Bellamy Mansion Museum#6 in Best Things To Do in Wilmington, NC
From the mid-19th century until the mid-20th century, one of the largest slaveholders in the state – Dr. John Bellamy – his wife and 10 children lived in this stately 1800s-era Greek Revival mansion. The property contains 22 rooms, lush gardens and restored slave quarters – and today, knowledgeable tour guides give visitors a history of the family, the architecture and the enslaved people that worked on the property. Of the approximately 115 enslaved men, women and children that Bellamy owned, nine resided and worked at the property, according to historical documents.
Along with the entire mansion, travelers can tour the two-story brick slave quarters. Designed to complement the main house, the area includes four sleeping chambers, a laundry room and two five-seat privies. This style of housing for enslaved workers was once quite common in cities where slavery was legal. The structure that stands today – considered one of the best-preserved examples in the country – provides an interesting contrast to the small, rudimentary huts often seen on plantations.
Past visitors highly recommended taking a break from the beach to tour the house. Though you can tour the property on your own, reviewers strongly encourage opting for a guided tour for a comprehensive history lesson. Others were particularly fascinated by the unique slave quarters. Don't miss the view of the city as seen from the belvedere.
The Bellamy Mansion Museum is located inside the bounds of Wilmington's Historic District, and it's open for tours Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Sundays, it's open from 1 to 4 p.m. Visitors can opt for a self-guided tour of the property with the help of multilingual audio. Volunteer-led guided tours are also available at the top of the hour. The last tour begins at 4 p.m. The tours are included in the price of admission, which is $12 for adults; $10 for seniors and military; and $6 for students ages 6 to 18. Children ages 5 and younger get in for free. For more information, visit the Bellamy Mansion Museum's website.
More Best Things To Do in Wilmington, NC
#1 Wilmington's Riverwalk
No trip to Wilmington is complete without a stroll along its mile-long Riverwalk. This wooden boardwalk that borders Cape Fear River is lined with popular restaurants and bars – and punctuated by stools and benches that are perfect for taking a break and taking in the scene.
One traveler who praised the Riverwalk's views also recommended taking a water taxi to the Battleship North Carolina. Another traveler said the Riverwalk encapsulates the local culture, from the smell of the salty sea air to the surrounding history to the buzzy nightlife.
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