Atmosphere of Highway 64 Diner
In the fall of 2022, the PWR class went to visit the diner in order to experience the culture and excitement surrounding it. Lauren Jablon and Bria Harmon co-wrote this article with the goal of sharing our classes' experiences with the world.
One’s experience trekking out to the remote “Highway 64 Diner” location situated in Randolph County of Asheboro, North Carolina relies heavily on the route taken. There are two routes that can be taken to arrive at this hidden gem: the beautiful windy North Carolina backroads or the speedy, yet chaotic four-lane highway. Both of them offer interesting, yet different experiences. For someone driving the windy back roads, the experience, while overall very breathtaking, can also be quite nauseating. The roads take on many hills and are very windy, which can be challenging if you’re sensitive to motion sickness. Being caught up in conversation while driving on the backroads can cause a missed turn to happen very easily. Aside from this, the leaves on the trees during the Fall season are beautiful and the large fields with animals are always nice to see. Not to mention, the Red Oak brewery, which started as a brewpub in Greensboro, North Carolina, and produces only unfiltered, unpasteurized, Bavarian Style lagers is on the backroads. To one that didn’t know any better, this brewery looks like a typical museum.
However, taking the highway offers a speedy and less stomach-upsetting alternative. With that said, up until the very last 10 minutes or so of the drive, the view is very bland, and it is very easy to doze off in stand-still traffic. The backroads definitely offer a more visually appealing experience.
After finally making it through the hour-long drive, you will arrive at the Highway 64 Diner, a hidden gem right off Route 64. Upon first arriving, my classmates and I were taken by complete surprise. Walking in through the restaurant’s large wooden doors, we were greeted by a young brunette girl who looked to be about 12 years of age. She immediately ushered us inside and led us toward a long rectangular wooden table. There sat the restaurant owner, cheery-eyed and ecstatic. The table was set up to be rather intimate; it was situated in the center of the room with each seat closely arranged next to each other. While you could not really stretch your arms without hitting your neighbor, the overall family-style vibe feels very homey and welcoming.
Immediately after being seated and panning the room, making observations about the diner’s decor and overall vibe, it was clear that the restaurant placed heavy value on being family-owned and family-run. The kitchen staff was a close-knit group, each claiming to have worked there as long as the restaurant had been under its new ownership. Additionally, three of the owner's four children were there, each watching us, intrigued by our conversations and demeanor.
The room was decorated with vintage signs of all sorts, whether it be Route 64 street signs, license plates, Coca-Cola advertisement signs, or signs indicating a “hot dog only special.” The decor gave the room a timeless vibe and nuance. That being said, the diner was more luxurious than a typical diner; the room was filled with wooden tables and chairs, rather than torn-apart, old booths. Glimpsing around the room gave us a hint of what their world depicted; there were photos of the owner’s family and a photo of a group of soldiers in an effort to show their appreciation of veterans and their service.
On our way out, the oldest daughter came up to each of us girls in the group and gave us a huge hug. It was the perfect ending to such a pleasant outing! I recommend anyone making a trip that passes along this route take an hour or so out of their day to check out this hidden gem. You won’t regret it!