Sunday, June 5, 2011

ECU Tailgate and Visitors Guide '11

This is one of a series of tailgating guides for C-USA football schools written by Syracuse fan and tailgate aficionado TexanMark. If you have any feedback or additional information you think belongs in this guide, please drop an email message to Mark by clicking here.



The Beautiful ECU Campus Click to enlarge

First Things first: GETTING THERE

Unless you live within 7-8 hours the game at Greenville (ECU) will require you to fly in. The bad news is Greenville, NC is rather small (85,000 city and 180,000 in Pitt County) and airline service is very limited. All I could find was about 5 flights a day to Charlotte via USAirways out of Pitt-Greenville (PGV) Airport. You might get lucky and find a decent airfare so give it a try. For all others I recommend flying into Raleigh-Durham International (RDU) which is about 75 minutes (non rush hour) west of Greenville. The airport in Raleigh is huge and offers many nonstops and does offer some good airfares with Southwest, AirTran and Frontier (nee Midwest Express) all serving the market. Another small regional airport is located about 45 mins away in New Bern. It is worth a look. One other option is to fly into Norfolk International (ORF). I have found many very good airfares in there. It is a very nice airport and easy to get in and out of and is about two hours from ECU and Greenville. For those with some time, you might consider Amtrak. There is service into nearby Rocky Mount or Raleigh. Finally if golf and beach are on your mind you can try Myrtle Beach, SC and Wilmington, NC airports a few hours to the south (they each possess some low cost air carriers).



Greenville is not a tourist destination however, it does offer some museums in town but being a smaller town it doesn't offer as much as compared to many other CUSA locales. The good news is it is within a couple hours of the North Carolina Outer Banks and Beaches. Vacation Idea: Fly into Norfolk or Raleigh and drive to the Outer Banks. The motel/condo/rental homes drop their rates after Labor Day and the Outer Banks can offer beach and swim weather easily until mid/late October. Many of the rental units allow 8-12 people to stay together so you could split the cost among friends and save some money. The Outer Banks need to be explored by car but it does offer you the opportunity to ride a ferry to get a real nautical experience. This neat website details the Southern Outer Banks. Obviously golfers will find NC a golfers' paradise. Myrtle Beach, SC is about three hours south and the Pinehurst is not too far away along with many great courses in the North Carolna Coastal Area. More Golf recommendations below.


Enjoy a Pepsi in New Bern

A few other destinations surely to please: New Bern, NC birthplace of Pepsi, Morehead City and Atlantic Beach for those beach, water and boat lovers, Raleigh for those who want to see a bigger city (or maybe stay there and drive over for the game), and finally for you history buffs, historic Williamsburg, VA.

Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Directions

The ECU campus is smack dab in the middle of Greenville. ECU plays their games in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The stadium is located about 3/4 mile south of the main campus near 14th Street and Charles Blvd. The stadium was built in the early 60s and has gradually expanded throughout the years as ECU's stature grew in college football. It currently seats about 50,000 and offers great sight lines. Formal Stadium policies give you all the info needed to enjoy game day experience. Stadium expansion raised seating from 43k to 50k in 2010. They have been approved to raise it again to 58k over the next few years. In 2010 the east end zone got 7,000 new seats to bring capacity up to 50,000. The stadium has made great strides in the past 10 years. It has made the transistion from a glorified erector set to a BCS quality Football Stadium. Nice job...ECU.


Dowdy-Ficklen Rocking with 50,000


The following directions are courtesy of the official ECU Pirates website:

From the Tidewater, Va., Area Take US 13 from Suffolk to Ahoskie, N.C. Take bypass around Ahoskie (NC 11). Take NC 11 to Greenville. NC 11 turns into Memorial Drive. Take Fifth Street to Cotanche Street and take a right. Take Cotanche, which turns into Charles Blvd., to Ficklen Drive and take a left. Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is up the hill on the right.

From the North Take I-95 South to NC 903 exit (Halifax, N.C.). Take left over the overpass. Take NC 903 for eight miles until you reach US 301. Take left onto NC 125/903 and continue for 15 miles until you reach Scotland Neck. Take a right on US 258 when you reach Scotland Neck and go about 1-2 miles through downtown. Then take a left onto NC 125 for about 15 miles to Oak City. Take a right onto NC 11 at Oak City. Continue on NC 11 (25 miles) to Greenville where it turns into Memorial Drive. Take Memorial Drive to Fifth Street and take a left. Take Fifth Street to Cotanche Street and take a right. Take Cotanche, which turns into Charles Blvd., to Ficklen Drive and take a left. Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is up the hill on the right. Edit: if you want a simpler route with less two lane highways I suggest you come in US 264 off I-95 near Wilson (essentially follow the directions for coming from the south)

From the South Take I-95 North to US 264 exit (Wilson, N.C.). Take a right and continue on US 264 past Wilson and head into Greenville. Take US 264 to Allen Road and turn right. Allen Road turns into Greenville Blvd. Take Greenville Blvd. to Charles Blvd. and take a left (ECU message board on corner). Take Charles Blvd. down hill and turn right on Ficklen Drive. Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is up the hill on the right.

From Triangle Area Take US 64 from Raleigh and head east. Take US 264 in Zebulon and head east past Wilson and into Greenville. Take US 264 to Allen Road and turn right. Allen Road turns into Greenville Blvd. Take Greenville Blvd. to Charles Blvd. and take a left (ECU message board on corner). Take Charles Blvd. down hill and turn right on Ficklen Drive. Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is up the hill on the right.

From Wilmington Take Interstate 40 northwest to Wallace. Take right onto NC 41 and head north through Chiquapin and Beulaville (about 20-25 miles). Get on NC 241 in Beulaville and head about 10 miles north to Pink Hill, where you will pick up NC 11. Take NC 11 through downtown Kinston and into Greenville, where it turns into Memorial Drive. Take Memorial Drive (past Carolina East Mall) to Greenville Blvd., where you will take a right. Take Greenville Blvd. to Charles Blvd. and take a left (ECU message board on corner). Take Charles Blvd. down hill and turn right on Ficklen Drive. Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is up the hill on the right.



Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Click to enlarge

Parking

Parking is relatively easy here. This PDF Map is for non-gameday parking but does show the lots in good detail. They have identified lots for gameday general admission visitors. ECU just might have the best tailgate scene in CUSA. The scenery is first rate. Tailgating starts six hours before kickoff (but never earlier than 8 AM), more official rules can be seen here. The 2010 Football General Parking Plan with other rules and valuable information is here. A few items of interest:
LIMITED GENERAL PUBLIC PARKING
Parking for football fans without reserved parking passes will be available in the Carol Belk Building lot along Charles Boulevard ($20 per vehicle) and in the gravel lots along 14th Street ($20 per vehicle). Parking is limited and lots will open six hours prior to kick-off (8:00 a.m. for noon kick-offs) and spaces will be first-come-first-served. Access to the lots along 14th Street will be shut down four (4) hours prior to kick-off.

GENERAL PUBLIC RV PARKING
Recreational vehicle parking is available in the Carol Belk Building lot. The parking fee is $100 per RV and advance reservation and payment is required. No day of game RVs will be allowed without advance reservation. Please contact Mike Cherry (252) 737- 4517 to make arrangements for general public RV parking space.
Note: ECU fans tell me this is the only real option for visiting fans. The good news is Sat TV reception is good here if you have a dish.

From the official ECU guide:



ECU Parking Map Click to view--suitable for printing.

Some notes to help you about the lots:

Lot 16: Sorry...now the new track and field complex.

Lot 13/RV Lot: This area is mainly for RV's and people cooking pigs. Usually for the older crowd (as in 30+ year old).

Overnight parking for RVs is permitted for Friday evenings after 6 p.m. in the designated area. All vehicles must be self-contained; no electrical hook-ups are available. Contact (252) 737-4517 for specific recreational vehicle parking information or email at cherrym@ecu.edu. General RV parking passes will be available at the beginning of August.


Disabled Parking/Tickets: Parking for handicapped persons is available near the stadium on both the East and West sides. This area offers space on a first-come, first-served basis. Patrons must display the required handicapped parking permit to park in this area. If additional information is needed, please call (252) 737-4694. If you fail to arrange something prior it looks like Lot 18 and a shuttle ride is your option.

Lot 10: Areas near Elmhurst School are open to all, if you are Greek odds are you will be tailgating near Eppes now. Most organized events usually put up tents and have a rather large set-up so you can tell they're in the business of celebration.

The area around C.M Eppes Middle School. This area is filled with mostly students who want more room for their tailgating set-up. This area also boasts less cops (since it is not University property), so blast your music as loud as you wish! NOTE: The lots near Eppes are permit but visitor lots are just north of the school.

Lot 7: Visiting Fans/Non Permit Holders Parking: The best area for visiting fans to park is north of 14th Street in the vicinity of C.M Eppes Middle School and Todd Dining Hall. EDIT: Look for College Hill Drive on the map above (it runs between E 14th St and East 10th St) and the lots are just south of 10th St.

Lot 18: The area listed on the map near the Allied Health center is now general parking and as mentioned above can accommodate the disabled.

