I-85 from Virginia
* Suggested stops
Henderson – www.kerrlake-nc.com, 1-866-438-4565
The Peanut Roaster is famous for high-quality roasted, chocolate-covered, and specialty seasoned nuts of all kinds. They utilize North Carolina and Virginia grown peanuts to produce some of the best-tasting snacks using old family recipes. The manufacturing facility, along with an adjoining retail store/gift shop, is located here. Henderson Institute Historical Museum is a museum of history, oral and written records, books, photographs, and printed materials regarding the education of black people at Henderson Institute. Also visit a North Carolina Civil War Trails Historic Site, the Vance County Confederate Cemetery. It is the final resting place of 52 Confederate soldiers from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. All soldiers buried here died at the nearby Kittrell Springs Hotel, which had been converted into a military hospital during the war.
Oxford – www.granville-chamber.com, 1-919-693-6125
The Sallie Mae Ligon Museum and Archives, located on the scenic campus of The Masonic Home for Children in Oxford, preserves the past of North Carolina’s first and oldest operating residential home for children. Built in 1929, this renovated residency exhibits a treasured collection of Masonic Home documents and memorabilia, dating back to its inception in 1873 as the Oxford Orphan Asylum.
Roxboro – www.visitroxboronc.com, 1-336-597-2689
The Person County Museum of History is a very unique experience. While touring the museum’s six-building campus, visitors will experience the Enos Slaughter Hometown Hall of Fame, celebrating one of baseball’s greats, the Dorothy Brooks Doll Gallery housing an amazing collection of dolls and the Van Hook Subscription School which started in 1810, as well as the original office of Drs. John and William Merritt, “buggy” doctors from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Visitors to the museum will also learn about early agricultural endeavors in the old Tobacco Pack Barn that has been adapted to show how tobacco was processed for sale, a Titanic exhibit featuring information on two Person County residents aboard the ship, as well as African-American and Native American exhibits.
Durham – www.durham-nc.com, 1-800-446-8604
Durham is home to Research Triangle Park, Duke University and North Carolina Central University and many "City of Medicine, USA" medical centers. Research Triangle Park is one of the largest research-related parks in the world and includes the headquarters of numerous international companies. For fine art enthusiasts, visit the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. For history lovers, check out the Bennett Place State Historic Site, Duke Homestead State Historic Site and Tobacco Museum or Duke University Chapel. Learn about the Civil War history of Durham and how tobacco played a role in Durham’s history at the American Tobacco Campus. For nature lovers, visit Museum of Life & Science, including Magic Wings Butterfly House, Explore the Wild, Catch the Wind, Dino Trail or the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. For sports fans, be sure to visit Durham Bulls Athletic Park, overlooking historic Downtown Durham and designed by the architects of Camden Yards.
Raleigh – www.visitraleigh.com, 1-800-849-8499
Less than 30 miles on I-40 East from Durham is the capital of North Carolina, Raleigh. Often referred to as the "Smithsonian of the South," Raleigh is home to three state museums and is the center of the state government. Tour the North Carolina State Capitol and learn the story of the sculpture of George Washington wearing a Roman toga and ask to hear about the ghost stories and the legend of the secret rooms. Visit the North Carolina Executive Mansion, the home to 26 governors since 1891. Head over to Mordecai Historic Park, home to some of North Carolina's most extraordinary treasures, including the Mordecai House and the birthplace of Andrew Johnson, the 17th president of the United States. Stop by the "North Carolina and the Civil War" exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History to see an extensive collection of authentic artifacts. Tour the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the Southeast's largest natural history museum. Here you will see the world's only Acrocanthosaurus and "Willo," the first dinosaur ever discovered with a heart. Tour the newly redesigned North Carolina Museum of Art and enjoy an art collection with an estimated worth of over one billion dollars and includes one of the largest collections of Jewish artifacts in the U.S. Learn about the unique collection of contributions made by African-Americans toward the development of North Carolina and America at the African-American Cultural Complex. Innovations in science, business, politics, medicine, sports and the arts are included. Exhibits include “African-American Hall of Fame” and “Women of Note.” Be sure to see the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Gardens, the first public park in the Uunited States solely devoted to Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement. It is bordered by the King Memorial Wall of 2,500 named bricks recognizing state and national supporters of the facility. A colorful variety of trees, shrubs and flowering plants encircle a life-sized bronze statue of King, and a 12-ton granite water monument honors the area’s notable pioneers in the Civil Rights Movement.
