North Carolina – The Tar Heel State

North Carolina is the birthplace of country, blues and Cherokee Indians, now a fairly conservative and prosperous state in the northern part of the so-called South Atlantic states. It borders the state of Virginia in the north and Tennessee in the west, and is washed by the Atlantic Ocean in the east. The capital of North Carolina is the “oak” city of Raleigh, famous for its dense and picturesque oak forests, the word “Raleigh” itself comes from the name of the English court adventurer Walter Raleigh, a favorite of Queen Elizabeth (if you are interested in their complex relationship, watch the film “The Golden Age”, where the role of the aforementioned Sir Raleigh was played by Clive Owen).

West of North Carolina

The capital of North Carolina is the “oak” city of Raleigh, known for its dense and picturesque oak forests.

The word “Carolina” appeared in the 17th century – King Charles II named the state (later divided into two parts – South and North) in honor of his unfortunate father, King of England, Scotland and Ireland, Charles I, who was deposed and executed during the English Revolution, himself, whom the musketeers unsuccessfully tried to save in Dumas’s novel 20 Years Later.

North Carolina also has an official nickname – the “Tar State”, literally – Tar Heel State, “the state of tar heels.”

According to legend, the nickname is supposed to be reminiscent of the bare feet of the tar cookers, whose bare heels were plastered with black tar all year round. However, this name is mostly used only in guidebooks for foreigners, and North Carolina residents hardly identify themselves with tar, so this interesting fact has little practical use.

The capital is Raleigh.

Large cities – Charlotte, Greensboro, Durham, Winston-Salem, Fayetteville, Wilmington.

How to get there

There are four international airports in North Carolina – in Charlotte, Ginsborough, Wilmington and in the middle between the cities of Raleigh and Durham. There are no direct flights from Russia, the shortest way is through New York to Charlotte or Wilmington airport, in the air for about 12 hours.

If you decide to go to North Carolina not from Russia, but, say, from another state, keep ferries and trains in mind, although the best way, of course, is to come by car. If you’re arriving by plane, then the plan to “hire a car and move around the state already in it” will be the right decision – the roads in North Carolina are always in excellent condition, caution can not hurt only on mountain roads in the winter season.

Weather in North Carolina

The landscape of North Carolina is changeable – in the western part there is the “Earth in the clouds”, the mountainous terrain, the Appalachian ranges, in the center of the state – the forests and the Piedmont plateau. The eastern part of North Carolina is a coastal, almost resort area. The climate is just as diverse – the coast and the center are located in the subtropical zone, with warm summers and mild snowless winters. The mountainous part has a continental climate with pronounced seasons – hot summers and classic winters with snow and blizzards.

Storms and hurricanes are not uncommon in the coastal regions of North Carolina, the central part is prone to tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in the off-season, but they are extremely rarely destructive, rather, on duty and indicative – like a visiting card of the region.

Cuisine of North Carolina

If you try to characterize the specifics of the local cuisine in one word, this word will be “pork”. Ham, bacon, smoky or salted pork, lard… Traditional American barbecue, of course, is also made from pork meat. In North Carolina, only the hooves of a pig are left – nothing is wasted. For example, a popular delicacy (it takes some courage to taste it) is pork offal, essentially pig intestines, thoroughly washed, boiled and fried. The locals love it.

Another way to cook pork is the so-called livermash: pork liver is mixed with pieces of pork meat, lard and cornmeal, seasoned with salt, pepper and sage, and then fried in rectangular pieces, added to omelettes and pizza, festivals and Facebook pages are dedicated to this dish. Of course, in addition to pork, the diet of North Carolina residents includes both chicken and vegetables, and the closer to the coast, the more likely you are to taste seafood: fish, crabs, lobsters, shrimp.

Another quintessentially North Carolina snack is the specific cheese sticks, long strips of pastry baked with lots of cheddar cheese and a spicy sauce.

As for drinks, the local classic is tea with ice and sugar. That is, if you ask for just tea, you will be served sweet ice tea. If you want hot or unsweetened tea, be sure to specify it. Oddly enough, winemaking is actively developing in North Carolina, especially red semi-sweet wines are held in high esteem, by the way, they are very worthy. And another local product is a cherry-flavored soft drink Cheerwine, a real local legend, it has been produced here since 1917, be sure to try it!

Entertainment and attractions

North Carolina is quite interesting in terms of tourism – there is something to see and what to do. Thanks to such a diverse landscape and climate, you can practice both winter sports (skiing, snowboarding, skating, snowkiting, hockey) in the mountainous part of the state, and summer sports (swimming, surfing, kayaking, diving) in the coastal part. Well, the central part is traditional hiking, camping, cycling and hiking through the forests, excursions to waterfalls and, of course, golf – almost the national sport of North Carolina.

It is curious that North Carolina is the second center of cinematography in the United States after Hollywood.

Many film companies are located here, large-scale film festivals are held, which attract thousands of tourists. For example, it was in North Carolina that the famous TV series Homeland was filmed, as well as the blockbusters Iron Man 3 and The Hunger Games. There’s even a fan tour of the Hunger Games battlefields that includes dressing up in themed costumes and an archery masterclass. The fans should love it.

Other must-see attractions are the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (literally translated as the Great Smoky Mountains), part of which is located in North Carolina, part in Tennessee, a grandiose natural reserve, as well as the Wright Brothers National Memorial, an exhibition complex dedicated to the first the world of experimental aircraft flight, which was carried out by the pioneer aircraft designers Wright brothers in the early 20th century. In addition, tourists often visit Cape Hatteras on the coast, where one of the first lighthouses in the United States stands, and, of course, Old Salem is an open-air museum, a detailed reconstruction of an ancient settlement where you can walk, marveling at such a complete immersion in history, all day all the way.

North Carolina - The Tar Heel State