what to do on roadtrip from dc to greensboro nc
May 14, 2009 6:46 PM   Subscribe

what to do on a drive to greensboro north carolina from washington dc?

Me and my friend are going to a wedding in Greensboro, NC, and driving there from Washington DC. What should we see along the way, in the area, and in Greensboro itself? We're leaving Friday evening, have to be in Greensboro Saturday evening and also Sunday evening, and then are driving back Monday (and have enough time to stop by places on the way back too). We're interested in doing all sorts of stuff, we had some thoughts about staying in one of those farm-inns. All ideas and suggestions welcome including where to stay.
posted by saraindc to Travel & Transportation around Greensboro, NC (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
A farm-inn, hey? Look no further than the Celebrity Dairy just southeast of G'boro near Siler City. Love that place and not just because my friend Mary is the cheese maker out there.
posted by NoMich at 7:47 PM on May 14, 2009

The area between Richmond and Durham is empty. Having made that drive dozens of times, the only thing you can do to keep yourself entertained is flash truckers.
posted by bensherman at 7:53 PM on May 14, 2009

Petersburg is actually a pretty fascinating place in you are interested in lingering ghosts of the Civil War. Center Hill Mansion is beautiful and cheap to go on a tour. There is a huge stock of Victorian mansions in decay, and the downtown, which was once grand and opulent, has great antique stores crammed with history for sale.
posted by tarantula at 8:09 PM on May 14, 2009

The Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond is a great way to spend a few hours away from the open road.
posted by NoMich at 8:16 PM on May 14, 2009

You can visit me! Head out 66 to 81 south, and when you get to Harrisonburg you can either hang out at Massanutten (it's not just for skiing anymore) or just stop at Dave's Taverna Express for lunch. The best gas station gyros in Dixie, and right off 81!

In Staunton VA you could check out the Frontier Culture Museum, a living history park that has working German, Irish, & colonial farms, and structures from other cultures as well. Pretty cool IMO, and different every time you go.

Somewhere in that area there's a giant teepee you can see from the highway, right at one of the exits. I keep wanting to stop there & see what's what, but we haven't yet.

Keep heading south and stop at Natural Bridge VA. It's a rural area & the bridge is a big draw --- so there's a gift shop & plenty of kitsch.

Next stop: Roanoke! My new home sweet home has a lot to offer the weary traveler. Exit 81 stage left onto 581 south. It goes straight through downtown (freeway though, no stopping or slowing down unless you want to exit) and turns into 220 south, which goes straight to Greensboro. Roanoke has a great downtown market on Saturdays, and if you want to stretch your legs you can take a nice little 1/2-hour walk up Mill Mountain to the star, which has a great view of the city. I can't tell from your post whether it's this weekend you're passing through, but if so this Saturday is the Local Colors festival (this year's featured country: Lithuania!), also downtown.

In between Roanoke and Greensboro are ... some small towns ... and ... mountains. There are mountains pretty much the whole trip south. It's a gorgeous drive all the way down 81, really. I went to Greensboro last weekend for the first time so we haven't ventured off onto the side roads yet. And we didn't go into Greensboro proper, since we were there for a conference at Haw River State Park (great ropes challenge course!).

As for where to stay, I'm partial to couchsurfing, but I'm curious about these farm-inns you mentioned.
posted by headnsouth at 8:22 PM on May 14, 2009

If you have time and prefer to avoid busy interstates, why not take Route 29? It's a straight shot to Greensboro, and you can stop off in Charlottesville along the way. Crozet Pizza would make a great place for a late lunch or early dinner. The rolling hills of the Piedmont are much better scenery than the sprawl of I-95 and emptiness of I-85. As headnsouth notes I-81 has many places to stop off, but the heavy volume of tractor-trailers could be intimidating if you're not used to highway driving.
posted by armage at 10:37 PM on May 14, 2009

And if you take Route 29, ain't nothing better than a quick detour to the Pig 'n Steak in Madison (about 20 minutes north of C'ville) to get your fill of BBQ, fries and NASCAR.
posted by hawkeye at 5:59 AM on May 15, 2009

We always, always, take Route 29 from DC to Charlotte, which takes us right through Greensboro. There are a ton of wineries along the way, though many will be closed on Mondays. Really, though, if you can avoid the hell that is 95/85, you'll have a much better time of it.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:28 AM on May 15, 2009

Don't have any specific spots to recommend, but will suggest trying to get off of I-81 for a bit. Route 11 parallels it in most places and gives you a better, slower, impression of things.

Also, if you have time and a good map, go meandering through the Shenandoah. If you end up in Winchester or Front Royal, you can take Route 7/Toll Road or I-66 back in to D.C.
posted by justcorbly at 7:37 AM on May 15, 2009

It isn't a farm inn, but Greensboro does have a LEED platinum certified hotel - Proximity. It is acutally about as different as you could get from a farm inn, but interesting in its own way.

Greensboro has some nice parks. At the watershed parks you can rent a rowboat and row around a municipal reservoir small lake. The Bicentennial Garden is a nice place to walk around - there's a good amount of shade so it is bearable in the summer. Greensboro is the site of one of the major battles of the American Revolution, and the US Parks Service has a park here commemorating that. Greensboro is named for the Colonial commander in that battle, Nathanael Greene. If the park isn't your thing, you can celebrate Greene's contribution to the founding of our nation here.

If you aren't doing wedding stuff Saturday morning, you could check out The Farmer's Curb Market. There are a lot of different kinds of vendors there. Cheesecakes by Alex is a local favorite, and there are a group of Muslim women who sell tasty Middle Eastern foods.

The local minor league baseball team is fun to watch, if they are in town while you are there. Tickets are cheap, beer is cheap, and the stadium is new and really nice.
posted by jeoc at 10:28 AM on May 15, 2009

hey all. i'm the friend.

thanks for your suggestions! we are hitting the road now and are going to take them with us, and you'll all be in our thoughts, too. =) will keep you posted on our adventures 'down south' (for us, anyway). our innkeeper told us to call her if we were stuck along the way 'so she didn't worry!' too cute; we love it.
posted by xiaolongbao at 8:49 AM on May 16, 2009

thanks again for your input! wedding festivities distracted us, and rain put a damper on things, too. but here's the report as promised:

nomich - we did stop at the celebrity dairy - neat, llamas and goats! and very friendly cats. we did want to support them and purchase some cheese, but unfortunately, they were hosting a dinner party, so were a bit distracted and couldn't break away to sell us anything.

to all that suggested 29 - we took it on the way back, but sadly it was dark, so couldn't enjoy most of it. looked better than 95, though. anyone else thinking of driving it should know that there are quite a few stoplights on 29. wanted to stop at the natural bridge but it was 2 am so we just kept on driving :/

finally, a plug for alex's cheesecake in downtown greensboro. mmm. the nearby sports bar was also serving up some tasty & reasonably priced delights. downtown greensboro is worth a quick walk-around at least.
posted by xiaolongbao at 12:09 AM on May 19, 2009

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