Virtual Travel – North Carolina

Welcome to North Carolina – or as I often heard it referenced when I lived there North Cackalacky. This was one of those expressions I never understood why, but this virtual travel posting research has taught me new, if irrelevant, information.

Apparently that term that started in the 1960s by soldiers who were sent to army bases in the state, and was used in a somewhat derogatory manner. The Carolina folks however have somewhat embraced the term to the point one person has started a barbecue sauce called Cackalacky.

2016 11 09 12 Poplar Branch NC Monster Truck Ranch

 

Speaking of barbecue, Carolina’s is the best! But even in North Carolina there is debate about which barbecue is best – Eastern (coastal) or Western/Lexington/Piedmont.

The Eastern style is more vinegar based whereas the Western is tomato based.

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Carolina heaven –  where’s the sweet tea.

Hursey's BBQ Mebane NC 3 - Patrick's BBQ Trail

 

Ironically barbecue is not the official North Carolina state food, as they have none. They do however have 50 state symbols!

State Art Medium – Clay

 

State Carnivorous Plant – Venus Flytrap. Native only to a small area around Wilmington, North Carolina, it is now cultivated worldwide.

 

State Dog – Plott Hound

 

State Dance – Clogging

 

Historic Places

1951 – State Capitol     1974 – Tryon Palace     1988 – Three Presidents Statue     2000 – Old Salem Pedestrian Bridge      2003 – Wright Brothers     2004 – Greensboro’s Douglas Galyon Depot     2006 – Doc Watson Highway

 

 

The North Carolina State Capitol is in Raleigh. This building dates from 1833, and was saved from General Sherman’s march in the Civil War by the governor of the time, Zebulon Vance, sending a peace delegation to negotiate with Sherman. Legend has it that Raleigh is the only southern city that Sherman came across that wasn’t heavily damaged, although part of it was it was right as the peace treaty as ready to be signed.

2016 11 10 58 Raleigh NC State Capital & Museums

 

The area around Raleigh has had tremendous growth in the last few decades thanks to Research Triangle Park, the largest research park in the United States.

The name, and drivers, behind RTP are the three major universities in the area, University of North Carolina, Duke and North Carolina State University.

It was created in 1959, and has grown steadily ever since, with over 60,000 people now working there for companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Cisco and the National Institute of Health.

The state government areas in the middle of the city are home not only to the capitol and legislature buildings, but numerous museums.

 

 

 

One of the most famous locations in the state is located along the coast at Kitty Hawk. It was here in 1903 that Orville and Wilbur Wright came down from Ohio to escape the cold and test their invention, the airplane.

The site is a National Historic Site, with a full scale sculpture of the plane, as well as markers detailing those first 4 fledgling flights.

2016 11 09 48 Kill Devil Hills NC Wright Brothers Memorial

 

 

 

From the Ocean to the Mountains

1958 – Beach     1977 – Lake Norman     1988 – Wrightsville Beach     1990 – Coastal Carolina

 

 

North Carolina stretches for 500 miles inland from the ocean to the Appalachian Mountains. One of the nicer mountain regions is at Stone Mountain State Park (not to be confused with the one in Georgia with confederate soldiers carved on it).

 

 

The Outer Banks of North Carolina has some of the finest beaches in the country, along with giant sand dunes, and an apparent bulls eye for hurricanes to aim for.

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1967 – Blue Ridge Parkway     1972 – Great Smoky Mountains National Park     1982 – Joyce Killmer Forest     1996 – Blue Ridge Parkway     2002 – Cascade Falls Hanging Rock State Park     2007 – Collage     2015 – Blue Ridge Parkway

 

 

The Blue Ridge Parkway is the country’s longest park, running for 429 miles along the tops of the Appalachian Mountains from Virginia through North Carolina.

It’s most famous spot is the viaduct at Linn Cove on Grandfather Mountain, featured on two of the maps above. (photos below from various internet sites)

 

 

1973 – Lake Norman     2011 – Wild Flowers     2013 – Outer Banks

 

Eastern North Carolina has a number of picturesque towns, including Edenton. In the mid 1600s settlers from Jamestown came inland and founded Edenton Colony, making it the first European settlement in North Carolina.

The town served briefly as the North Carolina capital.

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1986 – White Water Rafting     1995 – North Carolina Zoological Park     2001 – Airborne & Special Operations Museum     2005 – Pinehurst

The central North Carolina area has a number of cool places to visit including a restored ‘Clamshell’ Shell station in Winston- Salem.

Durham has two classic baseball stadiums; the older one was featured in the movie Bull Durham, and continues to this day to host college games, while the newer stadium is now home to the Durham Bulls.

Seemingly misplaced, the NHL has a team located in Raleigh.

 

 

Near the Virginia border is the home of ‘Grave Digger’, monster truck extraordinaire.

 

 

 

At the other end of the state, on the South Carolina border is Charlotte, the states largest city. It is a fast growing city, and financial headquarters to numerous banks. (Photos from Wikipedia)

From top to bottom, left to right: Charlotte skyline, UNC Charlotte, NASCAR Hall of Fame, Spectrum Center, Bank of America Stadium, Romare Bearden Park

 

 

In the far western edge of the state is Asheville, a bastion of blue in a sea of red in the mountains. Asheville is an artist center. (Photo from Wikipedia)

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Lastly we visit Mount Airy – aka Mayberry. This small northeastern North Carolina town was the home of an actor named Andy Griffith, who starred in a 1960s TV show where he was a small town sheriff in Mayberry. It was based on his hometown, and to this date they live off of that reputation. (photo from Wikipedia).

11 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Mount Airy, NC | PlanetWare

 

 

By y’all for now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columbus – April 2019 – The Dog Show Returns

The annual dog show returned, so it is time once again for ‘what are the dogs really thinking’.

Starting with – “does my tongue look big to you.”





“I think they have been cloning me”





“Why am I here”





“What did I do now?”





“No – I want to go this way”





“I can stand like this all day”





“Lady get my treat out of your mouth – why do they all do that”





“Whadda ya lookin’ at?”





“I like her hair – it looks like mine”





“Keep up lady”





“You really gave me this look?”





“I am cooler than all of you”





Columbus – March 2019 – An Afternoon Circus

The Ohio Expo Center (aka – State Fairgrounds) has numerous events every weekend, with the past weekend offering such diverse events as an Archery event, Gymnastics competition, a Roller Derby bout, and the circus.

While we intended to check out the roller derby, we ended up at the Shriners Circus.





The ringmaster tried to energize the afternoon crowd.



The local shriners were the clowns, entertaining the kids with their shtick.








With circus’s today retiring most of the animal, the acts were a collection of skilled entertainers – such as the BMX bike riders.







This lady is the perfect spouse, she could change from one outfit to another in (literally) 2 seconds. After seeing this I looked it up on the internet and apparently ‘quick change artists’ is a growing act.





The circus featured an act with a car that would do all sorts of things on it’s own, terrorizing the driver.





A group of trained rescue dogs were the best act – why bring jumps when the hostess can do handstands.









A father – daughter duo did an act where they were 50 feet in the air on these poles that swayed back and forth, until they finally traded poles.





The finale featured a couple of guys on their motorcycles doing jumps and flips.





Given the relatively low ceiling, their jumps took them into the rafters. While not the greatest entertainment we have ever seen, the performers gave their best and the profits all goes to a good cause.







Pittsburgh – August 2018 – Sights on a Saturday

In town for the Regatta, we were able to check out a number of other sites for sights during the day.

Throughout downtown there were ‘earths’ painted with messages of making the world a better place.

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Flags of the world on the relief of the countries.

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A very artistic earth.

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Market Square is always busy with something going on.

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Meanwhile on the North Shore a large artistic installation graces the riverfront.

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I believe that architecture is the most beautiful art form – and functional.

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Alcoa Headquarters building.

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After we left the Photo Antiquities Museum we came across a festival in a park where they were promotion the protection of animals, including many vegan food options.

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There were many artists as well.

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But most booths had various animal protection themes.

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He needs our help.

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The cat rescue group leader.

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Origami art

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A novel use for test tubes.

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I was tempted to bring home a beagle rescue – but we travel far too much – it wouldn’t be fair to the dog.

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Nearby is the Children’s Museum – formerly the Buhl Planetarium – with a nice carved relief.

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A series of tubes would occasionally created a fog cloud.

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Making our way to the river for the Regatta we passed by the baseball stadium, and the Willie Stargell statue.

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As well as Roberto Clemente, along with the bridge they renamed for him.

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As we made our way to our seat for the regatta fireworks nature provided one last shot for the day.

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Columbus – November 2015 – Dog Show

The Ohio State Fairgrounds has numerous events each year other than the fair, including the fall dog show. Personally I like the dog events where they are trained to run up and down ramps, through tunnels and other things that dogs seem to naturally do. The dog show to me was a strange mix with all of the pampering (massive areas of grooming) and then into isolation of their cages while they wait their turn.

Without a doubt the mocumentary Best In Show nailed it! But to each their own. So little commentary, just photos….

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Huntington, WV – July 2015 – Hot Dog Batman!

The following weekend found us in Huntington, West Virginia on a Saturday morning for the 11th annual West Virginia Hot Dog Festival. This is a charity event benefiting Huntington’s Children’s Hospital, and featured a 10K Run, entertainment from local artists throughout the day, Hot Dog Eating Contest, and Root Beer Chugging Contests. The best events however were the Pooch Parade, Dog Costume Contest, and especially Dachshund Dash.

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Huntington had once been a center of locomotive construction, and their history is much celebrated throughout the city. Much like the cows in Chicago, guitars in Cleveland, and Brutus the Buckeyes in Columbus, Huntington has a number of decorated fiberglass locomotives throughout the downtown area.

2015 07 25 4 Huntington WV Hot Dog Festival

 

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The most impressive one was dedicated in the memory of the Marshall University football team that died in a plane crash in the 1970.

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There was also a custom car show being held during the festival, the highlight being a Batmobile, complete with Batman and his female companion in bat shoes

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Eventually thought I got the first of the two things I was there for, a hot dog. My first came from a local legend, Stewarts, which earned me a photo with Stewie the Hot Dog.

After a really cool Pooch Parade, which featured about 100 dogs of all breeds it was time for the main event, the Dachshund Dash. They had 10 heats of 8 dogs each, followed by the championship. These little dogs can really move when motivated, and they are an absolute hoot to watch race.

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But you can only have so much fun, so we headed south to continue our day. Our route took us along the Big Sandy River, eventually leading us to the Tug Fork, running along the border between West Virginia and Kentucky. Coal built this area, and they celebrate it with the Coal House in Williamson, WV is a unique building built of coal. In 1933 the coal was quarried as blocks and dressed as stone using 65 tons of coal from the nearby Winifrede Seam, then varnished for weather-resistance. Located adjacent to the Mingo County Courthouse, it houses the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce.

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Just south of Williamson is the infamous town of Matewan This towns has two claims to fame, neither particularly endearing. First, it is the center of the Hatfield–McCoy feud involved two families, the Hatfield’s of West Virginia, led by Devil Anse Hatfield, while the McCoys of Kentucky were under the leadership of Randolph McCoy. The feud has entered the American folklore as the most infamous bitterly feuding rival parties.

The area plays it up to the fullest, driving the tourist trade. While we were in Matewan we were walking along the flood wall heading for the very nice restored train station/museum when I asked an elderly man for directions. He gladly gave them to us, then proceeded to proudly less us he was a Hatfield.

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Matewan’s second notoriety comes from the days when local co-workers were trying to unionize to improve their horrid working conditions. In 1920 local miners who were supporting the union were being kicked out of their company owned housing by the mine owners, by hiring private detectives.

When the detectives arrived, Matewan chief of police Sid Hatfield intervened on behalf of the evicted families. After carrying out several evictions, the detectives ate dinner at the Urias Hotel then walked to the depot to catch the five o’clock train back to Bluefield, Virginia. They were intercepted by Hatfield, who claimed to have arrest warrants from the county sheriff. Detective Albert Felts produced a warrant for Hatfield’s arrest. The detectives didn’t know they had been surrounded by armed miners, who watched intently from windows and doorways along Mate Street and, while Felts, Hatfield, and Testerman, faced off, a shot rang out. The ensuing gun battle left 7 detectives and 4 townspeople dead

In 1987 a movie about the incident, called Matewan, was released to critical acclaim, making the small town even more famous. A small museum memorializes the battle, and the plight of the workers. All in all the small town of Matewan does a nice job of telling their history.

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As we reached Beckley we stopped at Tamarac, a tourist destination featuring the best of West Virginia, located above the Beckley service area of the West Virginia Turnpike. It features a red peaked roof and landscaped grounds that draw over 500,000 visitors annually. This large arts and crafts facility is run as an economic development project of the West Virginia Parkways Authority and sells West Virginia craft products, such as wood, glass, textiles, pottery, metal, jewelry, as well as specialty food items, fine art, and West Virginia books and recordings. There are five resident artisan studios and most weekends from Spring through Fall there are also craft demonstrations, including the day we were there.

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After watching a fabric craftsman, we went to the other side of the building where they house the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame. With our long day coming to an end, we finished with that traditional West Virginia food, an Outback Steakhouse.

Southern Ohio – May 2014 – The Dog Blues

Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peach Ranch in Meigs County, Ohio hosts weekend workshops for guitarists, with the highlight being a Saturday night concert. Among the distinguished staff members are Larry Campbell, Warren Haynes, and the day we were there, David Lindley. Jorma was a guitarist for Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna. David has played on hundreds of albums for artists including Jackson Browne and Linda Ronstadt.

The concert was on Memorial Day weekend, so the weather was nice and we took the opportunity to make a weekend of it. We left Akron and headed down I-71, but because of the holiday there were far too many highway patrol so I exited south of Mansfield and took two lane roads the rest of the way, through Mount Vernon, Newark, Somerset and finally stopping in the Hocking Hills for some hiking.

 

Our hike was in Cantwell Cliffs, one of the lesser visited areas of the Hocking Hills The erosion caused by Buck Run accounts for the deep valley, steep cliffs and rock shelter under the cliff. Approaching the rock shelter, the trail winds its way through narrow passageways caused by large slump blocks that have fallen away from the main cliff. The most narrow passage has been sarcastically named Fat Woman’s Squeeze.

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After a short visit with some relatives who have a farm in Meigs County we wandered the gravel back roads of Meigs County to the Fur Peace Ranch. Essentially you drive up someone’s driveway and park in a field, and immediately notice the cabins and a few buildings. Outside one of these buildings an older guy was playing a dobro and electric guitar, jamming to some blues.

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We checked out the store and small museum, before settling in for the conert. The hall seats less than 100 people, so we were fortunate to get tickets, and it was well worth it as the show was great.

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We had hotel reservations at the Blennerhassett in Parkersburg, a historic hotel opened in 1889 but was restored in 1986. It is said to be haunted, but we didn’t see anything. The hotel is beautiful, and the staff very attentive, we highly recommend it to anyone that needs to spend a night in Parkersburg.

Sunday morning we headed up the Ohio River on West Virginia Route 2, all the way to Wheeling. Once there, we visited Oglebay Park.

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After spending an hour wandering the park we headed across town for a few races at the Wheeling Island Dog Track. It was my first time at a dog track, and it seemed so strange as it was just like a horse racing track, only in miniature. It was sad to see the dogs muzzled, and I am always torn when I attend horse races and now dog races that not all of the owners treat these great animal-athletes as they should.

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