Holiday Hospitality

Whether this is your twentieth year in a row hosting the holidays at your home or the first, the preparations for both the meal and potential guests can become overwhelming. The shopping lists are endless, and everyone has a preference that butts heads with someone else’s. But, it doesn’t have to be a hassle just to enjoy the holiday with your family and friends. Here at Intracoastal Realty, we’ve learned a few tips over the seasons that will help get you on the right track to achieving host-of-the-year status.


Roll out the welcome mat.

We actually don’t mean that literally – in this instance, what we do want to stress is how important it is for you to welcome changes in plans, unforeseen hiccups, and innocent accidents that throw your best intentions off the rails from time to time. If you walk into the holiday festivities and accept that sometimes you’ll have to roll with the punches, everyone else in your home is bound to be more at ease throughout their stay.

Be prepared. 

A great way to avoid holiday stress is to do as many things ahead of time as you can. Not only will the nitty-gritty tasks like cleaning and food prep be out of the way, but you’ll be able to enjoy more time with your guests when they do arrive. They’re here to celebrate the holidays with you, after all, not stand by while you rush around to get everything done! Items on your to-do list that can easily be checked off in advance include: laundry, general tidying around your home, chopping vegetables, and even starting sauces and seasonings for your table spread.

Make a list.

It’s a question we hear for every dinner party or holiday get-together: what can I bring? If you have multiple guests coming to visit, it’s easy to lose track of who signed up for what, or if anyone volunteered to bring a particular item. As the weeks lead up to the big meal, make yourself a basic checklist that you can find quickly if needed and jot down the guest and whatever they’ve offered to contribute. This way, when someone else asks, you know just what you already have plenty of, and what dishes or accents would perfectly top off the feast.

Hopefully these suggestions help ease you into the holiday weekend of hosting! No matter the size of your dinner table or the number of people you’ll have in your home, the team here at Intracoastal Realty wishes you a happy holiday season.

December 2017 Area Events


11/20-12/31: Cape Fear Festival of Trees – North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

12/1: Island of Lights Christmas Parade – Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach

12/1-22: Enchanted Airlie – Airlie Gardens

12/1-3: The Holiday Flea at BAC – Brooklyn Arts Center

12/1-16: Star of Wonder, Star of Night – Poplar Grove Plantation

12/1-17: Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) – Cape Fear Playhouse

12/1,2: Ballet for Young Audiences/ The Nutcracker – Thalian Hall

12/1, 2, 3, 9, 10: Christmas Toy & Train Show – Grissettown Longwood Fire & Rescue, Ocean Isle Beach

12/2: Battleship Alive! – USS North Carolina Battleship

12/2-3: Old Wilmington by Candlelight Tour – Latimer House

12/2,3: A Carolina Nutcracker – CFCC / The Wilson Center

12/2: Island of Lights Christmas Flotilla – Snow’s Cut to Carolina Beach Boat Basin

12/2-1/7: Art of Illumination: Lanterns at CAM – Cameron Art Museum

12/2, 9, 16, 17, 23: Train & Light Spectacular – Wilmington Railroad Museum

12/2, 9, 16: Christmas by the Sea – Carolina Beach Boardwalk

12/2: The Shallotte Christmas Parade – Main Street and HWY 130

12/3: Wilmington Holiday Parade – Front & Water St. Downtown Wilmington

12/8-10, 15-17: A Christmas Story: The Musical – Thalian Hall

12/8-9: Holly Jolly Holiday Stroll – Downtown Wilmington

12/8: Greenfield Tree Lighting and Holiday Movie – Greenfield Lake Park at the Hugh Morton Amphitheater & Rotary Garden

12/9: 5K Jingle Bell Run – Wrightsville Beach Museum of History

12/9: Island of Lights Tour of Homes – Carolina & Kure Beach

12/9: A Christmas Stroll Through the Past – Bellamy Mansion, Burgwin-Wright House & St. James Episcopal Church

12/9: A Charlie Brown Christmas – CFCC / The Wilson Center

12/9-10: Poplar Grove Arts & Crafts Festival – Poplar Grove Plantation

12/10: CAM Floating Lantern Ceremony – Cameron Art Museum

12/14: Cherish the Ladies: Celtic Christmas – Thalian Hall

12/14-17: Ebenezer: A Christmas Carol – Kenan Auditorium, UNCW

12/16-17: Santa by the Sea – North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

