One of the things you’ll hear the most in and around the Raleigh area comes straight from the mouths of locals, somewhat religiously. “We’re two hours to the coast, and two hours to the mountains.”
Now, you might think that this saying means that Raleigh itself is located in the middle of nowhere – two hours in any direction to anything and, well, you would be right. Don’t get me wrong, from what we’ve seen so far the “Triangle” does a good job of creating plenty for its residents to do – but we are living 2 hours away from everything.
Moving to North Carolina came as a result of an extensive elimination process through which Abbi and I narrowed our states of choice down from 50 to 8 based on such vital statistics as median income level, average home value, violent crime rates, tax rates, prevailing political climate, and such. In the final round we decided to let our hair down and add in that we wanted a “warm coastal” state. This cut our third round list down by 50% and gave us a goal. Essentially we aimed for the Southeastern United States and hit the road.
And, since a beach (admittedly this was Abbi’s addition to our search criteria) was what moved North Carolina into the “winners circle” it made since that one of our first trips after landing in NC would be to the beach two hours away in Wilmington; a straight shot from Raleigh on a major highway. Seeing as it was early February and not exactly “warm” by “warm beach” standards – we elected to go LOOK at the beach, and then head to the Battleship North Carolina – a floating museum on what once was the USS North Carolina (BB-55).
The battleship is easy to get to, affordable (only $10 for Military and Veterans and kids under 5 are free), and extremely well laid out, organized, and curated. It was exciting being able to take our kids from the bridge (high above the main deck) down into the gun turrets, and then as far down below deck as the engine rooms.
Most importantly this was a great opportunity to teach the kids a bit about history – it was their first battleship, and they had a lot of questions. Talking to them about WWII and the courageous men and women who fought against tyranny was a great way to point out some alarming parallels (like cancel culture) in today’s society that are being glossed over in public schools. Ultimately the trip was a success, we all learned about this mighty ship, and we had a great time doing so.