A versatile destination, each summer Pender County, North Carolina hosts both the North Carolina Blueberry Festival and the homecoming of the Loggerhead sea turtle.
Named among the top ten fastest growing counties in North Carolina, Pender attracts both tourists and residents to its 933 miles of spacious coastline, lush farmlands, nature preserves and waterways.
Holly Shelter Game Land, in the eastern end of the county, is a boon for hikers, bird watchers and game hunters. The preserve comprises 48,795 acres of pocosin wetlands, longleaf pines, and Carolina bays and streams teeming with rare flora and fauna, ranking Pender fourth among 100 counties in the state for biological diversity according to The Nature Conservancy.
Pender entices sun-seekers and green-thumbs alike with average mean temperatures ranging from 45 F in January to 79 F in July, and an average mean rainfall of 53 inches.
The county's rich soil and hearty growing seasons nurture a variety of crops, from blueberries - Pender is the second largest exporter of the fruit in the state - to muscadine grapes.
Bannerman Vineyard in the heart of the county has cultivated muscadines since 1973 and now offers its own varietals of the heady juice.
In addition, Pender county includes the summer sunning destinations of Surf City and Topsail Beach, Poplar Grove Plantation at Scott's Hill, and several fast-growing golf communities surrounding Hampstead on NC 17, all within a 45-minute drive of the Wilmington International Airport (ILM), the Wilmington terminal of the North Carolina Port Authority, and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center on Topsail Island, an all-volunteer turtle hospital, draws numerous visitors from May - August, and monitors every mile of the beach during peak season for loggerhead nesting sites.
Visitors to Pender County, North Carolina will find no shortage of diversions, whether it be ducking into one of the county's many hidden-gem antiques shops, strolling a local farmers market, tasting local wine or local history, or simply sinking their toes into the sand for a long quiet read. ...continued