12/16: Southport Ugly Sweater 5K – Waterfront Park, Southport

12/17, 28, 30: UNCW Men’s Basketball vs. Greensboro College – Trask Coliseum

12/20: The North Carolina Symphony: Holiday Pops – CFCC / The Wilson Center

12/22: Choral Concert: Christmas at St. Paul’s – St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

12/31: New Year’s Eve Gala – Thalian Hall

12/31: Children’s Museum New Year’s Noon – The Children’s Museum of Wilmington

12/31: Island of Lights 2017 New Year Celebration – Carolina Beach Boardwalk

12/31: New Year’s Eve Winner Party Boat Cruise – Royal Winner Princess II in Carolina Beach

12/31: New Year’s Eve 2017 Bacchanalia – TheatreNOW / Downtown Wilmington

12/31: Midnight in Paris – Le Catalan Café / Downtown Wilmington

1/1: Sunset Beach Day 1 Run – 5K & Polar Plunge – 1st and E. Main Sunset Beach

Local Tuscan Style Estate, Contemporary Houston Home, and an Amazing Renaissance Villa in Verona Italy

As our partnership with Luxury Portfolio allows, Intracoastal Realty’s listings are often featured on We often spotlight outstanding listings around the world and become enamored with the many features, outdoor spaces, and interior design and decor of these lavish properties. This month the properties listed showcase spectacular details and decor in exceptional locations! We hope you enjoy learning more about these three extraordinary homes.

Luxury, elegance and privacy abound the moment you step inside this exquisite waterfront home. Captured from every area of this extraordinary residence, the sweeping water views of the ICW, Figure 8, Wrightsville Beach and the Atlantic are indescribable. Create memorable meals in your gourmet Kitchen with natural gas cooktop paired with fine wine from your 400+ bottle wine cellar while guests gather near the wet bar.

Guest Wing includes four spacious bedrooms and four baths. Living spaces spill out onto multiple porches with a refreshing saltwater pool as the centerpiece of outdoor living. Take a boat ride from a rare Landfall boat slip, then slide into the hot tub for a relaxing end to your day.

Additional features: catwalk with observation area, elevator, Lutron lighting system, three-car climate controlled garage, generator and geothermal HVAC.


LOT ACRES: 1.2700

See it!


Providing privacy and tranquility, this extraordinary estate is set in picturesque valley amidst AOC vineyards and olive tree groves, in the Valpantena area. Far only 10 minutes driving from the city centre of Verona (only 6 kilometres) away, while the Villafranca “Valerio Catullo” airport can be reached within a 20 minutes drive.

One of the most important renaissance villa of the Veneto region: The Ca’ Vendri villa was commissioned by the Giusti family in the 16th centure to the renowned architect Michele Sanmicheli. A cypress avenue leads to this exceptional residence and its numerous buildings situated on the south-west of the wing and offering a total of approximately 1300 sqm of living space.

Noteworthy amenities include a spacious, heated indoor swimming pool and two elevators as well as a flourishing park of more than fourhectares featuring statues, fountains, a small lake and a nymphaeum hiding a Gentilitiaò chapel dedicated to saint Nicholas of Tolentino. Architectural features include a façade and a magnificent fresco created by Paolo Farinati, a renowned 16th century artist. Meticulously restored to highest standards, this extraordinary residence comprises approximately 2400 sqm of living space divided into three floors.

The ground floor features a spacious heated indoor swimming pool located in an impressive hall with vaulted ceilings as well as numerous dressing rooms, bathrooms, atriums and kitchens. The first floor comprises the impressive entrance hall and 7-meter-high wood beamed ceilings. The second floor offers eight bedrooms, four bathrooms and staff rooms.

BUILT IN: 1500

DESIGNED BY: Michele Sanmicheli



See it!


Contemporary home offering clean architectural lines and great modern open spaces. Located in Upper Kirby District, this stunner boasts many custom (as well as commercial-grade) features including: chef’s kitchen, enclosed mahogany wine room, floating glass staircase/railings and much more. Large expanses of windows open to an extensive pool area with plenty of resort-style entertaining space. Third level terrace showcases cityscape views of Downtown skyline. Sophisticated home for living and entertaining.

