Our story here starts with a Jeep.
MsBoyink and I were exploring downtown Kinston when a 1950’s era Willys truck caught my eye. Being a long-time Jeep fan I snapped a photo and noted that the truck was parked in front of the “Overland Gallery” - playing off the latter part of the Willys Overland name.
We were peeking in the windows of the gallery when Cynthia Dunn, the owner of the Overland Gallery came out, greeted us and invited us in.
While our intent was to just look around the gallery’s current “Japanesque” exhibit we ended up in at least a 45-minute conversation with Cynthia. We talked about how the truck came to be there, the history of the gallery building (it used to be a Willys dealership, hence the gallery name), our traveling lifestyle, different aspects of Kinston, and what to see and do while here.
Cynthia is an effusive, conversational host with an easy smile and a wealth of knowledge about Kinston - we joked that she should really be the visitors center for the town.
Some of that knowledge comes about from being married to her husband Michael - who is a long-time local architect involved in many of the renovations in this on-the-rebound town. Our book project came up and Michael was kind enough to lend me a book Pocket Neighborhoods which I had not heard of and found interesting as an alternative to the typical isolated suburban home approach.
We learned about the upcoming 5th anniversary celebration of the local Mother Earth Brewery, including a BBQ/Oyster/Beer cookout, sake testing at the gallery, free music in the streets and more.
On the night of the BBQ MsBoyink and I came back to the Overland Gallery for the sake testing and not only won the raffle for a sake set but also met some more local folks who invited us over for a Sunday brunch (more on that in yet another post).
After the sake testing we again bumped into Cynthia and Michael downtown and even though they were entertaining out-of-town friends they welcomed us into their group and we spent the rest of the evening with them, getting a tour of other floors in the Gallery building (which also houses Michael’s architectural firm on the 2nd floor and two residential apartments on the 3rd floor).
Michael and Cynthia really played an important part in our enjoyable almost-two-week long visit to Kinston. If you are in the area and at all interested in art we would definitely recommend swinging through Kinston and looking for the green Jeep truck (if the flags are being flown on the building that means the gallery is open). No matter the contents of the current gallery exhibit you are sure to be welcomed and be treated to interesting local artwork in a variety of mediums. The gallery rents studio space so you also may - as we did - bump into a local artist at work.
Tell ‘em the Boyink’s sent you!