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History Travelers Chart Course for Blackbeard 300th

In his final 180 days, the world’s most notorious pirate ran his mighty flagship aground, secured a pardon, 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 along the North Carolina coast. The tricentennial of Blackbeard's last stand makes 2018 a compelling year to visit OcracokeBeaufortBathGreenville and other coastal destinations, where pirate celebrations and other events honor history and revel in pirate culture.Learn more with Visit NC's Blackbeard 300th media kit.

Tryon International Equestrian Center Hosts World Equestrian Games

The flagship event of the Fédération Equestre Internationale will be held Sept. 10-23 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.

Biltmore's Chihuly Exhibit Inspires 'Summer of Glass' in Asheville

More than 60 Asheville-area glass artists, studios, galleries and tour operators are building on the "Chihuly at Biltmore" exhibition to showcase the region's artistry and its place in the American studio glass movement. At Biltmore, visitors can see Dale Chihuly's boundary-breaking work in the 8,000-acre estate's gardens, which are planted with the installations in mind. Biltmore also offers select nighttime viewings with music and dramatic lighting. Elsewhere, special events, experiences and tours will engage visitors in the Asheville's vibrant art glass scene and extend the view to neighboring venues such as Toe River Arts in Burnsville and the Penland School near Spruce Pine, where the late Harvey Littleton moved in 1977. "Chihuly at Biltmore" runs through Oct. 7. Learn more about the "Summer of Glass" at

Wright Brothers Memorial to Reopen With New Exhibits

After two years of restoration work, the visitor center at the Wright Brothers National Memorial reopens Sept. 29 with all-new exhibits that reflect the journey as well as the achievement of first flight. Interactive displays reveal an itimate look at Wilbur and Orville Wright, their inspirations and setbacks on the road to flight, why they chose Kitty Hawk for their experiments, and key people in their lives, including the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. A 16-screen video wall displays images of the brothers, their flying machines, scenes of flight and inspirational quotes. The lifesize replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer, which has been on view in Raleigh during the restoration, returns to the visitor center (the original is at the Smithsonian), which was named a National Historic Landmark in 2001. 

Nina Simone's Childhood Home Becomes a 'National Treasure'

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has designated Nina Simone's childhood home in Tryon as a National Treasure, worthy of raising $250,000 to save. Eunice Kathleen Waymon lived in the three-room frame house until 1950, when she left home with a Juilliard scholarship and a destiny to become Nina Simone, revered for her hypnotic voice and fight for racial justice. After a 12-year-effort to preserve the house failed, the structure went on the market amid fears that it would be torn down. Instead it was bought by four New York-based artists, whose purchase caught the attention of the National Trust, which is developing a plan for its future use and protection. The effort is supported by the Nina Simone Project, the World Monuments Fund and the N.C. African American Heritage Commission.


NC Folk Festival Arrives in Greensboro

After hosting the National Folk Festival for three years, Greensboro inaugurates the North Carolina Folk Festival in September. The free festival, taking place Sept. 7-9 in downtown Greensboro, showcases international cultures and heritage with music, dance and stories. Grammy-winner Rhiannon Giddens, a Greensboro native, lends her voice to the lineup, which features more than 30 performances from Puerto Rican bomba and Brazilian choro to Canadian fiddling, yodeling and even beach music, a soulful Carolinas pop style that lends itself to a dance called the shag. A North Carolina makers marketplace features the work of traditional and contemporary artisans, and regional food vendors add international flair to the food scene. Event details, hotel deals and more information can be found at

Raleigh to Remain Home to IBMA's World of Bluegrass Through 2021

The International Bluegrass Music Association has extended its lease on Raleigh for the World of Bluegrass through 2021. The gathering, which has unfolded in the Capital City since 2013, mixes business, an awards show and five days of performances. The 2018 World of Bluegrass, set for Sept. 25-29, opens with the business conference and Bluegrass Ramble, featuring 200 showcase performances in downtown venues, followed by the Sept. 27 awards show. The weekend brings the world’s largest urban bluegrass festival: Wide Open Bluegrass, with free Streetfest performances and ticketed Main Stage concerts (headliners include Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder with a guest appearance by Patty Loveless), special collaborations and all-star configurations.

