A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

As she peers out onto the corner of Broad and Wilson Street from her restaurant, Broad Street Deli & Market, Jamie Adkins has the perfect vantage point to sight the

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

As she peers out onto the corner of Broad and Wilson Street from her restaurant, Broad Street Deli & Market, Jamie Adkins has the perfect vantage point to sight the

Hidden Gems & Local Favorites in Dunn

As she peers out onto the corner of Broad and Wilson Street from her restaurant, Broad Street Deli & Market, Jamie Adkins has the perfect vantage point to sight the bustle of activity in downtown Dunn. Three words sum up her assessment of the community: “warm and welcoming.”

When Jamie, a waitress of 10-plus years and Jeff, a self-taught chef, moved to Dunn as newlyweds 27 years ago, they were immediately taken by the sense of community. “It felt like the perfect place for us,” Jamie says. “It’s a warm, welcoming town that we knew would be a great place to raise a family and, eventually, start a business.” In the early 2000s, they did just that. Their son Riley was born in 2000 — and, in 2005, so was their family-owned restaurant.

By then, Dunn was in the thick of its own transformation. No longer a logging and turpentine center, Dunn has become a flourishing destination in its own right — so much so that travelers routinely pull off Interstate 95 to dine, shop, and explore. “Our corner has seen much change and growth over the years and our customers have been right there with us through it all,” she says. “We have gotten to know them on a personal level and have kindled many lifelong relationships.”

Adkins and her staff have built a community at the deli, a feeling that carries beyond the restaurant to other shopkeepers and entertainment hubs nearby. From shopping to dining to live entertainment, use our guide to uncover all the hidden gems in Dunn’s thriving community.


For lunch, dig into a salad or sandwich at Broad Street Deli & Market. Photography courtesy of Dunn Area Tourism Authority

Where to Eat & Drink

Broad Street Deli & Market. In the circa-1930 building that houses Broad Street Deli & Market, folks gather for the made-to-order sandwiches, salads, and wraps that have made the Adkins’ restaurant a local mainstay. Their calling card is “The Life of Riley”: roast beef, melted brie, and homemade plum sauce on a toasted croissant. For something a little lighter, try the homemade pimento cheese sandwich or chicken salad. The mission behind the menu? Jamie says it’s to have something for everyone, whether you’re a local or an out-of-towner. “We treat customers as guests in our home,” she says. “I believe they sincerely care about us, and it brings me joy to make their day just a little bit brighter.”

Kim’s Barbecue House. Kim’s carries on the tradition of a community gathering place, serving barbecue staples that have earned a devoted local fanbase. The menu, a combination of barbecue and seafood, has earned the joint a reputation for delivering flavors that bring loyal customers back time and again. A rotating slate of daily specials, like stew beef with rice, pork chops, and tenderloin, guarantees that there’s always something new to try.

For old-fashioned steak and potatoes, head to Heath’s Steakhouse. Photography courtesy of Dunn Area Tourism Authority

Heath’s Steakhouse. Arrive hungry to Heath’s Steakhouse on Powell Avenue, where the restaurant is known as much for its 40-item salad bar as it is for its offerings of tasty steaks, chicken, and seafood. Since 1972, Heath’s has served up delectable dishes that stay true to founder H.W. Heath’s legacy. Now owned by Dillon Tart, the steakhouse is committed to upholding the tradition of exceptional dining experiences.

Pick up a delicious dozen at Sherry’s Bakery. Photography courtesy of Dunn Area Tourism Authority

Sherry’s Bakery. In need of dessert? Satisfy your sweet tooth at this longtime locals’ favorite, where you’ll find more than a dozen different kinds of homemade doughnuts — glazed, showered with powdered sugar, stuffed with fillings, and more — plus brownies, cookies, cakes, and other treats. But if you need something savory before you indulge, don’t worry — you’ll also find a grill with a full breakfast and lunch menu. Hint: Try the chicken salad.

Taprooms. Need a nightcap? Grab a cold one at Crossbones Brewing Company, a family-owned establishment downtown that frequently hosts food trucks, live music, trivia nights, and more. Or head just across the street to Lucknow Bottle & Tap Co. for a glass of wine or a craft beer from 27 taps.


Play a round at Chicora Golf Club. Photography courtesy of Dunn Area Tourism Authority

Where to Explore the Outdoors

Dunn-Erwin Rail Trail. Stroll through farmlands and across wetlands on this relaxed path. With its well-maintained surface of crushed stone, the Dunn-Erwin Rail Trail, connecting the towns of Dunn and Erwin, is perfect for casual walkers, bikers, and families looking for an outdoor adventure. For serious runners, the trail is also the ideal choice due to its five-mile length and flat terrain. Nearby attractions include parks, historic sites, and the Cape Fear River.

Golf clubs. A short drive from downtown, Chicora Golf Club provides a challenge for beginners and experienced golfers alike. The course boasts three par fives, four par threes, and eleven par fours. When you’re not teeing off on the course, relax and unwind at the putting green or take a dip in the club’s pool. In Harnett County, Keith Hills Golf Club — Campbell University’s golf course — promises an equally memorable golfing experience, with three nine-hole courses along the Cape Fear River.

