There’s been a lot going on in the southern part of Wake County over the past few years, including both residential and commercial development, so this week we wanted to wander south and offer you some stopping points for a perfect day in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.
If you’re considering moving to this area, or are ready to spend a day exploring a new-to-you part of the Triangle, you’ll discover that this twin town has something for everyone, including plenty of personality, indoor and outdoor fun, shopping and more.
Fuel up for your busy day
Start with breakfast at Stick Boy Bread Company at 127 S. Main Street (a.k.a. US-401), in Fuquay-Varina. Since 2008, this locally-owned and operated bakery has been dishing up mouth-watering, made-on-premises breads, pastries, and desserts. Though their offerings have shrunk slightly due to COVID, their bread selection is still so abundant they actually have a bread schedule!
If coffee is critical to you (like it is to me), put The Mill on your list too. Right across the street from Stick Boy, this 2-level café is homey, and has all the coffee and tea options you might want. At night they’re a popular, relaxed, beer and wine bar, with music on the weekends.
Discover the town’s original claim to fame
After fueling up, head south for a few outdoor explorations, starting with a visit to the town’s original claim to fame as a resort town: the Fuquay Mineral Spring, discovered by two of the town’s namesake farmers in 1858. Years ago, people were drawn to the mineral spring for the healing powers believed to be in the minerals. Today there is a park commemorating the spring, with restored Springhouse, brick path, walking track, footbridge and picnic tables. 105 W. Spring Street.
A little further down the road, just off S. Main Street at 301 Wagstaff Rd, enjoy a longer walk and a deeper dive into local flora and fauna at Caroll Howard Johnson Environmental Education Park. This 28-acre nature park has overlooks, a 2-mile nature trail, picnic shelters, and an amphitheater for educational programming.
If parks are not your idea of a perfect day in Fuquay-Varina, how about some shopping?
Cruise along both South and North Main Streets and you’ll find a range of antiques, gifts, jewelry, clothing, and more.
One block down from The Mill and Stick Boy, you’ll find The Shoppes on Main at 212 S. Main Street. The winding path inside houses an array of boutiques including jewelry, clothing, furniture, gift and decorative items, cards and more under one roof.
Piedmont Pottery at 332 S. Main Street houses a gallery, studio and learning center rolled into one, and is a dreamy destination for pottery lovers. They carry a wide range of pottery and jewelry, and also offer classes in photography and ceramics for all skill levels (and team-building programming too). Closed Sundays.
When it’s time for lunch, try Fuquay-Varina’s international cuisines
Zeera Indian Restaurant at 1311 E. Broad Street offers classic Indian dishes, including 11 varieties of delicious Naan bread, a lunch buffet and full menu of appetizers and entrees loaded with flavor, ranging from mild to eye-wateringly hot. Round out lunch (or dinner) with Indian beers or Lassi (a milkshake made of yogurt, water and spices—and sometimes fruit, like mango).
Little Portugal at 736 N Main Street, takes you on a culinary trip to Spain’s neighbor. Discover small dishes, soups and sandwiches, as well as entrees like Picadinho de Porco com Camarão—a blend of marinated cubed pork & cubed fries with shrimp in a garlic, cilantro, lemon, & wine reduction sauce; or Prego Sandwich Combo with thin cut sirloin in a garlic, butter & wine sauce, served on a Portuguese roll with 1 side. Finish off with classic Portuguese desserts like flan and egg tart.
Or, if you’d rather have a less exotic lunch, try family-style dining (plus take-out and catering), and handmade NY-style pizza, calzones and traditional Italian entrees at J&S Pizza. The Fuquay-Varina location was launched and operated by children of husband and wife owners Silvio and Josephine Cammarata who are Siciliy natives with 40 years in the restaurant business. The family has locations in Apex and Renaissance Park in Cary too. Find them at 500 Broad Street.
Burn off your lunch with sports or museum fun
Now that you’re full, walk or play it off with an afternoon of fun.
For all ages: Rock Solid Warrior is a ninja warrior gym and rock climbing center that ninja warrior classes and rock climbing (bouldering), in addition to parties, camps and competitions.
For the youngest adventurers: the locally owned Playhouse Children’s Museum at 1520 Broad Street, offers a fun and safe place for kids to play—reservations recommended right now. For $12/child your 1-10 year olds can enjoy 2-hours of imaginative play.
Wrap up the perfect day in Fuquay Varina with cocktails and dinner (indoors or on the deck by one of their large outdoor bars and fire pits, at local southern cuisine favorite, Aviator Brewing Company, with locations on both sides of N. Main St near the train crossing. Schedule your trip right and you could book a brewery tour and tasting, too.
This just scratches the surface, as with most areas of the Triangle—so if you have a favorite spot for your perfect day in Fuquay-Varina, let us know.