Count your blessings in your backyard

March 14, 2010

Pinching pennies, tightening our belts, and counting our blessings seem to be recurring themes during these tough economic times. Speaking of blessings - have you ever thought of how fortunate we are to live in Randolph County, the geographic center of North Carolina and our one-of-a-kind attractions to meet anyone's needs of retreat?

Three years ago I became more knowledgeable of ‘Things to Do' in Randolph County upon joining the Heart of North Carolina Visitors Bureau staff. The Heart of NC Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for Randolph County Tourism Development Authority, representing Archdale, Asheboro, Franklinville, Liberty, Ramseur, Randleman, Seagrove, Staley, and Trinity. Our organization's primary mission is to increase travel spending through external marketing that positions the county as a family-friendly, affordable, and strategically located visitor destination with a budget that is based solely on the collection of a special occupancy tax collected from hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast inns in Randolph County.

Now that I have the political aspects of tourism behind me, let me share the exciting adventures you can have in your own backyard! Ideas of fun and relaxation can be vast, but we are sure to satisfy both.

Live concerts, lectures, comedians, classic movies, theatre productions, and other special performances can be experienced at the historic Sunset Theatre or the historic Liberty Showcase. Bicentennial Park in Downtown Asheboro offers outdoor concerts during the warmer seasons. Circa Gallery, the NC Pottery Center, and W.H. Moring, Jr Art Center, bring art alive with exhibits from local and regional artists. Explore outdoor art exhibits while strolling through the Downtown Asheboro Sculpture exhibit and don't miss the newly renovated mural!

For the history buffs out there, the Randolph County Landmark Preservation Commission has a running start on designating several areas of Randolph County as historic landmarks. The "Mother of the Southern Baptist Churches" is Sandy Creek Primitive Baptist Church serving as the oldest organized church in the county. One of the antebellum era houses left in the Old Trinity College (now Duke University) area is known as the Trinity Museum-Winslow House. The Historic Randolph County Courthouse that originally opened in 1909 has been renovated and currently houses the Heart of NC Visitors Bureau and Randolph County Economic Development Corporation. A complete list of historic landmarks can be found at RCHLPC.org.

Along with the North Carolina Zoo, Randolph County boasts several museums and attractions that are affordable and enjoyable for everyone. The NC Aviation Museum features impressive war birds, uniforms, military vehicles, and the "Flitfire" flown by Orville Wright. Rare John Deere tractors and limited edition collectibles can be found at the John Deere Vintage Tractor Museum. Motorcycle enthusiasts shouldn't miss the American Classic Motorcycle Museum housing one of the largest private collections of Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the country. Visitors are always proud to acknowledge the historical importance of Richard Petty's contributions to NASCAR with a visit to the Richard Petty Museum in Randleman which showcases ‘The King's' career along with his numerous awards. More than 200 years ago a tradition started that still allows local artists creativity to thrive in Seagrove with nearly 100 pottery shops and galleries located throughout the area.

Want to play outdoors within the 790 square miles of Randolph County? Horseback rides on trails at Routh Horse Ranch are popular; or zip through the forest at the base of Purgatory Mountain with Richland Creek Zip Line Canopy Tour. Photograph scenic beauty at one of NC's two remaining covered bridges, the Pisgah Covered Bridge. Hike the same lands of early Indians and settlers along pathways of the Uwharrie Mountains in the Birkhead Wilderness area. "Eat back to the basics" in seasonal fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, plants and wines available at Goat Lady Dairy, Millstone Creek Orchards, Rising Meadow Farm, Seagrove Orchids, Toms Creek Farm & Nursery, Whitaker Farms, and Zimmerman Vineyards

If you are more of the observing sports fan you can experience a NASCAR weekly racing series at Caraway Speedway, a dirt track race at Liberty Raceway Park, and even motor cross competition at Zoo City Motor Sports Park. Every summer you can see wooden bat baseball at McCrary Park showcasing collegiate all-stars from across the country in the Coastal Plain League with the Asheboro Copperheads.

Still wondering "What's Going On?!" in Randolph County? Contact our office directly by calling 336-626-0364; visit our official Web site at www.HeartofNorthCarolina.com for a free downloadable visitors guide; or, better yet, visit us at the Historic Randolph County Courthouse, 145-B Worth Street, in downtown Asheboro.

-Amber Williams | Tourism Coordinator | Heart of NC Visitors Bureau

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