From outdoor recreation and unique lodging to arts and culture and fine dining, the charming small towns and vibrant urban locations of North Carolina offer something for everyone. Explore the highest peaks in the eastern United States and 300 miles of pristine coastline at VisitNC.com or call 1-800 VISIT NC (847-4862).
NASCAR Hall of Fame “On Track” for Charlotte Grand Opening
Set to open May 11, the 150,000-square-foot, $195 million NASCAR Hall of Fame is an interactive, entertainment attraction honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR. The high-tech, four-level venue, designed to educate and entertain race fans and non-fans alike, includes exhibits and interactive displays, a state-of-the-art theater, a Hall of Honor to commemorate inductees, restaurant, retail outlet, and TV and radio studio.
Blue Ridge Parkway Turns 75, Offers New Visitor Destination Center
“America’s Favorite Drive” celebrates 75 years of Parkway history, Appalachian culture, and spectacular scenic views this year. The year-long anniversary celebration will engage visitors in efforts to sustain the Parkway for future generations (www.blueridgeparkway75.org). The Parkway recently opened a $9.8 million visitor center near Asheville featuring a 70-seat auditorium with an HD film, and an I-Wall interactive parkway map. The Federal Highway Administration named the Parkway an All-American Road.
Andy Griffith Museum Opens in Real-Life Mayberry
The Andy Griffith Museum opened in Nov. 2009 in Mount Airy, N.C., with the world’s largest collection of Andy Griffith memorabilia. Mount Airy is the boyhood home of Andy Griffith and was the inspiration for Mayberry in the classic ’60s TV show. The museum houses a treasure trove of items collected by Emmett Forrest, a schoolmate and friend of Griffith. Items include the iconic signs from the show’s courthouse doors that read: “Sheriff” and “Justice of the Peace,” and the oversized keys to the jail. The collection also includes items donated by the widow of actor Don Knotts, who played Deputy Barney Fife, and by actress Betty Lynn, who played Thelma Lou. Lynn moved to Mount Airy in 2007 after several visits to the Mayberry Days Festival, which is a large annual celebration that brings thousands of fans and actors to the city. Throughout the year Mount Airy features many attractions based on the show including Floyd’s City Barber Shop, Snappy Lunch, Squad Car Tours, Opie’s Candy Store and the Old City Jail.
Civil Rights Takes a Front Seat in Greensboro
The International Civil Rights Center and Museum opened Feb. 1 in Greensboro in the original F.W. Woolworth’s building where the protest started. The protests, which continued for six months until the luncheonette was desegregated, sparked other protests in cities across the U.S. The original luncheonette and chairs are a focal point of the museum. It features 14 signature exhibits and a changing gallery with artifacts and archival installations on the civil rights movement. This includes an exhibit that allows visitors to experience the conversations of the four young men in the re-created North Carolina A&T dorm, prior to their historic act.
Museum of Art $73 Million Expansion Features Rodin, Rockwell
On April 24, the NC Museum of Art opened a new 127,000-square-foot, $73 million building designed by New York architect Thomas Phifer. The museum’s new gallery building was commemorated by the unveiling of a Rodin gift to the museum along with other exciting acquisitions. Later in the year, the museum will open a new exhibit, “American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell.”
New Bern Celebrates 300
New Bern, North Carolina’s second oldest town, celebrates its 300th Birthday in 2010 and will host a year-long celebration. Throughout the year, New Bern and Craven County will offer a variety of special cultural, educational and historical attractions, tours and recreational opportunities for all. From museums, marinas and parks, to a beautiful palace, there will be plenty to do during the celebration.