Here at The Signature Group, our goal with our blog is to show you how much Fayetteville has to offer and to get you excited! Fort Bragg is way more than just a PCS!
We recently reached out to Jenny Bell from the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and author/blogger of Go Fayetteville with some questions about the area and her own experience here. We hope that you enjoy her insight as much as we do!
Can you tell us who you are and what you do?
My name is Jenny Bell, and I work as a Communications Coordinator for the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. As a part of my job, I manage our website’s calendar of events, which shows off all the things to do here year-round. I also write a blog, Go Fayetteville, that not only features some of those events, but also provides visitors and locals with ideas for recreation, dining, entertainment, and more.
A big perk of this gig is the fact I get to explore what I call “Cumberland County’s playgrounds.” I’m able to experience first-hand many of our tourism destinations—from our historic sites to our international cuisine to our arts scene. I like to tell people that I’m a travel writer who just never travels beyond her own county.
What is your favorite thing about living and working in Fayetteville, NC?
I am what a lot of the locals now call “Fayetteville by Choice” (#FayByChoice). In this highly transient community, people come and go so often, usually because of the military. What’s interesting to note is that many people have chosen to stay here even after exiting the military. In my case, I started out my military spouse journey in Cumberland County in 2003, and life came full circle when we returned here in 2015. We could have easily picked up and moved back home to our family in Texas last year, when my husband got out of the Army, and you probably know how Texans feel about their state. However, at some point in our 15-year military journey, Fayetteville, North Carolina, had turned into home for us. I could talk a lot about how this is a great mid-size city with a low cost of living and a wide variety of things to do, but what really made the difference for us were the people.
In addition to the true locals, those folks who choose to put permanent roots down here believe in this community and invest themselves into making it a better place. I’ve watched many friends of mine start small businesses, build relationships with their customers, collaborate with other businesses, and pour their hearts into their work. The same could be said of our large artist community—which includes everyone from stage actors to musicians to poets—and all the ways they make Fayetteville sweeter with their gifts. I also find this to be true of our many nonprofit organizations and their dedicated volunteers—people who thrive on giving back to others. All these residents create an incredible sense of community and belonging here that is so unique. That is what I love the most about living and working in my adopted hometown.
What two to three things would make a perfect day in Fayetteville for you?
Adventure + Food + People = A Perfect Day. I’m constantly in search of the next grand adventure to be had, and if you throw in food and family or friends, I’m a happy camper. I could give you a list of perfect days I’ve had here, but just one example of that would be when a group of local bloggers and I spent the day in Spring Lake. We practiced shooting clay targets at the Fort Bragg Clay Target Center, ate fantastic barbecue at Noble Meats, treated ourselves to snow-cones at Arctic Sno Snoballs, and kayaked down the Lower Little River with Spring Lake Outpost. Now that is my definition of fun! Don’t get it wrong, though. I also enjoy low-key activities and relaxation, and there’s plenty of that to be found in this area, as well.
Why are you excited about the new stadium and the Woodpeckers coming to town?
Now this gets personal for me. I grew up watching and attending Major League Baseball games in Texas, so the fact we have a Houston Astros’ Minor League Baseball team coming to Fayetteville is like a piece of home is moving to town. New development and growth always excite me, too. In this case, the Woodpeckers’ stadium is going to be more than just a place where we take in a ballgame. It will also play host to a myriad of festivals, sports tournaments, concerts, and other community events. Plus, along with the stadium, we will have the repurposed (and historic) Prince Charles Hotel, bringing in more housing and businesses to downtown.
What is the next up-and-coming “big thing” in Fayetteville (restaurants, shops, etc.)?
I don’t know if you have time to read everything I want to say about the next big thing coming to Fayetteville. I’m probably the most excited about Dirtbag Ales Brewery & Taproom (DBA) opening the doors to their newest brewery in Hope Mills. As much as I love their beer, this tourist destination represents so much more than just craft brews. One of the reasons our community adores DBA is because they collaborate with and support so many others in this community—from food trucks to farmers, a yoga studio to nonprofit organizations, local musicians to artisans.
At DBA’s new site, which sits on 5+ acres, they have built (or plan to build) a regulation-size sports field, dog park, music stage, kid’s park, beer garden, restaurant, and more. Inside this 8,000-square-foot brewery, they plan to hang local artists’ works on their salvaged wood-panel walls and, of course, serve their delicious brews. On the grounds, you’ll be able to shop at their seasonal farmers market, take the family to movie nights, soak up live music, join yoga classes, and more. DBA is a fantastic example of a business that has truly positioned itself as a community hub here. Along with our other four local breweries, they’re putting Cumberland County on the map as a brew lover’s destination.
What is the biggest thing you wish people knew about Fayetteville?
Simply put, there is more to Fayetteville than just Skibo Road. If I may take that a step further, there’s so much more to Cumberland County than just Fayetteville. I wish I could give every newbie here a tour of the county and show them the treasures we have in each of our ten communities. I’d treat them to a Carolina Burger at The Corner Grill in Eastover. I’d take them kayaking down the river in Spring Lake. I’d drive them through the scenic countryside in Wade. I’d introduce them to the Blood Orange Kolsch at Dirtbag Ales in Hope Mills. I’d give them a tour of the Civil War battlefield in Godwin. And the list goes on.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Hmm, I love tacos? I mean, I really do. No, seriously, as a military spouse, one thing I learned early on was, my experiences in any community are truly what I make them. I didn’t wait for someone else to introduce me to everything Fayetteville had to offer. The first thing I did was get my hands on a Fayetteville Area Visitors Guide and circle all the festivals, restaurants, and attractions I wanted to try. Then I got out there and started exploring. Fifteen years later, I’m still doing just that, because there’s always something exciting and new to delve into here. Best of all, I get to share about all my experiences on Go Fayetteville. I’d love to invite newcomers to follow #GoFay on Facebook and Instagram, and join me in exploring Cumberland County’s playgrounds! #ThisIsFayetteville
Jenny, we are so privileged and honored that you were able to spend some time with us today. Thank you so much for all of your input, your insight, and everything you do to explore Cumberland County and share it with the world. You make us so excited to get out there and continue to make Fayetteville the best it can be.
Please support Go Fayetteville through their blog, Facebook, or Instagram and make sure to reach out to Jenny with any questions or thanks you have for her! We appreciate her so much!
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