Brides have discovered several historic homes, horse farms, and wineries in Johnston County are perfect for their wedding venue. Located just 30 minutes east of Raleigh, the state capital and Raleigh/Durham International Airport, wedding guests will find our destinations easily accessible. Preston Woodall House in Benson, NC is an award winning historic bed and breakfast with a 3,000 sq. foot ballroom and several cottages for guests. The Farm Entertainment Complex and Portofino Horse Barn are two rustic options for brides, along with Hinnant, Gregory and Enoch Wineries for lovely outdoor ceremonies among beautiful vineyards. Find more options on johnstoncountync.org/weddings
Friends and family have discovered you don't have to spend a fortune at resorts to get-a-way for some shopping therapy, chocolates, spas, and some quality time together for a fun weekend. The Girlfriends Getaway in Smithfield offers 15% off hotel room rates, and gift bags filled with deals, coupons, discount admission from the Ava Gardner Museum, chocolates and more savings at the largest outlet center in Eastern North Carolina, Carolina Premium Outlets. Find out more directly on visitsmithfield.org/girlfriends
The Johnston County Beer, Wine, and Shine Trail continues to expand its offerings and, thanks to the NC Legislator, can now offer more spirit than ever before. As of October 2015 Broadslab Distillery can sell tasting room visitors a bottle of their smooth shine. Due to antiquated liquor laws, selling on-site had not been a possibility before. And you'll certainly want to pick-up a bottle! With real wooden barrels, a copper still, and corn growing in the field, Broadslab Distillery crafts an authentic taste from a recipe that is five generations old. Also along the trail are regionally celebrated, craft beer newcomers Deep River Brewing Company and Double Barley Brewing. Using local ingredients like sweet potatoes, watermelons, and corn, both breweries offer a variety of beers and come with high praise. Let's not forget award-winning Hinnant Family Vineyards and picturesque Gregory Vineyards. Both offer vineyard tours and tastings. Better yet, the brand new Beer, Wine, Shine, and Dine Tour opportunity offers ticketed guided tours of the trail at certain times throughout the year. You enjoy all the delicious drinks and they'll drive you around. Cheers! - beerwineshinetrail.com.
Agri-tourism may be a new term for travelers, but Johnston County has celebrated our farming heritage for over 60 years. This history asserts itself anew in the growing number of chef-owned restaurants in the county serving up fresh and local ingredients in delightful dishes. A great example of this is Colleen and Nate Roby from Simple Twist - with two locations in the county. As Colleen puts it, "we have close relationships with farmers in the area that have brought us all kinds of locally grown produce. We only serve Certified Angus Beef, the best kind of beef you can get. We use high quality ingredients to create delicious meals." Dig In! Afterwards, be sure to visit the farmers who grew the food you just ate... like a true foodie. Simple Twist works with Smith's Nursery which offers on-the-farm experiences for most of the year.
Travelers of all ages continue to flock to the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, where the community pays tribute to one of Hollywood’s brightest stars. From humble beginnings in Johnston County to starring in 59 films, Ava is known around the world as one of the most beautiful women ever to work in Hollywood. Last year marked both the 25th anniversary of Ava's death and what would have been Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday. In honor of these occasions the Ava Gardner Museum dedicated their yearly rotating exhibit to highlighting Ava and Frank's passionate and lasting love. The exhibit, which can be viewed through October of 2-16, also includes mementos that represent Ava through the stages of her transcendent life and a memorial to Ava's co-star twice over Omar Sharif, who sadly passed last year.
Downtown Clayton has become a destination for visitors who love the arts. It didn't happen overnight, but we sure are glad it did. We have put together a sample day trip itinerary for you, featuring many of the great things Clayton has to offer.