NC Folktales and Mysteries: The Lost Colony

North Carolina has a rich tradition of folklore, and it encompasses a variety of magical legends and unexplained natural phenomena – and today we’ll explore one of the country’s most gripping historical mysteries, the Lost Colony. 

The story begins over 400 years ago and involves a group of English settlers that arrived on the North Carolina coast in 1587 with the hopes of starting a new life and establishing a permanent colony. Although they were not the first English explorers to make it to the New World, they were the first group to include women and children. 

Recruited by the explorer Sir Walter Raleigh, John White lead the group of over 100 people that included his pregnant daughter, Eleanor Dare, her husband Ananias Dare, and the Croatoan Indian chief Manteo, who had become an English ally during a previous visit in Britain. Not long after arriving on the island, Eleanor gave birth to the first English baby born in the New World. Her name was Virginia Dare. 

Shortly afterwards, Governor White sailed back to England to encourage and hasten efforts to resupply and reinforce the colony. His departure marked the last known contact between the English and the settlers in the new colony. Just after his arrival, a major naval war began between England and Spain, Queen Elizabeth I called all ships available to confront the Spanish Armada. It wasn’t until 3 years later in 1590, that White was finally able to return to the Americas. Upon his arrival, he found no trace of the colony or the inhabitants, just the word “Croatoan” carved onto a wooden post. White took the carving as a sign that the colonists had moved inland to Croatoan, the home of Chief Manteo’s people south of Roanoke on Hatteras Island. After several setbacks White was unable to find the lost settlers and died many years later, ignorant to the fate of his family and the colony.

There has been plenty of speculation about the fate of those settlers, some hypotheses hold that they tried to sail back to England on their own and got lost at sea, or that they met a bloody end at the hands of Spaniards marching up from Florida. The likely scenario is that they moved further inland and assimilated with native friends where they mixed families and endured for generations. 

If you are ready to come discover an area rich in history, we invite you to see our specially curated communities in the Wilmington Area of North Carolina, click here for current incentives. Or if you own a preferred lot, you can choose from our portfolio of floor plans to personalize with numerous design options. Contact us today to get started on your new home journey.

Garden Calendar – September Checklist

After a nice, hot summer and hopefully productive growing season, gardens are starting to wind down by September. Although warm weather is still hanging around the North Carolina coast, the days are getting shorter, while brisker mornings and cooler nights are becoming more common.

As the season begins to shift, so does our gardening focus, with a little bit of upkeep, planting, and planning, you’ll ease right into fall.

Planning. Houseplants that have been “vacationing” in the yard this summer should be brought in by mid-month. You want to give them a good blast of water all over before bringing them in to help remove any insects. Insects in the soil are probably not detrimental but more of a nuisance when brought indoors. For the first month after the move inspect your plants daily for any emergent insects and treat as needed.

Now is the time to decide which spring bulbs to plant, so you can get the best selection at your garden center. This is a great time to plan out your fall flower planters. Check out some of these fall showstoppers – heuchera, mums, asters, ornamental cabbage, and variegated ivy.

NOTE: As perennial flowers start to go dormant, mark their location or sketch out a map of your beds as a helpful way not to forget where things are come springtime.

Pruning. Allow plants to finish the summer growth cycle in a normal manner, now is not the time to encourage growth with heavy applications of fertilizer or excessive pruning. Plants will delay their dormancy process that has already begun in anticipation of the winter months ahead, and the new growth could be injured by an early freeze.

Mulching. Mulching is beneficial to gardens by enriching the soil, choking out fall weeds, insulating bulbs for winter and making your yard look fresh. 

NOTE: Bagged mulch is always available, but getting a truckload delivered is more economical. If you don’t think you can use a whole truckload, ask your neighbors if they would like to split a load.

The Perfect Backyard. If you are ready to get your hands dirty. McAdams Homes offers specially curated communities in the Wilmington area, click here for current incentives. Or if you own a preferred lot, you can choose from our portfolio of floor plans to personalize with numerous design options. Contact us today to get started on your new home journey and get to planting.

NC Boardwalks to Visit Before Summer Ends

Whether it’s in music, movies, or books, going down to the boardwalk is nostalgic and quintessential summertime experience. There’s something special about walking along the water, popping into an ice cream shop for a sweet treat, or hopping on a few rides as you soak in the salt air. Be sure to visit some of North Carolina’s boardwalks before summer ends!

Beaufort – Running parallel to Front Street along Taylor Creek, you can enjoy views of the marina and Carrot Island (where you may even see wild horses), or pop into Dock House for seafood and live music.

