Monday, April 11, 2016

6 things you need to do in North Carolina

1. Visit a cemetary next to or behind a church (Baptist churches are everywhere in the state). Though North Carolina was (perhaps) the last Confederate State to declare secession from the Union, the state suffered huge losses during the Civil War. Of the 125,000 men who served in the military during the conflict, 20,000 were killed in battle and 21,000 died of disease.

2. When you go to Charlotte, stop by the Billy Graham Library, especially in the spring. It's beautiful, interesting, and surprisingly well done, especially after the cow stops singing.

3. Taste-test pork barbecue. If you don't eat meat, compare slaw. There are at least two styles of each, and every restaurant has their own recipe. So do most households.

4. Try to see the state bird, the cardinal, on a blooming dogwood tree (it's the state flower).

5. If you see Pilot Mountain, go a few miles north to the town of Mayberry... or rather, Mount Airy. Take a tour of the town in a squad car, or have a sandwich at Leon's. A few miles west of town, visit Scoops Ice Cream and wander through the sculpture garden.

6. Drive through Smoky Mountain National Park and take a walk in the woods. It's free, but watch out for bears.