Tuesday, October 16, 2018

N.C. ghost season!

A wonderful Twitter exchange last week with Josh and John reminded me of what a wonderful variety of "ghost" stories North Carolina has. (We are almost to Halloween, after all!)

As mentioned before, I LOVE N.C. ghost stories. I thought I knew them all, but I was stunned to hear about the Old Bluff Church in Wade. As John put it, "counting the steps on the way down and again on the way up; not even close to the same number."


Here's more.

What are some of your favorite N.C. ghost stories?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Support for the CAREolinas

Support for organizations helping out those affected by Hurricane Florence has, not surprisingly, been inspiring and immediate. The Carolina Panthers have gotten involved as well.

The NFL team announced the other day that they have partnered with Visit North Carolina and Discover South Carolina to show support for recovery efforts. One hundred percent of the proceeds of the #CAREolinas T-shirt, which Coach Ron Rivera wore in his press conference, goes toward relief funds.

The shirts are made by Recover Brands, a Charlotte apparel company that produces the shirts in Spartanburg, S.C.

"I think it's important that everybody understands that we most certainly do care about our folks in the Carolinas, our fanbase, the people here in this community," Rivera said. "We want to do whatever we can to help support them in this recovery effort.
"We want to do our part."

To find out more about the efforts and purchase your own T-shirt, visit CAREolinas.com.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Hang in there, North Carolina

The beating that North Carolina has taken over the past week due to Hurricane Florence has been downright incredible. But so has the resiliency of this state and her people. This place is flat-out remarkable. If you think we won't come back from this, well, you have another thing coming.

But that's not to say that there won't be challenges. Many of us will need to remember the good to get through the bad. A couple of years ago, we put together a list of reasons to love North Carolina. It is a nice list; however, it honestly barely scratches the surface. Here is that list again. Feel free to add  to it. After all, it never hurts to be reminded of what a wonderful place this is -- and will continue to be.


  • Barbecue
  • Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Blue Ridge parkway
  • Outer Banks
  • Crystal Coast
  • Char-Grill
  • Asheville
  • Avett Brothers
  • The Connells
  • Red clay
  • Red Clay Ramblers
  • Cheerwine
  • Pepsi
  • Grandfather Mountain
  • Tweetsie Railroad
  • Wine
  • Craft beer
  • Furniture
  • Sherry's Bakery in Dunn
  • Our colleges and universities (public and private)
  • Our teachers
  • Cape Hatteras
  • Our State magazine
  • Big city downtowns and small town Main Streets
  • The suburbs, too!
  • Sugar Mountain
  • Music festivals
  • Waterfalls
  • Grey squirrels
  • White squirrels
  • Cardinals
  • Venus fly trap
  • The Lost Colony
  • The Greensboro Four
  • College basketball
  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Golf courses
  • Blowing Rock
  • Tim McLaurin
  • Lee Smith
  • James Taylor
  • Biltmore Estate
  • Grove Park Inn
  • Wilmington
  • Bald Head Island
  • N.C. Zoo
  • Pine trees
  • Dogwoods
  • Lake Lure
  • New Bern
  • Bath
  • Blackbeard
  • Angus Barn
  • Carowinds
  • Chimney Rock
  • Fairy crosses
  • Emeralds
  • Brown Mountain Lights
  • Chatham County Line
  • Ocracoke
  • Andy Griffith
  • Mount Airy
  • Link Wray
  • Carl Sandburg
  • Michael Jordan
  • Ava Gardner
  • Cape Lookout
  • Krispy Kreme
  • David Thompson
  • Halifax Resolves
  • Bojangles
  • Red wolves
  • Durham Bulls
  • Mount Mitchell
  • Lake Matamuskeet
  • Pinehurst No. 2
  • Brevard
  • Charlie Daniels
  • Randy Travis
  • Earl Scruggs
  • Doc Watson
  • Thelonius Monk
  • John Coltrane
  • Jim Hunt
  • Hanging Rock
  • Yadkin Valley
  • National Whitewater Rafting Center
  • Pilot Mountain
  • Lake Gaston
  • Lake Norman
  • Kerr Lake 

New Bern flooding photo courtesy of Vox; boat photo courtesy of MPR News.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Scott McCreery: The savior of beach music?

