In the world of roadway oddities, one is often tempted to rate them on a scale from truly awesome to dull as dishwater. But the intrepid travel writer must realize that one tourist’s amazing can be another tourist’s blah. Who can decide if a huge ball of twine is “better” than the world’s largest potato, or how either one compares to a Styrofoam Stonehenge?
So, without passing any judgment, I will tell you that Rose Hill, North Carolina hosts what they call “the world’s largest frying pan,” and you can stop by and see it if you’d like. I wouldn’t recommend making a special trip to do so. But if you’re traveling Interstate 40 between Raleigh and Wilmington and have some time to spare, it’s kind of fun to take a look. Conveniently, it’s a quick hop off the main highway – and you can also visit a winery just a few blocks up the road, too.
In fact, maybe a little sampling at the winery first is worth considering.
In either case, the Frying Pan – which nowadays has its own little building in a park in downtown Rose Hill – first came about in 1963 as part of the first Rose Hill Poultry Jubilee. Built by the Ramsey Feed Company, it has impressive statistics: weight, two tons; diameter, 15 feet; circumference, 45 feet; area, 176 square feet; and a five-foot handle.
For over two decades, the frying pan prepared up to 365 chickens at a time to help celebrations of the region’s poultry industry, and continues today to be used for a variety of fundraising events in the community. In this town of about 1,300 people, it is decidedly a centerpiece.
Finding the Frying Pan is simple: hop off Interstate 40 at Exit 380 and head west on West Charity St. about one mile to U.S. Highway 117. Turn right and travel north about three blocks. The World’s Largest Frying Pan will be on your right.
When your pilgrimage to the pan is complete, another 5 to 6 blocks up U.S. Hwy. 117 is Duplin Winery (www.duplinwinery.com), the oldest North Carolina winery of modern times. They’re open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday (closed Sundays), with free tours available until 4 p.m. daily. Their popular wines, using the native Muscadine grape, range from white and champagne to blush and red.
If you still have time to spend, you’ll find a number of other museums and attractions in the surrounding area. I recommend visiting www.uncorkduplin.com for information on places to stay and things to do in the county.
But if you’ve never seen a really big pan before, the place to make your start is little Rose Hill, N.C.