[Jan 10, 2018, 8:49 PM]
RALEIGH, N.C. (April 18, 2022) Mountain biker Kaysee Armstrong traveled from Tennessee to North Carolina to test herself on Pisgah National Forest’s gnarly trails. In her first attempt to win the Queen of Pisgah stage race, the trails got the better of her. But not the best. Four years later, she rode off with the crown and even richer rewards.
Armstrong shares her story in “Queen of Pisgah,” a 5-minute short that launches Visit North Carolina’s Firsts That Last Film Series, the centerpiece of a campaign that builds on the power of memory to bind travelers to time and place. These enduring connections explain why 80 percent of North Carolina’s first-time travelers return to the state again and again, said Visit NC Director Wit Tuttell.
“Stories make the best souvenirs,” Tuttell said. “They gain power from reflection. The Firsts That Last Film Series will channel this transformative power and inspire people to make every trip count, to immerse themselves in North Carolina’s natural wonders, its cities and culture, in ways that make these experiences a meaningful part of their lives.”
Over the next few months, the Firsts That Last Film Series will feature a dozen destination-inspired shorts that can be viewed on VisitNC.com. To build on the inspiration, each film will be accompanied by suggestions of where travelers can find experiences that relate to the films, which will incorporate music and culture as well as dining and the outdoors. The series will run concurrently with a Visit NC brand campaign that will direct attention to the films and related content and encourage travelers to create their own memories.
In the fall, the series will enter a competitive phase with viewers voting on which film gets a shot at airing on national television in a placement sponsored by Visit NC. For a snapshot of projects that are now in production, visit the series landing page, which also offers links for viewing “Queen of Pisgah” and a second finished film, “So Far,” about a couple who hiked, biked and paddled North Carolina’s 1,175-mile Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Bookmark the landing page for a return visit to keep up with new releases and other developments.
The campaign, dubbed Firsts That Last 2.0, extends the magic of the original Firsts That Last, an award-winning 2018 collection documenting first-time trips to the state by travelers pursuing personal firsts: glimpsing the ocean, tasting moonshine and seeing a waterfall.
“The beauty of the original Firsts That Last documentaries was their live-in-the-moment quality,” Tuttell said. “This new edition captures the idea of travel experiences living beyond those moments and taking on deeper meaning. Among the payoffs in ‘Queen of Pisgah’ are Armstrong saying ‘thank you, Pisgah’ and noting that at the end of the race, the finish seems tiny compared with the memory and the stories she can tell around the campfire.”