The truth is that you can find almost anything that’s really good to eat right in Duplin County. A date night location, or a place for celebrating special occasions? Duplin County has these venues! If you haven’t yet sampled much of this rich variety, I suggest you start exploring and enjoying!
UNC-TV’s “North Carolina Weekend” cameramen have recently joined me in producing reviews of Rose Hill Restaurant, and both The Mad Boar and Sensation Farmhouse Restaurant in Wallace. (These segments will begin airing in late October.)
An increasing number of visitors passing through Duplin County each year can find an agreeable meal no further than a mile or two off the Interstate. And for Duplin’s lifelong residents, they also have plenty of places for a quick, delicious bite as they travel their ordinary paths, carry out their business dealings and grab a convenient meal on workdays.
For example, hungry persons anywhere near Shawn’s Restaurant in Wallace will want to start a great day with one of “Ms. Dorothy’s” legendary breakfasts. Shawn’s serves practically every breakfast meat on the planet, with or without eggs, and not simply varieties of sausage, bacon, and ham, either. I mean smoked sausage, corned beef, steak, salmon, liver pudding and even pork brains. Shawn’s breakfast patrons will all remember both the wonderful hash browns and onions and the oversize pancakes, as I sure did!
Right after Shawn’s breakfast rush dwindles, the awesome country lunch buffet is set out Tuesdays through Fridays until the place closes at 2:00 pm. (Saturday is breakfast only until 11 am.) I’m heading back soon to bury my face in the steak and gravy, barbecued chicken greens and more I’ve heard so much about.
Mik’s, also in Wallace, is an outstanding restaurant packaged as a sports bar. Too many people think mostly of large TV screens, wings and pub munchies. But Mik’s has a menu with depth and imagination, and the prices are really reasonable. The place features hickory smokers, producing pulled pork barbecue, rib, brisket, turkey, chicken breast and smoked salmon entrée plates.
I fondly remember my turkey nacho plate, with diced tomatoes, roasted red peppers, onions, “beer cheese,” bacon bits and perfectly pan-steamed broccoli. The turkey is listed “when available.” It’s hickory-smoked, sliced fairly thin and then chopped up more finely in the nachos. ‘Never had anything like it in my travels, honestly… fantastic.
Platters, sandwiches, and appetizers featuring fish and shellfish are terrific. How often do you find hickory-smoked salmon in a nice, hefty portion as a plate, with sides? Not frequently in my experience. I’m glad I was there on the right day, and Mik’s world-class broccoli and mac ‘n cheese made the day even better.
Mik’s offers an expansive bone-in and boneless wing choices with a dozen sauces; a specialty salad that’s a “cucumber wrap,” and a really strong line-up of hefty burgers. The Champ Burger is crowned with mac and cheese and “boom boom” sauce, which also goes great with any food in the place. A barbecue sandwich, smoked salmon tacos and a Cuban sandwich – featuring smoked pork and melted pepper jack cheese – are all hearty and toothsome, as well.
The Filling Station in Kenansville is that most unusual of restaurants…the one that dares close on weekends.
Open Monday – Friday from 6 am to 2 pm, the place is loved for biscuits, “best burgers anywhere around,” chicken salad, authentic eastern fish stew (Fridays only), plate lunches and all sorts of home-style desserts. Customers enjoy The Filling Station during their off-work days only if they stop by during regular business hours to pick up an order of chicken salad for Saturday or Sunday consumption.
For 37 years, the extended family has operated some version of what’s now called Brock’s Service on mostly rural NC 11-903 on the outskirts of Kenansville. Since 1977, it’s been a gas station, convenience store and auto service center.
It was a natural move for David Brock, with a quirky, inexplicable desire to run a restaurant – to also be opening “The Filling Station Cafe” – located right next door to the original location that was built by his father, Buck. The younger Brock helps run the grocery, including pumping gas, even as he’s currently doubling the size of his restaurant.
He decided long ago that we wanted to see his kids grow up and that five very long days was enough of a work week. He has had a life, and his kids have had their Dad. Good for him. I’m spending a lot more time in Duplin County these days for various reasons, and I’m loving getting reacquainted with the culinary scene. What a pleasure!
“2017 was an incredible year for the Tourism Industry in Duplin County as well as across North Carolina. As we promote Duplin County as a destination and great place to visit, we truly appreciate our hotel, restaurant, and attraction partners as well as small businesses that all work together to create the great visitor experiences and results. We look forward to another strong year of growth ahead.” states Amanda Justice, Director of Duplin County Tourism.
The travel and tourism industry directly employees more than 400 in Duplin County.
Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Duplin County was $5.15 million.
