Johnston/So. Wake County

VOL16ISS1 2017

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THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE—JOHNSTON/SOUTHERN WAKE COUNTIES NC | VOLUME 16—ISSUE 1 34 SURROUNDING TOWNS Surrounding Towns BY LYNNE BRANDON Known foremost as the capitol city, Raleigh is the center of state government but offers so much more. The city's diverse population is evident with students who come together to study agriculture and engineering at research institute, NC State University; entrepreneurs own and operated award- winning eateries; and students and professionals play sports shouder-to-shoulder on league teams. The anchor Triangle city is a global hot spot where business gets done but leisure is just as important. Festivals celebrating music and food, entertainment, performing arts, and museums make it a lifestyle city. Surrounding Raleigh are smaller towns in Wake County and adjacent Johnston County where locals enjoy amenities in their own backyard. Just a small jaunt down the road (about nine miles) is the town of Knightdale. The town is attracting educated young professionals who are putting down roots. After working hard all week, locals unwind with nature at the Knightdale Environmental Park certified as a Backyard Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. In the summer, locals pick fruit at farms like Pope's Strawberry Farm. If tasting and sipping is more your speed, East Wake Wines and Craft Brew, has something for any palate. From Beer and Wine College to flight nights and locally-made crafts, the shop is a must-visit for wine and craft beer enthusiasts. The small town that used to be a wrong turn for people driving to the Research Triangle Park is now more than a fork in the road. Morrisville is the home of the world's largest seller of personal computers, Lenovo, which established its U.S. headquarters there in 2005. The Chinese company, in addition to other global companies in RTP, brought with it an influx of Southeast Asians, who make up an estimated 25 percent of the town's population. The town's diverse population has impacted everything from food to religion to sports. An elegant Hindu temple brings the Eastern region to the town and has become a destination for Hindus throughout the Southeast. The temple stands majestically among pine and oak trees off of Aviation Parkway. Sport enthusiasts play international sports such as soccer and cricket or try their hand at rock climbing at Triangle Rock Club where recreational climbers scale an array of terrain on the club's multistory rock walls. In less than 20 minutes you can be in the town of Apex (estimated population 48,832). Referred to as the "Peak City," the former railroad town is where community minded folks live, work and play. Buildings have been renovated, shops and restaurants have moved in and the downtown is thriving. Entrepreneurs thrive with locally owned businesses like The Rusty Bucket antique store and Cloer's Vineyard. An antique store slash general store with a quirky name has been a favorite fixture for 13 years. The Rusty Bucket is where collectors go for farm house, primitive and rustic home décor (all in an old country store setting). A best seller is the metal farm table chair seen on Chip and Joanna Gaines' HGTVs "Fixer Upper." The popular store is a destination in the region and the old time shopping experience appeals to everyone. "You can grab a bottle coke iced down in a vintage cooler and a bag of popcorn, enjoy the relaxing music and browse without pressure," said shopkeepers and owners Pam and Mack Thorpe. The sound of music rings loud and clear in a Benson (Johnston County) oak grove each summer. In June, The State Annual Singing Convention brings thousands of people to Benson. The event that began in a tobacco warehouse in 1921 has become one of the largest and oldest gospel sings in the U.S. More than 50 amateur, semi-professional and professional groups are expected to attend in 2017. Benson draws an annual crowd in September (4th Saturday) when everyone comes out to celebrate Benson Mule Days ® . The family-friendly festival draws nearly 50,000 people who come for rodeos, a mule pulling contest, arts and crafts, bluegrass shows and more. The parade, considered one of the largest in North Carolina, is a draw by itself at 20,000 people. Those who are equestrian-inclined enjoy horses, mules, buggies and unusual entries. Benson Mule Days ® was inducted into the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. in 2000. [] original, diverse, ever-changing

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