Community Involvement

Four Romantic Destination Ideas in Onslow County

Long-term love or just budding, a romantic destination without distractions is the cure for the cold weather blues. From an ocean front weekend getaway, delicious dinner, or an exploring adventure, Onslow County offers some unique romantic destinations.

Beachfront Getaway

Coastal areas tailored for tourists is an ideal area for a local getaway. During colder months, you can rent a beachfront room at reduced, off-season rates. Take advantage of cold weather discounts in sought after beach communities, such as Emerald Isle and Topsail Island. Pack your bags for an overnight or two-night stay.

Pack warm layers including headgear and gloves. This will keep you warm enough to enjoy an ocean front walk with your sweetheart.  Or you can stay indoors and snuggle.

Romantic Tip: Pack your favorite mugs and gourmet hot chocolate or your favorite adult beverage. Bundle up and get cozy while you sip on a toasty drink together.

Romantic Dinners

For your overnight stay or even just a night out, there are a few romantic dinner locations to visit within the area.

According to local Yelp reviews here are top-rated dinner locations in Jacksonville, NC :

  • Duck’s Grille and Bar
    Featuring traditional American and seafood selections along with a sports bar type environment, this restaurant may be ideal for a low-key romantic couple.
  • The Osprey Grill
    As one review describes, there is soft music with a clean, inviting atmosphere ideal for a date. Food selections include steak and seafood along with desserts.
  • Inlet 790
    Located inside the Villa Capriani, Inlet 790’s menu is full of North Carolina’s best seafood dishes. Indoor and outdoor dining options with views of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Ocean’s Edge Restaurant and Event Center
    Year-round dinner service with panoramic ocean views. Four event spaces are available with a menu offering something for everyone. Special event planning is also available here.
  • White Oak River Bistro
    Located in Swansboro on the waterfront, this 144-seat restaurant t specializes in Italian cuisine.

For a romantic lunch date, try:

  • Barley Wine Café
    Featuring fresh dishes prepared and served with passion and care.  They’re open 8am-2pm M-F and for brunch on Sundays from 9am-2pm.

Things to Do Together

Not enough time for a weekend away, but you are seeking something outside of a romantic dinner date? Here are some creative suggestions for you.

  • Couple’s Massage
    There is very little else that says I love you like a relaxing hour spent getting massages together. Massages help you release past and future concerns. It connects you with the present moment. This allows you both to be in the present moment. Massages help release many feel-good hormones that build feelings of intimacy and affection for you and your significant other.
  • Visit Historic Sites
    Romance can be spending quality time with someone you care about and sharing an interest. Surrounded by rich military and cultural history, there are several historical sites and museums in this area to explore and learn. For example, Swansboro offers a Civil War History walking tour or walk through Lejeune Memorial Gardens.

In the end, romance is simply sharing the love you have for each other and spending quality time together.

Here’s an article about personalizing your romantic evening that can help you add a special touch to your plans.

ADC Reflections

American Dream Cakes is proud to share the sweet moments of making life delicious.

From wedding cakes, a baby’s first smash cake, to a 70th birthday celebration, we love each custom cake. Inspired by a story or memory, our custom design service connects us to our customer in way we cherish. Unit and community organizations and military ball celebrations are an honor to create for a memorable evening.

Here is a highlight of our favorite moments from our staff to customers and ADC’s trip to Sweden.

Staff Favorite Moments and ADC Events

(Photo: Happy 4th from ADC Bakery Team)

 

(Photo: 17 Years serving Jacksonville Community)

(photo: American Dream Cakes Bakery Booth at ENC Bridal Expo, January 2018 New Bern, NC)

Joining over 70+ wedding experts, American Dream Cakes booth display at ENC Bridal Expo 2018. Bride-to-be’s come from local and surrounding areas for the latest trends’ inspiration.

(photo: American Dream Cakes Bakery Booth Crystal Coastal Bridal Fair Sponsor Jan 2018 Morehead City, NC)

Crystal Coastal Bridal Fair is held annually in Morehead City, NC. Over 50 local area wedding vendors come together for the longest running bridal event on the coast of North Carolina.

Making Life Delicious: Special Cakes

We have the honor of making so many delicious cakes for our customers. Here are the highlights of our favorites this year.

(Photo: First Birthday Flapjack Cake ADC Instagram Image)

This adorable first birthday cake is designed as a stack of pancakes completed with real whipped topping and a strawberry.

Donating to the local community is part of who we are, this 50’s-theme sock hop cake towers at three foot tall. A lot of heart, soul, and ADC creative talent went into this donated community fundraiser cake.

