While you’re in Smithfield …

By Janet Gibson

Ava Gardner Museum
In the heart of downtown, this museum pays homage to the town’s most famous daughter, actress Ava Gardner. The unique collection spans Gardner’s life from her humble beginnings to her Hollywood heyday and her love life, too (husbands included Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra). One look at her gowns and we are convinced … yes, she really did have an 18-inch waist. For more information:
www.johnstoncountync.org/ava-gardner/

DeWayne’s
While you’re in the shopping mood, scoot on over to DeWayne’s, which is near the outlet mall, just in the city limits of Selma.. Favorite stops here include the Kendra Scott jewelry boutique, the Peepers readers (glasses) display, the sweet shop, women’s and men’s fashions, the garden center, and above them all, Christmasland. There’s simply no comparison locally to the beautifully curated collections that go up in fall. We could get lost in the angels and ornaments. Visit shopdewaynes.com/

Carolina Premium Outlets
At Exit 95 off Interstate 95, discover a shopper’s paradise with 80 stores and something for the entire family. Look for Ann Taylor, Brooks Brothers, Carter’s, Champion, Chico’s, Coach, Crocs, Gap, J. Crew, Lane Bryant, Michael Kors, Perfumania, Polo Ralph Lauren, Samsonite, Tommy Hilfiger and many more. The expansive Carolina Pottery store is a must-stop for home decor. Details at www.premiumoutlets.com/outlet/carolina

Gotham’s Deli
Across from the Ava Gardner Museum is Gotham’s, which has been named by foodie sites as among the best delis in North Carolina. You’ll know you have arrived when you see the life-size Statue of Liberty sculpture and loads of baseball memorabilia. Breakfast bagels, salads and Nathan’s hotdogs are on the menu, but our favorite is the Reuben, made like they do in the Big Apple without the price (about $6 for a half and $9 for a whole). Check out gothamsdeli.com/