One Hundred Things To Do In And Around Eastern Carolina - 2009 Version
It's back! Due to popular demand, here's the 2009 version of "One Hundred Things To Do In (and around) Eastern North Carolina. Last year's blog came out in June and immediately started getting traffic from WITN.com readers. To this day, it's still cracking our weekly list of top 10 blogs.
Have I done everything on the list? No. I’ve tried some of the ideas on this blog, some are on my to-do list and others are ideas that people with different interests than mine have told me they enjoyed.
And now, here's the list.....
100. Take a shuttle to Cape Lookout and/or the Shackleford Banks http://www.harkersmarina.com/ferry.htm
99. Catch a summer blockbuster at one of the many theatres in Eastern North Carolina. If you're looking to save some money, try a matinee at one of the many Carmike Theatres in our area.
98. Hike the trails or go fishing at River Park North in Greenville
97. The Country Doctor Museum in Bailey, founded in 1967, is the only medical museum in the nation dedicated to rural physicians who practiced medicine in the South during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The museum collects and preserves the medical instruments and tools of pharmacy used by country doctors as well as their diaries, papers and medical books. The museum is housed in two restored 19th-century physicians’ offices. www.countrydoctormuseum.org
96. The Aurora Fossil Museum http://www.aurorafossilmuseum.com/
95. Go to the I-Max Theatre in Raleigh http://www.marbleskidsmuseum.org/
94. Catch a Wilson Tobs game. It’s a great old stadium, reminiscent of “The Natural”. Great ticket prices and a wonderful atmosphere. www.wilsontobs.com
93. Beaufort County has two 9 hole courses that are very easy on the wallet. Check out the Bayview Golf Club near historic Bath. Call 252-923-8191 to reserve a tee time. Don't forget “Terrapin Track” near Washington. This one is a very unique experience. Haven’t played it personally but a good friend told me it reminded him of the old Bartles & James commercials except the guys were younger. Since they don't have a website, here's the phone # .... 252-927-3204
92. When you're in Carteret County, check out The History Place in Morehead City run by the Carteret County Historical Society. You'll find exhibits, a research library, the museum store and more. There's more on their web site. Click the link and then check out their video "The Story of Carteret County". Good Stuff! http://www.thehistoryplace.org/
91. Lunch on or near the water in Beaufort. Try Finz for a good atmosphere and a cost efficient meal. http://www.finzgrill.com/info.php
90. Winterville Watermelon Festival August 27th-29th. On Thursday night, General Johnson & The Chairmen Of The Board take the stage. The big act on Saturday night is Craig Morgan with Randy Houser. www.watermelonfest.com
89. ECU's Summer Theatre is back on campus in the newly remodeled McGinnis Theatre. The summer's big show is Big River, based on Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. The show is scheduled to play from June 16th through the 27th.
88. Go waterskiing! The company known as "The World's Largest Watersports Dealer" got its start in Greenville and we're fortunate to have one of their two retail locations here in Eastern North Carolina (Red Banks Rd., Greenville). If you're unfamiliar with watersports, the crew at Overton's can get you hooked up. http://www.overtons.com/
87. Visit North Carolina’s oldest winery, The Duplin Winery in Rose Hill. Tours run 9a-4p Monday through Saturday. www.duplinwinery.com
86. Catch the racing bug – East Carolina Motor Speedway in Robersonville
84. Head north on a one-tank trip to Colonial Williamsburg. www.history.org/
83. OK, while you’re in Williamsburg, stay another day and ride the coasters at Busch Gardens http://www.buschgardens.com/BGW/default.aspx
82. Stay yet another day in Williamsburg but make sure it's a hot one! Spend it floating down the lazy river at Water Country USA. http://www.watercountryusa.com/WC2/
81. The Core Sound Waterfowl Museum is well worth the trip to scenic Harker’s Island in eastern Carteret County. http://www.coresound.com/museum.htm
80. Kayaking in the rivers and creeks. For rentals, try Paddle Pamlico in Oriental. www.paddlepamlico.com
79. Escape the heat and tour the exhibits at the Greenville Museum of Art. www.gmoa.org
78. Wright Brothers Monument. I know…it’s just a monument but take some time to soak in the history surrounding the area and spend the rest of the day on the beach. You’ll be glad you did. http://www.nps.gov/wrbr/
77. Graveyard of the Atlantic - Maritime History Museum in Hatteras http://www.graveyardoftheatlantic.com/
