Mary Baggett Martin is co-owner with her three brothers, of the Blockade Runner Beach Resort in Wrightsville Beach. She has overseen the management of the resort since first coming on in 1984, prior to the arrival of destructive Hurricane Diana, a storm so powerful that it resulted in the hotel closing its doors until January 1985. In November 2014, the Blockade Runner received the Historic Wilmington Foundation plaque, an honor bestowed upon only a handful of Wrightsville Beach properties. Blockade Runner celebrated its 55 th birthday last month and is proud to be privately owned and operated since 1964.

Mary is an outspoken advocate on environmental issues, especially those with coastal implications. Through her association with NCLCV, Surfrider Foundation, and OCEANA, Mary has met with federal and state elected officials to address pressing issues, most recently the initial proposal to open North Carolina’s coast to offshore drilling. Over the past 30 years, efforts of the state tourism office, Mary, Blockade Runner and newly formed Cape Fear Coast CVB, collaborated to grow the tourism industry on the North Carolina Coast. Through hosting both international and national travel writers, agents, and group planners, Wilmington and Beaches gained worldwide media exposure and is now recognized as a world class destination.

Through her role at the Blockade Runner, Mary has participated in a variety of business and professional associations, including the Wilmington and Raleigh Chambers of Commerce, the North Carolina Travel and Tourism Board (during the administrations of both Governors Easley and Purdue) and the Southeast Tourism Society Board of Directors. Mary and Blockade Runner were given the Tourism Excellence Award by the North Carolina Travel Industry Association in 2014.