Group Tour Suggested Itineraries!

    The Johnston County Visitors Bureau staff is available to assist motor coach groups of 25 or more seeking assistance in planning a trip to the Ava Gardner Museum for the festival October 7-9, 2022, or anytime during the year long celebration of Ava's 100th birthday.  Please contact Ashby Brame, our Director of Marketing and Group Sales for itinerary planning and other services for your group. 

    We will be glad to assist with the following:  group room blocks, custom itinerary planning, dining options for groups, securing tickets, and gift bags with additional coupon offers.

    Friday Day Trip Itinerary

    Friday, October 7th

    For groups interested in making a day trip to Smithfield for the Opening Day of the new exhibits at the Ava Gardner Museum, the following is a suggested itinerary.

    10:00am    Tour the Ava Gardner Museum New Exhibits
      Groups traveling to Smithfield for the day may drop by the museum on Friday to enjoy the new exhibits created for this year’s festival.
    11:15am Shopping along Third Street in Downtown Smithfield
      Downtown Smithfield has a variety of boutiques, home decor, and antique shops for your group to enjoy.
    12N Group Options for Lunch
      Your group may choose to stay downtown following shopping, and split up for lunch at the following dining options:  The Gilded Pear, Gotham's New York Deli, The Diner, Simple Twist, or SoDoSoPa. Or gather up the group for the buffet at Golden Corral, or Cracker Barrel both close by at Exit 95.
    1:30pm Outlet Shopping at Carolina Premium Outlets
      For an afternoon option, your group could enjoy outlet shopping (a crowd favorite), shopping at DeWayne's or exploring nearby Hinnant Winery and enjoy a wine tasting.
    3pm Depart for Home



    One Night Two Day Itinerary

    Friday, October 7th

    1pm Arrival in Smithfield
      Based on your arrival time to Smithfield, your group could take in some outlet shopping at Carolina Premium Outlets before checking into your hotel or tour the museum exhibits.
    5pm Early Dinner Options
      For groups of 25 or more there are private dining options in the area: Texas Steakhouse, Golden Coral, Mayflower Seafood, or nearby Robbins Nest or Parkside Cafe.
    6:30pm A Musical Tribute to Ava Gardner
      The Clayton Cultural Foundation will have an Cash Bar and the Museum will be serving Ava's birthday cake at 6:30pm, the concert starts at 7:30pm. Enjoy the big band sounds of the NC Revelers Orchestra and featured guests performers John Arthur Greene and Angelique Alexander. This collaboration includes Jonathan Levin, founder of The Clayton Piano Festival bringing us a medley of Ava’s movie songs and much, much more.

    Saturday, October 8th

    10am Mural and Rose Gardner Dedication
      Dedication of the Ava Gardner Rose Garden and Mural will be held Saturday morning to share the story behind the project and extend thanks to all those that contributed to this project.
    10:45am Heritage Tour with Step-on Guide
      Step on Guide will take your group on the Heritage Tour of Ava's birthplace, the Teacherage where she lived in the Brogden Community and her grave site at Sunset Memorial Park.
    12:15pm Options for Lunch
      Group can enjoy shopping on Third Street where merchants will have sidewalk sales and local artists will have booths.  Lunch options include The Diner, Gotham's New York Deli, The Gilded Pear, Simple Twist and SoDoSoPa. Group will have to split up as dining options in downtown do not include private space for large groups.
    2pm Tour of the Ava Gardner Museum
      The museum's new exhibits showcase some new acquisitions in the Doris Cannon Library, and visitors to the museum will see the newly renovated museum.
    3:30pm Depart for Home
      There will be new programs and events celebrating Ava's 100th Birthday throughout 2023 -- we hope you return again to Smithfield!



    Logo for the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, NC.




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