15 things North Carolinians are weirdly passionate about


Popcorn Sutton.

North Carolinians know you don’t buy moonshine from the ABC Store, you buy it from someone like Popcorn Sutton. Popcorn was a lifelong moonshiner and there are still plenty of folks carrying on his tradition: making it a couple of dozen gallons at a time and selling it in unadorned mason jars out of the back of a truck.

Whether a restaurant serves “good sweet tea”.

Yes, “good sweet tea” is a thing. It can’t be too sweet or too bitter; not too icy but not too warm; it’s can’t be too lemony or floral or tobacco-y. You just know it when you taste it.

The Lost Colony.

The fate of the first English colonists remains a mystery to this day. They set up house on the Outer Banks then simply disappeared. Every summer there’s an outdoor play, The Lost Colony, staged only a few hundred yards from their former home.

Our State Magazine.

The name says it all, it’s a magazine about our state. You want stories about sweet tea, the Lost Colony, wineries and breweries and history and artists? Our State’s your huckleberry.

Pirates.

Blackbeard had a couple of homes here, buried treasure here, and met his fate just off Ocracoke Island. His flagship Queen Anne’s Revenge was sunk just off Beaufort and you can see relics from the wreck at the state’s Maritime Museums. But he’s not the only pirate to sail the waters here. Stede Bonnet sailed here and was captured near the Cape Fear River, Captain Kidd is rumored to have buried treasure near Wilmington, and two female pirates—Anne Bonny and Mary Read—made an appearance or two here.

The Blue Ridge Parkway.

This mountaintop drive runs from Cherokee, North Carolina, to Waynesboro, Virginia, and along it’s high, curving route you’ll pass some of North Carolina’s most storied mountains—Mount Mitchell, Grandfather Mountain, Blowing Rock—and some adorable mountain towns. Everyone in North Carolina’s driven to Grandfather and over the Lynn Cove Viaduct at least once and every chance we get to drive a few miles on the Parkway, we take.

Barbecue.

For starters, it’s a noun, not a verb. Now that we’ve got that clear, North Carolina has two styles: Eastern and Lexington. Eastern style consists of a whole hog cooked over oak coals, chopped and pulled apart and seasoned with a thin, vinegar and pepper sauce. Lexington style is all about the butts (or shoulders) cooked over a mix of oak and hickory, chopped coarse and served with a thicker, sweeter sauce. Sounds simple but it’s enough to start a fight at a church picnic.

Cheerwine.

This most delicious of cherry sodas contains no wine, but it’s outstanding nonetheless. Along with Pepsi and Sundrop, it’s one of the sodas that originated here. And, if you’re feeling frisky when it comes to barbecue sauce, you can boil it down then add some vinegar and hot pepper flakes to make a barbecue sauce that might get you thrown out of that church picnic.

Duke’s mayonnaise.

This is the best mayo the USA has to offer and it might just be a top five mayos worldwide. It’s perfectly tangy, adds the right zip and consistency to your granny’s Pimento cheese recipe, and is most excellent on a tomato sandwich.

Music.

Bluegrass has roots here, with Earl Scruggs pioneering his three-fingered picking style here, and NC musical acts like Acoustic Syndicate, Steep Canyon Rangers and even Steve Martin are carrying on today. But we’re more than that, we can also brag about the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Ben Folds and the Avett Brothers, among others.

Surfing.

It doesn’t matter where you live in North Carolina, chances are you or someone you know has a surfboard (or two) in their garage and they know where to go for the good waves: Wrightsville Beach, Emerald Isle, Hatteras, and a dozen other places whose names you have to earn out on the waves.

College basketball.

In North Carolina, few things are as heated as your college basketball allegiance. Declaring for UNC or Duke is tantamount to wearing your political party, church denomination or barbecue loyalty on your sleeve. It’s bound to start a friendly argument or two, and occasionally you’ll be asked to passionately defend your choice.

Craft beer.

We take our beer seriously in North Carolina, and the state is full of breweries, bottle shops and taprooms—nearly 200 at last count—serving up every style of beer imaginable. Between the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild, the NC Beer Guys and your local beer enthusiast, one can keep up with what’s new, what’s delicious, and what you should keep stocked at all times.

Bojangles (see “good sweet tea”).

Biscuits and sweet tea, two southern staples, served up with seasoned French fries in a drive through? That’s Bojangles.

Ohio.

