A Year of Firsts with Go Fayetteville

December 29, 2017

As I look back on 2017, I am struck by the thought that this has been a year of firsts with Go Fayetteville. I consider myself to be adventurous by nature, but if you had told me a year ago that I’d be zip-lining through trees, riding in a motorcycle rally or judging a poetry slam, I’d have told you that you’re crazy. I ended up saying "yes" to so many new experiences and blogging about them this year, and I have zero regrets. If you make no other New Year’s resolution for 2018, just make this one: "I will say 'yes' to new adventures." Here are 10 ideas to give you a jump-start on that resolution, all in the greater Fayetteville area.

Watching a Civil War Reenactment

I had never witnessed a Civil War battlefield reenactment until this past February, when my son and I ventured out to watch the annual Oak Grove Plantation Civil War Reenactment. The Town of Godwin is home to this privately-owned plantation, which once was commandeered by Union Army troops to be used as a hospital during the war. I wrote in "America's Hometown Happenings" about what takes place during this three-day event, but to appreciate the full experience, plan to attend the next reenactment, scheduled for February 23-25, 2018.

Food-Trucking

It’s no secret to any follower of this blog that I’m a major fan of the exploding food-truck scene here. Starting this past summer (thanks to NCCEED’s initiative), multiple food trucks set up in Festival Park every Wednesday for “Where’s the Truck?”. Coworkers and I were present the very first day, and I continued to return almost weekly. This event introduced me to so many local food trucks, but three of them quickly became my go-to’s: R Burger, Babann's Southern Fried Chicken and The Blind Pig NC. Look for “Where’s the Truck” to start back up in late spring. In the meantime, if you’re visiting our area, do what I do and stalk these trucks on social media.

Zip-Lining

Over the summer I joined up with a travel writer to go zip-lining for the first time in my life. On “My (Reluctant) Introduction to Zip-Lining,” I shared how this adventure required me to step outside my comfort zone and how the exhilarating experience was so worth it. ZipQuest Waterfall & Treetop Adventure is one of Fayetteville’s outdoor gems, sitting on 72 acres of forest and home to a natural waterfall. Besides the daytime Zipline Adventures, ZipQuest also offers a NightQuest and a Swing Shot. Add this outdoor destination to your 2018 bucket list!

Festival-Hopping

I have never attended so many festivals in a year in my life. Spring and fall are the seasons our biggest annual festivals take place all over Cumberland County. In September, I joined in all the revelry for Lafayette’s Birthday Celebration and Festival of Yesteryear. In October, I hit Ole Mill Days, where the Town of Hope Mills celebrates its heritage with a variety of family-friendly recreation/entertainment. Then I hopped over to the Fayetteville Dogwood Fall Festival, and went on a hayride, enjoyed a classic rock concert and helped judge food trucks competing in the Foodie Contest. If you’re an avid festival-goer like me, you won’t want to miss our city's marquee event, the springtime Fayetteville Dogwood Festival, scheduled for April 27-29, 2018.

spring lake

Skeet-Shooting

On a gorgeous fall day, my coworkers and I chose to do a team outing in the Town of Spring Lake—one of the main reasons being the Fort Bragg Clay Target Center. I had fired weapons before but never been skeet-shooting. I can’t describe the adrenaline rush I got that first time I successfully shot a target out of the sky, and this experience turned out to be the most fun adventure I’ve been on for “work.” Read all about the Clay Target Center, plus other places we visited, on “An Autumn Day-Venture in Spring Lake.”

Cheering on Fayetteville Marksmen

The first Fayetteville Marksmen hockey game went down at the Crown Coliseum in October, and my family and I were rink-side for the minor-league team’s big debut. As I shared on “Let’s Go, Fayetteville Marksmen!”, the game turned out to be a full entertainment experience for the whole family, starting before the puck ever dropped. Since then, we’ve returned to watch two more games, and now consider this to be one of our top-favorite kinds of indoor entertainment here. Be sure to get tickets to one of the Marksmen’s home games before the season ends in March.

Riding in a Motorcycle Rally

Our communities play host to so many barbecue festivals and motorcycle rides/rallies throughout the year, as I discussed on “For the Love of Bikes & BBQ.” The first Heroes Homecoming Motorcycle Rally took place on Veterans Day this fall, and I managed to catch a ride on the back of my coworker’s beautiful Harley. We joined dozens of other bikers/riders at Fort Bragg Harley-Davidson and hit the open road, driving through the beautiful countryside that makes up eastern Cumberland County. Then we rallied at Festival Park, where there were rock concerts, bike and beard contests and great food. Follow HeroesHomecoming.com for announcements about the next Motorcycle Rally, as well as all the other Heroes Homecoming events that will take place around Veterans Day 2018.

Judging a Poetry Slam

I had never attended a poetry slam before, let alone judged one, but that all changed the night I showed up at the Arts Council for The Marquis Slam. This monthly event features incredibly gifted poets from North Carolina and around the United States, oftentimes competing to qualify for national/international competitions. As I discovered, random audience members are selected to be the judges and to hold up their vote after each performance. My jaw stayed on the floor as I listened to the competitors put on a show that kept the audience engaged and interacting. Plan a date or a girls’ night out around The Marquis Slam, held every first Saturday.

Playing at a Trampoline Park

For a team-building day, our crew headed out to Westwood Shopping Center—now home to this area’s first trampoline park, Defy Fayetteville. Our group ranged in age from 20’s to 70’s, but age didn’t hold anyone back from acting like a big kid all over Defy’s “playground.” We swung from trapezes, battled each other on balance beams, did flips into foam pits and had an absolute blast. I talked a bit about what this indoor recreation site (and Westwood) offers its visitors on “Shop, Eat & Play.” Look for two more trampoline parks to be opening their doors in Cumberland County over the next year, as well.

Floating

The most unique experience of my year recently took place at Floating Shanti, in Downtown Fayetteville. Shortly after they opened, I was invited by the owner to come do a sensory-deprivation float, and not being one to say no to new experiences, I booked an appointment. My preconceptions about flotation therapy all turned out to be quite different from the reality (in such a good way). Look for me to blog soon on this and other ways to embrace health and wellness in the new year. In the meantime, start the year off by saying yes to new experiences and treating yourself to any one of Floating Shanti’s wellness services.

If you're chomping at the bit to do even more here, I'd recommend checking out the All-American Adventure Trail. This handy guide/map offers 25 destinations that make for the perfect adventure bucket-list in Cumberland County. Also be sure to follow the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau's Calendar of Events to keep up with all the great events, like ones mentioned above, that take place here year-round.

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