Driving south from New York--where to stop in NC?
My girlfriend and I are driving down to South Carolina from New York. We mostly likely want to stop for a night and most of the next day somewhere in North Carolina, but we're not sure where to go. We ideally want to stay near the coast. Anyone have any suggestions of where would be a nice place to stop for awhile, where we could get some good southern food for dinner and/or breakfast? Would Wilmington be a good bet, or is there somewhere else that would be better?
Thanks so much!
Problem with heading to the NC coast if you're coming down I-95 is that the coast is so far off the interstate that you'd be into SC if you had just kept driving on 95 instead of deviating off course.
If I were you, I'd split the difference - find a place that's not too far off I-95, but at the same time gives you local flavor. If you don't want BBQ, I would take I-795 down through Goldsboro and continue on Hwy 117 to Faison, NC and eat at Southern Exposure, http://southernexposurerestaurant.com/ . It's lowcountry/Southern food done with fresh, local ingredients, and one of my favorite places in the state. Amazing to find it in the middle of nowhere. Prices are a steal. Here's a recent video review: http://flash.unctv.org/ncweekend/5142009southernex.html
Find a motel in Mt. Olive or something, and then continue on Hwy. 403 to Clinton and then west on hwy 24 to get back on I-95 near Fayetteville.
If not that, you have a few more conventional choices for good-to-awesome BBQ. You either spend the night in Wilson or Goldsboro and have some eastern-style NC BBQ - see http://www.ncbbqsociety.com/trail_map.html for a definitive guide to which places you should check out
or you head down to Wilmington, walk around the riverfront, head on over to Wrightsville Beach to catch some seabreeze and waves, and have a good haute Southern meal at Deluxe ( http://www.deluxenc.com/ ).
What would I do? I might be flamed for saying this as someone who lives in NC, but the "down-home Southern cookin'" (Non-BBQ, that is) is better in SC than NC. Wait for Pawleys' Island or Charleston or Beaufort or Edisto or wherever you are heading down in SC for that. If you want BBQ, get it while you're in NC.
Oh, there's one another place a bit farther off I-95, but still much closer than the coast itself, in Beulaville, NC, if you want a true "on-the-farm" country-cookin' meal. It's called "Mike's Farm" and they do a family-style all-you-can-eat southern feast for dinners on Thursdays through Saturdays.
Dinner here alone will exorcise any "New Englander" vibes from your bones as you journey south.
1600 Haw Branch Road
Beulaville, N.C. 28518
Telephone: (910) 324-3422