Detour off of I-95 or I-40 and you can easily find Goldsboro, a town of about 38,000 in Wayne County, perfectly situated near great recreation and amenities.
First you’ll need accommodations and there are plenty of hotels nearby. Once you are comfortably settled, plan your day around all of these wonderful activities.
STOPS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
Military enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the Wayne County Veterans Memorial, a living memorial to those who gave their lives during wars. It’s a patriotic site as well as offering great information for veterans and families to learn about the history of the Goldsboro community.
The Goldsborough Bridge Battlefield, is a Civil War Site which includes walking trails and historical markers. Visitors can also explore Willowdale Cemetery, where more than 800 Confederate soldiers are buried in one mass grave. It’s a must-visit while you are here.
Also, the Charles B. Aycock, birthplace makes a pleasant stopover. Guided tours are provided daily of the mid-19th century boyhood home of North Carolina’s “Education Governor.” Governor Charles B. Aycock was born on this 19th-century farm in 1859. Exhibits trace the story of his life and often controversial political career. A restored one-room school house symbolizes his extraordinary commitment to education.
Be sure to save time for the Waynesborough Historical Village, with 11 structures to visit and history galore. Birders, take note: The village is on the NC birding Trail, so bring your binoculars. Get your information at the Visitor’s Center.
The downtown area features the Arts Council of Wayne County Art Market. From pottery to photography, jewelry to textiles, paintings to prints, the Art Market is a wonderful shop in which to find unique, one-of-a-kind, affordable, works of art. The Market represents over fifty talented artists from Wayne County and eastern North Carolina. One nice touch is their flexibility. If you’re not there during the hours it’s open, call 919.736.3300 and a staff member will be glad to open the Market for your shopping pleasure.
There are a number of eclectic shops in the area which will offer more unique treasures that may find their way into your suitcase.
Before or after your shopping extravaganza, be sure to find the historic downtown walking trail.
We’re saving tomorrow for outdoor recreation, but sooner or later you and yours will want sustenance.
WHEN IT’S TIME TO DINE
The area is justifiably famous for its great eastern North Carolina Barbecue, so make sure you visit several (there are more than a dozen nearby). Two standouts are Wilber’s and McCall’s.
Wilber’s Barbecue is pit-cooked over oak, and has been an area tradition for years. Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are among the famous who’ve enjoyed their time at Wilber’s. Remember to save room for their banana pudding, which receives raves on foodie sites. The sauce is for sale, along with hats, aprons and more. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
McCalls Bar-B-Que and Seafood is a lunchtime buffet filled with Bar-B-Que and all the accoutrements, plus Calabash-style seafood. The Bar-B-Que is cooked over an open pit, accompanied by a variety of vegetables and desserts.
These are just two out of several Que restaurants you’ll see, but they are the ones that attract the most reviews.
Although fans have been known to drive out of the way for eastern North Carolina barbecue, there are restaurants serving other types of fare which you’ll enjoy as well.
Matchbox Restaurant and Bar serves wood-fired pizzas with fresh ingredients and offers a gourmet build-a-burger option. The Oyster Bar is a nice touch as well. It’s great for dinner, after a long day playing.
The Laughing Owl is a fusion of New American and Pan Asian cuisine. The bar selection is very good and the interior attractive. It’s another good lunch or dinner option. 919.734.3233
The Flying Shamrock is an authentic Irish Pub and Restaurant that is loved by locals and visitors for lunch and dinner. Reviewers give very high marks to their corned beef and cabbage as well as bangers and mash. Try their Guinessburger – simmered in Au Jus and served with their special Celtic Kick Sauce. The beer is served at the perfect and the wait staff friendly and attentive.
Brown Bag Café Owned by the same folks as Matchbox Restaurant and Bar, this café is a great favorite. Serving breakfast, lunch and Sunday brunch and offering take-out, the café is quaint and appealing. The pimento cheese and bacon omelette receives accolades, as does their black and blue burger. Check out their sweet potato fries and fried green tomatoes.
Carl and Chelle’s Grille Room is a steakhouse, where the steaks are cut to order at your table. They do offer a chicken entrée for non-beef eaters, but steak is the thing, here. Top quality meat, and attention to detail for the dinner crowd.
Los Fogones Peruvian Restaurant features rotisserie chicken, yucca fries, sweet tea with a touch of cinnamon. Reviewers who know rate this very authentic, and those who don’t know simply rate it delicious. Open lunch and dinner.
Wilber’s serves breakfast, although you’ll find plenty of options around the area. Fortify yourself, because we’ve left today for the great outdoors with a wine tasting reward for later.
The Cliffs of the Neuse State Park is a must-see even if you aren’t much of a walker. Here, you can see the effects of the forces of erosion which have carved and chiseled cliffs in the west bank of the Neuse River. Ancient mountain areas meet coastal areas and mountain galax grows on slopes that overlook coastal trees draped in Spanish moss. The 750-acre park on the Neuse River features a 90-foot-high sand cliff, three one-half mile hiking trails, picnic area, family camping, group camping, lake swimming, fishing and canoeing on the river.
Check out their new LEED certified visitor center which hosts museum-quality exhibits that explore the natural history and the unique geological events that shaped the landscape of the park. The Cliffs of the Neuse State Park is on the NC Birding Trail, so birders, have your binoculars and lifetime list handy.
If you have your own equipment, you probably already know that Wayne County is great for paddlers and ATV enthusiasts. For sure, you’ll see folks enjoying the river.
When it’s time for lunch, you’ll have plenty to choose from. If you tried Barbecue yesterday, opt for Peruvian, or Irish, or American today. Or, if you have joined thousands who have fallen in love with eastern North Carolina barbecue, try another restaurant and discover the differences.
Afterwards, give yourself a treat by visiting Hinnant Family Vineyards, or perhaps Duplin Winery, both award-winning producers of wines based on Muscadine and Scuppernong grapes.
Hinnant Family Vineyards in Pine Level, NC has 70 acres of vineyards and a variety of homegrown wines for sale and tasting. Sit at the bar or relax on their front porch while you enjoy a glass of wine. For $5.00 you can try 8 different wines, and keep your souvenir wine glass. There’s a nice little gift shop, too.
Duplin Winery is the oldest winery in North Carolina, and the largest Muscadine winery in the world), located in Rose Hill. They produce more than 300,000 cases of wine annually, and offer free daily tours and tastings of wines, and champagnes. their wine jellies, jams and dressings make great gifts. There’s also the Bistro Restaurant on site, where their wines are paired with great food.
Your Road Trip may be ending, but for many, the first visit to Goldsboro and Wayne County becomes a life-long attraction that requires repeat visits, and for some, setting down roots.
Find all you need to explore at www.visitgoldsboronc.com
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