Family Reunion in Halifax County, NC
by Halifax County CVB
We’ve had a family reunion for many years, and this year, I got to be the reunion planner. Since we had people coming from around the DC area, Maryland, and Virginia, I thought it’d be nice to go somewhere we hadn’t been before but would still have plenty to do. I chose Halifax County, North Carolina.
Getting Together with Family for a Reception and Dinner
I wanted a chance for everyone to arrive and get a chance to mingle before heading to dinner, so I arranged a reception hosted at the Halifax County Convention & Visitors Bureau before the dinner hour.
As people trickled in, they checked into our hotel—the Hilton Garden Inn of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina—and then made a short five-minute drive up the road to the visitors center to enjoy a reception that gave everyone the chance to catch up.
After getting started with some appetizers, we headed over to a catered dinner in the ballroom of the hotel. The staff were friendly and helpful, and it was great to have a location that fit us all and made it easy to head to bed when we were ready to hit the sack.
The next morning after a hearty breakfast, we headed to the Roanoke Rapids Lake Park for a day of fun outside, just a short fifteen-minute drive from the hotel. There was something for everyone there.
Some of us preferred just to catch up while enjoying the lake views, while the kids were excited to be able to swim and play on the playground. A few of us even brought fishing gear in hopes of catching a big one.
Before it got too hot, a large group of us also walked a portion of the Roanoke Rapids Trail. For those of us who keep our discs in the back of the car, we were delighted to discover it has a nine-hole disc golf course.
We had lunch catered under the big pavilion, and it was so relaxing to be able to enjoy the breeze and look out at the water while surrounded by family.
Taking Time to Enjoy the Lake
After a filling lunch, we divided up into groups based on different excursions. I put together three options and tried to appeal to young and old: the Underground Railroad Trail for families, the Weldon Mills Distillery tour for the young adults, and golfing for the older folks. I just made everyone promise they’d be back in time for dinner because I had something special planned.
Participating in Some Excursions Around Halifax County
Excursion 1: Halifax County Underground Railroad Trail
Many Freedom Seekers used the Roanoke River to escape to the north, and a contingent of our family visited some of the places that were part of the Underground Railroad’s transportation network: the Roanoke Canal, the Roanoke River, and Historic Halifax.
We used an audio tour that we found online that gave us more information as we visited particular sites along the trail, starting first with the Halifax State Historic Site that features the stories of “runaways” in wanted ads.
Next we headed to Weldon, North Carolina, along the Roanoke River to get an understanding of how dangerous it was for Freedom Seekers to cross the river. Finally, the Roanoke Canal Museum and Trail discusses how Freedom Seekers used the canal to escape.
Excursion 2: Weldon Mills Distillery
The twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings in the family were eager to visit the Weldon Mills Distillery, located close to the trailhead for River Falls Park. Some of them who were bit strapped for cash were thrilled to discover they could taste several for free and spend just a little bit more for additional tastings.
While some of the crowd stayed back and chatted, a couple family members took a tour of the distillery, which was located in an 1892 corn mill. Those who participated enjoyed getting a behind-the-scenes look at how Weldon Mills made their spirits.
Excursion 3: Golf at Chockoyotte Country Club
For those who went golfing, they agreed that the course, tucked away in Weldon, North Carolina and located near the Chockoyotte Creek, is a nice course that wanders through the woods. Everyone who went golfing came back raving about the staff and the family atmosphere and grandpa getting a hole-in-one!
We ended the family reunion at Kirkwood Adams back in Roanoke Rapids, complete with a live band that everyone enjoyed and a slideshow of our family history that I put together. It was a beautiful facility that was ideal for a family gathering with clean bathrooms and space to decorate.
The next morning, we enjoyed breakfast at the hotel and a church service in the hotel ballroom before we said our goodbyes and headed back home. We all agreed the family reunion this year was a success, and I can’t wait to see what we’ll do next year!