Travel Thoughts By Kim
Let’s go on an adventure together….to North Carolina!
For those who don’t know me well….or at all, personally….here’s a little background info about me. I was born and raised here in Albion, NY, graduated from Albion High School in 1974, and worked at GE in Brockport after high school. In 1985, I got married and moved to North Carolina. I moved back “home” when I retired in 2011 to be close to family…..yes, I’m proof that there ARE people who retire and move north! In my 26 years in NC, I lived and worked in a town called Sanford – about ½ way between Raleigh and Fayetteville in the center of the state. I thought I’d tell you all about some of the cool things I discovered during my 26 year adventure in North Carolina.
North Carolina is a really diverse state…..you have ocean beaches to the east and mountains to the west and lots of rolling hills and interesting cities and towns in between. There is truly something for everyone to enjoy throughout the state. I liked living in the center of the state – it made quick one or two day trips to either the beaches or the mountains so easy.
Beaches: My family liked Carolina and Wrightsville Beaches in Wilmington – to me, they were too crowded and hot for my liking. I much preferred beaches like Atlantic Beach – especially in the off season – a little quieter and less crowded – more relaxing. Kure Beach has a lovely aquarium at historic Fort Fisher. Topsail and Emerald Isle were usually very nice, as well. But, if you really like beaches, I recommend the Outer Banks. On our second year in NC, we took a trip to the Outer Banks. We started out spending a few days at Kitty Hawk (the Wright Brothers monument is a must see), Nags Head, and Kill Devil Hills – the dunes there are awesome and if you’re adventurous, you can parasail or hang glide over them! Nearby Manteo is home of “The Lost Colony” – an outdoor theater production of an 84-year old musical telling of a British colony established in 1587 that mysteriously disappeared without a trace three years later – I wish I had seen it – maybe I’ll return, someday. Then, we drove the length of the Outer Banks. The route takes you on ferries that are quite busy during peak season, so find out about possible need for reservations, etc. before you head out. The drive is stunning! Most of the route is a narrow road with the sound on one side and the ocean on the other, lots of lighthouses, wild horses, quaint beaches, and so much more. At the end, there is Hatteras with the famous black and white striped lighthouse and beautiful Ocracoke. We ended our trip in Wilmington and then drove back to Sanford from that point. I highly recommend taking the time to enjoy the entire Outer Banks from top to bottom.
Mountains: The Blue Ridge Mountains are so beautiful. I used to love to take my birthday (late October) off work and drive out to the NC/VA border to get on the Blue Ridge Parkway and drive it down to I40 to cut back towards Sanford. It made for an amazingly relaxing day full of great places to stop and enjoy the beauty. Asheville has the Biltmore Estate – definitely worth the time to tour it, especially when it is all decorated for Christmas. I love the Boone area, too. I spent a nice long weekend in a cabin with a bunch of girl friends from work in Seven Devils, near Boone. We rode horseback along the edge of the mountain, shopped, hiked, and had the most amazing breakfast at the Daniel Boone Inn in Boone – they serve family style and you don’t leave without taking at least an extra 5-10 pounds with you on your hips! Some other great attractions out that way are Linville Caverns, Tweetsie Railroad, and Blowing Rock – dubbed by Ripley’s Believe It or Not as the “only place in the world where snow falls upside down”. Down a bit further is Cherokee, NC – Mingo Falls and several wonderful museums and heritage sites of the Cherokee Indians.
North Carolina also has an amazing zoo in Asheboro. With 500 developed acres, it is the world’s largest natural habitat zoo. Take the trolley and visit all the animals for an awesome day at the zoo.
Of course, you can’t talk about NC without mentioning sports…..I lived on the edge of the Research Triangle that included the University of NC in Chapel Hill – the Tar Heels,
North Carolina State in Raleigh – the Wolfpack, Duke in Durham – the Blue Devils, and Wake Forest in Winston-Salem – the Demon Deacons. There are the Panthers football and Hornets basketball based in Charlotte and the Hurricanes hockey based in Raleigh. And…of course, Nascar! I’m not really a sports fan, but, I did take in a Durham Bulls minor league baseball game now and then…I do like baseball!
Yep – North Carolina has a lot to offer. I loved living there and call Sanford my “other home town”. But, I’m so very happy to be back in my “real” home town of Albion, NY – there’s no place like home and I love it here.