Friday, May 31, 2019

Lenoir County, North Carolina

I made a recent trip to Kinston, North Carolina, the county seat, and Lenoir County. Most of my experience with Kinston and Lenoir County before has been passing through on U.S. 70 on the way to the beach, sometimes stopping at King's BBQ. A few years ago, George and I drove to Kinston to eat at Chef and the Farmer, Chef Vivian Howard's restaurant. I decided to return to the area to get to know the county a little bit better.

One of the highlights was finding the unincorporated town of Tick Bite! There wasn't much to see there, but the Google Maps voice welcomed me to Tick Bite, thank goodness! It looked like a lot of rural eastern North Carolina, which I enjoy. Wikipedia tells me that Hurricane Floyd (September 1999) really did a number on Tick Bite, but there are still some homes there.

I also enjoyed having lunch at the Boiler Room Oyster Bar, another one of Vivian Howard's Kinston restaurants. It's more casual than
the Chef and the Farmer, and easier to get into (no reservations). I thoroughly enjoyed my shrimp burger and fries, and warm banana pudding for dessert. I'm glad (and a little jealous!) that Kinston (population around 21,000) has these wonderful restaurants in town.

Geocaching is alive and well in Lenoir County! I found several while I was roaming the county.

The rest of my Lenoir County photos are here.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Currituck County, North Carolina

The day before Memorial Day, George and I took off for Currituck County, North Carolina's most northeastern county! We knew we wanted to see the county seat of Currituck and its courthouse, as well as stick our toes in the sand. We had some bonus adventures along the way, but our big takeaway (other than the gorgeous day!) was that we didn't have time to do everything, and we can't wait to go back!

We started out in Currituck, which is on the mainland but on the Currituck Sound. Currituck used to be called Currituck Court House, but eventually the "Court House" part of the name was dropped, and left with just Currituck. We visited the Currituck Courthouse and the Old Jail next door, and took lots of pictures. 

Just down the road from the courthouse is home base for the Knotts Island Ferry, which offers a free ride over to Knotts Island. Our timing for taking the ferry, exploring, and returning for the rest of the county was off, so that's something we want to do another time!

From there, we stopped in Barco for lunch at Currituck BBQ Company. We had a good lunch there as we decided what to do next. George really wanted to go down on the beach and stick his feet in the water, so we checked Google Maps and decided to head to the public access beach Corolla next, enjoying the sights along the way. (It took us about an hour to get from Barco to Corolla.)

On the way to Corolla, we drove through the town of Duck. (Don't you just love the name?!) Duck's a small town (located in Dare County, but Currituck), but its population swells during the summer. Memorial Day weekend was a busy time in Duck, too, so driving through took a while, but it gave us a nice opportunity to see the sights.

We finally made it to Corolla, our second visit to the town but our first time to this public access beach! We were glad to find a parking space, and made a pretty long walk down to the beach. We enjoyed hanging out on the sand for a while, and George enjoyed the ocean water, though he reported back that it was surprisingly cold. The photo to the left is one of our better selfies together.

Once we got back to the car, we decided to head north, and go as far as we could in our 2WD car, We stopped by the Currituck Beach
Lighthouse for a current photo. We'd stopped there before and walked around, but haven't been up to the top of this one. I'd love to do that sometime! We drove through the Historic Corolla Village, but it was so busy that we decided not to stop this time. (We stopped there a couple of years ago and enjoyed it!)

We continued to drive north until we saw warnings of 4WD needed, and the road started getting sandier. (Next time!) So we turned around and started making our way home. We made one final stop in Kill Devil Hills to have dinner at the Black Pelican. I had a yummy salmon dish there, and George enjoyed some flounder.

We had a fun day on the Outer Banks, and can't wait to go back! The rest of my photos are here.

Davidson County, North Carolina

I visited Davidson County recently, and really enjoyed exploring the area!

Before I started driving from my home in Durham County, I knew I wanted to start out at The Big Chair in Thomasville, North Carolina. The Big Chair is a huge Duncan Phyfe chair in downtown Thomasville, in honor of Thomasville's furniture industry. Since we have a Duncan Phyfe couch and chair (from my grandparents' house) in our apartment, I wanted to see the big one! It was quirky but pretty in its own way, and fun to see in person.

After finding a geocache near The Big Chair, I drove around town a little bit. Thomasville is a cute town.

After that, I was ready for lunch, so I headed to Lexington for some barbecue! Lexington has several BBQ restaurants, but I stopped at a place called Lexington Barbecue for lunch. They served Lexington-style barbecue, of course, which is different from eastern-style barbecue served in Eastern North Carolina. I did an informal poll on my Facebook page, and while some people didn't care, others were adamant that one or the other was the best in the state! There's a Wikipedia article here about the barbecue debate. Our State Magazine weighs in here.

Next, I visited Boone's Cave Park, a pretty county park named after Daniel Boone. It's possible that Boone may have spent some time in a cave in a park. I thought I'd make the trek down to the cave, but I got several flights down the wooden stairs with no end in sight, so I turned around on that warm and steamy afternoon. It's a pretty park, though, with trails and a nice bathroom stop.

On the way back toward home, I decided to find a winery in the area, and with the help of Google Maps, I decided to try Childress
Vineyards in Lexington. I'd never heard of Childress Vineyards that I could recall, so I enjoyed the stop very much! I enjoyed seeing the vineyard, and stopped in the main building to look around. It was about 4:00 when I stopped in, so I missed the tours and official tastings for the day, but I got a small taste of the 2014 Petit Verdot, which I enjoyed a lot!

