Upcoming events and news about the sounding area of Rocky Mount North Carolina Eastern North Carolina, promoting the New Belmont Lake Community and Golf Club.

strangest-nc-attractions-and-museums- blp

Since deciding to move into your new home in Rocky Mount at Belmont Lake Preserve, you have discovered many amazing attractions both locally and statewide. Parks, trails, mountains, and beaches. Just to name a few of the incredible outdoor offerings near and far in North Carolina. Museums, theatres, concert venues, sports events, and more. All here in your home state. Even with all these options considered, some more unique and even odd places across the state consistently draw interest though. Below, we will begin to introduce you to these Strange NC Attractions and Museums that you’ll have a hard time not letting curiosity bring you around to see.

As chance would have it, and this may be getting “repetitive” to hear, but now that you call the Belmont Lake Preserve community your new home, many of these Strange NC Attractions and Museums are pretty close by. In actuality, seven of these stops are under two hours from BLP, and two are less than 40 minutes away. Thus, even when it comes to the more unusual attractions, you are in a great spot. Let’s start with our closest attractions and move along from there.

Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, Wilson, NC

If not “in the know,” a whirligig, is a large, wooden, wind-driven mechanical windmill. That being said, just over 25 miles from BLP in Wilson, the whirligig is something you really can’t miss. It’s here that they are part the local landscape, thanks to folk artist, Vollis Simpson. The devices incorporate complex movement and sound and some of those made by Simpson have been exhibited at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

Distance from Belmont Lake Preserve: 37 minutes, 26.6 miles

Country Doctor Museum, Bailey NC

Yet another town not too far from Rocky Mount known for Strange NC Attractions and Museums is Bailey. This is home to Country Doctors Museum, which features three buildings of exhibits. Likewise, the guides are docents and can answer almost anything about the late 18th century or the first half of the 20th century in regard to medicine.

Distance from Belmont Lake Preserve: 38 minutes, 35.7 minutes

Strange NC Attractions and Museums Showing you Chainsaw Art and a Variety of Gourds

Now there is a sub-heading that I’m sure you never would’ve imagined you’d read. Or even would have crossed your mind for that matter. However, for the purpose of our Strange NC Attractions and Museums, both stops involved are a very interesting find. On top of that, both of these two entries are only 80-90 minutes from your new home in Rocky Mount, making for a unique road trip whenever you are ready.

Mary and Marvin Johnson Gourd Museum, Angier, NC

Gourds, who’d have thunk it, right?!?! Well, Angier’s Marvin Johnson is known as a “master gourd grower. Likewise, he and his wife have cultivated and collected over 200 different kinds of gourds from all across the world. Whether the tiniest of gourds that are the size of just a small robin’s egg. Or the huge, gigantic African gourds on-site, this is a unique museum and an interesting tour for sure.

Distance from Belmont Lake Preserve: 1 hr 26 minutes, 88.9 miles

Clyde Jones- Chainsaw Folk Artist, Bynum, NC

Just outside of the small mill house in Bynum belonging to Clyde Jones are his “critters.” No, that does not refer to a small animal. That is the name that Jones, a “Chainsaw artist,” calls the objects he carves from large chunks of wood. Once finished with his carvings, Jones always adds his own artistic touch and objects to each of his works of art.

Distance from Belmont Lake Preserve: 1 hr 33 minutes, 91.4 miles

Two More Strange NC Attractions and Museums Under 100 Away

Wow, it is pretty incredible that so many of these unique destinations are so close to Belmont Lake Preserve. We have already walked you through four Strange NC Attractions and Museums and not traveled further than 90 minutes from home. The next two entries both keep us under the 100-minute mark too and to say both are not somewhat odd attractions would be a lie.

Belhaven Memorial Museum, Belhaven, NC

The town of Belhaven is about 50 miles east of Greenville and locally is known for the Belhaven Memorial Museum. Earning its spot among our Strange NC Attractions and Museums, the museum showcases the collection of Mrs., Eva Blount Way. What did she collect you ask? Well, buttons, of course. She accumulated over 30,000 buttons that are displayed in a fascinating fashion. Buttons are not all though as they also display from different eras of clothing, toys, dolls, china, and even farm tools. Moving even more toward the “strange,” also on display here is a two-headed kitten, a one-eyed fetal pig, and a hare-lipped dog.

Distance from Belmont Lake Preserve: 1 hr 37 minutes, 88.7 miles

World’s Largest Frying Pan, Rose Hill, NC

Here is another one that really speaks for itself. Likewise, here is an item that truly “must be seen to be believed.” Located at Rose Hill Town Square at Highway 117, this is one huge pan. How huge? Well measuring at 15 feet, this pan holds over 200 gallons. of cooking oil and could be used to fry up 365 chickens at the same time.

Distance from Belmont Lake Preserve: 1 hr 39 minutes, 103.3 miles

Lastly, a Lesson in Evil at Our Last Strange NC Attractions and Museums Entry

So, we have one more of our Strange NC Attractions and Museums, and this one is near Siler City. Not exactly sure what to make of this one, as it seems a bit dark to me

Devil’s Tramping Ground, Siler City NC

Legends and lore. Evil. None of these things are normally things I’d be interested. However, the legend behind this almost makes so you have to check it out. It said that at this spot, the “devil” paces, which explains a 20 foot across bare piece of earth in his yard. Getting stranger as the night sets in, any items placed in that circle after dusk, will be moved outside of the circle by dawn.                                                                                                                                                   

Distance from Belmont Lake Preserve: 1 hr 51 minutes, 108.8 miles

This concludes our first of two posts on Strange NC Attractions and Museums. In the follow-up, we will look at the final six Strange NC Attractions and Museums. While these entries may be a bit further away from BLP than some, they are so unique and different, they warrant at least a one-time chance.

