As usual, life finds a way to interrupt the best laid plans. On the same week we received the “come pick up your new Airstream” call from ExploreUSA, I received another call from my family that required me to return to NC for a family emergency. While there, after things settled down a bit, my dad and I took a trip to one of the coolest, most Airstream-rich RV shops i’ve been to since becoming an Airstream Owner (ok, it at least tied Randy’s shop at North Dallas RV).
I’ve read, heard, and seen photos from Jackson Center – and trust me, I’m dying to make the mecca – but if you’re ever in Winston-Salem, NC, do yourself a favor and swing by Out-of-Doors Mart if you care anything at all about Airstreaming and contributing to its history.
Out-of-Doors Mart, the Mini Airstream Museum
While I didnt have much time there, it didnt take long to understand the rich history behind this company. Old school doesnt begin to describe it. From the main sign out front – a throw back design that really fits that style of the original Wally Byam globe logos – to the vintage units lining the drive in, you know you’re in Airstream country as soon as you enter the gates. Yes, as with almost all RV dealers these days, there were plenty of white boxes on the lot, but make no mistake, this is an Airsteam establishment through and through. As we drove toward the sales floor, we passed by a Globetrotter, a Land Yacht, two Excellas and this fine-looking 1991 Airstream Mobile Home
If the nice salesman had’ve been just a bit lower on his price, I really think my dad would have taken this one off his hands. By the way, if you haven’t been inside one of these, they are incredible. Retro and chic and badass all in one!
Anyway, after cruising the parking lot a few times to take in all the vintage awesomeness, my Dad and I decided to wander in to the showroom floor. Disappointed at first by seeing a few popup campers, we were soon reminded of Out-of-Doors Mart’s Airstream pedigree by a small glass mini-museum of Airstream novelties. Now, I know, its not that impressive to gather 10-15 airstream branded souvenirs and put them into a glass container, but since i’ve never been to Jackson Center, and you don’t see Airstream goodies everyday, it was a welcome site and a great reminder that this wasn’t just another “white box” RV Dealer.
Beyond the mini-museum, you walk into a solid RV store, chock full of everything you’d ever need to outfit your rig. It had everything you might find at a Camping World – all the Camco products, the awning lights, the sewer hoses, etc – but unlike Camping World, they offered these goods with a touch of nostalgia, charm, and even class. On top of the atmosphere, you also get some of the best, most knowledgable service I’ve had from any RV shop or dealer yet. “Do you install the Zip Dee Tropic Room Awning addon?” I asked, and without a beat, the gentleman replied “We sure do, what size are you looking for?” He returned a knowledgable answer to every obscure question i threw at him.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Out-of-Doors Mart just outside Winston-Salem, NC. For me, it was a step back in time, when my dad and i would go to the outdoor shop to gear up for a family adventure. While it may not be as glamorous a destination as the birthplace of Airstream, Out-of-Doors Mart certainly does its part to keep the aluminum traditions alive. Its not the kind of place you should make a specific trip to get to, but if you happen to pass by on your way down Highway 40 or 85 between Winston-Salem and Greensboro, NC, stop by and tell them the Weasel sent you.