- Daytrip Destination: Vollis Simpson Whirligig Museum in Wilson, NC
- Drive Time: 1 hr from Raleigh
- Adventurers: Carrie Schlegel and two of her daughters Addie and Loey
We set out on a Sunday for an easy trip to Wilson. It was very easy to spot the Whirligig Park in the middle of town. I can imagine on a windy day this would be a fabulous place to visit and watch all the louvers and windmills spinning happily. We walked for a 30-40 min looking at the mechanics, details and creativity that went into each creation. If you’re looking for some in-your-face entertainment, this isn’t it. It’s a place to sit and observe, ponder and imagine the creativity behind each piece.
I found great delight when the occasional gust of wind came through and got a few of them spinning. Check the link for a bit of background on the famous Vollis Simpson who designed these fanciful windmills – he didn’t start making them until he retired in his 60’s. Just goes to show, it’s never to late to start something new.
Grab lunch and a brew
There is a great brewery across the street, The Casita Brews, with food trucks scheduled regularly. It was a great scene to relax and enjoy the outdoors while keeping an eye on the whirligig activity. It’s an awesome spot to grab a bite and a drink. We have a vegetarian in the family and unfortunately the food truck that day didn’t have any options so we ended up filling our bellies at The New Normal.
The New Normal had ample outdoor seating and is just a short walk from the park. Service was a tad slow but we enjoyed the live music on the patio. On Sundays the menu is limited but from our selections we would recommend the BAT sandwich, (Bacon, Arugula and Fried Green Tomato).
A town of artists
Once known as the “Worlds Greatest Tobacco Market” this town was more than just a one street wonder. There are several blocks of abandoned original buildings that echo with the memories of a thriving town. It has SOOOO much potential for the amazing revitalization that you can tell is coming. Scattered among amazing public art displays there are a few shops which are seemingly the forerunners at an attempt to revitalize a downtown. You can tell this town is really working to cultivate art in the community. The Wilson Art Center has some great exhibits and several art classes are available at ArtVentures.
Even the sidewalk in a parking ally that we stumbled upon had figures in the cement if you stopped to notice them. To learn more about historic Wilson downtown head to https://www.historicdowntownwilson.com/ I really wanted to go several of the small shops but most weren’t open on Sundays. Feeling inspired to add some sculptural yard art to my house and support a local artist I was hoping to find a shop open to browse. I did find an online store with some local art pieces.
Each year in November they do a Whirligig Festival which will be virtual this year. https://www.whirligigfestivalnc.org/home
Along the way….
If you’ve got littles you should also check out the Imagination Station
If you have a budding doctor in your family you may want to stop at The Country Doctor museum on the way there or back. It’s an easy 5 min side stop off the highway. It’s only open Tuesday through Fridays so plan accordingly.