For more information on the Belmont Lake Preserve new home community, visit belmontlakepreserve.com


Well, in our first post on the Best North Carolina Fried Chicken, we went through a couple of famous stops in the state. Likewise, we discussed several choices either on a bun or biscuit. In listing the next four selections we will take less of a “sandwich” type look and more of a peek at the “full meal” aspect of our chicken selection for our next five picks.

Now, don’t get us wrong, any of the places listed among our Best North Carolina Fried Chicken selections are going to “knock your socks” off. But, as we did note in our previous post, there is usually something that does set it apart or differ slightly from the pack. Thus, below, we have listed (and these nor the first 4 entries are in any particular order) our final four places for the best-fried chicken in the state.

Fancy, Not-so-Fancy, and With All the Fixin’s: The Best North Carolina Fried Chicken.

Beasley’s Chicken and Honey, Raleigh

Wanna talk about great fried chicken made how or served with whatever you like? Ok, then. let’s talk about the next restaurant on our Best North Carolina Fried Chicken listing. It’s Beasley’s Chicken and Honey in Raleigh and they believe in a little bit of everything.

So, you’d like fried chicken on a waffle? Ok, Beasley’s is the place. How about with an incredible mac-n-cheese on the side of that award-winning fried chicken? You got it, that would be. Beasley’s too! This Raleigh staple is so good it’s said the fried chicken “maintains its Southern roots, but also feels a bit fancy, without directly trying to!”

Slappy’s Chicken, Winston-Salem

Now, if someone could draw a picture of how and what a fried chicken restaurant should be. I see Slappy’s Chicken in Winston Salem. Not too fancy…actually not fancy at all. A humble location that sets the bar for any type of fried chicken around with its out of this world poultry.

Snappy does not only kill it with their dynamite chicken, however. As any local can confirm They also make an amazing mac-n-cheese, and slaw. But the true treat here is the secret Slappy’s Sauce that most slather their fried chicken with. It’s a little sweet, and a bit spicy, and you really have to try it.

Magnolia 23, Asheboro

Like many of the fine restaurants on our list, Magnolia 23 may be a bit unknown outside of its direct location area. However, if you were to bring this name up in Asheboro in regard to the Best North Carolina Fried Chicken you’d get 100 percent support.

Now we have to admit, many if not all of our suggestions for the Best North Carolina Fried Chicken also provide a true “down-home,” welcoming feeling and atmosphere. Magnolia 23 may be the best at providing this type of setting though. This due to their serving up your dinner “family-style” just like a Sunday night at grandma’s.

Mike’s Farm, Beulaville

Kind of ironic that after throughout this article and referring to the “good home” feeling, etc., that with our final stop we are in Beulaville and at Mike’s Farm. They also serve up their meals “family style,” which always brings back fond memories of home. Making Mike’s even more “down-home” is it actually sets on the family’s farm.

In concluding, we will turn to the description used at “Only in Your State.””There’s some kind of southern grandma voodoo magic in fried chicken and maybe that also has to do with the location.” The website’s blog continued, “The cracking grease, grandma with her shoes off cooking in the kitchen, grandpa at the table reading the paper, you…snapping green beans or helping cook collards.” To conclude, they added, “While it’s hard to recreate those moments, some restaurants get you pretty close.” 

The Best North Carolina Fried Chicken: It’s Kind of Important Here!

So, we’ve given you nine incredible options for you to make the call yourself. This is the second of two blog posts dedicated to the topic. Now all that remains is for you to try and make your own call on which is indeed the Best North Carolina Fried Chicken of them all. Sure, it may take a while before you can leave your new home in Rocky Mount at Belmont Lake Preserve to try all of these delicious options. However, now that NC is your home state, you will be quickly welcomed aboard.

For any details or more information including the currently available homes at Belmont Lake Preserve, visit belmontlakepreserve.com


What can we say? In case you can’t tell, there is plenty of food in North Carolina. In this post,  we cover a true favorite. Since you made the move to your new home in Rocky Mount, we are sure you have heard many suggestions for the best food options. Likewise, you probably weren’t disappointed given all the great food options near BLP. However, when it comes to this, you can trust us, that below are tjhe spots for the Best Fried Chicken in NC.

We’ve all heard the term “southern fried chicken” and in North Carolina, that is a term not taken lightly. While these suggestions below are not in any particular order, we are sure that once you are to taste any of them you will understand why we’ve included them among where to get the Best Fried Chicken in NC.

(This is the first of a two-part article on places to get the Best Fried Chicken in NC. We will cover five locations in each post to arrive at our top 10 total entries.)

Best Fried Chicken in NC Served On, In, or With Some Extra Carbs!

We have no less than ten total entries from across the state to list for the Best Fried Chicken in NC. However, as you will see, while all of these are “to die for,” they each are unique in their own way and how they are made. For the first three entries, we have each served in a somewhat similar fashion, but with a different main partner.

