We're all working to adjust to the temporary and necessary stay-at-home and social distancing mandates, but spending a lot of time in one place means we have time to dream about where we will go in the future. It also means that a lot of exploring, learning, and dreaming is being done digitally; just as many of us are connecting virtually.

Johnston County's restaurants have been working over the last month and a half to pivot their business model to take-out and delivery. Likewise, the county's attractions have had to close to the public and have had to evolve how they share their stories with the public. From digital activities like puzzles to virtual video tours, popular JoCo museums are working to bring their fascinating collections to visitors who are exploring destinations from home.

1. If you haven't started following the JoCo Grows Agriculture Facebook page, definitely check them out. The #JoCoGrows group is committed to sharing the ways that agriculture and agritourism play a vital part in the local economy, from large wholesale farms to pick-your-own strawberry stands. To provide educational material to children, and adults, learning from home JoCo Grows started an on-going Video Series about Agriculture in Johnston County. In addition, you can find an ag-themed crossword puzzle and word search via the Johnston County Visitors Bureau website.

A Screenshot of the Video Listings for the Tobacco Farm Life Museum in Kenly

2. The Tobacco Farm Life Museum in Kenly has created a series of digital jigsaw puzzles from pictures of various scenes from around the museum. In addition, the museum is participating in Museum A to Z which is a program that encourages museums to share one item in their collection daily via social, corresponding to the letter of the alphabet; they are currently up to L and you can follow along on their Instagram. Lastly, an on-going video event can be found on the Tobacco Farm Life Museum Facebook called the Clips of Time: Facebook Live Series where the curator discusses local history through old newspaper clippings in the museum's archives.

3. The Ava Gardner Museum has digital jigsaw puzzles created from various portraits painted by  Bert Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer was one of Ava's biggest fans; during his life, he created roughly 50 large portraits of Ava, of which 33 are in the museum collection. Ava is also participating in the Museum A to Z and has an on-going virtual guided tour series across all their social channels.

4. Though the large-scale 155th reenactment of the Battle of Bentonville had to be rescheduled to March 20-21 of 2021, the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site has carried on sharing the stories of the area, like the history surrounding the Harper House. You can find their Harper House Virtual Tour Video Series on both Instagram and YouTube.

5. Jerry Stephenson, Owner and Head Chef over at the very popular Redneck BBQ Lab restaurant, is shooting a "How To" YouTube Video Series where he teaches fans and viewers to replicate famous Redneck BBQ Lab recipes at home. Learn about cornbread, brisket, burnt ends, saucing and spices, plus more!

6. Many of our closed yoga studios are offering online classes, not just on yoga but also focusing on practices like meditation to help in these stressful times.

7. Finally, the Johnston County Visitors Bureau has worked to create our own digital jigsaw puzzles and even Zoom backgrounds out of our favorite shots of rural beauty from across JoCo (see examples and instructions below). In addition, previous blogs (just in case you missed them) have included a list of local fiction authors to read and outdoor activities to try in the area.

A dock that leads off into a lake with sun and blue sky

Download a background by clicking this link to be taken to the public folder where our Zoom backgrounds exist. 

Download your selected backgrounds by clicking the 3 dots in the upper right-hand corner and clicking Download. 

In a Zoom meeting click the ^ arrow next to Start/Stop Video.

Click Choose a virtual background...

Click the arrow in the upper right-hand corner and select video or image.

Navigate to where you saved your selected background and select it to upload.

If prompted, click Download to download the package for the virtual background without a green screen.

For further instructions or any issues you experience please visit the Zoom Guide to backgrounds here.

Sunflowers in a field in the sun