If in doubt you can contact ECU Parking Services

Another parking option is curbside parking east of the stadium in the area of West Berkley Road. An ECU fan states:
"curbside parking...a lot of fans park in this residential area and 10 minute walk to the stadium. A lot of tailgaters for the lots around Elmhurst School park here due to limited parking spaces in the actual school lots. Arrive at least 3 hours before game time for parking as space goes fast. Do not block driveways, park or tailgate in someones yard. Police and wreckers will be called."

ECU Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Every fan visiting ECU needs to check out this website. Den does a great job and his has a great Gameday Page you must visit.

Tailgate Supplies

ECU has a Harris Teeter Store located very close to the stadium at the intersection of Charles and 14th. Be advised you should go to customer service and ask for a VIC Card to get the discounted prices on many items. That intersection also has two convenience stores. You can buy beer and wine in grocery/convenience stores in NC. On campus the Galley offers food to go (located in Jones Hall) and Pirate Market is a full sized convenience store also located in Jones Hall on College Hill. You have to buy liquor in ABC Stores. The closest ABC store about a 1/2 mile away SE of the stadium at Greenville 337 Arlington Blvd, Phone: 252-756-2955, Store Hours: M-S 10am-9pm. For you Walmart fans: Greenville has a Supercenter. It is located a few miles away and is usually very busy.

Ticket Scalpers and You:

If available I recommend buying tickets here: If the game isn't sold out you can buy tickets on game day at Minges Coliseum. More info can be found at the official website. The ticket reselling scene at ECU is mostly "laid back" and usually revolves around fellow fans exchanging tickets and money in the tailgate parking lots or along the sidewalks leading to the stadium.

Ticket Scalping is illegal in North Carolina to sell tickets by the original owner for more than face value + $3. There is a movement to liberalize the laws...stay tuned.
Disclaimer: The following info describes where ticket reselling happens. I recommend buying tickets legally. If you aren't sure of current local laws ask someone knowledgeable.
One ECU fan states:
The best way to get tickets is to troll the tailgating lots hours
before the game. They are usually available for face value or lower
for less desirable games. As it gets closer to game time stand near the main entrances to the stadium on the press box (south) side or the scoreboard area (east side) for best results. The upper deck side is more students than anything else.




ECU Seating Chart for 2011

LODGING:


City Hotel and Bistro

Greenville offers nearly 2,100 rooms of lodging so if you plan early you shouldn't have a problem getting a room. If you are trying to book a room within a couple months of the more popular games you might find no room at the inn. Here is a nice overview of lodging in Greenville. New motels are being added so it pays to ask a hotel clerk if they know of any new motels if they are soldout at the place you are trying to reserve. Yahoo and Google both give a nice overview of motels in the area. Caution: I saw one case where the attached link was going to book you a room in another town--be careful. Finally, if you are in dire straits try this web site: it gives alot of roadside Mom and Pop Motels. The ecutty website suggests: If Greenville is booked, we suggest Washington (east), Tarboro, (northwest), Wilson (west) & Rocky Mount (northwest) in that order.

Greenville Unique: City Hotel and Bistro: Very nice rooms and a nightclub off the lobby. Other popular motels (so book early): Wingate Inn, Courtyard by Marriott, Best Western, Hilton and the Comfort Inn.

DINING


Eastern NC Style Barbeque Pulled Pork--Yum

Eastern North Carolina Barbeque is noted as being distinct from BBQ west of I-95 and South Carolina and Georgia. Several joints distinguish themselves in Greenville: arguably the best joint in town is B's, don't call or look for a website--they don't have a phone or a website but they made USAToday's list of great joints in NC. One more place,Parkers Barbeque has some fans but some detractors, too...they are noted for their corn sticks and offers other courses beside BBQ. The original Parkers is west of Greenville in Wilson. Head south of town to Ayden for another joint mentioned by USAToday. The Skylight Inn is worth the drive. Finally a new entry Pete's Wycked Grill. They feature Texas style brisket, Lexington style pulled pork, Memphis Style ribs, Smoked chicken 1/2's and wings, and other goodies. Tailgate packages are available.

It must be noted that BBQ has two camps in NC as quoted from this USAToday article:

North Carolina's pit masters are, for the most part, a collegial bunch, but they part ranks somewhere around Raleigh. Easterners cook the whole pig and sauce it with a vinegar-based, pepper mix. Western-style (also called Lexington-style) barbecue consists of shoulders or Boston butts (the top half of the shoulder), and the sauce (called "dip") is a tangy vinegar-based mix with tomato paste, spices and brown sugar.

To hear it from both camps, preferences run deep.

