walk to the sand. Johnnie Mercer’s and Crystal Piers are also popular locations for weddings. The south end’s gazebo at the juncture of South Lumina and Jack Parker Boulevard is a popular point to anchor a beachfront wedding.

If you don’t want to get your feet sandy, the Wrightsville Beach oceanfront hotels — the Shell Island Resort, the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort and the Blockade Runner Beach Resort — offer wedding specials that include both a wedding and a reception site. And Wrightsville has five beautiful churches to hold a ceremony near, if not actually on, the beach.

Work with the Town of Wrightsville Beach

To arrange portable toilets, which are required for weddings with more than 250 guests, you’ll need to talk with Wrightsville Beach Parks and Recreation. Designate specific people in your party to clean up after the event. If the sound of waves crashing isn’t enough for you, and you decide to have music, make sure the sound is directed toward the ocean. Contact the Wrightsville Beach Police Department to coordinate traffic and crowd control. Also, depending upon the size of your wedding, parking can be tricky on Wrightsville Beach. Plan ahead: speak with the Wrightsville Beach Town Hall, Parks and Recreation and the police for ideas and suggestions.


Town of Wrightsville Beach
321 Causeway Drive
(910) 256-7900
www.towb.org


Wrightsville Beach Parks and Recreation
1 Bob Sawyer Drive
(910) 256-7925


Wrightsville Beach Police
321 Causeway Drive
(910) 256-7911


CHURCH SERVICES

Surf, sun and solitude may be your only requirements for a beachside vacation. While Wrightsville Beach is rich in outdoor recreation and beach-based activities, it may be surprising to know that it is also a rich spiritual community.

Seven churches are located within a stone’s throw from the crashing waves, and each one offers a number of services for you to keep in line with the Creator as you enjoy the creation.

Little Chapel on the Boardwalk
The Rev. Todd Wright, pastor
The Rev. Mike Baynai, assoc. pastor.
Located at 2 W. Fayetteville Street, this Presbyterian Church offers an informal service at 8:30 a.m. Sunday school begins at 9:45 a.m. and is followed by a traditional service at 11 a.m.
Call (910) 256-2819

Pilgrims Rest Missionary Baptist Church
Rev. Houston
Sunday School begins at 9:45 a.m. and services are held at 11 a.m. on the first, second and fourth Sundays of the month (service is held at 9 a.m. on the third Sunday of the month).
Located at 6761 Wrightsville Avenue, across from the Galleria Shopping Center
Call (910) 256-8289

St. Andrews On The Sound Episcopal
The Rev. Richard G. Elliot, rector.
Worship services are offered at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Located at 101 Airlie Road (at the corner of Airlie Road and Oleander Drive)
Call (910) 256-3034

St. Matthew A.M.E. Church
Rev. Dewey C. Farmer, Jr.
Located at 6809 Wrightsville Avenue, across from the Galleria Shopping Center
Sunday school begins at 10 a.m.

St. Therese Catholic Church
Father Walter Ospina
Located
at 209 S. Lumina Avenue. The Mass schedule includes Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday at 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. The last Sunday of every month Latin Mass is offered at 3:30 p.m.
Call (910) 256-2471

Wrightsville Beach Baptist Church
Located at 601 Causeway Drive, Sunday school is offered at 9:15 a.m. with a worship service immediately following at 10:30 a.m.
Call (910) 256-3682

Wrightsville United Methodist
Rev. Bob Bauman, Rev. Laura Mitchell
Rev. P. D. Midgett
Located at 4 Live Oak Drive. Worship services: Sundays 8:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m.
Call (910) 256-4471


REAL ESTATE

County Wide 2007 Year in review

As the nation’s economy slides further toward a recession, the Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors, Multiple Listing Service reported a decline in the number of units sold from the previous year in the greater New Hanover County real estate market.

The total sales volume for single family homes dropped 17 percent to $1,764,190,779 for 2007.

While dollar volume was down, unit sales were up 31.6 percent over 2006, with a total of 6,449 units selling board-wide. More good news is that the average sale price of a single family home in the county rose greater than $9,000, while the median sales price rose more than $7,800.

There’s no question that while the rest of the nation’s real estate industry slipped into near panic, at Wrightsville Beach things held, and even improved. Not the boom times of 2005, but certainly stronger that the preceding year, with a sales volume of $112 million for Wrightsville, a 7.7 percent increase over 2006.

The average list price at Wrightsville was $1,258,315, with the median sales price $937,500. However, a good number – 44 percent of the total sales at Wrightsville – were in the over a million dollar category.

The "Top Sale in the County" honor moved to Wrightsville Beach (from Figure Eight, 2005 and 2006), with the sale of the brand new soundfront home at 122 Parmele Boulevard for $4.5 million.

Sales of other big ticket homes in the county were strong, with 99 sales of single family homes, along with seven "lots" selling for more than $1 million. Of the 99 $1 million-plus single family home sales in the county, 38 were at Wrightsville.

Just over the bridge from Wrightsville Beach, the gated community of Landfall sports nearly 4 miles of waterfront property on the Intracoastal Waterway and Howe Creek. Landfall’s nearly 2,000 acres have been developed over the last 15 years into many different neighborhoods. Of the top 15 highest priced sales in the county, four were in Landfall.

Realtors closed 112 units in Landfall, for a total sales volume of $100,177,183. The median sales price in this gated community was $706,205. The average number of days on the market was 172.

Accessible only by an antiquated swing bridge across the Intracoastal Waterway, Figure Eight Island is a 1,300-acre island with less than 450 private homes. It’s edged by 5 miles of white, sandy beaches and backed by plentiful canals leading out to Banks Channel, but no commercial developments of any kind.

Figure Eight Island closed out the year with just nine sales, seven of which were in the $1 million-plus category for single-family homes.

Figure Eight Island also saw the sale of four homes rank in the top priced 15 countywide sales. The median sales price was $2,510,000. Total sold volume on the nine sales was more than $23 million, and the median sales price was $2.5 million.

To the south, Kure Beach racked up an impressive nine sales more than $1 million, but neighboring Carolina Beach had just one.

Kure Beach saw 79 units sold, with a sales volume of less than $45 million. The median sales price was $465,000.

The highest-priced sale at Kure Beach was a 6,000-square foot, multifamily site just north of the pier, 329 North Atlantic Avenue, built in 1997, which included a lighthouse and was used as a bed and breakfast. Listed at $2.9 million, the property sold in just 49 days for $2.5 million.

Realtors at Carolina Beach closed an impressive 175 sales for a sales volume of less than $63 million. The top sale at Carolina Beach, and what may have been the best deal of the year in the county, was 400 North Lake Park Boulevard, a wood-framed 3,500-square-foot home located right at the yacht basin, that included two deep water boat slips on the canal. Listed at $2 million, this property sold after 117 days for $1.775 million, a gain of $475,000 more than 2006’s top sale.

In the more than $1 million category, two occurred along the waterfront on River Road. One of these, a 64-plus-acre tract that offered 3,500 feet of riverfront, was reputedly purchased by a Hollywood film star for just less than $8.99 million in June.

The gated community of Porters Neck Plantation saw three big ticket sales over $1 million.

Topsail Beach top honors went to 95 N. Anderson Boulevard, a 3,600-square-foot oceanfront spec home built in 2005, but left standing empty for 698 days, sold for $1,152,500 or $320 per square foot. The highest record sale in 2006 on Topsail had been $1.54 million.

 

 


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