One look around the town of Wendell, just 25 minutes from downtown Raleigh, and you'll know why its motto is "Small Town, Big Charm." Porch swings and lush trees line Main Street, part of Wendell's historic downtown. Many family-friendly events are hosted there throughout the year, offering up authentic, classic small-town experiences. Here are 10 things to do in Wendell that'll have you falling in love with the town.
Stroll through Main Street and historic downtown Wendell, placed on the National Register of Historic Places, with homes and buildings displaying charming architecture. In downtown Wendell an array of local retailers, shops and eateries make for a great day out (plus, free Wi-Fi provided by the town makes it easy to explore).
Wine and Beer 101
Find a wine perfect for your taste buds at Wine and Beer 101, downtown. They pride themselves on finding the wine or beer that's just right for you. Get in on wine tastings on Fridays and Saturdays and tap into beers from local breweries such as Trophy Brewing Company, Raleigh Brewing Company, Lynnwood Brewing Concern and Nickelpoint Brewing Co.
Kick back and unwind at Grounds Café on Fri. evenings with live music and great food, including signature grilled cheeses, wraps, salads, quesadillas and "bar bites" (Buffalo chicken nachos and stuffed sweet peppers, anyone?).
Oaklee Distilling Co. (Serving Spirits Soon!)
Curious as to how spirits are made? Soon you can tour Oaklee Distilling Co., and they'll educate you on their in-house process (currently only open for special events and private parties). Housed in a beautifully-renovated building originally built in 1929, Oaklee mills, distills and bottles right in Wendell.
Wendell Country Club
Spend a perfect morning or an afternoon out on the golf course at Wendell Country Club, an 18-hole course that's open to the public and includes a fully-stocked pro shop, plus Divots Grill, open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week.
Spend a nice afternoon (or an entire day) at Wendell Park. Get in a round of disc golf, allow the kids to explore the playground, let the four-legged friends frolic in the dog park, try your hand in a game of tennis, set up a picnic for the whole family plus a whole lot more.
Robertson Millpond Preserve
Step back in time and enjoy a leisurely day of canoeing, kayaking or fishing at Robertson Millpond Preserve. Soak in the sites of the historic mill dam and the bald cypress habitats.
Wendell Farmer's Market
Saturdays are perfect for picking up fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers at the Wendell Farmer's Market. Also get delicious, local jam, jelly, bread and more to treat your friends to back at home.
Holiday and Family-Friendly Events
Drive through the the local-favorite Wendell Wonderland, featuring Lake Myra Christmas Lights holiday decorations and other lights displays throughout downtown Wendell. Also, the Wendell Historical Society puts on the town's Fourth of July celebration, a great opportunity to experience Wendell's charm, with a parade, free hot dogs and more. And mark your calendar for the Halloween Treat Trail (did somebody say, "hay rides?").
Fact: kids love big trucks. When you're in town, take them to Big Truck Day (June) to see and sit in fire trucks, bulldozers and more (great photo opportunities!). Spring Fling (May) is perfect for enjoying Carolina weather with an art walk, Corvette and classic car show, live music and more. Harvest Festival (Oct.) includes a parade, a pumpkin derby, antique tractor show, games and inflatables, a craft beer garden and other fun, fall-themed activities.
International Food and Music Festival
Celebrate a variety of cultures and their cuisines during the International Food and Music Festival on the third Sat. in Sept., featuring authentic foods from many countries: Dominican Republic rice chicken, Ecuadoran fried plantains, Filipino Manila Bay barbecue, Polish pierogies and Salvadoran pupusas, to name just a few, as well as homemade desserts. Sounds like a "can't miss," huh, foodies?