Things We Can't Wait to Do in Again

While many of JoCo's restaurants, breweries, attractions, shops, and more have been working hard to safely serve community members and visitors, we know it's still going to be some time before many things are back to normal. 

In the meantime though, we wanted to share with you a few of the things we've missed doing in JoCo. We can't wait for our friends, neighbors, and visitors to be able to join us in rediscovering all the activities, tastes, sights, and sounds we can look forward to experiencing together again! 

Dine at One of the Many Locally-owned Restaurants in the Area

From our BBQ Trail to our unique local red hot dogs, and each of our family-owned farm-to-table restaurants, JoCo is at the top of the Rural Food Movement. ​We can't wait to explore our food scene with a fresh perspective! Find a full listing of all of JoCo's restaurants here.

Not to mention, opening this Fall, the nation's first road-side food hall just off I-95 in Selma, NC. The Old North State Food Hall will have multiple fresh, unique food vendors and a full bar called the NC Craft House which will focus on serving-up NC-based craft beverages. 

An array of platter with various food items on them from Under the Oak in Smithfield, NC



Enjoy a Drink at One of the Stops on the Beer, Wine, & Shine Trail

There are now 7 stops along this craft beverage trail in JoCo: Broadslab, Deep River, Double Barley, Gregory Vineyards, Hinnant Winery, and InStill Distillery. We can't wait to gather with friends and other craft beverages lovers in beer gardens and on patios.

Learn more about traveling along the #JoCoBWST! Cheers to clinking glasses together in person again! 

People on the outside patio at Deep River Brewery in Clayton NC.



Interior shot of exhibits at the Ava Gardner Museum located in Smithfield, NC.

Visit an Area Museum

Learn about 19th-century rural farming techniques, explore the unique collections from centuries of small-town life, and even get to know the real Ava Gardner - Hollywood legend and JoCo native. There are well-curated museums located all around Johnston County waiting to welcome you back for a visit. 

In the meantime, check out some of the amazing virtual experiences. Our museums and attractions have been working hard to offer digital experiences you can explore from home. 



Attend All the Rescheduled Festivals and Events

There are some moments we had to say goodbye to in 2020. We won't be able to eat a savory, salty, buttery ham biscuit at the Ham & Yam Festival. We won't be able to shop until we drop looking for antiques at the 301 Endless Yard Sale. We won't be able to hear the boom of the cannons at the Bentonville Battlefield Reenactment or the roar of a truck engine at the East Coast Truckers Jamboree.

But all those experiences will be back in 2021! We'll be able to stroll streets full of local vendors and enjoy live concerts again. And we'll be able to do it as a shared experience with all the other people who miss it as much as we do! 

Tents set up with shoppers at the 301 Endless Yard Sale in Johnston County, NC.



Two men in suits, hats, and glasses sing and dance with a live band on a blue lit stage

Catch a Live Show or Concert

Several times a year Live at The Rudy in Downtown Selma, NC puts on a thematic, funny, and musical performance that crowds have enjoyed for decades; Christmas is a special time of year at The Rudy and we hope we'll all be singing along together there this coming holiday season!

The Clayton Center has been hosting Facebook Live concerts; we can't wait to sit in their stunning auditorium and let the music wash over us in person during their 2021 Palladium Series!

GALOT Monster Truck event held near Benson, NC.

Feel the Power of Motorsports

Spend a day under the sun or a night under the stars in a grandstand that rattles and hums from the power of the roaring motor engines. The GALOT Motorsports Park in Benson, NC hosts weekend racing events on the weekends throughout the year, not to mention special events like monster trucks and crash derby.

We're hoping for a speedy return to these action-packed events! Learn more about motorsports in JoCo here!



Spend a Day on the Farm

Many of our area farmers are open to the public with produce stands, you-pick options, and CSA box programs. But both farmers and customers are doing everything they can to account for social distancing regulations. We can't wait for special events and fun activities to take us back to the farm in groups - bounce houses, corn cribs, and kids playing fun games together under the summer sun.

Our farms are certainly working hard to provide community members with food, but we can't wait until they can provide us with fun again! Read more about Agritourism in JoCo here.

Enjoy a trolley ride on the Lazy O Farm, located near Smithfield, NC.



Spend An Afternoon Browsing the Many Main Street Boutiques

From Benson to Clayton to Smithfield and beyond each downtown in JoCo has its own welcoming vibe. Spend an afternoon gazing into window-front displays, unhurriedly perusing through locally-made clothes, decore, sweet treats, antiques, and more. Our destinations' retailers pride themselves on the shopping experience they offer to customers.

We know they're just as excited to greet us with a warm smile as we are to see it. Find a full listing of shopping opportunities in JoCo here.

A close-up of a trey of jewelry at Royal & Co boutique in Benson



Kayaking on the Neuse River in Johnston County, NC

Float the Neuse River with Friends

Spend a lazy day making your way down the Neuse River with a group of friends on kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, or just innertubes. Let the warm sun and cool water melt the stress away.

If floating isn't your things you could go hiking, camping, bird-watching, or picnicking with your friends at the outdoor facilities dotted across JoCo's beautiful, rural landscape. Check out Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center or Clemmons State Forest!



Back to School Shopping at the Carolina Premium Outlets

We've got our fingers crossed for all you parents out there of school-age kids, and teachers who we know miss their classrooms full of kids, that school will be back in session this Fall. We can't wait to go back-to-school shopping at the Carolina Premium Outlets.

Get discounts on brand-name clothes, shoes, athletic gear, backpacks, and more! 

The Gap tower at Carolina Premium Outlets in Smithfield, NC.

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