Posted June 6, 2007 2:44 p.m. EDT
Getting out and about
A Peek into our Colonial Past.
Tryon Palace – less than a two-hour drive from Raleigh is a place where governors ruled, legislators debated, patriots gathered and George Washington danced. This stately historical landmark was built as the first permanent capitol of the British colony of North Carolina. It became North Carolina’s first state capitol after independence was declared. It was later abandoned in 1794 after Raleigh was chosen for the capital city. Four years later, an accidental fire destroyed the Palace. Then for almost 150 years, the Palace sat as a neglected and burned memory until reconstruction and restoration began in 1944. Today the Palace and its gardens serve as a vibrant and colorful link to North Carolina’s
There are seven major buildings and 14 acres of gardens for you to visit. As part of your tour, you can also watch historical craft demonstrations or chat with re-enactors. Four of the buildings are shown by guided tour: the Palace, the John Wright Stanly House, the Robert Hay House, and the George W. Dixon House.
Three of the buildings are self-guided: the Kitchen Office, the Stable Office, and the New Bern Academy. The gardens are also self-guided. A free gardens booklet with a map and historical information is available at the Visitor Center.
To fully enjoy your visit, you should plan to spend
at least half a day.
For more information, call 800-767-1560 or visit www.tryonpalace.org.
Restless to Ride the Rails?
This country has a long, and some say, romantic railroad history. That history is alive and well at the North Carolina Railroad Museum in New Hill, NC.
Drive 25 minutes south of Raleigh on US 1 and you’ll step back in time. On the first Sunday of each month from May through November, you can ride a steam engine along the old Norfolk Southern rail lines. During this 8-mile round trip, your narrator will provide a history of the equipment and interesting facts about how railroads have shaped our area.
The museum also features the Bonsal Garden Railroad — a 6,685 sq. ft. “G” model railroad complete with steam engines, a village, a truss bridge over a miniature lake, and a scale model of the Apex train depot.
Special events include the Halloween Express rides on Oct. 30 and Christmas rides in December.
For ride times, ticket prices and driving directions, visit www.nhvry.org/index.html or call 919-362-5416.
All about Adventure.
If garden tours and train rides are too tame for your taste, how does rock climbing, sky diving, or kayaking sound? Carolina Sky Sports — located just 30 miles northeast of Raleigh in Louisburg — offers tandem and solo skydiving adventures to experienced jumpers and novices alike. First-time jumpers are harnessed to their instructor and use a special parachute system designed to carry two people. For more information about Carolina Sky Sports, call 1-800-SKYDIVE or visit www.carolinaskysports.com.
For land-loving adventurers, rappelling, river tubing, horseback riding and more are just a phone call away. The Triangle Adventure Club offers one-stop shopping for all sorts of one-day and overnight excursions. You can either sign up for an upcoming trip listed on the Club’s Adventure Calendar, or you can call for help with planning a special trip. Trips are available for groups of all sizes, ages and abilities. For more information, or for a list of upcoming adventures, call 919-876-9486 or visit www.triangleadventureclub.com.
USS Battleship North Carolina
For naval history enthusiasts, the USS Battleship North Carolina is a great way to spend an afternoon. Just a two-hour drive from Raleigh, this retired battleship is permanently anchored in the Cape Fear River directly across from historic downtown Wilmington.
The self-guided tour of this authentically restored World War II-era combatant is well marked so that you can tour at your own pace. The tour takes approximately two hours to complete. For the enthusiast, it can easily take three to four hours to fully experience the ship, particularly with the extensive interpretive signage throughout the ship.
For tour hours, handicap accessible information and prices, call 910.251.5797 or visit www.battleshipnc.com.
So, the next time you’re restless for a road trip, but you don’t have a whole weekend, break out the map and pack the cooler, because North Carolina offers plenty to see—even if you’ve only got one day to see it.