Why in the world would North Carolina be passionate about Ohio? Three words: First In Flight. It was on the Outer Banks that two gentlemen from Dayton, Ohio, took the first powered flight, and even though they were Buckeyes through and through, North Carolina gets to claim the honor of being first in flight.


There are tons of unique smaller beach towns that dot the coast of North Carolina. If you ask twenty different people in NC which is their favorite you might get 20 different answers.

You really should visit a few and see what makes each one special (these are some of the most charming coastal towns in the United States). Then it’s a lot harder to choose a favorite.

Southport

Another famous city from the big screen, Southport, was made popular by Nicholas Sparks in his romance novels. You can find multiple filming locations for “A Walk to Remember,” “Safe Haven,” and “Nights in Rodanthe” throughout the town.

It’s also an antique hunter’s treasure chest. You’ll find all kinds of cute antique stores in downtown Southport alongside the modern boutiques. Downtown Southport has some great art galleries to browse as well.

Beaufort

All the waterfront restaurants serving delicious fresh-caught seafood make it easy to fall in love with Beaufort. Sit out on one of the many decks enjoying a cocktail and gorgeous sunset over the water.

Take a food & bike tour with Hungry Town Tours and be led around the city by the husband and wife team that owns the company. They are incredibly sweet and know the area very well.

A great way to spend time in Beaufort is to kayak out to Shackleford Banks. This is only if you’re in tip-top shape though otherwise, your shoulders will not be happy the next day! You can also take a 20-minute ferry from Beaufort.

New Bern

This was the capital of North Carolina until 1792 when it moved to Raleigh. New Bern has a very walkable downtown area and plenty of historic charm. You can visit Tryon Palace – North Carolina’s first state capital building.

You’ll also find the Birthplace of Pepsi Cola store where you can buy a fountain Pepsi, some merchandise, and learn the story of how Pepsi came out of this little corner Pharmacy.

Do a scavenger hunt for the painted bears at local businesses through the town. Each one is unique! Or you could head over to Union Point Park where you’ll have gorgeous views of the Neuse River.

Emerald Isle

Head to Emerald Isle for the perfect day on the beach. This one feels more remote and laid back than the other surrounding beaches. If you want to leave all your cares behind then head here.

Other than the beach you won’t find much else to do in this quiet little town. Of course, they do have some great restaurants to try like Caribsea and The Trading Post.

Carolina/Kure Beach

Here you’ll find quiet beaches, great fishing, and Britt’s Donut Shop. If you don’t get donuts here then you haven’t been to Carolina Beach. They have one thing on the menu – homemade glazed donuts.

Out at Fort Fisher, you’ll find an aquarium plus a place to drive out on the beach so you can surf fish. This does cost a bit but is worth it if you’ve never done it!

Fishing Tip: If you are going to fish, make sure you have your NC fishing license. Don’t be caught without it or you’ll face a hefty fine!


What Crimes Are Eligible Under New North Carolina Expungement Law?

Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question:”What is an expungement?”

We have previously discussed a new law that takes effect in North Carolina on December 1, 2017. The measure deals with expungements and aims to streamline the process, making everything easier and faster for those looking to clean their record. Though we have discussed the existence of the new law and what it hopes to achieve, we have not yet spent time delving into details about the kinds of crimes that are eligible under the new expungement law. For more information about that, keep reading.

Before we dive into the specifics, we should refresh our memory about the newly revised expungement law. Previously, those who wanted to expunge a first-time, non-violent felony or misdemeanor conviction had to wait 15 years, either from the date of conviction or the date the person finished serving his or her sentence, to petition for expungement. The new law cuts the wait time to 10 years for first-time, non-violent felonies. What about first-time, non-violent misdemeanors? The wait time for those will be dropped to only 5 years. Additionally, the new expungement law eliminates the one-shot rule that currently exists for dismissed charges or not guilty verdicts. Those interested in expungement for this narrow categories of legal issues will now be able to expunge an unlimited number of such charges.

What crimes can be expunged?

The law is aimed at low level felonies and misdemeanors that are non-violent in nature. Class 1, 2 and 3 misdemeanors are generally eligible for expungement. That means things like possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of stolen goods, damage to property, disorderly conduct, possession of marijuana, concealing goods in a store and many others are included under the scope of the new law. The same goes with felonies that are in Class H and Class I. These include things like possession or small sales of controlled substances, some property crimes, larceny, embezzlement, and obtaining property through false pretenses.

What crimes cannot be expunged?