State tax revenue generated in Duplin County totaled $2.45 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. About $1.38 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses.
“North Carolina is a welcoming state and destination for travelers from across the world, and tourism continues to help drive economic development statewide,” said Secretary Copeland. “Tourism creates jobs and increases state and local tax revenues, growing North Carolina’s economy across all 100 counties.”
These statistics are from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2017,” which can be accessed at partners.visitnc.com/economic-impact-studies. The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by the U.S. Travel Association.
Visit NC Executive Director Wit Tuttell added: “The continued growth in visitor spending is great for communities across our entire state. North Carolina’s continued position as the sixth most-visited state in the nation with more than 46 million visitors in 2017 reinforces its status as a premier tourism destination.”
Statewide highlights include:
State tax receipts as a result of visitor spending rose 4.2 percent to nearly $1.2 billion in 2017.
Local tax revenues directly resulting from visitor spending totaled $738.6 million.
The travel and tourism industry directly employees more than 225,700 North Carolinians.
CONTACT: MEDIA CONTACTS:
Amanda Justice, Executive Director of Duplin County Tourism
1. IT’S FREE!
Whoever said the best things in life are free might’ve been talking about the Carolina Strawberry Festival taking place on May 11th and 12th in Wallace. This year’s festival promises to be a jam-packed weekend with outstanding music, entertainment, kids activities, and some great tasting food.
The Carolina Strawberry Festival is organized by a proud group of community leaders in the Town of Wallace. The festival kicks off on Friday, May 11th from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and continues on Saturday, May 12th from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The festival is a rain or shine event.
If you’ve never visited, Wallace is located just 40 minutes from Wilmington, Jacksonville, Clinton, and Goldsboro, and is as quaint as a postcard with a charming restored historic downtown district.
2. GREAT MUSIC
The excitement begins Friday night with the Strawberry Jam! The Band of Oz, a regional band that’s been dominating the beach music scene for 30 years, will be the big attraction. The Johnson Boys open the show at 6 p.m. followed by The Band of Oz at 7:30 p.m. You’ll want to bring your lawn chair so you’ll be comfortable all evening long. The Festival’s Beer and Wine Garden will be open all evening.
To round out the Festival, the band All My Rowdy Friends, a premier Hank Williams Jr. tribute band, and Chocolate Chip & Company from Myrtle Beach will take over the stage on Saturday night!
3. 5K RUN & 1K FUN RUN
Saturday, May 12, kicks off at 8 a.m. with the Carolina Strawberry Festival 5K Run and a 1K Fun Run/Walk for Stroke Awareness. The race is co-sponsored by Vidant Duplin Hospital. Runners should gather at the Wallace Train Depot, 206 SE Railroad Street for the start of the race. For more information on the races, please call Curt Simpson at 910-290-2194.
4. LITTLE MISS STRAWBERRY PAGEANT
Festival-goers will have a blast with amusement park rides, two cook-offs (one for strawberry recipes and one for BBQ), craft vendors, a Beer & Wine Garden, food tents, a classic car show, and of course the weekend wouldn’t be complete without the Miss Strawberry Pageant where little girls from Duplin County up to 8 years old participate.
5. THE WALLACE DEPOT MODEL TRAIN
The Thomas Edgerton Model Train Room in the Wallace Depot will be open as a special treat for kids of all ages on Saturday. The new interactive exhibit will be up and running for visitors. Bring your crew to the front of the Depot — through the entrance on Boney Street. Local history and train enthusiasts will be on hand to answer questions.
A great selection of food vendors will be there so everyone can taste all the flavors! Enjoy Strawberry Shortcake, Strawberry Ice Cream, Deep Fried Berries, and fresh-picked strawberries for sale from Cottle Farms.
We hope you plan to cut loose and enjoy everything planned at this year’s Carolina Strawberry Festival.
Join us for one day of awesome bluegrass music outdoors in Kenansville, NC at the Duplin County Events Center on Saturday, March 24th from 11AM to 7PM.
The Blue, Brew, & Que Festival will feature some of the best Bluegrass Music, NC Craft Breweries, and Bar-B-Que around. Be sure to bring your lawn chairs and have your ID to receive your commemorative glass.
Enjoy the sounds of Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Band, The Malpass Brothers, VW Boys, Lonesome River Band and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. We’ve got some great North Carolina breweries and our Duplin County wineries participating that you won’t want to miss!
Get an early bird discount! Purchase your tickets in advance. We love our military members – check out the special ticket price!
