Don't miss these pit stops off I-95: Roanoke Rapids, Weldon, Benson, Rocky Mount, Smithfield, Fayetteville, Lumberton, and a few extra! Roanoke Rapids Browning’s Grill It’s not just the Jesse
It’s not just the Jesse Jones hot dogs topped with homemade chili and slaw that repeatedly draw customers back to Browning’s Grill. It’s also the family-friendly atmosphere that hasn’t changed a bit since the restaurant opened in the early 1950s. Currently owned and operated by Fran and Chris Conner, Browning’s is famous for its curbside delivery that transports customers to a bygone era of food service. “We’re not like fast food,” Fran says. “The atmosphere is different. The taste is different. It’s just a whole different experience.”
2066 West 10th Street
Operating in its current location since 1952, Ralph’s Barbecue is a fourth-generation family-owned restaurant serving up original Southern recipes — passed down for 70 years — for Brunswick stew, coleslaw, and, of course, slow-cooked chopped barbecue with Ralph’s famous eastern North Carolina vinegar sauce.
1400 Julian R. Allsbrook
Highway, (252) 536-2102
Tour the distillery and learn the history of both bourbon and the 1892 corn mill that houses the distillery’s bar. On Friday nights, relax on the patio overlooking the Roanoke River, and enjoy cocktails made with fun spirits like Royal Rhubarb Gin (it’s pink!) and Bombardier Cinnamon-Flavored Vodka (it’s green!).
100 & 200 Rockfish Drive
With family recipes passed down from before Prohibition, Broadslab uses a handcrafted, solid copper still to produce authentic, all-natural corn whiskey that’s smooth enough for sipping straight.
4834 NC Highway 50 South
This family-owned café and coffee shop serves full-bodied roasts, artisan breads, and Belgian waffles (all day!) in a relaxed atmosphere featuring hardwood booths and exposed brick walls.
101 West Main Street
Visitors to Smith’s can purchase fresh produce or landscaping plants, pick their own berries, or feed the farm animals and learn about sustainable farming practices like irrigation and beekeeping on a self-guided tour.
443 Sanders Road
Housed in the former Rose and Woodall furniture store — and including exhibits on agriculture, home life, merchants, military history, and local artists — this museum preserves and shares the heritage of the Benson area.
102 West Main Street
Battle Park — the site of the town’s namesake rocky mounds — features boating and canoe access to the Tar River, a winding greenway trail, and a history of human habitation dating to 9000 B.C.
1300 Falls Road
Overlooking the Tar River Falls, the second-oldest cotton mill in the state has been restored and converted into a multi-use campus that features breweries, restaurants, and even a tiny-house hotel.
1151 Falls Road
Populated with a variety of waterfowl, and shady hardwoods, and surrounded by a half-mile waterfront jogging path, City Lake offers visitors a choice between recreation and relaxation.
Sunset Avenue at U.S. Highway 64 Business
This gallery aims to educate and entertain visitors through its culturally diverse fine- and visual-arts programming. With four exhibits every year, the gallery shows an appreciation for various art forms in Smithfield and Johnston County. Lectures and artist workshops throughout the year are part of the gallery’s mission to help the local artistic community grow.
245 College Road
Sit down for handcrafted ales and food in a space made for the community to enjoy meaningful time together. Featuring an inviting taproom and beer garden, this family-operated brewery specializes in bold-flavored beers with a whole lot of grain. Double Barley lets patrons go behind the scenes of their craft beer-making process in weekly tours.
3174 U.S. Highway 70 West
This Mediterranean grill and market uses secret family recipes to make its authentic, traditional delicacies. The restaurant brings the Middle East to North Carolina with made-from-scratch dishes like chicken shawarma — marinated chicken wrapped in warm pita bread.
2425 Hope Mills Road
Serving sweet and savory individual pies, this lunch spot has an ever-changing menu. Just stopping by? You can grab a Pie Bites Box with 24 assorted pies, or a package including ingredients that let you bake your own pie at home.
253 Westwood Shopping Center
One hundred hands, cast in bronze, line a wall in this park, representing veterans from each North Carolina county. The first park in the state dedicated to members of all branches of the military features an interactive story garden and symbolic sculptures.
300 Bragg Boulevard
This local vineyard features award-winning wines, including reds, whites, and sweet wines made from blackberries, watermelon, and three types of muscadines. Stephens Vineyard also offers a steady rollout of delicious new blends.
284 Smith Mill Road
Located in historic downtown about a block from Inner Peace Center for the Arts, Sweet Candy Café carries 92 types of old-school and new-school candy (Pop Rocks to gummy bunnies), along with popcorn, warm mixed nuts, and mouthwatering fudge.
212 North Chestnut Street
At nearby Lumber River State Park, visitors can explore eastern North Carolina’s natural beauty by doing a little fishing, kayaking, and tent-camping near picnic areas and short hiking trails.
2819 Princess Ann Road
Orrum, NC 28369