(Photo: Donated 50’s Theme Sock hop Instagram Photo)

International ADC Trip: Sweden

This year has come and gone so quickly!

We’ve been blessed to make so many wonderful cakes and treats for all of you.

We’ve added team members and we’re sad but Proud to see our Sam go off to the Air Force this month.

Gunilla has gone through and recovered from not one but two back surgeries this year.

We’ve all watched Grandbaby Ela grow up and now as she turns One in December, we can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for all of us!

From all of us to all of you, Merry Christmas and Thank you for a Wonderful 2018!

Randy, Gunilla and Team ADC

 

7 Amazing Military Wedding Photos

If you live in Eastern NC, you may have seen a military wedding or two.  The Army, Air Force and Coast Guard have installations in North Carolina, but it’s the strong presence of the United States Marine Corps in Jacksonville and Cherry Point that have given rise to many Onslow County military weddings.

Couples can be transferred to our area right in the middle of planning their wedding, or be stationed to USMCB Camp Lejeune right after completing training, a tour of duty or a deployment.  These changes often set relationships in motion toward the altar. Couples often want to demonstrate pride in the Marine and heritage of the Corps.  Here are 7 military wedding photos that are our favorites to celebrate marriage and the military.

First, we look to Rey Benasfre of Life & Love Creative. Rey is currently an active duty member and an avid photographer.

We’re in love with these photos from Madeline Jane Photography.  Passing a love note before the wedding is reminiscent of letters from boot camp and special messages during deployments.  And inclusion of the dress blues cover and dog tags with her bouquet of red, white and blue pay tribute to the significance of the military marriage commitment.

This photo from Elise Abigail Photography captures the traditional moment of welcoming a bride to the Marine Corps family with the Arch of Swords.

And one of our favorite playful photographs comes from KatelynMann (Pinterest)

The military, particularly the Marine Corps, is a large part of life in Eastern North Carolina, so military weddings are a favorite way to celebrate the love that supports our service men and women.  There are great photographers that take help incorporate the pride of military service into the day that starts a military life together… and it can be beautiful.

 

5 House Favorite Picks

Over the years, we’ve had opportunity to create a wide variety of cakes for special events.  We’ve made custom creations for birthdays, reunions, weddings, military affairs and business events.  From cool to crazy, we’ve seen a wide range.  Here are a few select “house favorites” from the many event cakes we’ve designed.

3D 80’s Throw-back Cake

From bright colors to metallic finishes and edible printing, this 3D cake had it all!  We had a blast (from the past) creating this cake for a special event at the Montessori School in Jacksonville.

Hand crafted fondant game controllers and a 3D microphone decorated the Pac-Man inspired lower cake level.  A metallic disco ball and printed logo added fun flare atop a giant Rubik’s cube.

Marty McFly would be proud!

Edible 3D Tank

Another favorite from Team ADC, is a dimensional tank cake.  This cake was edible from top to bottom, interesting to sculpt, and the smiles from our customer made it even more fun.

Sitting atop edible “sand,” this tank boasts details for storage, lighting, and armament.  We tip our hats to those who serve and all those who love and support them.

Custom Sloth Birthday Cake

This 21st birthday cake was designed for laughs.  Stretched out lazily across the cake holding a beer can, this sloth takes her sweet time.

A USMC seal and wrench give nod to the day job of the recipient, but the joke is clear… she’s teased for not moving fast enough by her friends.

The detail work on the tree trunk base and hand-crafted sloth were fun for our cake designers, and the metallic wrench is edible, too!

Fairy Tree-House Cake

This one gets props in our team’s picks for attention to detail in the little things.

All edible, this little fairy house sports tiny flowers, mushrooms, pebbles and a wood-grain house and door.

Garnished with leaves, ivy and hand-crafted flowers on top, it’s magical in miniature!

The Grossest Cake Ever…

We get all kinds of requests for our talented cake designers, and this one was extra creep-y.

Sculpted from Red Velvet cake and airbrushed for realistic detail, this cockroach cake may show up in your nightmares.  From nose to tail, he was 12 inches long.

He was delicious, but it was hard to find an appetite for this one!

We love a challenge!  If you’ve got a creative cake challenge for us, we’d love to hear it!

A New Year, A New Look

At American Dream Cakes, we strive for something greater every day.  We aim for excellence – from our fresh ingredients, original cake designs, and personal service to our commitment to make a difference in our community.  It’s not just a cake… it’s a dream cake.   It’s not just a business, it’s an American Dream.

