1. As you begin your day in Wilson, make a beeline for one of the legendary cat-head biscuits at Flo’s Kitchen, which are bigger than your fist, buttery as all get-out, and ooze gooey hoop cheese.
2. At the Whirligig Conservation Headquarters, get an intimate view of the restoration of whirligigs — massive, spinning contraptions that are quirky cousins to the windmill — made by the late folk artist Vollis Simpson. The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park won’t be completed until 2017, but the conservation center offers free tours to drop-in visitors, entertaining to adults and children alike.
3. Before there was Interstate 95, U.S. Route 301 was the area’s biggest thoroughfare, running right through Wilson, which cemented the town’s legacy as a pit stop in more ways than one. Wilson is home to two beloved barbecue institutions: Parker’s and Bill’s. Parker’s succulent fried chicken is as a good as the pig, and Bill’s boasts a great buffet.
4. Celebrate North Carolina’s role in America’s favorite pastime at the North Carolina Baseball Museum, located at Fleming Stadium. Exhibits display memorabilia from baseball players with ties to the Old North State, including the likes of Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Luke Appling, and Buck Leonard.
5. If you love rib eye, you’re in luck, because it’s the only thing on the menu at The Beefmastor Inn. But what seals The Beefmastor’s legend is the fact that patrons will happily tailgate in the parking lot before enjoying a filling meal comprising a steak — cut as thickly as you’d like it — a baked potato, and a salad.