My husband and I are trying something new this year. We’re going to be van campers. Did you get that? VAN. CAMPERS. You may wonder what that looks like and honestly, we’re still working it out but to put it in the simplest terms I can, it means we’re going to travel and sleep in my minivan. Crazy, right? Maybe, but if there is one thing that my husband hates more than anything, it’s paying to sleep in a hotel room that we spend very little time in. And if there is one thing that he enjoys more than anything, it’s a good night’s sleep in the Walmart parking lot.
I know, you’re probably surprised that I’ve mentioned this, as sleeping in the parking lot of Walmart is not my cup of tea. I’d much rather slumber in a comfortable bed in a boutique hotel. I have learned that if I humor my husband and force myself to pretend that parking lot sleeping is the best thing ever, he’ll humor me and dig into his wallet to splurge on a great property more often than not. Let’s call it a compromise. And in travel (and marriage), we all know compromise is a great thing.
Back to van camping.
Van camping is not just kicking back in your seat and trying to get some zzz’s. I’m not about that. Van camping for us means a uber comfy memory foam mattress and blackout curtains in the back of my Dodge Grand Caravan Stow N Go. We’ll pack some of our camping gear and it will be just like camping minus the tent and not so comfortable air mattress.
We haven’t actually finished making our curtains yet but when I do I’ll write an entire post about our Van Camper. I know you’re THAT interested.
Fayetteville Trip Planning
We will be using our van camper during an upcoming trip to Cumberland County and the greater Fayetteville, North Carolina area and I couldn’t be more excited! It will be the perfect trip to break it in. We plan to fish, hike and try our hand at Frisbee golf but that’s just the beginning of our adventure. If I can talk my husband into it, the list may include clay target practice as well. If the kids were exploring with us, that list would look more like zip lining, rock climbing at the indoor rock wall and Paraclete XP, for indoor sky diving. Maybe it’s cruel of us to plan a trip without the kids, but it’s so difficult to plan trips around everyone’s work schedule these days.
Fayetteville is home to the US Army’s most populous base, Fort Bragg. As a result, the surrounding area shows off its military heritage with many museums and memorials. As a military mom, with a son serving in a different branch, I’ve always taught my kids to appreciate and respect those past and present who have served and currently sacrifice to serve our country. I want to see as many of the museums and memorials as I can and appreciate that the Fayetteville Visitor Center has made it easy by putting together the Patriots Past and Present trail that I can easily follow with my husband throughout Cumberland County to make sure we don’t miss any pertinent stops. This trail will teach us about the patriots in our country to the formation and growth of Fort Bragg.
There are several other trails I’d like to follow in the Fayetteville area as well- the Religious Freedom Trail, the Second-hand Treasure Trail, the Historic Markers Trail, the Gaelic Beginnings Trail- oh my! Just make me stop! I’m also interested in the Greater Fayetteville GPS Trail Trek that leads participants across the entire county. I’m not sure how much my husband will enjoy the hunt for the geocaches but I do love a treasure hunt and this trail would be a great way to learn more about the area in a really fun way. Clearly, I won’t have time for all of them and I’m having a terrible time narrowing down my options.
I’d also love to stroll through the Cape Fear Botanical Garden. As if that’s not enough, I’d love to relax on a boat ride on the Cape Fear River and visit Long Valley Farm in Spring Lake where the winter estate of James Stillman Rockefeller is located. I do have a thing for Rockefeller properties. I also found an Octagon Tabernacle in Falcon which is the birthplace of the Pentecostal Holiness Church. I think it’s cool because it’s eight-sided and that’s definitely not something one sees every day. It was designed with eight sides to resemble a tent and made entirely of trees that were salvaged after a tornado struck.
As always, you know you can count on me to find some roadside attractions. There are several I want to check out, including an Eiffel Tower replica that was built in 1971 as an advertisement for a shopping center with a French name. The other attractions like the Special Forces K9 Dog Memorial, Constant Vigilance, which honors fallen special operations dogs, are more historical and solemn than quirky this time around.
And because I KNOW that you’re curious, we are not planning to van camp once we’re in Fayetteville, only on the way there from Ohio. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we can sleep in a cabin at one of the local campgrounds during our stay. Wouldn’t that round off our adventure perfectly?
I can’t wait to explore Fayetteville and share my trip with you. In the meantime, if I’ve piqued your interest in this all-American town, you can learn more. Simply check out the attractions you’ll find in Fayetteville.
What would you love to do in Fayetteville, North Carolina?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Visit NC. The opinions and text are all mine.
© 2017, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.