Tired of being cooped up and unable to travel, we planned a luxurious day trip from Raleigh to Wilson, North Carolina.
Wilson is currently known for it’s whirligigs so it was pretty easy to lure friends with kids as well as another couple along with us. We had a fantastic trip, but having done it, there are a couple things I’d do slightly differently so I’m going to share what I would do and what you should do rather than what we actually did.
A day of luxury in Wilson, NC
Grab a travel mug of coffee, a pile of cash, and some sunscreen, and drive 50 minutes to Flo’s Kitchen.
1015 Goldsboro St S, Wilson, NC 27893
When you get to within a block of the restaurant on the main road and see a traffic jam, don’t be tempted to go around it. Stay in the right lane as it’s actually just the drive-through line extending onto the main street. Don’t worry, the line moves way more quickly than at Chick-fil-A. Pick up the best biscuit you’ve had in your life. Flo’s has quite a few items on their menu, but just get a cheese biscuit with maybe one other topping. The hoop cheese they use is so delicious that you really won’t be able to appreciate any other toppings but if you must get bacon/egg/sausage, go for it.
Your next stop is only a three more minutes down the road so you won’t have to wait too long to dig into your biscuit and stretch out your legs.
301 Goldsboro St S, Wilson, NC 27893
Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park is just good fun. It’s a big wide open park with lots to look at so it’s great for social distancing entertainment. The whirligigs are numerous, large, and impressive. However, if whirligigs aren’t your thing, there is also grass to run around on and walls to climb on.
217 South St S, Wilson, NC 27893
Beside the park is 217 Brew Works, a brewery that was not open when we went during covid-19, but would be a good place to hang out for a bit with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.
We did wander around town and got to see several murals, trains, construction, beautiful old and empty buildings, some hidden alleys, and some random small town shops. So if you’re into that kind of thing, definitely spend 30 minutes exploring before getting back into your car.
Your next stop is the Freeman Round House, a 3 minute drive away (or 21 minute walk if you’re feeling energetic).
1202 Hines St SE, Wilson, NC 27893
A literal round house made of rocks was enough to get me there just to take a look. But we were surprised by the friendly man that opened the door and invited us into the small structure. As far as museums to go to during covid times, this seemed pretty good since we were the only ones there. Air circulation could have been better but that’s not a big deal if you wear a mask. And let me tell you, it’s a worthwhile visit. The docent told us all about the guy that built the house (he had pet bears), why he built it (for a returning GI), several other things he had built (a dinosaur on the front lawn), and a few fun facts about Wilson history, and especially the African-American history in Wilson. There’s also a second building that we didn’t have time to visit but I’m guessing between the two buildings, you could spend up to an hour (we sadly only had about 10 minutes).
If you’re ready to eat at this point, find your car and hop back in for a 6 minute drive to Dick’s Hot Dog Stand.
1500 Nash St N, Wilson, NC 27893
This is a stop that we missed on our trip so I can’t personally guarantee that it’s amazing. But they’ve been serving hot dogs since 1921, so I’m pretty confident in assuming it’s amazing. Hot dog stand is a bit of a misnomer because it’s actually a huge restaurant with tons of tables, but I believe they’re currently takeout only.
If you’re not ready for a nap yet, drive 8 minutes over to Wilson Botanical Gardens for a little nature.
1806 Goldsboro St S, Wilson, NC 27893
They have a bird garden, a pond, a secret garden, a medicinal and culinary herb garden, a native plant garden, and so much more to see.
If you’re not ready for a nap yet, you will be by the time you get home. Drive 46 minutes.
- Driving: 2 hours
- Walking: 0.5 hours
- Eating: cheese biscuits, craft beer, hot dogs
- Experiencing and exploring: so many whirligigs, small town North Carolina, a small town museum, a botanical garden
What do you think?! Let me know if you give it a try.