Buxton Hall BBQ, Asheville

The unbelievably delicious buttermilk fried chicken from Buxton Hall BBQ in Asheville starts our list out. The most popular way this style of this location’s chicken is between a bun as a sandwich. Earning “Best Fried Chicken Sandwich of the Year” from Bon Appetit magazine, they prepare this sandwich with a hearty serving of pimento and American cheese, pickles, and a side of white BBQ sauce. If that right there doesn’t make you hungry, we aren’t sure what will.

Blue Ridge Biscuit Company, Asheville

Well, it’s safe to say that Asheville is home to some pretty darn good fried chicken. This is the second entry on our list and both places are in the same Western NC town. Another similarity between this and the first entry on our Best Fried Chicken in NC is they serve them with some type of bread. The big difference, however, is at Blue Ridge, your fried chicken comes between a delectable, homemade, fresh-made biscuit. As if that were not enough, this sandwich also gets the full smothering treatment in an amazing, homemade country-style gravy.

Dame’s Chicken and Waffles, Durham, and Greensboro

The next stop is Dame’s Chicken and Waffles. This place’s chicken is so good they had to open a second location!!! Regardless, both Durham and Greensboro are happy to have them. At Dame’s, they boast fried chicken cooked to absolute perfection on top of a homemade and perfectly fluffy waffle. Each gets its own flavor-infusion butter. Also, word is you’d be foolish to not have their mac-n-cheese as a side.

Legend and Lore Can’t Be Wrong: The Best Chicken in NC Search Continues

There may be no better advertising tool for a restaurant than knocking the socks off a customer with your delicious food. Once they’ve had an incredible experience, they are going to tell their friends, and want to come back. These next two entrants for our Best Fried Chicken in NC are both establishments that have been tops for years. Both are iconic to their own local area. Likewise, you will love every bite from the following “legend.”

Price’s Chicken Coop, Charlotte

Any local will tell you that while it may not look too fancy or big on “glitz and glam,” in Charlotte, Price’s fried chicken is king. From a humble, Southend of Charlotte neighborhood location, Price’s Chicken Coop has survived the growth and expansion of the city changing almost nothing what so ever. Just straight-up fried chicken goodness and by that we mean straight-up Best Fried Chicken in NC goodness since 1962.

The Best Fried Chicken in NC: Half Way Home!

We listed four of our eight selections for the Best Fried Chicken in NC above. The remaining five you will see in the second post in this two-part series. Whether on this list, or next editions, one thing you can be 100 percent sure of is each of these has some seriously amazing chicken. For any information on the Belmont Lake Preserve new home community. visit belmontlakepreserve.com.


When looking into making the move to a new home in Rocky Mount at Belmont Lake Preserve, there are no questions that you would have come across what we call “Lifestyle Redefined.” Well, in “redefining” of course you have the amazing on-site, spa-like amenities here at BLP. Likewise, you have the perfect location to be in a reasonable distance of any attractions across NC and for that matter across the Eastern United States. That being said, one of the state of North Carolina’s most popular vacations is one that takes you to the coast and for several stops along the way for the NC Lighthouse Road Trip.

With seven stops along the NC Lighthouse Road Trip, we would suggest planning a 4-5 day vacation with the family to tackle the entire route. This trip is not only an NC traditional favorite, but this path through the Outer Banks along the Carolina coast has become one of the most popular vacation spots nationwide. So, make the plans, pack up the car and the kids and get ready to soak up some history and some sun on this journey.

NC Lighthouse Road Trip: Edenton to Hatteras is About Halfway Home

In detailing the route for your NC Lighthouse Road Trip, obviously if unfamiliar with the area, you’ll want to pull up some type of directions. However, we will include a physical address of each stop along the path as we briefly touch on each lighthouse you will be visiting on this vacation.

Distance from Belmont Lake Preserve to Roanoke River Lighthouse– 1 hour, 26 minutes (87.6 miles)

Roanoke River Lighthouse, Edenton, NC

The starting point for our NC Lighthouse Road Trip is the Roanoke River Lighthouse in Edenton, NC. The actual Roanoke Lighthouse dates all the way back to 1866. However, it was in 1955 that it began calling Edenton home as a private residence. Soon after it was city property. Then, renovations were made, and the iconic lighthouse had new life. It currently sits at 7 Dock Street in Edenton. To drive from your new home at Belmont Lake Preserve and reach your first stop on the NC Lighthouse Road Trip, is not even an hour and a half trip.

Distance from Roanoke River Lighthouse to Currituck Beach Lighthouse- 2 hours, 4 minutes (97 miles)

Currituck Beach Lighthouse, Corolla, NC

Stop number two on the NC Lighthouse Road Trip brings us to the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. Located at 1101 Corolla Village Road in Corolla. This amazing example of Gothic revival architecture is unique from all others on the NC coast as it’s the only natural-brick lighthouse on the entire coast.

Distance from Currituck Beach Lighthouse to Bodie Island Lighthouse-  1 hour, 9 minutes (42.8 miles)

Bodie Island Lighthouse, Nags Head, NC

This is actually the third exact replica of the Bodie Island Light Station. The original was built in 1872. Impressively standing scenically among gorgeous marshland, the view from the top of this stop on the NC Lighthouse Road Trip must truly be seen to be believed. This impressive landmark is located at 8210 Bodie Island Lighthouse in Nags Head.

