Do’s and Don’ts of North Carolina

The America Series

This is the fourth post in my America travelling series. If
you’d like to catch up on part one, two and three, you can do so here, here and

My sister and I get a lot of people asking us ‘why did you
go to North Carolina? What’s there?’ The truth is: we wanted to visit the
filming locations of some of our favourite TV shows including One Tree Hill and
Dawson’s Creek.

We did just that – but firstly there were a lot of obstacles
in our path. If you ever travel to America purely for this reason, then please
learn from our mistakes! Here are my do’s and don’ts for visiting North

Do your research and make sure you get a flight to the right

America was my sister’s first travelling trip (not a holiday
might I add, a budget travelling trip) and she was in charge of booking the
flights while I was away on my first travelling trip. She didn’t read up on
where the filming locations were, she listened to some spiel from our contact
at the agency we went through and hey presto, before we knew it, we were
travelling to Charlotte (not Wilmington where OTH and Dawson’s Creek were
actually filmed). Shit.

Don’t stay at the Hilton Gateway Village hotel in Charlotte…

…Unless you want to pay ALL OF THE MONEY in taxes that they
add onto your stay. When I was looking for a hotel in Charlotte, this was the
best option at the time in terms of location and value for money. Had I
realised just how much it was actually going to cost in the end, I might have
stayed somewhere else. Having said that, there was nothing wrong with the hotel
apart from the cost – in fact, it was pretty damn nice!

Do call up Greyhound buses the day before you travel with

Whilst researching how to get to Wilmington, I found
Greyhound to be the most cost-effective travel method. Sure, we were going to
be on a bus for eight hours for £35 return – but it beat getting an hour and a
half flight for £200 return. However, we turned up on the day and found out
that the bus timetable had changed and nobody from the company had thought to
inform us. Hence us having to wait SIX AND A HALF HOURS for the next bus.
Cheers, Greyhound.

Don’t expect a line of taxis to be queueing up outside
Wilmington bus station.

We arrived at 10pm to a completely deserted bus station. If
it wasn’t for the nice American man who found a taxi number on his phone and
let us share his cab, then we would have been stranded in a strange place when
we were tired and cranky from the day’s events.

Do go to Waffle House on Market Street.

Now having those bad boys for breakfast the next day would
put a smile on anybody’s face! DE-LIC-IOUS! Plus it’s as cheap as chips.

Don’t be surprised if the locals are shocked to hear you’re
from England.

When visiting Dunkin’ Donuts, a young American guy was
listening to us debating whether we wanted a Valentines-themed pink
heart-shaped donut or a cookie-dough-filled round donut. (It’s a tough decision.) He then proceeded to cry out in
alarm, ‘OMG ARE YOU BRITISH?!’ You’d think he was genuinely excited if it
wasn’t for the look of disgust on his face. He must not get many British people
coming into his workplace and he must not like them. Needless to say, we
grabbed our donuts and ran.

Do the Hollywood Film Location Walk in Downtown Wilmington.

This two hour walking tour around Downtown Wilmington was excellent
and so cheap for a tenner! Our guide took us to multiple filming locations of
OTH, Dawson’s Creek, A Walk to Remember, We are the Millers and Iron Man 3
amongst many other movies and TV shows! He was so down to earth, friendly and knowledgeable
– I couldn’t recommend this tour enough!

Don’t expect the local bus to take you directly to
Wrightsville Beach.

For all those who don’t know, Wrightsville Beach is where they
shot multiple scenes in Dawson’s Creek – including the Opening Credits montage
under the pier. On the day of our mission to Wrightsville Beach, we were told
which bus to get, where from and when to get off. What the bus driver failed to
mention to us was the fact that the beach was an hour and a half’s walk from
where she dropped us off. Once we’d figured out where we were going, we
eventually got there and man… It was so worth it.

Do have a wander around Downtown Wilmington.

Downtown Wilmington is quite small but big enough to fill a
few hours. It’s on the river front so it’s very pretty, and there are tons of
cute little shops, bars and restaurants to explore. We went to a café/restaurant
for brunch and ended up staying there for three hours! It had fab food, great
music and an even greater atmosphere.

Don’t expect to get in a taxi without the taxi driver wanting
to know your life story…

…This is Americans all over. I absolutely adore how warm and
friendly there are though. Britons are miserable in comparison (or most Britons

Do explore the nightlife in Downtown Wilmington.

We’d met someone in LA who was from Wilmington and he told
us to check out Side Bar. We pulled up outside, got out and were ready to go in
– then we heard some commotion across the road. What we saw was a little bar packed full of
people drinking, laughing and having a good time, so naturally we decided to go in there instead. There was a cover charge as a band were about to go on
stage, but my sister and I love live music so this didn’t faze us. We paid the cover charge and in we went! We met some really fun guys, danced along to the band
and ended up having one of the best nights out we’ve ever had! I’ve since learned
that the bar is called The Whiskey and the band was Flannel Rebellion. Not to
sound like a total American but THANKS, YOU GUYS!

Don’t go out the night before you’re supposed to be taking a
Greyhound bus.

This results in sleeping through your alarm and having to
arrange alternate travel plans whilst hungover. These plans are likely to be
worse than your original plans (i.e. a three hour bus, two hour wait and then a
four hour train) and make you die a little bit inside. Seriously peeps, don’t do it!

We had an amazing time in Wilmington and felt really sad
that we had to head back to Charlotte to catch our flight out of North
Carolina. I would love to go back to Wilmington someday but I would give
Charlotte a miss as there wasn’t a lot to see or do (in my opinion). We were
told by one of our taxi drivers that Charlotte is a relatively new city and the
perfect place to get to on your way to somewhere else as the travel connections
are really good. But, other than that, there’s not a lot going for it.

Next time I will be sure to book the flight directly to
Wilmington! (Face palm!)


(Have you been to North Carolina before? Do you like the look of Wilmington from my photos? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks so much for reading! Katie-xo)

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