Given that the law is aimed at expunging non-violent offenses, it is crucial that the conviction at issue not include assault as an essential element. That means things like burglary, armed robbery, murder and arson are all off the table. The conviction must not also require registration with the Sex Offender Registry, so things like sexual assault and forcible rape are also excluded from expungement eligibility. Convictions related to possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine are also not eligible for expungement under the current law. Felony offenses that involve the use of a commercial motor vehicle are excluded from expungement. Also, any offense involving impaired driving is excluded. Additionally, Class A1 misdemeanors are also ineligible for expungement. This includes things like assault with a deadly weapon, violation of a restraining order and sexual battery. Beyond these, there are still other exceptions. Given the detail involved, it is essential that you reach out to an experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney for help navigating the complex expungement process.

Once the expungement happens, is it really true that the conviction goes away? Yes, thankfully. Under the new law, those who conduct a typical background checks will not be able to access information concerning the conviction. For example, employers and schools who might be interested will not be able to find the information in your criminal record once it has been expunged. That said, there will still be a trace left for prosecutors and law enforcement officials to locate. An electronic reference to the expunged records will remain, but access will be limited to law enforcement officials.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, please contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Our attorneys stand at the ready to defend you against state or federal charges. Please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses, DWI/DUI, drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking), gun permit denials, weapons offenses, and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses), to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure, sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry), and violent crimes (domestic violence, assault, manslaughter, homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements, appeals, and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.

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14 Rupert Grint And Free Ice Cream

Rupert Grint played our beloved, goofy, clumsy, favorite wizard bestie of Harry Potter's, Ron Weasley. He had steady acting gigs in the Harry Potter movies from his pre-teen years and was wealthier than most professional actors by the time he was eighteen. Now that the Harry Potter film series is over, Rupert has changed up his routine a good bit. He doesn't take as many acting roles anymore, and the ones that he does are primarily in British comedies like Moonwalkers and Postman Pat as well as dramas like Into the White and Charlie Countryman.

But the best part about Rupert is what he has done with his fortune. Rupert decided to share the love. He bought an old ice cream truck, stocks it with his own money, and doles out free ice cream in the warmer months of England. If that's not a good way to spend a fortune, we don't know what is.


31 Best Weekend Getaways in North Carolina

North Carolina Destinations: Charlotte

Charlotte is a modern, vibrant city with rich history and thriving culture. It is well known for its 150,000 square foot NASCAR Hall of Fame, a large number of fascinating museums and many churches of all denominations that have given Charlotte the nickname ‘The City of Churches.’ Charlotte’s art scene is represented by the renowned Mint Museum and the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art at the Levine Center for the Arts.

Even kids that do not like museums will love playing and exploring at the Discovery Place that focuses on the natural history as well as at ImaginOn, a kids’ library and theater where they are encouraged to express themselves. UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens is a beautiful place to spend some quiet time surrounded by magnificent collections of native plants and trees and their cousins from exotic places around the world.

Places to visit in North Carolina: Wilmington, NC

Get the feel of real Wilmington by starting your visit at the beautiful Riverwalk, an always busy boardwalk that meanders along the banks of the Cape Fear River. As you stroll, observe some of the city’s most important landmarks such as the USS North Carolina, the historic 1914 Murchison Building and the Cotton Exchange. You can explore Wilmington’s large Historic District the old-fashioned way in a horse and carriage, or in a more traditional way from a riverboat or by hopping on a trolley car.

One of the most beautiful downtown attractions is the magnificent antebellum Bellamy Mansion that today serves as a Museum of the city’s elegant past. Enjoy a stroll through the enchanting Airlie Gardens with a huge collection of azaleas and camellias. Soak up the city’s thriving art scene at the Cameron Art Museum and River to Sea Gallery, where local artists showcase their works.

Fun places to visit: Asheville, NC

Nestled in the magnificent Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville has a lot to offer its visitors, both indoors and outdoors. Take a tour of the opulent 1895 Biltmore Estate, a fairy tale castle owned by the Vanderbilt family. For more history, visit the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, the home of American writer Thomas Wolfe.

Visit the collection of Appalachian Craft at the Folk Art Center, with pieces from more than 1,000 local artists and craftsmen. Take a hike through the sprawling North Carolina Arboretum at the Pisgah National Forest to learn more about the native flora. Let the kids meet some local animals such as black bears and wolfs at the Western North Carolina Nature Center.