About a year and a half ago, we discussed right here the question of, "Are we losing beach music?"  The conversation came from some discussions via social media.
As one person commented on Facebook, "My big thing is how much all this great stuff has faded into history. The new generation needs to be educated. How about we form a 'Beach Music Revival Society?' "
Well, maybe Garner's Scotty McCreery could be the Head Moose of this Club. After all, his song, "Barefootin'," is now No. 1 on the beach music charts. (Sadly, I was not aware there was even still a beach music chart!)

According to the News & Observer/Charlotte Observer, the song is top o' the charts even though it's not even a single.

But the song has picked up enough spins from reporting Association of Carolina Shag Clubs venues and deejays across the Mid-Atlantic to hit the top.

It’s a song McCreery actually co-wrote three years ago, after telling co-writer David Lee Murphy that he wanted to do a song in the supper-club-soul style of beach, complete with optimal shag tempo and horns.
Kudos to McCreery for "getting it" and showing some love for his North Carolina roots, something he talked to the paper about.

“Outside of North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia, people do not know about beach music,” McCreery said in a News & Observer interview earlier this year. “I’m excited to maybe put beach music on more of a national scale because it’s such a regional thing.”

“Barefootin’” will probably be in the setlist the next time McCreery performs a hometown show, Jan. 19 at the Ritz in Raleigh. But that actually won’t be his first time doing beach music on a stage.
“I used to see Band of Oz playing down at the beach,” McCreery said. “I even sang with them at Topsail Beach one night. I was in the crowd and one of their daughters brought me up. I think we did their version of ‘Wagon Wheel.’”

Read more here: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/entertainment/article217912230.html#storylink=cpy
 Listen to "Barefootin'" here:

Read more here: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/entertainment/article217912230.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/entertainment/article217912230.html#storylink=cpy

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Joints that rep N.C. ... but aren't in N.C.

A buddy of mine (hey, Matt!) told me last week about his visit to Pine State Biscuits in Portland, Oregon. What initially caught my eye was his photo of a Cheerwine container being used to hold condiments. "Hey, that's pretty cool!" was my initial thought. But then Matt pointed out that Pine
State Biscuits was started by three guys from North Carolina. (And, let's face it: "Pine State" can work here or in the Pacific Northwest.)

Here's a little bit about Pine State Biscuits, courtesy of their website:

Pine State Biscuits began as a brainchild centered around…what else? The quest for the perfect, buttery, flaky, homemade biscuit. Kevin Atchley, Walt Alexander, and Brian Snyder knew biscuits all too well from growing up in North Carolina, but having relocated to Portland, Oregon, they craved the down­ home­ cooking they knew from childhood. So they banded together and decided to bring the Southeast to the Northwest.
This got me wondering about other restaurants around the country with North Carolina-inspired foods or ambiance. The most famous one that I first thought of was Brother Jimmy's BBQ in New York City. Brother Jimmy's has become a Mecca of sorts for people in NYC (and Maryland and Florida, among other places) who crave a taste of home -- or of ACC basketball.

Brother Jimmy’s has celebrated over 25 years of legendary North Carolina, slow-smokin’ barbeque. As suggested by the restaurant’s slogan – “Put Some South in Yo’ Mouth” - Brother Jimmy’s mission was, and still is, to bring “down-home” cooking, hospitality and merriment to the heart of the Northeast.

Over the years, Brother Jimmy’s established itself as the home away from home for A.C.C. Alumni. Homesick alums from Duke, UNC, N.C. State, Georgia Tech, U.V.A., Clemson, Maryland, and Wake Forest began to flock to Brother Jimmy’s to catch the big Duke/UNC game, or to watch the Demon Deacons take on the Terps. By opening in Manhattan’s most popular neighborhoods, Brother Jimmy’s found a home in the hearts of New Yorkers. It has become the restaurant in NYC that reminded Southerners what good ‘ol Southern hospitality was all about and showed Northerners just what they’d been missing all these years.
Any other places around the country (or the world, for that matter) that offer a taste of Carolina?  Does Pepsi's headquarters in New York state count?

