Wednesday, March 18, 2009

North Carolina























Natural attractions in North Carolina range from sandy beaches in the east to high mountain ranges in the west. Fringed by 480km (300 miles) of beaches, islands and inlets, the North Carolina coast is renowned for its fishing, boating and other recreational opportunities. The Heartland, often referred to as ‘the Piedmont’, is composed of gently rolling plains that host picturesque golf courses, lakes and farmland, as well as the State’s largest urban areas.
Charlotte, the largest city, is a thriving convention and entertainment center. The Outer Banks Barrier Islands along the coast include resorts, fishing villages and stretches of national seashore. Cape Hatteras National Seashore also boasts areas of undeveloped beach. Western North Carolina is bounded by two ranges of the southern Appalachians, the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains, with peaks exceeding 1800m (6000ft). Other attractions include Raleigh, with its fine architecture and cultural centers, and the Qualla Boundary Cherokee Indian Reservation.


The 21,000-seat multi-purpose RBC Center in Raleigh is home to the popular ice hockey team, the Carolina Hurricanes, and hosts other sporting events, such as football and motorcross racing, as well as popular music events and other acts. The dirt-track racing in Wayne County, sports car racing at the Chimney Rock Hill Climb, drag racing at Fayetteville International Dragway, and NASCAR races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, are just some of the exciting motorsports events in the State. Pinehurst is recognized as the center of golf in North Carolina, but there are more than 600 courses spread across the State, including Brick Landing, Lockwood Folly, Marsh Harbor, Oyster Bay, The Pearl and Sea Trail. Other popular sporting activities include cycling, horse riding, tennis, watersports and archery.



  • Population
8.68 million (official estimate 2005).

  • Population Density
47.4 per sq km.

  • Capital
Raleigh.

  • Time
Eastern (GMT - 5). Daylight Saving Time is observed.


  • Nickname
Tar Heel State.



North Carolina has a moderate climate with an average year-round temperature of 16°C (61°F). The climate varies sharply with altitude, with the State’s Atlantic coastline naturally warmer than the mountains in the west.
Lightweight cotton clothes and rainwear. Warm clothing for evenings inthe spring and autumn, during the winter season and in mountain areas.


Numerous festivals are held annually in North Carolina in honor of favorite foods, including apples, watermelons, seafood, turkey, pickles and collard greens.
Regional specialties:
  • Sweet potato pie.
  • Barbecue.
Student bars dominate the university towns of Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh; top rock bands appear at the Cat’s Cradle Club in Carroboro. Charlotte offers a wide range of entertainment, including nightclubs and bars around the Uptown Entertainment District.

  • Outer Banks Region
This region was selected as the site for the first English colony in the USA, but the attempt failed. This important part of North Carolina’s history is recreated every year in an outdoor play, The Lost Colony, performed from June to August. Outer Banks was also where the Wright brothers made the first powered flight in 1903, commemorated at the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kitty Hawk. Today, the Outer Banks offers beach resorts and magnificent wildlife reserves in the south. Attractions along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore include the Outer Banks ponies, Bodie Island and the Hatteras lighthouses which are among the oldest in the country. A few miles inland, the USA’s past is revealed in the historic Albemarle region, in which the towns of Bath, Edenton, Halifax and Washington are located.
New Bern is the State’s first capital and second-oldest town. The restored Tryon Palace and surrounding buildings transport visitors back to the 18th century. Also in New Bern is the Fireman’s Museum, formed by the two oldest continuously operated fire companies in the USA. Included in the exhibits is ‘Fire Horse Fred’, who pulled the fire-hose wagon for 17 years. He died in 1925 while pulling the fire wagon to a false alarm. A 40-minute drive from New Bern is the Crystal Coast area, which includes the deep-sea port of Morehead City, the historic waterfront town of Beaufort and many beautiful beaches.
Wilmington is North Carolina’s largest seaport. The Cotton Exchange, a 19th-century structure converted into shops and boutiques, once exported more cotton than any other port in the world. Across the river sits the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial, a World War II battleship. Her story is told on summer nights in ‘The Immortal Showboat’, a spectacular sound and light show.


  • Heartland Region
The State capital, Raleigh, is a relaxed, historic town with a thriving arts community. It is the home of the nation’s first State symphony and museum of art: the North Carolina Museum of Art has eight galleries with works by Botticelli, Monet, Raphael and Rubens. Other attractions include the North Carolina Museum of History, the Museum of Natural Sciences and the Exploris Center and IMAX Theater. Chapel Hill is the setting for the University of North Carolina, the oldest State-supported institution in the country. North Carolina Botanical Gardens contain almost every plant found in the State, and the Morehead Planetarium is where more than 100 of the USA’s astronauts trained before venturing into space. A new convention center is currently being built in downtown Raleigh, slated to open in early 2007.
Durham, known as ‘The City of Medicine’, is the home of the world-famous Research Triangle Park and Duke University with its lovely chapel and gardens. Other attractions include Bennett Place, site of the largest surrender of the Civil War, the Tobacco Museum and the historic Stagville Center.
Charlotte is the State’s largest city and is rich in commerce and industry. Discovery Place features hands-on exhibits of science and technology for all ages. The State’s biggest theme park, Carowinds, lies 10 minutes south of Charlotte. It pays tribute to the film Wayne’s World with a white-knuckle ride called Hurler. Located northeast of Charlotte, Old Salem is a preserved and restored 18th-century Moravian village. Attractions include the new US$10 million Old Salem Visitor Center offering tours of the districts, the St Philips Moravian Church (the oldest extant African-American church in North Carolina), the Old Salem Toy Museum and the restored Herbst House.


  • Carolina Mountains
To the west are the magnificent North Carolina Mountains, including Mount Mitchell (2040m/6684ft), the highest peak in Eastern America. 200 peaks in the Appalachian Mountain chain reach more than 1.6km (1 mile) high. A great way to see the area is along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway which winds along the spine of the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains. Within easy reach of the parkway are numerous small mountain towns. Tweetsie Railroad has a steam locomotive that carries passengers through mountain passes and a frontier village. The parkway also leads to Asheville, where George Vanderbilt’s elaborate 225-room Biltmore Estate is located. The estate includes a winery with a visitor center, tasting room and shop where bottles of the local vintage are sold. Grove Park Inn Resort is also situated nearby. The list of people who have stayed at this high-class hotel includes Thomas Edison, F Scott Fitzgerald, Henry Ford, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.



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