Carolina Beach Lighting at the Lakeby Desiree Whalen.

Plan A:
Tonight, my family and I got bundled up, hopped in the car, and headed out toward one of our most favorite holiday traditions here in the Wilmington area - the NC Holiday Flotilla in Wrightsville Beach. We've been going for years, and Carolina Beach Lighting at the Lakecouldn't wait to see it again.

Everyone was excited.

Along the way however, things went wrong. We had left too late (5 o'clock, flotilla started at 6) and traffic was backed up for miles and moving nowhere fast.  Our usual 10 minute trip to the beach was creeping up on an hour and we were still only half way there.

Traffic was moving so slow that we feared the flotilla would already be finished by the time we even reached the bridge to Wrightsville Beach.  With traffic at a dead stop, we made the decision to turn around and head home. "We'll just make sure to leave earlier next year," we said.

Everyone was dejected.

My husband then came up with another idea..."Why don't we head down to Carolina Beach and at least go look at the lights around the lake," he said. "As long as we're already out, we might as well go check it out." So down the road we went...

Plan B:
I love the holiday lights around the lake at Carolina Beach Lake Park. We make it a point every year to go and see them, so this was a very welcome idea indeed. We walked around the entire lake with our kids, and finished our lap at the playground where we sat to ponder the rest of our evening.

We decided to look online and find out if there were any other holiday activities scheduled for that night on Pleasure Island, and saw that the Carolina Beach Boardwalk was hosting its annual Christmas by the Sea - something we'd always talked about doing, but had just never gone before. "Hey - that looks like fun!" we said, and off we went.

Everyone was excited again.

And what a great time it was. In addition to numerous holiday light displays, the Boardwalk played host to two bonfires (one for storytelling and one for marshmallow roasting), Santa's workshop (both Santa and Mrs. Claus!), free hot chocolate, a live (musical) Nativity scene, pony rides, holiday-themed photo op stand-ups, and arts and crafts.

This was easily one of the best holiday events we've experienced in the area, hands-down. My kids didn't want to leave, and are already asking us to go back again before Christmas. What was supposed to be a "Plan B" turned out to be anything but, and now we've vowed to place it at the top of our list for things to do during the holidays from now on.

If you're looking for something fun to do with your family this holiday season, I highly recommend visiting Christmas by the Sea at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk before it's gone. Find out more at: http://www.pleasureislandnc.org

-Desiree

P.S. - Don't forget! If you're looking to purchase a home in the Carolina Beach area  or are thinking about selling your home here in southeastern NC, give me a call - I'm here to help!