Bluethenthal Wildflower Preserve

It's easy to miss the Bluethenthal Wildflower Preserve. Located on the outskirts of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington's campus, this preserve was all but wiped away by the 1970s due to encroaching development. Thanks to the perseverance of local students and residents, however, the Bluethenthal Wildflower Preserve thrives as one of the most scenic and natural attractions that Wilmington has to offer. Especially attractive to budding botanists and foliage lovers, the preserve is a stunningly beautiful retreat that is close to Wilmington's thriving academic community, but feels miles away from the rest of the world.

A small bridge and bench at the Herbert Bluethenthal Memorial Wildflower Preserve

The actions required to create the preserve were first implemented in the early 1970s. At this time, Wilmington with booming with professionals, businesses, new residents and students, and the college, UNCW, was undergoing mass expansion, and invading some natural areas that lay along the campus grounds. One of these areas was a rustic and meandering trail located close to Hoggard Hall, which had been used for the past decade or so as "training grounds" for botany, ecology and other natural studies where students could learn about the local flora and fauna. The trail was reduced significantly with the new development, but the portion that remained held one of the highest and most varied concentrations of local native plants found on campus.

Bench seating for a small audience at the Herbert Bluethenthal Memorial Wildflower Preserve

Through correspondences with UNCW's chancellor, and a hefty donation provided by friend Janet Bluethenthal, the appropriately named Bluethenthal Wildflower Preserve was formed, protecting a significant portion of the landscape, and allowing current and future students to continue to study its rare variety of local foliage.

Herbert Bluethenthal Memorial Wildflower Preserve

Today, the preserve is open to students, faculty and the public, and is a hidden gem of a nature trail, guarded by towering pines and dense patches of forest, and a wide pine-covered trail leading through the preserve. The preserve itself consists of approximately 10 acres of terrain, mainly woodlands, with a wide range of plant species that are a solid representation of the plant life found in the region. Benches and marked trails are found throughout the preserve, and pamphlets are available at the entrance describing many of the more notable or prevalent varieties. In the summer, the small ponds and wooded areas light up with local wildflowers, and birders will find a number of local species in the midst of the action, including herons, ibises, and bright red cardinals.

A bench along a trail within the Herbert Bluethenthal Memorial Wildflower Preserve

There is no fee to access the Bluethenthal Wildflower Preserve, and parking is available for both students and non-students on campus near the Preserve's location on College Road. Visitors should note that while information is available at the entrance, there is no full-time staff manning the property. Visitors are asked to be respectful, take out what they bring in, and leave the preserve as pristine as they found it.

Herbert Bluethenthal Memorial Wildflower Preserve pathway through the woods

Though not very large, and only requiring an hour or so to explore in its entirety, the Bluethenthal Wildflower Preserve is nevertheless a fantastic excursion for adventure seekers who love to take a trip off the beaten path. Open daily from sunrise to sunset, and free to the public, this natural Wilmington locale is a breath of fresh air for nature-loving visitors.

Herbert Bluethenthal Memorial Wildflower Preserve UNCW sign

Small bridge and bench at the Herbert Bluethenthal Memorial Wildflower Preserve

Bluethenthal Wildflower Preserve

Bluethenthal Wildflower Preserve

Bluethenthal Wildflower Preserve

Bluethenthal Wildflower Preserve

Bluethenthal Wildflower Preserve


Is this your business? Update your listing by messaging us

Victory Beach Vacations

Visitors who are on the hunt for the postcard-perfect vacation rental in the heart of the Carolina Beach or Kure Beach area will find an enticing selection and plenty of friendly customer service when they rent through Victory Beach Vacations. Based in Carolina Beach in the coastal Cape Fear region, Victory Beach Vacations has more than 100 vacation rentals in all shapes and sizes to ensure that every vacationing family can find their dream home away from home on the beach.   When you book your Cape Fear getaway with Victory Beach Vacations, the fun doesn’t end when you leave the beach, it continues with an array of privately-owned properties outfitted with all of the amenities needed for a fabulous beach vacation.   Jenna Lanier, General Manager, explains that her family first opened the rental and property management business in 2002. At the forefront of Victory Beach operations is Lanier’s mother, Caroline Meeks. Meeks is both the Broker in Charge and co-owner with husband, Buck Meeks, who manages the Field Services team with Lanier’s husband, Scott.   For nearly 20 years, the Victory Beach team has worked tirelessly to establish a network of top-of-the-line rental properties for Cape Fear visitors to enjoy. “As far as our properties go,” explains Lanier, “they are all updated, well-furnished and appointed. “We have always performed post-cleaning inspections and since the pandemic, have put freshly laundered duvets over all of the comforters between rentals.”   Lanier emphasizes how important the guests experience is “we strive to give our guests a relaxing, stress free, memorable vacation.” This emphasis on customer service has led to Victory Beach Vacations having a 4.8 Google rating with over 300 reviews by happy owners and guests.In addition to Victory Beach’s superior sanitation practices, the company offers properties for every type of visitor. Choose from luxury oceanfront houses and condos to more reasonbly priced 2nd row properties with oceanviews. Many properties include pools and hot tubs as well, perfect for outdoor entertaining, and many are dog friendly.   Lanier also notes that all properties are within walking or driving distance to Pleasure Island’s main attractions – Carolina Beach and Kure Beach. The former, as described by Lanier, is the more commercialized of the two destinations and features a boardwalk, outdoor dining options and a plethora of weekly activities including fireworks, live music, amusement park pop-ups, and movies under the stars. Kure Beach offers a more residential feel with its fishing pier, intimate restaurants and family favorite, North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.More water fun awaits, too. “There is a harbor and a canal that feed into the intercoastal. We have several properties on the harbor so guests can bring their boat, kayak, [or jet ski] and travel between islands,” says Lanier.   A stay with Victory Beach Vacations is an annual pilgrimage for most. “A large percentage of guests are previous guests. Some even reserve the same property for the next year as they’re checking out,” Lanier says. “It’s almost like it’s their personal vacation home.”   Even before guests arrive at their vacation destination, the Victory Beach Vacations’ website greets them with a live beach cam and exquisite aerial footage of both Carolina and Kure Beaches. See for yourself by scanning the QR code and call Victory Beach Vacations at 910.458.0868 to book your Cape Fear getaway. Start making your memories today! —Grace Silipigni