15 Best Things to Do in Rose Hill, NC

Rose Hill, NC
momemoment / shutterstock.com

Rose Hill is a small town located in Duplin County, North Carolina, less than two hours from Raleigh.

The town got its name from the abundant wild roses near its original site.

During the middle and late 1800s, Rose Hill became a shipping point for the naval stores industry, where they shipped thousands of barrels of tar, turpentine, pitch, and rosin to the Port of Wilmington.

Today, Rose Hill is a simple yet charming destination, boasting the world’s largest frying pan and nearby wineries.

For eagle-eyed Marvel fans, Rose Hill was also the filming location for the fictional town of Rose Hill, Tennessee, in the blockbuster movie Iron Man 3.

The town may seem modest, but here’s a rundown of the best things to do in Rose Hill, North Carolina:

Go on a Tour of Duplin Winery

The vineyard of Duplin Winery
Carmen Lucas, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on North Sycamore Street, Duplin Winery is the oldest operating winery in North Carolina and is known for its muscadine wines.

Established in 1975, it offers wine tasting sessions and winery tours for those who want a deeper insight into the winemaking process and the winery’s history.

From fruit to bottle, see the crushing pads, stainless steel tanks, and bottling area before ending your winery tour with two wine samples.

Delight your taste buds and get a chance to sample 10 pre-selected wines as an expert staff lets you in on the flavors and history of each wine.

The wine tasting session includes gourmet cheese dip, homemade crackers, and other snacks.

Before leaving Duplin Winery, stop by The Bistro at Duplin Winery for lunch and savor gourmet sandwiches with a glass of the best muscadine wine.

Check Out the World’s Largest Frying Pan

Rose Hill takes pride in housing the world’s largest frying pan, located on East Main Street.

Although there have been other contenders for the largest frying pan within and outside the United States, what sets Rose Hill apart is that the frying pan in town is still operational.

The frying pan weighs two tons, measures 15 feet in diameter, can hold up to 200 gallons of oil, and can fry a whopping 365 chickens at a time.

Although you can easily see the frying pan on a short visit, the best time to see it in action is at the North Carolina Poultry Jubilee held during the fall.

The North Carolina Poultry Jubilee festivities include a food festival featuring chicken cooked on the giant pan.

See the Filming Locations for Iron Man 3

Despite its rather plain environment, Rose Hill was featured in one of the most popular Marvel films, Iron Man 3.

It stood for the fictional town Rose Hill in Tennessee, where Tony Stark crash landed and spent time recovering and investigating.

Although most of the filming locations went back to their original appearance, you can still spot some of them on a short walking tour.

In the movie, East Church Street was where Stark began his investigation of strange occurrences in town, while Mallard Alley served as Crater Memorial in the film.

The Rocky Top Diner and Walker’s Bar were filmed in two commercial spaces along East Church Street.

Several empty lots within Rose Hill also served as other establishments in the fictional town.

Taste Southern Style Dishes at Rose Hill Restaurant

Rose Hill Restaurant is a family-run restaurant located on North Sycamore Street.

It was established in 1957 with a humble seating capacity of 46 before expanding to 250 seats and adding more dining rooms as the business grew.

At Rose Hill Restaurant, savor mouth-watering dishes like fried chicken, pit-cooked barbecue pork, sirloin steak, and more.

For dessert, don’t miss their homemade cakes like coconut cake, Key lime pie, and seasonal sweet treats like the best-selling lemon blueberry pie.

The restaurant also offers group and party menus for large gatherings and celebrations.

With its trademark Southern hospitality, delicious food, and warm ambiance, Rose Hill Restaurant is one of the best dining spots in town.

Shop for Various Items at R&R Thrift Store

R&R Thrift Store along Soth Sycamore Street offers reasonably priced antiques, furniture, collectibles, and other items.

From bed frames, living and dining room sets, and vintage turntables to toys, plants, and books, you can find anything and everything here for cheap.

For your Christmas decorating needs, find holiday-themed plates, decor, wreaths, and other novelty items to give your home a festive touch.

You can also find clothing items like jackets, tops, footwear, and aprons.

Since items here are sold at an affordable price, your shopping experience won’t break the bank.

With its location along the main highway, R&R Thrift Store is a must-visit when staying at Rose Hill.

Have a Meal at Sabor Latino Honduras Restaurant

If you want to try something new, grab a bite at Sabor Latino Honduras Restaurant on South Sycamore Street.

Start your day with breakfast at the restaurant and try their Honduran breakfast consisting of flour or corn tortillas with eggs, sour cream, beans, cheese, or avocado.

You can also have your meal with your choice of meat for an additional price.

If you prefer something classic, go for Sabor Latino Honduras Restaurant’s pancakes with bacon and eggs.

For lunch, enjoy Honduran dishes like carne asada, stewed chicken, fried fish, and Pastelitos Hondureños (a fried tortilla with ground beef and rice, with tomato sauce, salad, and cheese).

Enjoy Different Activities at the Rose Hill Recreation Department

The Rose Hill Recreation Department is an open field along Lake Tut Road.

The park aims to promote an active and healthy lifestyle for its youth and residents by providing different leisure activities and sports.

Activities you can enjoy at the park include tee ball, softball, tackle football, cheerleading, baseball, and more.

The area has a playground and picnic spots, making it the perfect place to visit with the whole family.

Even if you don’t plan on joining the activities, you can stop by Rose the Hill Recreation Department for a short mid-day break while exploring the town.

You can also visit the park when there are sporting events and cheer for the locals.

Find Solace at Rose Hill Community Library

Rose Hill Community Library is located on South Walnut Street.

