Anything worth stopping for on a drive from Brooklyn to Emerald Isle?
November 10, 2013 7:38 AM   Subscribe

Driving from Brooklyn, NY to Emerald Isle, NC — via the NJ Turnpike, Delaware 1 and US-13, and Route 17 past Norfolk VA into NC. Anything truly worth checking out along the way, or taking a reasonable detour for?

THIS is more or less the route we're planning to take.
We'd be interested in hearing about things like good bookstores, amazing food, quirky Americana & freakishly quaint little towns, nature looking all super-nature-y, outstanding flea markets, and anything other stops that y'all think is really worth making on our mini road trip.
(And, for what it's worth, we'll be traveling down on November 23, and back up on December 1.)
posted by D.Billy to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
*Sorry, stops that are worth making. :)
posted by D.Billy at 7:40 AM on November 10, 2013


I always stop at Elmer's Market on my way to and from the beach in the summer.

You will be crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, which is pretty cool, and so long that there is a gift shop/cafeteria/bathroom break halfway across! In the middle of the bridge!

In Norfolk, I would stop at Norfolk Coffee and Tea. It is in a not-so-great part of town, but they roast some awesome coffee and use all the old machinery to do so. It's fun to watch, chat with the owner, and get some awesome coffee.

Washington, NC and Bath, NC have cool historic districts, although I have never been to either personally.

New Bern, North Carolina is quaint and historical - you could visit the historic district, where the "Birthplace of Pepsi" is located. Or go whole hog and visit Tryon Palace, former governor's mansion and current filming location of the series Sleepy Hollow.

Lots of good restaurants in the New Bern area too. It's not downtown, but I love Famous Subs and Pizza - they will give you a vat of hummus that is amazing. On the fancier side of things, Persimmons is on the water and uses a lot of local and organic ingredients in their amazingly yummy dishes.

Clearly, I live in this area. Let me know if you need any other recommendations!
posted by chainsofreedom at 8:00 AM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reptile and I took a very similar route a few years back; I'm on my phone so I can't see if our routes are exactly the same, and we stopped overnight in Delaware, but the Dogfish Head brewery/pub was excellent, as was Capt Bob's for a Carolina buffet. Here's our question and some good answers. Have a great trip! Get some bbq from a shack.
posted by cobaltnine at 8:50 AM on November 10, 2013


If you stop in Norfolk:

If you are a beer lover stop at The Birch, one of the best beer bars on the East Coast. Cafe Stella if you're in the mood for coffee and food, and if you happen to like comics/graphic novels Local Heroes awesome and right next door. It'll be cold, but Doumar's has been around since 1934 and was built by the inventor of the ice cream cone.
posted by Requiax at 8:53 AM on November 10, 2013


Ham biscuits at Stingray's!
Stingray's is a gas station / fireworks store / fast food place just on the Eastern Shore side of the CBBT. What you MUST get (since you are interested in Americana and food and assuming you eat pork) are the sweet potato biscuits with country ham.

Following up on chainsofreedom's Norfolk Coffee recommendation (and, on preview, seconding Requiax) - that puts you right down the street from Doumar's, which claims invention of the ice cream cone and still makes their own on vintage machines.
posted by Signed Sealed Delivered at 8:54 AM on November 10, 2013


If you want to detour into Wilson, there's Vollis Simpson's giant Whirl-E-Gigs. I remember being driven out to his house by an old friend to see them in their natural habitat. Looking at the website the park probably won't be a thing yet but they might give you directions to his old house if they're still there.

If you want to detour the other way to Kill Devil Hills there's the Wright Brothers Memorial.

I think Bath has the better historical district than Washington from what my 13yo-self remembers. Probably easier to park, walk, see everything, and leave. If you can find them, the Devil's Hoofprints are near to Bath, but when I went in the mid-80's they were just some unmarked holes in the ground.

While in Emerald Isle you'll want to go over to Beaufort to see the boats, the museum, and the old burying ground. Good restaurants there too, like Clawson's. Last time I was there some good local live music was to be found, I think here. There's also Fort Macon and the aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Ocracoke Island is a pretty nice place to go if you haven't filled up on sea, beach, and boats.

If you're travelling the usual way from Washington to Emerald Isle, there's a notorious speed-trap as you approach Maysville.
posted by K.P. at 8:56 AM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Have just been told about the whirl-e-gigs in Wilson Not much in the park at the moment, one big whirligig and 4 small ones. A couple blocks away is the conservation center, which is really more interesting than the park at the moment. There are other unrestored ones around downtown, also.. So may or may not be worth the detour?
posted by K.P. at 9:02 AM on November 10, 2013


The Flying Fish Brewing Company is pretty close to NJ Turnpike Exit 4. They have a tasting room and tours.
posted by gudrun at 10:24 AM on November 10, 2013


The restaurant on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is actually pretty good, and they are very proud of the local beers they serve. There is something oddly entertaining about eating dinner in the middle of a bridge, and you'll need a break after the overwhelming boring-ness of Rte 17.
posted by Ruki at 11:40 AM on November 10, 2013


We had a nice driving break a few years ago at Dismal Swamp State Park on 17 shortly after you enter NC from VA. We just walked around the nature center and the trails for a couple of hours, but they have canoe rental if you want to paddle up the old canal. Their displays have a nice assortment of human and natural history information.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:06 PM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I realize this has nothing to do with your question, but Emerald Isle features prominently in this recent story by David Sedaris. Sounds like a lovely place.
posted by Triumphant Muzak at 4:58 PM on November 10, 2013




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