As our days were rapidly winding down in Carthage NC we had one more day trip to complete before heading to Raleigh to stay. This last day trip took us a little less than an hour away to the city of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Sharon made us a list of things to see and do in town that were free.
Our first stop was to the Fayetteville Farmers Market where as we had suspected it would still be a little too early in the season with all this cool weather for much availability of fresh produce. It did turn out to be too early in the season but we strolled by the Artisan Booths to see the local offerings. And since the farmer’s market was right next to the free Transportation Museum we took advantage of the situation to pay it a visit. As it turned out it was a small but nice museum located on what was once the Southern Railway Company's largest steam locomotive servicing facility and had opened in 1983. It was filled with interesting artifacts and information not only from the transportation industry but of the Civil War, and Fayetteville history.
Our second stop was as the Airborne and Special Operations Museum where at the entrance was a large impressive statue of Iron Mike honoring Major General Michael D. Healy who served five and a half tours, leading the 5th Special Forces group for almost 20 months, and earning him his first Distinguished Service Medal. The museum itself is well laid out and took us through time with some really cool exhibits and interesting artifacts. Movie times are posted and there is a section where for a fee one can experience in a simulator what it feels like to parachute from a plane. Sharon's fear of heights made her want to pass on that experience. This is a great stop for those interested in learning more about the fine men and women who risk their lives for all of us in protecting our freedoms…
Next up for us was a long hike along the Cape Fear River Trail a nearly four mile, one- way hike and bike trail along the Cape Fear River. Boasting over 700 species of plants and trees, and 150 species of birds the River Trail offers up a pleasant hike to take in what mother nature's offerings in this neck of the woods. While entering the trail we were greeted with several brown thrashers thrashing around leaves. One was even kind enough to stay still for me as I was able to capture it in a picture. This was a rather hilly but very enjoyable hike.
Our final tour stop was at Fort Bragg as civilians are allowed to visit this military base that is home to our nation’s Airborne and Special Operations personnel. Visitors are encouraged to visit and all it took was for us was a quick stop to show the gate guard a valid form of identification and vehicle registration. It was then necessary to open all the doors and trunk to allow them to inspect the car. It took no time at all and the gate guard was friendly and professional. We then followed a driving tour we printed off the internet to tour the base. We also stopped at the 82nd Airborne Division Museum to see some more information and exhibits about our military forces stationed at this base.
A pleasant end to the day was a surprise call from our daughter who wanted to meet us in Fayetteville and buy dinner to honor Sharon for Mother's Day. A great meal with fun conversation was a perfect way to round out the day.
We found that a lot can be seen and experienced for free in the city of Fayetteville NC. Returning back to Carthage we had dinner and began the task of packing up for our journey to our next destination of Raleigh NC which as the next blog will tell didn’t start off so well…