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Living Here 2019




ROCKY nort h


c a ro l i n a


“They went ABOVE and BEYOND”.

“They cared for my mother as if she were their mother.” LESTER, patient’s son Nash UNC Health Care

Now more than ever, care and compassion are a vital part of every patient experience at Nash UNC Health Care. Our patients and their families are noticing the improvements we’ve made, and are recommending us more frequently. Should you or your family visit us, expect to see how care has been reimagined at Nash UNC.

RAISING EXPECTATIONS. Learn more at NashUNCHealthCare.org/RaisingExpectations 2

NHCS 29987 Living Here 2019 Full Pg_8x10.125.indd 1

6/11/19 12:12 PM




THANKS FOR CHOOSING THE Y FOR BEST WEIGHT Join today or check out all options for a LOSS CENTER! healthy lifestyle!

Join today or check out all options for a HARRISON FAMILY YMCA healthy lifestyle! 252-972-9622

HARRISON FAMILY YMCA 252-972-9622 harrisonfamilyY.org



1000 Independence Drive Rocky Mount


1000known Independence The Harrison Family YMCA, better as “The Y”Drive has a Rocky missionMount “to put Christian principals into practice to improve the quality of life in our communities with programs and services that strengthen the spirit, mind, and body for all.” Our mission is our reason for being, and our cause is our mission in action: a promise to do everything in our power to inspire the common good and make life better for individuals, families and the community.

THANKS FORBRING THIS AD IN The Harrison Family YMCA is TO located USE on 1000 Independence Drive in Rocky Mount, NC. We are dedicated to building healthy, confident, AS A FREE CHOOSING secure and connected children, families and communities within our three focus areas of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. We’ve made a difference in people’s lives from 1911 when the Rocky Mount, Atlantic Coast Line Railroad YMCA was opened GUEST PASS! THE FOR and beganY offering an overnight dormitory for hot meals and showers to Railroad employees. That difference grew throughout the years *Expires 12/31/2018 that ultimately lead to the opening of*Expires our current12/31/2018 facility in 2005. BEST WEIGHT Today we continue to support our members and community by providing needed programs and services. A YMCA membership offers a full wellnessCENTER! area, racquetball courts, basketball courts, two pools, a rock climbing wall, water and group exercise classes, a coach approach LOSS program, child watch care, a member referral program, locker rooms with steam rooms, and more. Programming is also offered including

Care, Summer Day Camp, Youth and Adult Sports, Tots Play Program, Swim Lessons, Racers Competitive Swim Team, JoinBefore/After today orSchool check out Gymnastics, HYPE Competitive Gymnastics Team, Post-Rehab Program, Personal Training, Teens in Training, Couch 2 5K Running Program, all options for a Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring, Diabetes Awareness, Enhance Fitness, Kidney Smart Classes, Nutrition Classes, Special Needs programs, Women on Weights, as well as a variety of family events and activities. healthy lifestyle! Financial Assistance is available to all who apply and qualify thanks to funds raised by the YMCA’s Annual Campaign. We also offer a variety HARRISON FAMILY YMCA of volunteer opportunities. Please follow this link to sign up and check out our options: 252-972-9622 https://harrisonfamilyy.volunteermatters.org/project-catalog harrisonfamilyY.org

1000 Independence Rockytransformative Mount Our Y strives Drive to deliver responses to community needs in our service area of Nash and Edgecombe Counties. We are joined

with other Ys in making a difference across America. We will continue doing what matters most for years to come. As our communities’,

members’ and families’ BRING THIS ADneeds IN and expectations change, we are also making meaningful positive changes. TO USE AS A FREE GUEST PASS!

*Expires 12/31/2018


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Living Contents Here ROCKY MOUNT Publisher Kyle Stephens Editor Gene Metrick Staff & Contributors Spencer Carney Amelia Harper Patrick Mason Jessie H. Nunery John H. Walker William F. West Jenny White Photography Alan Campbell Sarah Louya Advertising Kelly Ayscue Natasha Daniel Lewis Smith Chris Taylor Bryan Wilson Design & Layout Becky Wetherington On The Cover Toni Hyde from Toni Hyde Photography



Enjoy a day trip to one of these unique local facilities 10


Longtime companies mark major milestones 14


Variety of new businesses set to open up shop across area 18


Area spawns more than its share of stand-out athletes 20


Concerts, plays, artistic events and more enrich local life 22


Revitalization of city's central business district continues 26


Big-time projects plan major business investments in area 28


Local business refurbishes old-time juke boxes 34


Family-friendly events held throughout the year across area 38


Commercial thoroughfare undergoes 21st century makeover 40


Along with the usual national chains, try out the area's own eateries 44


Nash UNC Health Care positions itself for the future 46


Area has a wide variety of hotels with more in development 48


Local music teacher provides more than instruction 50


Volunteers tend to a vibrant, multi-faceted public arboretum 52


Besides the big-box national chain stores, check out these local gems 56


New housing development reflects real estate rebound in area 58


No shortage of opportunities to get outdoors and have healthy fun 60 Living Here is a publication of the Rocky Mount Telegram and Adams Publishing Group. Contents may not be reproduced without the consent of the publisher.


Enrollment, campus growth booms at local college 62


Innovative Tiny House Hotel the latest edition to Rocky Mount Mills


AREA attractions By John H. Walker

Within a short drive from wherever you are in eastern North Carolina, there are three attractions that could serve as answers to questions on the television game show, “Jeopardy.” Think about it: A collection of domestic and exotic animals that grew into a petting zoo and then a television show … The oldest museum in the United States dedicated to the history of America’s rural health … 6

The largest collection of exotic and rare waterfowl in the world. The answers are “What is It’s a Zoo Life in Macclesfield,” “What is The Country Doctor Museum in Bailey” and “What is Sylvan Heights Bird Park in Scotland Neck”? That’s right. Right here in our own backyard, there are three attractions well worth one’s time, energy and the price of admission to go visit.

It’s a Zoo Life camel and more. In addition, there’s a coati, also known as a coatimundi, porcupines, a wolf, cockatoo, Patagonian cavy and tortoises as well as many farm animals. It’s a Zoo Life gives visitors the opportunity to see selected animals in their habitats while accompanied by a trained, knowledgeable staff member. Tours are by appointment only and last about 90 minutes. Admission is $20 for ages 6 and It’s a Zoo Life is the newest of the three and sprang up in the back yard of Bobbie Jo Abrams

up and $10 for children ages 5 and younger.

& Seafood and Abrams Amusements, both

Children 2 and under are admitted free.

based out of Tarboro.

For more information or to schedule a

and her family along NC 42 in Macclesfield. If

It’s a Zoo Life is a USDA-licensed facility

the Abrams name sounds familiar to you, it’s

that houses more than 85 animals including

tour, call 252-266-7974 or send an email to

the same family associated with Abrams BBQ

a zebra, lemur, alpacas, lama, kangaroo, sloth,


The senior citizen of the attractions is

Country Doctor Museum

nursing, drugs and home remedies.

the Country Doctor Museum, created in

The museum includes a pair of buildings

1967 by a group of women who wanted

that were once the offices of Dr. Howard

to build a memorial to and recognize the

Franklin Freeman (1878-1915) and Dr.

contributions of the rural physician.

Cornelius Henry Bradley (1887-1940) and

Tours are available through the three

are now set up as an apothecary (a person

buildings that comprise the museum and

who prepared and sold medicines and

exhibits contain medical artifacts from between the late 18th century to the first half of the 20th century. Over



than 50 years since its creation, the museum collection has grown to more than 5,000 medical









drugs) and as a doctor’s office, which also includes a Civil War era display. Also displayed is furniture, instruments and equipment commonly used by doctors from the period. The museum is now under the auspices of the Division of Health Sciences at East Carolina University and is managed as part of the History Collections of Laupus Library. The Country Doctor museum is located

historic textbooks that

at 7089 Peele Road in Bailey. It is open



Tuesday-Saturday and tours last 45-60

from across the United

minutes. Admission is $8 for ages 18-55, $6


for 55 and older and $4 for ages 3-17 and





museum has grown to include



college students with ID. For more information, call 252-2354165


Sylvan Heights Bird Park While the history of Sylvan Heights dates to its establishment by Mike and Ali Lubbock in 1981 in the western North Carolina community of Sylva, the facility was relocated to Scotland Neck in 1989 and, in 2006, Sylvan Heights Bird Park was opened and draws more than 55,000 visitors annually. With the arrival of the Lubbocks from England, they began breeding rare waterfowl from around the world. The importance of the Sylvan Heights Avian Breeding Center cannot be overstated as there are several species that have been

In addition to the rare birds, there is an

brought back from the brink of extinction

enclosed area called “The Landing Zone”

through the work of Sylvan Heights.

where visitors can get up close and personal

The more than 3,000 birds represent

with parakeets and flamingos.

140 species, and zoos and nature centers

Sylvan Heights also has an elevated

around the world have gotten birds

nature walk that gives students on field trips

because of the work of the Breeding Center,

access to a swampy area around a former

which plays a major role in maintaining

beaver dam where they can learn more

captive populations of several endangered

about the area and its wildlife. Students ages 6 and up have the

waterfowl species. The Bird Park allows visitors to see the

opportunity to put on rubber boots and

waterfowl in a natural setting, allowing

explore the area — under guidance, of

them to enjoy and learn about the birds and


waterfowl from around the world without

During exploration of the swampy area,

disturbing the important nesting birds at

two Cardinal flowers were found, as were

the Breeding Center.

orange jewelweed plants. The Cardinal

A couple of the success stories from

attracts butterflies and hummingbirds,

Sylvan Park include the Hawaiian Goose,

while the jewelweed attracts migrating

which was down to 30 birds in 1952.


Through the work of the Breeding Center,

Sylvan Heights is located at 500 Sylvan

there are now a few thousand of Hawaii’s

Heights Park Way, off US 258 just north of

state bird and the possibility exists it could

Scotland Neck and is open Tuesday-Sunday

be removed from the endangered list.