PROPERTY FEATURES INCLUDE: 3 Fireplace(s), Attached Garage, Central Electric, Zoned

INTERIOR FEATURES INCLUDE: Alarm System – Owned, High Ceiling, Island Kitchen, Refrigerator Included, Spa/Hot Tub


EXTERIOR: Back Yard Fenced, Covered Patio/Deck, Fully Fenced, Outdoor Kitchen, Patio/Deck, Rooftop Deck, Spa/Hot Tub, Sprinkler System

LOT DIMENSIONS: 8,338 Square Feet

See it!

Chocolate Peppermint Ganache Cookies

Make your next holiday event even sweeter by adding this amazing Chocolate Peppermint Ganache Cookie to your baking list!

Recipe Courtesy of


Ingredients for the Cookies:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips
  • 3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Ganache:

  • 16 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup crushed candy cane pieces


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together flour, baking soda, sea salt, and cocoa. Set aside. Cream butter and sugars together until smooth. Add in eggs, one at a time. Add in vanilla and mix until combined.

Gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks or chips. Scoop the dough into rounded tablespoons and place on prepared baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake cookies for 10 minutes, or until cookies are set with a soft center.  Cool completely.

To make the ganache, first add the chocolate to a large bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat just until it bubbles around the edges. Remove the cream from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let the mixture stand for 30-45 seconds, then stir until the chocolate melts and a smooth ganache comes together, about 1-2 minutes.

Lay out wax paper. Dip the cookies, halfway, into the warm ganache. Place the dipped cookies on paper.  Sprinkle with candy cane pieces. Let cookies sit until ganache hardens, about 2 hours. Enjoy!

Spreading the Feeling of Thanksgiving Along the Coast

Traditionally, the Thanksgiving holiday introduces a time of reflection and gratitude, as well as charitable goodwill. Here on the North Carolina coast, there are tons of ways for community members to express their thanks and to spread holiday cheer. If you’re already a resident, or think you might want to be, here are some fun ways you can get out with family and friends while contributing to the seasonal spirit.

Living Shoreline Monitoring at Carolina Beach
Nov. 17
Carolina Beach

Thanks to the milder fall weather here, environmental events and volunteering can continue well into November. This means that the locals can extend a feeling of gratitude to the beautiful beaches and natural areas, including Carolina Beach State Park. Volunteers and federation staff will be doing just that as they take on salt marsh and reef restoration projects to better improve water quality, decrease erosion, and fortify natural habitats. But don’t let that deter you – no special skills are required. Just bring clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, closed-toe shoes, and a willing attitude. Lunch and refreshments will be provided, and anyone 12 and older is welcome to participate. The one hard and fast rule? No single-use plastic bottles.

Stay Forever Young – Dancing Through the Decades Gala
Nov. 18

Family Promise of the Lower Cape Fear presents an evening of cocktails, dinner and dancing at Cape Fear Community College Union Station. All proceeds from the event and hosted auctions will go toward the families in Family Promise’s housing and shelter programs. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. and last until approximately 11:30 p.m. Ticket prices start at $125 and increase with levels of pop culture-inspired sponsorship, or you can submit a donation by visiting this site.

These aren’t the only ways to pitch in for your community and local charitable foundations, of course. But no matter what you choose to do this holiday season or even after, Intracoastal Realty is a regional resource you can trust. If you have questions about a certain area or neighborhood, contact us and see if we can help you find a home and community for which you can be thankful!

Honoring Intracoastal Realty Veterans

To those in uniform currently serving, and to those who have served in the past, we honor you today and every day.  Thank you for your service to our country so that we can enjoy our freedoms.

Intracoastal Realty is a special “family” with people of many backgrounds and interests.  As we honor all Veterans on November 11th (federal holiday this year is November 10th), we would like to recognize agents and staff at Intracoastal Realty who have served our country.

Tracel Wilt, U.S. Army.  Sales Agent at the Wilmington Lumina 1 office.  Tracel is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.


Bob Caulder, U.S. Army. Sales Agent at the Ocean Isle Beach office.  Bob served 8 years (4 active and 4 inactive) and was stationed at Fort Dix, NJ for basic training; Fort Gordon, GA for AIT training; Fort Bragg, NC for compassionate reassignment; and Berlin, Germany, which earned him the Berlin Occupation Medal.  Bob was E-5 promotable who served in the Vietnam era.


Tom Adam, U.S. Army.  Manager at the Wilmington Lumina 1 office.  Tom served 3 years at various bases in the USA and also served in Korea.


