Notable Attractions in Fayetteville, North Carolina
Fayetteville, North Carolina, is the city I've lived in all my life. Known as the All-American City, it's right next to Fort Bragg, a major military base that is home of the famous 82nd airborne unit. Fayetteville is not a big city like Raleigh or a really big city like New York City, but it still has a lot of interesting things to see if you know where to look. Here are some of my favorite museums, restaurants, and attractions in the Fayetteville area.
Map of Fayetteville Attractions
1897 Poe House
This is not the home of the famous writer Edgar Allan Poe, but the home of a local bricklayer of the same name. It was built in 1897 and was the home of Edgar, his wife Josephine, and their children. With this tour you can learn a lot about this family, the history of Fayetteville, and the culture of the south at the turn of the century. You can walk right up to the furniture and see the beautiful craftsmanship, and see the rooms where the family once lived. Around Halloween, the museum hosts a special immersive tour where actors portray the Poe family. The tour guides are very knowledgeable, so ask as many questions as you want. Visiting the 1897 Poe House is like going back in time; it is a must-see attraction if you like history and you're in the area.
Airborne and Special Operations Museum
This museum opened on August 16, 2000, on the 60th anniversary of the Test Platoon's first parachute jump. It is free to visit (although they had an optional donation box for veterans the last time I was there) and allows you to take a self-guided tour of the history of America's airborne and special operations units from 1940 to the present day. The museum also has a temporary gallery that highlights special events or groups and rotates seasonally, and year-round there is a large theater with two different motion simulator rides and a gift shop.
If you are a history buff and like to see antique weaponry and army memorabilia this is definitely the place for you. The museum has a walk-in airplane on display where you can sit in the seats of the soldiers and feel what it was like to prepare for their jumps. You can also listen to voice recordings of soldiers talking about their experiences and hear them receiving calls from home. It's a fascinating place that really brings history to life and if you're in the area I consider it a must-see. Also worth visiting is the Veteran's Park next door, which honors many veterans from all branches of the military and has a special exhibit for local veterans of the Vietnam War.
Auman Vineyards allows you to pick your own organically-grown grapes from their vineyard or buy pre-picked grapes. I have a lot of good memories of going here in my childhood and picking grapes with my grandma. They grow the state fruit of North Carolina and the first cultivated grape in the US, the scuppernong grape, and they also grow muscadine grapes. They also produce honey and chestnuts and sell them in a roadside market. It's a family owned business; the original owner and planter of the vineyards, Loyd Auman, was a longtime principal of 71st high school and Loyd Auman Elementary School was named in his honor. They are open Monday-Saturday from sunrise to sunset during the growing season (closed on Sundays). Their website also has some great recipes, including grape hull pie. If you want to learn about local agriculture and produce this is a great place to go.
Gillis Hill Farm
This farm is a good place to buy fresh local produce, try delicious homemade ice cream made with fruit straight from the farm, and learn about how family farms operate. You can take a tour and see lots of different farm animals and meet the family that runs the farm, or just stop by to eat some ice cream on the porch and think of days gone by. It's a great place to take your kids to pick strawberries, and there are fun seasonal events like a corn maze and hayrides around Halloween. They grow all kinds of things, including Christmas trees, which we purchased from them last Christmas. It is definitely worth the trip, whether you like fruits and vegetables, high quality beef, or just really love ice cream. Seriously, the ice cream is great.
Cape Fear Botanical Garden
If you ever need a place to relax and walk around in nature, this is it. The Botanical Garden is beautiful and peaceful, and feature all kinds of flowers and plants. The people working there are very well-informed and know a lot of interesting things about the local flora and fauna. This is also a good place to take your kids, with regular events and fun activities like scavenger hunts and a model train to ride in during the summer. The decor also changes throughout the year with the seasons; during Christmas time you may see the trees decorated with Christmas lights. It's a nice place to relax while your kids play and take pictures of beautiful flowers and trees.
