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by | Feb 8, 2017 | The Triangle | 1 comment

If you have a day to take an easy drive out past the Triangle, here are some ideas of getaways that are all about two hours or less from the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill area.

As a 28 year resident of North Carolina, and with family and friends across the state, I have enjoyed all these trips and more.  Calling North Carolina home has always excited us and created a wealth of opportunities to play and learn about our state and the diverse population within.

Points East

The historic city of New Bern, founded in the 1700s, is a fun day trip from the Triangle.  History in New Bern is abundant, since it was the first capital of North Carolina, the birth place of Pepsi-Cola®, and home to Nicholas Sparks, world-renowned author.

While in New Bern, visit the Tryon Palace. It will take you back to 1770’s, when it was home to the Royal Governor of the Province of North Carolina, and our first State Capitol building, as well as provides you an opportunity to see several historic buildings dating from 1766 to 1865.  Check out New Bern’s website for upcoming events and festivals.

Don’t forget to grab a cold soda at the Pepsi-Cola® store on Middle Street and learn of the invention called “Pepsi “that has quenched the thirst of millions.

Plan ahead for your trip back to the Triangle by making reservations at the Chef and the Farmer, a renowned restaurant located in Kinston.  It’s just 35 miles from New Bern and right off of Highway 70.  Everything on the menu is a pleasure to eat! A quick visit the Mother Earth Brewery can seal the deal for wonderful evening in Kinston.

Another restaurant in eastern North Carolina to visit is On the Square. Located in Tarboro, this hidden gem is located off the beaten path, but is not to be missed. Reviews will tell you that this restaurant is a winner, highly rated and will not disappoint.

Heading east on Interstate 40 will take you straight to Wilmington. This coastal town is located about two and a half hours from the farthest point in the Triangle.

One of my favorite spots in Wilmington is the Riverwalk because it offers historic buildings, restaurants and shops all along the beautiful Cape Fear River.  There are many restaurants that offer fresh catch, but lunch of oysters and beer at the Reel Café can’t be beat!

If you’re planning a trip to Wilmington this spring, plan to book a hotel the same weekend as the NC Azalea Festival. This annual Festival, boasting “Southern Charm in Full Bloom,” is full of art, food, garden tours, and concerts. Held April 5 through 9, it is worth a trip to join in the fun!

Southern Experiences

Even if you don’t play golf, I still suggest heading south to Pinehurst. This world famous golfing community has the best small town vibe, and offers many shops to explore and restaurants to try out. Of course, they are known for their sought after golf courses. If that’s not your thing, spa packages at Pinehurst Resort are a great alternative.

You could include in this visit a trip or plan another day to explore Seagrove, where you can enjoy the Pottery Trail. Seagrove pottery is yet another signature product of North Carolina. Here you will find the largest concentration of working potters in the United States. Plan to drive between pottery workshops and galleries for a one-of-a-kind pottery encounter.

Westward Bound

There are several destinations west of the Triangle that would make for a fun outing. If you’re interested in hiking, head northwest to Mount Airy, Hanging Rock State Park, or Pilot Mountain.

Mount Airy is the birthplace of Hollywood legend Andy Griffith and proudly boasts to be the inspiration for the fictional TV town called Mayberry. Have your picture taken in front of the Sheriff Andy Taylor’s police car, and at Floyd’s Barbershop.

Hanging Rock State Park was started in the 1930’s by the Conservation Corps to ensure it will always be the destination spot in North Carolina. Suitable for a day trip, you can plan to hike one of the many trails or camp overnight for a weekend getaway.

 Pilot Mountain is visible on the drive to Mount Airy. Stopping at this State Park will allow you the opportunity to hike (or drive) to the top of the mountain for breathtaking views the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and the Piedmont of North Carolina.

Directly west of Raleigh on Interstate 40 is Winston-Salem. For many, it is known as the home of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. In town you can witness the splendor of the Reynolds Family era with a visit to Reynolda, the home of the Reynolds Family.

My interest in Winston-Salem have often taken us to the community of Old Salem. Well-preserved homes and interactive experiences are provided as you journey in time back to the settlement and homesteads of the eastern European community. Homes date back to 1766 when the Moravian culture founded the town they then called Salem.  A recent trip for me to Winston-Salem included lunch at a family-owned restaurant near Old Salem called Di Lisios and on another visit we ventured to the brewery and restaurant called Foothills Brewpub.

Lions, Tigers, and Bears

A family destination that is sure to please everyone is a trip to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. Many people don’t know that the North Carolina Zoo is the largest walk-through, national habitat zoo in the nation. My family and I have always found the best days to visit the zoo or when it’s slightly overcast or cloudy. Many of the animals are more active during the day when the sun is not beating down and they, like the rest of us, are seeking shade. Plan your visit by first checking out their website.  If you want to fuel up (yourself, not the car) for the ride home, stop by Magnolia 23 for great down home cooking.

Taking a trip outside of the Triangle?

Share your experience with me!

About Kate Mazza.

Kate Mazza is a full-time sales associate of the Fonville Morisey Realty Brier Creek office.

With over 27 years living and working in the Triangle, Kate has experience in and knowledge of our housing market that will help her clients make smart decisions. Whether buying, selling, renting or building your home, she offers a full range of services to support you.

She has a passion for the arts and the environment, and involved in many local organizations and committees, such as the NC Conservation Network Advisory Board, Town of Cary Cultural Arts Advisory Board and Town of Cary Waste Management and Recycling Advisory Board, Dorcas Ministries Capital Campaign and Marketing Committees, and the Heart of Cary Board of Directors.

Kate’s and her husband, an IT professional and former Naval Officer, have two Tar Heel daughters. In her free time, she can be found outside in the garden, on the local Greenways, or meeting friends at the best bottle shops, tailgates and restaurants in the Triangle.

Fonville Morisey Realty has 11 sales offices, with over 850 associates and employees throughout the Greater Triangle region.  FM offers mortgage, insurance, property management, title services, real estate education courses and relocation services through its divisions and partners. For more information about Fonville Morisey Realty, visit