Distance from Bodie Island Lighthouse to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse-  55 minutes (43.3 miles)

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Buxton, NC

In pictures at least this may be the most recognizable of any of the structures on our NC Lighthouse Road Trip. Regardless of whether you’ve seen it before or not, you must see the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. the huge structure originally served as a “guiding light” to help the sailors navigate on the Atlantic Ocean. Whether you have seen it previously or readying for the first time, the 210 foot lighthouse at 46379 Lighthouse Road in Buxton is certainly a sight to see.

The Second Leg of the NC Lighthouse Road Trip is Longer than the First

Leaving Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, you technically have gone more than halfway through your journey. However, even though the structure marks four lighthouses seen, there is more travel time as you go through the final three stops on our NC Lighthouse Road Trip. This is due in some part to distance, but in others to the need to jump on. a ferry to get to the actual lighthouse. 

This, however, in itself though is one of the moments to enjoy on our road trip, and by using our estimations in time, you can at least have a rough sketch plan made out when putting your vacation schedule together. So, without further ado, let’s continue on our NC Lighthouse Road Trip with our distance from Cape Hatteras on to the next stop.

Distance from Cape Hatteras Lighthouse to Okracoke Lighthouse-  1 hour, 43 minutes (35.9 miles)

Okracoke Lighthouse, Okracoke, NC

This may seem to many on the NC Lighthouse Road Trip as somewhat of a simple lighthouse if there is such a thing. On the contrary, though, the Okracoke Lighthouse has been “showing the way” and guiding sailors and boats since 1823. This does sit at 360 Lighthouse Road in Okracoke, which is one of the most remote stretches of the whole Outer Banks region. But it’s well worth the trip and many opt to make a whole day out of the Okracoke experience. 

Distance from Okracoke Lighthouse to Cape Lookout Lighthouse-  3 hours, 28 minutes (57.4 miles) NOTE- This is including the 2 hours and 33 minute Cedar Island-Okracoke Ferry Ride.

Cape Lookout Lighthouse, Harker’s Island, NC

Arriving at the Cape Lookout Lighthouse after leaving Okracoke is the long leg of the trip. But, experiencing the two and a half-hour Cedar Island-Okracoke ferry ride is a great part experience. Located on the absolutely stunning Crystal Coast, Cape Lookout is a local favorite stop for sure. This southernmost lighthouse on the Outer Banks actually helps people with directions. It has the sides facing North and south in black, while those towards the East and West are white. On a sidebar note, keep an eye out for the wild horses that you may see roaming when you visit this area.

Distance from Cape Lookout Lighthouse to Oak Island Lighthouse- 3 hours and 14 minutes (155 miles)

Oak Island Lighthouse, Oak Island, NC

The final stop on our NC Lighthouse Road Trip is the Oak Island Lighthouse. It was built in 1952 to replace the original structure at this site, 300 Caswell Beach Road in Oak Island. This lighthouse boasted the brightest light in the United States from 1958-1962. While it may no longer be the brightest, it still is shining strong and awaits welcoming you as the last lighthouse on your voyage.

The NC Lighthouse Road Trip: You Have to Do It at least Once

Now that you reside at Belmont lake Preserve and you continue to redefine your lifestyle, the direct path to start this NC Lighthouse Road Trip is very easily reached. Whether it’s this year or sometime in the future, this journey is one every North Carolinian should take at some point. Being you’re “never too far from there,” when to take the journey is entirely up to you.

For any further information on anything happening at Belmont Lake Preserve, visit belmontlakepreserve.com.


To continue with our second of a two-part series on the amazing Camping in North Carolina options, we will bring you to a few different settings. Everybody has their own preferences, and as we discuss in the first post of this series, some are more experienced “in the wild,” than others. We understand this, and luckily for you since moving to your new home in Rocky Mount at Belmont Lake Preserve, you are in a fantastic, centralized location to explore some of the most beautiful outdoor areas anywhere across NC. So, whether you prefer a more primitive camping experience, or one slightly more pampered, “you’re never too far away.”

Now in our initial post, we finished off “in the mountains.” With the gorgeous scenery across the state, some of the most desired spots for Camping in North Carolina are at elevation, increasing the already incredible views and landscapes. Thus, we will continue with one more stop “in the hills,” before we bring you to another popular spot for Camping in North Carolina. This sought after spot is not specific other than being near water. Lastly, we will touch on a few iconic camping spots that can be enjoyed by the “roughest outdoorsman,” or the family looking to have a fun weekend alike.

A Little Bit of Everything When. Camping in North Carolina at Morrow Mountain

Morrow Mountain State Park, Albemarle

Let us head back into the mountains for the first of our Camping in North Carolina suggestions. To be precise let’s head to Albemarle and Morrow Mountain State Park. Now, at one point, the Uwharrie Mountains, of which this camping site is in, had elevations as high as 20,000 feet! Before you get scared off though, thanks to geologic aging, today the site is just over 1,000 feet. Now, we know that 1,000 feet are certainly nothing to scoff at. It certainly makes for some challenging hikes from your campsite at Morrow Mountain. Likewise, the elevation makes for incredible views. 

In addition to the great views and brisk hiking opportunities, Morrow Mountain features almost everything you’d want in a camping trip. Is there an avid fisherman among you? Got it covered. How about a “paddler,” that loves to canoe or kayak? Got that covered too. But maybe the most popular attraction and activity at this well-known spot for Camping in North Carolina is swimming in the Civilian Conservation Corps pool. This cement pond surrounded by an amazing forest has been an attraction for decades and will remain one for more.

