Arts & Culture

Our 10 Favorite Stories

In celebration of our 80th anniversary, we list our favorite ten stories that you shouldn't miss.

favorite stories web image

Our State features the best writers in North Carolina. So choosing just ten stories to list as our favorites was a difficult task.

The stories below are listed in no particular order, and is not a ranking. Do you have a favorite story we didn’t mention? Tell us in the comment section below.

Mountain Dancer by Leigh Ann Henion

September 2011
When he was a boy growing up in Sugar Grove, Robert Dotson took up flatfooting. Now 88, he still lives in the same High Country community, and he’s the master of an art form that requires his feet stay close to the ground. Read the full story. Meet Robert Dotson and see him perform in this exclusive video.

Doc by Philip Gerard

July 2012
Arthel Lane "Doc" Watson
As an infant growing up in Watauga County, Arthel Lane Watson lost his sight. As a teenager, he picked up a guitar and created a sound. Now, that sound and that guitar and that blind man are forever linked in one name that will live as long as music is played: Doc. Read the full story. Watch writer Philip Gerard play his favorite Doc Watson tune.

Hazel by Michael Graff

August 2012
On October 15, 1954, a terrible storm makes for a terrible day for the entire country. One county in rural southeastern North Carolina takes the most direct hit, with lives and communities shattered under the storm clouds. Read the full story.

Music for All: The Can Joe Man by Carole Moore

March 2004
CanJoe Man
Herschel Brown constructs buildings and delivers quality — and now he also builds one-string instruments and delivers happiness. Read the full story.

Renaissance Man by Scott Smith

January 1997
Renaissance Man
It would have been easy for Billy Arthur to look around and see the differences between himself and others when he was growing up in Charlotte. Upon seeing that his friends were growing taller and that he would be left topping the measuring stick at 39 1/2 inches, it would have been so easy for this unlikely source of inspiration to perhaps settle for a little less in life. Read the full story.

Christmas Eve 2012 with the Funeral Militia in Listre, North Carolina by Clyde Edgerton

December 2012
Funeral Militia
An original fiction story by Clyde Edgerton for Our State‘s December 2012 issue. Read the full story.

Crab Pot Creation by Bill Morris

December 2004
Crab Pot Creation
With a name like Nick, this Down East businessman may have been destined to invent a new kind of Christmas tree. Plus when it comes to holiday traditions, the folks of Down East Carteret County take a back seat to no one. Read the full story.

A Carolina Calling by Michael Graff

March 2010
Woody Durham
Every time he straps on a headset, Woody Durham imagines speaking to just one person — you. Read the full story.

To Ride by Michael Parker

March 2012
Let's go for a ride
Never in my house was it, “Let’s go for a ride.” Always — and impromptu, although ever-anticipated on those steamy, buggy late-summer nights or languorous Sunday afternoons of my youth — my father said, when he was ready to ramble about town and through countryside, “Let’s go to ride.” Read the full story.

Pittsboro by Sarah Perry

February 2013
Pittsboro Plenty
In a town where everyone seems to have big ideas, the success of a local currency shows the value in working together to make them happen. Read the full story.

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6 Responses to Our 10 Favorite Stories

  1. Betty Jo Wilkins says:

    I have just gotten a Christmas Letter from a DEAR friend from Texas. She was raised in Harnett Co. in NC. She did not write the usual Christmas Letter but a tribute to an uncle who she worked with as a child and admired greatly.I think all the men and women who ever worked in tobacco and the farms of N.C. would appreciate the great memories she shares with this letter.I would like to share this with you if you are interested.

  2. nancy says:

    what about the Carl Goerch zipper in the theater story. It helped the State to laugh for years.

  3. Don Good says:

    I can’t argue about the 10 you selected; but like others, I can think of so many more. Heck, I’d nominate the entire July 2012 issue. In addition to Doc, there are stories about Andy Griffith, James Taylor, Billy Graham, Richard Petty, ACC Basketball, and more. My framed 100 NC Icons poster from it hangs in my Beech Mountain vacation condo. While I save every issue, that one is kept in a protective folder. I knew it was special as soon as I picked it up. Sometimes you really can judge a book by its cover.

    A (usually) displaced Tar Heel in Tennessee,
    Don Good

  4. Vickie Crane says:

    Congratulations to Michael Parker for having “To Ride” selected in the Top 10 Favorite Stories!
    Thank you for bringing my childhood to life and highlighting Sampson County.

  5. Jeff Yeattes says:

    You need to include Bob Garner’s Top Ten BBQ restaurants article from 2012!

  6. Jan Richendollar says:

    I love the “Sunday Ride” article, but my very favorite was the “Calabash” feature! I am transplanted in Ohio but my roots are still in NC! Calabash is a favorite summer destination! Love my magazine! See you in Knighdale in June for the Hatcher Family Reunion.

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