For the 50+ Traveler
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Fayetteville, North Carolina, is home to Fort Bragg, the U.S. Army’s most populous base. Because of the military installation, Fayetteville enjoys excellent diversity for its size. It’s the largest North Carolina city on Interstate 95 and is about an hour south of Raleigh. And if you want to experience deep-dyed Americana, Fayetteville is the place for you.

In 1775, Fayetteville citizens signed the Liberty Point Resolves, a declaration of independence that predated the national Declaration of Independence by more than a year.

Numerous American cities and counties are named for Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette. In 1783, Marquis visited his namesake in North Carolina, the only namesake city to be so honored. Follow Lafayette's footsteps on the Lafayette Trail.

In 1789, North Carolina was the 12th state to ratify the United States Constitution at a Fayetteville convention. And because of Fort Bragg, Fayetteville has remained at the center of significant historical events.

Visit Fayetteville hosted me. All the opinions in this piece are my own, based on my experiences.

Things To Do In Fayetteville

Buckle your seat belt for a whirlwind tour through Fayetteville, where history, adventure, food, drinks, and shopping are all waiting for you.

Being Tarzan: ZipQuest Waterfall And Treetop Adventure

Tarzan made flying through the jungle look easy. ZipQuest will bring you as close as you’ll come to flying through the air with the grace of a chimpanzee. However, if your skills are more like George of the Jungle’s, you’ll still enjoy the adventure. I know because I emulated George a lot more than I emulated Tarzan. When I finally got the hang of flying and successfully stuck a landing, I felt like a million bucks. I can’t wait to fly again.

The Waterfall Expedition features eight tree-to-tree zip lines, three suspension bridges, three spiral staircases, and an exhilarating view of Carver’s Falls. Before you arrive, fill out the required waiver online.

How To Be Tarzan Instead Of George

Choose snug-fitting gloves. Make sure your harness fits you snugly, but not too snugly. Check your harness after every stage of your journey and ask the guides to readjust if the harness becomes ill-fitting.

To brake, rest your hand on top of the wire behind you (but never in front of you). The friction will slow you. Do not grab the wire. That will jerk you to a dead stop. That’s hard on your body and leaves you stranded on the wire. Dropping your legs will also slow you; just don’t neglect to apply friction to the wire. If you forget, you might embrace a tree.

To fly faster, fold your body into a cannonball or extend your legs into an aerodynamic plank. Cannonballing was a rush. However, flying with hands outstretched pushed me into a spin. Don’t spin. Spins cut your speed.

Pro Tip: ZipQuest offers military and group discounts.

A flower at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden in North Carolina.

Experience Natural Healing At Cape Fear Botanical Garden

Fresh air and garden surroundings comfort and soothe the spirit without any extra effort from the gardener. The aroma of freshly-turned moist earth and flowers is exquisite therapy for the soul. But Cape Fear Botanical Garden takes healing to another level. The garden does everything possible to make gardening accessible to all. Its Therapeutic Horticulture program teaches participants how to make raised garden beds and garden art, grow plants, and prepare food. The produce they raise goes to a local food bank.

In the fall, browse the delightful Mary McLaurin Camellia Garden. McLaurin donated more than 200 mature camellia plants to the botanical garden. In December, take in the Holiday Lights in the Garden show.

Enjoy a salad and a sandwich at the Garden View Cafe.

An exhibit at the U.S. Airborne and Special Operations Museum.

Honoring The Bravest Of The Brave: The U.S. Airborne And Special Operations Museum

I’ve studied World War II all my life, and I’ve always been fascinated with paratroopers. The U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum exhibits start with World War II paratroopers and continue with the lineage of airborne and special forces from World War II to the present day. Pause at the 555th Parachute Infantry exhibit. Black paratroopers jumped into forests to extinguish Japanese balloon bombs, becoming the first military smoke jumpers.

Begin your visit with the Motion Simulator theater. The theater has two special forces experiences to view. Your seat pitches, rolls, and yaws as you “ride” with service members and patrol in hostile environments. Brace yourself for a rough ride. Then remember that this simulation is what service people experience for real. The simulator costs extra.

Each fall, the museum fills its parade ground with flags on the Field of Honor. Each flag wears a tag naming its honoree and sponsor. The Constant Vigilance statue honors war dogs from around the world. Fittingly, the dog overlooks the 16-foot-tall statue of a paratrooper, Iron Mike, in front of the museum.

Pro Tip: The museum has paid careful attention to making the entire facility accessible.

North Carolina Veterans Park in Fayetteville.