Distance from Belmont Lake Preserve: 167.3 miles, 2 hours, 52 minutes

It’s All About the Water for Camping in North Carolina at These Sites

Camping goes hand in hand with many things. The outdoor activities we all grew up with and loved certainly play into the overall love and good feelings enjoyed on a family camping trip, or one with friends for that matter. On top of the added beauty to a sunset or sunrise that reflects off the water, just think back to that stuff we all loved. Fishing, swimming, canoeing, you name it, and they go hand in hand with an incredible and memorable camping experience. The next two spots for Camping in North Carolina are going to put you in a perfect spot to enjoy all these things and get as wet as you like.

Kerr Lake State Recreation Area, Henderson

Ok, if it’s water you want, then it’s water you will get. At Kerr Lake State Recreation Area, it is all about water. This great spot for Camping in North Carolina features five separate campgrounds on the 50,000-acre lake. All of the sites provide direct access to the lake and two of the five (Nutbush and Satterwhite Point) are even open year-round.

One of those “year-round” campgrounds, Satterwhite Point is the main swimming beach at Kerr Lake, however, there are plenty of fine swimming spots all along the lake’s shoreline. This may be the most ideal of any area for Camping In North Carolina for the fisherman though. Striped bass, largemouth bass, white perch, catfish, crappie, basically take the bass boat out and you have tons of chances once you cast out. While you can say this for many reasons, but also, if sailing is your thing, too, Kerr Lake is the spot to be

Distance from Belmont Lake Preserve: 56.1 miles, 1 hour, 11 minutes

New River State Park, Laurel Springs

Well, I guess it’s only fair if our first Camping in North Carolina destination with a focus on water is a lake, then the second would be a river Located in the northern mountains, New River State Park is a linear park that shadow one of the oldest rivers in NC. 

Amazing fishing remains a theme at our second Camping in North Carolina stop on the water. Prepare for the rainbow and brown trout that you will find in the river’s tributaries. Rockfish. muskellunge and shad are also catchable at points along the waterway. Even more than fishing at New River, the designation of this as a National Wild and Scenic Reiver has made canoeing and kayaking a very popular part of the camoing experience here.

Distance from Belmont Lake Preserve: 248 miles, 4 hours, 3 minutes

Carolina Beach State Park, Carolina Beach

We’ve been all over the place Camping in North Carolina. We have “headed to the mountains.” Likewise, we have “went to the water.” Heck, we’ve been pretty deep in the wilderness and forests looking back at our list. But now, let’s head to the beach. Carolina B\each State Park to be exact.

You may be thinking a state park at a beach is a unique camping destination. Well, you’re right, but, as we forewarned, when Camping in North Carolina you’re options are almost endless. At this site, you can hike a 60-foot dune that was once used in the Civil War as a lookout post. However, we do warn you to be careful as you pass through the terrain which is highly populated with the rarely seen “meat-eating” plant, the Venus flytrap. Oh yeah and don’t forget, you are at the beach! So camping or not, you are steps from the ocean, the sand, and all the things that make Carolina Beach so incredible.

Distance from Belmont Lake Preserve: 162,2 miles, 2 hours 43 minutes

Stone Mountain State Park, Roaring Gap

When we labeled the final two entries on our Camping in North Carolina list as “classics,” one afternoon of camping at Stone Mountain and you’ll know why. Everything that makes a great day in the outdoors is within reach when Camping in North Carolina at this site.

To start, let’s talk about over 18 miles of scenic trails perfect for hiking, biking, or just walking and looking. Would you rather “drop a line?” Well, you’re in the right place, at Stone Mountaimnyou can fish on 20 miles of designated trout streams. Climbing? Got you there too, with their 600 foot high, granite dome. What about horseback riding? Yep, that’s is going on here as well. Heck, you can even travel back in time when Camping in North Carolina at Stone Mountain. Well, not exactly, but the Hutchinson Homestead is on-site at the park and is a restored mid-1800’s farm that was abandoned long ago.

Distance from Belmont Lake Preserve:  223.3 miles, 3 hours, 29 minutes

Camping in North Carolina: Wherever You May Roam

This concludes our two-part series on Camping in North Carolina. Honestly, we listed a total of nine spots, giving you a look at NC camping near the mountains, water, beaches, and more. It goes without saying there are literally hundreds more camping spots across the state that provide that peace and access to the outdoors that makes camping so fun and so special. However, with these all ranging in reasonable driving distance from your new home at BLP, these are surely ones we feel would not disappoint.

For more information on the Belmont Lake Preserve new home community, visit belmontlakepreserve.com.


At times, keeping you up to speed with all the amazing outdoor attractions and just the incredible natural beauty that is accessible in North Carolina can be challenging. With so many great parks, beaches, trails, mountains, and more, it can be hard to fit all the great attractions and sights in. One area that we have not featured since you’ve settled into your new home in Rocky Mount at Belmont Lake Preserve is actually one of the most peaceful and therapeutic outdoor “getaways” of all. That area would be one of the greatest ways to connect with your gorgeous surroundings, camping. Below, we will list some of the Best Campsites in NC that can be enjoyed by all levels of experienced campers.

Now, we realize that there are some folks who when you say “camping” are thinking a bit more hardcore. Now, that’s fine, to each their own, however, our suggestions here will showcase the most primitive, to the simplest areas to camp. We will take you in this first of two posts on the Best Campsites in NC through some of the simpler sites, and those located near higher elevations and the NC mountains.

