Favorite Year-Round Piedmont Escapes
It’s that central portion of the state between the mountains and the sea; you know, the Piedmont. Don’t let the name fool you. There’s more here than just gorgeous rolling hills and fabulous hiking trails. Year-round you can enjoy dazzling entertainment, great food and wine, golf, sports, history and cultural arts and if that doesn’t leave you breathless, there’s always shopping.
Escape to Shopping, Attractions and Sports
You’ll find small boutiques and major retailers offering quality items and year-round bargains from Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh and Brightleaf Square in Durham, to Carolina Premium Outlet stores in Smithfield and one of North Carolina’s most visited attractions, Concord Mills north of Charlotte. When you’re finished there, race over to nearby Charlotte Motor Speedway for a complete NASCAR experience, including an extensive gift shop, special events, races and personalized driving schools.
South of Charlotte you’ll find more rides that go in circles at Carowinds, or you can slow the pace with some indoor time at the Levine Museum of the New South in downtown Charlotte. While you’re in the Queen City, be sure and catch some sports action with the Charlotte Bobcats and the Carolina Panthers.
If real animals are more your style, visit the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, the country’s largest walk-through natural habitat zoo, where reduced winter rates will leave you cash for some wild furniture shopping in High Point, Thomasville and Hickory. North Carolina pottery makes a great gift or keepsake any time of the year, but fall is a great time to find some pottery and get in a round or two of golf at nearby Pinehurst and Southern Pines.
Escape to History, Culture and the Great Outdoors
The Piedmont offers a myriad of ways to escape any time of year from the National Rail Road Museum in Hamlet to Old Salem, a living history encounter with the 18th Century Moravian settlers. In March visit Bentonville Battlefield, site of the last major Confederate offensive of the Civil War for anniversary commemorations, or spend an afternoon at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum, which honors the shared history of airborne and special operations soldiers at Fort Bragg. At nearby historic Fayetteville you can learn about the area’s strong Scottish heritage.
During the summer months, a number of outdoor dramas depict the state’s diverse history. The region’s state parks and natural areas are great for hiking, biking, fishing and camping any time of the year. North Carolina’s only designated viticulture region in the Yadkin Valley is where you can sample award winning North Carolina wines.
You’ll also find great nightlife, restaurants, theater and music from the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Charlotte to the Roanoke Rapids Theatre in Roanoke Rapids, so what are you waiting for? Any time’s a great time for a North Carolina Piedmont escape.
By Pam Watson
By Pam Watson
added: December 12, 2008
updated: August 19, 2010