I made a few more small stops along the way, and found a few geocaches too! It was a fun day in Davidson County! My photos from the day are here.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Camden County, North Carolina

I recently took a day trip to Camden County, a rural county in northeastern North Carolina, one county west of the Outer Banks. According to the 2010 Census, Camden County is the fourth least populated county in North Carolina. One of the reasons I wanted to visit Camden County is because the southern end of the Great Dismal Swamp is in northern Camden County.

I started out in Camden, the county seat, where I located the county courthouse and the old jail, which is now a museum. The courthouse has a veterans monument in front of it. Camden County was formed in 1777, and this courthouse was built in 1847. (The previous courthouse was built in 1782, and burned down in 1845.)

Another highlight was the visiting the southern tip of the Great Dismal Swamp. South Mills, in northern Camden County, is home to the Dismal Swamp State Park, as well as the Dismal Swamp Canal Visitor Center. This is a peaceful, beautiful area, and I'd
highly recommend a visit.

Toward the end of my day in Camden County, I visited the Shiloh community, where I found Shiloh Baptist Church, the oldest Baptist Church in North Carolina.

I really enjoyed my time in Camden County, and definitely recommend a visit! My photos are here.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Wayne County, North Carolina

Last Saturday, April 28, I visited Wayne County. I've visited Wayne County many times over the years, since my mom was born and raised in Goldsboro, the county seat. I enjoyed returning to the area, and I got to see some parts of Wayne County that I haven't been to before. It was a fun day!

My first stop was Mount Olive, home of the annual North Carolina Pickle Festival, which took place on Saturday! The Pickle Festival has been going on since 1986, but this was my first time there. Mount Olive is also home to the Mount Olive Pickle Company,  as well as the University of Mount Olive. I really enjoy the Pickle Festival! There were a lot of vendors, as well as several stages for live performances (music and dancing). There was also a car show and a tractor show going on. Mount Olive Pickle had a big tent, where they were passing out free pickles! I bought a cute 2018 Pickle Festival t-shirt, to boot.

Next, I headed to Goldsboro, where I took a photo of the Wayne County
Courthouse. From there, I went to my visit my uncle, Marion, at his store in downtown Goldsboro. It was fun, as usual, to visit with him!

After exploring downtown Goldsboro a little more, I headed toward Nahunta, and the Nahunta Pork Center. I was curious to check this pork place out, but it was closed by the time I got there. So I headed back to Goldsboro for some eastern-style barbecue,  then headed for home.

I looked for nearby geocaches throughout the day, and found nine Wayne County geocaches in all--a good geocaching day, too! One geocache I found was at the Wayne County Museum, a nice place that I visited another time but didn't go inside on Saturday.

I had a great day in Wayne County! I just wish I could've shared the day with more of my family! The rest of my photos of this fun day are here.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Martin County, North Carolina

On March 31, I visited Martin County in eastern North Carolina.

Jamesville Water Tower
My first stop was Jamesville, home of the North Carolina Herring Festival, held every Easter weekend. I got there just in time for the parade! I enjoyed my parade watching spot on a curb near downtown, where I saw the parade from beginning to end. There were EMS vehicles and firetrucks, old cars, shiny truck cabs, some floats, and even some golf carts decorated like Easter bunnies. Miss North Carolina 2017 rode by, waving to the crowds, and the Dunn Sudan Clowns came by a couple of times. The crowds in my area enjoyed the parade!

Dunn Sudan Clowns in Parade
After the parade, the Herring Festival continued in downtown Jamesville, and included vendors (both food and non-food merchandise), live music, and some rides. It was a beautiful day for the festival, and people seemed to enjoy milling around and stopping to chat with each other and the vendors. Somehow, I missed the herring at the festival, but there must have been some around!

After spending time in Jamesville, I drove to Williamston, the county seat. Like Jamesville,  Williamston is a charming little town. Horses are big in Williamston. Every September the town is host to the popular Carolina County Stampede. The Bob Martin Eastern Agricultural Center hosts horse shows, among other things. I made a stop at the Martin County Courthouse, which is so charming. It's on the National Register of Historic Places.

All of my Martin County photos are in an album on Flickr, and can be found here.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Montgomery County, North Carolina

George and I spent a cloudy Saturday in Montgomery County, and we really enjoyed it!

The drive through the North Carolina countryside en route to Troy was very pretty and relaxing. On the way, we drove through Carthage, county seat of Moore County, a county I've already visited. I made several stops in Moore County on my official visit there, but didn't make it to Carthage. It's a pretty town, and I'm sorry I didn't include it in my Moore County post.

Montgomery County Courthouse
Our first stop in Montgomery County was the county courthouse in the county seat of Troy. It's an old looking building, but very pretty, I think! It was built in 1921, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. In an era where a number of old courthouses have been replaces by more modern gray buildings, this one is a charmer.

Star Library
From there, we went to Star, which is the geographic center of North Carolina. It's a charming little town, with a downtown area that includes the Star Branch Library. The Star Municipal Building has a model train in front, near a plaque with the coordinates for the center of the state.

While in Montgomery County, I found geocaches in both Troy and Star--always fun!

What would I do differently if I were to visit Montgomery County again? I'd made sure to visit the unincorporated community of Blank Ankle, which in addition to the interesting name, sounds like a close knit community. Plus, the Blackankle Bog Preserve and Blackankle Fort sound like interesting places to visit while in Black Ankle.

Photos of our trip to Montgomery County are posted in an album on Flickr, which can be found here.