Find Your “Inner-Explorer” at the Best Campsites in NC

These days there are so many different ways and methods referred to as “camping” that early settlers or explorers from long ago may not even recognize it as the same activity. Don’t get us wrong, we are all for the modern evolution and comforts that can be had on a camping trip. However, the first two of our Best Campsites in NC will take you back to nature and connect you more with the outdoors.

Eno River State Park, Durham

Let out the true “backcountry explorer” in yourself at Eno River State Park in Durham. The classic backcountry campsites here are as close as a quarter-mile and no further than two miles from your car. This short distance from parking is especially ideal for families with young children along for the trip. 

At this first of our Best Campsites in NC, we actually have three primitive sites to choose from. Two of these are at the Fews Ford Access and one at the Cole Mill Access. Regardless of which area you choose, this is the perfect, peaceful way to enjoy the natural beauty of North Carolina. Literally, unplug from the non-stop world of technology and even any electronics for the ultimate urban get-a-way and a unique slice of wilderness in the Triangle area.

Distance from BLP: 90.9 miles, 1 hour 30 minutes

Merchants Millpond State Park, Gatesville

The second entry among our Best Campsites in NC continues with our “explorer” type destinations. With the popularity of kayaking and canoeing in recent years however, Merchants Millpond State Park has seen a boost in visitors no doubt.  

There are canoes for rent on site at this destination, that literally makes it feel you’ve walked back in time. Located in Gatesville on the Great Dismal Swamp, you can paddle to three canoe campsites in a 4.5 mile stretch or less. If you are a “paddler,” and like the above entry, just feel the need to get out on the water and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of every day, your canoe is waiting at Merchants Millpond

Distance from BLP: 79.7 miles, 1 hour 34 minutes

Climbing through the Cities Towards the Best Campsites in NC

From the sounds of it, camping in the mountains sounds incredible. Doesn’t it? Well, it can be amazing, but it can also be unpredictable. The uncertainty of the weather, driving challenges in getting there, can be worrisome without question. However, when we talk about the Best Campsites in NC, and more specifically, those in the mountains, luckily for you the mountains in this state are nearby its population centers and several cities in the central region of the state. 

Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury

Ok, so when people think Mountains, this may not be the highest of high. However the next on our Best Campsites in NC does peak at 2,579 feet, which can certainly make for some incredible views. Likewise, whether you think it’s “high enough” or not, the park’s 12-acre lake is obviously elevated enough to give swimmers a bracing jolt, even on a hot day. 

This gorgeous, elevated park has so much to offer, from rock climbing and waterfall viewing to kayaking and canoeing. All in all, the elevation adds to the natural beauty of this 73-site campground. Likewise, this is truly a great stop for groups large and small and of any camping experience level.

Distance from BLP: 182.6 miles, 3 hours

Pilot Mountain State Park, Pinnacle

Whereas Hanging Rock is the anchor of the eastern end of the Sauratown Mountain chain, at the far end to anchor the west some 25 miles away is Pilot Mountain, State Park. This is the most popular climbing destination in all of North Carolina’s Piedmont region, with routes pitched at levels that can be handled by all wanting to climb.

You truthfully get “a little bit of everything” at this member of our Best Campsites in NC. Take the challenging hike up to the 2,420 foot Big Pinnacle on the 3-mile long Grindstone Trail. Go fishing on the Yadkin River. Or hike the 6-plus miles and make your way around the base of the mountain. The views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Pilot Mountain are truly breathtaking and really must be seen to be appreciated.

Distance from BLP: 183.7 miles, 2 hours, 48 minutes

The Best Campsites in NC: We’re Just Getting Going!

So just to get the “tens and firewood,” we made it through our first four suggestions for the Best Campsites in NC. With so many amazing sites, across the “Tar Heel State,” there is no way we could limit our picks to just four. Thus, in our next post, we will continue with the Best Campsites in NC as we will head to some iconic mountains and “back to the beach.”

For any information regarding your new home neighborhood in Rocky Mount, Belmont Lake Preserve, visit belmontlakepreserve.com.


It is not often that many things these days are built to last. Almost any product or good you can name has in some way been changed to be produced or manufactured in cheaper and faster methods to save on time and money in today’s fast-paced society. Well, one thing that has certainly shown it is “built to last,” as anyone in Eastern NC that has lived here in the past 100 years or so can attest is Dick’s Hotdog Stand. Being at your new home in Rocky Mount at Belmont Lake preserve, it is only a matter of time before the legend of this iconic stand was discovered. So, we figure we would just let you in on the secret early.

Dick’s Hotdog Stand is located at 1500 Nash Street North in Wilson, NC. It is only about a 25-mile ride out to visit this hot dog expert that literally served millions of hungry and happy customers. Still opened six days a week, (no Mondays) Dick’s serves up its classic dogs from 10:00 am until 8:00 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays. Then on Saturdays, they open at 7:30 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. But for Sunday, it’s back to the usual 10 am-8pm daily grind.

2021 is the 100th Year of Hotdog Goodness

Yes, that is two zeroes. 100 years. A full century. Now, honestly, name me anything that has been functioning and successful for a full century? What does this tell us about Wilson’s Dicks Hotdog Stand? Well for one, and I am thinking not just locals, but countless travelers up and down I-95 can also probably attest, they have got one amazing hot dog.

