As so often happens, sometimes the best Daily Deac ideas come from you, our readers. One of our faithful followers had a great suggestion, and that is to encourage parents to consider making some side trips around NC that coincide with times you might be coming to campus – Family Weekend, Thanksgiving, Winter Break, etc.
We are fortunate in North Carolina to be blessed with a lot of remarkable travel destinations. We’ve got the mountains 1-2.5 hours to our north and west, we have the beach about 4-7 hours to our east and southeast. And a lot of great places in between. So if you are coming to Winston-Salem in the coming months, here are a few thoughts about nearby places you might like to visit (either with your Deac or on your own).
Asheville, NC – about 2.5 hours west/southwest of WFU. Asheville is a really interesting, artsy town. They have incredibly good and interesting restaurants in town, as well as tons of breweries (for those over 21 of course). Asheville has a lot of shops that feature local artwork – everything from pottery to glasswork to jewelry to woven goods. It also has a Mast General, an old-timey general store the likes of which we haven’t seen for decades. One of the main attractions is Biltmore House, which is a Vanderbilt family property that is now a museum and has beautiful gardens and a winery. They do amazing Christmas decorations, so if you are a big fan of Christmas, this would be a lot of fun around final exam/winter break time. A good time to visit is also during the fall, when the leaves are at their peak of beautiful colors (Octoberish).
Blowing Rock, NC – about 1 hour, 45 minutes west of us are the glorious Blue Ridge mountains, and there are some fun mountain towns that are full of opportunities to hike, shop local artists, and dine at fun restaurants. Blowing Rock, NC has a nice historic shopping area, and nearby is Linville, NC, which boasts Linville Falls, Linville Caverns, and Grandfather Mountain. There is good golfing there, skiing (in the winter of course), and viewing the fall leaves as well.
Pinehurst, NC – about 1.5 hours south and slightly east of us, Pinehurst is known as a wonderful golf destination. Pinehurst has a well-known resort and golf course, though there are other courses in the area.
Seagrove, NC – is just under an hour from Winston-Salem. Its claim to fame is handmade pottery, and there are about 100 shops and galleries in the area. You can buy some incredible pieces of pottery here. Seagrove is about 40 miles from Pinehurst, so this is a good two-for-one trip.
The NC coast has many well-known beach destinations. If you are a fan of the barrier islands and want to see where the Wright Brothers flew or want to see some historic lighthouses, the Outer Banks are your place – Kill Devil Hills, Duck, Ocracoke, Nags Head, and more. The Outer Banks might be between 5-7 hours from Winston-Salem, and in my mind well worth the drive. The solitude of the place and the beauty of the beaches are stunning. If you don’t have that kind of time, it’s about 3.5 hours to Wilmington, NC and Wrightsville Beach, also nice beach destinations. There are lots of NC beach rental properties available and tons of great coastline, so you can search for a house to rent or go with a hotel. A little farther to our south, a lot of our students do spring break in Myrtle Beach, SC or North Myrtle Beach.
Charleston, SC – about 4.5-5 hours southeast of campus, Charleston is a charming town that is full of history and world-class restaurants. Tour the old historic district, admire the beautiful pastel houses on the Battery, visit the beaches or some of the nearby plantations (Boone Hall among them). To me, Charleston is reminiscent of New Orleans, but milder nightlife.
When I was a freshman, my parents decided that it would be a hassle to fly me home the day before Thanksgiving (since it was the busiest flying day of the year), and instead they drove here and we all went to Charleston, SC and spent Thanksgiving there. We had a fantastic time seeing the sights, and ate some of the best and most memorable meals there. I went back for a conference in spring 2014, and I can vouch for the fact that Poogan’s Porch was as good in 2014 as it was in 1988. Fan-tas-tic.
So as you think about times you might be coming to campus, consider adding some of these places to your ‘To Do’ list. And if you have other places you’d like to suggest visiting, email the Daily Deac at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions.