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home | Locations | Listing of North Carolina Recreatio . . .
 

Listing of North Carolina Recreational Facilities
Ivan Gillis
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State of North Carolina

North Carolina is a U.S. state in the southeastern region of the United States. It borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west, Virginia to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. North Carolina is the 28th most extensive and the 9th most populous of the U.S. states. The state is divided into 100 counties. The capital is Raleigh, which along with Durham and Chapel Hill is home to the largest research park in the United States (Research Triangle Park). The most populous municipality is Charlotte, which is the third largest banking center in the United States after New York City and San Francisco.

The state has a wide range of elevations, from sea level on the coast to 6,684 feet (2,037 m) at Mount Mitchell, the highest point in North America east of the Mississippi River. The climate of the coastal plains is strongly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the state falls in the humid subtropical climate zone. More than 300 miles (500 km) from the coast, the western, mountainous part of the state has a subtropical highland climate.

In June 1718, the pirate Blackbeard ran his flagship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, aground at Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina, in present-day Carteret County. After the grounding her crew and supplies were transferred to smaller ships. In November, after appealing to the governor of North Carolina, who promised safe-haven and a pardon, Blackbeard was killed in an ambush by troops from Virginia. In 1996 Intersal, Inc., a private firm, discovered the remains of a vessel likely to be the Queen Anne's Revenge, which was added to the US National Register of Historic Places.

North Carolina became one of the English Thirteen Colonies and with the territory of South Carolina was originally known as the Province of Carolina. The northern and southern parts of the original province separated in 1729. Originally settled by small farmers, sometimes having a few slaves, who were oriented toward subsistence agriculture, the colony lacked cities or towns. Pirates menaced the coastal settlements, but by 1718 the pirates had been captured and killed. Growth was strong in the middle of the 18th century, as the economy attracted Scots-IrishQuakerEnglish and German immigrants. The colonists generally supported the American Revolution, as the number of Loyalists was smaller than in some other colonies.

On May 20, 1861, North Carolina was the last of the Confederate states to declare secession from the Union, 13 days after the Tennessee legislature voted for secession. Some 125,000 North Carolinians served in the military; 20,000 were killed in battle, the most of any state in the Confederacy, and 21,000 died of disease. The state government was reluctant to support the demands of the national government in Richmond, and the state was the scene of only small battles.

In 1899 the state legislature passed a new constitution, with requirements for poll taxes and literacy tests for voter registration which disfranchised most black Americans in the state. Exclusion from voting had wide effects: it meant that black Americans could not serve on juries or in any local office. After a decade of white supremacy, many people forgot that North Carolina had ever had thriving middle-class black Americans. Black citizens had no political voice in the state until after the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed to enforce their constitutional rights. It was not until 1992 that another African American was elected as a US Representative from North Carolina.

Differences in the settlement patterns of eastern and western North Carolina, or the Low Country and uplands, affected the political, economic, and social life of the state from the 18th until the 20th century. The Tidewater in eastern North Carolina was settled chiefly by immigrants from rural England and the Scottish Highlands. The upcountry of western North Carolina was settled chiefly by Scots-Irish, English, and German Protestants, the so-called "cohee". Arriving during the mid- to late 18th century, the Scots-Irish from what is today Northern Ireland were the largest non-English immigrant group before the Revolution; English indentured servants were overwhelmingly the largest immigrant group before the Revolution. During the American Revolutionary War, the English and Highland Scots of eastern North Carolina tended to remain loyal to the British Crown, because of longstanding business and personal connections with Great Britain. The English, Welsh, Scots-Irish, and German settlers of western North Carolina tended to favor American independence from Britain.

North Carolina consists of three main geographic regions: the Atlantic coastal plain, occupying the eastern portion of the state; the central Piedmont region, and the Mountain region in the west, which is part of the Appalachian Mountains. The coastal plain consists of more specifically-defined areas known as the Outer Banks, a string of sandy, narrow barrier islands separated from the mainland by sounds or inlets, including Albemarle Sound and Pamlico Sound, the tidewater region, the native home of the venus flytrap, and the inner coastal plain, where longleaf pine trees are native.

So many ships have been lost off Cape Hatteras that the area is known as the "Graveyard of the Atlantic"; more than 1,000 ships have sunk in these waters since records began in 1526. The most famous of these is the Queen Anne's Revenge(flagship of the pirate Blackbeard), which went aground in Beaufort Inlet in 1718.

The western section of the state is part of the Appalachian Mountain range. Among the subranges of the Appalachians located in the state are the Great Smoky MountainsBlue Ridge Mountains, and Black Mountains. The Black Mountains are the highest in the eastern United States, and culminate in Mount Mitchell at 6,684 feet (2,037 m), the highest point east of the Mississippi River.

North Carolina has 17 major river basins. The five basins west of the Blue Ridge Mountains flow to the Gulf of Mexico, while the remainder flow to the Atlantic Ocean. Of the 17 basins, 11 originate within the state of North Carolina, but only four are contained entirely within the state's border – the Cape Fear, the Neuse, the White Oak, and the TarPamlico basin.

In April 2011, the worst tornado outbreak in North Carolina's history occurred. Thirty confirmed tornadoes touched down, mainly in the Eastern Piedmont and Sandhills, killing at least 24 people.

North Carolina residents, like those of other Southern states, since the colonial era have historically been overwhelmingly Protestant, first Anglican, then Baptist and Methodist. By the late 19th century, the largest Protestant denomination was the Baptist. After the Civil War, black Baptists were not allowed in white churches, due to segregation, and set up their own independent congregations. Black Baptists went on to develop their own state and national associations, to be free of white supervision.

The state also has a special history with the Moravian Church, as settlers of this faith (largely of German origin) found a home in the Winston-Salem area in the 18th and 19th centuries. Presbyterians, historically Scots-Irish, have had a strong presence in Charlotte and in Scotland County.

Currently, the rapid influx of northerners and immigrants from Latin America is steadily increasing ethnic and religious diversity: the number of Roman Catholics and Jews in the state has increased, as well as general religious diversity. The second-largest Protestant denomination in North Carolina after Baptist traditions is Methodism, which is strong in the northern Piedmont, especially in populous Guilford County. There are also a substantial number of Quakers in Guilford County and northeastern North Carolina. Many universities and colleges in the state have been founded on religious traditions, and some currently maintain that affiliation.

North Carolina ranks third among the South Atlantic states in population, but leads the region in industry and agriculture. North Carolina leads the nation in the production of tobacco, textiles, and furniture. Charlotte, the state's largest city, is a major textile and trade center. According to a Forbes article written in 2013 Employment in the "Old North State" has gained many different industry sectors. Science, technology, energy, and math (STEM) industries in the area surrounding North Carolina's capital have grown 17.9 percent since 2001, placing Raleigh-Cary at No. 5 among the 51 largest metro areas in the country where technology is booming. In 2010, North Carolina's total gross state product was $424.9 billion, while the state debt in November 2012, according to one source, totaled US$2.4bn, while according to another, was in 2012 US$57.8bn. In 2011, the civilian labor force was at around 4.5 million with employment near 4.1 million.

North Carolina is the leading U.S. state in production of flue-cured tobacco and sweet potatoes, and comes second in the farming of pigs and hogs, trout, and turkeys. In the three most recent USDA surveys (2002, 2007, 2012), North Carolina also ranked second in the production of Christmas trees.

In 1795, North Carolina opened the first public university in the United States—the University of North Carolina (now named the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). More than 200 years later, the University of North Carolina system encompasses 17 public universities including North Carolina State UniversityNorth Carolina A&T State UniversityNorth Carolina Central University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of North Carolina at GreensboroEast Carolina UniversityWestern Carolina UniversityWinston-Salem State University, the University of North Carolina at Asheville, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the University of North Carolina at PembrokeUNC WilmingtonElizabeth City State UniversityAppalachian State UniversityFayetteville State University, and UNC School of the Arts, and Along with its public universities, North Carolina has 58 public community colleges in its community college system. The largest university in North Carolina is currently North Carolina State University, with more than 34,000 students.

North Carolina is also home to many well-known private colleges and universities, including Duke UniversityWake Forest UniversityPfeiffer UniversityLees-McRae CollegeDavidson CollegeBarton CollegeNorth Carolina Wesleyan CollegeElon UniversityGuilford College, Livingstone College, Salem CollegeShaw University(the first historically black college or university in the South), Laurel UniversityMeredith CollegeMethodist UniversityBelmont Abbey College (the only Catholic college in the Carolinas), Campbell UniversityUniversity of Mount OliveMontreat CollegeHigh Point UniversityLenoir-Rhyne University (the only Lutheran university in North Carolina) and Wingate University.

Every year the Appalachian Mountains attract several million tourists to the Western part of the state, including the historic Biltmore Estate. The scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park are the two most visited national park and unit in the United States with over 25 million visitors in 2013. The City of Asheville is consistently voted as one of the top places to visit and live in the United States, known for its rich art deco architecture, mountain scenery and outdoor activities, and liberal and happy residents.

In Raleigh many tourists visit the Capital, African American Cultural ComplexContemporary Art Museum of RaleighGregg Museum of Art & Design at NCSUHaywood Hall House & GardensMarbles Kids MuseumNorth Carolina Museum of ArtNorth Carolina Museum of HistoryNorth Carolina Museum of Natural SciencesNorth Carolina Sports Hall of FameRaleigh City MuseumJ. C. Raulston ArboretumJoel Lane HouseMordecai HouseMontfort Hall, and the Pope House Museum. The Carolina Hurricanes NHL hockey team is also located in the city.

In the Charlotte area, amenities include the Carolina Panthers NFL football team and Charlotte Hornets basketball team, Carowinds amusement park, Charlotte Motor SpeedwayU.S. National Whitewater Center, and the Discovery Place. Nearby Concord has the Great Wolf Lodge and Sea Life Aquarium.

In the Conover – Hickory area, Hickory Motor Speedway, RockBarn Golf and Spa, home of the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock BarnCatawba County Firefighters Museum, and SALT Block attract many tourists to Conover. Hickory which has Valley Hills Mall.

The Piedmont Triad, or center of the state, is home to Krispy KremeMayberryTexas Pete, the Lexington Barbecue Festival, and Moravian cookies. The internationally acclaimed North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro attracts visitors to its animals, plants, and a 57-piece art collection along five miles of shaded pathways in the world's largest-land-area natural-habitat park. Seagrove, in the central portion of the state, attracts many tourists along Pottery Highway (NC Hwy 705). MerleFest in Wilkesboro attracts more than 80,000 people to its four-day music festival; and Wet 'n Wild Emerald Pointe water park in Greensboro is another attraction.

The Outer Banks and surrounding beaches attract millions of people to the Atlantic beaches every year.

The mainland northeastern part of the state, having recently adopted the name the Inner Banks, is also known as the Albemarle Region, for the Albemarle Settlements, some of the first settlements on North Carolina's portion of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The regions historic sites are connected by the Historic Albemarle Tour.

 

North Carolina provides a large range of recreational activities, from swimming at the beach to skiing in the mountains. North Carolina offers fall colors, freshwater and saltwater fishing, hunting, birdwatchingagritourismATV trails, ballooningrock climbingbiking, hiking, skiingboating and sailing, campingcanoeingcaving (spelunking), gardens, and arboretums. North Carolina has theme parksaquariums, museums, historic siteslighthouses, elegant theaters, concert halls, and fine dining.

North Carolinians enjoy outdoor recreation utilizing numerous local bike paths, 34 state parks, and 14 national parksNational Park Service units include the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the Blue Ridge ParkwayCape Hatteras National SeashoreCape Lookout National SeashoreCarl Sandburg Home National Historic Site at Flat RockFort Raleigh National Historic Siteat ManteoGreat Smoky Mountains National ParkGuilford Courthouse National Military Park in GreensboroMoores Creek National Battlefield near Currie in Pender County, the Overmountain Victory National Historic TrailOld Salem National Historic Site in Winston-Salem, the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, and Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills. National Forests include Uwharrie National Forest in central North Carolina, Croatan National Forest in Eastern North CarolinaPisgah National Forest in the northern mountains, and Nantahala National Forest in the southwestern part of the state.

 

North Carolina has rich traditions in art, music, and cuisine. The nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $1.2 billion in direct economic activity in North Carolina, supporting more than 43,600 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $119 million in revenue for local governments and the state of North Carolina. North Carolina established the North Carolina Museum of Art as the first major museum collection in the country to be formed by state legislation and funding and continues to bring millions into the NC economy. Also see this list of museums in North Carolina.

One of the more famous arts communities in the state is Seagrove, the handmade-pottery capital of the U.S., where artisans create handcrafted pottery inspired by the same traditions that began in this community more than 200 years ago. With nearly 100 shops and galleries scattered throughout the area, visitors can find everything from traditional tableware to folk and collectible art pieces and historical reproductions.

North Carolina boasts a large number of noteworthy jazz musicians, some among the most important in the history of the genre. These include: John Coltrane, (HamletHigh Point); Thelonious Monk (Rocky Mount); Billy Taylor (Greenville); Woody Shaw (Laurinburg); Lou Donaldson (Durham); Max Roach (Newland); Tal Farlow(Greensboro); AlbertJimmy and Percy Heath (Wilmington); Nina Simone (Tryon); and Billy Strayhorn (Hillsborough).

North Carolina is also famous for its tradition of old-time music, and many recordings were made in the early 20th century by folk-song collector Bascom Lamar Lunsford. Musicians such as the North Carolina Ramblers helped solidify the sound of country music in the late 1920s, while the influential bluegrass musician Doc Watson also hailed from North Carolina. Both North and South Carolina are hotbeds for traditional rural blues, especially the style known as the Piedmont blues.

The culinary staple of North Carolina is pork barbecue. There are strong regional differences and rivalries over the sauces and methods used in making the barbecue. The common trend across Western North Carolina is the use of premium grade Boston butt. Western North Carolina pork barbecue uses a tomato-based sauce, and only the pork shoulder (dark meat) is used. Western North Carolina barbecue is commonly referred to as Lexington barbecue after the Piedmont Triad town of Lexington, home of the Lexington Barbecue Festival, which attracts over 100,000 visitors each October. Eastern North Carolina pork barbecue uses a vinegar-and-red-pepper-based sauce and the "whole hog" is cooked, thus integrating both white and dark meat.

Krispy Kreme, an international chain of doughnut stores, was started in North Carolina; the company's headquarters are in Winston-SalemPepsi-Cola was first produced in 1898 in New Bern. A regional soft drinkCheerwine, was created and is still based in the city of Salisbury. Despite its name, the hot sauce Texas Pete was created in North Carolina; its headquarters are also in Winston-Salem. The Hardee's fast-food chain was started in Rocky Mount. Another fast-food chain, Bojangles', was started in Charlotte, and has its corporate headquarters there. A popular North Carolina restaurant chain is Golden Corral. Started in 1973, the chain was founded in Fayetteville, with headquarters located in Raleigh. Popular pickle brand Mount Olive Pickle Company was founded in Mount Olive in 1926. Fast casual burger chain Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries also makes its home in Mount OliveCook Out, a popular fast-food chain featuring burgers, hot dogs, and milkshakes in a wide variety of flavors, was founded in Greensboro in 1989 and has begun expanding outside of North Carolina. In 2013, Southern Living named Durham – Chapel Hill the South's "Tastiest City."

Over the last decade, North Carolina has become a cultural epicenter and haven for internationally prize-winning wine (Noni Bacca Winery), internationally prized cheeses (Ashe County), "L'institut International aux Arts Gastronomiques: Conquerront Les Yanks les Truffes, January 15, 2010" international hub for truffles (Garland Truffles), and beer making, as tobacco land has been converted to grape orchards while state laws regulating alcohol content in beer allowed a jump in ABV from 6% to 15%. The Yadkin Valley in particular has become a strengthening market for grape production, while Asheville recently won the recognition of being named 'Beer City USA.' Asheville boasts the largest breweries per capita of any city in the United States. Recognized and marketed brands of beer in North Carolina include Highland Brewing, Duck Rabbit Brewery, Mother Earth Brewery, Weeping Radish Brewery, Big Boss Brewing, Foothills Brewing, Carolina Brewing Company, Lonerider Brewing, and White Rabbit Brewing Company.

North Carolina has large grazing areas for beef and dairy cattle. Truck farms can be found in North Carolina. A truck farm is a small farm where fruits and vegetables are grown to be sold at local markets. The state's shipping, commercial fishing, and lumber industries are important to its economy. Service industries, including education, health care, private research, and retail trade, are also important. Research Triangle Park, a large industrial complex located in the Raleigh-Durham area, is one of the major centers in the country for electronics and medical research

Fort Bragg, near Fayetteville and Southern Pines, is a large and comprehensive military base and is the headquarters of the XVIII Airborne Corps82nd Airborne Division, and the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. Serving as the air wing for Fort Bragg is Pope Field, also located near Fayetteville.

Located in JacksonvilleMarine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, combined with nearby bases Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry PointMCAS New RiverCamp GeigerCamp JohnsonStone Bay and Courthouse Bay, makes up the largest concentration of Marines and sailors in the world. MCAS Cherry Point is home of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. Located in GoldsboroSeymour Johnson Air Force Base is home of the 4th Fighter Wing and 916th Air Refueling Wing. One of the busiest air stations in the United States Coast Guard is located at the Coast Guard Air Station in Elizabeth City. Also stationed in North Carolina is the Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point in Southport.

 

Other Sites of Interest

 

San Marcos Memories—disappearing North County San Diego, Ca

www.ellengillisart.com

 

Lake San Marcos—Listing of Vendors and Other Items of Interest to LSM residents

www.lsmdirectory.com

 

Silly Service—38 years of Federal Civil Service Overview (A book in progress)

www.ivanegillis.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




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