Veda Gilbert's Insider Guide to Spring in North Carolina

3 of My Favorite North Carolina Activities


There’s nothing more cleansing or better for the soul than taking a walk among our state’s spring blooms. The air is full of possibilities, and you’ll never fail to discover something new. 

Sign reading Southport Historic Riverwalk in front of tall green grass
Southport Riverwalk

Two of my favorite trail recommendations (which are accessible and for all levels!) are below. 

Looking for something different? You’re in luck! We’re celebrating the “Year of the Trail” here in NC and you can find a huge breadth of inspiration here.

Visiting Southport

Ah, Southport. One of my favorite places on earth! I visit this special town as many times a year as my schedule allows and know you will find the charm and magic I do if you plan it into your 2023 travels.  

Some can’t-miss spots: 

Without fail, I always start my visit with a meal at Fishy Fishy Cafe, always ordering the same thing: their lightly breaded calamari served with deep-fried banana peppers (trust me!) and the strawberry harvest salad that comes with the most crave-worthy warm bacon vinaigrette.  

Fishy Fishy Cafe with my sons

Eating BBQ

A fun fact about me … I’m a certified North Carolina BBQ judge! Trained and mentored by the famous Sam Jones, I love all things NC BBQ – Eastern style, Lexington style, you name it, I’m there! 

Man and woman smiling for camera in front of sign reading Skylight Inn BBQ
Enjoying Skylight Inn with Sam Jones

After eating my way through the state, here are two I have to mention:

Eastern-Style NC BBQ: Skylight Inn (Ayden)

  • My go-to order: It’s hard to go past the sandwich with slaw at Skylight Inn. It’s a two-hander job and might induce a post-feast nap. 

Lexington-Style NC BBQ: Lexington BBQ (Lexington) 

  • My go-to order: The chopped BBQ plate with crinkle cut fries, slaw and hush puppies at Lexington BBQ – ask for a side of butter then half those puppies, spread with butter and enjoy.

A Parting Thought

March is women’s history month, and North Carolina is home to so many incredible women, past and present. 

One of my favorite NC-born women is Nina Simone. My dad was such a big fan of hers and taught me about her music and legacy. I grew up listening to and loving her music before ever learning what an inspiration she was. I’m lucky to live in the state that nurtured her incredible talent.

Also, I’m a member of the Junior League of Durham and Orange County where I’m surrounded by incredible women – most recently one of my sisters, Shamieka Rhinehart, was appointed Superior Court Judge for Durham County by Governor Cooper. Truly inspiring!

Updated March 2, 2023
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