We’ve recently been working on upgrades to our bakery.  If you haven’t stopped by in a while, come see what’s new!  A new stone wall has been installed (seen in photo above) to add warmth and texture to the front area of the bakery.  It creates an earth toned backdrop for our beautifully designed cakes and other baked items that are displayed in brand new European-style bakery cases.

We’ve added a fresh coat of paint, new decorating tables to create your dream cakes on and a few other little touches to make your experience in our bakery even more delicious for the senses.  In March 2018, American Dream Cakes will reach its 17th anniversary.  That is 17 years of flour, sugar, eggs… and love.  We love making life delicious.  In this new year, we appreciate you – our customers –  and we’re stepping up our game to enhance your experience in the bakery! Thank you to everyone who has chosen American Dream Cakes over the years.  We can’t wait to see you again.  Stop on by and see our updated look.

Bridal Show Kickoff!

Tis the season to plan a wedding!  It’s a new year, proposals have been happening from Christmas through New Years Eve.  Valentine’s Day will be here soon and wedding planning season is in full swing.  Late winter and early spring are characterized by “Bridal Show Season.”

Local bridal shows and expos are coming up, and American Dream Cakes will be participating in several.  These events can make life easier for a bride, providing a one-stop-shop experience for venues, limos, caterers and yes… Cakes!

Here are a few we will be attending in this upcoming season:

  1. Crystal Coast Bridal Fair – Each and every bride is invited to the gorgeous Crystal Coast Civic Center that over looks Bogue Sound and converse with over 50 wedding professionals to help you plan your wedding.

Fashion Shows can peak your interest for future bridal and bridesmaid gowns.  They will be happening intermittently during the fair and they make a great chance to take a break from all the wedding hustle.

Bridal Contests have made a full comeback this year. The bridal bouquet bucket toss is going to test your skills.  The Wedding Cake Treasure hunt will be a delicious treat for all those who participate.  Of course, the grand prize giveaway of a $250 dollar credit to one lucky bride will happen at 2:30.  Each contestant must register online!

Cake Sampling is arguably the best part of the day! Local bakers will be there to feature their most delicious cakes for sampling.  Come on, it doesn’t get much better.

Come find us at the Crystal Coast Bridal Fair!

January 13th, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Crystal Coast Civic Center

3505 Arendell St., Morehead City NC

http://www.crystalcoastbridalfair.com/

  1. New Bern Bridal Expo – Here is another chance for all brides to be to get planning early in the game. We will join 70 other vendors and wedding experts to help anyone navigate their way to the big day. New Bern is home to beautiful venues that have rich historic character, and places like this will sure inspire you and your wedding party. This expo is located at the heart of New Bern at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center.  Highlights of the convention are Caterers, Photographers, Venues, Event Planners, DJs, Entertainment, Travel, Florists, Health and Beauty, Event Attire,  Party Rentals, Fashion Shows, Entertainment, plus thousands of dollars in prizes and giveaways!

New Bern Bridal Expo

21 Jan. 2017, 12pm – 4pm

New Bern Riverfront Convention Center;

203 South Front Street, New Bern NC

Event Website

  1. Engaged Onslow Bridal Expo – We are proud to be a vendor in our own hometown hosted expo! Engaged onslow strives to provide a magnificent experience for each of its attendees.

Taste Test Rehearsals Tour-  A limousine will pick you up and escort you to local venues to enjoy a 5 course meal, and each course being featured at that location.  This gives you a great experience not only tasting potential caterers, but also seeing the venues themselves!  You have to reserve your tickets soon!

Venue Tour on February 2017- This is a free tour to all who want to participate!  A chance to have a one on one tour from each venue coordinator and talk about your wants and need from a wedding venue, you cannot give this opportunity.

Ultimate Giveaway- Engaged Onslow is giving away a grand prize of $2500 for a very lucky bride to goes towards their wedding and to be used amongst the vendors present.  That is a big chunk-o-change that could benefit any bride for their planning.  You must register before the event though!  P.S. they are giving away other great prizes as well, so don’t be discouraged!

Engaged Onslow Bridal Show

FEb. 16-17

Jacksonville Commons Rec Center

100 Recreation Lane, Jacksonville, NC

http://www.engagedonslow.com/

Stop by and tell us about your Dream Day!  We’ll help you plan a Dream Cake to go with it!

 

 

Season of Giving….All year for this small business

Santa Claus isn’t the only jolly one this time of year. ‘Tis the season when most folks find ways to open their home, donate to causes, or help others in less fortunate situations. As people get ready to bid another year goodbye, they often do an inventory of their own life and want to pay good fortune forward.

Gunilla Kroshus is no exception. The owner of American Dream Cakes says it is hard to narrow down where to contribute because, so many things are dear to her heart. But, she feels it’s important to do her part.

