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RALEIGH, N.C. (Dec. 17, 2015) ― Landmark anniversaries, headline-making hotels and other developments will make North Carolina an essential destination for 2016. Here are some of the high points.
With the National Park Service and the North Carolina State Park System celebrating their 100th anniversaries, travelers will find a warm invitation to explore the state’s natural beauty and diversity. Stars among the national park properties include:
Learn more points of interest at findyourpark.com.
North Carolina’s 39 state parks and recreational areas feature a range of remarkable places, including:
Connect with North Carolina state parks at www.ncparks.gov.
Tryon Resort, billed as the world's most significant new equestrian lifestyle resort, has opened just north of Tryon, a town of 1,600 in the Blue Ridge Foothills with an eight-decade horse tradition. Tryon International Equestrian Center, the first stage of the 1,400-acre development in Mill Spring, is already holding international-level equestrian competitions. Dining and shopping amenities are open, and current lodging options include cabins, RV sites and the 17-room Lodge at Lake Lure.
In 2016, the Hotel at Tryon Resort will extend hospitality with its 150 rooms and suites, a restaurant and bar, retail shops, heated pools, fitness center, salon and event space. The next year, a 200-room, nature-inspired luxury resort with a destination spa will open. The resort will also include an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course and luxury homes. Hospitality and golf operations will be managed by Salamander Hotels & Resorts. www.salamanderhotels.com
By the end of the year, New Belgium expects to be brewing in West Asheville. The Fort Collins, Co.-based company is developing the $175 million brewery at a former brownfield site on the west bank of the French Broad River.
The 17.5-acre tract encompasses the brewhouse, packaging operation and a "Liquid Center," or tasting room, which is expected to open in spring 2016. Other visitor amenities will include a Belgium-style beer garden with a rolle bolle court, an event lawn, and parking for cars and bikes. The Liquid Center's butterfly roof will cover an extended deck overlooking the river and a greenway path. New Belgium becomes the third major craft brewery to choose Western North Carolina for East Coast expansions. Sierra Nevada opened its brewery, restaurant and gift shop in Mills River in spring 2015; Oskar Blues has been making beer in Brevard since 2012. www.newbelgium.com
On the North Carolina beer landscape, inventiveness extends beyond brewcraft to the business side. In Rocky Mount, Capitol Broadcasting Co. aims to transform Rocky Mount Mills, the state’s second-oldest mill, into a vibrant center for brewery incubators, offices, apartments, restaurants and event venues. Rocky Mount’s first two homegrown breweries will open in early 2016, and construction on other buildings at the Mills is currently underway. Rocky Mount Mills is owned by Capitol Broadcasting, which transformed a crumbling cigarette factory in downtown Durham into the now thriving American Tobacco Historic District across the street from Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Capitol Broadcasting also owns the Durham Bulls, and last season the ballpark became the first in Minor League baseball with its own brewery, Bull Durham Beer Co. Keep up with the Brewmill progress at RockyMountMills.com.
Artist Vollis Simpson’s wind-powered whirligigs can be found at must-see museums in Raleigh, Atlanta, New York and Baltimore and in private collections around the world. Downtown Wilson becomes the envy of them all with the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, the new permanent home of 31 of the whimsical sculptures, which create their own rhythm and dance in the breeze. The park ensures the legacy of the artist, who died in 2013 at age 94, and provide easy access from I-95 for travelers who want to discover the treasures. More than a dozen whirligigs have been installed with 2016 as the target date for completion. Additional Simpson whirligigs are on view around Wilson. www.wilsonwhirligigpark.org
The U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, best known for the world's largest manmade recirculating river, will open the nation's only permanent deepwater solo climbing facility in spring 2016. The climbing facility, one of four new projects at the center, will challenge climbers to scale heights of up to 45 feet with a 16-foot pool at the base to catch them on the descent. Other developments include:
The U.S. National Whitewater Center, an official Olympic training site, promotes an active outdoor lifestyle with a range of adventures including whitewater rafting, stand-up paddle boarding, biking, running, climbing and zip lining. Craft beer, concerts and other events also draw visitors. The center's recent acquisition of 488 acres, which will be kept in its natural state for now, brings the tract to 1,188 acres. The center celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2016. usnwc.org
Between the opening of the Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate in Asheville, the Durham Hotel and the 21c Museum Hotel Durham, 2015 would seem a tough year to top. But the excitement’s not over. Here’s a rundown of notable lodging properties with openings planned for 2016:
Film lovers can connect the scenes to the scenery of new titles being released in 2016. Benjamin Walker and Teresa Palmer star in "The Choice," the latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation, set in Beaufort with filming in the Wilmington area (release date: Feb. 5). "The Disappointments Room," a supernatural thriller starring Kate Beckinsale and Lucas Till, was filmed in Greensboro, Winston-Salem and Ramseur (release date: March 25). And for “Masterminds,” the heist comedy with Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis, cameras rolled in the Asheville area with an excursion for Wilson to Sliding Rock, a 60-foot natural waterslide in Pisgah National Forest (release date: Sept. 30).
