Duplin County is in the heart of eastern North Carolina and is revered as being at the center of the state’s coastal wine region, just a short drive from Interstate 95 with easy access from Interstate 40, in southeastern North Carolina. Many combine this beautiful area with a trip to the North Carolina beaches, enjoying all the region has to offer. The county invites folks to unplug, uncork and unwind and they have the perfect spot to do just that.
In the heart of Duplin are classic small towns featuring locally owned boutiques, specialty shops and a hefty dose of Southern hospitality as well as finger-lickable eastern North Carolina barbecue. And it’s located roughly an hour’s drive from some of the top-rated beaches on the east coast such as Wrightsville, Emerald Isle and Topsail Island. It’s a combination that makes this an excellent destination for wine and more.
From small batch creations to the largest wine producer in the South, Duplin County wineries produce many wine varietals – from dry reds to sweet dessert wines as well as numerous award-winning muscadine wines that the area is predominantly known for and are so special. Duplin Winery, the largest winery in the south, produces 450,000 cases of muscadine wine and welcomes more than 150,000 visitors annually for tastings and dining. Tastings and unique dining experiences can also be enjoyed at The Country Squire Restaurant & Winery and the Tipsy Bee, each with their own twist on the rich culture and heritage of this region and its bounty.
There are some amazing dining options to explore. Regional specialties can be found in a variety of restaurants, cafes and long-established neighborhood “joints,” and are a highlight of any visit. The attire may be casual, but these folks are pretty darned particular about their local fare.
Historic sites offer engaging looks into the history and culture of the region and championship golf courses add a challenge for sportsmen. And as if that isn’t enough, Duplin County is home to the World’s Largest Frying Pan!
Spring and fall visitors will find festivals celebrating wine, heritage and the fruits of the harvest. Spring brings events highlighting local restaurants, wineries and more. In the fall, heritage and harvest take center stage and our armed forces are celebrated in one of the longest-running Veteran’s Day parades in the nation.
A visit to Duplin County is the perfect way to unplug and unwind, whether you want to immerse yourself in the area’s rich agricultural and culinary stories or just enjoy the resulting creations. Lodging options include unique local venues as well as nationally branded hotels.
Fast Facts and Trivia
The town of Rose Hill is home of the ͞World’s Largest Frying Pan, 15 feet in diameter, weight two tons and can cook 365 chickens at one time.
Duplin county is the filming location for some well-known Hollywood movies: Nicholas Sparks’ “The Longest Ride,” “Iron Man 3” and “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.”
Duplin Winery in Rose Hill is the oldest and largest winery in the South. The wine is made with a 200 year-old recipe using native Muscadine scuppernong grapes, the only grape native to North Carolina and the United States.
The town of Kenansville is the home of Liberty Hall Plantation, the ancestral home of the Kenan family. It is said to be the finest restored Southern plantation home in the state. Built in the early 19th century, tours of the main house and 12 support buildings are available. In 1901, the home was the site of the wedding of Mary Lily Kenan and Henry M. Flagler and was said to be the largest wedding in the state. Flagler and John D. Rockefeller were co-founders of Standard Oil Co. Kenansville is also home to the Kenan Memorial Amphitheater and Auditorium, Cowan Museum and the historic Kenansville Spring. There are 16 structures in the Kenansville National Register Historic District.
Duplin County has four National Register Historic Districts: Kenansville; Wallace business district; Warsaw business district and Hill Street; Faison business district and residential areas. There are seven individual structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Grove Presbyterian Church in Kenansville is the oldest Presbyterian congregation in the state, founded in 1736.
The town of Faison is the birthplace of North Carolina’s first Astronaut, Dr. William Thornton, and birthplace of Brigadier General Samson L. Faison, a leader in breaking the infamous Hindenburg Line during World War I.
President James K. Polk had breakfast in Duplin County; his train made a stop at Mrs. Teachey’s Boarding House in Teachey in 1849.
In the early 1900s, a paddlewheel riverboat named The Duplin, steamed along the Northeast Cape Fear River hauling tar, pitch, rosin and turpentine from the dock at Chinquapin to the port at Wilmington.
In the 1890s, Caleb Davis Bradham, a pharmacist in New Bern, created a new beverage first called Brad’s Drink. It was later renamed Pepsi Cola. Mr. Bradham, who started what is now a multi-billion dollar international business, was born and raised in the community of Chinquapin.
During the Civil War, a Confederate Arms Factory was built and operated in Kenansville by Louis Froelich a German immigrant. It produced swords, sabers, Bowie knives, knapsacks, buttons and other items until it was destroyed by Federal troops on July 4, 1863.
The town of Warsaw is home of the oldest, continuous Veterans Day Celebration in the nation, first organized in 1921.
From the 1920s through the 1940s, more strawberries were sold in Wallace than any place else in the world. The local radio station’s call letters, WLSE, stand for ͞World’s Largest Strawberry Exchange.
In 1937, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt made a visit to the Wallace Strawberry Festival.