76. Tour Tarboro’s National Historic District. http://www.tarboro-nc.com/recreation.aspx
75. When summer’s over, it’s time for the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh. Big crowds and big fun. Opens October 15th and runs through the 25th. http://www.ncstatefair.org/index.htm
74. Camping. I’ll confess that my idea of camping is a Hampton Inn but for those who are more adventurous, you can find some great camping on the Outer Banks and on the Crystal Coast. Here's a link to privately owned campgrounds on the Outer Banks. http://www.visitob.com/outer_banks/tostay/campgrounds.htm
73. The Cowan Museum in Kenansville is a hands-on learning and entertaining experience for all ages. The Cowan Museum is located in the fully restored Kelly-Farrior House (circa 1848). You’ll find over 2,000 artifacts that reflect the heritage of rural North Carolina. http://www.cowanmuseum.com/
72. Play 18 holes at Chocowinity's beautiful Cypress Landing golf course. http://www.cypresslanding.com/coastal-golf-community.htm
71. The old bull isn’t there anymore and the ballpark isn’t falling apart anymore but baseball fans will love an afternoon at Durham Bulls Athletic Park watching the Tampa Bay Rays AAA affiliate. If you're not a baseball nut but you still want to check out the park, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp will take the field on July 28th to hammer out their own hits. www.dbulls.com
70. Have you been to any of Greenville’s fine independent restaurants lately? Beef Barn, Christine’s, Daily Grind and the rest….they all have something you’ll enjoy. Finelli’s and CPW’s don’t appear to be part of the group but they deserve a shout out as well. http://www.dinegreenville.com/
69. Take a ride on a NC State Ferry. http://www.ncdot.org/transit/ferry/
68. The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. http://www.nczoo.org/
67. Visit Deadwood in Bear Grass described as a family owned and operated Western Theme Park. Train rides, miniature golf, arcades, a kiddie roller coaster and The Smokehouse Grill. They’re only open weekends so check their website or call before you head out to Martin County. www.deadwoodnc.com
66. Get some friends together and play 18 holes at ECU’s home course – Ironwood Country Club, just west of Greenville on Highway 43. http://www.ironwoodgolf.com/
65. Watch the ECU Pirates’ pre-season practices. The football team officially starts practicing in early august. www.ecupirates.com
64. Cape Hatteras Beach. Dr. Beach ranks the Buxton, NC beach as #8 on his 2008 top ten list.
63. If you’re beached out in Ocracoke, spend an afternoon in the shops and galleries. http://www.ocracokevillage.com/shops_artgalleries.htm
62. The venue formerly known as Walnut Creek has another strong line-up this summer. Toby Keith, Coldplay, and Aerosmith with ZZ Top are some of the acts scheduled to play at the Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion At Walnut Creek. Man that's a mouthful!
61. Whirligigs, near Wilson is an amazing collection of “Whirligigs” – large, wooden, wind-driven mechanical windmills – created by local folk artist Volis Simpson. The devices incorporate complex movement and sound and are an integral part of more than 30 works erected on Simpson’s property. www.wilson-nc.com/Whirligigs.cfm
60. Belhaven Memorial Museum, Belhaven - Think you’ve seen it all? One visit to the Belhaven Memorial Museum will surely change your mind. This museum is the result of Mrs. Eva Blount Way’s penchant for collecting buttons.
59. Fish the Mystery, Beaufort - It's a 65 foot "party boat" that fishes the inland waters of the Crystal Coast. It's recommended by Carolina Angler - Rick Goines. Trips are scheduled to leave daily at 8am. No license required. http://www.mysteryboattours.com/
58. The Tobacco Farm Life Museum in Kenly near the intersection of I-95 and Highway 301. The museum’s goal is to preserve the special history of Eastern North Carolina’s family tobacco farms for future generations. www.tobaccofarmlifemuseum.org
57. Ayden Collard Festival -September 8 -13th, 2009
The Ayden Collard Festival got its name about 30 years ago when the town decided it needed a festival but couldn’t decide what to call it. The local newspaper held a contest, collards won out over cucumbers, and the rest is history. The festival has all the traditional elements, such as a parade, concerts, foods, arts and crafts, carnival rides, a 5K run/walk and the crowning of the Collard Queen.. www.aydencollardfestival.com
56. The State Fairs - It may be cheating to include state fairs as summer events since they generally signal the start of fall here in the east. The Pitt County State Fair is scheduled for October 5th-10th, 2009 while the Lenoir County Fair is usually held in mid-September.