Recent DVD releases of projects filmed in North Carolina include Season 3 of "Under the Dome," the family thriller "Max," the Sparks romance “The Longest Ride,” the PBS culinary documentary series "A Chef's Life," the Christian dramas "Shake Off the World" and “War Room,” and the teen drama "Paper Towns." Find more titles and locations at www.filmnc.com and media.VisitNC.com.
Moogfest, the internationally acclaimed festival of music, art and technology, will make its Durham debut May 19-22 with a lineup that includes Gary Numan, GZA, ODESZA and Laurie Anderson. In announcing the festival's relocation from Asheville, where Moog Music is based, festival organizers cited Durham's "momentum as a capital of technology, culture and entertainment." Moogfest, a tribute to Dr. Robert Moog, inventor of the analog synthesizer, is known for presenting performances by early pioneers in electronic music alongside pop and avant garde experimentalists of today. The festival has evolved to include a mind-expanding conference for creative and technology professionals. www.moogfest.com
The Greensboro Coliseum Complex will host the inaugural USA Masters Games, a national championships-level competitive experience for athletes 21 and older. The Games, set for July 21-31, will comprise two dozen sports, from badminton and bowling to figure skating, triathlon and weightlifting. The competition, to be held in even-numbered (or Olympic) years, will feature a Games Village to serve as a central hub/gathering point for athletes and fans, plus opening and closing ceremonies. www.usamastersgames.com
USA Cycling has chosen Winston-Salem as host city for the 2016 and 2017 Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road & Time Trial National Championships. The inuagural run will be May 22-30 and will combine those championships, USA Cycling's Masters Road National Championships and the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic. USA Cycling officials say the nine-day event "will make Winston-Salem the epicenter of American cycling next spring." Events will take place in multiple venues throughout the area, including downtown Winston-Salem and the rolling hills of the Yadkin Valley. In related news, USA Cycling's Collegiate Road National Championships take place May 13-15 in Marshall and Weaverville. www.usacycling.org
The McGregor Hall Performing Arts and Learning Center, a 1,000-seat venue in historic downtown Henderson, will host its official opening Feb. 19 with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. The $9 million venue, which boasts a 3,200-square-foot stage and state-of-the-art production capabilities, is the crowning piece in the Embassy Cultural Center Foundation’s vision for revitalizing a central downtown area as a place of learning and enrichment. The hall, on the site of the old Embassy Theatre, joins the 40,000-square-foot Perry Library and a 5,000-square-foot gallery. The venue, easily accessed by Interstate 85, will present local and touring productions in music, theater and other disciplines. www.mcgregorhall.org
In 2016, Old Salem Museum & Gardens celebrates the 250th anniversary of the founding of Salem, a Moravian settlement built on a foundation of faith, culture and education. The architecture and landscape of the 20-block neighborhood reflect authentic history, thanks to efforts to preserve original structures and gardens. The anniversary celebration will include the opening of two newly restored buildings with lively interpretations of history: the Boys School, where hands-on activities and interactive technology will help relay the story, and the Doctor’s House, which will illuminate how Dr. Samuel Benjamin Vierling practiced medicine and dispensed remedies. These buildings will join other places popular for shopping (Winkler Bakery, A. Butner Hat Shop, Moravian Book & Gift Shop), dining (The Tavern in Old Salem, The Flour Box Tea Room & Cafe) and exploring (St. Philips Heritage Center, Miksch Garden and House, Single Brothers’ House, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts). www.oldsalem.org
Beyond these news-making developments, travelers can explore the assets that make North Carolina the nation’s sixth most-visited state ― mile after mile of captivating beauty; innovations in kitchens, wineries, brewhouses and distilleries; a spirit of adventure; and engaging history and lively culture. Find everything you need for planning a trip at VisitNC.com.
Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina
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