Saturday, March 19, 2011
Things to Like in Jacksonville, NC
Upon moving to Jacksonville last June, I quickly met many people who would say that they HATE this town, that it is so boring, etc. While Jacksonville is not a huge metropolitan area, and the Jacksonville Mall leaves a lot to be desired in shopping options, I have found that there are some spots in Jacksonville that Dustin and I really enjoy, and we will actually miss when we eventually leave. It takes some searching, but there really are some neat "local flavor" spots here in town, if you filter away the town being 90% full of corporate chains. So, if you are in Jacksonville, or PCS here someday, I suggest you definitely check out all these spots BEFORE you judge the town and surrounding area. Although we are still looking for a good place to "go out" without seeing a bunch of people get in a fight. Maybe it's just not a town for nightlife...
- Onslow Beach, Camp Lejeune - You definitely have to pay attention to the signs/directions on base, because Dustin and I definitely passed the beach because we were too busy chatting on our first visit. I think you can't beat a beach with free parking and only about 30 minutes from most spots in town. I lived in Florida for six years, and was never this close to the beach, so I am really going to enjoy that this summer!
- Michaelangelo's Pizza - Their steak and cheese sub, with everything on it, is so delicious! Plus, they offer free delivery, which is awfully convenient when you want to chill out in your pajamas, but don't want pizza.
- Tokyo Express Japanese Take-out - We get the Hibachi Steak with Mushrooms in our house. It is yummy friend rice, with hibachi-style chicken, mushrooms, carrots, and a side of creamy pink shrimp sauce. Mmmmm. It is a little bit more pricey than some take-out, but it is so delicious! I get so excited when my coworkers want to pick up Tokyo Express on our planning days! If you order at lunch time, your meal also comes with a free iced tea.
- Marrakesh Mediterranean Restaurant - We ate here for the first time this week, but I know we will definitely be returning. The place has a great ambiance, and the food is really yummy! I got a sheesh kabob and the meat was super tender, and meals are served with warm pitas, yellow rice, and a salad. This place is a real hidden gem, plus seemed kind of healthy!
- Cook-Out Burgers - Hands down, the best milkshakes in Jacksonville. I am partial to Peanut Butter Fudge and Peach Cobbler. Their Cook-out trays are only $5.25 and include an entree (burger, or chicken sandwich, or my favorite the BBQ sandwich) and two sides (I go totally unhealthy and carb it up with onion rings and hushpuppies).
- Onslow County Fair - Who can argue with ferris wheels, bobsled rides, and those carousel swing rides? Not this girl! Plus all the deep-fried random food (twinkies, oreos, etc.) you can think of! The night we went last year they had all the prize winning animals set up in one of the barns. I thought it was kind of neat to see the pigs, chickens, and all sorts of animals in there! We will definitely be going again this fall - and bringing some friends along with us!
- Heroz Sports Bar - Yes, this is the sports bar located on base on Lejeune. It is a great place to watch our football games because it usually isn't too crowded, they serve Sam Adams Cherry Wheat beer on tap, and there is no tax, so that saves you like a ridiculous 7-8% on the tab.
- Zumba classes - Even at the risk of making the Zumba classes on base even MORE crowded, I love having a fun dance class available that I can take for free! Between all the base gyms, I think it is offered almost every day of the week. I love being able to take advantage of free gyms and classes, and that is one thing I will definitely miss, should Dustin decide to leave the military.
- Kinston Indians game (this summer only) - Unfortunately, the Cleveland Indians are moving their minor league baseball team elsewhere after this summer, but the Kinston stadium is less than an hour from Jacksonville and is a GREAT time. Tickets are less than $10 from what I remember, and they serve food and drinks there for much cheaper than at Major League baseball games. We are going to catch a few games this summer, and who knows, maybe another team will take over the stadium next year!
- Mike's Farm, Beaulaville - This farm would be great for families with kids. It tends to get really crowded on weekends in October, but they have cute hayrides where everyone can pick out a pumpkin, and there is also a really cute country store with Christmas decorations year-round. My parents bought Dustin a really nifty USMC ornament there last year. They also have a country-style buffet restaurant here, but I have never eaten there. I have heard good things though! Also, an insider's tip is that Thanksgiving Day is a great time to check out their holiday light show. There were no lines or wait at all, and it was great to go with the whole family, but the restaurant is closed (probably because everyone is too busy cooking turkeys!).
- Duplin Winery, Rose Hill - Our friend Nicole introduced us to this place. It is about an hour drive from Jacksonville, but they offer great winery tours and tastings (of 10 different wines). Also, from time to time they offer different events such as comedians, mystery dinner theater, and concerts. They also offer 10% military discount on single bottles of wines, and 25% if you buy a case of 12 bottles of wine, making some of their yummy wine less than $6 a bottle at that rate!
Hopefully we will have even more to add to this list by the end of our summer of exploring this town!