This publicly funded and managed library houses a variety of books, from fiction and non-fiction titles to local and regional records.

Feel free to browse its shelves, pick a book of your liking, and enjoy the peaceful and quiet atmosphere of the library.

You can also read local books that narrate the history of Rose Hill and Duplin County.

If you’re looking for a place to sit back and spend a lazy afternoon, stop by Rose Hill Community Library.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Explore Cabin Lake County Park

Cabin Lake County Park is the perfect respite if you want to spend some downtime with Mother Nature.

Located 30 minutes from Rose Hill, this park in Pink Hill provides 167 acres of open fields, hiking trails, camping spots, and a 69-acre lake where visitors can enjoy a variety of land-based and water-based activities.

Rent a pedal boat, canoe, or kayak and paddle across the pristine waters of Cabin Lake, getting a different perspective of the area from your boat.

On land, follow the 2.3-mile hiking trail that takes you through lush forests and tranquil paths as you soak up the environment.

If you prefer less strenuous activities, lay down your picnic mat, sit back, relax, and enjoy the view.

To make the most of your visit to Cabin Lake County Park, pitch a tent and stay overnight on a memorable camping trip.

See the Exhibits at the Cowan Museum of History and Science

Take a 20-minute drive north from Rose Hill and learn about Duplin County’s history at the Cowan Museum of History and Science.

Founded in 1981, the museum grounds have an adjacent historical park with a log cabin, tobacco barn, blacksmith shop, and a general store.

The Cowan Museum of History and Science boasts more than 4,000 objects reflecting North Carolina’s history and heritage, some of which were donated by the Cowan family to Duplin County.

On your visit, find different woodworking and gardening tools, medical devices, household artifacts, and unique artifacts like a hog oiler, a tornado demonstrator, and an alternative fuel fan.

At the botanical gardens, find around 90 plant species native to North Carolina and have been present in American landscapes since 1850.

Visit The Country Squire Restaurant, Inn & Winery

The Country Squire Restaurant, Inn & Winery is your best one-stop destination if you’re spending the summer in North Carolina.

The restaurant, inn, and winery is only 20 minutes from Rose Hill and is an ideal place to visit on a half-day tour.

Visit the vineyards, join a wine tasting session at their Tartan Wine Tasting Room, and sip on their fruity, sweet, and old-fashioned wines.

The cozy and charming restaurant has been around since 1961, offering diners and guests hearty soups, tasty burgers, sandwiches, seafood dishes, meat-based dishes, and homemade desserts.

The Country Squire Restaurant, Inn & Winery’s lodging options range from vintage-style inns to four-bedroom guest houses, all furnished with antiques, Scottish tartan themes, and interiors that will make you feel like you’re in a period film.

Find Antiques and Other Knickknacks at Riverside Barn Antiques

Travel 20 minutes from Rose Hill to Wallace, and find all sorts of antiques and collectibles at Riverside Barn Antiques.

The antique store dates back to more than 30 years ago, when the owners made their first trip to the Amish countryside and started collecting and bringing home trinkets and things that piqued their interest.

Their collection grew, and in 1994, they opened their doors to the public so they could browse and bring home a souvenir of North Carolina.

With 12,000 square feet of space, you can browse through rows and shelves of antiques.

Find old toys, pottery, paintings, beds, wardrobes, bookcases, plant stands, lamps, and almost any antique you can imagine at Riverside Barn Antiques.

Learn about Duplin County’s History at Liberty Hall

Liberty Hall is now a museum and events center, originally the ancestral home of the influential Kenan family.

The museum is only a 20-minute drive from Rose Hill.

Take a tour of the house and learn more about the life of Thomas Kenan, a former US Congressman, and how his family contributed to Duplin County’s development.

The Southern plantation house features a garden shop, wine cellar, carriage house, chicken house, woodshed, herb garden, and a smokehouse.

With its timeless architecture and picturesque surroundings, guests can also hold photo shoots at an additional price.

Before leaving Liberty Hall, stop by the gift shop and browse through the books, ceramics, and other items you can purchase as souvenirs.

Spend the Day at Lake Leamon

From Rose Hill, drive 20 minutes to Lake Leamon, a recreational center for families and tourists of all ages.

Aside from the lake, the tourist destination offers RV campsites and over 100 tent sites with water and electric hookups.

Rent or bring your paddle boat, canoe, or kayak, and enjoy the view of the lake and campground from the water.

Lake Leamon is also an ideal place for scuba diving and diving training.

On land, stroll along the walking trails and pass through thick trees and bushes.

Take a Day Trip to Mike’s Farm

Mikes Farm is an agri-tourism destination located in Beulaville, a 35-minute drive from Rose Hill.

It offers fun activities like seasonal hayrides, pumpkin picking, strawberry picking, and a farm-to-table restaurant serving Southern-style food.

Depending on the season, you can pick fresh strawberries or go on a hay ride and stop by a pumpkin patch to choose the best pumpkin to bring home.

You can also find farm animals like chickens, ducks, turkeys, goats, cows, and donkeys and get a chance to feed them at the designated feeding stations.

Stop by Mike’s Farm’s on-site restaurant and enjoy an all-you-can-eat feast of fried chicken, pork loin, country ham biscuits, mashed potatoes, and other family-style dishes.

Final Thoughts

Rose Hill is a sleepy yet relaxing destination two hours from North Carolina’s capital city.

Walk around, see the filming locations for Iron Man 3, and shop for antiques and unique finds.

The town may be famous for housing the world’s largest frying pan, but getting to see it in person is just one of the best things to do in Rose Hill, North Carolina!