Admission is $11 for ages 13-61, $10 for

winged duck, which is down to about 200

62 and up, $8 for ages 3-12 and 2 and under

worldwide as its habitat is being converted

is free. Visitors are advised to allow two

to agricultural use.

hours for a tour and golf carts are available





Among the rarest of the world’s ducks, Sylvan Heights owns all of the whitewinged ducks in the United States and loans them out to other facilities for breeding.


for an additional fee. Group tour rates are also available. For more information, call 252-8263186.

Meeting Your Whole Family’s Needs

Founded in 1983 by Dr. Richard Michal, Rocky Mount Family Medical Center is currently owned by Dr. Michal and his partner, Dr. Mark Abel. The practice is not your ordinary family practice. Founded with a desire to serve, Family Medical Center has always looked for ways to improve service. It was the first family practice in Rocky Mount to have an electronic medical records system, and today, patients have access to a full service laboratory as well an accredited radiology department including ultrasounds - all under one roof. Dr. Michal and Dr. Abel have a strong desire to give back to the community that has helped grow the practice. They do that by supporting and establishing events to include, Relay for Life, the American Heart Walk, Tackle the Tar, Twin Counties Sugar Run, Hero’s Lunch and the Go Red Banquet. The staff and providers pay to “dress down” on Fridays with all money raised being donated to non-profits. “Our patients are more than a chart number. They are part of the FMC family and part of our community. We take our responsibility to the community very seriously,” said Dr. Richard Michal. The practice also supports the community through organizations such as the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce and Rotary, and it has received numerous People’s Choice Awards from the Rocky Mount Telegram. Rocky Mount Family Medical Center, which began with one provider and four patients, has grown to a twelve provider practice with plans to continue growing and improving services. The next step in this process will be to offer the MDVIP Wellness Program. Physicians who participate in this program are able to provide their paWINNER tients with a full wellness plan and a closer doctor-patient relationship. Appointments are longer; less hurried, and have less wait time. The patients have 24 hour access Reader’s Choice Award 2015 to their physicians and receive a comprehensive annual wellness physical that is far beyond what most Medical insuranceCenter Family companies now provide. While this will be an additional service offered by the practice, patients may WINNER still use their insurance for routine care. For more information about RMFMC, visit their webWINNER site at www.rmfmc.com; call them at (252) 443-3133 or like them on Facebook @ www.Facebook/rmfmc.com. For more information regarding the MDVIP program, Reader’s Choice Award 2015 Reader’s Choice Award 2015 call Rocky Mount Family Medical Center and ask for Medical Service Center Manager Richard G. Michal, MD Amanda Family Bell, Customer or talk with Dr. Michal or Dr. Abel.



Christ is at the Heart of our Practice


BEST FAMILY DOCTOR BEST OVERALL DOCTOR Reader’s Choice Award 2015 BEST OVERALL DOCTOR Mark Richard G. Reader’s ChoiceMD Award 2015 Michal,

Mark Abel, MD Abel, MD

Richard G. Michal, MD


BEST OVERALL DOCTOR Reader’s Choice Award 2015



BEST NURSE Reader’s Choice Award 2015

Frankie Williams


It’s been a big year for anniversaries in Rocky Mount, with Bulluck Chevrolet celebrating its

hands of its third generation and is located on

and are looking forward to a strong and

U.S. 301 with three buildings.

continued partnership with the Rocky Mount

103rd year as a company, Cummins Rocky

“A lot of people don’t realize that dealerships

Mount Engine Plant celebrating its 100th and

do so much for the community they’re in,” co-

Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant

Davenport Autopark its 90th.


owner William Bulluck said. “We’re deep in the

makes products such as diesel and natural gas

Don Bulluck Chevrolet was started in 1917

community, and we’ve forever been involved

engines to hybrid and electric platforms, as

on a vacant lot on Tarboro Street in downtown

in community fundraisers and we sponsor a

well as engine systems components, controls

Rocky Mount. Over the years and through

lot of youth sports.”

and related technologies and continues to

a few locations, the dealership is now in the


Bulluck said that they have 49 employees

develop new products and services.

The company has been in Rocky Mount since 1983 and employs more than 1,800 people at its 1.2-million-square-foot plant. The plant produces engines for semi cabs, pick-up trucks, school and public buses, RVs, fire trucks as well as military vehicles and construction equipment. “Technological innovation is at the heart of what we do,” said Tom Linebarger, chairman and CEO. “Cummins is a global technology leader with a broad portfolio of power solutions. We will continue to innovate to ensure our customers’ success.” While




manufacturers no longer exist, Cummins’ leadership credits its longevity to its 100 years of commitment to its mission, vision and values, staying focused on long-term goals and standing up for what is right.

Davenport Autopark

In the past year, Cummins actively maintained its community involvement through volunteering and partnering with educational communities such as community colleges, libraries and public school systems, and helped a United Way campaign raise $533,334.38 after a Cummins Foundation match for the United Way of the Tar River Region. Moving forward, the company aims to further advance engine technology and explore new technologies for future growth. Started in 1929, Davenport Autopark

is still going strong, representing Honda, GMC, and Buick brands. Davenport





community involvement as well. In the past five years, they have donated over $50,000 to Rocky Mount improvement, awarded a scholarship to a community college student every year, and provide a car for a year to the Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools Teacher of the Year.

opened just before the Great Depression

Customers of the dealership are freely

hit. They managed to hang on, as they say,

enrolled in the Dealership for Life program

because they were determined to serve their

upon purchase, which grants them a lifetime

customers in Rocky Mount.

powertrain guarantee, plus oil changes, car

Now, four generations later, the company

washes, towing, loaner cars and more.

A lot of people don’t realize that dealerships do so much for the community they’re in. We’re deep in the community, and we’ve forever been involved in community fundraisers and we sponsor a lot of youth sports. - William Bulluck, Co-owner Bulluck Chevrolet



“Working with Buyers and Sellers with Commitment and Experience”






3120-B Zebulon Road Rocky Mount, NC 27804

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Leeann U. MiLLer RealtoR Broker (937) 657-1188

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2311 Sunset Avenue, Rocky Mount, NC

WENDY: 252-908-7198 STEVE: 252-220-6095 2623 Sunset Avenue Rocky Mount, NC 27804


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COMING SOON By William F. West

Rocky Mount seems to be on a roll now with future retail and hotel development. One immediately visible work site is on the northwest side of the city, off Benvenue

Popeyes on Sept. 17, 2018, for Freddy’s on

progress off Wellspring Drive, just north of the

May 29 and for Panera Bread on June 6. The

U.S. 64 and Winstead Avenue interchange.

committee is comprised of officials from a variety of departments and offices.

On the southeast side of the interchange, crews have started work on a future Tru by

Road at the former Peoples National Bank

Meantime, Freddy’s franchise owner Dave

Hilton, while the InterContinental Hotels

office, which crews are transforming into a

Dreiling, in a recent statement through a

Group has confirmed intentions to build an

Dairy Queen. That will put the restaurant on

spokesperson, said, “We’re currently working

avid hotel.

the northeast side of the Golden East Crossing

through the permitting phase in Rocky Mount

Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce


and hope to start construction in the coming

President and CEO David Farris said he and

weeks to open by the end of the year.

his team believe the development is part of

Additionally, plans on file at City Hall show Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers,

“It’s always fun when we get to announce

Panera Bread and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

that we’re coming to a new area and reach new

intend to build on the northeast side of

guests who may not have tried our concept

Farris also said the greater Rocky Mount

the interchange of Wesleyan Boulevard

before,” Dreiling said. “We look forward to

area continues to rebound economically from

and Sunset Avenue. That will put the three

getting to know and serving the Rocky Mount

the nationwide downturn of 2007-08.

restaurants on what presently is the grassy


part of the interchange by Sam’s Club at the former Tarrytown Mall. City spokesman Jessie H. Nunery said

as people continue to discover Rocky Mount.

“And a lot of businesses like Panera Bread

Freddy’s serves hot dogs, sandwiches,

and Popeyes and Dairy Queen have looked

steakburgers and combo-meals, as well as

at it as well,” Farris said. “They’ve done their

custards, ice cream and sundaes.

research on our community and they, like so

the local developmental review committee

On the northwest side of the city,

approved the site development plans for

construction of a future Fairfield Inn is in


an ongoing trend for the last couple of years,

many others, believe in it.” Farris also noted Nash County is 15th

highest in visitor spending in North Carolina. He was referring to the 2017 report on the economic impact of travel in the state, as prepared for VisitNC by the U.S. Travel Association. “And other hotels are looking at us,” he said. “And with our athletic complex and the event center and all the other business that’s taken place here now, we need more hotels. And that’s surprising to a lot of people. But we need it and we’ve helped with recruiting it.” He was referring to the Rocky Mount Sports Complex, which is just north of the interchange of U.S. 64 and Church Street, and the Rocky Mount Event Center, which is the new massive indoor multipurpose facility downtown. Farris has credited Alan Matthews, the Chamber’s economic development director, with being instrumental in working with Freddy’s, Panera Bread and Popeyes. Carolinas Gateway President and CEO Norris Tolson said he and fellow officials and leaders have been saying there is a real hum of activity in Rocky Mount and said he believes this is going to change the landscape of the city. “And we believe that it is being driven by a lot of things. One, the Mill project itself is certainly driving a lot of that,” Tolson said in reference to the Rocky Mount Mills development northwest of downtown. “The Event Center is helping with that, helping drive that activity level,” Tolson said. Tolson also said he believes the industrial

water and get going with it.” He was referring to Triangle Tire’s plans to open a massive plant at the Kingsboro Megasite in rural Edgecombe County. Close by, but not in the megasite, Corning, a world-leading innovator in material science but mainly known for glass, plans to open a distribution center. Tolson said he absolutely believes there is going to be retail development around the Kingsboro area and Tarboro. “We are working really hard now to talk to as many people as we can about commercial activity on the Kingsboro site or adjacent to the Kingsboro site,” Tolson said Tolson said he believes the bottom line is with the subsequent coming of the beehive of activity from customers and people having business in the Kingsboro area, people are going to need food, gasoline, lodging and services.

development going on is adding to that image

“All of that says to me is that you had better

of, “Hey, there’s a lot of good stuff going on in

get ready to service those needs with amenities

Rocky Mount. Maybe it’s time to jump in the

that people like that are going to need,” he said.

