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Wilmington, the largest town on North Carolina's coast, is a lovely laid-back place set along the Cape Fear River.

Incorporated in 1739, the city was named in honor of Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington, who was a patron of North Carolina's Governor. During the Civil War, Wilmington was briefly the Confederacy's most important harbor, exporting cotton all over the world, thanks to "blockade runners" who would attempt to outrun the Union navy.

Railroad Museum, WilmingtonToday the city is vibrant and friendly, and is a thriving film location. Visitors are reminded of its rich history by the grand old homes, tree-lined boulevards and the ornate buildings such as City Hall and Thalian Hall that make Wilmington one of the most beautiful small cities in the South.

Nowhere is this heritage better exemplified than in the lovely cobbled streets of the city's waterfront, where the historic weathered buildings of Chandler's Wharf and the Cotton Exchange house appealing cafés and restaurants, and where harbor tours provide lovely views of the city and the battleship USS North Carolina.

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