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Tryon International Equestrian Center to Host World Equestrian Games

The flagship event of the Fédération Equestre Internationale will be held Sept. 10-23, 2018, at Tryon International Equestrian Center, created by Mark Bellissimo in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in 2014. In choosing the 1,800-acre site in Mill Spring for the World Equestrian Games, the FEC noted the venue’s competition facilities, including arenas, world-class cross-country course, and extensive surrounding trails. Lodging, dining, shopping, golf and other amenities also played into the selection. The Games are held every four years in the middle of the Olympic cycle.

History Travelers Chart Course for Blackbeard Tricentennial

In his final 180 days, the world’s most notorious pirate ran his mighty flagship aground, secured a pardon, took a teenage wife, set up a new base, resumed his plundering ways, and lost a death match to a Royal Navy lieutenant. All those events unfolded between early June and Nov. 22, 1718, along the North Carolina coast. The 300th anniversary of those events will make 2018 a compelling year to visit OcracokeBeaufortBathGreenville and other coastal destinations. Learn more with the Blackbeard 300 Media Kit.

Visitors Can Soon Ride Through the Mountain to the Top of Chimney Rock

Building an elevator inside a 315-foot granite peak ranks as a monumental feat of ingenuity and engineering. And fixing one is no walk in the park. But after an S64-F helicopter airlifted the original 12,500-pound motor from Chimney Rock’s 1949 elevator and delivered its replacement in June, the park expects repairs to be complete by the end of the year. The elevator has been out of service for two years, leaving the Outcroppings Trail and its 449 steps ― more than the Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island lighthouses combined ― as the only route to the top. In other news, the realigned Skyline Trail opened in September to lead visitors to the top of 404-foot-high Hickory Nut Falls and views of where the last confrontation in "Last of the Mohicans" (1992) was filmed. 

Carowinds Debuts Holiday WinterFest

Carowinds, the Charlotte amusement park, will add an active WinterFest celebration to the holiday landscape, transforming the park into a winter wonderland with a holiday light spectacle, live entertainment, holiday treats and fanciful experiences. It joins a lively regional lineup that includes Speedway Christmas in Concord, Christmas Town USA in McAdenville, Holidays at the Garden at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, and Christmas at the Library at Billy Graham Library. 

Four Food Halls to Debut in Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Durham

Blue Dogwood Public Market in Chapel Hill is on track to be the first of four food halls to season the prime dining scenes in the Research Triangle area. Also in the works: Morgan Street Food Hall & Market (winter) and Transfer Co. ― Olde East (summer 2018) in downtown Raleigh, and Durham Food Hall (spring 2018) in the evolving Reuse Arts District at Lakewood. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Blue Dogwood Public Market: This 4,000-square-foot space in the heart of the college town, Blue Dogwood will feature 12 permanent food vendors offering fresh food, food to go, and retail products. Vendors will include Pizelle Bakery (gluten-free sweets and savories), Soul Cocina (Latin American-inspired, plant-based fare), Left Bank Butchery (whole animal butcher shop), Sancha Tea Bar and Chocolatay Confections. 

  • Morgan Street Food Hall & Market: With 22,000 square feet, Morgan Street Food Hall will house more than 60 food stalls, restaurants and markets. Tenants include Sassool (Mediterranean), Cousins Maine Lobster, Boba Brew (bubble teas and smoothies), City Sushi, Five Points Baking Co., Carolina Fancy Foods and Avenue des Chocolats. Morgan Street is being developed by the owner of Raleigh Beer Garden, which holds the Guinness World Record for most beers on tap. 

  • Transfer Co. ― Olde East: This venture with 43,000 square feet of space has commitments from culinary notables including Videri Chocolate Factory, Boulted Bread, Jubala Coffee, Locals Seafood, Centro restaurant and Saxapahaw General Store. Transfer Co. is about a mile from Morgan Street Food Hall. 

  • Durham Food Hall: Ten vendors are expected to operate in this culinary anchor of the Durham Reuse Arts District, a redevelopment effort led by the Scrap Exchange, a nonprofit that diverts material bound for the landfill for use by makers, educators and others. The food hall will include 14,000 square feet indoors with a beer garden, stage and play area outdoors.

Also coming in 2018: Tompkins Hall in Charlotte, where 7th Street Public Marketbecame North Carolina’s first food hall when it opened in 2012, will feature a 20,000-square-foot food hall with 35,000 square feet for retail and restaurants and 80,000 square feet of office space. Tompkins Hall is part of the transforming Optimist Park neighborhood. 

Asheville Brewery Taps Into Blue Ridge Parkway History

Burial Beer Co. will open a second location in a 1920s New Deal building that once housed the young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps, builders of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Called Forestry Camp, the 1.4-acre property in South Asheville will be transformed into a two-story taproom and lounge, restaurant, urban gardens and an outdoor event venue preserving elements of the site’s legacy. Opening date TBA.  

Whirligig Park Turns Wilson Into a Visionary Arts Destination

The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, featuring 31 of the late visionary artist's wind-powered sculptures, officially opens Nov. 2, just before the weekend's annual Whirligig Festival. Simpson, who lived in nearby Lucama until his death in 2013, transformed old bicycles, road signs and other cast-off items into whimsical works that have been meticulously conserved. Beyond those at the 2-acre park, whirligigs dance in the breeeze at the Wilson Rose Garden, Hickory Grove Park and other Wilson locations as well as museums in Raleigh, Atlanta and Baltimore. 

R.J. Reynolds Mansion Turns 100

2017 brings the 100th birthday of Reynolda House, the 60-room American bungalow built by tobacco baron RJ Reynolds and his wife, Katharine. It’s also the 50th anniversary for the home’s role as a museum, whose American art collection ranks among the finest in the United States. Special exhibitions will focus on two leading artists in the collection: “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern” (Aug. 25-Nov. 5) and “Frederic Church: To Jerusalem and Back” (Feb. 4-April 29, 2018).  

Bald Head Island Lighthouse Turns 200

North Carolina’s oldest standing lighthouse, and possibly its best-loved, turns 200 in 2017. Special events go on all year on Bald Head Island, an alluring destination where people get around by golf cart and bicycle instead of cars. “Old Baldy” is no longer an active beacon, but visitors can climb it year-round.

Cheerwine Toasts 100th birthday

Once available only in North Carolina, the cult-favorite cherry soda now enjoys wide distribution and acclaim as the National Barbecue Association’s official soft drink. But in 2017, the best place for a taste might be Cheerwine's hometown of Salisbury, where Innes Street Drugstore features loads of Cheerwine merchandise and treats. For the centennial, the Rowan Museum offers a yearlong exhibit on "the nectar of North Carolina" that features memorabilia, advertising and packaging.

Esmeralda Inn Turns 125

Boasting a guest list that includes Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson, Douglas Fairbanks and Clark Gable, the Esmerelda Inn in Chimney Rock celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2017. Twice rebuilt after devastating fires, the Esmerelda maintains its rustic elegance and timeless charm.

Gregg Museum of Art & Design Reopens in New Digs

Once housed at Talley Student Center, this N.C. State University museum reopened Aug. 26 in the Historic Chancellor’s Residence near downtown Raleigh. The Gregg also has a new 15,000-square-foot building adjacent to the Georgian-style mansion. Strengths of the collection include outsider art, textiles, ceramics, photography and modern furniture. 

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