Brought to you by a committee of Kinston residents and businesses for the benefit of local historical sites and revitalization efforts, the Mother Earth Brewing Ironclad Half Marathon promises to be a great getaway race. The race takes place Saturday, October 10, amidst the historic and cultural beauty of Kinston, NC. Take a long weekend to spend time in this historic eastern North Carolina town and enjoy the local shops and nationally acclaimed restaurants, like Chef & the Farmer featured on the PBS show “A Chef’s Life”. You can also enjoy great local beer from Mother Earth Brewery which sponsors the race.
The race course is made for PR’s! The single loop course starts outside historic Grainger Baseball Stadium, the former home of the Kinston Indians, then follows a very flat and fast loop through parts of Downtown Kinston, past the CSS Neuse Ironclad gunboat and through North Kinston. Runners will return to Grainger Stadium where they will enter the stadium and finish on the first base line on the baseball field.
Things to Do in Kinston Race Weekend
Eat dinner at the famous Chef & the Farmer restaurant. In 2006, chef Vivian Howard, who grew up on a farm about 15 miles from Kinston, opened Chef & the Farmer with her husband, Benjamin Knight. Their lives have been about creating an unparalleled dining experience in North Carolina’s eastern region ever since. The name Chef & the Farmer represents a relationship, a working one between the restaurant and their farmers. That relationship serves up seriously seasonal, seriously local, seriously delicious food. Chef & The Farmer is open Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30pm to 9:30pm, Friday and Saturday from 5:30pm to 10:30pm, and closed on Sunday and Monday. www.chefandthefarmer.com
Pamper yourself the night before the race at a bed and breakfast. Kinston boasts two historic Bed & Breakfasts: The O’Neil and The Bentley. In the heart of Kinston’s former Banker’s Corner, The O’Neil, originally a Farmers & Merchants Bank, is a portrait of tradition in eastern North Carolina. Its story mirrors Kinston’s historic rise, and current rebirth, as a hub of commerce and culture in North Carolina. The Bentley, formerly known as Vernon Hall, is part of the Grainger Hill National Historic District, which includes many fine historic homes from the early 20th-century. The Bentley is an outstanding neo-classical revival home that was built in 1913 for local businessman C. F. Harvey. If you want to pamper yourself after the race, you’ll have to wait till next year as all rooms on race day are already booked by participants. www.the-oneil.com and www.bentleybedandbreakfast.com
Relax after the race at Mother Earth Brewing. Born in the summer of 2008, Mother Earth is the dream-child of Stephen Hill and Trent Mooring, two guys from Kinston in the heart of the old tobacco belt. When it came time to christen their homegrown business, they sat down and listened to rock ‘n roll. They listened to all their vinyl albums from 1965 to the present, listening to the great sound and writing down words and phrases that spoke to our philosophy. Finally, on an old Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album, they found Mother Earth. And they knew, that would be the name. For the entire Mother Earth family, life is an art, and it requires artfully crafted beverages with which to wash it down. Try the Weeping Willow Wit or some of the excellent seasonal beers. The Mother Earth Brewing Tap Room is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4pm to 10pm and Friday and Saturday from 1pm to 10pm. They are closed Sunday and Monday. www.motherearthbrewing.com
Experience local history by visiting the CSS Neuse Museum. Learn more about Kinston’s role in the Civil War. See up close the remnants of the ironclad gunboat CSS Neuse, a product of the Confederate navy’s ill-fated attempt to regain control of the lower Neuse River and retake the city of New Bern during the Civil War. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm. www.nchistoricsites.org/neuse