Latimer House

The Latimer House Museum and Gardens has a key role in Wilmington's historical culture. Built in the early 1850s and still preserved as one of the region's many opulent homes which have been converted to museums, this "residence" has also been the official home to the local Historical Society since 1963. Ornate and inviting, with rich touches throughout, the Latimer House Museum and Gardens is a must-stop for history buffs who are taking a strolling tour through Wilmington's most famous and best-preserved southern palaces.

The home was originally built in 1852 by local merchant Zebulon Latimer. Built in the era's very popular Italianate style, the four story house itself was designed to be perfectly symmetrical, with a central hallway and an identical layout on every floor. This symmetry can be noticed at first glance, as the ornate square building on Downtown's Third Street with an equal number of windows and pillars on all sides is incredibly unique on the Wilmington scene. It was occupied by three generations of Latimers until 1963, when it passed over into the hands of the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society and became a popular Wilmington museum.

Latimer House and Gardens

The home features a total of 14 rooms and more than 600 historical relics of its original era, all placed strategically throughout the household. The solid marble fireplaces and ornate chandeliers are all originals, (with a few modern lighting fixtures tossed in to replace the antiquated gas lighting), although the rich carpets, velvety curtains and patterned wallpapers have been updated here and there topreserve the original pristine look of the home. With a formal parlor, dining area, and opulent Victorian touches throughout, the Latimer House Museum is arguably one of the more richly appointed historic homes of Wilmington and is a spellbinding introduction for visitors on how the early wealthy merchants of the Cape Fear region lived in decadent style.

Outside, the formal gardens are protected from the rest of the world by original stucco and lace-brick walls which protect and border the property. Unlike other local residences, the gardens at the Latimer House Museum have stayed true to their roots, so to speak, with solely Victorian era plants scattered throughout the grounds. An iron water fountain stands as the centerpiece of the gardens, with a brick courtyard and several benches available for visitors to relax and enjoy the serenity. Servants quarters are also located on the outside grounds, which can be explored by passing guests.

Latimer House and Gardens

Trained docents are available to provide detailed guided tours throughout the homes and gardens, pointing out the specific features that makes this property wholly unique. Tickets are generally around $10 for adults and $5 for children, and tours are given Monday through Friday at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., and on Saturdays at 11:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. With advanced reservations, visitors can also enjoy a fully interactive tour which encompasses all of historic Downtown Wilmington, and starts and ends on the Latimer House's front porch. These tours are generally 90 minutes long, and can be arranged in advance by calling (910)762-0492.

In addition to regular tours, the Latimer House Museum and Gardens are also home to a number of special seasonal events, including musical programs, art exhibitions, fundraising socials, and candlelight tours that delve deep into Wilmington's rich history.

The home is also available to visitors who want to host a special gathering, whether it's a uniquely beautiful wedding in the gardens, or a world-class tea in the formal tea room. Parties who wish to book the Latimer House Museum and Gardens for a special event are advised to contact the historical offices at (910) 762-0492 well ahead of time. Because of its splendor and location, the Latimer House often books up quickly on popular wedding and event weekends in the spring, summer and fall months.

The Latimer House Museum and Gardens is one of Wilmington's many architectural and historical treasures, gliding its guests away to a bygone era of southern culture and opulence. A tremendously popular attraction and the home of the region's foremost Historical Society, the Latimer House Museum and Gardens is a worthy afternoon excursion for any visitor who wants to take a step back in time, and be utterly charmed in the process.

 


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Wilmington
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*Off-season hours may vary*
Call 910-762-0492 for current hours.
  • Monday10:00am-3:00pm
  • Tuesday10:00am-3:00pm
  • Wednesday10:00am-3:00pm
  • Thursday10:00am-3:00pm
  • Friday10:00am-3:00pm
  • Saturday10:00am-3:00pm
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Victory Beach Vacations

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