Road Trip To North Carolina -A Great Trip

by R Long
July 24, 2017

It is time to get away. It is only for a day or so. Let’s go!

The Tar Heel State

I always wondered what exactly a tar heel was. Well, I know that if you put tar on a heel it is a tar heel. But how did NC get a name like that? Barrels of tar, pitch, and turpentine were produced in North Carolina and shipped to England before the Civil War. After that date, North Carolina produced over 2/3 of all of the turpentine used in the United States. And half of that amount came from just two counties in North Carolina. Now that should clear up some of the confusion!

High Point, North Carolina

Furniture and More Furniture

High Point in North Carolina is known as the “Home Furnishings Capital of the World”.  The town is teeming with furniture manufacturing operations and bargain hunters. That one town has over 54 furniture manufacturers. If you are in the market for furniture, High Point is the place to go!

Start your search at visit High Point, NC. Make sure to visit the largest chest of drawers in the world. Take a picture. Stand in front for a scale of the actual size of the chest. You really should not miss it!

big dresser

Asheville, North Carolina

Biltmore Estates

A trip to Asheville would not be complete without a trip to the Biltmore Estates. The estate was constructed by George Washington Vanderbilt between 1889 and 1895. The mansion totals over 178 thousand square feet and takes up over four acres of floor space. It includes 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. It had all of the modern conveniences and was a wonder at the time since outhouses were still in use.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Moravian Settlement

Winston -Salem is a great place to visit. Salem Academy and Salem College are located near the grounds of Old Salem. The historic district features a walking tour reflecting how the Moravians settled in the city. You can visit the Boys’ School, the Single Brothers’ House, and garden, or the Single Sisters’ House. Be sure to take home some Moravian candles and Moravian Cookies.

Food Tour

The Winston-Salem Food Tour begins on 4th Street and will last about 2.5 hours. You will learn about the history of Winston-Salem as you taste what it has to offer. The BBQ is filling and a taste of chocolates for dessert will top it off. Winston-Salem was influenced by not only the Moravians but also RJ  Reynolds. The food tour will mix in history surrounding this cosmopolitan city.

Shell Gas Station

NC shell gas station
photo by David Bjoen

This Shell gas station is the last standing gas station erected in the shape of a clamshell. The Quality Oil Company built 8 gas stations in this design in 1930 towards the end of the horse and buggy era. It is situated on the corner of E. Sprague Street and Peachtree Street in Winston-Salem.

It was built in this shape to advertise the business and was an operating shell gas station until the 1950s. After the gas station closed it was home to a lawn mower repair business. It fell into disrepair until Preservation North Carolina took an interest in the property. Today it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a quirky reminder of days gone by.

road in great smoky mountains
nature scenes on blue ridge parkway great smoky mountains

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A road trip in North Carolina would not be complete without a trip to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the most visited national park in the United States. It spans over 522,000 acres in total, of which 276,000 acres are in North Carolina and 244,000 acres are in Tennessee. If you like to be outdoors, this is the place for you. There is much to do and see in the National Park.

nc park bear Adobe

You can start with hiking. Along the way be sure to be on the lookout for wildlife. The bird watching is amazing. You may also spot white-tailed deer, raccoons, turkeys, elk, and the dreaded black bear. Please familiarize yourself with the important safety precautions if you spot a bear.

Camping and bicycling, as well as picnicking, are encouraged. The park contains over 384 miles of roads so check with the rangers before deciding where to start.

NC Log cabin Adobe

You can choose to ride horses or perhaps fishing is your passion. Fishing is allowed year-round in the park’s streams but you must purchase a fishing license from either Tennessee or North Carolina. Either license is accepted throughout the park.

Historic cemeteries can be explored and are scattered throughout the landscape. There are over 90 historic structures in the park. The best collection of log homes has been preserved in the park. Pick up a booklet at any entrance of the park with the locations of sights.

Rocky Mountain National Park is a true wonder in North Carolina.

Wilmington, North Carolina

Micro Breweries

If you are a connoisseur of beer this one is for you. Wilmington is becoming a haven for breweries. Crafting beer is no longer relegated to your mother’s garage. Sample all of the varieties available and learn how the process ends up with, what else but beer. What could be better than cruising the streets of Wilmington on the Mini Brew bus? Experience Wilmington’s NC Coastal Craft Brewery Tour.

USS North Carolina, WWII Battleship

uss north carolina 3

The eastern side of the state also has much to offer. The battleship, the USS North Carolina, is permanently moored on the Cape Fear River there. For the foreseeable future, the ship will be under reconstruction. However, this will not stop the tourists from coming.  The ship will continue to be open every day of the year.

“The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA Memorial was opened to the public in October 1961 as an authentically restored World War II battleship, a National  Historic Landmark, a museum collecting and interpreting all ships named  NORTH CAROLINA, and a memorial honoring the 11,000 North Carolinians of all branches of service who gave their lives in World War II.”


Wright Brothers National Memorial
Wright Brothers National Memorial

Outer Banks, North Carolina

The Outer Banks are located in the northeastern portion of North Carolina. It is a string of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. The islands separate the Atlantic Ocean from the main land mass of North Carolina. Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks is the location of the first settlement from England to the “New World” in 1585.

It is also known as the Lost Colony because 5 years after it was established all of the residents just disappeared. No one knows what happened. Perhaps those 115 settlers were victims of disease or famine. Or perhaps they were befriended by the local Indians and made their homes with them. No one knows for certain what happened.

The Outer Banks offers great water sports. The area is known for hang gliding and all sorts of water activities. In Nag’s Head, you can rent Ocean Kayaks, Surf Boards, or Beach Cruisers. Perhaps you prefer just to enjoy the sights from your private Beach Cabana. No matter what you choose it is sure to be an enjoyable day.

NC Hang gliding Outer Banks

The Wright Brothers made the first successful attempt to fly an airplane at a town called Kill Devil Hills not far from Nag’s Head on the Outer Banks. The Wright Brothers National Memorial is located there. You can try to hang gliding on the sandy dunes. Or perhaps you should just watch as others try to glide through the air.

In addition, rumor has it that the ghost of Blackbeard the Pirate still haunts Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks. His flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, sunk in those treacherous waters.

To get to the Outer Banks from the South, drive to Cedar Ferry and take the ferry to Ocracoke. Check the schedule first and make reservations. It is a road trip you will not forget!

A well-planned trip is a good trip. Life happens so take it all in stride. You will find that you enjoy yourself more than you dreamed you would. Take a road trip to North Carolina.

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