The Carolinas

Processed with VSCOcamWe are mostly typical Georgia folks – we have a little bit of a southern drawl, we like our sweet tea and grits, and we haven’t spent a lot of time in the Carolinas. Okay, actually we’re not that typical since we live in a 200 square foot home located in a different place every few days/weeks/months, but just stick with me. On the way to Maine we probably wouldn’t have stopped in South Carolina or North Carolina at all, except there are a couple of folks who live there now that we really love spending time with. So, we stopped for about a week to catch up with them, and we’re so glad we did! Here are a few of the places we stopped and what we enjoyed (or didn’t) about each one:

Roper Mountain Science Center, Greenville, SC – Total bust! After checking the website, we thought this would be the perfect start to our ASTC reciprocal science museum list, but when we stopped in they informed us that they are not open to the public and actually only take field trip groups who plan ahead. What a bummer! I was so glad we hadn’t driven heaps out of our way to visit, and on the bright side I learned something very valuable: Save yourself some embarrassment next time and call a science center on the ASTC list before just dropping in!

IMG_20150407_145142Spartanburg Science Center, Spartanburg, SC – Another bust! After our first experience at Roper we decided to try again, so I called the science center in Spartanburg and found out that they weren’t open to the public that day either (although I think they are open to the public a couple of days per week). So, we headed north and decided that for this trip South Carolina got a big thumbs-down. Thankfully we’ve visited spots like Hilton Head, Hunting Island, and Edisto Beach on other adventures, so we know South Carolina is great; it just didn’t show up for us this time.

Schiele Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, Gastonia, NC – Third time’s a charm! We loved this little museum and spent several hours going through the exhibits. They had a separate display for each planet with more information than one could possible comprehend, and several rooms of taxidermied animals from all over. (They even had a moose!) This one really saved the day!

IMG_20150407_170856Uwharrie Vineyards, Harvest Host just outside of Charlotte, NC – We joined Harvest Host just before leaving Georgia knowing it would save us heaps of money in campground costs on our way to Maine and that it would add another layer of opportunity for us to get to know people and learn about farms, vineyards and breweries. Uwharrie Vineyards was our first night staying with a Harvest Host, and it was exactly everything we were hoping for. The vineyards were beautiful, the facility was so cute, and the staff was delightful. We purchased a bottle of their most popular blackberry wine and a jar of their queso and sat on the porch overlooking the vineyard. What a fun and relaxing first night at the start of a very long trip! All for $0/night! After this experience I was definitely patting my husband on the back for the Harvest Host idea!

 

IMG_20150408_132053Airborne & Special Operations Museum, Fayetteville, NC – This place was simply outstanding. An entire indoor museum and outdoor statue garden devoted to the troops that have served in the Airborne and Special Operations divisions, and probably the best visuals and most guns, helicopters, and memorabilia we’ve ever seen.

Cliffs of the Neuse State Park near Goldsboro, NC – We chose this campground to be close to our friends, and really it wasn’t too bad. The price was $20/night (a little steep for the quality) and although there were no hookups on the campsites, we were fine with solar and able to get a freshwater refill pretty easily. Also, being able to visit the Air Force Base and eating at the Brooklyn-style pizza spot in town was totally worth a less than ideal campsite!

IMG_20150409_165605Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Goldsboro, NC – What a treat! Our friend AJ, a real-life Air Force pilot, organized a tour of a refueling jet just like the one he flies, and all four of us were so thankful – what a huge treat!! We would include some really awesome photos of this, but legally we can’t, so you’ll just have to imagine how wonderful it was. Really, it was completely amazing.

Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area at Kure Beach near Wilmington, NC – No, we’re not military or retired military, but the friends we were visiting are. So we were able to stay at this beautiful spot for a couple of nights for only $15/night. With views of the inlet and just a short walk to the gorgeous beach, this campsite was a super great deal. No hookups of any kind except a 20amp plug-in (do you see a pattern yet – really depending on those solar panels!), but still a complete score. Also in the park was a pool (which would have been nice in the summer) and a stellar game room with free ping pong and cheap pool and old-school arcade games.

Wal-mart Parking Lot, Ahoskie, NC – Free. New. Quiet. Safe. Best night we’ve ever slept at a Wal-mart parking lot. Seriously. (If you’re not an RVer, you may not understand this – it’s okay.)

That was the close of our time in the Carolinas for this trip, and also the end of our first week on the road from Georgia to Maine. Lots of activity, but we’re trying to make the most of our time on the road, especially since we don’t travel this fast very often. More coming soon!

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