All Hands Are On Deck At North Carolina Veterans Park

Hands are the theme at North Carolina Veterans Park. Casts of veterans’ hands embellish the Oath of Service Wall. More hands decorate columns for each North Carolina county. The most moving exhibit is the rows of dog tags in the visitor center. They represent nearly 10,000 North Carolina service members who died for their country from World War II to the present.

Experience 400 Years Of Southern North Carolina History At Museum Of The Cape Fear

The Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex includes a museum building, Arsenal Park, and the 1897 E.A. Poe House. No, not that E.A. Poe. Fayetteville’s Poe was a brick manufacturer, not an author.

In the late 1850s, the federal government completed an arsenal in Fayetteville. The local militia took over the arsenal after North Carolina seceded in 1861. General William Tecumseh Sherman’s troops destroyed it in 1865. Arsenal Park preserves the arsenal’s ruins and a metal outline of the northwest tower.

Pro Tip: Explore Civil War sites on Fayetteville’s Civil War Trail. The militia that commandeered the arsenal is still an active unit. Visit its museum.

Theater Lives At Cape Fear Regional Theater

Cape Fear Regional Theater offers a live, six-show season. The 2020-21 season includes The Wizard of Oz, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, and The Color Purple.

Get A Breath Of Fresh Air At Cape Fear River Trail

Stretch your legs on the beautiful Cape Fear River Trail. The trail extends 5.5 miles one way and has steep sections. Park at Clark Park Nature Center at the trail’s southern end. Picnic overlooking a waterfall.

Pastries from The Humble Bakery in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Best Restaurants In Fayetteville

Fayetteville offers a large selection and variety of eateries. We enjoyed these options.

The Best Part Of Waking Up Is At The Coffee Cup

The Coffee Cup invites guests to come in for a “warm hug in a cup.” Their delicious drinks will warm your heart as well as your throat. The gingersnap chai latte was delectable. Enjoy their yummy vegan pastries from The Humble Bakery. The Raspberry Bliss Bars: heavenly.

Tea from Winterbloom Tea in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Enjoy Tea For Two (Or More) In Winterbloom Tea

Winterbloom Tea is about tailoring the tea experience to the individual customer. Their menu can be overwhelming, but the staff will gladly guide you. Their passion for tea is refreshing. Sample the tea cocktails. My Hemingway tea cocktail was perfect for a travel writer.

It’s Time To Get A Piece Of The Fayetteville Pie Company

A name like Fayetteville Pie Company entices with promises of luscious desserts. But their offerings aren’t limited to sweets. Their tagline offers “savory and sweet pies.” The Gobbler Cobbler was an entire Thanksgiving feast in one pie. Their menu changes frequently, so stop often.

Bag Delicious Beer At Dirtbag Ales

At Dirtbag Ales’ taproom, imbibe some profound beer-making artistry. Blood Orange Kolsch is Dirtbag’s most popular brew, but my favorite was the Impossibly Black, a black IPA made with Ethiopian coffee. Try the Three-Cheese Bacon Burger at the onsite Napkins Restaurant.

Pro Tip: Explore more breweries on the Hometown Hops trail.

Burnt ends and poutine from Fowler's in Fayetteville.

Devour Barbecue At Fowler’s

Eastern North Carolina serves its pork with a vinegar-based sauce, which reaches its epitome at Fowler’s Southern Gourmet. The burnt ends are so tender that they melt in your mouth like butter.

Where To Shop In Fayetteville

Shopping in downtown Fayetteville is pure pleasure. You’ll enjoy browsing the storefronts in the historic buildings and bringing home unique treasures.

Get Lit At Hummingbird Candle Company

Customize your candle with Hummingbird’s candle-making experience. Remember making a wish as you blew out your candle? At Hummingbird Candle Co., you write the wish onto the wick. Every time you use the candle, you wish again. And wishes do come true.

Browse Loved Books At City Center

The enticing smell and feel of old books is sheer joy. Reading them is a bonus. You can cash in that bonus at City Center Gallery and Books.

Start The Antiquing Trail At 123 Hay Street

Window shopping at The Shops at 123 Hay Street is prime. Go inside to enjoy the excellent antique and collectibles selection. The store is one of a dozen shops on the Greater Fayetteville Antiquing Trail.

Best Places To Stay In Fayetteville

Tru By Hilton

The staff at Tru by Hilton in Fayetteville will long stand out for their kindness. They met every request I had with consideration for my comfort and well-being.

Pineland Express

For upscale suites and even homes, bask in luxury at Pineland Express.

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