55. Bike or run on the new trail system in Jacksonville Download a map. (PDF)
54. Sunday in the Park – Greenville’s summer concert series.
53. Wayne County Museum: Used in World War II as a USO, the museum memorializes Wayne County history with rotating exhibits, a permanent War Between the States exhibit, and a Wall of Fame honoring notable Wayne County natives
52. Explore beautiful Goose Creek State Park east of Washington, but don't forget the bug spray. http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/gocr/main.php
51. Head to downtown Washington for lunch. Pia’s is my favorite but Down on Main Street is a close second. http://www.chefpias.com/
50. For dinner and a cold beverage in New Bern, it’s hard to beat the Chelsea. http://www.thechelsea.com/ I'm also a big fan of Morgan's Tavern. Excellent atmosphere & great food in the heart of historic, downtown New Bern. http://morganstavernnewbern.com/
49. Lynwood Zoo - Jacksonville http://lynwoodzoo.tripod.com/
48. Camping at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. There are four campgrounds and a total of 585 campsites available. http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm
47. Catch your limit on one of the piers in Onslow County. http://onslowcountytourism.com/attract2.cfm?OCTCategory=FishingPiers
45. Buckner Hill Plantation in Duplin County is one of the largest antebellum plantation houses in North Carolina. The plantation was featured in the movie “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.” http://www.carolinaplantation.com/
44. Wimpie’s in Winterville. http://www.wimpiescajun.com I love their guarantee : “If you're not served in 15 minutes, then you will be served within 25 minutes. Don't get your shorts in a knot. Relax. Bond with your guests or strangers. If you can't shake your anxiety, we will gladly give you directions to the nearest Fast Food Establishment.” Heck, even if you don’t like seafood, go read their website. It made me laugh out loud, several times.
43. The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort features a shipwreck exhibit and a sport fishing exhibit http://www.ncmaritime.org/default.htm
42. Swansboro Bicycle Trail is a twenty-five mile loop which begins in Swansboro, crosses the White Oak River to Cape Carteret, then winds through the Croatan National Forest, crosses the river again and returns to Swansboro. http://onslowcountync.gov/parks/BikeTrails.aspx
41. CSS Neuse Historic Site in Kinston http://www.visitkinston.com/visitors/attractions/historic.html
40. The fall's premiere event is the North Carolina Seafood Festival in Morehead City. This year it's the 23rd Annual festival and it runs October 2nd-4th. http://www.ncseafoodfestival.org/
39. West Water Park in Kinston www.westwaterpark.net
38. Explore the White Oak River. Haywood Landing and the Cedar Point Recreation Area are both good launch points. Don’t be surprised if you see reptiles….snakes, large turtles and even alligators. Link is to "A Jewel of a River" which is written by David Sobotta. If that name is familiar to you, you may well pay attention to Marvin's pictures. David sends us some great ones! http://coastalnc.org/whiteoakriver/
37. We’re blessed to have a treasure like the Croatan National Forest in our area. http://ncnatural.com/NCUSFS/Croatan/
35. North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores http://www.ncaquariums.com/pks/pksindex.htm
34. Fish Hyde County! The Mainland boasts the 40,000 acre Lake Mattamuskeet and its canals where bass, bream, catfish, white perch, and blue crabs lure the freshwater enthusiast. The Alligator River, Pungo River, Pamlico Sound and their tributaries bait fishermen with the challenge of hooking speckled and gray trout, flounder, striped bass and tarpon. http://www.hydecounty.org/great_outs/hc-go_fishing.htm
33. One of North Carolina's newest golf courses is now ready for play. The Arnold Palmer designed Innsbrook Course is on the water in Merry Hill in Bertie County.
32. The Florida Marlins AA affiliate, The Carolina Mudcats, plays in the far eastern corner of Wake County in Zebulon. Five County Stadium is a beautiful, semi-luxurious minor league stadium. Just look for the water tower painted like a baseball as you’re driving west on 264. http://gomudcats.com
31. Get a saltwater fishing license and try your luck at one of the piers on the Outer Banks. www.outerbanksfishing.com/Fishinginfo/piers.htm
30. Hammocks Beach State Park, located just off the mainland near Swansboro, has become nationally acclaimed as a coastal wildlife nature preserve.
29. Why not play tourist in our own area? Escape for a night to the Sheraton in Atlantic Beach. http://www.sheratonatlanticbeach.com/Default.asp
28. Yes, I love good seafood! One of my favorites is MJ’s Raw Bar tucked away on Middle Street in downtown New Bern. http://www.mjsrawbar.com/
27. Go for a dolphin watching cruise on the Diamond City out of Beaufort. They do dolphin watches in the morning and kid's Treasure Hunts in the afternoon. Also, brunch and dinner cruises are available too. http://www.mysteryboattours.com/
26. Sit out on one of the decks at Backwater Jack’s in Washington with a Shrimp Burger and your favorite cold beverage. The Fried Oysters are pretty good too! New this year: They're open Sundays and both decks are covered.