Wilmington – While it’s more of a ‘riverwalk’, this boardwalk gives you great views of Historic Downtown and the USS NC Battleship. Several restaurants, bars and boutique shops are sprinkles along the way, so be sure to pop in. 

Carolina Beach – This classic boardwalk is home to an arcade, amusement rides, ice cream shops and Britt’s Donuts. Carolina Beach offers the quintessential beachy boardwalk experience.

New Bern – Stroll along the Neuse River as you gaze at New Bern in the distance and enjoy a quiet, laid-back boardwalk experience. 

Washington – This boardwalk hovers over the Pamlico River, take a complimentary pontoon ride along the riverbanks, or browse the boutiques, antique stores and fantastic restaurants overlooking the river. 

Bodie Island Lighthouse – This walkway isn’t exactly a ‘boardwalk,’ but strolling through the marshes up to the historic lighthouse is worth it. You can climb the lighthouse at your own pace and take in the gorgeous natural surroundings of Bodie Island, the Atlantic Ocean, and Pamlico Sound.

Dry Falls – If you are in Western NC, head to Dry Falls where you can take a walkway that leads you to an amazing waterfall. Maybe not an actual boardwalk but great for nature lovers regardless!

Let us help get you started on your perfect home, contact us today. We build specially curated communities in the Wilmington Area of North Carolina, click here for current incentives. Or if you own a preferred lot, you can choose from our portfolio of floor plans to personalize with numerous design options. 

Creating a Media Room in Your Home

At McAdams Homes, our aim is to offer our customers thoughtfully designed floor plans, while ensuring we provide you with the highest quality in new home construction. As we strive to meet excellence in every detail of your home, we want you to feel good about investing in it and your quality of life with ideas for a media room where the family can cozy up and unwind from the day. 

A media room is more than just a TV thrown up on the wall with some added speakers. This space has the potential to be a cinematic experience where audio and video meet in perfect harmony and you feel a part of the action. This room can be as complex or simple as you wish, depending on your budget, space, and needs. 

Choosing Your Space. Thinking about the actual room itself, a square room is less ideal than a rectangular room for audio quality. Opt for sound absorbing surfaces like carpet, and if hard surfaces are unavoidable, rugs and pillows can be used to temper hard reflective surfaces. Also, think about light and if you need window treatments if you want to watch a movie while the afternoon sun is shining bright.

The Centerpiece. Getting the perfect picture depends on the right type of TV for the environment. The most common technologies are LCD, LED, and plasma. Generally, plasma is rich in color but not as bright as the other two, making them ideal for rooms with more natural light. 

Note: the recommended position of the seating area from the screen is 1.5 times the diagonal size of the display.

The Sound. If this is truly a media room, the built-in speakers on your TV will not do. A 5.1 or 7.1 surround system – which means five or seven speakers and a subwoofer – offers the most immersive experience. Soundbars and wireless systems are also available as a nice aesthetic solution. 

If you are looking for a home your family can enjoy for a lifetime, contact us today. We build specially curated communities in the Wilmington, NC area, click here for current incentives. Or if you own a preferred lot, you can choose from our portfolio of floor plans to personalize with numerous design options. 

NC Folktales and Mysteries: Cape Fear Mermaids

North Carolina has a rich tradition of folklore, and it encompasses a variety of magical legends and unexplained natural phenomena – today we’ll explore a legend that is just a couple hours up the road from Wilmington to the Raleigh area. 

Chatham County in the heart of the piedmont, is where our legend takes place. Mermaid Point is the name of the location where the Deep River and Haw River meet to form the Cape Fear River. 

The Cape Fear River was one of the early economic drivers of North Carolina and became a draw for settlers on its banks. In the 1700’s the town of Lockville was a budding settlement and a man named Ambrose Ramsey saw an opportunity. And so, he opened a tavern.

Ramsey’s Tavern sat right by the banks of the Deep River, a short distance upstream of where it joined with the Haw River. When Revolutionary War soldiers left the tavern at the end of the night, this confluence was on their path home, and in the middle of this broad channel was a long, white, sandbar. And it was on this channel that people claimed they saw the mermaids.

Mermaids were spotted multiple times throughout the war – but it’s notable that they were always seen after a long night of drinking, and during a particularly stressful time in America’s history.

Legend claims that the mermaids would sit on the sandbar at night, combing their long hair in the moonlight. Soldiers walking home from the tavern would see them laughing, singing, playing, and splashing in the water. If anyone called out to them or tried to approach, they would dive below the surface.

Why would mermaids swim so far up the river? The explanation was as follows: everyone knew mermaids were vain creatures. They swam up from the coast to wash the salt from their hair, so it would be shinier and more beautiful.

