Wrightsville Beach and Fort Fisher

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Jan’s niece Annya lives in Wrightsville Beach, in a home owned by her brother Jeremy, right on the inland waterway  away from the Atlantic Ocean. Just a quick note on Jeremy Broderick…He is a recovering addict who has been sober for some 15 years. He came to Newport Beach and enrolled in a recovery program which proved successful and decided to stay and give back to the program that had helped him. Over the years Jeremy started his own recovery house and now has a number of houses for recovering addicts in Orange County and his Windward Way Recovery is among the most respected not only in California but in the country as well. He is deeply involved on a national level with the current opioid crisis and is teaming with  state governors and philanthropists to try to reach a solution to this ever-deepening problem. Continuing to give back!


Annya watches his house in North Carolina while working in Wilmington in the medical field. She is an incurable wanderer who loves to sail, travel and cook and who is reluctantly tied down for the time being in a 9 to 5 job. She graciously showed us around Wilmington including an afternoon trip out on the ocean in her 33′ Cape Dory.


She got the sailing bug from her father who crewed on a sailboat across the Atlantic which Annya also did several years ago.


Myself, Aunt Jan and friend Walt helped crew…

and there was a beautiful sunset under a full moon later that night coupled with a great meal prepared by Annya. See below.


Wilmington was established in 1739 and served as a center point for the rebellion against British rule due to its strategic influence as a port  and it continued to grow as a viable trading city with the development of rail lines from major cities to the north. It also became a focal point in the Civil War when Fort Fisher fell to forces of the Union soldiers which signaled the demise of the Confederate states.


Fort Fisher was the largest earthen fortification in the country and under control of the Confederates. Located 18 miles south of Wilmington, it served as a strategic defense for the blockade runners that provided vital provisions to the rest of the South therefore establishing itself as an extremely important asset for maintaining the viability of the South’s efforts to be free of the North.


Fort Fisher became the site of the largest amphibious battle to date in the young history of our nation when the seemingly impregnable fortress was laid to siege by Union ships in a military battle that was to become lore in the history of naval battles.

“Both faces of the fort consisted of sod-covered mounds of sand, inside each of which was a bombproof shelter. Between these were platforms with 44 guns, most of which were smoothbore Columbiads. Three mortars and three Napoleon smoothbores augmented the larger pieces. A sally port midway in the landface allowed access to a palisade of sharpened logs nine feet in height. Two dozen mines outside this could be detonated from inside the fort.”

Two battles took place, the first in late December of 1864 when Union ships bombarded the fort over two days effectively weakening the fort, and the second two weeks later in January of 1865 when another heavy dose of bombing effectively crippled the fort and allowed Union soldiers who came in from the north to take control and accept the surrender by General William Whiting.


The critical supply line to the Confederate forces to the south and the city of Richmond where General Lee had his headquarters had been terminated and it was a short two months later that the war ended for good.


From one historic battle era to another, we took a tour of the USS NorthCarolina, hull # BB-55, originally built in 1937, the first battleship to be built in 16 years. She was commissioned in the spring of 1941 and was considered the world’s strongest armed vessel. She was armed with nine 16-inch/45 caliber guns in three turrets,


and twenty 5-inch/38 caliber guns in ten twin mounts.


She performed in every major campaign in the South Pacific logging over 300,000 miles of hard fought service.


Her wartime complement consisted of 144 commissioned officers and 2,195 enlisted men, including about 100 Marines, and privacy was a rarity.

Decommissioned in 1947, she languished in the sea wards of Bayonne, New Jersey until it was decided to scrap her. The citizens of North Carolina gathered together and brought her home to Wilmington where she proudly hosts tours throughout the year and can be rented for weddings, birthdays and special events.IMG_9739

Posting this blog (a little after the fact) on the Fourth of July, an appropriate photo.

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Annya loves to cook and is very good at it. She embraces any cuisine, much as I do, and she is well known in her circle of friends as the go-to home for food. IMG_0524

The night we went sailing she put together a Thai soup, Tom Kha Gai, a spicy little number that can, depending on taste, bring a sweat to anyone’s forehead. Of course, you can wrench it down to mild, but it is best as a mind-numbing and eye-watering work of culinary art. Enjoy!

tom kha gai

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