“Have you ever in your life done something like this?”

Zac and Tomo weren’t sure what to expect when they ventured down from Queens to try moonshine for the very first time. But while this formerly illicit libation was once bottled in secret by the light of the moon, they’re about to find out that the care that goes into North Carolina’s farm-to-table food scene is as clear as day.

Tasting Moonshine

Find Your Firsts


Moonshine, farm-to-fork eating and a refreshingly peaceful way of life - there was plenty to explore on Zac and Tomo’s journey. Go inside their trip to learn more and discover what firsts you might experience in North Carolina’s central region.

1 Mother Earth Motor Lodge

1 Mother Earth Motor Lodge

KinstonSee on mapSee on map

And now for something completely different. Put a little retro funk into your exploration of North Carolina’s agricultural heartlands at this memorable hotel, the sister company to Kinston’s beloved Mother Earth Brewing.

A First to Last

Your first stay at an authentically 1960s motel will be hard to forget, with everything from psychedelic bedding to a concierge rocking bell bottoms. Zac and Tomo stayed here.

2 Broadslab Distillery

2 Broadslab Distillery

BensonSee on mapSee on map

Broadslab boasts being North Carolina’s first farm distillery, and its all-natural spirits are made up of ingredients often harvested on distillery land. Visitors can book tastings and tours Thursday through Saturday.

A First to Last

Zac and Tomo get their first taste of moonshine with a sip of Broadslab Legacy Shine, a white corn whiskey recipe that’s been passed down for generations in the owner’s family.

3 The Crunkleton

3 The Crunkleton

Chapel HillSee on mapSee on map

Frequented by locals and visitors alike - a selection of over 500 spirits might be one reason - the Crunkleton is the place to head on Franklin Street for cocktails and conversation.

Insider Tip

You have to be a member to enter, but $5 at the door will buy you membership and admittance with up to three friends.

What They Drank

Zac and Tomo ordered Moonshine Mules, one of the spot’s many creative concoctions. Don’t be afraid to go off-menu and order it when you’re there.

4 TOPO Distillery

4 TOPO Distillery

Chapel HillSee on mapSee on map

Topo is proof not all distillery tours feel like a trip back in time. For a modern, local spirits experience, take a tour of the country's only Green Plus Certified distillery, a certification so earned for excellence in sustainability .

What They Drank

Tomo and Zac tasted Topo’s Organic Moonshine, an unaged whiskey that gets its smoothness and taste from locally grown wheat.

5 Inn at Bingham School

5 Inn at Bingham School

MebaneSee on mapSee on map

Stay close to Chapel Hill at this National Register of Historic Places landmark, where your stay includes complimentary wine and cheese in the evening and a homemade breakfast.

Insider Tip

With only four guest rooms, it isn’t hard to have the grounds to yourself for a full family getaway, or book a single room like Zac and Tomo did.

6 Left Bank Butchery

6 Left Bank Butchery

SaxapahawSee on mapSee on map

Saxapahaw is helping lead the charge for a slow-food lifestyle, and that’s why Left Bank Butchery’s meats are organic, local and sustainably sourced. Stop in for a fresh ready-to-go meal or explore their cheeses and fresh bread from the Village Bakehouse.

Insider Tip

Want to turn your trip into a foodie’s dream? Grab some friends and join Left Bank’s “Celebration of the Pig,” a hands-on day of butchery, curing meats and making sausages, followed by a paella picnic at Cane Creek Farm.

7 The Eddy Pub

7 The Eddy Pub

SaxapahawSee on mapSee on map

While menu options at The Eddy might range from classic Southern comfort to European bistro, they’re all served with the intention of making you feel at home - and, if you’re here on a Saturday, a bit of live music.

What They Ate

While stopping at The Eddy Pub, Tomo and Zac sampled a selection of cheeses and charcuterie, all local to the area.

8 Haw River Farmhouse Ales

8 Haw River Farmhouse Ales

SaxapahawSee on mapSee on map

Belgian-inspired, locally sourced: The beer here is an unconventional take on conventional brewing. Be on the lookout for a few ingredients that might take you by surprise, including pine needles and fresh roasted sunchokes.

Insider Tip

Can’t make it to the alehouse while you’re in Saxapahaw? Haw River brews are served at a variety of restaurants and drinking holes in the area.

9 Reverence Farms

9 Reverence Farms

GrahamSee on mapSee on map

At Reverence Farms, sheep, chickens, cows and more are grass-fed, pasture-raised and wholly appreciated. Visitors can stop by the adjoining cafe for a daytime meal including Sunday brunch.

Traveler Detail

Queens residents Tomo and Zac have been to countries all over Asia and Europe, but they’d never been to North Carolina.

A First to Last

Most people wouldn’t think of a farm as a vacation destination. Neither had Zac and Tomo until visiting Reverence and discovering the joys of this sustainable, peaceful way of life.

About the Region

Want to discover even more in North Carolina’s central region? When a state’s most dazzling urban escapes are surrounded by wineries, barbecue and battlegrounds, who could blame you? Explore North Carolina’s piedmont to uncover what else awaits.

Updated June 15, 2018

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