Back Road Trips: 5 Reasons to Visit Lexington, NC

A Chicken Leg - So Tender and Juicy!

A Chicken Leg – So Tender and Juicy!

Lexington, NC “the barbecue capital of the world,” is located in middle of the state. Named after the Revolutionary Battle of Lexington, this town has been around for a looooong time. Like many cities and towns here in North Carolina their textile and furniture industry left for other pastures in the ’90’s, taking jobs and a good chunk of the economy with them. Slowly, Lexington is transforming and you now see glimmers of its former glory, making visiting an excellent back road day trip.

Lexington Bar-B-Q

Lexington Bar-B-Q

1) Eat Barbecue. Or Bar-b-cue. Or Bar-b-que. Or Bar-B-Q. Or BBQ. Lexington is barbecue central in NC, both literally and figuratively. Barbecue joints are easy to find in this town and they all have their own twist. I was on a mission for barbecue. What is Lexington barbecue? I was fixin’ to find out. My TripAdvisor research led me to choose the Bar-B-Q Center. I arrived in the early afternoon while it was quiet. That quickly changed and this joint was jumping.’ You can read more about my experience here. No matter what restaurant you try in Lexington, be sure to try the “barbecue slaw,” a vinegar based red slaw with a unique tang.

The Candy Factory "Pig in the City"

The Candy Factory “Pig in the City”

2) Pigs in the City. Forget Sex in the City, in Lexington it’s all about the pig. Barbecue pig, that is. What better way to highlight the the city’s mainstay than with pig art in the form of life-size pig sculptures tucked around town?

The Candy Factory

The Candy Factory

3) The Candy Factory. This candy store is every kid’s dream. When you step inside it’s like time hopping back in time. Plus they have candy.

Conrad & Hinkle Food Market

Conrad & Hinkle Food Market

4) Conrad & Hinkle Food Market. Take a few moments to walk around and take in this old-school supermarket. If you close your eyes you can imagine what it was like to shop at the local market and get fresh meat from the butcher, like your grandma. Bring your cooler and be sure to pick up some pimento cheese and meats from the butcher.

Davidson County Historic Museum

Davidson County Historic Museum

5) Davidson County Historic Museum. Located in the old, historic courthouse, the museum features the history of Davidson County through exhibits and programs. Learn about the county by viewing the artifacts, photographs, archives on the first floor and take in the original historic courthouse on the second floor.

A Monstrous Banana Split

A Monstrous Banana Split

Of course this isn’t an inclusive list of everything to do in Lexington! There is much, much more. Lexington is a small town big on charm with no shortage of things to do, see, or eat. Bob Timberlake, renowned artist and NC native, has a gallery in Lexington. Maybe you’re more keen on the outdoors? Why not visit one of the parks, lakes or recreation areas nearby? If you’re a barbecue aficionado plan your visit during the annual barbecue festival and eat to your heart’s content!

10 comments on “Back Road Trips: 5 Reasons to Visit Lexington, NC

  1. Hi. I grew up in Lexington and ate the barbeque all the time. This little town will always be my home although I have not lived there in many years. I attend the BBQ festival every year and my favorite place to eat BBQ is at Smokey Joe’s on south Main st. Growing up in Lexington in the 50’s we were allowed to do things that are not allowed today. We could run all over and play after dark and not be afraid. No electronics to keep us indoors. It was a better time to be a kid without all the peer pressure and fear of being harmed by strangers. I love that I grew up there. My two brothers still live there. Thanks for the chance to talk about my home. Betty Ross Chesapeake VA

    • Hi Betty!

      It is good to hear from you! I agree that years ago things were much more simple and relaxed. I grew up in rural PA and we played outside all day and never wanted to come inside! Things certainly have changed since I was a kid in the ’70s and ’80s, especially with electronics. Some things are better today, but I, like you, feel more at ease in the less bustling lifestyle of a small town. One day I’ll find the small town that’s right for me. Chesapeake is a beautiful area in Virginia, although no place ever compares to home. I feel the same way about Bucks County, PA. I’ve got two places to try the next time I’m in Lexington: Smokey Joe’s and Back Country BBQ. Thank you for commenting on my post!

      ~Mindy

  2. Dear Mindy, What a pleasant review of life in a small town, but big on BBQ.
    Next time you come, try to go to Back Country BBQ and try some of his
    BBQ, plus BBQ Chicken, cooked fresh every day…Then try some of his Baked
    Beans, with real bacon, and other spices.
    And don’t forget the Banana Pudding..
    Thanks for such a lovely written piece Hometown Spirit……….D. McBride retired…..

    • Hi D. McBride!

      Thank you for reading my post! I will certainly try Back Country BBQ the next time I’m there. I am on a quest to try as much NC BBQ as possible and I love recommendations from people that know about these things. I sure hope I have room to try the banana pudding, it’s one of my favorites! Usually, by the time I get to the dessert round I’m stuffed to the gills and can barely move. One day I’ll learn to pace myself!

      ~Mindy

    • Hi Steve!

      Thank you! I agree that Lexington is a pretty cool town to visit. I’m a small town girl at heart and love to explore & meet as many people as I can. 🙂 I’ll be back for certain, there’s a lot of barbecue I still need to try!

      ~Mindy

      • LOL Yes. Each Lexington BBQ restaurant has a unique flavor.

        For ten years 1999-2009, I lived atop my sister’s tax business in the middle of town. My daily hangout was next door, The Perfect Blend Coffee Shop. I met someone new that was visiting from out of town almost every day while hanging out there. it was always a positive experience.

        I designed a website for The Bar-B-Q Center early this year. I added your articles to the “Media page”. Hopefully we can drive some traffic back to your blog.

        http://bbqcenter.net/barbecue-center-media.php

        • I did not realize you designed their page! Thank you so much for adding my articles to their page. That is super awesome!! 😀 ~Mindy

  3. My fiance has family ties here, but every time we visit Lexington we’re always just doing family things and we haven’t actually gone exploring. It’s on our list of things to do though, and one of these days we’re going to hash out which of the different types of slaw we like better (like the red slaw you mentioned). Good review!

    • Hi Liz!

      I know what you mean about visiting family and not getting out & about. It happens most every time I visit PA. For me I don’t see my family but a couple times a year and want to see them as much as possible while I’m there so I don’t go out much. I think you need to take a few hours to explore, maybe take some family with you! Lexington is a great town to visit & I met some wonderful people there. You do need to try the different slaw types. I had no idea about the red slaw until I got there! Let me know what you think once you get to try it. 🙂

      ~Mindy

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