Fantasy Lake Water Park
Fantasy Lake is the local water park, and it is very fun and has a variety of slides, watery rides, and a kids area for visitors of all ages and skill levels. It is built on a manmade lake with white sand beaches and a sandy bottom, and is kept very clean, although it is non-chlorinated and the water is a natural brown. You can rent paddleboards and kayaks to paddle around the lake, and if you are daring there are tarzan swings, trapezes, free fall slides, monkey bars over water, and jump towers to test your bravery. There are a lot of fun thrills at this water park! The park is well guarded with attentive lifeguards that are Red Cross certified, and rules are enforced, so it is a very safe water park. You can bring your own food and barbecue if you want to, although no alcohol or weapons are allowed (they will check your bags upon entry). They also have a deli that serves great fully loaded nachos if you do not want to bring your own food. There are sometimes deals on sites like Groupon, and military discounts are also available, so get a good deal if you can.
Crazy Fire Mongolian Grill
If you like cooking and love stir fry, this is the restaurant for you. Crazy Fire Mongolian Grill mixes the experience of cooking stir fry with the experience of having your food grilled right in front of you like at a hibachi restaurant, and is also an all-you can eat buffet, so you can keep going up and trying new recipes each time or get more of what you're already eating. You pick your own ingredients, sauces, and seasonings and put them in a bowl, and then you take them up to the grill, where the chefs will fry up your meal with flair (it's like dinner and a show, with eggs being juggled and beef being chopped), and serve it to you with white or brown rice or lo mein. I have a shellfish allergy and they are really careful about preparing your meal seperately and cleaning off the grill, so if you are allergic to something let the chefs know and they will take care of you. They are also good about checking to make sure the ingredient bowls are not contaminated with other things, and will bring out a new one if you let them know. It's a really fun experience and everyone can find something they like because you choose what ingredients go into your food. Crazy Fire also has a location in Raleigh, North Carolina.
If you want to see a big event like a concert or a hockey game or the local Fayetteville Comic Con, it will probably be held in the Crown Complex. They hold all kinds of events throughout the year, from club meetings to business conferences to sold out shows. A lot of big events that don't usually come to Fayetteville are held in the Crown Complex. Of particular note is the annual Holly Day Fair, which is put on every year around Christmas by the Junior League of Fayetteville. It features homemade goods and gifts from local businesses and craftspeople all over North Carolina, and you can also find a lot of delicious food like alcoholic lemon cake and homemade fudge and dips. I've gotten some really unique gifts from there, like a gold violin christmas ornament made with Swarovski crystals, and extra hot Carolina Reaper beef jerky. Also of note are the Fayetteville Marksmen, our local hockey team, who play 28 home games there a season, and our local indoor football team, the Cape Fear Heroes, who are the 2017 Supreme Indoor Football champions.
Xscape Factor is an escape room, where you and your group are locked in a room and have 60 minutes to solve the clues in the room and find the exit. They have several different scenarios that update with new chapters from time to time, from an alien abduction to a killer clown, keeping things fresh for every visit. This is very fun for parties and corporate team-building exercises, because it allows everyone to cooperate and share their talents, working together to escape. It is a veteran owned and family operated business, and the owners write all of their own scenarios to create a unique experience. This is a must-do attraction if you like puzzles and solving problems.
Zipquest is a place where you can have a fun outdoor adventure right here in Fayetteville. You can zipline over treetops and Carver's Falls, walk over suspension bridges, walk along canopy trails, and see the beauty of eastern NC's trees and wildlife. You can go in the day or at nighttime, ziplining under the stars. For adrenaline junkies, they have the swing shot, which sends you swinging back and forth 3.5 stories up in the air. It's a great place to take pictures and Go-Pro videos, and they offer zipline courses for all ages and skill levels. You can schedule conference groups and retreats, too, so bring your friends. It's loads of fun and offers a view of Fayetteville that you may have never seen before.
Zipquest Swing Shot In Action
Our new baseball stadium, located at 472 Hay St, has opened up on April 18th, 2019. Segra Stadium is home to the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, a minor league baseball team formerly known as the Buies Creek Astros, who operated out of Campbell University's Jim Perry Stadium. The team mascot, a fierce woodpecker holding a chipped baseball bat, was chosen for its toughness and resilience, which are qualities that Fayetteville residents, particularly Army soldiers and veterans, embody. The team colors are red and black. Segra Stadium can seat 4,786 baseball fans, but parking downtown is somewhat limited as construction continues on the stadium's accompanying parking deck and hotel, so plan ahead and get there early.
So those are a bunch of cool places to visit in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Have you visited any of these places? Is there any place in town that I should add? Let me know in the comments!
© 2018 Melissa Clason