Wilmington Water Tours Presents: History Comes Alive

April 14, 2023

History buffs rejoice! While Brunswick Forest boasts pristine new builds with your every contemporary need in mind, our region is steeped in nautical history and folklore.

April 30th, join Wilmington Water Tours and historian Dr. Chris Fonvielle for History Comes Alive, a special two-hour cruise enjoying the coastal breeze while delving into Wilmington’s and Brunswick’s intriguing past. From Captain Kidd’s hidden treasure to Revolutionary and Civil War battles, Fonvielle makes history come alive.

Introducing Our Expert Historian

Good luck finding anyone who knows more about the history of that Cape Fear Region than Dr. Chris E. Fonvielle Jr. A native Wilmingtonian, Fonvielle has served as the curator of the Blockade Runners of the Confederacy Museum and is a professor emeritus at UNCW. His in-depth research and multiple books focus on coastal operations and defenses, and blockade running in southeastern North Carolina during the Civil War. 

Source: https://www.facebook.com/cefonviellejr/

Historical Highlights

Fonvielle’s talk covers the transformation of Wilmington from backwater seaport to the Las Vegas of the South, beginning in 1524, when the Cape Fear was first explored by Giovanni da Verrazano for the king of France. And there hasn’t been a dull moment since. 


During the Golden Age of Piracy, from 1650 – 1730, the Cape Fear River was a popular hideout for pirates and their ships frequented the waterway. The infamous pirate, Captain James Kidd allegedly buried treasure on Money Island at the mouth of present day Bradley Creek on Wrightsville Sound–but no one’s found it yet!

photo of a pirate ship out to sea

Rice Culture

Part of the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor, the Lower Cape Fear built its economy on the success of rice plantations. Enslaved West-Africans–the Gullah Geechee–had ample technical knowledge of rice cultivation, which transformed Wilmington into an agricultural empire and vibrant port city. 

Brunswick Town

Not only did this state historical site give Brunswick Forest its name, but Brunswick Town was the first capital of the colony of North Carolina and a leading seaport from 1726 to 1776 (move over Raleigh!). In 1765, Brunswick Town earned NC the moniker “first in freedom” with one of the first armed resistances to the British Stamp Tax, eight years before the Boston Tea Party.

Blockade Running 

During the Civil War, Wilmington’s waterways were the center of action once again as a small group of confederate blockade runners sailed goods in and out of Southern seaports under the guns of Northern ships.

Important Details

History Comes Alive is a very popular cruise — so make sure to reserve your spot in advance for April 30th 10am-12pm. Tickets are $45 for adults, $25 for children, and free for 3 and under. 

Give us a call at 866-832-1141 to learn more about Brunswick Forest’s rich history (and contemporary amenities) or make an appointment online.