Chapel Hill – www.visitchapelhill.com, 1-888-968-2060
Less than 15 miles from Durham is Chapel Hill. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Chapel Hill one of its 2011 Dozen Distinctive Destinations for its stately charm, dynamic cultural offerings and its citizens’ dedication to protecting and sharing its unique heritage. The Ackland Art Museum’s permanent collection of more than 15,000 objects includes the art of Asia, Africa, Europe and America, with works ranging from ancient times to the 21st century. Morehead Planetarium & Science Center's GlaxoSmithKline Fulldome Theater is the largest digital video planetarium on a college campus in the world. A Southern Season is a 60,000 square-foot landmark gourmet emporium, featuring wines, teas, gift baskets, chocolates, North Carolina products, Italian dinnerware and much more. The Carolina Basketball Museum chronicles the history of University of North Carolina basketball and includes nearly 500 authentic artifacts, hundreds of photographs, and videos of various players, coaches, championships and historic moments. The interactive museum is the first basketball-only museum for a university in the country. The Charles Kuralt Learning Center is located in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Journalism. Much of Kuralt's TV works, including the famous CBS "On the Road" episodes, have been digitized so visitors may watch the programs using touch-screen technology.
Mebane – www.visitalamance.com, 1-800-637-3804
At the Tanger Outlet Center in Mebane, find more than 75 brand name outlets featuring such favorite stores as Coach, J.Crew, Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, QVC Store, Levi’s, Corningware and more.
Grove Winery – www.grovewinery.com, 1-336-584-4060
Nestled in the Haw River Valley, this is one of the most awarded wineries on the East Coast. Their specialties are estate-grown European-style wines. Visitors enjoy relaxing on the patio with a glass of wine while overlooking Lake Cabernet.
Greensboro – www.visitgreensboronc.com, 1-800-344-2282
One of North Carolina’s most visited attractions is the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, located in the former F.W. Woolworth retail store. This must-see vital piece of history takes you on a journey into American civil rights history with vivid photography, artifacts, video reenactments and interactive galleries. It was here that over 50 years ago, four teenage NC A&T State University students, known as the Greensboro Four, sat down here at the "whites only" lunch counter and began America's sit-in movement that sparked a nationwide push for equality and justice for all. Today, the ICRCM stands as a monument of courage and change. For more history, stop by the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park for a tour of the site of the March 15, 1781 Revolutionary War Battle of Guilford Courthouse, with more than 220 acres of original battlefield and eight monuments and graves to honor Revolutionary War-era soldiers and patriots. Art lovers must visit Greensboro Cultural Center at Festival Park. This arts showplace is home to 12 visual and performing arts organizations, plus four art galleries. The galleries include the African-American Atelier, Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art and ArtQuest, Center for Visual Artists and the Guilford Native American Art Gallery. Walk across the street to Center City Park. Enjoy the park's beautiful running fountain and many unique sculptures that relate to Greensboro's history through art. A trip to Greensboro would not be complete without a stop at the famous Replacements, Ltd., which boasts the largest inventory of obsolete, active and inactive china, crystal and flatware patterns in the world. The free tour begins with a guided walk through the warehouse areas and ends with a visit to the showroom. The showroom offers giftware, antiques, one-of-a-kind items, collectibles and special purchases of tableware.
