Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour of Historic Downtown Wilmington, North Carolina
By Meg Brunson
One of my favorite things to do when visiting a new place is to take a guided tour! As the primary driver, I rarely get to sit back and just enjoy the surroundings, and I love hearing all the stories behind the buildings and homes in a new city. This is the first time we've taken a horsedrawn carriage tour, and we were all so excited to meet the horses and spend some time with them while learning about Wilmington!
One of the first things we learned was that the horses used by the horsedrawn carriage rides in Wilmington are all rescues! They are horses owned by Springbrook Farms Inc. and they rescue the large Percheron draft horses from the auction block. Many of these horses were originally work horses on Amish farms, and for one reason or another the horses were not ideal for the Amish, so they are sent to auction. But at auction, they are typically the last to sell, since their size is much larger than a typical riding horse. So, Springbrook Farms rescues as many of those horses as possible and then provides them with care and purpose (work they can do)!
We loved learning that the horses spend limited time downtown working (one week a month) and that they are rotated throughout the day so that they're not overworked. They enjoy the pasture on the farm the rest of the month and when they get too old to work, they'll never be sold again. Instead they go to a permanent pasture with other older horses! The modest fees charged for the tour, allow them to continue rescuing horses and providing for their care - how great is that!?
There are multiple tour routes that the carriage tour guides may take you on, and they will let you know which tour you took, so that if you want to return for another tour, you can request a different route. We went on tour route #1 and loved seeing a variety of the antabellum style houses and learning little bits of history and fun stories about the different buildings and homes.
After the tour, we loved checking out a bunch of the local shops. Nonnie Doodle is an adorable candy shop, started by 2 kids with a passion for sweets! With their parent's help they've opened 2 locations in the Wilmington area - and we love supporting kidpreneurs! We also loved the Black Cat Shoppe - it had a lot of random and quirky stuff to look at!
You really can't visit Wilmington without checking out the historic downtown area - and this horsedrawn carriage ride is the perfect way to slow down and take in all the sights!
Tips for a Terrific Experience
- Parking - We parked at a meter with a 2-hour limit, and at the time of our visit it was $1.50/hour (not bad!). The machines took credit cards, which is great because I rarely carry cash! As we were walking around we did notice some public parking lots that were free for the first 90 minutes... but there were a couple blocks away from the tour, and with the on-street parking we were super close.
- Back sides - for my kids it was no problem... but the seats were a little hard for Dad and I... if you have those bleacher seat cushions, I'd bring them! If not, know it's a relatively quick ride, and worth a little bit of a sore booty!
- After the ride - Definitely plan some time to walk around the historic downtown area and/or the riverwalk. It's a beautiful area with lots of adorable shops and restaurants. The views at the river are breathtaking, especially at sunset!
Learn more about the horsedrawn carriage rides at http://www.horsedrawntours.com/.
Read about some of the other adventures we're having on our Year-Long Road Trip!
© 2019 Meg Brunson
Thanks to Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau and Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour of Springbrook Farms, inc. for sponsoring this review. All opinions expressed are my own. See more on Instagram!
Meg is a mommy blogger, Facebook marketer, and much more. She is a mom to four daughters who live full-time in an RV exploring the US! As a former Facebook employee, Meg remains a Facebook addict and handles KidsOutAndAbout.com's Social Media Marketing in addition to providing freelance services for other small businesses on how to best leverage Facebook as a part of their marketing strategy. Meg also hosts the FamilyPreneur Podcast, a podcast for parent entrepreneurs raising entrepreneurial children. Learn more about Meg at MegBrunson.com!