Take Your Pick
Asheville, NC
Nation's Largest Elliptical Dome
Basilica of St Lawrence - The Basilica of St Lawrence in downtown Ashville was designed by architects Rafael Guastavino and R S Smith and completed in 1909. Guastavino perfected the tile arch system (a self-supporting system of interlocking tiles), used in the Grant's Tomb, Grand Central Station and in this Basilica. When you step inside you will see the nation's largest freestanding elliptical dome, measuring 58 feet wide and 82 feet long. The Basilica of St Lawrence is an operating Roman Catholic Church and the final resting place of Rafael Gustavino (1842-1908).
Asheville, NC
Beautiful at Christmas Time
Biltmore Estate - The 250 room, 175,000 square foot Biltmore Estate is the country's largest private residence and one of the most visited. Built as a summer home for George Washington Vanderbilt (1862-1914), the French Renaissance-style chateau is part of an 8,000 acre estate. Guided and self-guided tours are available that take guests through some of the most opulent rooms this monkey has ever seen. 16th century tapestries, 18th century sculptures, and paintings from Renoir are just a few of the marvels found in the mansion. The estate also features a winery, 200 room luxury hotel, and gardens designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted (designer of New York City's Central Park).
Beaufort, NC
Black Beard's Coast
North Carolina Maritime Museum - The North Carolina Maritime Museum is a great place to learn the history of coastal North Carolina. The museum contains an exhibit on the most notorious pirate in the world, Edward Teach or as we know him Black Beard (1680-1718). This infamous pirate roamed the seas aboard his ship the Queen Anne's Revenge capturing as many as 50 vessels. His death came at the hands of the British Royal Navy off the coast of North Carolina near Ocracoke Island. Other exhibits include seashells from around the world, model ships, and various North Carolina watercraft.
Blowing Rock, NC
Ride the Tweetsie Railroad
Tweetsie Railroad, Art Galleries and Blowing Rock - There are many reasons to visit one of North Carolina's cutest towns, here are just a few. The town of Blowing Rock is named for a 4,000 foot cliff, which in the wintertime forces falling snow skyward, making it appear to be snowing upside-down. A quarter-mile trail takes you to the famous overlook. The ever-popular Tweetsie Railroad is a great family oriented attraction, with rides, western entertainment and of course a railroad. Finally, the town of Blowing Rock contains some really nice art galleries, restaurants and shops.
Boone, NC
The Story of Daniel Boone
Horn in the West - With a picturesque view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the outdoor drama "Horn in the West", tells the story Daniel Boone and the first settlers of the region. The play is set in the late 1700s during the American Revolution and follows the lives and struggles of these rugged pioneers. The drama was created by Kermit Hunter and has been performed every year since 1952 in the Daniel Boone Theater (which was designed exclusively for the play).
Buxton, NC
Tallest Lighthouse in USA
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse - Built in 1870, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse which stands at an impressive 208 feet is the nation's tallest lighthouse. It was built to aid sailors around the Diamond Shoals, a shifting sandbar roughly 15-20 miles out to sea. This enormous light was constructed with 1,250,000 bricks and weighs just over 6,000 tons. The distinctive black and white spiral strips have earned it the nickname "the big barber pole" and has become a symbol of North Carolina. Two other lights are located on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Bodie Island Lighthouse and the Ocracoke Lighthouse.
Candler, NC
National Scenic Byway
Blue Ridge Parkway - The Blue Ridge Parkway connects the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The 469 mile National Scenic Byway travels past cascading waterfalls, stunning mountain vistas, pristine lakes, and old growth forests. Springtime is fantastic with all the flowers starting to bloom, but it could be argued that Fall is equally inviting with the trees radiating their final Autumnal glow. The posted speed along the Parkway is 45 mph or less, which is the perfect speed to relax and enjoy the countryside.
Charlotte, NC
The Illuminating Mint Museum of Art
Mint Museum of Art - The Mint Museum of Art has a wonderful collection of American, Asian, European and African art spanning thousands of years. Notable American artists include Gilbert Stuart, Ansel Adams, and John Singleton Copley. A section of the museum is dedicated to a Historic Costume Collection that exhibits nearly 10,000 items related to fashion. The building that houses the museum has a long history; it was once the home of the Charlotte Mint, a US Mint authorized to produce gold coins that operated from 1836 to 1861.
Chimney Rock, NC
Looking Down on Chimney Rock
Chimney Rock - Chimney Rock State Park contains some of North Carolina's most magnificent scenery. The centerpiece is Chimney Rock itself, a 315 foot tall granite monolith adorned with an American flag, and offering 75 mile views from its nearly 2,300 foot elevation. But this park isn't a one trick pony. There are other geological features including Devil's Head (which really looks like a devil's head), Moonshiner's Cave, and various outcroppings. Another fantastic site is the 404 foot Hickory Nut Falls where water splashes down the steep granite mountainside.
Durham, NC
Home of the Blue Devils
Duke University and Duke Homestead - Duke University was established in 1838 and is a world-class private university. Whether attending or just visiting, the campus is filled with some wonderful Gothic architecture. The 8,600 acre campus contains just over 200 building, with the West Campus displaying the most ornate; including the 210 foot tall Duke Chapel. The college was named Duke University in 1924 in honor of tobacco industrialist George Washington Duke (1820-1905). The Duke Homestead just north of the campus and features the restored 1852 Duke home and a Tobacco Museum.
Fayetteville, NC
Vietnam Exhibit
Airborne and Special Operations Museum - The Airborne and Special Operations Museum details the history, and puts you in the combat boots, of the nation's bravest and most well trained soldiers. Exhibits take you from a Test Platoon, through WWII, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf. The Motion Simulator and Vistascope film give a brief but riveting look into the challenges these soldiers face. Any time is a great time to visit the museum, but National Airborne Day in August is very special. Also, Fort Bragg, the home to the 82nd Airborne and Special Forces Units is just a few miles west of Fayetteville.