It’s always fun when we get to announce that we’re coming to a new area and reach new guests who may not have tried our concept before. We look forward to getting to know and serving the Rocky Mount community. - Dave Dreiling, Freddy’s Franchise owner


YEARS IN 13Years

14 Years in Business


in Business

90 Years in Business

TerMiTe & PesT ConTrol

19 years in business

Charles Morgan


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252-446-6137 91 years in business


Food Service & Restaurant Equipment 615 N. Church St. Rocky Mount, NC 27804

945 N. Church Street, Rocky Mount, NC

Open Mon.-Fri. 7:30-5:30


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1932 Stone Rose Drive • Rocky Mount, NC 27804 •


33 Years in Business

Serving our community for over 25 years


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Monday - Friday 10-5:30 Saturday 10-4:00

252-459-2083 A quality Consignment Boutique & Gift Shop 227 W. Washington Street, Nashville, NC 27856

BUSINESS Bottoms Tire and Automotive Center, Inc.

30 Years in Business

Celebrating Over 33 years in Business

Adult Day Health Services • Transportation & Meals Provided • Craft - Music - Exercise • Music Therapy • Personal Care & Health Monitoring by RN • State Certified & Monitored • Veterans Welcome

151 May Drive, Rocky Mount, NC

513 W. Raleigh Blvd. 252-442-8363

Open Monday - Friday 8am-5pm



21 Years in Business

Swimming Pool & Spa Company for 43 Years!

Towing Service Available 252-813-9004 Specializing in Foreign and Domestic Repairs • Drivetrain Installation and Replacement • Four Wheel Alignments • Oil Changes & More


# Rocky Mount’s

We would like to express our sincere appreciation to our customers and friends for allowing us to supply your swimming pool needs.

1610 Sunset Avenue Rocky Mount, NC 27804 (Across from City Lake)



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3151 Zebulon Road Rocky Mount, NC 27804


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Store Hours Monday-Saturday 10-6 We do pick up’s on Wednesday & Saturday

We invite you to: Share By Donating Serve By Volunteering Save By Shopping

Serving The Community Since 1967

Lancaster Used Cars Family Owned & Operated

Passport services available call for details

We Do People Right!

909 North Main Street Tarboro, NC 27886 (252) 823-1141

3816 NC 43 N, Pinetops, NC 27864

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Like us on Facebook!

Proudly serving the citizens of Edgcombe County Since 1953!

Serving the community since 1970

Serving our community for 53 years!

Tri County Industries

1250 Atlantic Ave. Rocky Mount NC 27801 252-977-3800

160 S. Winstead Avenue Rocky Mount, NC 27804 2 5 2 - 4 4 3 - 7 6 6 6



HEATING & COOLING, LLC doing business since 1981 1242 CONSTRUCTION DRIVE ROCKY MOUNT, NC 27804

(252)937-4707 EMAIL: ShearinHVAC@aol.com

STEVEN SHEARIN Commercial Refrigeration License #1234 Electrical License #16017 Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning License #9831 (PH-1, 2 & 3-I)

Since 1923 727 N. Grace St. Rocky Mount, NC

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CHAMPIONSHIP sports tradition By Patrick Mason

In the summer of 2018, after a humid and

A billboard positioned a few miles west

of their back-to-back Class 1-AA state

sweaty football practice, Melik Ward stated a

of the town boasts about the success of the

championships with a convincing 50-10 win

long-term goal for his team.

Vikings football program. Underneath the

over East Surry.


purple-jersey wearing players is the numeral

With six championships, including a

championship,” said Ward, a lineman for






‘5’ which denoted the number of state titles

three-peat in the mid-2000s, the small-

the Tarboro Vikings. “This is a hungry group

the Vikings have accumulated when the sign

school football program has long been the

and we won’t settle for anything less than a

went up.

benchmark of success for fellow area teams.


It took the Vikings just one season to

A number of NFL players can claim

Plenty of teams and players dream of

outgrow the billboard and make Ward a

Tarboro as their alma mater, including running

making the postseason and going all the way,

successful future predictor. Now, the billboard

back Shaun Draughn, who had a six-year

yet few teams actually pull it off. Tarboro is

has a slash through the ‘5’ and a ‘6’ is written

career. Current NFL star and All-Pro L.A. Rams

one of those teams.

underneath. The Vikings won the second

running back Todd Gurley is another, who


guided the Vikings to a trio of state titles, while

state tennis championship in the fall of 2018.

Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman Tyquan

In the spring, Rocky Mount Prep athlete

Lewis also won state championships with the

Terence Booth Jr. brought home the Jaguars’ first


track title by winning the 110-meter hurdles.

In the NBA, Tarboro native Montrezl Harrell

If swimming is more your speed, then stop

plays for the Clippers and is entering his fifth

by the Rocky Mount YMCA, the home pool of a

season in the league. Harrell, whose Clippers

number of state champions. University of Utah

made the playoffs and tested the defending-

swimming recruit and Rocky Mount Academy

champion Golden State Warriors, has a chance

grad Kayla Miller won her third consecutive

to compete for a title of his own this upcoming season with the addition of superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. And while Tarboro gets plenty of attention and adoration as a top-notch, the area sports scene is strong elsewhere as athletics in Rocky Mount have flourished. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Brian Goodwin graduated from Rocky Mount High, and took his high school teams to deep postseason runs. And recently, the Gryphons got over the hump with to back-to-back state football championship appearances with one win in 2015. Elsewhere, this past high school baseball season





championship series between Rocky Mount

100-yard freestyle title this season, while Nash Central freshman Lance Norris won the 200yard freestyle. Two years ago, SouthWest Edgecombe swimmer Jack Coltrane won the 100-yard freestyle. It’s impossible to talk about the local sports scene without mentioning the Rocky Mount High-Northern Nash basketball rivalry where at least twice every year the admissions line snakes out of the home team’s gymnasium and into the parking lot. Seasoned veterans of these rivalry games know to arrive plenty early to get a seat, making the JV games well-attended as well.

Academy and Faith Christian in the NCISAA

“There’s so many options for good athletics

2-A division. Faith Christian was going for its

around here,” Northern Nash golfer Chance

third consecutive title, which wasn’t realized as

Puckett said. “Our basketball team was so fun

Rocky Mount Academy won the best-of-three

to watch and our football is bouncing back.

series for its first championship.

Baseball has a little ways to go, but there’s

RMA, meanwhile, secured its first-ever girls

nothing easy out here.”


CULTURAL events By Spencer Carney As the summer works its way to the end and the heat increases, the fun and interesting activities don’t have to be over.

Quick and Coastline, The Legacy Motown Revue and The Embers.

Trapp and “Elf the Musical Jr.” From Goldsboro, comes The Malpass

Pulling from the threads of Soul, Blues,

Brothers, a country music duet who actually

Both the Imperial Centre and the Dunn

R&B and Americana, Jim Quick and Coastline

are brothers. They primarily cover classic

Center at N.C. Wesleyan College have several

weave together their own genre of music

country artists such as the Louvin Brothers,

upcoming musical events that will be worth

known as “Swamp Soul.” The band works to

Johnny Cash and Marty Robbins but also

checking into throughout the rest of the

show the spirit of traditions created in small

perform some traditional gospels and their

summer and into the fall.

southern town and bring it to life as genuinely

own music. They will perform at the Dunn

Currently at the Imperial Centre is its

as possible. Singer Jim Quick and his band

Center at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 27.

featured Downtown Live! concert series,

Coastline will be in Rocky Mount on August 1.

Elisabeth Von Trapp is the granddaughter

featuring a variety of bands on the back lawn.

The Legacy Motown Revue, a tribute

of Maria and Baron Von Trapp, whose story

The concerts are free to the public and begin

band, pays homage to generations of classic

inspired “The Sound of Music.” She has

at 6 p.m. Some of the performers include Jim

bands such as The Drifters, The Coasters, The

worked to carry on the legacy of the Trapp

Jacksons, Earth Wind & Fire, The Temptations

Family Singers, learning piano and guitar and

and more. The group includes dancers and

singing. Her repertoire ranges from Bach to

singers, as well as a six-piece horn band and

Broadway to Schubert to Sting, and reviews

will appear on Aug. 15.

promise an unforgettable performance. She

Carrying the moniker of North Carolina’s

The 60-minute version of the musical, “Elf

laid the groundwork for what has become

the Musical Jr.” is based on the holiday film “Elf.”

known as “Beach Music.” Boasting an

The show follows Buddy the human elf as he

expansive collection of albums and single

leaves the North Pole to find his birth father

releases, the band will be playing on the

to discover that his dad’s on the naughty list

Imperial Centre lawn on September 12.

and his half-brother doesn’t believe in Santa.

At the Dunn Center, some of the events include The Malpass Brothers, Elisabeth Von


will be on stage at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25.

Official Ambassadors of Music, The Embers

A heartwarming classic, the show will play at the Dunn Center at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 21.


DOWNTOWN development By Jessie H. Nunery The term “downtown development” isn’t

area that is expected to bring 195 direct jobs

defined by a single word within the Twin

through the pre- and post-construction

Counties in 2019.


at downtownrockymount.com Station Square continues to be a hub of downtown activity. The building, located at

There’s expansion, revitalization, planning,

Rocky Mount also is looking to make

301 S. Church St., was named small business

renovating and more that guides downtowns

its downtown area more vibrant with the

of the month by the Rocky Mount Area

into the current puzzle pieces that will shape

implementation of the Accelerated Façade

Chamber of Commerce in November 2018

the future.

Grant Program. The program promotes

and has since added businesses including


In Rocky Mount, the opening of a 165,000-square-foot




October 2018 has helped put the city on the regional and national map of amateur athletic


Count Your Blessings Furniture and Home

downtown buildings in the form of grants up

Décor, Dynamic Learning, Carryoutcabby.

to $5,000.

com, Affordable2Insurance and more.




For people interested in starting their own

Station Square also provides low-cost,

business downtown, the city of Rocky Mount

monthly rental and meeting spaces for small

The Rocky Mount Event Center also has

also offers a Downtown Business Program as

businesses and other organizations.

spurred private-public development of a

well as a Downtown Incentive Grant Program.

Growth and expansion are not limited to

hotel, parking garage, retail and residential

A list of available properties can be found

downtown Rocky Mount. Downtown Tarboro

tournaments in volleyball and basketball.


Downtowns are the heartbeat of rural North Carolina. - Anthony M. Copeland,

State Commerce Secretary

has seen the opening/construction

in Downtown Strong, an initiative

of a local diner, a pizzeria, coffee

of the N.C. Main Street & Rural

house and more in recent months.

Planning Center. The program will



provide downtown revitalization

favorite, On the Square, added

expertise to selected incorporated

Tarboro Brewing Company in the

rural communities and set up

past few years and have been at

networking opportunities as they

the forefront of helping revitalize

develop downtown plans.




“Downtowns are the heartbeat

downtown Tarboro. While major industries focus

of rural North Carolina,” said state

on the outskirts of Edgecombe


County, it is downtown Tarboro



where local, small business seem

“Downtown Strong will help small

to be making a home.

communities regain their economic



Anthony in


Both Nashville and Bailey were

vibrancy and position them to

selected in early 2019 as two of 24

retain and recruit new businesses,

North Carolina towns to participate

create jobs and spur investment.”


NLCA is a fully accredited school where upon graduation our students are ready for a four year university, a two year college, the military, or the work place.

The Area’s Most Affordable, Quality Christian Education

812 Instrument Drive Rocky Mount, NC 27804 (252) 443-6560 www.newlifeacademyrm.com

New Life Christian Academy in Rocky Mount, NC is a private Chris- special calling to work in a private Christian institution where they can tian School that opened in 2012 and offers classes from Pre-School talk freely about faith issues with their students. through High School. New Life Christian Academy uses the A Beka CurricThe purpose of New Life Christian Academy is to ulum for grades Pre-K-12. The God given ministry of “Train up a partner with the parents and the Church by providing Christian schools is to lead young people to Christ and child in the way a quality education for students that is fully integrated train them in the Bible, Christian character, language, and with God’s Word and Christian principles. traditional subject matter. he should go: Today’s students need to be taught the accumulated Why choose New Life Christian Academy? Because your child deserves not only a good eduwisdom of the past from God’s point of view and trained and when he is cation, but a loving and nurturing environment where in the way they should go (Prov. 22:6). This lays a firm old, he will not their faith can grow alongside their academics. Give foundation from which to evaluate the present and make your child a good foundation through New Life Chrisproper decisions for the future. depart from it.” tian Academy. For New Life's teachers, this is not just A Beka Book materials are developed with well estaba job – it’s a ministry! Their teachers are committed lished philosophical and research foundations, providing – Proverbs 22:6 to loving your child and bonding with them through an excellent educational program that is unashamedly the teaching process. The staff does what they do because they feel a Christian and traditional. You can go to ABeka.com to learn more about this curriculum. New Life Christian Academy is Founded on Christian Principles New Life Christian Academy “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” — Mark 10:14 812 Instrument Drive New Life Christian Academy is not just a school – it’s a mission! Rocky Mount The staff imitates Christ by welcoming the children in the community and introducing them to Christ through their quality education program. (252)443-6560 Everything New Life does is in response to their understanding of the Bible and upholding Christian principles. www.newlifeacademyrm.com



ECONOMIC expansion By John H. Walker After years and years of battling economic

as CSX went through a leadership change,

July 19, 2016, “the day we got on the map.” as

difficulties, Edgecombe County got back-

switched its operating mindset, went through

he phrases it, in regard to the Twin Counties

to-back-to-back shots in the arm in late

another leadership change because of a death

being known to site consultants.

2017 and into mid-2018 with new industry

and modified its operating mindset.

announcements involving more than 1,000 jobs at a minimum.

“It was the day after we announced

The end result is that a much-anticipated

the CSX intermodal terminal,” Tolson told

CSX intermodal facility is under construction

Welcome to Tarboro magazine. “Our calls

In December 2017, Gov. Roy Cooper

in Edgecombe County across from N.C.

went up 100 percent after we made that

joined with officials of the Carolina Gateways

Wesleyan College, and even though its

announcement. We were on the economic

Patnership to announce a pair of new industries

footprint is smaller than once expected, state

development map.”

— Chinese tire manufacturer Triangle Tire and

transportation officials believe it will have an

New York-based manufacturer Corning.

indirect impact of up to 1,300 jobs.

The third was more on-again, off-again


Carolina Gateways CEO Norris Tolson calls

At the time of the magazine story, the CSX project was still in limbo, although Tolson said he was convinced CSX would develop the site

sooner rather than later, which they are now doing.

although comments made in the public session

Edgecombe County Manager Eric Evans said he

of a recent Edgecombe County commissioners

thinks the three announcements bode well for his

meeting indicated that might be, at least at the

county and the region.

time, a fluid target.

“They certainly position us to where we can

Triangle will produce both passenger tires as well as commercial tires at the facility, which will

begin to turn the corner,” he said. The Triangle facility, according to Cooper,

be built in two phases.


Construction on the first plant which will make

investment in rural North Carolina in history. It is

tires for passenger vehicles, is scheduled to get

the first venture outside China for Triangle, and

underway soon and be fully operational next year.

suppliers are expected to follow and locate in the

The facility is anticipated to create 800 jobs and




area, much as with auto plants.

pay at Triangle is expected to be $56,450 — almost

The numbers are mind-boggling.

$24,000 more than the Edgecombe County

Triangle represents an investment of more

average. An additional 400 jobs are projected at

than $800 million, while Corning’s comes in at

yet-to-be-named associated industries.

$86 million. The CSX project, which is expected to

CSX is another 2020 — or later — project and

impact the entire region, represents an investment

even though its footprint is about half — 330 acres

of nearly $160 million.

versus 715 — of what was originally announced, it

Corning is expected to be operational by the end

is coming.

of the year and projects 111 jobs. The huge facility

Just prior to the site groundbreaking, Rocky

sits on a 150-acre site alongside U.S. 64 Alternate

Mount Area Chamber of Commerce President

near its intersection with New Hope Church Road

David Farris told the Telegram he is excited about

across from what once was Midway Trailer Park.

the CSX facility because “it’s going to bring in a lot

Corning is also building a manufacturing facility in

more industry because of the shipping availability


from not only Nash and Edgecombe, but probably

Pay at Corning is expected to be in the $35,000 per year range, which is about $3,000 above the Edgecombe County average.

a 50- or 60-mile radius, which lifts us all up economically. “This is going to give us a different kind of boost

The Triangle Tire project is located between US

than a plant coming in with 500 or a thousand

64 Alternate and the CSX rail line and, because of

or 2,000 employees. This is going to provide

heavily forested areas, is more difficult to view.

opportunities for those plants where it makes

Triangle is expected to be operational in 2020,

The facility is anticipated to create 800 jobs and pay at Triangle is expected to be $56,450 — almost $24,000 more than the Edgecombe County average. An additional 400 jobs are projected at yetto-be-named associated industries.

sense to come here.”


JUKEBOX heroes By Spencer Carney

Walking through the door, it feels like

machines to slot machines to game machines,

and new veneer. The older boxes have

the universe has gone back in time: pinball

their biggest industry is servicing ATMs, with

entire panels of wood. Most are beautifully

machines line one wall, vintage, refurbished

revitalizing jukeboxes as a close second.

decorated, with neon lights, bright colors and some with mosaics.

jukeboxes line another and hanging up above

“The ATMs are convenient to service

are dozens of neon signs advertising Wurlitzer

because in a lot of places we also go to their

The jukeboxes play different sized records

Jukeboxes and Margaritaville.

locations to service the games, and we can

depending on the years they were produced:

just check the ATMs at the same time,” Thorpe

in the 30s and 40s, they played 78s, which


said. “I love working on the jukeboxes though

are the big classic vinyls. From 1952-1986,

rebuilding classic jukeboxes is a large part of

and have some in my office that I just couldn’t

jukeboxes were made to play smaller records,

what they do. Opened in 1936, the shop has

let go of.”

called 45s. In 1986, the cd jukebox came out

Thorpe Music Co. isn’t just about music, although



now passed hands onto the third generation.

There are a variety of jukeboxes available in

and stayed popular until about 2008, at

“My son technically owns it now,” said

the music shop, located in the same building

which time entirely electronic jukeboxes were

Jimmy Thorpe, the previous owner. “I just like

as the Mini Putt in Rocky Mount. Thorpe Music

made to download songs and can be accessed

to come back and work for the fun of it.”

Co. rebuilds the machines from the inside

through apps on customers’ phones.

While the primary purpose of the

out, fixing the wiring, replacing parts and then

“The demand for the electronic ones has

company is to service machines, from vending

cleaning up the outside with fresh chrome

really picked up,” said Glenn Cockrell, a service


representative with Thorpe Music Co. “We still do a lot of restoration on the old jukeboxes and want to keep doing that for as long as we can. We really are aware of how the business has really changed and how much we have to adapt.” Cockrell said that many of their electronic jukeboxes go to places such as restaurants, banks and game centers, while private collectors and other individuals enjoy the vintage boxes for their homes and collections. He added that with vinyl records making a comeback, they’ve seen slightly more interest from younger buyers and hope to

I think one day they will appreciate them though, how beautiful and unique these machines are, and they’ll understand why so many older people like me still love them. - Jimmy Thorpe, Thorpe Music Co.

see the trend continue. “For the most part, a lot of the people that we see come in for the classic pinball machines and jukeboxes are older people. A lot of the younger ones didn’t grow up playing on these machines and prefer the ticket games — they just don’t have that same appreciation for the classic games,” Thorpe said. “I think one day they will appreciate them though, how beautiful and unique these machines are, and they’ll understand why so many older people like me still love them.”


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FESTIVALS and FUN By Jessie H. Nunery

Twin Counties residents have a variety of festival options stretching across U.S. 64 throughout the year. For the past 23 years, downtown Nashville

rides and games, food and beverage vendors

longest-running festival in either county and

and more.

celebrated its 47th year in 2019. Sponsored

The event is sponsored by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce.

has kicked off the fun each May with its annual

Another county seat, Tarboro, continues

Blooming Festival. The event brings together

the fun later in May with its one-day

area residents for two days of fun that includes

Happening on the Common event.

live music performances, amusement park


Happening on the Common is the second-

by local entities including the Town of Tarboro, the event includes arts and crafts and inflatables for children, food and alcohol vendors and live music. Tarboro’s Town Common was established in 1760 by the legislative act that created the

colonial town of Tarboro.

cash prizes and trophies throughout different

Downtown Rocky Mount is the place to

categories recognized by the Kansas City

be during the first weekend in June during the

Barbecue Society.

city’s Juneteenth Community Empowerment Festival. The weekend has brought national recording acts including Avant, Dru Hill and Vivian Green to Rocky Mount in recent years. During the two-day event, students who achieve A/B honor roll status also are honored, local food trucks and vendors are available for purchases and keynote speakers highlight a festival designed around fun while

“More than $20,000 was awarded to event takes place on the lawn of the Helen P. Gay Rocky Mount Historic Train station and brings in some of the top grillmasters in the state and beyond. The two-day event, which will celebrate its 12th year in 2019, features live musical acts, food and item vendors, a game and play area for children and a ropes course and

teams in the 2018 Throw Down,” Rocky Mount Special Events Coordinator Kayla Hillman said. “Our main focus is that people of all ages can come out and have a good time. We hope that everyone will come check out what downtown Rocky Mount has to offer.” Nash County celebrates its harvest season the first weekend each October with the

celebrating “Juneteenth,” a holiday that was

information area sponsored by Rocky Mount

Spring Hope National Pumpkin Festival.

first celebrated in 1980 in Texas as recognition

Public Utilities.

The two-day event includes a parade, local

for the emancipation of slavery.

The highlight of the event is the barbecue,

Rocky Mount also is the home to the annual

chicken and pork tastings, where for a small

Eastern Carolina BBQ Throw Down Festival

fee, attendees can sample the food of the

during the second weekend of October. The

contest participants. The winners are awarded

vendors, a pumpkin recipe contest, pageants and more. The event takes place in downtown Spring Hope and will enter its 48th year in 2019.

Our main focus is that people of all ages can come out and have a good time. We hope that everyone will come check out what downtown Rocky Mount has to offer. - Kayla Hillman, Rocky Mount Special Events Coordinator 35

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GOLDEN MILE makeover By William F. West

Motorists having to maneuver through

be done next spring.”

the construction work zone on Wesleyan

Barksdale said there will be lane closures

Boulevard from May Drive to Benvenue Road

for a week here and a week there to complete

will get relief by the end of the year.

the last part of the project.

Crews have been working to widen about two miles of the heavily commercial stretch of

Wesleyan is quite a busy segment between May and Benvenue.

Wesleyan from four lanes to six lanes and to

State Transportation Department data

put in a “superstreet” type of thoroughfare, all

shows the average daily traffic count at

at a cost of about $28 million.

34,000 in the area of Stoney Creek and at

“We think we’ll have everything in the final

36,000 just north of the junction of U.S. 64.

a two-lane bypass of downtown but with an overpass and interchange for Sunset Avenue. The




improvement project began in July 2017, with the contract awarded to PLT Construction of Wilson. The project included replacing the Sunset Avenue overpass with a more modern structure. As a result of the superstreet design, major changes to Wesleyan are taking place.

traffic pattern by the end of 2019,” weather

The data shows the count at 23,000

Specifically, motorists at the intersection

permitting, state Transportation Department

just south of the Wesleyan interchange with

of Sutters Creek Boulevard and at the

spokesman Andrew Barksdale said of the


intersection of Ring Road and Independence

progress of the project. “But the final layer of

Wesleyan, which is signed as U.S. 301, was

asphalt and pavement markings will probably

opened to traffic in October 1955, originally as


Drive no longer will be able to cross Wesleyan or turn left onto Wesleyan.

Instead, motorists will have to turn right to

Patrol car north on Wesleyan when a woman

Overall, he said although he only comes to

drive to areas of Wesleyan built for U-turns if

driving a sedan exited the Golden Corral

the Wesleyan corridor once or twice a week,

they want to get to the opposite sides of the

parking lot and pulled out in front of the

“I’d hate if I had to drive it every day.”

intersections of Sutters Creek and Ring and

patrol car. The trooper tried evasive action by


moving to the left.

The U-turn for southbound traffic is open

The woman, Maurilia Solis Leon, died at the

in the immediate area of 2.75 Cleaners and

scene. The trooper, A.S. Samuel, subsequently

the Golden Corral restaurant. The U-turn for

was cleared of any wrongdoing.

northbound traffic will be just past the exit for Benvenue. Proponents of the superstreet design

Tulloss emphasized the safety factor is the main point in converting Wesleyan into a superstreet.

He said he will be glad when the project is complete, noting, “There’s traffic barrels and traffic jams all over the place.” Barbara Williams, a retiree who is a resident of Wilson County, was quick to express her dislike of the construction work. “It’s just too much. It’s too confusing,” she said.

have said the purpose of having such a type

“And plus we are looking ahead, not for

Williams said she believes drivers can

of thoroughfare is to keep traffic continually

next year or five years,” he said. “We’re looking

become quite befuddled in the construction


ahead for the next 15-20 years.”

zone if he or she is not familiar with the roads.

State Transportation Division 4 board

Trent Coleman, 48, lives in rural Nash

“And imagine what it’s doing to seniors like

member Gus Tulloss said the project will be

County and owns the Corner Coffee Cafe in

us,” she said. “I used to live over here, so I kind

well worth the wait and that Wesleyan will be

downtown Nashville.

of knew what it was like before they started

much safer. Tulloss emphasized the past data for Wesleyan, which showed there were 233

Coleman said the traffic situation is not too bad after he turns off U.S. 64 onto southbound Wesleyan to go shop at Sam’s Club.

wrecks, 103 injuries and one fatality on the

Coleman said Wesleyan north of U.S. 64,

corridor. The data was for a five-year period

however, is inconvenient, namely when he

leading up to 2015.

exits the Cook Out restaurant or from the

“It was just a dangerous, dangerous highway,” Tulloss said. Tulloss remembered the March 2012 crash in the immediate area of the Golden Corral. A state trooper was driving a Highway

direction of Sutters Creek Plaza because he cannot hook the left onto Wesleyan. “That’s kind of a problem,” Coleman said. “There’s a lot of traffic. The wait times for the lights are really bad.”

working on it.” She said when she began seeing the barrels, the scene was quite a shock to her at first. “I’ve gotten kind of used to it, but I still don’t like it,” she said. Tulloss





grumbling from local residents about having to deal with the construction work zone. He was quick to note more than a few business people along Winstead Avenue felt they were inconvenienced earlier this decade.

Proponents of the superstreet design have said the purpose of having such a type of thoroughfare is to keep traffic continually flowing.

That was when crews widened Winstead to four lanes from just before the traffic signal at Hunter Hill Road to U.S. 64 and transformed Winstead into a divided six-lane thoroughfare from U.S. 64 to Sunset. Today, he said of the improved Winstead, “Everybody loves it.” To see a computer visualization of the









HOMEGROWN restaurants By Jenny White

The Twin Counties may be home to several

operated by Nash County native and

end one day,” Deloach said. “I want to put

small towns and communities — but our local

basketball great Moe Deloatch, Moe’s offers

myself in a position to come home and have

restaurant owners and operators think big

a menu full of some of the South’s staple

something to do, which is one of the things

when it comes to offering savory selections.

meals like country-fried steak, fried fish and

I thought about. My family loves to cook and

Whether you’re looking for a white

fried chicken. Locals love the chicken wings

this is what we decided to do. Being that

tablecloth experience or a basket full of wings,

and creative cocktails. Meals are moderately

downtown area is coming up, we want to help

the Twin Counties is home to some of the best

priced and typically ready in a short amount

in the development of it.”

dining experiences in the state.

of time.

Here’s a sampling of some of the area’s

The 2,200-square-foot restaurant can restaurant

seat 46 people and has a bar area in the rear.

eateries, that are sure to get your taste buds

management duties with his family, who

The restaurant is typically open for lunch and


he says loves to cook. When he opened the

dinner, Monday through Saturday.

Moe and D’s Restaurant Grill and Bar is located at 123 S. Church Street, connected to the Bel Air Artisan Center. Owned and





restaurant in 2017 he said he was confident in the future of a downtown restaurant. “I know basketball is going to come to an

Also located downtown is The Prime Smokehouse. Since its opening in 2013, it’s drawn patrons from across the state to

sample the Southern, upscale offerings from owners Ed Wiley and Yalem Kios and longtime business partner, Harold Worrell Jr. Wiley and Kios closed their north Raleigh restaurant to open up shop in the revitalized downtown area and have been a culinary gift to locals and visitors alike since they arrived. Wiley said he learned the best recipes from his father’s catering business while growing up and perfected them over the years with his own catering and restaurant businesses. “My father fried the best chicken, made the ooziest baked macaroni and cheese, and collard greens and ham hocks to die for,” Wiley said on the restaurant’s website. His father, who was from Texas, was known for his barbecue.






addition to the locally sourced menu items,

cooking restaurant in 1974. Today the family

On the Square is also a favorite local spot for

business has ballooned to a giant catering

sushi. Inez is world-renowned for her wine

and entertainment business, but the Abram’s

sommelier skills. Rest assured, you’ll find the

“The meat would slow-smoke and tease

restaurant has stayed true to its roots and

perfect wine pairing to go with your exquisite

us for half a day before, in my father’s eyes,

concentrates on offering excellent fried

and delicious food. We recommend the pan-

it had reached the perfect level of smokiness,

chicken, ribs and barbecue.

seared sea bass or the char-grilled ribeye.

tenderness and overall deliciousness,” Wiley said. While the barbecue is the star of the show at Prime Smokehouse, equally worthy of top

With locations in Tarboro and Pinetops, we highly suggest you make sure to put one of Abram’s locations on your list — and try the cheese biscuit. It’s worth a trip, just for one.

The restaurant is located at 115 E. James Street in Tarboro. With the burgeoning growth of the Rocky Mount Mills located on Fall Road, visitors and

billing is the sweet potato pie, the macaroni

Also located in Tarboro is On the Square, a

residents can find an ever-expanding array of

and cheese and the always fresh collard

small whitecloth table restaurant owned and

restaurants to choose from, as well as frequent


operated by Tarboro couple Stephen and Inez

food truck visitors in the evenings.

Prime Smokehouse is located at 207 E. Thomas St. If you’re over in Edgecombe county, looking for some culinary treats, make sure you stop

Ribustello. The restaurant offers American

Tap@1918 offers a pub-style eatery. Owner

cuisine and has an always changing seasonal

Lou Reda said Tap@1918 is meant to be a cool

menu that keeps up with the plentiful

place people can hang out, drink a few beers,

agricultural offerings from the area.

eat some burgers and watch sports on the big

at Abram’s. In North Carolina it’s the unofficial

Inez grew up in Tarboro and returned in

home of The Cheese Biscuit and Abrams has

2002 with her husband Stephen, after a

“We want you to come here for a drink or

made many friends over the years with their

stint living in New York city. They started a

cocktail — we have 20 beers on tap and then

down home southern cooking.

family and opened the restaurant in 2007. In

have some great food to eat.”

screen TVs.

Whether you’re looking for a white tablecloth experience or a basket full of wings, the Twin

Counties is home to some of the best dining experiences in the state.


The 3,500-square-foot mill house where

a big deal to get my product out further, and

features live music and has an expansive

Tap@1918 is located features seating for 160

definitely the Mills is on the verge of blowing

menu. Offerings range from hamburgers,

people with 56 seats on the porch and 30 on


gourmet salads, chicken salad sandwiches and

the outside patio.

Another great spot to enjoy a brew and

homemade soups and desserts.

Also located at the Rocky Mount Mills

a hamburger is Westridge Grill, located in

Westridge Shopping Center is also home

is Tipsy Tomato and its gourmet, freshly

the Westridge Shopping Center on Sunset

to Mario’s Pizza, Pitstop Shoppe, which offers

made pizzas via a wood-burning oven, and

Avenue. This family friendly restaurant and

fast food and frozen yogurt, Subway, Gardner’s

TBC West where you can get tacos and

bar has a large outdoor patio, frequently

BBQ, Golden Wok and Honey Baked Ham.

southwestern fare to go with your craft brews. Angelo Carlone, owner and chef at Tipsy Tomato, said he loves the family-friendly atmosphere associated with the Rocky Mount Mills, as weekends are filled with people throughout the campus enjoying craft beer and engaging in other activities that the Mills hosts during the year. “I feel like the community support here at the Mills is through the roof, and it’s only going to grow,” he said. “Eventually, you’re going to see out-of-town consumers come here, so that will allow me to have my product reach people that aren’t from here. That’s going to be

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HEALTH care By Jenny White

Having two robust and growing health care

As many small community health care

facilities in the Twin Counties is a testament to

entities struggle to stay open, Nash UNC

health care needs,” Batts wrote. “We are

the small-town values and relationships in the

Health Care in Nash County not only thrives,

focused on solidifying and building upon our

Twin Counties.

but continues to grow.

improvements through this strategic plan and






Vidant Edgecombe Hospital is located in

Jeffrey Batts, chairman of the Board

Tarboro and Nash UNC Health Care is located

of Commissioners for Nash UNC Health

in Rocky Mount.

Care, recently wrote in a letter to the editor,

Some of the most recent accomplishments

Local governments, partnerships with

published in the Rocky Mount Telegram, that

and milestones at Nash UNC Health Care

Vidant Medical and UNC Hospitals and the

the community can count on their health


local residents that make up the impressive

care system to continue to offer top-notch

employment pool that staff the two health


remaining well-positioned as the health care environment continues to change.”

• Via a partnership with medical staff, Nash UNC Health Care has implemented new

care centers are the backbone that keep

“Our Board of Commissioners recently

protocols and improved processes have led

community health a top priority in the Twin

approved a strategic plan that defines

to significant improvement in quality of care


our organization’s short- and long-term

measures. Care measures for sepsis, heart


attack and strokes have improved impressively in recent years, and Nash UNC receives national recognitions for work in those areas. • The Nash UNC Emergency Department is one of the busiest in the state with almost 70,000 patient visits a year. Nash UNC has instituted a

Twin Counties residents have learned you don’t have

number of new processes to keep patients and their family members comfortable and better informed throughout their time in the Emergency Department. Statistics show a reduced door to provider wait time of an average of 22 minutes — well under the national benchmark of 30 minutes,

to travel out of town for cutting edge health care.

and much improved from the 60 minutes average just 18 months ago. Patient experience surveys show that Nash UNC’s hard work is making a difference and patients are noticing and commending the changes. • The Danny Tolbert Comprehensive Cancer Center offers high quality, industry leading cancer diagnosis and treatment plans at a local facility, cutting back on the stress and cost of travelling to the Triangle area for care. Medical staff at the cancer center work in tandem with the worldrenowned UNC Cancer Center, offering Twin Counties patients access to the experience and cutting-edge knowledge and technology other cancer patients travel hundreds of miles to get to. • Nash UNC Health Care has also added a pediatric emergency department, Women’s Health Center, Special Care Nursery and a cardiac care unit in the last few years as well. Vidant




compassionate care for residents of Tarboro and surrounding communities. The highly trained staff at the acute-care facility represents more than 20 medical specialties, according to hospital officials. The hospital specializes in comprehensive rehabilitation services, cancer care, birthing and outpatient clinics. The hospital has a long history of community involvement, including health fairs, screenings and annual events like Pink Power and Heart Truth. Twin Counties residents have learned you don’t have to travel out of town for cutting edge health care. Partnerships with medical schools, researchers and metropolitan facilities in the Triangle area bring the best health care available to our very own neighborhood.


HOMES away from HOME By Jessie H. Nunery Location





Travelers from the west might soon have

Complex, which holds baseball, softball

components of the Twin Counties — and in

an option in Nashville, where in the first

and soccer tournaments more than 30

2019, the area hotel industry is a hot spot for

quarter of 2019, interest in developing an 85-

weekends each year, or the new Rocky Mount


room hotel at Nash Crossing was reported.

Event Center, which has been booming

Whether it’s well-known hotel chains like

There is opportunity in Nashville as it sits

with weekend volleyball, basketball and

Hilton unique, tiny houses at the Rocky Mount

directly within a path of travelers from the

gymnastics tournaments since its opening in

Mills or a national brand coming to downtown

west and the I-95 corridor that runs north and

October 2018, out-of-towners need a place

Rocky Mount, people visiting the area will


to rest their heads in the Twin Counties.

have a wealth of options for years to come.


Whether it’s the Rocky Mount Sports

During the past year, a Homewood Suites

has opened near the U.S. 64 and Interstate 95 interchange, while plans for a Tru Hotel and avid hotel in the same area are in the process of being approved and reviewed. Five-story hotels aren’t the only types of overnight stays offered. The development of Rocky Mount Mills has lent to the 2019 opening of River & Twine, a collection of 20

We’re exceeding expectations. Now people can stay in Rocky Mount, hang out at the Mills and make a weekend out of it. - Ryan Holloman, General Manager, River and Twine

tiny-home style loft stays that are unique in size, look and location. “We’re exceeding expectations,” general manager Ryan Holloman said. “Now people can stay in Rocky Mount, hang out at the Mills and make a weekend out of it.” A tier-one SpringHill Suites is in the process of approval through the Local Government Commission as developer David Hunt of Hunt Services will help bring the hotel, residential and commercial areas and a parking garage to downtown Rocky Mount. A saying in a well-known baseball movie states, “If you build it, they will come.” Well, in the Twin Counties, both are ringing true.

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MORE than MUSIC By Spencer Carney

Before every lesson, music teacher Linda Ripke starts with a prayer. Once the lesson is over, she takes a few minutes to ask about events in the student’s

that a good strong character trait that was

asked me to teach them guitar, and so I said

impressed on me was whatever, but I want

ok, and then a lady wanted me to teach piano,

them to be able to say that they learned it

and the next thing you know I have people on

because of me.”

the waiting list and it really just grew.”

life, writes her notes and a bible verse in the

Ripke first began learning music as a child

She said that her favorite instruments to

student’s lesson journal, then the student

by teaching herself how to play by ear. She

teach are the mountain dulcimer, which she

gets a piece of candy and a hug from her,

later took lessons wanting to learn how to

finds very soothing and relaxing, and the

regardless of whether they’re young or old.

properly play the instruments, and eventually

banjo for its sense of spirit and fun. She also

found that her lessons were important for her

teaches and can play guitar, piano, ukulele,

to be able to teach other people to play music

psaltry, Native American flute, harmonica, the

properly. Before teaching, she worked with

hammered dulcimer, mandolin and is trying

Aflac insurance.

to learn the cello.

For Ripke, her teaching is more than just learning music. “To me, it’s a ministry,” she said. “I want to be instrumental in people’s lives. I want to teach, but I want to make a difference for

“The teaching just came around by

“I just think that she’s a really great teacher,”

them. I want them to be able to say later

accident!” she laughed. “A couple of people

said Jeff Williams, 58, one of Ripke’s students.


She always talks about how her playing skills have kind of dropped cause she doesn’t have a lot of time to play, since she’s always spending time on her students, but when I’ve heard her play she’s been amazing.” Williams has been taking guitar lessons with Ripke for three years. He said that he had originally looked at a teacher in Wilson when Ripke was recommended to him; he stopped in to talk to her and asked if he could take lessons, and she said she had a spot open. “It really just went from there,” he said. “Just the interaction that we have, she’s so well rounded. She’s not only concerned about your progression, or your music and everything, but she’s also concerned about your soul. It’s really Christian based, you as a whole, your spiritual being, your well being and everything, and she focuses on all of that when she teaches.” Another student Gail Clayton, 71, said that her favorite thing about taking lessons with Ripke was how encouraging she was. “She would never say that anybody’s too old to learn,” said Clayton. “And if you feel like you’re not doing too well, not making progress, she’s the first one to tell you that it’s not true, that you are making progress.” Clayton lives in Raleigh, and said that while she enjoyed

She’s not only concerned about your progression, or your music and everything, but she’s also concerned about your soul. - Jeff Williams, Student

learning banjo and dulcimer with Ripke, it was hard to fit in the time to travel to Rocky Mount for lessons, and sadly had to find a teacher closer to home. “I miss her, she’s a good friend now as well as having been my music teacher, and I miss that I don’t see her every week like I did before,” she said. “If I’m passing through then I stop in and speak to her but I’ll always think of her as a good friend and a good prayer partner as well.” Ava Moore, 14, said she started taking piano lessons with Ripke six and a half years ago. “I always saw the sign in her driveway when we drove past, and I asked my mom how would you feel about me taking piano lessons?” Moore said. “I like taking lessons with Mrs. Ripke because she always pushes me to try my hardest, and she challenges me and I get to play a lot of the music that I like and hear on the radio.” While she came about teaching music by accident, Ripke said that her students have made it enjoyable for her. Ripke said, “My favorite part about teaching music is the people, and the relationship that I have with my students, watching them learn and watching them grow. I’ve had students quit playing music, but come back just to talk to me, and students grow up and come back to see me. I love my students, and want them to know that.”


NASH in BLOOM By Jenny White

One Nash County location perfect for

Garden, Pollinator Garden, Terraced Garden,

admiring the landscape is the Nash County

Patriot Garden, 4-H Garden, Screening

“I see our arboretum as a virtual outdoor


favorite places anywhere.

Garden, Tranquility Garden, Holly Garden and

museum and classroom featuring ‘mother

Located in front of and around the Nash

Homestead Garden that’s located behind the

nature’ at her best,” Moore said. “There is

County Agriculture Center on Eastern Avenue

Agriculture Center beside a historic log cabin

always something in motion in the gardens,

in Nashville, the arboretum is a living mural of

that has been moved to the property.

whether it be the flitting of busy pollinators,

the plants and trees found in eastern North Carolina.

While the gardens are beautiful to walk

the wafting of floral aromas, something

through and enjoy, Stevens said they’re also

budding or blooming, the forming of new

Nash County Extension Agent Matt

educational. “People in the community can

leaves and twigs — and yes, even weeds

Stevens is the official superintendent of

come and see options for their gardens at

popping up.”

the arboretum, but Nash County Extension

their homes. If you’ve got a shady spot where

Master Gardener Linda Tippette said

Master Gardeners conceptualized it in 2000

you can’t get anything to grow, our Woodland

her favorite garden to visit is the Tranquility

and have provided the ideas and manpower

Garden can offer up some ideas. We try to

Garden but she spends most of her time

to nurture and grow it since then.

show the community the diversity of plants

planning and working in the Homestead

you can plant in our area that are proven to

Project and Garden area.

“Today there are 11 demonstration gardens in the arboretum and what you can see in each garden changes through the seasons and over the years,” Stevens said. The


Self-guided tours are offered every day, sunrise to sunset.


Master Gardener Sue Battle Moore of

the Rose Garden, Woodland Garden, Rain

Rocky Mount says the arboretum is one of her



work well with our climate,” Stevens said.

“I’ve learned a lot from seeing the gardens here at the Arboretum and have applied what I’ve learned to my gardens at home,” she said. “That’s the beauty of the arboretum — you can learn and enjoy at the same time.”

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SHOP til you DROP By Spencer Carney

At first glance, Rocky Mount might seem like everything is obvious: there’s a Walmart, and a mall, a Target, the library and the museum. It’s not hard to get around, and for residents who’ve lived here for a while it may seem like there are no surprises left in Rocky Mount, at least in terms of shopping.


The following list presented is 10 local gems, places that may be new in town or have been here for years, places that new residents might not know about yet or maybe long-time residents have forgotten. This list is not exhaustive of all of the unique shopping places in Rocky Mount, and readers are encouraged to see what other noteworthy shops they can find.

Station Square Records Next to the Bin & Barrel wine bar is Station Square Records, a music store offering a wide variety of vinyl records. Arranged in categories

The Bath Place What started as a project to help a family member suffering from eczema quickly

such as Psychedelic Rock, Chicago Blues and

turned into a passion for The Bath Place

Smooth Jazz, around 100 records are available

owner Kimberly Thigpen. She learned that

for purchase. The shop also has dozens of

shea butter worked well for it and began

books for sale, ranging from children’s books to adult fiction and nonfiction.

researching ways to incorporate shea butter

Located off the courtyard at Station Square, the wine bar offers a couple hundred different labels that rotate constantly




preferences and the time of year. They host a tasting night every other Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m., serving anywhere from four to five wines by the glass available

into soap. Thigpen now produces a variety

for purchase at a discount price, as well as

of natural products, including lotions, bath

offering small share plates such as cheese,

bombs and lip balm, in addition to her soaps.

Smith’s Red & White

Bin & Barrel

flatbreads and charcuterie. Bin & Barrel also hosts wine dinners four

All items are made fresh onsite in the Main

to five times per year. Labels in the store

Street shop and contain no animal products in

cover many of the major wine regions,

their ingredients, with the exception of the lip balm which uses beeswax. In addition to her

including France, Italy, Spain, Argentina and many places in the U.S., in addition to several local North Carolina wines.

In 1954, Smith’s grocery began in the corner

store, Thigpen’s products are available online

For people who would like to try more

of a feed and fertilizer store located in the

and in a few other locations, such as the

wines but don’t have the time to attend

old Dortches School House. Ten years later, the business moved to a new building and expanded to include general merchandise, gas and pork processing. In 1992, a brand

Imperial Center, as well as a few Whole Food grocery stores.

a tasting or event, Bin & Barrel offers a customizable Wine Club where members can receive their choice assortment on a quarterly basis.

new store allowed for 20,000 square feet of space for the business that had become a fullfledged grocery by then. Finally, Smith’s Red & White Restaurant opened in the spring of 2010, serving the same food sold by the store. Walking through the front door feels like a trip back in time. A hanging message board holds posters advertising quail eggs and motorcycles and housekeeping. Lining the wall just inside the door are buckets of candy, everything from old fashioned lemon drops and horehound to bubble gum and saltwater taffy. An electric toy train runs over aisles stocked with traditional grocery store items, in addition to products made for Smith’s Red & White, such as pickles, chow chow and a variety of jams. The biggest specialty of the grocery store, however, is their meats. Whole country hams, barbecue, ribs, hamburger and sausage are cut and made fresh daily; they make over 10,000 pounds of sausage per week and 25,000 pounds per week during the holidays.


Muttley Crew Big-name pet stores have nothing on this pet place-to-be. Presenting a diverse selection of dog treats, bow ties, bandanas, collars, dog and cat toys, dog food, scoop-your-own treats and dog-friendly birthday cakes, this store has everything a pet could ever want. Four pet-focused bakeries provide the treats; one does

Patios In Bloom

The Gift Shop at the Imperial Centre While not an independent store, the gift shop at the Imperial Centre should not be overlooked. Stocked with locally made pottery, jewelry, small oil paintings, children’s science activities and Rocky Mount-themed gifts such as cards, coasters and magnets, in addition to Imperial Centre T-shirts. If all of that doesn’t sound interesting enough, the shop also features a 300-year-old weaving loom for visitors to see.

This store is perfect for anyone looking for a unique gift. The store is outdoor oriented, selling patio furniture, oversized flower pots, grills and accessories, garden decorations, birdhouses and flags, and offers a stunning selection of wind chimes.

the cakes, one does dog-friendly donuts and two make dog-friendly cookies, decorated according to the season. All four bakeries are registered and able to provide nutrition information, including ingredients used and a breakdown of calories, carbohydrates, etc.

Southern Fireflies

A clothing store for women of all ages,

The pet store has a self-dog-wash, for people to come in and bathe their dogs, a pet playroom and a toy repair station with squeakers and fluff to repair that favorite toy. Muttley Crew hosts several events throughout the year, including K-9 trick or treating along Westridge Shopping Center and adoption events in partnership with local rescues.

The Yellow Tulip

Coming up on the celebration of their first year in their new location, Southern Fireflies hosts over 20 local vendors. Some are clothing boutiques, some make goats milk soaps and lotions, chalk painted furniture, jewelry, hemp products, soy candles and antiques, the store makes itself accessible as a one stop shop for gift finding or personal investment.

The Yellow Tulip sells everything from dresses and skirts to jumpsuits and rompers to purses and shoes and jewelry, at an affordable price. The store works to provide unique, attractive pieces that are different than styles typically seen in many department stores, and looks to supply each customer with a pride in their individuality.

Alayna’s Boutique Attached to Kendall’s Hallmark, Alayna’s Boutique sells gifts such as Pandora beads, Brighton jewelry, Vera Bradley bags and has a section for women’s clothing and shoes. A great option for birthday gifts or Mother’s Day presents, employees can expertly wrap any presents while customers get a card from the other side of the store, Kendall’s Hallmark.


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STONEWALL villas By William F. West

Work has started on a future upscale residential



Ingram Construction of Rocky Mount is


the developer for the project, which Allen

downtown — and a real estate broker for the

estimates is going to take approximately four

project cites a need for such housing in a tight

to five years to complete.

market in Rocky Mount.

Allen said another key feature of the future Stonewall Villas is the location. The development is going to be on the northwest side of the Tar River from the

“It’s all in the Lord’s hands,” Allen said with

Rocky Mount Mills development, close to

Crews are constructing a street at what is

a smile and a laugh of the finishing time. “He

many restaurants and stores, just off an

going to be Stonewall Villas. The housing is

has control of the weather and what happens.”

expressway-like U.S. 64 and less than 10

going to be built to the west and northwest of

Allen said an important feature of the

the upscale River Falls at Stonewall residential

development is each home at Stonewall

“It’s kind of an anchor,” Allen said. “The

area and to the west and southwest of the

Villas is going to have built-in fire suppression

location is the center of Rocky Mount on the

historic Stonewall Manor.

systems, which is going to be a first for a


Real estate broker Michael Allen said

neighborhood in Rocky Mount.

minutes southeast of Interstate 95.

As for the clientele who would be

Stonewall Villas is going to be a four-phase

Allen also said a homeowners association

interested in a home in Stonewall Villas, he

project with a total of 71 homes, with a

is going to be in place to take care of mowing

said, “We’re hoping it appeals to people that

minimum of 1,700 square feet and with prices

the lawns and maintaining the landscaping, so

want to come be in the middle of the activity

starting at approximately $275,000.

there is not going to be any worries about the

that’s going on in Rocky Mount that don’t want

grass and shrubbery.

to rent.”

