August 2017 Featured Destination: Johnston County, NC
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 12:00 AM

Johnston County, 30 minutes east of Raleigh, is far enough away from the urban areas of The Triangle to offer visitors the charm of farm life and small town living! 

What makes your destination special?

Johnston County is historically a rural, agrarian society that happens to be uniquely situated where I-95 and I-40 meet. It is also in close proximity to Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina, and less than an hour from RDU International Airport. This dichotomy puts Johnston County on the map as a highly reachable destination with a charmingly rural appeal. The accessibility means that Johnston County has a lot to offer like museums, breweries, and shopping, but the county’s entrepreneurial and community-centered spirit means that everything revolves around the many farms that call Johnston County home.


What’s one attraction that can’t be missed when visiting your destination?

The Ava Gardner Museum in Downtown Smithfield is a can’t miss opportunity to see both Ava the Hollywood Star and Ava the Johnston County girl from humble beginnings. Did you know that Ava was from the area and is also buried in Smithfield just minutes from the museum dedicated to her? View clothes, jewelry, shoes, and other mementos from Ava’s personal collection as well as costumes, scripts, and more from the many movies she was in.

What story ideas will travel media uncover at your destination?

Johnston County is all about local partnerships and nowhere is that more present then along the Beer, Wine, and Shine Trail. Local breweries, wineries, and distilleries make up a self-guided trail of craft beverage tasting and touring throughout the area. Many of the stops work with each other and with area restaurants and bars to source local and to create unique products to offer like gourmet chocolates and beer soap.

What plans/events does your destination have scheduled that travel media should be aware of?

Johnston County has unique events throughout the year that cater to multiple types of travelers. If you like all things food then visit Smithfield the first weekend in May for the Ham & Yam Festival. If you like hunting for deals then visit in June for the county-wide (and more) 301 Endless Yard Sale for over 100 miles of yard sales. If you like family-friendly and super unique visit Benson the fourth weekend in September for the Mule Days Festival.

Is there anything else that you feel travel media should know about your destination?

September 28th through 30th of 2018 Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site is organizing a Carolinas Campaign symposium and tour called “Two Weeks of Fury”. Attendees will have an opportunity to meet and interact with the preeminent historians of the Civil War’s fiery conclusion in North Carolina. The highlight of the trip is included in Saturday’s tour - a rare trip to the Monroe’s Crossroads battlefield led by noted Civil War cavalry historian Eric Wittenberg. Located near a drop zone on Fort Bragg, Monroe’s Crossroads is difficult to obtain permission to visit. Thus, it will be a rare treat to visit with the historian who literally wrote the book on the battle. A full event schedule and more detailed information can be made available to interested media upon request.