Movies, TV Projects Mark Major Anniversaries

"Dawson's Creek," "Bull Durham" and other filmed-in-North Carolina projects mark their anniversaries in 2018, inviting viewers to visit scene-stealing landmarks and scenery. Here's a rundown:

  • “Brainstorm” (1983): Douglas Trumbull’s film is best known for being Natalie Wood’s last. While it was in production, the actress drowned on a weekend excursion with husband Robert Wagner and co-star Christopher Walken. The science fiction film, which won a Saturn Award for Louise Fletcher, included shots of the Wright Brothers National Memorial and the Ocracoke Lighthouse as well as scenes filmed at Pinehurst and Research Triangle Park.

  • “Bull Durham” (1988): Producer Thomas Mount chose his hometown as the setting for the classic baseball romance, which was written and directed by Ron Shelton. Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins starred in the film, which turned the real Durham Bulls into the most famous team in Minor League baseball. Raleigh, Asheville, Burlington, Wilson and Greensboro also saw film action.

  • “The Fugitive” (1993): Tommy Lee Jones won an Oscar for his portrayal of the marshal tracking down Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford).  Film travelers can see Cheoah Dam, where Kimble takes a giant leap, and wrecked train, which filmmakers left in place on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad’s Tuckasegee River Excursion from Bryson City to Dillsboro.

  • “Dawson’s Creek” (1998-2003): North Carolina native Kevin Williamson created this teen drama starring James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson and Michelle Williams. Production was based in the Wilmington area with additional shoots in Southport, Durham and Chapel Hill.

  • “One Tree Hill” (2003-2012): Chad Michael Murray, James Lafferty and Hilarie Burton were among the stars of the series, which also was based in Wilmington

  • "Nights in Rodanthe" (2008): Richard Gere and Diane Lane take top billing, but the movie's real star might be the Inn at Rodanthe. And in a grand gesture worthy of North Carolina novelist Nicholas Sparks, the house was saved from the sea (plan well and you can rent it for your stay). Follow this ready-made trail from the Outer Banks to Wilmington, then continue to Southport, the setting and main location for "Safe Haven," celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2018.

2018 Takes Shape as 'Year of the Food Hall' in NC

With summer's opening of two food halls and three more on the 2018 calendar, North Carolina takes its place in this indie food movement. Here's a rundown:

  • Blue Dogwood Public Market, Chapel Hill (June). The 4,000-square-foot space in the heart of the college town hosts 12 permanent food vendors including Pizelle Bakery (gluten-free sweets and savories), Soul Cocina (Latin American-inspired, plant-based fare), Left Bank Butchery (whole animal butcher shop), Rumi Persian Café and Chocolatay Confections. 

  • Morgan Street Food Hall & Market, Raleigh (July 23): The 22,000-square-foot space downtown includes 20 culinary concepts such as Cousins Maine Lobster, Cow Bar (artisan burgers), Carroll’s Kitchen (non-profit dedicated to fighting homelessness for women through culinary training) and Hook & Cleaver (boutique butcher/fresh food market) as well as two bars, including one with landscaped patio space.

  • Transfer Co. Food Hall, Raleigh (late summer): With 43,000 square feet, the downtown development plans for 20 vendors including Saxapahaw General Store (a grocery oasis), Videri Chocolate Factory and Che Empanadas plus notable pairings (Boulted Bread and Jubala Coffee, Locals Seafood and Person Street Bar, Centro and Gallo Pelón). Transfer Co. is about a mile from Morgan Street Food Hall in the Olde East neighborhood. 

