Here's our list of New Year's Resolutions, filled with 25 fun and free (or inexpensive) things to do in The 252 in 2020.
1. Walk the Greenville Greenway.
The Greenville Greenway is a walking and biking trail that runs along a portion of the Tar River and connects a number of neighborhoods and city parks.
Park at the Town Common on First Street and cross the repurposed old Greene Street Bridge, or park at Green Springs Park on Fifth Street or Elm Street Park on Elm Street.
Here's a map: http://froggs.org/greenway-maps/
2. Check out Freecycle Friday freebies.
Every Friday at noon, Pitt County, NC's Facebook page shares photos of items that have been discarded at the Transfer Station as waste, but can be recycled / reused into usable items. County residents have an opportunity to claim one item each week for the purpose of "up-cycling."
3. Dress like a pirate.
If you live in The 252, you know your former neighbor was infamous pirate Blackbeard. Dress like him, at East Carolina University Pirate football games, Freeboot Friday outdoor parties in the fall, at PirateFest in April, on International Talk Like A Pirate Day -- heck, any time you feel like it.
4. Pick strawberries at a local farm.
The area has lots of great pick-your-own strawberry patches! We'll have a complete list in the spring, but a few of the local you-pick berry farms are Brock's Berries & Farm, Strawberries on 903 and Carolina Country Fresh Market.
5. Attend a Greenville Little League game.
Greenville Little Leagues are a long-standing youth baseball tradition here, with the North State division beginning play in 1951 and the Tar Heel division in 1954.
The 16 major league teams play at Greenville, NC Recreation & Parks' Stallings Stadium at Elm Street Park and the Perkins Athletic Complex (Kiwanis & VFW Fields). There is no admission fee.
6. Take a shelter dog for a Doggy Day Out.
Pitt County Animal Services pairs members of the community with shelter dogs for field trips, from an hour to an overnight stay.
Click here for details: https://www.pittcountync.gov/758/Doggy-Day-Out-Information
7. Hit the Pitt County Brew & 'Cue Trail.
Grab a "passpork" from Visit Greenville, NC, 417 Cotanche St. Suite 100, and head out to the county's barbecue joints and craft breweries to get a stamp. It's tasty -- and you get a prize when you visit them all!
Click here for details: https://visitgreenvillenc.com/do/pitt-county-brew-and-cue/
8. Take a selfie at one of Greenville's murals.
There's lots of cool public art in Greenville, and murals are popping up around Uptown Greenville. Make sure to check out the Believe in Greenville mural on Dickinson Avenue and the mural of Greenville native and Jazz great Billy Taylor just a block over on Pitt Street.
Emerge Gallery and Art Center can provide you with details on more.
9. Climb Jockey's Ridge.
Jockey's Ridge State Park in Nags Head on the Outer Banks encompasses the tallest living sand dune on the Atlantic coast. There is no entrance fee.
Mobility-impaired visitors may schedule a ride in an all-terrain-vehicle to the top of the dunes by calling 252-441-7132, 24-hours in advance.
10. Tailgate before an ECU home football game.
Tailgating is an essential part of the East Carolina University football game day experience.
Come early -- like at least three hours before kickoff. Gear includes a cooler with your beverages of choice, a canopy, a Pirate flag and easy-to-eat food. Beer pong or cornhole is optional, as is a football to toss around. But wearing purple and gold is not optional.
11. Explore the Tar River.
Paddle the serene Tar River, from the Town Common to Port Terminal, in a kayak rented from Knee Deep Adventures or Riverside Recreation.
12. Eat a shrimp burger.
It's an ENC treat: fried shrimp on a bun with ketchup and slaw. Get one from the originators -- at El's Drive-In in Morehead City or (with the addition of tartar sauce) at Big Oak Drive In & BBQ in Salter Path; or grab one in Greenville at Cubbie's at 600 Arlington Boulevard.
13. Support a local maker.
Wonderful things are created, baked and grown by locals -- and you have lots of opportunities to purchase their wares!
Here are a few places: Uptown Greenville Umbrella Market, Leroy James Farmers' Market, Farmers and Makers Market, Artisans Decorative Accessories & Fine Gifts, Emerge Gallery and Art Center, local festivals -- and even at local restaurants whose walls serve as gallery space.
14. See the Whirligig Park.
The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park at 301 S. Goldsboro Street in Wilson is a wonderland of gigantic painted metal sculptural creations that twirl in the wind. The two-acre park features 30 of the late local folk artist's whirligigs — including some of the largest in his life’s work.
It's free and open daily, including holidays, from 5 a.m. to midnight. There is free public parking on Goldsboro Street just a little past the Whirligig Park and along Douglas Street.
Click here for more details: www.wilsonwhirligigpark.org
15. Attend a high school football game.
Even if you didn't graduate from a local high school, go to a game. Cheer, loudly. Buy concessions (they help support the school's athletic programs). It's a fun way to spend a Friday night. And the area high schools have a long history of competing for -- and winning -- state championships.
