Come Visit North Carolina! - A Tourist Guide
Ethan Van Vorst
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North Carolina
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I was born in Long Island, NY in 1972 and spent my formative years there. My parents moved to North Carolina in 1982, and it is here I've claimed as my home ever since. I love my state, the people, the great food, the wide array of historical places, and the friendly atmosphere. If ever you get the chance to come visit our beautiful state, consider the following to be a couple of reasons you can use to get your spouse to spring for a short trip.

This Geeklist is not meant to be an in-depth historical/geographic study of NC, but rather a series of highlights of my home state. If you're also from NC, or have visited before, please feel free to add points of interest or historical highlights at your whim!
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1. Board Game: All About Raleigh, North Carolina [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: All About Raleigh, North Carolina
Ethan Van Vorst
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North Carolina
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Some factoids before we begin in earnest (blatantly copied from Wiki because they were nice enough to do this for me ).

Capital - Raleigh
State motto: Esse quam videri ("To be, rather than to seem") (1893)
State song: "The Old North State" (1927)
State flower: Dogwood (1941)
State bird: Cardinal (1943)
State colors: the red and blue of the N.C. and U.S. flags (1945)
State toast: "The Tar Heel Toast" (1957)
State tree: Longleaf Pine (1963)
State shell: Scotch bonnet (1965)
State mammal: Eastern Gray Squirrel (1969)
State salt water fish: Red Drum (also known as the Channel bass) (1971)
State insect: European honey bee (1973)
State gemstone: Emerald (1973)
State reptile: Eastern Box Turtle (1979)
State rock: Granite (1979)
State beverage: Milk (1987)
State historical boat: Shad boat (1987)
State language: English (1987)
State dog: Plott Hound (1989)
State military academy: Oak Ridge Military Academy (1991)
State tartan: Carolina tartan (1991)
State vegetable: Sweet potato (1995)
State red berry: Strawberry (2001)
State blue berry: Blueberry (2001)
State fruit: Scuppernong grape (2001)
State wildflower: Carolina Lily (2003)
State Christmas tree: Fraser Fir (2005)
State carnivorous plant: Venus Flytrap (2005)
State folk dance: Clogging (2005)
State popular dance: Carolina shag (2005)
State birthplace of traditional pottery: the Seagrove area (2005)
State sport: NASCAR (2011)

And of course our flag, which no doubt Texas took as some form of inspiration for their more famous one.

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North Carolina is broken down into three geographic zones; Mountains, Piedmont (foothills), and the Coastal Plain.

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2. Board Game: Deadlands: Lost Colony – Showdown [Average Rating:5.60 Unranked]
Board Game: Deadlands: Lost Colony – Showdown
Ethan Van Vorst
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North Carolina
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In 1585, at the beginning of European colonization of the New World, Sir Walter Raleigh, under orders from Queen Elizabeth I, settled Roanoke Island, located at the northern Outer Banks. The colony was was the site of the birth of Elizabeth Dare, the first English child born in the New World. Ever on tenuous footing the colony struggled for most of its existence. During this time Raleigh was called back to England to fight Spain. Several years passed before he was able to return and discover the status of his fledgling colony. He and his men discovered that the colony had been abandoned, the fortifications and buildings largely disamantled, and the area overgrown with weeds and tall grass. On a tree near the remains of the fort was carved the word "CROATOAN", pointing to an native settlement on what is now known as Hatteras Island. Severe weather kept Raleigh from investigating Hatteras Island and he was forced to return to England. The whereabouts of the colonists remains a celebrated mystery to this day.

A mockup of the colony is set up near the site of the original colony and period reenactors provide demonstrations of settlement life in the 16th century. It's a great place to visit with an unbelievable amount of things to see.

Points of Interest:
Roanoke Island Festival Park
Elizabethan Gardens - beautiful gardens done in traditional English style.

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The sunken garden at Elizabethan Gardens

The Lost Colony Outdoor Drama - popular outdoor play that goes from late spring to the end of summer each year depicting the events surrounding the Lost Colony
Roanoke Aquarium
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3. Board Game: The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk
Ethan Van Vorst
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North Carolina
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Located a few miles down the road from Roanoke Island can be found Kittyhawk, located directly on the Outer Banks. It was here in 1903 that the first recorded manned flight in a heavier than air craft took place. Visit the site of the Wright Bros. innaugural flight and walk Kill Devil Hills and discover why they chose it for thier flight experiments.

Just south of Kittyhawk is Nags' Head, home of Jockey's Ridge State Park, and the largest sand dune east of the Mississippi River. Great kite flying and hang gliding available. Make sure you have a sturdy kite though, winds can get pretty high speed!