North Carolina destinations: Durham, North Carolina

Why is there a huge sculpture of a snorting bull in downtown Durham and why do locals call it the Bull City? Like so many university towns, Durham is under the spell and charm of the world-class Duke University, its lively students and their popular baseball team Durham Bulls. While in town, try to catch a game at Durham Bulls Athletic Park where you can see ‘The Blue Monster’ wall. There is so much history in Durham, and the best way to get a feel for it is by strolling through the West Point Park on the Eno River.

While there, you can visit the West Point Mill, a replica of a mill from colonial times, the McCown-Mangum farmhouse built in 1850s and the former tobacco pack house that now houses Hugh Mangum Museum of Photography. There is always something going on at the Durham Performing Arts Center and the kids will be thrilled to see 90 of the cutest rescued primates at the Duke Lemur Center. If art is what you’re looking for, be sure to check out the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University with its large collection of pre-Columbian art.

Places to visit in North Carolina: Chapel Hill, NC

Chapel Hill is a charming Southern city that was built around the University of North Carolina, the oldest public university in the country, established in 1795.

Today, Chapel Hill has a thriving art scene you can check out at the Ackland Art Museum, with its 17,000 art pieces from all continents. Kids will enjoy exploring The Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, and Kidzu Children's Museum, where they can climb the large climbing wall, a crow’s nest and a tree house, and learn about nutrition while having fun. Don’t miss the haunted Gimghoul Castle, surrounded with mystery and fairy tales. Out of the many beautiful Chapel Hill green spaces, you will probably enjoy most the stroll under the tunnel of trees at the Coker Arboretum, established in 1905.

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Places to go in North Carolina: Raleigh, NC

You will understand why Raleigh is called ‘the city of oaks’ as you stroll through the beautiful oak tree-lined streets and many lush parks. Modern and vibrant, Raleigh has a long and colorful history and the best place to learn about it is the North Carolina Museum of History that covers 14,000 years of human settlement in the area.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences completes the picture with stories of other species that lived in the area such as whale skeletons, dinosaurs and live animals. When you get tired of museums, take a walk through the colorful, fragrant JC Raulston Arboretum, managed by the NC State University, or pick up some fresh fruits at the huge Raleigh Farmers Market. Kids will be thrilled with the Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course. Located in the Blue Jay Point Country Park, the course includes five zip lines, rope ladders, a Log Swing, Tarzan swings and other adrenaline-pumping activities high up in the treetops. If you are looking for great North Carolina vacation spots, don't miss a trip to Raleigh.

Greensboro, NC

Greensboro was built around a central courthouse square. To start your exploration of this historic North Carolina city, go to the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park. Learn more about the city’s history and heritage at the beautiful Greensboro Historical Museum. The Weatherspoon Art Museum has more than 60,000 pieces of art, focusing mostly on American artists. The Greensboro Children’s Museum is a very different kind of museum. Children can touch, feel, smell and explore everything that is displayed. Keep kids happy by visiting the Greensboro Science Center, which has not only a museum but a zoo and an aquarium.

Take in some fresh air at the Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden, where nature’s art competes with magnificent bronze sculptures. The Greensboro Arboretum, with its profusion of blooms and more formal Gateway Gardens, is also a must see.

Winston-Salem

You can feel the history in Winston-Salem wherever you go. Take a stroll through the Old Salem Museums & Gardens in the city’s historic district or walk through the Bethabara Park, a restored 250-year old Moravian settlers’ religious village. The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts will give you a sense of the city’s art scene. You will make kids happy with a visit to the downtown Black Mountain Chocolate Factory.

They can do some drawing and painting in the fun, interactive Children's Museum of Winston-Salem, or see the fun side of science at the SciWorks facility. Both kids and kids-at-heart will enjoy checking out old race cars at the Winston Cup Museum & Special Event Center.

Driving Distances from Charlotte

From Charlotte, NC To В В В В Driving Time
Waynesville, NC2 hours and 30 minutes
Asheville, IL2 hours
Santeetlah Lake3 hours and 40 minutes
Cashiers, N.C. 2 hours
Mills River, North Carolina2 hours
Greensboro1 hour and 30 minutes
Ocracoke, NC8 hours
Blowing Rock, North Carolina1 hour 50 minutes
Highlands, NC3 hours and 20 minutes
Wilmington3 hours 25 minutes
Chimney Rock, NC2 hours
Bryson City, NC3 hours
Nags Head, NC5 hours 35 min
Glen Alpine, NC1 hour 20 min
Winston-Salem, NC1 hour 15 min
Brevard NC2 hours 15 min
Chapel Hill NC2 hours 15 minutes

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