The Billboard Says It All – Thank You, North Carolina

At the tail end of March, I traveled to Fort Smith, Arkansas for another week of management training. Four days of meetings, guest speakers on topics like health initiatives, conflict resolution, critical thinking and more related to my position as a supervisor in a busy trucking company – ABF Freight. Prior to my arrival in Fort Smith, I hadn’t had much time off vacation wise so I asked the travel department at my company to re-route me to Greensboro, North Carolina on the way back to Providence after my training week was finished. They obliged and Rachel met me in Greensboro on Friday, March 31st. We spent a fantastic 5 days in NC, just returning home yesterday afternoon.

First off, the weather was just what the doctor ordered after another up and down Winter season in the Northeast. Many days climbed well into the 60s and a few into the 70s. Bright sunny skies, some humidity, winds occasionally getting up there, comfortable conditions for late March/early April. Green grass everywhere, flowers beginning to bloom, some trees already in bloom, overall tons of green. Definitely T-shirt weather, some days I wore shorts and a t-shirt with out a thought of bringing a sweatshirt or jacket or vest. Weather is really comfortable this time of year for outdoor activities such as…

Come on, you didn’t think I would go to North Carolina and not visit the huge roster of minor league baseball parks did you? Rachel and I stopped in to First National Bank Field, home of the Greensboro Grasshoppers and I took a quick tour around the complex. No games scheduled, so the gates and entrances were closed. No worries, got a few views of the field from the main gate area and in right field. The Durham Bulls Athletic Complex was a bit more accessible for viewing, even though there were no games scheduled. The Bulls had just wrapped up a homestand against the Norfolk Tides. Rachel and I got to check out the souvenir shop and the surrounding area of the ballpark. There were a number of cool landmarks and plaques I snapped photos of:

Rachel and I found a number of cool bars and restaurants and sampled some local food and drinks. The Bourbon Bowl in Greensboro, MaGerks in Elon, and Carolina’s Diner in Greensboro were just a few places we sat and ate and mixed it up with the locals. Sweet Old Bills (SOB’s), High Point, was one that really stood out. It had a southern menu, great beers on tap, and the Brown Truck Brewery as its neighbor. Outside of SOB’s, there was a musician playing on a stage next to the brewery and with the sun shining brightly, I stood and listened for a while. Just being outside, listening to music, that was a really cool experience there at SOB’s.

There were a number of city parks in and around the Greensboro area that we visited. Country Park and Bur-Mil Park had scenic walkways, fishing areas, trail and paved bikeways, and plenty of open recreation spaces for frisbee throwing, football tossing, and so much more. Lake Brandt was definitely worth the drive, despite us getting lost several times on the way to it. It was great getting in a few walks at these parks as part of our trip.

This dog park and brew pub caught our eye as we were leaving the Downtown Greensboro area. Doggos Dog Park and Pub – bring your pup, have a brew, have a hot dog or an appetizer, have an afternoon with your pet. Friendly staff, tons of dogs mingling, cool mural – definitely had to stop into to check this place out!

This place here, I have no idea what to say other than I had to turn around and take a few photos of it. Located on the corner of Shady Grove Church Rd and US HWY 64, is a store, a museum, I have no idea what it is other than one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Rows and rows of gas station memorabilia, old “junk” cars, Route 66 stuff. It was random, it was unique, it was a must stop situation for me.

And fitting, on the billboard just past my viewing eye of the vintage gas station stuff, “Thank You, North Carolina.” Yes, from Rachel and myself, Thank You North Carolina businesses, restaurants, bars, waitresses, shop owners, and local folk for giving us a great few days of vacation. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to be back in Rhode Island to be back with family and my two dogs, Rookie and Nora. I’m just saying North Carolina is a fantastic place to visit and immerse yourself in some really awesome southern hospitality, great baseball parks, incredible food and fun, and amazing early Spring weather. Absolutely planning on going back down there in the near future…

Baseball Parks, Fields, and Complexes TRAVEL

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The RIBBE is The Rhode Island Baseball Experience. It is promoting the game of baseball here in the great state of Rhode Island for the entire baseball world to see. The RIBBE is positive stories, photos, videos, and responsible social media posts. The RIBBE is an information resource for families looking for an AAU team or a summer camp or a great place to buy a first baseman’s mitt. The RIBBE is a network of coaches, tournament directors, parents, leagues, and baseball junkies whose passion of the game of baseball is unquestioned. I believe that providing expert analysis, information and directions to ballfields, and coaching advice from some of the top RI baseball minds will help promote the game of baseball here in RI to a whole new level.

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