What to See and Where to Dine and Stay in Wilmington, North Carolina
Where to Stay
Of course there are chain hotels where you can stay, but why not experience the historic charm and graciousness at one of the city’s stunning historic mansions that is now an award-winning B&B? There is no better place for your stay in Wilmington than at the AAA 4-Diamond (2015) and member of The Select Registry, The Verandas. Just blocks from the riverfront area, 15 minutes to the beach, and located in a quiet neighborhood, it’s the perfect location to experience the best of what Wilmington has to offer.
This 8500 square foot Victorian Italianate Mansion was lovingly and meticulously restored to its original charm and grandeur after being purchased in 1995 by its innkeepers, Dennis Madsen and Charles Pennington. The mansion had experienced extensive fire and water damage and was boarded up since 1992 when they bought the home. To look at this mansion today with its eight spacious and individually decorated guestrooms and beautiful public rooms filled with what appears to be original antiques and artwork, you would never know that the mansion was ever left abandoned.
Charles (or Chuck as he prefers to be called) was a most welcoming host during the holiday season. The impressive Christmas decorations were particularly festive as we sat in the living room and enjoyed chatting with him over a glass of wine while learning more about the history of the property. He also showed us a book compiled of the photographs from the complete restoration process beginning from when they first purchased the mansion. It was truly astounding how much work had to be done. Chuck also shared stories about the furnishings in the home, which seemed to have been carefully selected for each spot they adorned. He has donated many of the objects and art to preserve the educational and historic significance of each.
A full breakfast the next morning was elegantly served complete with china and silver in the dining room. We started with a quarter slice of a perfectly sweet and fresh pineapple sliced and served in the shell. Not missing an opportunity to have just the right touch and garnish, it came with an orange twist and raspberries on the side.
What followed was one of the most decadent breakfasts we’ve ever enjoyed at a B&B, a Pear and Brie Stuffed Croissant, which was more like a fluffy baked egg and cheese casserole. While Chuck says it’s simple to prepare, it was impressive and picture perfect presented with a buttery plum glaze poured over the top, followed by fresh raspberries and then served with a chicken sausage, and fresh orange slices for garnish. Be still my heart. He says the “dish will bring smiles from your friends and family.” And that it will.
Chuck was kind enough to share the recipe with us for his fabulous breakfast and brunch treat. You’ll find the recipe below.
If you haven’t been to Wilmington, make plans to visit this up and coming food city and historic riverfront town. When you do, book a room at The Verandas and tell Chuck we said hello. And be sure to make a reservation at Pinpoint Restaurant to visit Dean and Lydia and enjoy what’s best and freshest on their seasonal and local Southern-inspired menu.
Pear and Brie Stuffed Croissants
This breakfast dish will bring smiles from your friends and family. And it’s easy to make!
- 16 Croissants
- 24 Large Eggs
- Half Gallon of Milk (Half and Half is too rich)
- 2 pounds of ripe Brie (cut into squares about 1/3 inch thick)
- 4 Freshly ripened pears, peeled and cut into squares (same thickness as Brie pieces)
- About 4 tablespoons of freshly chopped Rosemary
- 1 Jar Premium Golden Plum Preserves
- 1 stick butter in sauce pan
- 2 pints of fresh blueberries, 2 pints of raspberries, or 1 quart of sliced strawberries
Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
Cut the croissants lengthwise the night before and let dry. They soak up the egg custard better. (Keep the top and bottom together as it is easier to match them.)
Mix the eggs and milk together (you can add a little vanilla, as you wish) to make an egg custard.
Dip the bottoms of the croissant in the egg custard and place on a ½ sheet cake pan (sprayed with Pam or similar product.)
Arrange a checkerboard pattern with the Brie and pear over the bottoms. Sprinkle with chopped rosemary and dip top of the croissant in the egg custard, and add on top of the base.
Repeat until all of the croissants are done. Bake about 30 minutes or until custard is set and puffy. Let sit a few minutes before serving.
Melt plum preserves and butter together in a medium pan. Stir to combine well. Add a little cornstarch if the mixture is too thin.
Right before serving, add fresh blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries. You want them warm, but not cooked. Spoon over cooked croissant. Eat!
Note – In a pinch, frozen berries can be used, but only add when it’s nearing time to serve.
202 Nun Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
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Disclosure – We were assisted with our travel plans by Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau. We have in no way been compensated and the opinions expressed regarding our experience are our own.