Well, that is not exactly correct, see. Since Dicks Hotdog Stand opened for business in 1921, they do not have one fantastic hot dog. They have three. The varieties are as follows: 

  • Dick’s Famous Dog
  • The Cheese Dog
  • Super Dog

Now, there obviously are a number of toppings and such that go on one of Dicks Hotdog Stands amazing franks. You can get it just how you like. But, the Super Dog, which is a delicious quarter-pound dog is suggested as served “all the way.” Before you ask, that means with mustard, onion’s, and Dick’s famous chili.

Dicks Hotdog Stand and the Delicious Rest of its Menu

Wow, 100 years and nothing but hot dogs, amazing! Well, it hasn’t been all hot dogs. As a matter of fact, Dicks has a fantastic “50’s style drive-in ” menu. They. feature no less than six different types of burgers. Likewise, they make a variety of other sandwiches and subs. You can also get one of Dicks famous “plates.” These come in hamburger or cheeseburger steak, hot pork roast, chicken tenders, to name just a few. 

On top of the other sandwiches, you know they have to have some classic sides to go along with a 100-year tradition. You are not wrong in this assumption, as their fries, cheese fries, chili cheese fries, onion rings, slaw, and pickles are also the things of legend around these parts.

For more information on your new home community, Belmont Lake Preserve in Rocky Mount, visit belmontlakepreserve.com


So, to this point, we have shown you the way toward ten of the Best North Carolina State Parks. Some are best known for hiking, others for cycling enthusiasts, and yet others for those looking to drop a canoe or kayak. With countless options and the most incredible scenery and natural beauty not only in NC but anywhere across the country, we will continue and list our final five entrants in this post.

Sticking to a statement that we have made since we began suggesting these serene and peaceful getaway options, there are way too many gorgeous parks in this state to list. But, in those we list below and our previous ten, we can guarantee satisfaction. Thus, since you are now in your new house in Rocky Mount at Belmont Lake Preserve, and you are “never too far” from any of these spots….what are you waiting for? Seriously?!?!

Best North Carolina State Parks: Enjoy a Side of History with Your Sun-Soaked Beauty

The amazing thing about the 15 different Best North Carolina State Parks is how each of them has their own unique characteristics, making each a slightly different journey to visit. These final five parks are no different, as you will see with a few of our stops below.

Fort Macon State Park

Well, remember we made mention of adding a dash of history? Well, the next of our Best North Carolina State Parks is Fort Macon. This is an actual restored, original, historic Fort from the Civil War. Thus, of course you will enjoy the amazing view and the breathtaking beach located in this park. But you can also learn here all about the significant role and all that played out on this site during the historic times of war.

Dismal Swamp State Park

Whether we want to or not. Or whether it was our intention to, which it actually wasn’t. Next up among the Best North Carolina State Parks is another of those that is sure to be a favorite of those looking to enjoy a particular activity. In. this case, the park is Dismal Swamp State Park, and the activity is kayaking. This is an incredible 14,000-acresof winding and turning rivers surrounded by overgrown cypress trees along the shoreline.

Jordan Lake State Park

For this next stop on our voyage to the Best North Carolina state Parks, we again find ourselves in the Raleigh area and likewise, we have a bit of a historic, or at least a national tie in. To explain, this 13,900-acre park is the home of many of the rare “bald eagles.” This is also known as a great spot to drop a line in the water, kick back and do some fishing. But no matter, if you’re hoping to get a glimpse of the national bird, do some fishing, or just looking for some quiet down time this is a perfect daytrip.

South Mountains State Park

Ok, we are down to just this and one more Best North Carolina State Parks , and to be honest, dozens are deserving of a spot. However, we can’t go on forever, so for our next entry, we will just point the way to the steps you can climb up and see its gorgeous, 80- foot high waterfall. If that’s not your thing (how could that not be ?) you can hike to the many mountain peaks, lay out and catch some rays on the rocks beside the river, or just sit back , breathe deep and enjoy South Mountains State Park.

Get Out to the Best North Carolina State Parks…What are you Waiting For???

Well? What are you waiting for? We could revisit for more additions to the Best North Carolina State Parks every post and keep going for seemingly ever. If we did not touch on one of your favorites, we apologize, but do stand by our thinking that you will greatly enjoy and appreciate a trip to any of the 15 parks listed in our three-part series. So back to the original question…what are you waiting for?

For more information on the Belmont Lake Preserve new home community, visit belmontlakepreserve.com


Maybe you realized it and had forgotten. Possibly it had just been a long time. Any way you slice it, you’ve come to realize the fantastic location you are at. You realize at your new home in Rocky Mount the close proximity tho all things NC that  Belmont Lake Preserve puts you in. Included among those things are the Best State Parks in NC, which can help rediscover the peacefulness of all their beauty.

Well, whether it was a discovery or re-discovery does not really matter. The fact is, you are in a great location at Belmont Lake Preserve and that you are surrounded across the state by fantastic outdoor summer fun options. Following our first five Best State Parks in NC that we cover in the initial post, here we will bring you the next five. Again, these were not listed in any particular order, and all can deliver on that much needed and deserved peace of mind you get from a beautiful summer sunset.

The Best State Parks in NC: You Ain’t “Scene” Nothing Yet!

See what we did there. Well, it is all about natural beauty and scenery when you talk about the Best State parks in NC. Thus, without further ado, let’s get back into our sixth through tenth suggestions on our list. We think you’ll enjoy them all.

