Since we now call North Carolina our home, I must salute this day properly. As a child, I knew of North Carolina as “First in Flight” thanks to the Wright brothers making history in Kitty Hawk. As the years passed, I learned much more.
Charlotte, North Carolina is home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the US National Whitewater Center. Pepsi was born in New Bern in 1893, and Krispy Kreme Donuts was founded in 1937 in Winston-Salem. Of course, there are hundreds of fabulous restaurants, microbreweries, and over 500 vineyards. Various famous folks hail from North Carolina… from Randy Travis to Roberta Flack and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Oh, and when Virginia Dare was born here on August 18, 1587, she became the first English child born in the “New World.” Who knew!
My in-laws built a retirement cottage in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1983, and it became our part-time home in 2009 and full-time home ten years (& much construction) later. This is a pretty sweet area of the state and is now home to one of the most all-encompassing equestrian centers in this hemisphere. TIEC (Tryon International Equestrian Center), on its 1400 acres hosted the World Equestrian Games in 2018.
Western North Carolina is stunning country with countless rivers and streams and waterfalls that literally burst out of mountains. The Blue Ridge Mountains boast more than 300 miles of hiking trails and Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain east of the Mississippi River, peaking at 6,684 feet.
A couple of my favorite places are located in the Blue Ridge city of Asheville. We love catching a sunset cocktail from the famed Grove Park Inn, where ten US Presidents have stayed. But the absolute #1 place is the gilded age’s Biltmore Estate. From its 178,926 square feet in the main house to the 8,000 acres of the estate, the largest privately-owned home in the US is nothing less than jaw-dropping to visit at any time of the year. (Peter Sellers movie buffs will recognize the home and property from his 1979 “Being There” film.)
So, hello North Carolina. This is your day.
(Blue Ridge Mountains photo by Anita Starchurski)