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Archive for north carolina

A House Fit for a Duke

By Linda Tancs

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Duke Mansion is a North Carolina estate in Charlotte named for its most famous occupant, American industrialist James Buchanan Duke. He lived at the Colonial Revival-style dwelling during the last few years of his life. Following his death, the house saw additional owners and expanding uses, from a condominium complex to its current uses as a historic inn, meeting venue and leadership institute. The garden of the mansion is open to the public during daylight hours when the venue is not rented for a private function. However, if the gate on Ardsley Road is open, then feel free to enter for a stroll.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The Living Dune

By Linda Tancs

Jockey’s Ridge is the tallest natural sand dune system in the eastern United States. Located in Nags Head, North Carolina, the shifting winds that constantly reshape this remaining dune system on the Outer Banks have resulted in its moniker, “The Living Dune.” The sand (mostly quartz rock) comprising the 420 acres of Jockey’s Ridge is equal to about 6,000,000 dump truck loads! In addition to its distinctive dunes, the ecology of the park includes species like live oaks, persimmons, bayberry, sweet gum and pines and the Roanoke Sound Estuary, home to the blue crab as well as plant and bird life.

Defying Gravity in North Carolina

By Linda Tancs

If space flight is beyond your budget, you can still experience a gravitational oddity or two on Earth. Just head for Mystery Hill in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Billed as a natural gravitational anomaly, the “vortex room” features water and a ball moving uphill and folks standing at 45 degree angles. Guided tours leave every 10 minutes. May the force be with you.

History and Design in Wilmington

By Linda Tancs

The Bellamy Mansion Museum in Wilmington, North Carolina, is one of the state’s most spectacular examples of antebellum architecture. Built by free and enslaved black artisans for physician and planter John Dillard Bellamy and his family before the outbreak of the Civil War, the 10,000-square-foot home now serves as a museum of history and the design arts. The home’s soaring main entrance and lushly recreated Victorian gardens are met with equally compelling slave quarters, one of very few preserved urban slave quarters in the country. Guided tours are given on the hour, and self-guided audio tours are available at other times.

Congregating in Salem

By Linda Tancs

The Town of Salem in North Carolina was founded in 1766 by the Moravians, a Protestant religious group that first organized in the 15th century in what is now known as the Czech Republic. It served as an administrative center for the Moravian missionaries who settled in the area, surrounded by five outlying congregations. Throughout the year, the old town offers a variety of historic workshops highlighting skills from hearthside cooking to pottery. Ongoing research continues to unearth the practices of the area’s earliest settlers. In particular, Old Salem Museums & Gardens is dedicated to continual learning and ongoing research in the areas of decorative arts, material culture, Moravian and Southern history, archaeology and architecture.

The Great Guide

By Linda Tancs

To the Saura Indians, North Carolina’s Pilot Mountain was known as Jomeokee, the “Great Guide” or “Pilot.” It guided both Native Americans and early European hunters along a north-south path through the area. A quartzite monadnock, this rugged mountain rock has survived for millions of years while the elements have eroded surrounding peaks to a rolling plain. Comprising two pinnacles, Big Pinnacle is the iconic knob of bare rock topped with vegetation. It’s connected to Little Pinnacle, easily accessed by visitors for views of hundreds of square miles of the Piedmont and the nearby mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. Pilot Mountain State Park is located in Surry and Yadkin counties, 16 miles north of Winston-Salem.

North Carolina’s First Park

By Linda Tancs

It’s a banner year for North Carolina’s Mount Mitchell State Park, its first state park created 100 years ago, marking the centennial of the state’s parks system that has grown to nearly 250,000 acres set aside for conservation, recreation and education. The locale also enjoys the distinction of hosting the highest point east of the Mississippi, the dramatic summit of Mount Mitchell. Rangers hold regularly scheduled educational and interpretive programs about the park.

Birthplace of Pepsi

By Linda Tancs

Home to the first state capitol, New Bern is North Carolina’s second oldest city. A charming little town first settled in 1710, it also has the distinction of being the birthplace of Pepsi. In fact, the drug store on the corner of Middle and Pollock Streets in downtown New Bern is the actual location where one of the world’s favorite soft drinks was invented by Caleb Bradham in his pharmacy in 1898. The site is open daily for visits.

North Carolina’s First Capitol

By Linda Tancs

North Carolina’s first permanent state capitol, Tryon Palace in New Bern is a complex of seven major buildings, three galleries and 14 acres of gardens. Home to Royal Governor William Tryon and his family, the Governor’s Palace was a Georgian-style structure completed in 1770. It was the site of the first sessions of the general assembly for the State of North Carolina following the revolution and housed the state governors until 1794. Destroyed by fire in 1798, today’s reproduction opened in 1959. Tours in the Governor’s Palace and historic houses are guided. Catch a free tour this Saturday, which is Free Day.

The Graveyard of the Atlantic

By Linda Tancs

Shipwrecks play a major role in the history of the ocean just offshore of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a region appropriately named the Graveyard of the Atlantic. From Kitty Hawk south to Ocracoke, you can snorkel or dive around 3,000 wrecks, including the first colonial ships of the 1500s and the most German U-boats sunk off any state coast in America. Landlubbers need not miss out. The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras offers a full range of exhibits, programs and events covering all major wrecks as well as the area’s cultural and coastal history.

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