WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) - At one time, Wrightsville Beach had hotels that would rival those found in Miami Beach.
But following Hurricane Hazel, which hit North Carolina in 1954, along with fires and other natural disasters, the grand ole buildings and the once-famous Lumina Pavilion became things of the past.
But in the same year the Beatles arrived in America, a newly constructed large hotel opened its doors. Built on the side of the old Seashore and Ocean Terrace Hotels, and in the same grand style as the Breakers, the Blockade Runner Hotel welcomed their first guests.
But this structure was different. Instead of the wooden structures of the past, the seven story Blockade Runner was constructed with brick.
"Yes, we have been fortunate, because the design of the property was well thought out," said Mary Baggiest Martin, one of the owners of the Blockade Runner Hotel.
Bill Baggett and Mary Baggett Martin have owned the Blockade Runner since 1984. The outside appearance has remained the same, but inside is where you will find the differences -- starting with the huge lobby and other amenities.
"To me, it is important that you try to recognize what people need and make it easier for them to enjoy their stay here," said Baggett. "Being not a franchise hotel and being privately held and have been always, we have been able to have some great freedom or independence from the franchise look."
Martin believes a definite advantage her hotel has on others is its closeness to an abundance of water. Not only are they located directly on the Atlantic Ocean, but having Banks Channel directly across the street gives guests an opportunity to enjoy extra water activities, including stand-up paddleboarding.
So congratulations to the Blockade Runner hotel, weathering storms and changing times for 50 years, and an important part of the New Hanover County economy.
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322 Shipyard Boulevard