The Country Squire Restaurant, Winery & Vintage Inn, in Warsaw, is ripe with Eastern North Carolina history. The original part of the building was constructed in the 1700’s and is home to the oldest wine tasting room in the state. While being known for their great food and award-winning wines, many visitors over the years have claimed of having “ghostly” encounters while dining at the restaurant. Frequent sightings of shadowy figures, strange noises and other phenomena have become part of its legend.
The Country Squire’s owner, Iris Lennon, notes that there is a “wee little girl” that makes her presence known every now and then. Whether roaming the “Baronial Hall” which is the oldest part of the building or lingering in the “Jesters Court”, the folks at The Country Squire welcome the friendly spirits that make The Country Squire their home.
The Country Squire Restaurant is the perfect place to bring the family for a tasty meal. Enjoy a surf and turf dinner or their infamous Korean beef appetizer along with salads and sandwiches for lunch. Before you leave, be sure to stop in the Tartan Tasting Room and gift shop. In addition to their wines, check out their specialty food products and amazing gifts. Our favorites are the chunky monkey butter and the dilly beans in addition to their jams, jellies, and hot sauces.
The Fall season is almost here! It’s a perfect time to plan a North Carolina beach getaway! It’s also harvest season and a great time to enjoy the excitement in North Carolina’s coastal wine country. Just an hour away from the beach, you will find some amazing wineries throughout the beautiful coastal plains region.
After you soak in the sun and the salt air, head inland and visit Duplin County to experience one of the ripest regions for wine lovers on the East Coast. If you are visiting during the last weekend of September, don’t miss the North Carolina Muscadine Festival taking place in Kenansville, on September 28th and 29th. Enjoy tastings from over 35 wineries throughout the state as well as local food vendors. Festival-goers always have a toe-tappin’ good time with live bands performing on the main stage throughout the weekend.
Duplin County is home to the largest winery in the South, Duplin Winery. If you are visiting the first weekend of September, don’t miss their 42nd annual Grape Stomp, taking place on Saturday, September 8th. Festival-goers get a chance to stomp grapes with their bare feet and the best ones will have an opportunity to participate in a stomp off for a Duplin prize! Throughout the afternoon, there will be special vineyard and production facility tours, as well as exclusive wine tastings. The exclusive tastings book up fast, so make your plans soon!
Enjoy more agritourism and wine by visiting The Tipsy Bee. Learn how small batch wine is made and about the muscadine grapes that you will see grow abundantly in our area. Lunch or dinner at the Country Squire Restaurant & Winery is both an experience in local history as well as a surprise and a culinary delight. Guests have come back time and time again, for over 50 years. In keeping with this tradition of excellence, The Country Squire also has its own winery located in the 18th Century portion of the restaurant. The local owners hail from Scotland, and a certain Scottish flair can be found throughout the restaurant in the decor as well as the winery itself. Visitors also enjoy their Tartan Tasting Room & Gift Shop, open to visitors from Tuesday to Saturday (and by special appointment.)
One of the best ways to enjoy being in Duplin County is to book one of our Escape Packages. The Wine & Dine package is one of the most popular. You can even book a package and stay right on site at the Country Squire at their Vintage Inn! Check out the map to see our location. For more information, please feel free to contact us, or click one of the buttons below.
While you are at the North Carolina Coast, don’t miss many of the additional amazing destinations. Visit Topsail Island and stop in Surf City to see North Carolina’s 2nd most visited attraction, the Sea Turtle Rescue, or do some shopping in Historic Downtown Swansboro. From either direction, Duplin County is just a little over an hour drive, so come and uncork, unplug and unwind with us!
Beulaville is a quaint small town located in the heart of Eastern North Carolina farm country. The southern charm found there is plain as day but can be easily missed on a drive through the country on the way to the beach. Most of our visitors come to “uncork, unwind, and unplug” with their friends and family at our famous Duplin County wineries. But did you know that we have some hidden treasures that can be found a little further off the beaten track? We would love to have you meet some more of our locals that are known to tell some great stories that bring our history and rural roots alive in Eastern North Carolina.
Stop by and visit with Benny & Annette at Tarkil Branch Farm’s Homestead Museum. They have a 375-acre working farm that has been in their family since 1912 and has 32 exhibits featuring more than 850 items that bring out the sights, sounds, feel and even the smell, of bygone days on the farm. You’ll find feed sack dresses, antique quilts, and a foot pedal sewing machine. The chicken house exhibit hall displays the near-forgotten art of gathering turpentine. Learn about forging steel and making useful household items in Benny’s barn. Hours are 9-5 on Saturdays and by appointment Tuesday through Fridays.