  • Durham Food Hall (TBD 2018): Developers are holding off on announcing tenants and a target opening date for the 12,000-squre-foot food hall on the ground floor of the Liberty Warehouse Apartments. The location is in Durham's Central Park neighborhood, home of the Durham Farmers Market and other spots of culinary interest.

  • Tompkins Hall, Charlotte (late 2018): Nearly 135,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space just north of the Center City, Tompkins Hall includes a 20,000-square-foot food hall with about 15 vendors, including Aix Rotisserie, Under Current Coffee, Papi Queso, Bao & Broth (ramen and buns) and a tasing room for Morganton-based Fonta Flora Brewery. Tompkins Hall is just over a mile from North Caroina's first food hall, 7th Street Public Market, which opened in 2012.

Charlotte Extends Light Rail Reach

With the completion of a LYNX Blue Line extension, Charlotte’s NoDa area joins the list of destination neighborhoods that visitors can reach without a car. The 9 new miles connect laid-back NoDa and lively South End by way of bustling Uptown with stops near breweries, restaurants, galleries, museums and other points of interest.

Asheville Brewery Taps Into Blue Ridge Parkway History

Burial Beer Co. is brewing at a new 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 include a two-story taproom, restaurant, urban garden and outdoor event venue preserving elements of the site’s legacy. A summer opening is expected.  

Raleigh Union Station to Make Train Travel More Appealing

Traveling to Raleigh by train becomes more amenable with the opening of the new Raleigh Union Station transportation hub this spring. Larger platforms, a canopy cover and dedicated tracks for passenger trains will improve the travel experience, and dining, retail and a civil hall connect travelers to lively downtown shops, restaurants and entertainment venues. The station is designed to meet future demand for intercity passenger rail, commuter rail, buses, taxis, bicycles and other forms of transportation.

Welcome Centers Celebrate 50th Anniversary

For half a century, Interstate highway travelers have been able to find a welcome, information, assistance and bathrooms at North Carolina Welcome Centers. The first two centers, dedicated by Gov. Daniel K. Moore on Aug. 1, 1968, are just across the border from Virginia on Interstates 85 and 95. Today, nine Welcome Centers serve travelers entering North Carolina from the north, south and west on I-85, I-95, I-77, I-26 and I-40. The centers are staffed by certified travel counselors who will book reservations (at no charge) as well as provide detailed information, maps and marketing publications. Learn more at  

Newly Restored Carl Sandburg Home Celebrates Milestone

After three years of extensive restoration and historical preservation work, the Carl Sandburg Home in Flat Rock has been refurnished in time to mark its 50th anniversary as a National Park. After the famous poet, writer and activist died in 1967, his wife, Lilian, donated their home and its expansive collection of books, letters and personal effects to the National Park Service. The 264-acre park includes a working goat barn and hiking trails. 

2018 Marks Centennial Season for Hendersonville Street Dances

The street dance tradition in Hendersonville began as a way for residents to welcome soldiers home from World War I. A hundred years later, people still take to Main Street on Monday nights in summer for live bluegrass and square dancing. Those who have never do-si-do'd come early to learn basic steps from caller Walt Puckett. More lively action comes from area clogging teams show off their fancy doubles and rockin' chairs. The 2018 dances run July 9-Aug. 13. 

Civil War Symposium Features Visit to Limited-Access Battlefield

Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site is organizing a 2018 symposium on the Carolinas Campaign, which culminated in the last full-scale action in which a Confederate army was able to mount a tactical offensive. Called "Two Weeks of Fury," the symposium will highlight the advance of Sherman's army from South Carolina to Bentonville. Eric J. Wittenberg, a Civil War cavalry historian and author of "The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads and the Civil War's Final Campaign," will lead a tour of the Monroe's Crossroads battlefield, where access is limited because it's near a Fort Bragg drop zone. Averasboro, Kinston and Bentonville battlefield visits are also included in the symposium, which takes place Sept. 28-30. 

Eleanor Talley
Public Relations Manager
Stacey McCray
Luquire George Andrews


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