Andy Stephenson, owner of Stephenson's Bar-B-Q in Willow Springs, 20 miles south of Raleigh, won't acknowledge ever tasting western-style 'cue. "I've never eaten red barbecue. I've seen it, but that's as far as I care to go," he says.
For those that want to see the difference in recipes between west and east this site has alot of recipes.

Other Foods--Dining

The University Chop House has a great rep for fine steaks and other foods. The other steak places in town are mostly chains. Texas Steakhouse deserves a mention though...they have great steaks as well as delicious ribs. Texas Roadhouse the national chain also has great steaks and considered a great value. If you want Italian try Finelli's, it is relocating to a new location at 511 Red Banks Rd. in the old Staccato's Restaurant. Mexican? Locals swear by Chico's downtown and also south of town towards Winterville. A new Tex_Mex place is on the scene called Armadillo Grill in the popular 5th Street downtown area and it looks like a fun place to have a good meal and a few beers. Pizza, try Boli's 5th Ave Pizzeria. Boli's is located near the campus in downtown (also referred to as "Uptown"). The very popular Winslow's Deli has a varied menu sure to please everyone. Winslow's is noted for their excellent food and cold beer and usually has a crowd of younger folks socializing. If you want to get away from campus for something different try CPW's . Looking for a good burger or cheese-steak downtown? Try Cubbie's or Andy's (look under Grills). The Starlight Cafe offers an eclectic upscale menu and is located near Campus. Seafood: Dixie Queen is a very good seafood restaurant with 3 locations in the Greenville area. HINT: Uptown/Downtown Greenville caters to a young crowd on the weekend nights.

Cubbie's For Great Burgers Cheddar's is a regional chain and has a good reputation. A new is located next to the Sears on the south side of town.

Finally, two new restaurants being built in Greenville...hopefully they will be open by Football season. The Mellow Mushroom for Pizza and Beer and the Carolina Ale House for Beer, Sports and Food.

SPORTS BAR Alert: If you wanna watch some games and chow down on Wings then Buffalo Wild Wings is for you. It is located close by to the stadium. They offer ESPN Gameplan, CBS College Sports and Versus along with all the other sports channels. Another sports bar very popular with the locals is Professor O'Cools. They offer Good food, 30 TVs, ESPN Gameplan and is owned by a Pittsburgh Steeler Fan. If you are staying over for Sunday this is a great place to watch NFL games. It is located in the Big Lot's Shopping Center behind Logan's Roadhouse (kinda like a Texas Roadhouse). If you are looking for more night clubs look here or here. Finally, Upper Deck Sports Bar is a family own place that offers lots of TVs and great food.

College and 20 Something Crowd: These bars all come recommended: Club 519 (21+ ginormiously popular), Levels (21+ and eclectic), Pantana Bob's or PB's (Where the Greeks are), and Christy's Euro Pub...all these are located downtown and "gvegasmagazine gives you all the info.

A nice website that offers coupons for various restaurants in Greenville.


FREEBOOT FRIDAY's: Uptown Greenville the place to go on Friday for Bands, food and Drink. Lot's of ECU Fans always attend. I have been told Uptown Greenville is the place to go most nights for the party scene.


SHOPPING For the nonFootball Watching Spouse:

If you have a spouse who could careless about football but came along here are some ideas: Antique Shops are numerous in Greenville, Lynncroft a nice, modern strip center at 3150 Evans St, and the Greenville Mall.

GOLF

Golf in North Carolina is truly an awesome experience. With Greenville usually having decent weather for golf throughout the football season a trip to the links is a must for all golfers.

Bradford Creek Golf Course


The local municipal is a well maintained course designed in an open links style. It is reasonable, close and offers a lighted driving range. I read a collared shirt is required despite being a muni.

Ironwood Golf and Country Club

A semi-private country club (home to the ECU Golf Team) is built around a residential community. They allow nonsponsored play with a 48 hours advance notice. Voted by Golf Digest as the best course to play in the Greenville Area.

Fabulous Ironwood Golf and Country Club

Ayden Golf and Country Club

Ayden Golf and Country Club located a short drive south of Greenville that comes with great reviews.

If you have time to drive several hours away then Myrtle Beach, SC is a must do and is about three hours south. The Pinehurst Golf Resort is about 2 1/2 hours away (west of Fayetteville).


Pinehurst Golf Resort One of the World's Great Golf Destinations

Finally, I'd like to thank all the posters at Boneyard Banter who helped me with getting the most correct info and the awesome recommendations--thanks

The best ECU internet forum is here: Boneyard Banter



The opinions expressed in this guide are those of TexanMark. While every effort has been made to ensure all the information presented is accurate and current, it would be wise to verify things when possible. Please note that this guide is not endorsed by Scout.com, Rivals.com or its site publishers, administrators and/or moderators.






..........

No comments: