Don’t have time or money for a week at the beach? No problem! Here’s a selection of destinations just far enough outside the Triangle to feel like a getaway but close enough that one tank of gas should get you there and back.
Tiny Saxapahaw manages to pack in a whole lot of charm. The Saxapahaw General Store attracts in-the-know foodies as well as people who need to shop, you know, the general store. (What, you thought it was just a cute name?) Music fans keep close tabs on the schedule at the Haw River Ballroom, where big-name bands and up-and-comers play to appreciative crowds. The Haw River itself provides plenty of great scenery and hiking, and you can shop for souvenirs in the town’s antique stores and art galleries.
Seagrove touts itself as the largest community of potters with the longest continuous history of pottery making in the U.S. The local reddish-orange clay figures prominently in many of the potters’ works, but the variations are nearly endless. Frequent special events offer great excuses to check out the area’s nearly 100 pottery shops and studios, but who needs an excuse? Here’s what you will need, according to Marianne Wason of Raleigh: “Take a car with a large trunk, a zero-balance credit card, and head out for a wonderful day visiting the potteries (and buying).”
Info: 800-626-2672 or discoverseagrove.com
Raven Rock State Park
Raven Rock State Park sits where the state’s foothills region meets the coastal plain, making for some interesting geological formations, including the namesake Raven Rock. If you’re not into soaring rock formations, you can look down instead – the park is known for its proliferation of wildflowers. Several creeks crisscross the nearly 5,000 acres, adding canoeing, fishing and splashing around to the list of fun possibilities. Raven Rock “is easy to reach, easily explored and provides a panoramic viewpoint,” said Doug Gzym of Cary.
Info: 3009 Raven Rock Road, Lillington. 910-893-4888 or ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/raro/main.php