There’s nothing like a horse-drawn carriage ride through downtown Fayetteville. Even more exciting are the historical carriage tours of Olde Fayetteville that cover 250 years of history in 45 minutes. This summer, Cool Spring Downtown District invites the public to “time travel” with horse and carriage on three Saturdays: June 15, July 13 and Aug. 17.
The tours consist of about one mile of historical sites downtown, but no two tours are alike “because everybody’s different,” said Hank Parfitt, a tour guide and volunteer with CSDD and the Downtown Alliance. “All the tour guides have their special things that they like the most, so no, you wouldn’t get the same tour every time.”
Among several other sites, stops include the old courthouse on Gillespie Street, Evans Metropolitan AME Zion Church, Cool Spring Tavern and the Market House. The tour guide’s goal is to make the town’s past exciting for everyone involved, history buff or not. “That’s part of what the guides do, and it’s so important,” said Parfitt. “(They’re) not there to just spew out a bunch of facts (they) have memorized. What makes it fun is you talking and telling the stories of these events and the people connected with them.
“It’s a double whammy: You find history that is fun, you have a good time doing it, and you learn more about your town.”
Baseball lovers are welcome, too. If you attend a Fayetteville Woodpeckers home game any time from May 29 to June 10 and save your ticket, you’ll get a discount on a carriage ride. “If you bring in your used ticket … you’ll get a 40% discount,” said Parfitt. “And it has to be in advance; you can’t do it the day of. At the time you make your reservation, you’ll also be entered into a drawing for four free (Fayetteville Woodpeckers) tickets.”
Reserve a tour and bring your used ticket by the CSDD office at 222 Hay St. for the discount.
Kris Johnson, another tour guide, is excited to see historical Fayetteville’s evolution into a thriving city. “You don’t always appreciate what’s in your ow backyard,” said Johnson. “We are in such a renaissance. It’s exciting to see people come down and get that positive energy going. Fayetteville’s got a lot to offer, and we always have; it’s amazing.”
Cool Spring also offers holidaythemed carriage rides throughout the year for holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
Historical carriage tours of Olde Fayetteville will take place June 15 from 1-5 p.m., July 13 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m., and August 17 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Groups of all sizes are welcome, but call 910-223-1089 if your group includes more than four people. Tours depart at 222 Hay St., across from the Cameo Art House Theatre. For tickets, call 910-223-1089 or visit www.visitdowntownfayetteville.com.