“God has blessed me in so many ways, so I feel it’s important to pass some of those blessings forward to the community,” she explained.

Her business receives so many requests for assistance each year that she tries to focus on a few key areas: military-related causes, cancer research and fundraising, community outreach, and school events, like mentoring high school students as part of their senior project for the fall and spring semesters.

In fact, American Dream Cakes supported area organizations close to two dozen times in 2017. In many cases, Gunilla was able to use her confectionary skills to add a touch of sweetness to local venues. Her team made cakes and desserts to help celebrate the birthdays of children at the Onslow Women’s Center, volunteers at the annual Red Cross appreciation event, and brighten up the menu at the Onslow Soup Kitchen. Other times, the business donated gift certificates – in lieu of treats – to the Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce, Piney Green Fire Department, and Down Syndrome Network Buddy Walk.

But, Gunilla has also found a way to dedicate her time in a uniquely valuable way. She often works hand-in-hand with students sharing her craft and entrepreneur-sense – including mentoring students from culinary programs of Coastal Carolina Community College and Oregon Coast Culinary Institute. She sees many teachable moments in working with youth, and says there are options for getting them started in their own philanthropic activities.

“A good start for students is to talk to family and friends about the causes that are important to them. Chances are someone in their inner circle has the same interests and may already be part of an organization or have information on how to get more information and ideas about how to help the cause,” Gunilla said.  “With the guidance of a teacher or an adult, they can do an online search for organizations that interests them. Just make sure it’s a safe, legitimate site and cause.”

When you support American Dream Cakes, you support our community, too.  Gunilla and the entire team at American Dream Cakes wishes you and yours a joyous season of giving and Merry Christmas.

American Dream Cakes has a special gift to give you this holiday season. Here is an opportunity to bake your very own Schackrutor cookies.

Making History with Gingerbread Houses

Gingerbread Houses Making History

Although decorated gingerbread treats had been created for years, the first gingerbread houses were made in Germany during the 16th century.  Many experts believe it was the result of the children’s fairy tale, Hansel & Gretel by the Brothers Grimm.  Other food experts believe they simply wrote about something that already existed.  Whatever inspired the first gingerbread house, creating an edible house, beautifully decorated with sweet ingredients, has been popular ever since.   It even has its own day.  December 12 is observed annually as National Gingerbread House Day.

 

World Record Gets Bigger in Texas

In 2013, The Traditions Club and St Joseph Health System in Bryan, TX broke the Guinness World Record for the largest gingerbread house.  Their house measured 60 feet long by 42 feet deep and was up to 20 feet high.  Although it started with a wood base, it took 1800 pounds of butter, 7200 eggs, 3000 pounds of sugar, 7200 pounds of flour, 22,000 pieces of candy, and a ton of volunteers. The giant effort was put to good use.  The house was a holiday tourist attraction and the proceeds went toward a new trauma facility.

Your gingerbread house won’t be as big and certainly won’t be more than 35 million calories, but take the time to gather your family and make some history together.  The value can be immeasurable.

Enjoy Swedish Gingerbread This Year

American Dream Cakes will have their traditional Swedish gingerbread, called pepparkakor, again this year.  Learn more about it and make sure you place your order for Sara’s Pepparkakor treats today.

Gingerbread Facts:

  • It’s believed gingerbread making was introduced in Europe by the crusaders returning from Eastern Mediterranean.
  • It’s recorded that an Armenian Monk, Gregory of Nicopolis, introduced gingerbread baking to Christians in France in 992 AD. They were shaped, decorated, and often used in religions celebrations.
  • Gingerbread has many names – one for each country where it’s found.
  • Some thought gingerbread had medicinal properties. In 1444, it was recorded Swedish nuns made gingerbread to ease indigestion.
  • Gingerbread arrived in America with the colonists. Even George Washington’s mother had her own recipe and served it to the Marquis de Lafayette when he visited her home in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
  • The Bakers Guild no long controls the making of gingerbread, so have fun designing your own special creation “guild-free.”

Make memories with this delicious recipe and your family!

 

Sweet Treats at Oktoberfest

It’s October!  That means it’s time for the beer, brats, goodies and good-times of Jacksonville’s  Oktoberfest.

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Fun Things to do this Fall

Back to school also means back to business for many adults, but there’s still a lot of fun to be had this time of year.  Jacksonville and Onslow County host many fun fall events.  The area is centrally located with several regional festivals nearby, too.  It’s the season for harvests, festivals and there’s plenty to enjoy to keep your hearts warm as the weather cools.

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