Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Even the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro is getting into the act, with family-friendly programs about one of natures most maligned and misunderstood creatures, the vampire bat (above), and the traditional "Pumpkin Pounding", where elephants and gorillas will get the chance to pound, pulverize and eventually partake of pumpkins in their exhibits Friday morning.
So, no matter how you like your haunts, you should be able to dig up something spooky here in North (S)carolina! Happy Halloween!
Monday, October 26, 2009
In the meantime, the NC DOT and is recommending that through travelers from the east take a detour on Interstate 26 west from Asheville to Johnson City, Tennessee, then Interstate 81 south to Knoxville. Travelers headed to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park can take US 276 through Maggie Valley, Cherokee, and beyond.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
While racing fans flock to Lowe's Motor Speedway for this weekend's NASCAR Banking 500 and construction crews in uptown Charlotte busily prepare the new NASCAR Hall of Fame for its springtime opening, a group of racing experts and officials have selected the Hall's first set of inductees.
Bill France Sr, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Bill France Jr, and Junior Johnson will be officially inducted into the Hall on May 23, 2010. A panel of fifty voters made the selections yesterday.
"This is a good sampling of the whole history of the sport," said Lee White, president of Toyota Racing, one of the 50 voters. "You couldn't lose this year. There were so many great nominees."
NASCAR did not release the official vote totals but did list the top eight nominees receiving votes, though in no particular order. Pearson, Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough came the closest to election. Another class of five inductee will be selected next year for 2011.
Meanwhile, tickets and charter memberships to the Hall of Fame have gone on sale, with the opening set for May 11.
“We have developed affordable ticket packages that reflect our steadfast promise to offer a superb value. Our guests will always be our top priority,” said Winston Kelley, executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “We are confident our visitors will be pleased with the amount of activities available, especially when you consider the Hall has more than 50 high-tech interactive exhibits coupled with some of the most intriguing artifacts from NASCAR’s 62-year history.”
Ticket prices are $19.95 for adults, $17.95 for military and seniors (60+), $12.95 for children 5 – 12 and free for children under 5. The on-site box office is scheduled to open in the spring of 2010. In the meantime, tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster at 877-231-2010 or at www.nascarhall.com.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Again, this is one person's very unscientific opinion, but things are looking great here. For the 'official' take on NC's ever-changing color, check out the VisitNC web site's fall color reports, which are updated weekly. Or follow VisitNC on Twitter.
Either way, it's shaping up to be a very colorful October in the NC mountains. Enjoy!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Linda A. Carlisle has announced a partnership with the North Carolina Department of Transportation that includes more than $250,000 in funding for the next phase of the NC's African American Music Trail project.
The African American Music Trail will bring greater visibility to African American music traditions in eastern North Carolina. It tells the story of musicians and singers that represent North Carolina to the world through their internationally acclaimed music.
“We have believed for many years that African American music in eastern North Carolina should be celebrated,” says Mary B. Regan, executive director of the North Carolina Arts Council. “These musicians reflect their home communities and their sounds transcend time and place. They are an integral part of our state’s heritage and are bringing economic growth to both large and small communities.”
Eight eastern counties comprise the trails – Edgecombe, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt, Wayne and Wilson. The project is expected to be completed in 2011.
Additional funds from the DOT will allow the next phase of the project to move forward including the development of interactive kiosks, maps and a travel guidebook. These efforts will connect the rich musical traditions with the traveling public.
Internationally recognized musicians from the area include Kinston natives and brothers Melvin Parker, a drummer for James Brown and Maceo Parker, a saxophonist who played with James Brown, Ray Charles and James Taylor. The Godfather of Soul was famous for saying during a concert, “Maceo, I want you to Blow!”
Other music greats include Wilson gospel singer Bishop F. C. Barnes known for his hit, “Rough Side of the Mountain;” Wilson native Bill Myers of the Monitors and the soulful Roberta Flack who was once the lead singer for the Monitors.
Two interactive kiosks located in Wilson and Kinston will include information about local musicians, venues, and other music resources, as well as a calendar of events and directions. Kiosk users can create and customize their own “tours” of music resources within the region. Maps that promote trail sites will be available at welcome center and area visitor centers. Public art that visually interprets the visual heritage of the region will be located in Kinston.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
This week, Visit NC is celebrating fall fishing in North Carolina with its "Hook, Line, & Sinker" week on the web site, and will continue fall fishing reports throughout the season. This week's sweeps giveaway includes a stay in Roanoke Rapids and a fishing trip on Lake Gaston!
As the video above shows you... fall is a great time to be a fisherman in NC.
Monday, October 5, 2009
The 146-room hotel, which officially opened last week, is the first in the chain to receive LEED green building certification. The hotel is smaller than most Ritz locations, but has the usual amenities such as a ballroom, spa, wellness center and steakhouse.
The chain is known for catering to its guests' every whim, with perks such as TVs embedded in bathroom mirrors and a service that allows frequent guests to store clothes at the hotel. Rooms here start at around $249 per night and can go as high as $3,500.
With the addition of the Ritz, Uptown Charlotte has more than four thousand hotel rooms. Area wide, Charlotte now has more than 31,000 places to stay for the night.
Friday, October 2, 2009
The prizes for this one are pretty incredible: a seven-night stay in Wilmington, along with travel, meal and shopping vouchers. Wilmington is one of those old-style southern coastal cities, complete with carriage rides, brick-paved streets, and a cool downtown with eclectic shopping and a scenic riverfront. The city is also home to the BATTLESHIP NORTH CAROLINA, the scene of hundreds of movie and television productions, and is within a stone's throw of the Orton Plantation and three great beach communities (Wrightsville, Carolina, and Kure). The winner will have no problem finding things to do during their week's stay.
Meanwhile, the big fall promotions and giveaways continue as well... with this week's prize involving a trip to the Lake Lure/Rutherfordton/Chimney Rock area.
Cool stuff... and lots of chances to win a free trip!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
The center has several environmentally friendly features, including a 28,000-gallon cistern on the front lawn that collects rainwater to flush toilets, solar panels above the main entrance that pre-heat water for the sinks, large windows that provide natural light for much of the building, and motion sensors which will cut lights off when people aren’t around.
Hosts at the Northwest North Carolina Visitor Center will provide brochures and information about 10 counties in the area: Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Iredell, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin.
“It’s really an opportunity to showcase the entire region,“ said Linda Cheek, president of the Wilkes County Chamber of Commerce, which will provide the visitor center employees.
DOT spokeswoman Dara Demi said the building’s environmental improvements make it about 37 percent more efficient in saving energy than if it had been built with standard methods. The building has extra insulation, and the light green roof is covered in a smooth energy-rated membrane that doesn’t absorb as much heat in the summer and collects rainwater efficiently.
Based on rainfall averages in Wilkes County, she said the cistern is expected to supply about 309,000 gallons of rainwater a year, and will decrease the use of treated water by about 75 percent. Treated water will still be used for the sinks and water fountains.
The DOT is applying for a gold standard certification for the building in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.