Kill Devil Hills, home of the Wright Bros. museum and park

Jockey's Ridge State Park - a must visit if you're in the Outer Banks

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Hang gliding at Jockey's Ridge
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4. Board Game: Lighthouse-opoly [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Lighthouse-opoly
Ethan Van Vorst
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North Carolina
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If light houses are your thing, North Carolina's Outer Banks is a must see for you, hosting a number of lighthouses. The five major ones are:

Currituck Lighthouse:
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Bodie Island Light
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Cape Hatteras Light
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Cape Lookout Lighthouse
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Ocracoke Light
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Seeing pictures of these majestic structures is one thing. Seeing them in person is on a whole other level.
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5. Board Game: Blackbeard: The Golden Age of Piracy [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:4052]
Board Game: Blackbeard: The Golden Age of Piracy
Ethan Van Vorst
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North Carolina
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The Outer Banks is steeped in pirate lore and was a sometime home and base of operations for the infamous Blackbeard. The remains of his ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, has been located, and almost the whole of Ocracoke Island (where he met his demise) is dedicated to Blackbeard and his exploits.

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Ocracoke proper is a bit touristy, but the whole area is quite beautiful and rich in history.

Ocracoke Village website
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6. Board Game: Battleship [Average Rating:4.63 Overall Rank:19512]
Board Game: Battleship
Ethan Van Vorst
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Spencer
North Carolina
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Located in downtown Wilmington, NC, one can find the home berth of the battleship USS North Carolina (BB-55), a museum ship dedicated to her service in WW2. An easy day trip from most spots in the state, if it's not your cup of tea, there's several beaches and an aquarium.

USS Battleship North Carolina Memorial - if you're a WW2 buff, you will want to make the time to come see this great memorial site

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Kure Beach (the upper crust beach) and Carolina Beach (for the rest of us)

And the Aquarium at Fort Fisher - if the one at Roanoke Island isn't enough for ya'
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7. Board Game: The Battle of Guilford Courthouse [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:13082]
Board Game: The Battle of Guilford Courthouse
Ethan Van Vorst
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North Carolina
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Several Revolutionary War battles dot the state. Chief among them is Guilford Courthouse up in Greensboro, NC, where Lord Cornwallis won a Pyhrric victory against General Nathaniel Greene in what many historians agree was the battle that set up the end game for the war.

Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

The Battle of Kings' Mountain happened prior to Guilford Courthouse and involved Loyalist militia versus local Patriot forces and is often cited as the battle which began the British forces descent towards Yorktown.

Kings' Mountain National Military Park. A beautiful, picturesque trail travels the perimeter of the battlefield and ultimately leads to the summit where the final battle between Loyalists and Patriots took place.



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8. Board Game: Carolina Rebels [Average Rating:5.17 Unranked]
Board Game: Carolina Rebels
Ethan Van Vorst
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North Carolina
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There are piles of Civil War sites located throughout the state. North Carolina was just barely a Confederate state with the lowest slave population in the South and only joined the Confederacy when President Lincoln requested that NC troops invade South Carolina.

Despite this North Carolinians made up the bulk of Confederate musters, contributing 125k men to the fight. Surprisingly few battles were fought here in NC, however it is notable for a few landmarks.

Fort Fisher - site of a famous siege on what has been called the "Southern Gibraltar", the park contains remnants of the earthworks and cannon, as well as a museum and walking tour.

Salisbury Confederate Prison - Civil War prisons were not known for their hospitality and the Salisbury Prison is no exception. The entire site is now a national cemetary host to scores of Union dead. Monuments stand in various places within the prison denoting the home units of the various soldiers interred here.

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9. Board Game: Heckmeck Barbecue [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:5405]
Board Game: Heckmeck Barbecue
Ethan Van Vorst
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North Carolina
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Barbecue is practically the state pastime. No doubt others from the southeastern states will have something to put in here with regards to this most magical of meals, but there's only two things you really need to know.

1. Barbecue is meat. A "barbecue" is not a grill.
2. Barbecue in NC is always pork. Always.

And now to the nuts and bolts of the thing. There's 2 competing styles of barbecue in North Carolina. Eastern NC style barbecue uses the whole hog, which is placed in a pit filled with hickory wood, coals, and (sometimes) basted hourly with the chef's special sauce. After it's done the eaters engage in what's called "Pig Picking", in which they line up to grab some barbecue with all the trimmings (collards, rice, black eyed peas, butter beans, and hush puppies, among others).

Western NC style barbecue, also referred to as "Lexington Style" (named after the unofficial capital of NC Barbecue, Lexington, NC) uses only the pork shoulder, and the bbq sauce adds tomato as an ingredient. We could touch the weird South Carolina style barbecue that uses yellow mustard as its base, but it's off topic and this GL is about NC, not SC.

I love both types of NC styled BBQ, personally, because frankly it's all just delicious. But pit masters of each style will vehemently attack the other style while defending their own as the "one true BBQ". Each year in Lexington, NC around October the Lexington BBQ Festival is held where proponents of both styles come to square off for the mythic "Best BBQ of..." title. If you can find parking (seriously, good luck on that) you will find some of the best food on planet Earth in this otherwise small town.

Lexington Barbecue Festival in Lexington, NC

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A humorous contribution to the Pigs in the City contest
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