Ramsey’s Tavern stood until the late 19th century when it was destroyed in a flood. This was about the same time that the sightings of the mermaids stopped. It’s noted that the disappearance of the mermaids seemed to coincide with the building of the first of a series of dams and locks along the course of the Cape Fear, perhaps cutting off the path of the mermaids up from the sea.

As for that mermaid-drawing sandbar, sadly, it’s no longer visible. The construction of a dam raised the water levels in the area and the sandbar sank beneath the surface and with it the legendary mermaids of the Cape Fear River.

If you are ready to come discover our beautiful area and experience this exciting phenomenon for yourself, we invite you to see our specially curated communities in the Wilmington Area of North Carolina, click here for current incentives. Or if you own a preferred lot, you can choose from our portfolio of floor plans to personalize with numerous design options. Contact us today to get started on your new home journey.

Garden Calendar – August Checklist

As the August sun bears down on gardeners and their gardens, it can be difficult to keep plants thriving during the hot summer days. The best way to beat the heat is to perform maintenance tasks early in the day, water your garden regularly and as well as keeping yourself hydrated. Cooler temperatures are ahead and now is the time to start planting fall crops as we begin the transition into fall. 

Planning. It’s hot out, so plan to do your garden chores earlier in the morning or late in the afternoon. This is a great time to make sure you have seed collecting envelopes, labels, or storage containers so that you can harvest the seeds of your best performing plants. If you are planning a fall vegetable garden, now is the time to buy seeds and start them indoors. 

NOTE: Regularly check your garden center and nursery for an end-of-season clearance section. Sometimes there are straggly, discounted perennials, pots, or other garden supply deals that you can snatch up. 

Pruning. Avoid pruning trees and shrubs since doing so this late in the season can stimulate new growth that will not harden off in time for the cold winter weather ahead. Delay pruning until the end of the dormant season early next spring. Pinch off herbs to promote a bushier plant and to keep them from going to seed. 

Water. Deeply watering vegetable gardens is paramount as the root systems are well developed. Early morning is the best time to water as evening watering is less desirable because plant leaves that remain wet through the night are more susceptible to fungus diseases. Mulching plants will help to reduce water losses and improve harvest yields. Container plants or hanging baskets will need to be watered daily to keep them thriving. 

Pick Your Perfect Backyard. If you are ready to get your hands dirty. McAdams Homes offers specially curated communities in the Wilmington area, click here for current incentives. Or if you own a preferred lot, you can choose from our portfolio of floor plans to personalize with numerous design options. Contact us today to get started on your new home journey and get to planting.

Spotlight: Leland Brewing Company

Anyone familiar with the Wilmington area knows that it has become a popular destination, not only for vacationers, but many people are flocking here to call this beautiful place home. It goes without saying that Leland has benefited from this expansion, and with the recent growth, residents of Brunswick County have benefited from many new restaurants and bars opening in Leland. No longer do you have to travel to across the river to Wilmington for tasty beverages. Our newest addition to the beer scene is Leland Brewing Company, committed to crafting beverages that inspire people and bring the community together, one beer at a time. 

Located just across the street from Leland Town Hall, sits the 8,000 square foot brand new manufacturing and tap room facility for Leland Brewing Company. They pride themselves as being family and dog friendly, open 7 days a week, Sunday -Thursday12 pm – 9 pm, Friday & Saturday 12 pm – 10 pm.

Next time you feel the need to wet your whistle, be sure to visit and sip on some yummy brews named after some of the area’s unexplained phenomena. And visit their Facebook page to see scheduled food trucks and events.

If you are like us, you’re already thirsty and ready to find your favorite brew. We’d love to help you build your dream home in one of our specially curated communities in the Wilmington Area of North Carolina, click here for current incentives. Or if you own a preferred lot, you can choose from our portfolio of floor plans to personalize with numerous design options. Contact us today to get started on your new home journey.

Summer – Home Projects

Summer means playing in the yard, swimming, ice-cold drinks on the porch, cookouts under the twinkling bistro lights. It is also a great time for home improvement projects. Make the most of the long days and warm weather with these easy projects that will turn your to-dos into ta-das without breaking the bank. 

Pressure Washing. Winter weather can leave all sorts of dirt and grime on your home’s exterior and other outdoor areas. Pressure washing is one of the easiest ways to make a big impact on your home’s appearance. If you don’t own a pressure washer, renting from one of our local hardware stores is an easy process. 

Note: As you clean your home’s exterior, direct the spray downward to avoid forcing water into cracks or seams. Use a lower pressure setting on surfaces that could easily be damaged, such as painted siding or wood decks.

Clean Your Gutters. Certainly not the most fun or creative home improvement project, however it is important one in protecting your home against summer storms. Blocked gutters and downspouts can lead to water damage and an increase in pests. 