Eddie Lawler, U.S. Navy.  Sales Agent at the Wilmington Lumina 1 office.  Eddie served for 4 years (1966-1969) on NAS Oceana VA85 in Virginia Beach; USS Kitty Hawk – VA85; USS America – VA85; and USS Constellation – VA85.  Eddie was AE2 Vietnam.


Chet Sechrest, U.S. Army.  Sales Agent at the Leland office.  Chet served for 27 years and 9 months at Hunter Army Airfield 1/75 Ranger Battalion; Ft. Devens, MA 10th Special Forces Group; Panzer Kaserne Germany; Ft Bragg 3rd Special Forces Group; and Ft Meade, MD Asymmetric Warfare Group.  Chet retired as Sergeant Major, has been to Iraq three times, and has been to 30 other countries around the world.


Hamilton Hicks, U.S. Marines.  Sales Agent at the Lumina 1 office.  “Ham” is a former mayor or Wilmington who served in USA, Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan, Philippines, and Vietnam waters.  Ham is a Retired Senior Officer.


Larry Sims, U.S. Marines.  Sales Agent at the Ocean Isle Beach office.  Larry served 5 years (1964-1968) and was stationed at Parris Island, Camp LeJeune, Norfolk, and Southeast Asia (Vietnam).  Larry was an E5 Sergeant.


Gus Franklin, U.S. Navy.  Sales Agent at the Wrightsville Beach office.  Gus served 5 years (1970-1974) and was stationed at Norfolk and Newport.  Gus ranked as a Lieutenant.


Seth Parmelee, U.S. Army.  Sales Agent at the Leland office.  Seth was stationed at Vilseck, Germany, FOB Scunion in Iraq, and Fort Hood.  Seth was a Specialist, Iraq OIF 2 04-05.


Ed Sullivan, U.S. Navy.  Sales Agent at the Wilmington Lumina 2 office.  Ed attended the US Naval Academy and served for 14 years (1982-1995).  He was stationed in Pensacola FL, Norfolk VA, and in Washington DC at the Pentagon – Bureau of Naval Personnel.  Ed was a Lieutenant, Navy Pilot in Desert Shield and Desert Storm.


Tim Knapp, U.S. Navy.  Maintenance and Housekeeping Manager at the Vacation Rentals division of Intracoastal Realty.


Jim O’Daniell, Sr, U.S. Air Force.  Sales Agent at the Porters Neck office.  Jim served 22 years (1954-1975) and was stationed in Iceland, India, Vietnam, Georgia, Florida, Colorado, New York, and North Carolina.  Jim’s rank was Chief Master Sergeant E-9, Vietnam, 1965-1966, Hq. First Air Force: 1966-1969, Hq. Air Defense Command: 1970-1973.  He was the youngest Tech Sergeant E-6 in the United States Air Force 1959. Retired USAF 1975 at Ft. Fisher AFS NC.


Jeff Whitfield, U.S. Navy.  Sales Agent at the Wilmington Lumina 2 office.  Jeff was stationed in Virginia, Maine, Portugal, Spain, and Iceland and was attached to Patrol Squadron 44.


Jeff Broos, U.S. Air Force.  Sales Agent at the Wilmington Lumina 1 office.  Jeff served 7 years (1969-1975) and was stationed in Southern California and Southeast Asia.  Jeff was a pilot and Captain in the Vietnam War.


Debbi Snyder, U.S. Army.  Sales Agent in the Wilmington Lumina 2 office.  Debbi served 15 years (1986-2000) and was stationed at Fort Indiantown Gap PA, Fort Dix NJ, Fort Bragg NC, and Ashley PA Reserve Unit.   Debbi was a member of the University of Scranton ROTC, Military Police, and the US Army Corps of Engineers.


Harold Parker, U.S. Army.  Sales Agent in the WIlmington Lumina 1 office.  Harold was stationed at Fort Jackson SC (Basic Training) and Fort Meade MD (HDQ Detachment 68th Medical Group).  Harold was a Specialist 4th Class and attended Personnel Management School at Fort Benjamin in Indiana.  He also served as Administrative Support for training National Guard at Fort Indiantown Gap, PA and for the Army Reserve.


Throwback Photos

Chet Sechrest


Chet Sechrest (right) in fatigues


Tracel Wilt at West Point