If you’re looking for something absolutely fun & inexpensive to do, check out your local Farmers’ Market. Most states and most big cities have one. I’ve also noticed it’s becoming popular for smaller towns to have their own little “farmers’ markets.” Check out what there is around you.
The most well-known Farmers’ Market here, in the RTP area, is the one in Raleigh on Agriculture St. The sights, sounds, smells, & tastes of this place bring back so many great memories! The fresh, sliced “taste-test” peaches & other fruits they pass out make my mouth water. It reminds me of my home in the summertime: snapping green beans in the kitchen while watching the Twilight Zone, or shucking corn for the 4th of July, and watching my mom stay up really late to can the fresh yummies she got that day. It’s one of the best places around to go in the Fall for some DELICIOUS apples- perfect to bake a cinnamon, apple pie. Or…go there after Thanksgiving, into December, and it is the “spirit of Christmas,” itself- with Christmas trees trucked in straight from local farms and the NC mountains. It’s fantastic! And really, you buy fresh and local. You can buy small amounts or buy in bulk. You absolutely cannot beat the quality and price.
I’ll give you some suggestions of spots you should visit when you go. There are 2, long, main buildings when you first drive up. They’re pretty much one-behind-the-other.
The first open-air building houses your locally grown produce (fruits & veggies), local honey, and beautiful flowering & food-producing plants. This is one of my favorite spots. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s great for people-watching and relaxed strolling. The colors of the fresh produce and plants are great, and you’ll probably have the opportunity to snag a sample cut of a cantaloupe, peach, watermelon, or something else super delicious. Really, though, if you don’t want to purchase anything, leave your wallet at home because it will be HARD not to leave without something in hand.
The second building, behind the first, is pretty much walled-in, but there may be some sections with garage-like doors that are opened up. This area is great, too. It houses a lot of crafty things, home-baked goodies, a great little spice-candy-wine shop down at one end…and best of all, the fresh-squeezed orangeade/limeade. At one end of the 2nd building, this vendor makes the BEST apple turnovers, and you can order fresh-squeezed orangeade and limeades. They’re incredible. And they make it right there in front of your face. There are little tables down the center where you can sit and relax, and I will not deny that there have been times my husband and I have done a little jig to the fun music playing in the background.
If you’re looking for lunch, there is a great seafood spot right next to the 2nd building, and there are a few other little restaurants (a bit of a “nicer”…like Cracker Barrel-type feel) on the grounds. There are lots of options and there is plenty to see. Make sure to check out their website and Facebook page for upcoming events and festivals. These are great…I remember participating in a watermelon eating and seed-spitting contest, or the corn-shucking contest. Really, there’s nothing better. 🙂
If you’re not from NC or don’t live in the area, do some research on any markets your local town or your own state has, and enjoy the culture and life of your own home-town area.