“There’s nothing like this one,” Allen said.


He said Phase I is going to be the scene

Allen said by approximately 2015, the number

of 11 lots, with Lot 1 to be the site of a model

was at approximately 900 and started rapidly

home to showcase some of the finishes and


some of the products to be featured in the homes. The homes can be built in bungalow or craftsman styles and a prospect can choose between having a one- or two-story residence constructed. Allen said a prospect is going to be asked

He said the reason is demand has

industries. Allen said his check of data showed 321 houses on the market in Edgecombe and Nash counties.

increased since the 2007-08 burst of the

Allen said if one removes the extremes

housing bubble nationwide and the financial

in prices, one is left with approximately 220

collapse on Wall Street.

houses in the affordability range of those

“So without the new construction to

securing those future jobs. And he said such a

absorb the demand, the inventory just went

situation is occurring while the rental market is

away,” he said.

already quite tight.

to put down a refundable deposit and, if he

Overall, Allen said the demand in the real

or she wants to move forward, he or she can

estate market in the Rocky Mount area now is

meet with Ingram Construction on a plan and

the best since his father and business partner,

He is particularly concerned because

a price. Allen said CresCom Bank can offer

Bob Allen, entered the real estate business in

another large business or industrial prospect

financing programs.

the early 1970s.

interested in locating in the Rocky Mount area

“We need all the new construction we can get,” he said.

Allen said a limited number of the

“Do we see anything that’s going to slow

residences are going to built as “specs,” that is,

it down? No, not in the near future. With

He made clear he is proud of everything

speculative homes, with no particular buyer in

the demand and the growth of our area and

happening and moving forward in terms of


the industry looking at our area, housing will

economic development in Edgecombe and

remain strong, whether it’s sales or rentals,”

Nash counties.

Asked why Stonewall Villas is being built, he gave the answer in one word: “Demand.” Allen, 49, has been in the real estate business since 1996.

Michael Allen said. At the same time, the son is concerned

is going to see a housing shortage.

“But our industry and the building industry could be a holdup,” he said.

about the lack of future housing, given civic

Bob Allen was one of the key investors who

Allen said through the years there would

and economic development officials having

developed River Falls at Stonewall. The father

be anywhere from 1,100-1,200 houses on

said approximately 3,500 people need to be

sold the site of the future Stonewall Villas to

the market in Edgecombe and Nash counties.

ready to go to work at expanding or future

Stephen Ingram of Ingram Construction.

It’s kind of an anchor. The location is the center of Rocky Mount on the map. - Michael Allen, Real Estate Broker 57


One of the best things about living in the Twin Counties is the year-round opportunities

those staying a while. The food options range from popcorn to ice cream and snow cones.

Another great Rocky Mount park is Battle Park. While there are no playgrounds or

to be outdoors. Whether you play sports,

One of the landmarks in Rocky Mount

moving rides for the kids, there are winding

fish, hike or just like to be outside, our area is

can be found at Sunset park — a gas powered

trails along the Tar River. The park offers a

teeming with ways for you to get physical and

miniature train. The train offers rides to 36

boat landing, three picnic shelters, fishing

enjoy the great outdoors.

passengers at a time. There’s also a vintage

piers and a gazebo with a view of the Rocky

carousel that’s been at the park since the

Mount Mills dam. Battle Park is a great place to


fish and you’ll see fishermen along the banks

With almost 100 parks in Nash County, there’s a family-friendly area near you — no matter where you are. One of the city’s most

On one recent summer day, mom Vivian

of the river throughout the park as well as at

popular is Sunset Park, which sits along the Tar

Roster had her two children and a few

the docks spread throughout the meandering

River. You’ll find a sand volleyball pit, tennis

neighborhood friends at the Sunset Park spray


courts, basketball courts, a skate park and a


kid-friendly spray park. The spray park operates from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. each day, and even has concessions for


Battle Park is part of the 7.2 mile greenway

“It’s a great way to break up a long day and

trail through Rocky Mount. Starting at Sunset

they all have fun. It keeps my toddler happy

Park, the trail goes through Battle Park,

and my 6-year old,” Roster said.

crossing the river into Stith-Talbert Park and

travels into Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.

throughout the year, but boat docks are open

Near South Church Street, a connector trail

to the public throughout the park systems in

travels north to the Rocky Mount Sports

both counties.

Complex and Athletic Stadium.

Don’t have a canoe? No worries —

Ennis Park in Red Oak is another favorite

recreation departments in Edgecombe and

recreation site. There are soccer fields,

Nash County both offer canoes for rent during

playgrounds, picnic shelters, tennis courts

their organized paddles.

and a great walking path around the park. The

Organized recreation leagues also offer an

walking trail measures .6 miles and is a great

opportunity for residents to get moving. The

place to enjoy a walk outdoors.

Twin Counties is home to many locations for

If you like a little history with your

games and tournaments. The Rocky Mount

recreation, Tarboro in Edgecombe County may

Sports Complex is a major recreation league

be the place to start your hike. Designated by

baseball and soccer site, east of Raleigh.

the U.S. Department of the Interior, Tarboro’s

The complex hosts local, state and national

National Recreation Trail begins at the Blount-

tournaments. In the summer, the Rocky

Bridgers House and provides a leisurely stroll

Mount Sports Complex is the site of the Top

or drive through one of North Carolina's

Gun World Series and brings in about $1.5

largest and most diverse historic districts.

million in tourist money to Rocky Mount.

Numerous public and private restorations are

The newest recreation site to the Twin

found along the two-mile trail with structures

Counties is the Rocky Mount Event Center.


The 165,000-square-foot space boasts eight




Victorian architectural periods.

basketball courts, 16 volleyball courts, four

Significant historic sites are the Pender

locker rooms, concessions and a large area

Museum, the Town Common, the Cotton Press

for banquet events. The Rocky Mount Event

Complex, Calvary Church and churchyard,

Center has hosted numerous basketball

and the National Main Street Program facade

tournaments and gymnastic meets so far.

improvements in historic Downtown Tarboro.

Looking for a team to play on? The Harrison

Paddling the Tar River is fun for locals

Family YMCA and city recreation leagues have

and visitors of all ages. The City of Rocky

numerous opportunities for athletes to play

Mount and Tarboro plan organized paddles

throughout the year.

Whether you play sports, fish, hike or just like to be outside, our area is teeming with ways for you to get physical and enjoy the great outdoors.


WESLEYAN going STRONG By Amelia Harper

Over the past five years, N.C. Wesleyan College has shown amazing growth.

even more in the future. “We plan to reallocate resources to

first masters level program and has already graduated students from that Master of

When former president Dewey Clark

programs and services that directly impact

assumed the helm of the college in 2014, the

and improve the experiences of our students

In anticipation of the coming of the new

traditional day student enrollment was 575.

in both our traditional and ASPIRE adult

CSX facility and other new industries like

Now, college administrators expect to see

program,” Duff said.

Corning and Triangle Tire, which will be making

almost 1,200 students attending school on campus in the fall.

Criminal Justice degree.

Over the past five year, as the school has

their homes in the Twin Counties within the

grown, new buildings have been added or

next two years, a new bachelor’s degree in

Five years ago, the college was the second-

upgraded. A new dorm has been added to the

logistics will be offered at Wesleyan in the fall.

smallest college in the state. Since then, the

campus and the cafeteria and bookstore have

The growth of local business and industry

college has advanced ten places on that list. It

been completely renovated. Two additional

also will mean the need for more highly-

has been the fastest-growing private college

buildings off campus have been donated to

trained individuals in the business field.

in the state for much of that time period.

the college as well. And plans are in place to

Wesleyan college has applied with the SACS

make additional improvements to the school’s

accreditation board to offer a second master’s

athletic facilities.

degree. Once approved, college leaders expect

Clark resigned his position in June, but interim President Evan Duff said he expects that recent changes made to the school’s

Academic changes have been made as

to launch a Master of Business Administration

organizational structure will benefit the school

well. Two years ago, the college launched its

degree on Jan. 6, 2020. According to a recent


press release from the college, this online

entertainment arts at the college will soon

program will be the only MBA program

have more job shadowing opportunities and

offered locally to the Twin Counties.

potential internships. Part of this expansion of

Based on a recent letter from Duff to

that program will involve a partnership with

alumni of the school, Wesleyan also has other

Sony Music that will provide aspiring music

plans for program expansion in mind. The

producers and songwriters a chance to gain

college is considering offering an RN-to-BSN

real world experiences in New York City, the

program that will allow registered nurses to

letter said.

obtain their bachelor’s degree. Students who are pursuing a degree in music production and

For more information about N.C. Wesleyan

Five years ago, the college was the secondsmallest college in the state. Since then, the college has advanced ten places on that list. It has been the fastestgrowing private college in the state for much of that time period.

College, go to https://ncwc.edu.


RIVER and TWINE By Spencer Carney With the renovation of the Rocky Mount Mills came a new installation on the campus: tiny homes.

overwhelming. “We have local people, DIY people who want to build their own and are looking at

Developed by Capital Broadcasting, River

ideas, groups, sporting events, wedding

& Twine’s 20 tiny houses provide an option

parties, it works well with the powerhouse,”

for people to be able to stay overnight near

he said. “People are constantly driving

the new restaurants and breweries and still

through just to see them.”

be able to easily access the rest of Rocky Mount and the nearby highway.

There are 20 houses available for rent, all named after bodies of water in North

“We were thinking of ways to have

Carolina, such as Pamlico, Tar, Scuppernong

overnight accommodations and came up

and Neuse. Pictures of the houses are

with the concept and really just went with

available at the River & Twine website.

it,” said Bryan Holloman, River & Twine manager. “The tiny houses thing has been

River & Twine also has three guest suites available in a renovated Mill house.

really popular and no one’s really done it as a

“It’s really just been a great response to

hotel, so we thought we’d just give it a shot.”

the houses,” Holloman said. “We have the

Holloman said that in the month

ability to expand, but for now we’ll see how

they’ve been open, the response has been


the 20 work and go from there.”


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Living Here 2019  

Exploring Nash and Edgecombe Counties

Living Here 2019  

Exploring Nash and Edgecombe Counties