Five North Carolina Destinations for NASCAR Fans

Whether you’re a casual fan or a diehard NASCAR lover – or even if you’re just into history or sports – the NASCAR Hall of Fame (400 E M.L.K. Jr Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28202) is a must-see destination in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Let me preface this by saying: I’m not the biggest NASCAR fan out there. I’ll watch a race here & there, but I don’t have a favorite driver or team. With that said, my husband used to really love it when he was younger, so when we had the chance to visit the HoF while in North Carolina, we jumped on the opportunity — and I’m really glad we did.

My biggest suggestion: if you have the time, take the guided tour. It’s packed to the brim with incredibly valuable, interesting insights that you wouldn’t get otherwise. The HoF offers guided tours on certain days at 1 PM, and they last about two hours. There’s an additional cost on top of general admission, but the tour is absolutely worth it.

You will learn SO much & see so much history. From cars driven by Red Farmer to racing suits worn by various drivers over the years, busted-up tires used in races and a myraid of trophies – there’s a little bit of everything here. It’s particularly neat to walk along the rows of cars, all the while going up in grade like a real racetrack. There’s also the iRacing simulator, the pit crew challenge & more for interactive, hands-on fun.

While you’re welcome to spend as much or as little time as you want, you could probably realistically spend an entire day here. Multiple floors filled with exhibits, memorabilia and interactive displays could easily keep one entertained for hours.

Even if you do elect for the guided tour, you’re also free to roam the Hall after the tour to dive deeper into anything specific that caught your eye.

Don’t forget to stop by the Pit Stop Cafe for lunch, too – they’ve got quick, easy options like sandwiches, wraps & snacks to keep you fueled.

Other NASCAR-related points to hit in the area include:

  • Charlotte Motor Speedway (5555 Concord Pkwy S, Concord, NC 28027): Even if there’s not a race going on, it’s still worth a drive down and a visit to the gift shop. There is a small parking lot near the gift shop for visitors, so be on the lookout. They also offer tours of the speedway.
  • Dale Earnhardt Plaza (101-109 W A St, Kannapolis, NC 28081): Essentially a small park in the midst of Kannapolis, the plaza is a nice touch to honor one of NASCAR’s most well-known drivers in recent history. The statue homage is hard to miss, but be sure to scope out the whole plaza for a few neat little touches, too.
  • RCR Racing Museum (425 Industrial Dr, Lexington, NC 27295): A great, affordable self-guided tour of this museum will allow you to learn a lot about Richard Childress and Dale Earnhardt. It’s a move-at-your-own-pace kind of place, so check out all the historic cars & other memorabilia from over the years, including items related to current RCR drivers!
  • Richard Childress Racing: After you’ve visited the museum, ask the gift shop staff for directions to the actual RCR open building on the campus. (It’s literally a two-minute drive.) Here, you can view the actual working area of RCR! When we visited right before the Charlotte race, we saw them working on wrapping Austin Dillon’s car that was used in the race a few days later.
Advertisement

2019: A Year of Intention

Well, I haven’t touched this blog in over four months, but with the beginning of 2020, I’m back and ready to look back at the year that was. 2019 was a big and largely great year for me, and it’s fun to look back now and think about all that happened.

Here are some of my highlights!

January

  • Saw Cameron Esposito at Helium Comedy Club (I am by no means a big comedy fan, it is very hard to get me to laugh, but it was a great night out with my husband, and how can you not love her focus on feminism, social justice and LGBTQ issues?
  • Did color commentary for a Jr. Sabres hockey game for just the second time ever.

February

  • Used a sewing machine for literally the first in my life.
  • Planned & executed a pre-game hockey ceremony to honor the “graduating” players from the Jr. Sabres. It went off without a hitch, everyone loved it and I look forward to doing it again!
  • Filled in on color commentary for the Jr. Sabres again!
  • Wrote a piece for VP that I’m super proud of regarding broadcasting of women’s hockey & how people speak about women’s hockey.
  • Went to Lumagination at the Botanical Gardens. It was magical.

March

  • Welcomed nephew #5 into the world!

April

  • PUPPY YOGA.
  • Covered the NCAA Division-I Frozen Four. My first Frozen Four ever, and a pretty neat (if chaotic) experience. I’m really glad I got the chance to do this, especially with it being in Buffalo.
  • Was named OJHL Volunteer of the Year for my work with the Jr. Sabres. So grateful to work with such a fantastic team! (Technically this happened in March, but I went up to Oakville to receive the award in April.)

May

  • Our Texas trip, which was incredible! So many good things to point out about this trip, including that it was my first time flying, ever. Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas. Hockey fun, baseball, family time, tourist things, sightseeing, lots of great food. I can’t wait to go back again soon, hopefully in 2021. (I’d better start saving.)
  • Went to a holistic wellness retreat about 40 minutes from Buffalo, which I won the chance to attend through my work/health insurance. It was super neat and a great experience – two days filled with essential oils, massage chairs, exercise time, nature, reflexology, meditation, yoga & more.
  • Saw The Art of the Brick exhibit at the Museum of Science. Definitely neat, if it ever comes to your city… check it out!

June

  • Went to a wedding in East Aurora that Ryan was asked to DJ, for a former Griffs hockey player. Although I didn’t really know either the bride or groom at all, it was a super fun night.

July

  • Celebrated three years of marriage.
  • Got to celebrate the marriage of two good friends.
  • Got to see my sister & nephews for a short little visit.

August

  • Flew to Charlotte (only my fifth flight ever, first solo flight, etc.) and then drove about 1,000 miles across the state of North Carolina as I spent a wonderful week with my sister & nephews. Explored Raleigh, Greensboro & Charlotte solo, plus had lots of fun around Greensboro, Winston-Salem @ camping with the family.
  • Saw the Jonas Brothers in concert.
  • Went to DC/Baltimore with Ryan for our friends’ wedding, an Orioles game and some tourist-y fun.

September

  • Went to PLAY/GROUND in Medina after missing it in 2018. It was really neat to see how a bunch of artists transformed a former school and there were so many unique installations.
  • Got surprised by the Jr. Sabres with an on-ice ceremony on home ice to receive my ring for being OJHL Volunteer of the Year.

October

  • Road trip to Georgetown to work a Raiders/Jr. Sabres game. Ryan did his usual PA/DJ, while I ran the scoreboard, did the online scoring & manned the penalty boxes.

November

  • Turned 29, which means that in 2020, I’ll be some significant age.
  • Officially joined Canisius hockey as a features writer!

December

  • Spent parts of a few wonderful days with my sister & nephews while they were in town for the holidays. They’re growing up so fast and it’s always so good to see them.
  • Covered the first regular-season outdoor game in NWHL history.
  • Filled in on color commentary for Canisius hockey for the first time.
  • Focused on really getting some good rest!
  • Did more radio talk about the NWHL.
  • Welcomed nephew #6 into the world!

Travel: A Week in North Carolina

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My (likely) final trip of the 2019 calendar year is now behind me, after a wonderful week spent down in North Carolina with my sister and nephews. I’m really glad I was able to make this trip happen; they moved from Buffalo in 2016, and this was my first time going down to visit them. It was also quite an adventure considering I went alone, got on a plane (for just the second trip of my life) and drove 800+ miles around the state (more driving than I do in a month typically.)

Here’s a rundown of my trip and some recommendations I have along the way!

Continue reading “Travel: A Week in North Carolina”

Our Texas Travels: San Antonio, TX

The last leg of our trip was a short time in San Antonio before we headed back toward Austin and eventually, Buffalo. Our hotel in San Antonio was wonderful, and I’m sad that we didn’t get to spend more time there! The Hotel Contessa was such a beautiful place to stay. I especially loved the exposed brick wall in the room, which gave it an eclectic feel! Everything was very comfortable; we paid to valet the car, and also ordered room service breakfast the next morning. While on vacation, sometimes you’ve just got to treat yourself.

Continue reading “Our Texas Travels: San Antonio, TX”