Heart of North Carolina – www.heartofnorthcarolina.com, 1-800-626-2672
A quick 30 miles down I-74 South from Greensboro, takes you to “The Heart of North Carolina.” In Asheboro, you will find the North Carolina Zoo, the largest land area public zoo in the U.S. On Linbrook Heritage Estate, visit one or all of the interesting sites on this estate, Linbrook Hall, Neal Farm's Hoover House or the Neal John Deere Tractor and Industrial Museum. See exhibits of North Carolina Pottery and related activities from prehistoric Native American times to the present at the Museum of North Carolina Traditional Pottery in downtown Seagrove. The center provides maps, information and displays to assist visiting more than 90 potters in the Seagrove area and hundreds of potters across the state. Seagrove is one of the largest communities of working potters in the country tracing its roots back to the 18th century. Randleman is best known as home of the King of NASCAR, Richard Petty. The Richard Petty Museum showcases the career of the Petty family from the early "dirt" days to the present. Cars, trophies and awards honoring the 7-Time Winston-Cup Series Champion are showcased throughout. Just six miles from the museum, you can plant your feet within the walls of the Petty Compound where 10 NASCAR championships and more than 250 race wins began at Petty's Garage.
High Point – www.highpoint.org, 1-800-344-2282
Originally built in 1926, the World’s Largest Chest of Drawers commemorates High Point's role as a significant furniture manufacturing center. Furnitureland South is home of the World's Largest Highboy, at 85 feet tall. The Highboy was designed by Sid Lenger to match the World's Largest Chest of Drawers. At All-A Flutter Butterfly Farm, visitors will see demonstrations of all stages of development to the emergence of the brilliantly colored adult butterfly. McCulloch Gold Mill operated for 30 years as a gold refinery in the 1800s. Now reconstructed into a castle, groups will learn the history of the North Carolina Gold Rush and pan for gold and gems just as it was done when the mill was in operation. Mendenhall Plantation, an early 19th century Quaker homestead, was used as a stop on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War and is home to one of two remaining false-bottom wagons used to transport slaves to freedom. John Coltrane, famous jazz saxophonist who grew up in High Point, is remembered with a special exhibition at the High Point Museum. The Doll & Miniature Museum is the South's largest doll museum featuring more than 2,500 dolls, miniatures and doll houses, with some dating as far back as the 1400s. This museum also features a special exhibit of over 120 Shirley Temple dolls, African-American Heritage dolls and other rotating exhibits.
Thomasville – www.thomasvilletourism.com, 1-800-611-9907
A symbol of Thomasville's furniture heritage is the World’s Largest Chair, a 30-foot monument standing in the heart of downtown Thomasville. This is another great photo opportunity!
Lexington – www.visitlexingtonnc.com, 1-336-236-4218
Many states have towns named Lexington, but only one claims to be the “Barbecue Capital of the World.” The town is so proud of its barbecue heritage that each year a huge celebration takes place in October, drawing more than 100,000 visitors and locals to the Main Street of uptown. The Bob Timberlake Gallery, located in Bob’s hometown of Lexington, showcases his original artwork, reproductions and personal memorabilia, as well the popular home furnishings collection that has made him a familiar name in homes across the country.
Childress Vineyards – www.childressvineyards.com, 1-336-236-9463
Richard Childress, a North Carolina native who made his name as a NASCAR driver, owns Yadkin Valley's southernmost winery. The 35,000-square-foot, Italian Renaissance-style winery is a popular destination and features a delicious bistro.
Salisbury – www.visitsalisburync.com, 1-800-332-2343
Gold Hill Mines Historic Park is a 70-acre historic theme park, the site of Barnhardt and Randolph Gold Mines, reportedly the richest mining property east of the Mississippi. The Lazy 5 Ranch is a privately owned exotic animal drive through park that offers a 3.5-mile safari with the opportunity to view more than 750 animals from six different continents, from your own vehicle. The North Carolina Transportation Museum features 13 buildings on 57 acres, including a restored roundhouse and exhibits on early transportation.
Concord/Cabarrus County – www.visitcabarrus.com, 1-800-848-3740
The area boasts the world's greatest concentration of motorsports attractions from the Charlotte Motor Speedway to more than 90 percent of all NASCAR race team shops. Take a tour of the Charlotte Motor Speedway and drive around the track, visit a race shop and see the behind-the-scenes details at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing or Stewart-Haas Racing. Spend some time in quaint downtown Concord or at the No.1 shopping entertainment destination of the Carolinas. Concord Mills features more than 200 stores including manufacturer and retail outlets, off-price retailers, and unique specialty stores. Charlotte is only 27 more miles along I-85 South from Concord.