There is No Place like Home, Explore North Carolina
Most people want to fly all over the country or explore faraway places that boast about white sandy beaches. But I prefer to visit places located right in my backyard – North Carolina.
We have many sayings in the south, but one of my favorite is, “there are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t met yet.” I receive pleasure from driving across the Tar Heel state, taking occasional breaks in small towns to discover new places and meet new friends.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Named “Americas Favorite Drive” – the Blue Ridge Parkway is 470 miles of amazing views, hiking trails, picnic areas, campsites and recreational opportunities that connect the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
My grandparents cherished Western North Carolina and we took long weekend drives so my grandmother could admire the altering colors during leaf season and other scenic moments. We visited Chimney Rock where we would take an elevator nearly 300 feet up the center of the mountain to the top of the rock.
But no trip to the mountains is complete without dropping by the Biltmore House, the luxurious estate where the Vanderbilt family once called home. My grandmother would stroll through the floral garden and spend hours snapping her Kodak Polaroid camera. I still adore the estate, but now spend most of my day at the winery – sipping their specially blended summer wine.
Some years ago I acquired a small place in Downtown Wilmington one block away from the Cape Fear River and surrounded by local restaurants and other attractions. I spend weeks at a time in Downtown Wilmington during the summer and winter months – it’s become a safe place for restoration, renewal and revitalization.
Most visitors choose to stay closer to the beach, but I personally like to be near the historic sites and venues where they host theatrical performances featuring local talent. Not to mention a lazy ride on the Cape Fear River after Sunday brunch gives me life.
Chef & The Farmer
I’ve developed into a “foodie” over recent years as I learned to appreciate quality food, not to mention chefs who are creative and innovative with their menus – but I remain a huge fan of down south culture and generally southern cuisine.
No other restaurant in the state combines both to capture the hearts and minds of their customers like Chef & The Farmer located in Kinston, North Carolina.
My best friend is Mayor BJ Murphy and many years ago he introduced me to the owner – Vivian Howard – I’ve been in love ever since. Now a trip to Kinston is not complete without the Brittany Ridge Pork Chop, braised carrots and charred green beans.
These are only highlights from a very long list of favored places peppered throughout North Carolina, but there are so many more – Pinehurst, Yadkin Valley Wine Country, Sanderling Resort, Bald Head Island and Blowing Rock.
If you have an experience in North Carolina that you would like to share, then please share and we may highlight the location for other readers to consider.