Lake Norman State Park

Here is one for those who truly love cycling. This slice of heaven and it’s over 30-miles of gorgeous biking trails make any Best State Parks in NC listing for those on two wheels, no doubt. In addition, the park is 32,510-acres of natural amazement, with some of the most beautiful lakeside views anywhere in the entire state.

Stone Mountain State Park

Our next entree to the Best State Parks in NC makes the list in part for its uniqueness. This picturesque attraction is 600 feet above the valley floor and offers some of the “best of separate worlds” to its visitors. That being said, at Stone Mountain, you can visit the 19th century Homestead, just as easily as you could cool off near the waterfall or dip your feet in the river.

Pilot Mountain State Park

This is truly one of the special entrants among our Best State Parks in NC. Although sometimes the term “classic” or “throwback” doesn’t fit, it seems a perfect description for Pilot Mountain State Park. Just outside of the piedmont, this spot is one of the final remaining remnants of the near-defunct Suaratown mountains. No matter if you like hiking, climbing, or just incredible views.

William B. Umstead Park

I must say that we have a very diverse list for this our second out of three posts covering the Best State Parks in NC. Each of the entrants listed has its own distinct beauty and William B. Umstead State Park in Raleigh is no different. With 5,000 breathtaking acres to explore, you can discover trails, lakes, and overlooks throughout this beautiful stretch of land. Canoeing and kayaking are both extremely popular at this destination as well.

Hammocks Beach State Park

Lets stick to our theme of diversity. Here is a stop that you can enjoy on the mainland or the islands. Yep, that’s right, during warmer months there is an actual ferry that you can take at Hammocks Beach State Park. This brings you to the beach, salt marshes, tidal creeks, and maritime forest. It seems that each of these five parks have had one favorite activity somewhat unique to t, and Hammocks is no different. People love camping on the beach here, and why wouldn’t they, the place is incredible.

Two-Thirds Through our Best State Parks in NC With a Little History Left to See

Those five spectacular suggestions as Best State Parks in NC give us a total of ten. That leaves us with just five to be featured in our upcoming post. Likewise, you will be within reasonable distance of all of these great spots. They will be awaiting your arrival.

For more information on all the great things at Belmont Lake Preserve, visit belmontlakepreserve.com.


When the dampness of Spring finally subsides and fully gives way to the heat and sunshine of Summer there is plenty to enjoy outdoors across North Carolina. Since you’ve settled into your new home in Rocky Mount at Belmont Lake Preserve, we have continuously reminded you of your prime location in regard to all points of NC. Well, we want to remind you of that once again as we head toward the Summer. We want to remind you that you are in a prime location to visit the Best NC State Parks.

Sure, we know you have seen the spectacular green spaces and the amazing outdoor attractions and beauty at Belmont Lake Preserve and the local surrounding area. But given that at Belmont lake Preserve, you are “never too far from there,” we have done the hard work of selecting the Best NC State Parks and narrowed it to a three-part blog post series, down from literally hundreds of beautiful parks.

The Best State Parks in NC: The First Five, Seeing is Believing

Gorgeous. Amazing. Breathtaking. These are all words used in describing outdoor beauty and parks not just in NC, but anywhere. However, sometimes these words can be used very loosely. Well, not here. Not in North Carolina, and not when we talk about State Parks. In this the first of our three-part series on the Best NC State Parks, we could have chosen what seems to be hundreds of places that would fit the headline. Thus, you can only imagine the true beauty of not just the five featured here, but all 15 of our parks we will discuss in these three posts.

Mount Mitchell State Park

Many call Mount Mitchell State Park the “crown jewel” of North Carolina’s amazing mountain range. Our first entrant of Best NC State Parks stands at 6,684 feet above sea level. This is the highest point anywhere east of the Mississippi River. The views and scenery are so awe-inspiring at this spot that it is said when clear it is possible to see up to 100 miles out. In addition to the killer views, also give Mount Mitchell points for being the very first state park established in North Carolina.

Jockey’s Ridge State Park

A unique but welcome trait of the scenic beauty in North Carolina is surely its diversity in the gorgeous types of landscapes that can be seen. The perfect example of this among our Best NC State Parks is Jockey’s Ridge. This beauty sits at the end of the mountains-to-sea-trail. It is the tallest living sand dune on the entire Atlantic Coast. This is an adventure lover’s paradise.

Eli Knob State Park

This entry among our Best NC State Parks gives you an up-close and personal look at some of NC’s rare plant life. Likewise, breath deep and soak in the scenery on the unexplored hiking trails. Wintertime is just fine for Eli Knob state park too, as many love the area for snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

Hanging Rock State Park

Hanging Rock State Park is a perfect day trip among our Best NC State Parks. Located at an awesome 2,580 feet, this state park has it all. Five waterfalls, a mountain, a lake, and gorgeous rock outcroppings. Looks like in planning that day trip, you should plan to enjoy filling up the whole day.

Chimney Rock State Park

Another easy addition to the Best NC State Parks is our fifth and final entry of this post. Chimney Rock is the definition of spectacular. Featuring a 404-foot waterfall, rock climbing, hiking, and the legendary boulder, this is a truly breathtaking 5,700 acres of state park heaven.

More of the Best NC State Parks to Come

In the next post, our second in a three-part series on the Best NC State Parks, we will suggest five more beautiful outdoor spots for you to check out at some point this summer or whenever you have the time.

For more information on the Belmont Lake Preserve new home community in Rocky Mount, visit belmontlakepreserve.com.