Snaking through the heart of NC State’s Centennial Campus is Main Campus Drive, a road that was divided in half just over two years ago. This small stretch of road in south west Raleigh offers more than just a place for us to drive, in fact, you’ve probably missed out on a few gems that are just to the right or left–you just have to take the time to look.
Main Campus Drive is nestled along the Lonnie Poole Golf Course and connects Centennial Campus Middle School to the rest of the campus. According to the Master Plan, Main Campus Drive will complete a full loop around the planned oval when the road is built-out, where Engineering Buildings I, II, and III currently occupy the northern end.
Main Campus Drive joins the northern part of Centennial Campus, where Oval Drive connects to Centennial Parkway, with the remote southwest corner of campus, near Trailwood Drive. As you leave campus, the road becomes Thistledown Drive (connecting to Gorman Street). If you haven’t been to Centennial Campus lately, take a drive or a walk along Main Campus Drive.
Your tour will take you from an urban education, business, and research setting, including companies like Red Hat, ABB, and MeadWestvaco, and transition you to the natural areas of Lake Raleigh and Quay Woods—a 100 year old hardwood forest—one of the oldest remaining native forested watersheds in Wake County. You’ll get a glimpse of the rolling green hills of the Lonnie Poole Golf Course, an Arnold Palmer Signature Course with an 18-hole public course, practice range and green, research center, and clubhouse.
If you’re going to fast, you might miss some of these great treasures. Lake Raleigh, Quay Woods, and the Lonnie Poole Golf Course are just a few things you’ll find right off of Main Campus Drive. But in the distance, you’ll discover a fantastic view of downtown Raleigh, including the distinguished crown of the RBC tower and the growing skyline.
The best views of downtown are from south west Raleigh and are arguably from South Saunders Street, Boylan Bridge, or from Dix campus. However, one day, while jogging on Main Campus Drive before it was officially opened, I discovered this new angle of downtown that is very impressive. A view that should be added to the list of the many things only south west Raleigh can offer.