North Carolina’s hip harbor
My hometown of Wilmington, N.C., has reached a tipping point, said Philip Gerard in Garden & Gun. No longer a big town, we’re a small city, with newcomers “full of energy and dreams” arriving every day from all over the country. That’s okay. “Sailors like me still love the place”—as do surfers drawn to nearby Wrightsville Beach. Located on the Cape Fear River near the Atlantic coast, this historic port is home to the largest complex of film soundstages east of Hollywood, but it’s still defined by its waterfront—including the mile-long Riverwalk and the restaurants of Chandler’s Wharf. “Downtown is lively, bluesy,” amped up in part by a sizable college population. But “artists of all kinds” have also invaded, and “the cafés are full of writers—good ones.” It used to be surprising to see celebrity actors roaming the streets; now they’re just part of the creative swirl—or an extra body in the grocery checkout line.
You don’t have to wait until 2014 for the next Olympics, said Rich Warren in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Every year, Columbus, Ohio, hosts a multisport event that draws 7,500 more athletes than the Summer Olympics, all of them assembling under the banner of an unlikely local hero—Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 1970, the future film star won a bodybuilding event in Columbus that helped lift him from obscurity, so he promised a local promoter he’d return after his retirement to launch a major annual competition. Bodybuilding is still a big draw at the Arnold Sports Festival, or “The Arnold,” as athletes call it (arnoldsportsfestival.com), but this year’s Feb. 28–March 3 edition will also see world-class competition in 35 other sports, including gymnastics and various track-and-field events. Visitors not thrilled by feats of athleticism can soak in “Art at the Arnold”—a competitive drawing show. Plus, Schwarzenegger himself always makes an appearance.