25. Before or after treating yourself at Backwater Jacks’, burn up some calories or work up an appetite paddling on the Pamlico with a kayak rental from Inner Banks Outfitters, conveniently located next door. www.innerbanksoutfitters.com
24. North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island http://www.ncaquariums.com/ri/riindex.htm
23. Start your back to school shopping early at the Premium Outlets in Smithfield http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp?id=48
22. Visit the birthplace of Pepsi in downtown New Bern. Buy some memorabilia and sip an ice-cold Pepsi at the recreated soda fountain. And it's run by good people too. www.pepsistore.com
21. Visit Oriental and grab lunch on the water. Oriental claims to be a village of 875 people and more than 2,700 boats. http://www.visitoriental.com/
20. It’s hard to go the beach without at least checking out the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. It’s $7.00 to climb for adults. Great view but if you’re not in great shape, it’ll hurt. No time to climb? Check out our web cam instead.
19. Explore the Beaufort Historic Site. This two acre complex interprets the town's colonial maritime heritage in nine houses and buildings dating from 1732 to 1859. http://www.beaufort-nc.com/bha/
18. Take a walking tour of historic Bath in Beaufort County. http://www.nchistoricsites.org/bath/bath.htm
17. Go antiquing. In Greenville, try Dickenson Ave. Also Wilson and Downtown New Bern can be productive spots.
16. Celebrate the 4th in style – try Camp LeJeune, Greenville or Washington
15. Another great one-tank trip idea: Tour Wilmington for the day. http://www.cape-fear.nc.us/
14. Explore the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. It stretches over 70 miles from Nags Head down to Ocracoke. I’m told there are over 100 public waterfront access points, including free parking, along the shore. http://www.nps.gov/caha/
13. The Lost Colony – 72nd Anniversary season. Experience a 424 year-old mystery performed under the stars on Roanoke Island. Backstage tours are available. www.thelostcolony.org
12. Treat yourself to a round of golf at The North River Golf Club in Beaufort http://www.northrivergolfclub.com/
11. Walk the Charles Kuralt Trail at the Roanoke River Wildlife Refuge (Two miles north of Williamston)
10. Have you been to the “Streets at Southpoint” in Durham? Great chain eats, cool people watching and stores that can burn a hole in your wallet if you choose to do more than window shop. Nordstrom’s is something special – if money is no object. www.streetsatsouthpoint.com
9. Spend a day in Edenton and ask yourself, “Is this the South’s prettiest small town?” http://www.visitedenton.com/index.asp
8. Historic Tryon Palace in North Carolina’s first capital city, New Bern http://www.tryonpalace.org/
7. Think about all the waterfront property between the Pamlico Sound, the Neuse River Basin, The Crystal Coast, The Outer Banks (both beach and sound side) and Albemarle Sound. My point? Get a boat and get out and enjoy the water. There are many boat dealers in the area but you may want to check out Park Boat Company in Washington. http://www.parkboat.com/
6. Eat some Eastern Carolina Barbecue. Favorites include Parker’s in Greenville, Boss Hogs in Washington and Bill's in Wilson http://www.bills-bbq.com/
5. Neuseway Nature Center in Kinston is a hidden gem featuring a 52 seat Planetarium, A Health & Science Museum, The Exchange Nature Center and a full-service campground. www.neusewaypark.com
4. Catch the Kinston Indians. Grainger Stadium is one of a kind and the Indians put on a great show. And they put a lot of players into the big show including Grady Sizemore, Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez. New this year: A live web cam so you can see what's happening at Grainger Stadium WITN.Com K-Tribe Cam http://www.kinstonindians.com/
3. Dr. Beach loves Ocracoke so much he bestowed the “2007 Best Beach Award” to the island. It’s not easy to get to but it’s worth the trip. Nice B&B’s, friendly restaurants, awesome beaches and some of the best fishing on the east coast!
2. Spend a day in Emerald Isle or Atlantic Beach. Surf, fish, grab a great lunch and a cold beer. Or just relax while soaking up the sun. http://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/ http://www.atlanticbeach-nc.com/
1. Ft. Macon State Park in Carteret County - Sur, Sun, Sand and a historic landmark! It's a classic Civil War fort surrounded by water on three sides. http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/foma/main.php
We live in a beautiful part of the country with access to unspoiled beaches, quaint coastal cities, historic towns and beautiful farmland. Raleigh and Norfolk are not too far away from many parts of eastern North Carolina while the southern parts of the WITN viewing area are convenient to Wilmington and Myrtle Beach.
Make sure you take advantage of all the area has to offer this summer.