Raven Rock State Park. Just a short drive outside of town, Raven Rock State Park lures nature lovers with its breathtaking namesake: a 150-foot crystalline structure overlooking the Cape Fear River. Here, hikers will be treated to a feast for the eyes with steep terrain, lush mountain laurel and rhododendron thickets, and the soothing sounds of tumbling water, perfect for immersing yourself in the beauty of nature.


See performers like Glenn Miller at the historic Stewart Theater. Photography courtesy of Dunn Area Tourism Authority

Experience Local Culture & Entertainment

Enjoy intimate live performances at the Bird’s Nest Listening Room. Photography courtesy of Dunn Area Tourism Authority

Music venues. The Bird’s Nest Listening Room opened in early 2023 to provide a small, intimate music venue in downtown Dunn. Weekend performances feature rockin’ country, honky tonk, swamp folk, Americana, and more. Enjoy a refreshing beverage alongside acts like Pete Schlegel, Summer Dean, and Kyle Kelly. For a family-friendly night of entertainment, head to Stewart Theater. Built in the 1940’s as a first-run movie house, the Stewart Theater plays host to nationally recognized artists such as Rhonda Vincent, David Phelps, The Isaacs, and Scythian, to name a few. It also features a classic movie series and serves as home to Harnett Regional Theatre.

The North Carolina Cotton Festival. If you’re in town the first Saturday of November, don’t miss the 23rd annual North Carolina Cotton Festival. The huge festival celebrates one of North Carolina’s prime agricultural products while bringing people together in the heart of downtown Dunn. Browse 130-plus artisan vendors and food trucks, see live music — including rock, country, bluegrass, gospel, and beach music — on four stages, attend a cotton gin tour, and browse a classic car show where more than 100 antique and custom cars compete for best in show.

General William C. Lee Airborne Museum. Located in a three-story Neoclassical Revival home built in 1903, the General William C. Lee Airborne Museum tells the story of North Carolina’s famous airborne hero — and Dunn native — William Cecil Lee, through engaging exhibits and personal artifacts. Step back in time and learn about the early years of the U.S. Army Airborne and the use of glider planes during World War II.

The Averasboro Battlefield and Museum. Just a 10-minute drive from the Airborne Museum is The Averasboro Battlefield and Museum. Dedicated to the 1865 Battle of Averasborough, the museum commemorates the Civil War battle that took place in Dunn through educational hiking trails, reenactments, and a collection of old guns, bullets, maps, and other war artifacts.

The Dunn Area History Museum. At this museum on East Broad Street in downtown Dunn, discover local history and heritage. A highlight: the local Indian artifacts, including Coharie pieces unearthed by museum staffer and Coharie member Christy Brewington Moore. Plus, discover the story of local rock legend Link Wray, whose early publicity pictures, decorated Twin Tone electric guitar, albums, and posthumous Hall of Fame certificate are featured in the museum.


Pick up a one-of-a-kind Forget-Me-Not bracelet at Jordan’s Jewelry. Photography courtesy of Dunn Area Tourism Authority

Where to Shop

Jordan’s Jewelry. Founded in 1888, Dunn’s oldest store has sold jewelry to generations, many of whom travel from out of town to purchase necklaces, rings, earrings, and bracelets — especially the iconic “Forget-Me-Not.” The sterling cuff features a floral design inspired by the Forget-Me-Not, a low-growing ornamental plant with light blue flowers. It’s a staple piece for the women of Dunn and is regarded as an emblem of constancy and friendship. “I grew up in Dunn and remember shopping at Jordan’s all my life — and getting my own Forget-Me-Not bracelet,” owner Allison Eason, who purchased the business in 2021, says. “It’s a beautiful tradition that I’m excited to carry on and share with my new baby daughter.”

Tart’s Strawberry & Produce Farm. At this garden center, specialty grocery, gift shop, and bakery, you can stock up on beautiful plants, locally grown fruits and veggies, handmade soaps and candles, home decor ranging from coffee mugs to picture frames, and homemade cookies and sweets. Plus, stop by for seasonal delights like mums and pumpkins in the fall and Christmas trees during the holidays.

Browse for antiques at Morgan’s on Broad. Photography courtesy of Dunn Area Tourism Authority

Morgan’s on Broad. Natalie Morgan’s passion for antique picking began during summer visits to her grandparents’ house in Yadkin County. After a few years of setting up booths in local shops in her early adulthood, she took the plunge and opened her first brick-in-mortar store selling an eclectic selection of vintage glassware, home decor, handmade candles, soaps, and foods in Benson. Nine years later, she expanded her footprint with a second location in Dunn. “Being a fairly new business in Dunn, everyone’s been very welcoming,” Natalie says. “That’s one of the things that I love about our town.”

Jernigan’s. Jernigan’s first began as a garden center and evolved into a destination for gifts, garden accessories, seasonal flowers, and plants. The best part about running the shop, owner Renee Jackson says, is having the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the people who both work and shop at the boutique. “I look back now and see girls that used to work for us 10 years ago and have maintained friendships with the people they met here,” Jackson says. “It’s such a rewarding feeling and speaks to the tight-knit community Dunn is and continues to be.”

This story was published on Aug 22, 2023

Tamiya Anderson

Tamiya Anderson is a Concord-based writer and former Our State intern who is proud to call The Tar Heel State home.