Numerous American communities bear the Marquis de Lafayette’s name. Out of all those places, the great Revolutionary War hero visited only one -- Fayetteville, North Carolina. You should follow his footsteps on the Lafayette Trail. The state’s largest city on Interstate 95 is home to Fort Bragg, the U.S. Army’s most populous base.  If you love Americana, Fayetteville will reward you.

Fayetteville’s major contributions to American history begin in 1775 when Fayetteville citizens signed the Liberty Point Resolves, a declaration of independence that predated the national Declaration of Independence by more than a year.

In 1789, North Carolina was the 12th state to ratify the United States Constitution at a Fayetteville convention. Gen. William T. Sherman marched through Fayetteville in the latter days of the Civil War.

And because of Fort Bragg, Fayetteville has remained at the center of significant historical events.

 

Things To Do In Fayetteville

Buckle your seat belt for a whirlwind tour through Fayetteville, where history, adventure, food, drinks, and shopping are all waiting for you.

Channel a trapeze artist at ZipQuest Waterfall And Treetop Adventure

If you’ve ever envied a trapeze artist, ZipQuest will bring you as close as you’ll come to joining a circus aerial act. Even if you never imagined joining the Flying Wallendas, ziplining is for you. I’ve never been acrobatic, but flying by wire felt great.

The Waterfall Expedition features eight tree-to-tree zip lines, three suspension bridges, three spiral staircases, and an exhilarating view of Carver’s Falls. Before you arrive, fill out the required waiver online.

How To Be Tarzan Instead Of George

Choose snug-fitting gloves. Make sure your harness fits you snugly, but not too snugly. Check your harness after every stage of your journey and ask the guides to readjust if the harness becomes ill-fitting.

To brake, rest your hand on top of the wire behind you, not in front of you. The friction will slow you. Do not grab the wire. The resulting sudden stop is hard on your body and leaves you stranded on the wire. Dropping your legs will also slow you; just don’t neglect to apply friction to the wire. If you forget, you might embrace a tree.

To fly faster, turn into a cannonball or extend your legs into an plank. Don’t copy a washing machine. Spinning slows you down and is more likely to leave you hanging like clothes on a line.

Experience Natural Healing At Cape Fear Botanical Garden

Being in a garden produces peaceful, easy feelings. At Cape Fear Botanical Garden takes peaceful and easy to another plane. To reach the healing plane, simply stroll along the garden paths. Visit the gorgeous camellias in the Mary McLaurin Camellia Garden or rest in the gazebo. To ascend to a higher plane, join the Therapeutic Horticulture program. The program grows food for a local food bank. Fortify yourself for the journey at the Garden View Cafe.

Honoring America’s best:  The U.S. Airborne And Special Operations Museum

The fighting soldiers from the sky have always been my special heroes, and I greatly enjoyed honoring them at The U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum. The lobby holds a rotor hub from the first helicopter shot down in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993. The chewed up blades are a jolting reminder of the sacrifices in the incident known as Black Hawk Down. Two snipers earned the Medal of Honor in the action that cost them their lives. I wanted to weep as I considered what they endured.

After the lobby, exhibits begin with World War II paratroopers and continue to the present day. Pause at the 555th Parachute Infantry exhibit. Black paratroopers jumped into forests to extinguish Japanese balloon bombs, becoming the first military smoke jumpers.

Each fall, walk through the flags on the Field of Honor. Each flag wears a tag naming its honoree and sponsor. Walking through the flags with the fluttering tags at the top is deeply moving. Nearby, a war dog is on Constant Vigilance, his ears pricked up to listen eagerly for danger. Surrounding the dog, pavers list war dogs from around the world. The dog constantly watches over Iron Mike, the 16-foot-tall statue of a paratrooper in front of the museum.

Veterans Park

Raised hands at North Carolina Veterans Park honor those who have sworn to defend us

When service members join the military, they raise their hands and recite an oath. North Carolina Veterans Park commemorates the moment when a civilian becomes military. Raised hands decorate a wall with the oath listed on it. Further hands adorn pillars dedicated to each North Carolina county. In the visitor center, nearly 10,000 dog tags represent North Carolina service members who died for their country from World War II to the present.

Ask about the strange story of Hurricane Matthew and the Missing Man Table.

Experience four hundred years of southern North Carolina history

The Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex includes a museum building, Arsenal Park, and the 1897 E.A. Poe House. No, not that E.A. Poe. Fayetteville’s Poe was a brick manufacturer, not an author. Ironically, his beautiful home is an wooden Eastlake-style house. The bricks provide the foundation. The home’s woodwork is gorgeous.

