My Rocky Mount Life: Part Three

My posts of why I love my Rocky Mount life seem to be a hit. I don’t know who’s sharing my blog or how, but a link somewhere has brought lots of positive response. Hurray for Rocky Mount! I’m inspired to continue.

Here’s this week’s list of what’s good about Rocky Mount, as always in no particular order. I’m simply highlighting where I’ve been or what I’ve seen most recently.

#1. The Train Mural

Lots of long-time Rocky Mount folks have someone in the family who once worked at the Atlantic Coast Line Shops in south Rocky Mount. In my family, both my husband’s grandfather and father were employed by the railroad for a while.

The railroad tracks running through downtown Rocky Mount mark the Edgecombe/Nash County line. The whistle of the train has been a soundtrack of the city. In a nutshell, the railroad features prominently in the history of Rocky Mount.

Recently, this beautiful mural, designed by Marion Clark Weathers and painted by Ashley Fabrizio, both local artists, sprang to life on the side of the Station Square Building. The mural is stunning. It’s been featured on Tar Heel Traveler and in Our State Magazine online, among other accolades.

The lead train is a CSX freight. The second, the one with the vibrant purple and silver, is the passenger train the Champion. If you live in Rocky Mount and haven’t seen the mural, by all means take a trip downtown.

The mural is across the street from the Helen P. Gay Rocky Mount Train Station, an interesting historical place to visit as well. Here’s a side view of this building, originally built in 1893.

#2. Prime Smokehouse

Also downtown, across the railroad tracks on the Edgecombe County side, is one of my favorite restaurants in Rocky Mount, The Prime Smokehouse. As you can guess by its name, many of the entrees feature smoked meat. My number one choice? The Prime Brisket. But you can have ribs, pulled pork, chopped beef, wings, or “bronzed” chicken, to name a few others.

I eat here for the sides as much as the entrees. The macaroni and cheese is award-winning, and the cornbread contains actual kernels of corn.

I’ve heard the Smokehouse is soon to leave the historic Douglas Block and relocate to the Rocky Mount Mill Village campus. I’ll be sorry to see them leave the downtown location, but judging by the pre-Covid lines of waiting diners, I assume the restaurant needs to expand. And, of course, the Mill Village is a lively location.

#3. The Bath Place

Down the street from The Prime Smokehouse is a locally-owned shop where I buy handcrafted “bath bombs.” If you have a young daughter or, as in my case, a granddaughter, chances are you know what I’m talking about. The Bath Place sells not only these bathing concoctions but also an array of other made-from-scratch soaps and hand sanitizers.

I feel like I’m in a big-city specialty shop when I visit The Bath Place. The owner, Kimberly Thigpen, is a lovely lady who began her business by making soap in the family’s kitchen. She’s won all kinds of awards for her business.

#4. Braswell Memorial Library

I’ve been advised not to forget Braswell Memorial Library as one of the reasons I love my Rocky Mount life. Don’t worry, fellow library fans, no way could I overlook this gem! I read a few chapters in a book almost every day, and so I often visit the library, situated where Falls Road, Peachtree Street, and North Grace intersect, close to downtown Rocky Mount.

I’m so old and I’ve lived in or near Rocky Mount so much of my life that I well remember patronizing the original Braswell Library, located across the street. To tell the truth, I was initially sad when the new one was built. Going in the old location was always a trip down memory lane for me.

But I quickly grew to appreciate the much expanded, airy, modern Braswell Memorial Library. I’m sure I’ll be there sometime this week to get a new batch of books.

#5. Planet Fitness

Okay, I’ve been downtown for most of this post. Let’s relocate to the Golden East Mall area, where I want to give a shout-out to my favorite place to exercise, Planet Fitness. Like Hobby Lobby, which I featured in an earlier post, I know Planet Fitness can be found in other cities. But also like Rocky Mount’s Hobby Lobby, Rocky Mount’s Planet Fitness is well-run, clean, and customer-friendly.

No critics, judgement free!

Finally, listen up. If I haven’t yet highlighted what you love about Rocky Mount, be patient. I plan to continue. I’ve got lots of worthy places, activities, and organizations on the list!

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