Ultimate Road Trips: Southeast
This road trip features a lot of baseball, beer and BBQ. Traveling from Georgia to North Carolina you’ll see four different classifications of affiliated ball from Rookie ball to the major leagues. There will be plenty of other baseball fun along the way.
What To See: Start your trip off with a trip to SunTrust Park, the newest park in the big leagues. The Braves’ brand-new home has the amenities of a new park, including a zip line and a bar in right field, plus the park is surrounded by shops, bars and restaurants.
Where Else To Go: There are plenty of attractions not too far from the ballpark. Six Flags, the World of Coca-Cola and Centennial Olympic Park, which was constructed for the 1996 Olympics, are all located within 20-30 minutes of the ballpark. Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get around because Atlanta traffic tends to be congested.
What To Eat: Busy Bee Cafe has been around since 1947. On Monday, the special is meatloaf. Some of the other popular items are fried chicken, pork chops, corn muffins and candied yams on the side.
Next Stop: 93 miles; one hour, 45 minutes drive time.
Ty Cobb Museum
What To See: When you’re heading out of Atlanta and need a place to stop, go visit the Ty Cobb Museum. Arguably the best hitter in baseball history, Cobb is the all-time leader with a .366 batting average. The museum features memorabilia, film, books and historical archives to preserve Cobb’s legacy. Stretch out your legs for a bit, maybe grab a bite to eat and then you’re back on the road. The museum is open from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. during the week.
Next Stop: 66.1 miles; one hour, 20 minutes drive time.
Fluor Field Tuesday, Aug. 22, 7:05 p.m. West Virginia Power vs. Greenville Drive
What To See: A ticket to Fenway Park is tough. Fluor Field, home of the Greenville Drive, might be the next closest thing. The home of Boston’s low Class A affiliate replicates some of the key features from Fenway, including a green monster in left field. “Sweet Caroline” is even played in the middle of the eighth.
Where Else To Go: Stop by the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Baseball Library. Jackson’s former home was relocated and turned into a museum. It’s also right across the street from Fluor Field. The museum is only open on Saturdays, but you can set up appointments to visit if you reach out ahead of time.
What To Eat: Trappe Door is located on Main Street just a few minutes from the ballpark. It is underground in a basement, like a typical Belgian restaurant and bar.
Next Stop: 103 miles; two hours drive time.
What To See: Baseball America named BB&T Park the top minor league ballpark in 2015. In its fourth year, the park remains pristine. The view of the Charlotte skyline is memorable. It has plenty of places to eat as well. The Triple-A affiliate of the White Sox boasts a number of top prospects.
Where Else To Go: Charlotte is about 12 hours from Cooperstown, so you won’t be anywhere near the Hall of Fame, but you might as well check out the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
What To Eat: Bill Spoon’s Barbecue has been around since 1963, so you know they are doing something right. For $11 you can get a complete meal.
Next Stop: 79.8 miles; one hour, 30 minutes drive time.
What To See: High Class A affiliate of the White Sox, Winston-Salem also plays at a stadium called BB&T Park, one of the best ballparks in the Carolina League and the high Class A level.
Where Else To Go: While in town, check out Foothills Brewpub. You can take a tour of the brewery and stop by the 28-tap tasting room.
What To Eat: Camel City BBQ is one of the best BBQ joints in town. It offers a pool table, darts and video games.
Next Stop: 51.3 miles; one hour, five minutes drive time.
Burlington Athletic Stadium Friday, Aug. 25, 7 p.m. Princeton Rays vs. Burlington Royals
What To See: Burlington Athletic Stadium is a throwback to the more traditional minor league experience. The ballpark was originally built in Danville, Va., as the home of the Carolina League’s Danville Leafs. In 1958, the ballpark was dismantled and reconstructed 43 miles south in Burlington. The Royals’ Rookie-level affiliate plays there.
Where Else To Go: The Alamance battleground is about 20 minutes from the ballpark.
What To Eat: Zack’s Hot Dogs has been in town for more than 85 years. Make sure to get some of Zack’s famous chilli put on top of one of your dogs.
Next Stop: 43.1 miles; one hour drive time.
What To See: The town of Cary has been home to USA Baseball since 2002. The complex is gorgeous and has a store to buy Team USA gear.
Where Else To Go: The University of North Carolina is on the way from Burlington to Cary. You can stop by to check out Boshamer Stadium, home of the UNC baseball team, and grab a bite to eat near campus on Franklin Street. After the day’s games you can make the trip to Raleigh for a night out.
What To Eat: Tribeca Tavern is about 10 minutes from the baseball complex. It has a variety of sandwiches and burgers to choose from, all with a suggested locally crafted beer.
Next Stop: 46 miles; 53 minutes drive time.
Durham Bulls Athletic Park Sunday, Aug. 27, 5:05 p.m. Norfolk Tides vs. Durham Bulls
What To See: The DBAP was built in 1995, so, no, it was not used in the film “Bull Durham,” but it does have a giant bull behind the fence in left field. Baseball America ranked the park at No. 7 on its list of best minor league home fields in 2015. The Triple-A affiliate hosts a number of the Rays’ top prospects, including shortstop Willy Adames and righthander Brent Honeywell.
Where Else To Go: If you’re looking for something to do during the day, why not walk and drive around the area and try to find a few locations from “Bull Durham,” which was filmed in downtown Durham. You can visit historic Durham Athletic Park, which was used in the movie, Annie Savoy’s house, the pool hall . . . quite a few of the sites are still around.
What To Eat: You have to stop at Bullock’s Bar-B-Q if you’re in town. If you’re with a group, you can order family style. Get a little pork, fried chicken, green beans, brunswick stew and hushpuppies. Along with the food, visiting Bullock’s is an experience in and of itself. The place has been around since 1952. The walls are covered in pictures of different celebrities who have eaten there.
Total road trip: 482.3 miles, nine hours, 33 minutes drive time.