Flat Rock, NC
Welcome to the Carl Sandburg Home
Carl Sandburg Home - Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) was born in the Land of Lincoln, Galesburg, Illinois to be exact, and besides his poems he is best known for his biography of Abraham Lincoln entitled "Abraham Lincoln: The War Years". His writing won him three Pulitzer Prizes in his lifetime, and he was gifted lecturer and singer. The Carl Sandburg Home is where the author spent the last 22 years of his life and it is now a National Historic Site. The 260 acre estate contains Sandburg's home (guided tours are available) and an assortment of barns and out-buildings that were used for farming.
Franklin, NC
On the Appalachian Trail
Appalachian Trail - The Appalachian Trail (AT) stretches 2,160 miles from Georgia's Springer Mountain to Maine's Mount Katahdin and through a total of 14 states. This makes the AT the world's longest continuous hiking trail. Nearly 300 miles of the trail winds along North Carolina's border with Tennessee and through the Great Smoky Mountains. Hikers can opt to walk a portion of the AT or the entire trail. Of those that walk the entire trail, most start in April at the south end (for weather reasons) and finish five to seven months later at the north terminus.
Manteo, NC
First in Flight
Wright Brothers - Few people change the course of human history like the Wright Brothers did in 1903. Wilber (1867-1912) and Orville (1871-1948) Wright were the first to achieve manned flight of a heavier-than-air machine that left the ground (and safely returned) under its own power. That first flight was just 12 seconds, but it paved the way for all flights from that day forward. At the time Kill Devil Hills was a windswept beach area that was perfect for glider tests and a soft landing. Today the winds are still there, but the dunes are covered with grass. The Wright Brothers National Memorial features a 60 foot monument atop Kill Devil Hill, a series of markers recording the first four flights, a visitor center and a the First Flight Centennial Pavilion.
Manteo, NC
The Lost Colony
Fort Raleigh - The Fort Raleigh Historic Site preserves the location of what has come to be known as "The Lost Colony". An English expedition in 1587 was Sir Walter Raleigh's second attempt at colonizing the New World on Roanoke Island. The first attempt consisted of 75 men and was abandoned after 10 months, with the men returning to England. The second attempt consisted of 117 men and women, and was also abandoned after some time, but no trace of the colony has ever been found. The only clue to their disappearance was the word "Croatoan" carved into a post and the letters "Cro" carved into a tree. The site today displays the ruins of the fort and contains a visitor center and a waterside amphitheater which puts on re-enactments of the expedition.
Marion, NC
North Carolina's Only Cavern
Linville Caverns - If you're looking to do a little cave exploring in North Carolina, you've come to the right place. Linville Caverns is the only cavern in the Tar Heel State. The caverns were first discovered in 1822 by a fisherman, whose "one that got away" somehow disappeared under a rock wall. After searching he discovered this little gem of a cave that is still forming stalactites and stalagmites. A 30 minute cave tour, takes you past the limestone highlights and if you're lucky, a sleeping Eastern Pipistrelle Bat or two.
Pineville, NC
James Polk Birthplace
James Polk Birthplace - James K Polk (1795-1849) was our 11th President of the United States serving from 1845-1849. He was just 49 years old when he entered office, making him the youngest President to date and still only 1 of less than 10 to be in their 40s. The James Polk Birthplace contains a fully furnished log cabin with separate kitchen, barn and visitor center. The visitor center covers significant events which occurred during Polk's Presidency including the Mexican-American War and the annexation of California.
Raleigh, NC
North Carolina Statehouse
State Capitol Building - The North Carolina State Capitol Building was completed in 1840 and is the second statehouse on this site in the city of Raleigh (the first burned down in 1831). Built in a Greek Revival style, the structure was a collaboration of efforts between several architects, but this monkey will give credit to David Paton (1801-1882) since he finished it. The interior of the capitol contains a spacious rotunda with busts of famous North Carolinians and a great view of the dome three stories up. The grounds contain over a dozen monuments with one dedicated to the state's three Presidents.
Raleigh, NC
History of Flight and More
North Carolina Museum of History - To catch up on all things "North Carolina", visit the North Carolina Museum of History. This three floor, 55,000 square foot museum exhibits over 150,000 artifacts spanning 6 centuries in its permanent and temporary exhibits. The museum has its roots in the 1880s, when Augusta Olds began collecting historical items from around the state. After amassing a sizeable collection, he merged it with the collection at the State Museum, which eventually became the Museum of History.
Salem, NC
Historic Old Salem
Old Salem - In 1766 Moravian immigrants (present day Czech Republic) settled in this area of now North Carolina. The Moravians were primarily an agricultural community, but they also produced tools, handmade furniture and ceramics. Old Salem is now a 100 acre living history museum and gardens, featuring a restored tree-lined Colonial Village with more than 80 buildings. Start your visit at the Old Salem Visitor Center for a little background on the community and then walk the historic streets. The Old Salem Tavern has authentic Moravian where you can feast on the famous Moravian Chicken Pie.
Wilmington, NC
Fog Shrouded Battleship North Carolina
Battleship North Carolina - Located at the Port of Wilmington on the Cape Fear River is the mighty Battleship North Carolina. The USS North Carolina nicknamed "Showboat" saw active service from 1941 to 1947. The vessel participated in every major navel operation in the Pacific during WWII and earned 15 battle stars, making it the US Navy's most decorated battleship. Kicking around the ship today you'll see one of the few remaining Vought Kingfisher Float Planes, the enormous 16 inch guns, the crew quarters and more. There is also a museum with photographs, documents and artifacts relating to the ship's service.