The start of my husband’s reenlistment date is coming up (meaning, the time frame of when he can either leave the Army or rejoin) which means that we could possibly be leaving Fort Bragg within the next year. So with this news in hand, I finally feel a lot more comfortable divulging some of my favorite places here.
So without further adieu, I now present to you everything you ever need to know about good ol’ Fort Bragg, North Carolina:
Ft Bragg Gyms: My Favorites
Fort Bragg is home to the Special Operations and Airborne troops and as a result, fitness is a HUGE deal here. Besides all of the local races, the monthly 5k’s, and all of the fitness related events they have on post, there are 14-15 gyms on post and all of them are awesome in their own right. Unfortunately, the MWR just started charging for classes and we still don’t have awesome child care co-op like the Smith Gym at Fort Benning (booo!). BUT the following gyms make up for their lack of child care with their awesomeness:
1. Tucker Gym – Located off Ardennes Rd, behind the Airborne PX and across from Towle Gym. It’s basically a CrossFit gym and they even post daily WOD’s. If CrossFit style workouts aren’t your thing, there’s also a separate room that carries regular gym equipment. And the best part? They have an indoor saltwater swimming pool. WINNING.
2. Frederick – Located off Gruber Rd. Just like Tucker, minus the pool, but the gym itself is on crack. Ladies, watch out for the eye candy. Just sayin’.
3. Pope Gym – I used to work at this gym so of course it’s one of my favorites. They have a great children’s room for parents to work out in with their little ones. Also boasts a big weight room, big cardio room, nice racquetball courts, and I love the outdoor track and outdoor workout area. Plus, it’s next to the trail around the flight line (more on that if you scroll down).
4. Iron Mike – I’ve only ever used this gym because they have an awesome children’s room. They have several machines for you to work out on while you can watch your kid play, and let me tell you, they will PLAY. The childcare room is AWESOME. Miniature elliptical, spin bikes, and treadmills for the kids, anyone? As they say, play hard, nap hard!
5. Spa Renaissance Center – Granted, this one is located OFF post and you have to be a member but I have a love affair with this gym because it doesn’t feel like you’re in Fayetteville when you walk in. It’s extremely fancy, has a gorgeous spa attached, great cafe and juice bar, awesome variety of free classes, indoor pool attached to the yoga studio, and 2 locations that are convenient to where I live. This doesn’t tickle my pickle as much as it might for someone else, but they even have a separate weightlifting room for women if you’re trying to avoid the meatheads.
Crossfit Fort Bragg Gyms
1. RedPoint: This one has to be my top favorite because it’s also a climbing gym, MMA gym, yoga, and CrossFit all in one. So basically all of my favorite things rolled up into one little warehouse. Plus, it’s cheaper than the other gyms AND closer to where I live.
2. Fort Bragg CrossFit: They utilize parallel bars, a wall climbing wall, AND have a childcare area. Enough said.
3. Iron Forge: I haven’t been to this location yet but I’ve heard TONS of great things about it. Even though I’m happy with where I do CrossFit, I still plan to check this location out because of the fact that I’ve heard so many awesome things. Update on this soon!
4. Team Roc: Another CrossFit and MMA gym that specializes in Jujitsu. They’re smaller, but the people there are so nice and encouraging. Love them!
As an aside, I recently found this very cool CrossFit Workout Index that I thought I would share. It’s great because it not only gives you 7 weeks of CrossFit routines, but it also includes suggested supplements and recipes to keep you going strong. Can’t beat that! Follow this link to check it out: CrossFit Workout Index.
Favorite farmers markets and where to satisfy your omnivore needs:
1. Believe it or not, the commissaries on post actually carry a limited selection of organic meat. It’s located in the Organic Prairie section near the frozen meat bins at the South Post Commissary but all they carry is ground chicken, ground turkey, ground beef, and beef franks.
And a quick note about the commissary: Both commissaries have a huge section portioned for health nuts. They have an awesome selection of Bob’s Red Mill products, gluten free products, non-GMO, vegan, vegetarian…pretty much everything your little health nut heart desires.
2. Harris Teeter off Raeford Rd carries a better variety of meat AND seafood and the prices aren’t too bad either.
3. T&T’s Farmers Market carries locally raised bacon and ham and sometimes they’ll have fresh poultry as well.
4. Reilly Road Farmers Market: More like a grocery store but still carries seasonal, fresh produce and meats. Great prices, awesome staff, and they always have samples to taste, and the prices are the best in the area.
5. Carolina Grown: Carolina Grown is a GREAT Community Supported Agriculture program where they deliver farm fresh produce and meats directly to your door for a monthly fee. We participated in the program and loved it but canceled our contract to make room in our budget. Plus, you have to be VERY quick to “order” your meat on Sunday nights otherwise everything sells out very quickly.
