Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Fun in Fayetteville

Levelers will like the gentle terrain around Fayetteville, NC.
North Carolina is so filled with interesting destinations that many worthy stops are ignored. Fayetteville, in the state's Sandhills area, is one. Levelers will find its gentle elevation changes easy going.

What are your interests? Patriots, the area's African-American or Gaelic history, adventure, antiquing, the Civil War, period architecture, historic markers, geo-caching, Lafayette, literature, transportation, arts and gardens, religious freedom or junque treasures? Each has its own trail described, pictured and mapped in a Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau publication

The Saturday morning downtown crafts and farmers market outside of the Fayetteville Area Transportation & Local History Museum first drew our attention and checked off several trails' stops.

Fayetteville's namesake, the Marquis de Lafayette.
After a bit of retail therapy outside, we entered to learn more about the city's connection to Marie Joseph Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette. The town may be one of many in the USA named for him, but it has the distinction of being the only one actually visited by the French supporter of the American Revolution.

Browsing in the Livery.
While there, do a little antiquing at The Livery across Maxwell Street.

The Constitution was signed here.
Nearby, a focal point of the city is the Town House, formerly known as Market House, before it was burned and rebuilt.  This is where North Carolina ratified the Constitution in 1789 and where Lafayette addressed in citizens during his visit in 1824, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Airborne and Special Operations Museum.

Patriots of many eras are honored at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum,
the only facility showing and telling the comprehensive history of the U.S. Army Airborne. Visiting it and the memorials and museums nearby will swell your admiration for our military and put more than a few lumps in your throat.

"Iron Mike," everyone's favorite photo op site.

Everything here has a meaning and a story we discovered during a tour from Paul Galloway, director of the foundation supporting the museum. The rocks around the "Iron Mike" statue outside are from Toccoa, GA, where the first airborne jump took place. Look for the family of rabbits that live there.

 Everyone loves "Constant Vigilance," the bronze statue of a Belgian Malinoise, the world's only memorial to special operations canines killed in action.

 The facility itself opened August 18, 2006, anniversary of the test platoon, "the first fools to jump out of an aircraft." Inside, visitors find four full aircraft, a 509 Geronimo tank and hundreds of fascinating stories, including the true account of Black Hawk Down.

Tip: Don't go without trying the Pritzker Simulator 5-minute 12-second glider ride and jump that takes you through war experiences from from France to the Euphrates River.

Don't leave the area without strolling through the rose bushes to the North Carolina Veterans Park.

The memorials here are as engaging, creative and meaningful as any I have ever visited.

Horticulturists will want to stroll the 80-acre  Cape Fear Botanical Garden, known for its native big leaf magnolias, yellow wood trees, loblolly pines and 175 different varieties of camellias blooming from 300 bushes.

The garden also features a Patrick Doughetry stick work, "Just Beyond the Forest Curtain."  Completed in June 2015, the sculptural environment was designed to decay which means visitors will have another year or two to enjoy it.

If you are up for an active adventure, the program at  ZipQuest is so outstanding that USA Today lists it as one of the top 10 in the country. Introduction and instruction is excellent.

Tip: This is a 2-hour experience that includes 15 tree platforms and traversing four spiral staircases and three sky bridges.

Hungry? Beer lovers will appreciate The Mash House Brewing Company with its local quaffs and  wood-fired oven fare. It's worth seeking out the New Deli Restaurant - it is hidden  in a medical and office complex - for its pizza, paninis, creative grilled sandwiches and signature desserts. The Scrub Oaks Restaurant is a good choice for upscale comfort food in an attractive suburban setting.


Unknown said...

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June 30, 2016 at 6:45 AM
Anonymous said...

Hey Judy,

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April 9, 2017 at 1:34 PM

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