Carolina Cup Guide to Wrightsville Beach
This year’s Carolina Cup is chock-a-block with demos, clinics, free stretch out sessions and more, so you won’t be lacking for things to do in and around the event locale, the Blockade Runner resort. In the event you want to venture beyond, are new to the Cup and the area or just are looking for a refresher on where to find that last minute bottle of beet juice shots, here’s a primer.
Last year, just in time for the Carolina Cup, the Workshop opened in the little courtyard area near the Trolly Stop hot dog stand. It’s become our go-to for java ever since. Excellent coffee and espresso based drinks and AMAZING smoothies. Plus, the owner is a diver and she displays some amazing megalodon shark teeth in the shop. An easy morning stroll down from the Blockade Runner.
Just a bit farther down Waynick Boulevard is Cafe Del Mar, the coffee and smoothie bar section of Tower Seven. Open early, this is a great place for a breakfast burrito or biscuit, coffee and smoothies. Grab your cuppa and some food and then go check out the ocean conditions there at the pier.
On the island, Tower Seven is a Carolina Cup tradition. The menu features great tacos (I especially love the San Felipes) as well as burritos and even barbecue. Be warned, at usual lunch or dinner hours, it will be packed. But if you haven’t been, you need to go. It’s within walking distance to the Blockade Runner.
If you want to have healthy, fresh, awesome food to fuel your paddle and restore your energy, you’ll find paddlers and athletes flock to Epic Food Company. Epic is owned by Carolina Cup Race Director (one of 4) James Bain. Try the Pacifica Wrap.
A good alternative, with less crowds and a similar menu is Tower Seven’s sister restaurant, K-Bueno Mexi-Q Grill (formerly Las Olas) just up the road, on the mainland side of the drawbridge on Military Cutoff Road. There are a couple of things on the menu here that you can’t get at T7: Mexican Street Corn and sweet corn cakes with prickly pear butter. Worth driving for.
Sweet N Savory is another favorite. With a huge menu featuring great burgers and sandwiches and a bakery that will have you getting a to-go bag, it’s a great family friendly choice. You’ll need to drive but it’s not far.
The breakfast buffet at the Blockade Runner is more than ample but if you want local flavor, the Causeway Cafe is the place to go. It fills up quick, so go early. For biscuits and donuts, try Rise in the Landfall shopping center.
If you need to stock up, the Harris Teeter grocery store is easy to hit on your way into town off of I-40. If you need that extra bottle or two of beet juice energy shots or are looking for organic staples, Whole Foods Market is an easy drive. Lovey’s Market and Tidal Creek Co-op are also excellent organic, local, fresh juices, produce and groceries.
Forget something? No worries. If it’s paddle-related, Carolina Paddleboard Co. can help you out with a wide variety of accessories from leashes to tie-down straps to Vest Pacs, and of course boards and paddles. They will have a booth at the demo area on the sound side of the Blockade Runner as well.
Camping and need supplies? Try Great Outdoor Provision Company, which is not far from the Whole Foods. You can get hydration packs here.
It’s gonna be tight, especially if you are not staying at the Blockade Runner- the official event hotel. Metered spaces start filling up very early, especially on Saturday, race day. Fortunately, the town of Wrightsville Beach has meters that can be fed via a mobile phone app, Pay By Phone. It’s available for iPhone, Android and even Blackberry. Download it now. Once you create an account, plug in your make and model of car and license plate, it will save all that info and you can pay for parking in increments or for the whole day. You just enter the number of the meter at your space. You’ll get text reminders when your time is about to run out and you can re-up if necessary. Parking on the street in and in the few lots that exist on Wrightsville Beach is free from 6:00 pm until 9:00 am, unless otherwise noted.
Weather and Forecasting
The best local source for eyes-on ocean and surf conditions is WBLiveSurf.com . Here you’ll find the surf report, live cams and data including wind direction and water temp. Local news station WECT as well as Raleigh’s WRAL are good sources for the overall weather. But just remember, it changes every five minutes in North Carolina. So don’t obsess.