With the holiday weekend approaching, many of us are getting excited about the unofficial kick off to summer! Memorial Day often brings to mind images of cookouts, spending time with family & friends, enjoying a day off from work and school and having fun. It’s pretty easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of it all and I’d like to ask that you take some time to reflect on the meaning behind this holiday. To be completely honest, Memorial Day used to be all about fun & good times for me. That was until the summer of 2008; on July 21st of that year, a United States Air Force B-52H Stratofortress crashed into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Guam. The entire crew perished. My very dear friend, Captain Michael K. Dodson, was the co-pilot that day; despite having grown up around a large Army base, it wasn’t until that day that I came to appreciate the true meaning behind Memorial Day. For me, it’s no longer all about the fun & games of summer but a time to reflect upon and teach my children about the price countless soldiers have paid for us.
Now, don’t get me wrong here, I’m all for having some fun on such an important day. I choose to honor our fallen heroes by celebrating life and making the most of my time with my family & friends. Many people will be hitting the roads for a mini vacation. If you’re like me and will be staying close to Wake Forest for a staycation or you may be looking for a place to visit…I invite you to check out my list of things to do in Wake Forest.
Let’s start with a little adventure and/or some relaxation by enjoying a day at Falls Lake State Recreational Area. Located off of Creedmoor Road in Wake Forest, it’s a great way to escape city life. With a 12,000-acre lake, fishing, boating and swimming are only a few of the activities you can enjoy on the water. On land, you can enjoy walking, mountain biking or camping along a portion of the state’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail.
For more outdoor fun, head on over to E. Carroll Joyner Park. Located off of Harris Road in Wake Forest, the 117 acre park is one of the largest parks in Wake County. Bordered by a 2,000 linear foot stone ribbon wall, the park offers several miles of walking trails, restored farm buildings, a pecan grove, a restored log cabin, a 1,000 lawn-seat amphitheatre, a performance area, and garden for your enjoyment.
On my to do list is a visit to The Wake Forest Historical Museum. Located on N. Main Street, the museum is dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of Wake Forest, the college and the town. I’m married to a sports nut so of particular interest to us is the traveling exhibit, “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America.” This exhibition is brought to us by the North Carolina Humanities Council and the Smithsonian Institution. According to the museum’s website, the exhibition does a phenomenal job of displaying sports facts, inspirational stories, interesting trivia and sharp cultural observations to broaden our understanding of the many ways in which sports help us work, play and experience life as a nation.
I can’t leave off a stop at the campus of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, which was once the Wake Forest College campus. The school moved to Winston-Salem in the 1950s. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (known simply as “The Seminary” to the locals) is an institution of higher learning of the Southern Baptist Convention and offers advanced degrees, masters programs and general theological programs.
In the words of my dad, “Tee it high and let it fly” at the beautiful Heritage Golf Club. A semi-private club, the Heritage offers numerous amenities including 1250 HERITAGE, a casually elegant restaurant. While I’m no golfer, it’s my understanding that the course is designed to provide a challenging, yet relaxing experience for golfers of all abilities. There is also a driving range, chipping green, practice bunker, FootGolf course and 8,000 square foot putting green on-site.
There are countless activities to enjoy in this historical town of ours on any given day. Top any of them off with a cold one at White Street Brewing Company. Enjoy a handcrafted flavorful small-batch ale or lager in the taproom. The WSBC website invites you to gather with friends, grab a beer, play darts, enjoy sports, take home a keg and attend special events.
However you decide to spend this Memorial Day weekend, I hope that you will take a few minutes to remember those who have died in service to our country. To their loved ones left behind, I send my sincere gratitude for YOUR service and sacrifice as well. May God Bless America.