Places to Gather with Friends & Family

November 30, 2017

As the Christmas carol reminds us, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Whether you’re hosting out-of-town guests or visiting Cumberland County during the holidays, we’re sharing some warm, inviting places to gather with friends and family. Make yourself at home in a local coffee house. Plan a party at a countryside venue. Introduce your guests to one of our new breweries. These are a few of our go-to spots for holiday parties, casual gatherings, and much more.

Treasure Troves

Last year, I organized a meet-up at Leclair’s General Store, located in the lovely Haymount District of Fayetteville, and the ladies in my group went crazy for Leclair’s vintage goods, succulents, cold-brew coffee and more. Not only is this general store a true one-stop-shop, but its homey space and plentiful seating make an ideal spot for small, casual gatherings.
Tip: Follow @leclairsgeneralstore to keep up with the many local artists and artisans they host for everything from live music to foodie events to theatrical performances.

Another unique treasure trove may be found in the Town of Hope Mills, at Boarding House Treasures & Tea Room. This home’s history dates to the early 1900’s, when it served as a boarding house for mill workers. Today, this lovingly restored, historic attraction is available for special events, and the talented chef-owner, Carla Welsh, can tailor a menu to the group's needs—anything from low-afternoon tea service to internationally inspired dishes. Visitors also enjoy shopping for antiques and collectibles, or "Mason's Treasures."
Tip: For more information on booking a special event here, see the Tea Room's contact information.

places to gather

Leclair's General Store

Downtown Breweries

Downtown Fayetteville welcomed two new breweries in 2017—each one bringing something unique to the scene. First-time visitors to Bright Light Brewing Company (BLBC) have discovered that this is not your typical watering hole. BLBC prides itself on being not only family friendly, but also dog friendly. Each time I visit, I find groups of folks relaxing on couches, families playing corn-hole on the patio, and a food truck feeding the crowd out back.
Tip: Check out two events BLBC is hosting during the holidays: Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest and Brew Years Eve.

Friends and I have had the pleasure of dining at Lake Gaston Brewing Company & Restaurant several times since they opened their doors over a year ago. The newest microbrewery to hit the scene here offers patrons a tasty menu for lunch and dinner, with both pub-style comfort food and such unique offerings as Cheese Curds and Bison Sliders. Their outdoor patio is a botanical oasis right in the heart of downtown, with plenty of space indoors, as well, to gather over craft beer and good eats.
Tip: Order the Lake Gaston Flight to sample a variety of brews, such as the Hop Goblin, before committing to just one.

Bright Light Brewing Company

Countryside Escapes

For larger gatherings, Cumberland County offers a variety of beautiful venues, such as McCormick Farms. Located in the Town of Spring Lake, this family-owned-and-operated business has been around since 1796. Now open to the public, McCormick features a gorgeous outdoor space known as "The Grove" that is perfect for casual gatherings, like pig pickin’s and family reunions, or formal events, such as weddings. Most recently, they also completed construction on a brand-new facility called "The Barn," a massive indoor event space that played host to Dancing with the Fayetteville Stars earlier this year.
Tip: Contact the farm to schedule an appointment for a tour and meeting with the event-planning team, which includes the award-winning B&B Catering.

Paradise Acres is yet another family-owned business, located in the Town of Hope Mills, that provides 14 acres of private land and facilities for rent. This countryside escape hosts everything from birthday parties to holiday events to weddings, and their catering menu includes such Southern classics as pig pickin’-style barbecue and low-country boil. The onsite recreational amenities offer outdoor entertainment for groups on the basketball court, playground, softball field, walking trail and more.
Tip: Visit this attraction any Friday evening between now and December 21st, and you’ll be treated to Supper with Santa—a hearty holiday buffet, drinks, desserts, and selfies with Santa.

places to gather

McCormick Farms

Coffee Houses

Good Living Coffee Zone (GLCZ) is a new coffee house that's located in Fayetteville’s Marketfair Shopping Center. Shoppers love taking a break here to enjoy a warm beverage, like the Pumpkin Brûleé Latte, and tasty snacks, such as the Grilled Turkey Panini. Additionally, the spacious seating and free WiFi are big draws for numerous networking groups and meet-ups, as well as folks wanting to work on the go.
Tip: Surprise the kids by taking them to GLCZ on December 15th for Hot Chocolate with Santa.

Spring Lake locals love to gather at Cactus Creek Coffee—conveniently located in The Collective, a business complex that includes Spring Lake Outpost, Compass Rose Yoga, and other businesses. Just like GLCZ, Cactus Creek is perfect for small gatherings and even business meetings. If you're willing to step outside your latte comfort zone, you have plenty of options here—to include specialty coffee beans, such as Nutcracker Sweet, Cinnamon Stick, and Campfire Jubilee.
Tip: Visit The Collective on December 8th, and you'll find Cactus Creek Coffee and other local businesses participating in Spring Lake's Inaugural German Christmas Market.

places to gather

Good Living Coffee Zone

I've also shared five kid-friendly attractions on the blog; be sure to check out all those great options on “Indoor Recreation for Families.” Cumberland County businesses and attractions are playing host to dozens of holiday festivities this season, as well, and you can discover those happenings on the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s (FACVB) Calendar of Events.

Are you searching for the perfect venue for a family reunion, wedding or social gathering? Contact the FACVB’s Tourism Department at 910-835-5091 or jbennett@visitfayettevillenc.com to discuss the free event-planning services they can assist you with to make your event one to remember.

McCormick Farms featured image and picture above are courtesy of @mccormickfarmsnc; Good Living Coffee Zone picture above is courtesy of @GoodLivingCoffeeZone.

Note: This blog was originally written in November 2017, but was updated in November 2018.

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