Earlier this year I made a couple of promises to myself: 1) see more of my own country and 2) go on a great road trip. Well, I’m excited to announce that all next week I’ll be doing both as I explore areas in a nearby state – North Carolina. I’m originally from Southwest Virginia, I went both to high school and undergrad in Virginia so North Carolina isn’t a new place for me. But, believe it or not, it’s been 15 years or more since I last spent any time outside of an airport in North Carolina and I’m excited to reconnect with what is a beautiful state, and to retrace some familiar (and much loved) areas from my youth. I’m working with Visit North Carolina on this trip and am so thankful for their support on what will be a fun adventure.
When I was in college I attended the so-called Beach Week trip every year. Hundreds of students descended on the Outer Banks for a week of fun in the sun. Those days spent in a rented house with my fellow fraternity brothers is still a treasured memory. I love the Outer Banks, I think it’s the best beach destination on the East Coast and I’m excited to return and reconnect with this region 17 years after my last visit. What a lot of people may not realize is that the Outer Banks is a deceptively large area, and you can spend a lot of time exploring the many sights and communities along the barrier island. I’m not going to share everything right now, but some of my highlights in the Outer Banks include: visiting Corolla and the historic lighthouses, climbing the sand dunes at Jockey’s Ridge and experiencing the best of beach life in this part of the world. I’m also exploring the so-called Piedmont area of North Carolina though, including the towns of Edenton, Kinston, Durham and Pittsboro. It’s a good mix of exploring life in small towns, learning about their histories and attractions while also seeing the more modern side of life in North Carolina with world-class museums and galleries. I have a lot planned in these towns and I can’t wait to share them with you.
Food is an integral part of any trip, but it may be the aspect I’m most excited about as I pack the car for North Carolina. As a good southerner, my favorite American food is well-done BBQ, and North Carolina has a lot to offer. As a Virginian, I’m used to a more ketchup-based BBQ and while North Carolina’s preparation of this hearty meal is different, that’s what makes it so good. I recently learned that North Carolina has a BBQ Trail; a driving route through the state highlighting some of the best BBQ found anywhere. While I don’t have time to do the entire driving route, I will be stopping off at some of the key points and I can’t wait to taste everything and compare them to other great BBQ meals I’ve enjoyed around the country. A large state, North Carolina is about much more than just BBQ and along the Outer Banks I’m excited to return to some of my old haunts, from great German restaurants to beachside grills that are perfect for a warm summer’s evening. Inland, the foodie scene in Durham especially has seen a lot of change in recent years, and I’m curious to find out why it has been called one of the top foodie cities in the country.
These as just a few of the many experiences I’ll be enjoying in North Carolina. I have a packed agenda and I can’t wait to start driving and exploring on my own. As always, please follow along as I learn more about this beautiful state by following me on all of my social media channels including: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and also search for the #VisitNC tag on all platforms. Also, if you have any suggestions for me I’d love to hear them! I want as much information as possible before I hit the road and start my North Carolina road trip.