I have fond memories of visiting Great-Aunt Ruby for my mom’s family reunion. I vividly recall the tobacco fields and rich farmland on the way to her home. Since Wilson is only 75 miles from New Bern, it was definitely time to go reminisce about my childhood summers. The good news: Wilson is still a wonderfully charming town.

A Whirlwind of Creativity

The Whirligig Park in Wilson is one of the coolest outdoor places I have ever seen!

“You must go experience the Whirligig Park.” The whirly what? Everywhere I stopped, a friendly local told me it was on the must-see list in Wilson. So off I went. It’s a tad hard to put into words, so let me start by saying the locals were right. Colorful iron and steel structures (I think there are 30 of them) tower above you. For those of you over 50, think part Wheel-O, part pinwheel meets iron sculpture. The park was born from Vollis Simpson’s creativity when he began making metal sculptures from old equipment pieces on his farm. When Simpson could no longer maintain the pieces, the community rallied to establish the park for all to enjoy. Read more about this amazing initiative here.

Gardens Galore and More

Wilson has several outdoor sights for the young and young-at-heart beyond the ‘Gig. Whether you want to take the family out for a picnic, go fishing or hike trails, Wilson has it. One place I had heard about was the Wilson Rose Garden. Thank goodness I had the opportunity to see the beauties in bloom, as the season is nearing its end. The garden is a spectacular display of over a thousand rose bushes in breathtaking colors. It is beauty in its purest form!

Dine Before Dash

Parkers Barbecue dinner

In my opinion, Carolina’s best barbecue can be found at Parker’s.

Before I could end the day in Wilson, there was an important stop to make. You have read before how much I love Parker’s Barbecue, so there was no way I would miss the opportunity to indulge at the original location. I went early enough to avoid the crowd, so I got right in. Trust me, the line can get very long, yet it is worth the wait.

Now that I had my fill of delicious barbecue, it was time to head back to New Bern. It was perfect to see Wilson still possesses the charm and friendliness I remembered. Only now, it’s even better!