“Nothing Could Be Finer Than to Shop in Carolina …..”
Between our booth at the Lucketts Spring Market and the many visitors to our Leesburg store over the past few months, we had an urgent need to restock our inventory.
What better reason for a road trip?
Last year we traveled to Kentucky, to take part in the World’s Largest Yard Sale (WLYS). This event is held the first weekend of August along US Route 127 from Alabama to Michigan.
(You can read about our adventure last summer here.)
Rather than wait another month for WLYS, this time we stayed closer to home, heading to North Carolina for the US 301 Endless Yard Sale. This sale is a new addition to this growing practice of communities organizing “linear” yard sales where businesses and residents participate by having yard sales, sidewalk sales and special promotions along a well-travelled thoroughfare. Established in 2013 along US Route 301 in Johnston County, the event was so successful that it expanded this year to cover three other North Carolina counties, Halifax, Wilson, and Harnett.
We based ourselves in Smithfield, North Carolina, the county seat of Johnston County. With a drive time of only 4 1/2 hours from Leesburg, it was much easier to reach than the towns along US Route 127. For those of you who frequent Interstate 95, you might recognize Smithfield as the home of Carolina Prime Outlets and the Ava Gardner Museum. Smithfield can boast more than that, however. There is a host of outdoor recreational activities in the region, a surprisingly vibrant arts scene, civil war history, museums, wineries, and, this being North Carolina, auto racing.
But of course, we were here to shop, and Johnston County did not disappoint. Local businesses and vendors turned out for this year’s sale. There were good selections of all types of furniture, china, glassware and other collectables. We found some wonderful buys, including cute tables, unique vanities and several lovely dressers. We were happy to discover that our shopping would not be limited to vendors only there for the yard sale. There are many antique dealers and flea markets with a permanent, year-round presence as well as some wonderful boutiques and a quaint, old-fashioned drug store.
All this shopping made us hungry, of course. Since we were in North Carolina, we wanted to taste some authentic North Carolina-style barbecue. North Carolina is actually known for two distinct types of barbecue: Eastern style, which uses a vinegar-based sauce on meat from the entire pig, and Lexington style where catsup, vinegar and pepper comprise a sauce that exclusively accompanies pork shoulder meat. The Eastern style predominates in Smithfield.
There were several great barbecue places, but our favorite was Smithfield Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q. Established in 1964, this restaurant has now expanded to 30 locations in North Carolina, but we ate at the original one located right on Route 301 in Smithfield.
Their tangy sauce was a perfect accompaniment to the tender pork meat, paired with creamy coleslaw and potato salad. If barbecue is not your thing, try the fried chicken. The crispy exterior kept the meat moist and juicy, and the hushpuppies were simply outstanding. If you enjoy dessert, save room for the banana pudding. Don’t be put off by the single serve plastic containers. The smooth pudding’s intense banana flavor is the perfect way to end a traditional North Carolina meal. (Plus it’s easy to split a single serving)!
All in all, we enjoyed our trip to the Tar Heel State very much. I will admit I was not sure how this new North Carolina yard sale would stack up, especially against the WLYS, which has been made famous through programs on HGTV, but we found friendly people, a great selection of merchandise and some terrific food.
We are already looking forward to heading back!
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Here are photos of a few of the great items we brought home from North Carolina. Stop by All Things New Again this weekend to see it all! We are open Friday and Saturday 10 am to 5 pm.