Join Me on a road trip to My Corner of North Carolina AND find Insider Tips to Make You Feel like a local
Power up your GPS. We’re off on a virtual family-friendly road trip across the U.S and Australia in the #Gr8Blogs Summer Road Trips 2018. My writerly pals and I are sharing insider touring tips for your summertime fun. I’m excited to show you around my home in central North Carolina,
Read on for my top five family-friendly stops AND find insider tips from me and my NC pals to have you living like a local.
Then discover more summer road trip fun from the US coast to coast and Australia as you join my #Gr8Blogs pals linked at the bottom of this page.
welcome to North carolina!
Picture a triangle stretching long on one side. Tip that length downward, plop it onto the center of a North Carolina map, and it points to my corner of the world.
This summer, JM and I moved to Apex, NC, a suburb of 51,000. We decided to RIGHTsize to first-floor living living there, moving just three miles down the road from our beloved home of 20 years in Cary and another great place to live.
Central North Carolina is defined by three unique cities nestled in the corner of that triangle you imagined. Each boasts a major university, which further defines who are (especially during fevered college basketball tournaments!): Raleigh and NC State University; Durham with Duke University; and the University of NC flagship’s campus at Chapel Hill.
Now draw a big X in the middle of this trio to find the Research Triangle Park (we call it RTP). One of the largest high-tech corridors in the world, it covers 7,000 acres and employs more than 50,000 people in 260 companies focused on computers, artificial intelligence, biotech, pharmaceuticals, and a gazillion techy things I never knew existed. (In fact, RTP lured me to the Triangle decades ago from my Connecticut home, with dreams of landing a high-tech career -Score!)
Don't be startled when strangers smile at you and passers-by toss a cheery, "Hey!" your way. We're friendly here -:D.
YOUR TOP 5 ROAD TRIP STOPS
North Carolina Symphony Summerfest at Booth Amphitheater (Cary)
Classical, jazz, or pop float your boat? NC Symphony's Summerfest, a 6-week concert series offers fantastic music, contests, instrument zoos, and more. Bring lawn chairs and goodies to picnic under the stars. Kids under 12 get free admission with lawn seating.
- Cary Town Band offers rousing-good free concerts for the whole family to have you marching and clapping along.
We’re all about fried everything.
And ‘cue - barbeque that is.
Pork laced with vinegar in eastern NC
Whatever you decide,
Insider tip: Sound like a native!
Specify 'sweet' or 'unsweet' iced tea when ordering.
This farm-to-table restaurant rotates seasonal fare, like buttermilk-fried green tomatoes, pulled pork with voodoo sauce, and bacon-wrapped meatloaf with pig and whistle sauce. Its patio seating is yummy, too.
Salem Street Pub (SSP) (Apex)
A laid-back eatery in an 1800s brick building in downtown historic Apex, SSP offers good food and family fun. Grab the chalk provided at every table to write or draw on the blackboard-like tablecloth. I have not tried it, but Spouse JM gives thumbs up to My Wife Said It Would Never Sell, the house specialty featuring a beef burger topped with peanut butter, honey, cheddar cheese, and bacon. Somehow, it works! Grownups, try local brews on tap.
- Road-side stands and farmer’s markets are everywhere, but the 75-acre indoor/outdoor State Farmers Market in Raleigh is easiest to find. Try free samples and talk directly with the people who grow your food. They’ll explain, in the most authentic southern accent you'll hear, the best way to fry okra or store fresh peaches. In addition to produce, vendors offer NC products like plants, honey, and sides of pork; crafters sell NC-made wares.
- Give our food trucks a try. NC Pal Donna B., originally from New Orleans, got me hooked on Mr. A's beignets.
Yippy! My new home mixes a traditional southern barbecue cook-off with free music and fun. (Locals know Apex got its name in the mid 1800s by being a water stop for the railroad and highest point, or apex, along a 30-mile stretch of the Chatham Railroad.)
As a longtime Cary resident, Lazy Daze tops my list of summertime fun.
- NC Pal Benita B. takes in the NC Japan Festival with her daughter to experience Japanese culture, music, art, and dance.
Before you go, I’m blogging more about North Carolina over the next weeks. For National Book Lovers’ Day on 9 August, I’m featuring my pick of books for adults and kids that are set in North Carolina and written by NC authors. Y’all come back!
Don't go yet .....
There's more tons of fun ahead with the #Gr8blogs Summer Road Trips! Click over to your next destination and join my pals below. (And if you blog and want to hop with us, add a live hyperlink to your family-friendly road trip post in the comment section. My #Gr8blog pals and I will swing by and give you some blog love!)
Thanks a ton! Beyond grateful for your company.
Photos: by Cat Michaels unless credited
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Sandra Bennett -
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