Poplar Grove Plantation#7 in Best Things To Do in Wilmington, NC
Poplar Grove Plantation is part of the National Park Service's Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, which runs from Wilmington in the north to Jacksonville, Florida, in the south. The Gullah Geechee are the descendants of Africans who were enslaved on the rice, indigo and Sea Island cotton plantations of the lower Atlantic coast. Along with their unique Creole language, the Gullah Geechee are known for their distinct arts, crafts, music, food and religious practices. You'll learn about the Gullah Geechee with a visit to Poplar Grove Plantation, formerly a sweet potato and peanut plantation.
Thanks to the agricultural skills of the Gullah Geechee, who worked on the plantation, the sweet potatoes and peanuts harvested were sold locally to planter families to supplement the diet of the enslaved. Aside from their agricultural contributions, the enslaved people that worked on the plantation also constructed the manor house that visitors see today. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the three-story manor house dates back to 1850. Also on-site are two heritage art studios (a basket gallery and a blacksmith shop), as well as an agriculture exhibit that displays a peanut thrasher and information on the production of peanuts. Families with kids may also be pleased to know that the on-site stables are home to a variety of pigs, goats, ducks, horses, sheep, cats, hens and roosters, representative of 19th-century farm life.
Visitors are welcome to tour the restored plantation house to admire the stately structure and to learn more about the enslaved laborers who constructed the house. Between the months of April through October, the site also offers a moonlit paranormal tour. From the end of May to the end of September, the attraction hosts a local farmers market every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Past visitors highly recommended stopping by the plantation to gain a better understanding of the history of the area. Other reviewers suggested attending one of the paranormal tours, which they described as both spooky and educational.
Poplar Grove Plantation's hours change seasonally. Check the website for updated hours.
Tickets for guided tours cost $10 for adults and $6 for kids ages 6 to 15, with discounts for seniors and members of the military. Self-guided tours are available for $9 per person. Tickets for the paranormal tour cost $15 each. Note that the site is closed for the month of January for maintenance and repairs.
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#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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