Backyard Oasis. Yard work is likely already on your to-do list this summer, and by adding a few additional projects you can make your outdoor space an extension of your home. Summer is a great time to plant perennials, lupines and hydrangeas are beautiful low-maintenance additions. Building a shed adds value to your home and also gives you a spot to put all your lawn equipment and hopefully help declutter other areas. 

Declutter. Now that temperatures are warmer, it’s time to air-out and organize the forgotten places like our garages or sheds. This is a great way to earn some money on items you no longer use. 

Ceiling Fans. Enjoy year-round savings as the fans create cooling breezes in summer and help circulate heated air to keep rooms warmer.

Replace AC Filters. Another not very fun activity but it takes far less time than cleaning your gutters and helps keep allergens, dust, and mold from circulating throughout your home when the AC is running. 

Let us help get you started on your perfect home, contact us today. We build specially curated communities in the Wilmington Area of North Carolina, click here for current incentives. Or if you own a preferred lot, you can choose from our portfolio of floor plans to personalize with numerous design options. 

Garden Calendar – July Checklist

With warm evenings, extended daylight hours and consistently high temperature, your July garden is thriving and you are likely enjoying fresh tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and other bounty. The challenges you face now are keeping plants watered deeply and free of pests or disease. See our ideas below to help ensure your garden is staying lush and healthy even amid the summer’s hottest days.

Planning. Summer getaways are common, so while you are traveling plan to have someone tend to the basics of your garden, like watering. Reward those willing to spend time nurturing your garden with whatever they harvest. 

NOTE: It’s hard to believe, but now is the time to start thinking about planning and planting for fall crops. Also, don’t forget about fall flowering plants for those pollinators we want to stick around. 

Water. Deeply water vegetable gardens as needed. A garden needs one inch of rain or water each week. Early morning is the best time to water as evening watering is less desirable because plant leaves that remain wet through the night are more susceptible to fungus diseases. Mulching plants will help to reduce water losses and improve harvest yields. July heat can be brutal, some container plants or hanging baskets may need to be watered multiple times a day to keep them thriving. 

Nutrients. Flowering and fruiting require a lot of energy so give plants an additional boost of organic fertilizer once flowering begins. You can fertilize one more time before the end of the season. 

Plant. There is still time to plant heat loving field peas and lima beans. Towards the end of the month, sow seeds outside for beans, peppers, eggplant, broccoli, beets, kale, pumpkin, and squash. 

Pick Your Perfect Backyard. If you are ready to get your hands dirty. McAdams Homes offers specially curated communities in the Wilmington area, click here for current incentives. Or if you own a preferred lot, you can choose from our portfolio of floor plans to personalize with numerous design options. Contact us today to get started on your new home journey and get to planting.

NC Folktales and Mysteries: The Maco Light

North Carolina has a rich tradition of folklore, and it encompasses a variety of magical legends and unexplained natural phenomena – and today we’ll explore one just west of Wilmington. The Maco Light is a true North Carolina legend.

For those unfamiliar with the story, Joe Baldwin was a conductor who is said to have been decapitated in a collision between a runaway passenger car and a locomotive one night in 1867. Joe was alone in the last car when he realized his car had come uncoupled from the rest of the train. Knowing there was another train due, he ran to the back platform and franticly waved his lantern to warn the oncoming train. The engineer did not see the signal from the stranded car and Baldwin was decapitated in the accident. His head was never found, so Joe is doomed to swing his lantern forever, and search the tracks for his lost head.

It was said that after the collision railroad workers reported a pair of Maco lights that would appear together. Over the years, the Maco Light has been bright enough to fool many railroad workers into stopping their trains. To remedy the ghost’s schedule-thwarting attempts, signalmen at Maco used two lights, one red, and one green. 

This tale has been passed from generation to generation and the apparition has been witnessed by scores of locals and even once by President Grover Cleveland, whose train was wooding and watering up at Maco in 1889. The president saw the two signal lights, asked about them, and got the full story of Joe Baldwin.

If you are feeling adventurous, the location of the accident is more difficult to find since the tracks have been removed, but the gravel rail bed and pilings remain at the spot of the old trestle. Say this ballad, and see if any light appears, 

“They found Joe’s body,
They found Joe’s head!
They buried ’em both,
But he’s not dead!
On a dismal night in a dismal swamp,
You can see his lantern shine!”

If you are ready to come discover our beautiful area and experience this exciting phenomenon for yourself, we invite you to see our specially curated communities in the Wilmington Area of North Carolina, click here for current incentives. Or if you own a preferred lot, you can choose from our portfolio of floor plans to personalize with numerous design options. Contact us today to get started on your new home journey.