16. Eat a Red Rooster at Sunny Side Oyster Bar.
The legendary Sunny Side Oyster Bar opened in 1935 at 1102 Washington St. in Williamston and is on the National Historic Register of Historic Places.
Raw and steamed oysters are the specialty, and a rite of passage for 252 residents is eating at least one or two of their Red Roosters -- an oyster on a saltine cracker topped with horseradish, a hot pepper soaked in vinegar, and hot sauce. The record for eating Red Roosters is 42 at one sitting!
17. Attend Sunday in the Park.
City Of Greenville Sunday In The Park, a free community concert series that began in 1973, provides various genres of music on Sunday nights from 7-8:30 p.m. June through August. It's held at the amphitheatre at the Town Common on First Street along the Tar River. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket, your friends and your dog on a leash. Food and beverage vendors are on site.
18. Visit a lighthouse.
Five of North Carolina's legendary beacons are located along the coast of The 252: Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla, Bodie Island Lighthouse in Nags Head, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton, Ocracoke Lighthouse on Ocracoke Island, and Cape Lookout Lighthouse on Harkers Island.
Click here for more details, including when you can climb four of them: https://www.visitnc.com/story/SBTV/coastal-lighthouses-to-explore-in-north-carolina?fbclid=IwAR0L9ROGjc7dGzQp1L9vAb3lnxhdTegEbO35dGFXTjnYS-XI25HhgCXrmcI
19. Take in a local festival.
Nearly every Pitt County town has got one: Ayden Collard Festival, Farmville, NC Dogwood Festival, Greenville's PirateFest, Shad Festival in Grifton, Winterville Watermelon Festival ...
The festivals celebrate what's great about living in The 252, and each has some unique components.
20. Get some locally grown collards at Bum's.
The collards served at Bum's Restaurant and Catering at 566 Third St. in Ayden aren't just any collards.
For one, they're grown by Bum himself on his local farm -- and they're ready at the first frost. Also, they're a special eastern North Carolina green known as "cabbage collards." The heirloom plants are milder and more tender than other varieties of collards. (If you want to grow them yourself, Benny and Vickie Cox sell bedding plants at Collard Shack beside Skylight Inn BBQ on Old NC 11 in Ayden.) And then, there's the way the Dennis family seasons and cooks them at Bum's. No wonder there's an Ayden Collard Festival!
21. Tour Fort Macon.
Fort Macon, a restored Civil War-era fort at 2303 E. Fort Macon Road in Atlantic Beach, is the second most visited park operated by the State of North Carolina. There is no admission fee.
The five-sided fort, located on Bogue Banks, is constructed with 2,379,546 bricks - more than any other U.S. fort. Twenty-six vaulted rooms are enclosed by outer walls that are 4.5 feet thick. Climb to the top, which is covered with grass, and see the cannons pointed to protect Beaufort Inlet.
Click here for more details: https://www.ncparks.gov/fort-macon-state-park/home
22. Wear purple and gold at Freeboot Friday.
Freeboot Friday, the official pep rally of ECU Football, is held from 5:30-8 p.m. on the Fridays before Pirates home football games at Five Points Plaza, the parking lot at the corner of Fifth and Evans streets.
There's live music, food, inflatables and other activities for children, and adult beverages for those over age 21. There is no admission fee.
The outdoor parties -- beginning their 21st year in 2020, are hosted by Uptown Greenville and City of Greenville, NC.
23. Subscribe to MrBeast.
Greenville resident Jimmy Donaldson, better known by his online alias MrBeast, is a 21-year-old YouTube video star and philanthropist. He and his team of local friends pull off attention-grabbing challenges and give away lots of money and stuff, often locally.
He has more than 28 million subscribers worldwide on YouTube. (Here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/user/MrBeast6000/featured?fbclid=IwAR3MDCK-IqqEBM1j-IMPWbL4VVuWqvjPx3jk_BANgSO8Vds9Fracx-xiltY)
On Oct. 25, 2019, he and another YouTuber organized a collaborative challenge event to raise $20 million for the Arbor Day Foundation in order to plant 20 million trees; the fundraising goal was surpassed by Dec. 19.
24. Tour the Tryon Palace Gardens.
There are 16 acres of gardens at New Bern's Tryon Palace, a re-creation of the official residence and administrative headquarters of the British governors of North Carolina from 1770 to 1775.
The gardens span three centuries of gardening history, including a kitchen garden, Colonial Revival garden, Wilderness Garden, and Victorian Garden. Keep your eyes open for the fox family that lives on the grounds.
A garden pass is $6 for adults and $3 for youth in grades 1-12. There are several days of free garden admission each year.
Click here for more details: https://www.tryonpalace.org/gardens
25. Follow 252Buzz and 252BuzzEvents on Facebook to keep up every day with what's great about living in The 252!