CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - If you're looking for an inexpensive day trip, look no further than Rowan County. This adventure cost less than $10. I traveled to the North Carolina Transportation Museum, which was once the Southern Railway Company's largest steam locomotive servicing facility. This 57-acre museum is home to wagons, wings, wheels, and trains.
Mark Brown, the Director of Public Relations says more than one hundred thousand visitors come through each year to see vintage cars and refurbished steam engine trains-- each with a North Carolina story. Admission to the museum is free.
The biggest draw is the twice-daily train ride, which travels throughout the grounds of the museum. Turntable rides are also a fun experience, and they cost just a dollar. The museum is also home to a very large piece of North Carolina history, the full size replica of the Wright Brothers Flyer.
If you travel through the area around lunch time, make sure to stop at Hap's Grill for lunch. This Salisbury favorite has a line out the door every day. I stopped in and ordered as a Carolina girl should, a hot dog all the way and an ice cold, glass- bottled Cheerwine. All of this cost just $2.75.
Well fed and well under budget, I headed to the Okey Dokey General Store. This portal to the past brings visitors from all over. The store has had visitors from Germany, Japan, Switzerland, and France. Okey Dokey specializes in antiques, jams, baked goods and old fashioned candy, but they also deliver good company and a smile.
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Driving Directions from Charlotte:
1. Start out going SOUTHWEST on S TRYON ST toward W 4TH ST. (go 0.5 miles)
2. Turn RIGHT onto W HILL ST. (go 0.1 miles)
3. Merge onto I-277 S/US-74 W. (go 0.6 miles)
4. Merge onto I-77 N/US-21 N via EXIT 1C toward STATESVILLE. (go 3.4 miles)
5. Merge onto I-85 N via EXIT 13A toward GREENSBORO. (go 40.6 miles)
6. Take EXIT 79 toward SPENCER/E SPENCER. (go 0.5 miles)
7. Turn LEFT onto OLD UNION CHURCH RD. (go 0.2 miles)
8. OLD UNION CHURCH RD becomes ANDREWS ST. (go 1.2 miles)
9. Turn LEFT onto N SALISBURY AVE/US-29/US-70/NC-150. (go 0.6 miles)
10. 411 S SALISBURY AVE is on the LEFT. (go 0.0 miles)
DESTINATION: N C Transportation Museum, 411 S Salisbury Ave, Spencer, NC 28159 US
TOTAL ESTIMATED TIME: 52 minutes | DISTANCE: 47.51 miles