It’s hard to miss the aroma of freshly baked bread coming out of the oven at The Country Barn. Located just down the road from Tarkil Branch, it’s a perfect place to stop and capture more of life in Beulaville with that “old-time” country store feeling. Muffins, cookies as well as sourdough and cinnamon swirl breads emerge from the oven daily. They also sell home-made butter, cheese, ice cream, candy, flavorings, bulk flour, grains, sugars, and spices.
Farm to table freshness is the cornerstone of The Tipsy Bee. The small batch muscadine wines are appreciated by sweet wine lovers, and they also produce local products such as bbq sauces, honey, and baked sweets. While visiting one of their three locations, you might meet Christian, an expert baker, and savvy Duplin County local business owner. She enjoys concocting a variety of cupcake flavors made with farm-fresh eggs, so mouth-watering, light, fluffy and fresh – one is simply not enough. Lunch is served at the Beulaville location, so come with an appetite!
National Travel & Tourism Week takes place from May 7th – 13th and is an annual tradition for the U.S. travel community. It’s a time when travel and tourism professionals across the country unite to celebrate the unique value travel holds for our economy.
Travel is a universal language. It brings people together. Visitors that make their way to Duplin County come for a whole variety of reasons. It could be for a trip visiting family and enjoying our wineries to staying with us on business . Some people enjoy stopping through on the way to the beach and attending our festivals. Others enjoy shopping in our quaint and unique small towns and dining in our restaurants.
Our visitors enjoy Duplin County’s unique brand of hospitality. Whether it’s being greeted by the front desk attendant at one of our hotels, meeting a tour guide or tasting room attendant at one of our wineries or learning about our history from a museum docent, our people and our commitment to a warm welcome are what make Duplin County a great place to visit and that spirit is what keeps our industry and local economy strong.
According to the U.S. Travel Association, travel supports 1 in 9 jobs, is a Top 10 employer and provides 2.3 trillion dollars in economic output. Essentially, travel and hospitality is the front door to economic opportunity.
So when you are out in our community this week at our restaurants, wineries and local small businesses – celebrate the folks that are the Faces of Travel in Duplin County and say “thank you.” They truly deserve it!
For more information about things to do in Duplin County, please contact our staff at our local destination marketing organization, The Duplin County Tourism Development Authority, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 910.296.2181.
A Taste of Duplin & More is coming up this Spring and the excitement in the air! This 3rd Annual event is taking place on Friday, 4/28 and celebrates all that Duplin County is, bringing together the talent of our local restaurants, small businesses, community attractions and festivals. It’s all about who we are and what we have to share with the local community and our visitors. Get your advance tickets online here!
Food and wine is at the heart of the event and all attendees enjoy a variety of tastings of wine as well as dishes made by our local talented chefs as they mix and mingle with friends and family. Amongst the numerous contest categories such as Best Appetizer, Best Dessert and Hometown Favorite, is the coveted People’s Choice Award. While you are tasting, be sure to cast your votes of your favorite dishes and make your voice heard.
One stop shopping is a sheer delight, as local boutiques, farms, artisans, and creative entrepreneurs showcase their wares in vendor booths giving everyone a chance to connect and support local businesses in Duplin County.
History is rich in Eastern North Carolina and in Duplin County. Here is your chance to chat with our local historians and preservationists who make it their business to be the experts. Do you have a question about how things were or about pastimes in Duplin County? Here is your chance to learn and know more.
We look forward to seeing you at A Taste of Duplin & More being held at the Duplin County Events Center in Kenansville. Tickets are available at the door and online. Children are welcome and attend free!
A Taste of Duplin & More is a Duplin County Tourism event. For information about being a sponsor or reserving a vendor booth, please contact us at 910.296.2181.
October is right around the corner and The World’s Largest Frying Pan in Rose Hill will be seasoned and ready to go. Celebrate our heritage and the NC Poultry Industry with us on Friday night, 10/7 and Saturday 10/8! Get your fill of fried chicken and enjoy arts & crafts, kids activities, Duplin Winery’s wine and beer garden along with music by The Tams, The Castaways & The Gary Lowder Smokin’ Hot Band.
Faison is one of our treasured small towns in Duplin County. Our proud locals get together each year for their annual Market Day to celebrate their history and heritage. This year, they are honoring their local firefighters and EMT personnel. If you are looking for something to do, why not be a local tourist for a day and check it out!
Beulaville’s Hog Wild Cook Off & Car Show is a great place to bring the family to eat some really good NC BBQ, check out the Car Show and enjoy kids rides, an ice cream eating contest, music and vendors. The festival takes place on Friday night, 10/7 and Saturday 10/8 from 10AM – 3PM at the Civic Center on Main Street.