6. Fayetteville Farmers Market: Open every Saturday and Wednesday, located downtown behind the transportation museum, and just like any other farmers market, has all the fresh, local produce and meat that you need.
Favorite running trails
1. If you have access to on post, there’s this trail that runs along the entire flight line on Pope Airfield that I used to run and LOVED during my half training. It’s exactly 6 miles so it made for easy mileage calculating. I also loved that it was an open trail, part of it is paved with that soft rubber material that’s less damaging on your knees, and I loved the views around the flight line. It’s also an amazing feeling having the nations best planes fly over your head as you run, you can’t help but be in awe and run faster. The time would pass by quickly when I ran this trail.
2. Coolaconch: I’m not 100% sure if that’s the name but it’s 2 miles up, and 2 miles down on red clay. It’s a steep hill which always makes a run even more fun (for me that is). It’s also on post, located off Gruber road near the parade field. Sometimes you’ll run into soldiers doing their PT or training exercises but that’s okay. It’s extra motivation in my book.
3. Cape Fear River Trail: This one is 8 miles, and it’s a pretty trail to run but can get pretty dangerous at night. It’s located near Methodist University, off Ramsey St. and during the day is littered with other runners, bikers, rollerbladers, and families walking.
4. Maverick Park: This is a short 1.5 mile trail but it’s one of the prettiest since it’s located right next to a lake. It’s located off Bragg Blvd and is very easy to get to. LOVE this one!
Favorite places to chow down
Unfortunately, there aren’t too many choices in the Fayetteville area. You’d have to drive 45 minutes up to Raleigh for better choices in the health department. I’ve been to some amazing vegetarian and vegan restaurants while there but since I can’t stand driving long distances, I stick to my options in Fayetteville and do the best I can with what we have.
1. Jason’s Deli: This one is pretty self explanatory. And while it may not be the greatest or healthiest option out there, it’s still better than lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s or something along the same lines. And you can’t hate on their awesome salad bar.
2. Blue Moon: This is such a cute little restaurant located downtown on Hay Street. It’s gluten free friendly, vegetarian and vegan friendly, and they have an awesome beer and wine selection. You can never go wrong with that.
3. Fresh Cafe: Also downtown and near Blue Moon, this is another gluten free friendly, vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurant that boasts using all locally owned and organic ingredients. The food is awesome, cheap, and the restaurant is quirky but charming. Love it.
4. Royal Grill: This is one of our favorite Mediterranean restaurants in the area. Everything is moderately priced, the food is great, and never oily or greasy. They even offer fresh veggie juices, yum!
Favorite Yoga Studios
1. Embrace Yoga: SUCH a cute studio located in the heart of downtown Fayetteville. I love the instructors, and they have an awesome variety of classes. I also love that they do a lot of free sessions for military service members. Any service that supports the military, is a service that I support.
2. Hot Asana: I recently checked this place out and it’s also adorable. You can tell everyone here has a huge passion for yoga and it’s the kind of passion that’s contagious. It’s kind of far for us city folk who hate driving more than 25 minutes to get anywhere, but I swear it’s completely worth it. It’s located in downtown Southern Pines which is also an adorably cute area to visit.
1. Studio X: This is a pole dancing studio that I need to do a separate post on. It’s located off Raeford Rd, in a safe location, and it’s SO MUCH FUN! Plus, they have CHILDCARE! Whoo hoo! Post on this coming soon.
2. Ram’s Self Defense: Located in Hope Mills. They have an awesome staff, great Krav Maga classes, and affordable options. Occasionally you can catch a groupon for them as well. Highly recommend you check them out if you’re down to kick some ass!
3. Apple Crate: This cute little store is a health nut’s DREAM. It’s like a Whole Food’s, but smaller and minus the delicious hot foods bar, but they still have a decent dry bins selection. It’s locally owned, and located right next to Great Harvest Bread off Raeford Road which also makes it a win in my eyes. They don’t carry meat or seafood but it’s across the street from Harris Teeter which as I’ve mentioned earlier, is a great place to purchase meat anyway.
So that’s my list for now. I hope this helps any of you newcomers to Bragg! If you’re on your way here, don’t listen to what the rumors say, it’s really not that bad. As with everything else in life, you get out of it what you put into it. If you stay home and complain about being here, of course you’re going to hate it. We’ve called this place home for the past two years and I’ve actually come to love it! Shocking, right? Fort Bragg is 2 hours from the mountains, 2 hours from gorgeous beaches, an hour from the city of Raleigh and Durham, and 5 hours from either DC or Savannah. Less if you drive fast 😉
If I left anything out, shoot me an email and I’ll update this post. Holla to my fellow Bragg-ilinians!