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Our Secret May Be Getting Out!

It seems our Roanoke River Trail is not as well-kept of a secret as it used to be. Word seems to be spreading. As you may have heard, we had reservations for an all-time high of over 1400 overnights on our camping platforms in 2017.

For some locals it is still hard to believe that people from all over North Carolina—as well as other states—find out about our trail and make reservations to travel with family and friends to have this unique outdoor experience.

As a matter of fact, we are expecting a group from Canada in the next few weeks. They made their reservations for a five-night stay on the river months ago. If you happen to run into them, or any other of our campers, please extend a little extra portion of local hospitality.

You might ask yourself, “What is the attraction?”

Well, some of our campers report they come because they yearn for the chance to be close to nature – to see how many different birds and other wildlife they can find.

Some report seeking peace and quiet. A woman who camped on the trail told me that during a recent two-night stay, once they left the dock, they never saw another human being. There just aren’t that many remote places to retreat to anymore.

Others share they like the challenge. Just like packing for any kind of get-away, you have to plan and pack everything you will need. Anything you forget, you just have to make the necessary adjustments for. The outdoor experience we offer is a test of a camper’s ability to plan for varying conditions as well as an opportunity to “roll with the punches” for things like changes in weather that can be unpredictable.

Some say this is an experience that has been on their bucket list for years. Maybe they knew someone who did it or they read an article and thought when the time is right, they might check this out. I remember the sense of accomplishment I felt after I finally camped on a platform. It was a big check on my bucket list.

And speaking of our secret getting out, the March 2018 edition of Our State Magazine has a story (page 144-118) about a couple of sisters that came to “paddle for pie.” The sought-after pie they paddled the Roanoke to sample was the homemade pie only available during the first few months of the year at Cypress Grill in Jamesville — one more of the many sweet pleasures found along our river.

As time goes by, it seems the value of an authentic experience increases.

We are grateful for all the ways our partners work together to add value to the authentic experience that our visitors find here.

For all these reasons, and many more—we continue to work with local and regional partners to find new ways to connect folks to our Roanoke River Region. By working together, we are building our brand to draw and ever increasing number of visitors and revenues to our region.

If you have additional thoughts about how we can share our big “secret”—please be in touch. We’d love to hear from you!

Carol Jones Shields is the Executive Director of Roanoke River Partners, Inc. You can contact her at (252) 798-3920 or director@roanokeriverpartners.org. You can learn more about Roanoke River Partners at www.roanokeriverpartners.org.