Monday, August 13, 2018

'Hey, bo, where you stay at?'

Along with natural beauty and resources, North Carolina is blessed with a host of unique dialects. Someone who grew up on, say, Ocracoke Island, is gonna talk a lot different than some from, say, the far reaches of western N.C. Heck, someone from Ocracoke is gonna speak different from someone from Wilmington, and those two locations are not far from each other at all.

Part of this variety in language and dialect comes from the fact that N.C. was influenced by a variety of cultures -- and continues to today. As more and more people continue to move into the state, those dialects and accents will shift like sandbars. And that's ok.

Our good friend Walt Wolfram over at NC State has documented the variety in accents through the years. In one of his latest posts, he writes about some uniquely North Carolina phrases and their origins. Terms like "North Cackalacky," "dingbatter" and "cattywampus."  Also glad to see "mash this button" gets a shout-out.

One of the ones he mentions is the "boot" of a car.  This is a term that my grandparents (Clinton, N.C.) have long used. Here is some more about the "boot" from Wolfram:

One of the well-known differences between British English and American English is the different terms for the primary storage area of a car. In America, it’s called a trunk and in England it’s a boot. Travelers to the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, however, may be surprised to find that rural residents in these areas also refer to it as a boot. From counties such as Bertie and Martin in the northern Coastal Plain to Brunswick and New Brunswick in the south, older residents may use the term boot to refer to what most Americans call a trunk. The residents did not travel to England to pick up the term; it’s simply an older form in English that was used to refer to the luggage compartment that often sat under the seat by the boots of the driver in horse-and-buggy times. Given the history of small, isolated rural communities in North Carolina, it stands to reason that it is a state that retains is fair share of “relic” dialect terms.

I've been thinking about some other terms that I grew up with (Dunn. N.C.). For one, the use of "hey, bo" (as a substitute for "hey, man" or "what's up?") was one that immediately came to mind. I was somewhat surprised a few years ago to see that this term has been turned into a line of outdoor clothing. I will say that this phrase appears to be unique to Caucasians, but I could be wrong about that.

Another phrase that I grew up hearing mostly from African Americans was "where you stay at?" as a way to ask about their home address or their neighborhood. (This also means that the headline to this post is probably mostly disingenuous.)

Any other phrases or words that you grew up with that would make a list like this? If so, please share them along with where you grew up.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Happy (First in) Independence Day!

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Here's to hoping that you are all spending the day with family and friends and reflecting on the fine qualities on which this country was founded. Of course, here in North Carolina, it's easy to forget that we led the way in this idea of independence. (Don't let anyone tell you different!) 

As a celebration of this day, here are some snippets from some of our forefathers' brilliantly-penned masterpieces. Enjoy the day! And God bless America!

"... That we do hereby declare ourselves a free and independent people, are, and of right ought to be, a sovereign and self-governing Association, under the control of no power other than that of our God and the General Government of the Congress; to the maintenance of which independence, we solemnly pledge to each other, our mutual cooperation, our lives, our fortunes, and our most sacred honor. ..."

-Mecklenburg Declaration of Indpendence, Charlotte, May 20, 1775

"... It appears to your Committee that pursuant to the Plan concerted by the British Ministry for subjugating America, the King and Parliament of Great Britain have usurped a Power over the Persons and Properties of the People unlimited and uncontrouled; and disregarding their humble Petitions for Peace, Liberty and safety, have made divers Legislative Acts, denouncing War Famine and every Species of Calamity against the Continent in General. ...

"Resolved that the delegates for this Colony in the Continental Congress be impowered to concur with the delegates of the other Colonies in declaring Independency, and forming foreign Alliances, reserving to this Colony the Sole, and Exclusive right of forming a Constitution and Laws for this Colony, and of appointing delegates from time to time (under the direction of a general Representation thereof) to meet the delegates of the other Colonies for such purposes as shall be hereafter pointed out."

-Halifax Resolves, April 12, 1776

"... We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ..."
Photo courtesy of N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources