Literary City Guide | WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA
Tour Guide: JESS REEDY
Happiest when barefoot. Believer of faith, grace, and compassion. Gluten and Dairy free. Consumed with 90s nostalgia. Humbled by the ocean. Feels empathy for Peter Pan. And confident that peanut butter tastes good on everything. Jess owns Pineapple Studios, a yoga and art studio in downtown Wilmington, NC. Keep up with other events and her traveling schedule via her journal and instagram.
Relationship to Wilmington: I spent a summer here during college and knew it was home.
Writer you’d like to invite to dinner: Rupi Kaur, author of milk and honey
Chef you’d like to prepare the meal: Fanny Slater, winner of the Rachael Ray cookbook competition and author of Orange, Lavender & Figs
Writing soundtrack: Currently, Jack Garratt. But it changes often.
Pen or Pencil: Pen
Coffee or Tea? In the morning, coffee. Afternoon, coffee. And in the evening, probably coffee.
Paperback or Hardback? Paperback
Old Books on Front. More books than you could ever know what to do with. This downtown spot is a local favorite.
Pomegranate Books. This cozy bookstore is also home to my favorite coffee shop. You can sip a coffee masterpiece from Zola and peruse the books.
McAllister and Solomon Used and Rare Books. This store has a great selection of used books for a great price, making it a perfect spot to get your beach reads!
New Hanover County Public Library. Our downtown library is so much more than a place to grab a book. The NHC Library hosts frequent events, webinars, and workshops to benefit the underserved in the community.
Northeast Regional Library. Similar to the downtown location, this library serves the Wilmington community toward Wrightsville Beach.
Little Libraries. These little library mailboxes are my favorite. You can take a book and leave a book to pay it forward. And they usually have a fun selection! Colorful and eclectic in their style; heartwarming in their function.
READINGS & CONFERENCES
UNCW. UNCW Creative Writing program hosts frequent events around town. I love catching their events because they can sometimes be as formal as a museum setting, as casual as meeting in a bar, or as simple as a gathering in a backyard with pretty patio lights.
Pomegranate Books. Pomegranate Books does a great job of hosting authors, writing clubs, and even workshops for kids.
Literary Walking Tours. Local tours are provided by Old Books on Front. Tour guide and bookstore owner, Gwenyfar, has put together an incredibly impressive two hour walking tour here in downtown. Wilmington is rich with literary history and inspiration. This tour is an absolute must.
A Literary Loft. An adorable, book themed place to stay overnight! It’s located right above Old Books on Front so you can wake up, search through miles of books, and be right on time for your 1:30pm literary walking tour!
Kindred Spirit Mailbox. You have to search the beach for this hidden gem, but it is worth it. Write your letters, poems, questions, and put them in the mailbox. It’s romantically cathartic.
Pineapple Studios. I’m lucky enough to know some amazing papermakers and book artists. So I host workshops with them whenever I can at my shop!
Thalian Hall. More than just a playhouse, it’s also famous for hosting Oscar Wilde during his time here in Wilmington!
Luna Caffe. Luna is more than coffee, the whole atmosphere is contagiously happy. You quickly feel like a regular here and they always remember what you’re drinking lately. Luna is single handedly responsible for getting me hooked on cortados.
24 South Coffee House. The perfect spot for both coffee and tea drinkers. The have all your favorite coffee drinks plus an impressive selection of loose leaf teas. Rocking chairs out front, screen doors, and tin ceiling tiles make this a place where you can really relax.
Zola. Another great place for tea drinkers and coffee lovers alike. I never tire of this place because their menu is so unique. Be warned.. their menu is so intriguing that you’ll have a hard time choosing a drink!
SUNdays. A coffee shop that is right on the beach. This is my favorite place to go when I still have work to do on my day off. A few hours on the laptop, and then a much deserved dive in the ocean. Plus, their smoothies are delicious!
A PROPER MEAL
Yosake. A great place to dine with friends; either before OR after a big night out downtown. In fact, I think I’ve celebrated all of birthdays here since moving to Wilmington. They serve a little something for everyone, including a few delicious vegan sushi rolls and they are open for late night bites.
Pinpoint Restaurant. A newer gem to Wilmington, it has quickly become one of my favorite. Pinpoint boasts small intimate seating, soft lighting, and a large bar as a functional focal point. It’s a great place for feel-good decadent food.
Rx Restaurant. Southern food with an upscale twist. The menu changes almost daily to accommodate their farm to table mission. And the cocktails are incredible!
Pink Baking Company. This place has it all. Counter Culture coffee, gluten free and vegan lunch bowls, and countertops filled with cupcakes. They host frequent cupcake and wine or beer pairings, but you can also enjoy your own experience by ordering a few mini cupcakes and a glass of bubbly. You really can’t go wrong here… everything they bake is delicious!
The Fortunate Glass. The best place for a nightcap! A frequently changing menu of specials, a large selection of half-glass options, and it’s central downtown location make this a great last stop on your evening out.
JESS's 5 Favorites
1. Favorite view: SUNdays Cafe… this coffee shop and healthy cafe is a great place to get some work done. They have a giant window overlooking the ocean. Plus, they have grab-n-go snacks so you can easily spend time on the beach writing.
2. Favorite place to write: Surf House. Sunday brunch is the highlight of my week. And this place does it best. A slow paced meal, delicious coffee, a sunny atmosphere, and mimosas make this the perfect writing spot.
3. Favorite museum: Cameron Art Museum. The museum exhibitions never disappoint. They also host art workshops, poetry readings, frequent events in the book arts, and much more. It’s certainly worth your while to keep an eye on their event calendar.
4. Favorite coffee shop: Zola. The BEST coffee. The flavor combinations and the coffee concoctions feel are true artistry. Try the almond butter latte- it’s my favorite!
5. Favorite thing about Wilmington: It feels more like a community than a town. Plus, it’s a beach town and it doesn’t get much dreamier than that.