After the War of 1812, Congress decided to build arsenals, including one in Fayetteville. The Fayetteville facility wasn’t finished until the late 1850s, just in time for the Civil War. The local militia recognized its strategic importance and confiscated it after North Carolina seceded in 1861. Women manufactured 900,000 rounds of ammunition during the war. Sherman’s troops leveled the arsenal. Only the foundation stones remain. A Ghost Tower shows the outline of one of the arsenal’s towers.

Pro Tip: Explore Civil War sites on Fayetteville’s Civil War Trail. The militia that commandeered the arsenal is still an active unit. Visit its museum.

Theater Lives At Cape Fear Regional Theater

Cape Fear Regional Theater offers a live, six-show season. The 2020-21 season includes The Wizard of Oz, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, and The Color Purple.

Get A Breath Of Fresh Air At Cape Fear River Trail

Stretch your legs on the beautiful Cape Fear River Trail. The trail extends 5.5 miles one way and has steep sections. Park at Clark Park Nature Center at the trail’s southern end. Picnic overlooking a waterfall.

Fayetteville’s best restaurants 

Fayetteville offers a large selection and variety of eateries. We enjoyed these options.

Stop and smell the coffee at The Coffee Cup

The Coffee Cup invites guests to come in for a “warm hug in a cup.” Their delicious drinks will warm your heart as well as your throat. The gingersnap chai latte was delectable. Enjoy their yummy vegan pastries from The Humble Bakery. The Raspberry Bliss Bars: heavenly.

Enjoy more than a spot of tea at Winterbloom Tea

Winterbloom Tea is about tailoring the tea experience to the individual customer. Their menu can be overwhelming, but the staff will gladly guide you. Their passion for tea is refreshing. Sample the tea cocktails. My Hemingway tea cocktail was perfect for a travel writer.

Try, try some Fayetteville pie

Stretch your concept of pies at Fayetteville Pie Company. The stereotypical American pie is a sweet pastry dish. Fayetteville Pie offers plenty of sweet pies, but don’t limit yourself. Their tagline promises “savory and sweet pies.” Try their French onion roast beef pie. The menu items rotate seasonally.

Dirtbag Ales is beer heaven

Dirtbag Ales offers a beer-lovers’ paradise. You have to start with their Blood Orange Kolsch, their most popular brew, but don’t stop there. At the onsite Napkins Restaurant, try the Three-Cheese Bacon Burger.

Beer in a (former) hardware store? Huske Hardware House has it

For 115 years, the Huske Hardware House has graced Fayetteville’s downtown. In 1996, it became a restaurant. The shepherd’s pie drips with flavor or pick your cheese and doneness on the filet mignon beef tip hoagie. Pair it with a North Carolina beer.

Enjoy the ultimate farm-to-fork experience at The Mash House

The giant brewing tank outside The Mash House puts guests on notice about the delicious beer inside. But remember the food. The restaurant prioritizes ingredients from local farmers and growers. I adored the hard cider made from North Carolina apples and I devoured the shrimp and grits.

Explore more breweries on the Hometown Hops trail.

Barbecue aficionados will adore Fowler’s

Fowler’s Southern Gourmet is the top of the eastern North Carolina food chain. You’ll never eat a better batch of burnt ends. Come early because they sell out fast.

—. This story  was originally published on Travel Awaits. 

fun things to do in fayetteville

Where To Shop In Fayetteville

Shopping in downtown Fayetteville is pure pleasure. You’ll enjoy browsing the storefronts in the historic buildings and bringing home unique treasures.

Make a wish to build a dream on at Hummingbird Candle Co.

As a candle flickers, it writes your wishes into the air. When you create a custom candle at Hummingbird Candle Co., you write the wish onto the wick. As the wick sends fragrance into the air, your wish goes up. And wishes do come true.

Browse Loved Books At City Center

The enticing smell and feel of old books is sheer joy. Reading them is a bonus. You can cash in that bonus at City Center Gallery and Books.

Start The Antiquing Trail At 123 Hay Street

Window shopping at The Shops at 123 Hay Street is prime. Go inside to enjoy the excellent antique and collectibles selection. The store is one of a dozen shops on the Greater Fayetteville Antiquing Trail.

Roxie Yonkey is the Chief Exploration Officer of RoxieontheRoad. As the blog’s name implies, she loves road tripping on roads less traveled. Sometimes she travels solo and sometimes with her husband Eric. Whether solo or together, they find fun and adventure wherever they travel. Eric and Roxie have two cats, Dalbie and Lola.