August 2013

August 2013 228x300 What Makes Us Southern: Kudzu, Swamps, Cheerwine, Screen Doors, Tobacco Barns and Grits. Plus: Currituck County, A Photo Essay.

Available on newsstands July 30, 2013!


  • Summer Reading List: Sign up today to receive summer reading suggestions from Our State, as recommended by several of North Carolina’s independent bookstores! Presented exclusively by Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.
documentary film contest

It’s time to pull our your camera and show us why you love North Carolina. It’s Our State‘s first-ever documentary film contest.

  • Documentary Film Contest: From the mountains to the coast, there are plenty of reasons to love North Carolina. So grab your camera and show us why you love North Carolina in our first-ever documentary film contest.
  • Travel Guide: Five Favorite Appalachian Trail Hikes in North Carolina: Outdoor enthusiast John Pugh hiked the entire Appalachian Trail a few years back. For those of us who can’t make the full journey, he shares his five favorite section hikes along the trail in N.C.
  • Cheerwine Cherry Cobbler: Our State Eats blogger Steve Gordon adds a new dish into the Cheerwine-as-ingredient canon. See his step-by-step recipe for this delicious dessert.
  • Shrimp and Grits in North Carolina: Where to find five distinct versions of shrimp and grits in North Carolina.
  • A Guide To Grits Grammar: Not familiar with this favorite Southern starch? See an illustrated guide from writer Emily Wallace.
  • Dismal Swamps Canal: Have you ever floated through our Carolina swamps? Take a trip with Bland Simpson up the Great Dismal Swamp Canal.
  • 36-Hour Guide in Currituck County: This northeastern county boasts some amazing places worth visiting. From great barbecue to bird watching, you’ll find plenty to enjoy in this coastal community. See our travel guide and more only on the TRAVEL NORTH CAROLINA app.
  • Sweepstakes & Giveaways: Click for a listing of current sweepstakes.


Currituck County by Emily Chaplin

It’s bordered by three bodies of water – Albemarle Sound, Currituck Sound, and the Atlantic Ocean. All that water (183 square miles) and all that land (261 square miles) create a marshland paradise for migratory waterfowl. And all those birds create a hunting paradise for migratory sportsmen.

FEATURES: What Makes Us Southern

Screen Doors by Scott Huler

Photography by Emily Chaplin
Its mission may seem simple – keep out bugs and let in breeze – but on a sultry summer day, a screen door is sublime. Comprising little more than wire mesh, a wooden frame, and a handful of hardware, it creates a barrier and an invitation, and an unmistakable sound that defines summer.

Grits by Emily Wallace

Photography by Matt Hulsman
Some grits recipes are passed down for generations. Other flavorful preparations are created in the kitchens of innovative chefs. Then there are those newfound traditions born from curiosity.

Tobacco Barns by Susan Kelly

Photography by Jay Sinclair
Tobacco barns once numbered a half million and were fixtures on farms across the state. Today, only about 50,000 still stand, vestiges of the tobacco industry, deteriorating reminders of the leaves’ influence on our culture.

Swamps by Bland Simpson

Photography by Ray Matthews
Swamps keep their secret wonders hidden well. Under their murky black water, behind impenetrable tangles of vines, and among towering cypress draped in curtains of Spanish moss, adventure lurks.

Cheerwine by Jimmy Tomlin

Photograph by Joey and Jessica Seawell
Its flavor is sweet, its color red, and its history is inextricably intertwined with our own. At soda fountains and from vending machines, we grew up with it. This is our drink. But we’re happy to share it with the rest of the world.

Kudzu by Lydialyle Gibson

Photography by Rob Hanson
More than a hundred years ago, Japanese arrowroot – a k a kudzu – found a home in porch-side flower beds across the South. No one suspected the lush vine with pretty purple flowers was a monster hell-bent on devouring everything in its path.

The Civil War: Scholar, Warrior by Philip Gerard

One of the state’s foremost scholars finds his purpose is not in books but on the battlefield.
(Volume 3, part eight)

Carolina ‘Cue

Brushy Mountain Smokehouse & Creamery by Fred Sauceman

Photography by Cheryl Zibisky
Smoked barbecue is paired with homemade ice cream at this Wilkes County restaurant.

Rutherfordton by Susan Kelly

Photography by Steven McBride
Anyone who ever lived in – and left – a small town knows what it’s like to return. In a step-by-step journey of memory, a writer recaptures her hometown and lets the groundswell of emotion remind her how much she loved it there.



The Scent of the South by Elizabeth Hudson

Photography by Sara Brennan-Harrell

Our State Quiz

Appalachian Trail by Alan Hodge

Photography by Dave Allen
Across peaks and through valleys, this trail guides hikers step by step.

Carolina Culture

Piedmont Pickin’ by Laurie Weaver

Photography by Brent Clark
A group of music lovers preserves and shares the sounds of a region.

Right Side Up by Leah Hughes

Photography by Joshua Curry
A Morehead City business spends nearly a year making each custom-built boat that bears its brand.

Writing to Understand by Katie Saintsing

Photography by Joey and Jessica Seawell
Words serve as a tool for a Charlotte author to make sense of a complicated family relationship.

Inspiration, Everywhere by Alex Dixon

Photography by Douglas Hoover
An Archdale artist finds beauty in everyday life and scenery.

Book Review

Tar Heel Town

Williamston by Bobby Burns

Photography by Brent Clark
Deep family ties, a sense of community, and a strong agricultural history have helped this eastern North Carolina town retain its vibrancy, even amid hard times.

Tar Heel History

Leon’s Legacy by Jeremy Markovich

Photography courtesy of the Leon Levine Foundation
Leon Levine built Family Dollar Stores from a basement bargain shop in Charlotte to a Fortune 500 company with thousands of stores across the nation. Now the man who created an empire is giving it away.

Good Food

Classic Combo by Andrew Kennedy

Photography by Joshua Curry
Hungry? Follow the crowd to this can’t-miss burger joint in Lumberton.

Peaches & Cream – in a Pie by Jeffrey Turner

Photography by Matt Hulsman
A cookbook from Sunset Beach offers ideas for bright summer dishes.


Peach Student by Caroline Leland

Photography by Peter Taylor
In the Sandhills, summertime means peaches, and peaches mean school.

Catch it, Clean it, Cook it by Anna Goodwin McCarthy

Photography by Ray Matthews
At Jeanette’s Pier in Nags Head, a class teaches fishing as a skill, bringing food to the table.

Carolina Gardening

A Life Made by Flowers by Jimmy Tomlin

Photography by Jon Carter
Reggie Walser, Welcome’s best-known florist, has been arranging every kind of bloom since he was 3. And he’s not stopping anytime soon.

Blanketflower by Leslie Ann Blake

Photography by Dan Waters
This coastal plant is legend on one North Carolina island.

Dates and Events

Woodleaf Tomato Festival by Jeffrey Turner

Photography by
Visit Rowan County for a taste of one community’s iconic crop.

5 Things Every North Carolinian Should Do This Month

Wild Wings!, “The Art of the Brick”, “Ribbit the Exhibit”, Blue Ridge Brutal 100 Bike Ride, and the 44th Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival

Tar Heel Image

Day’s End by Dave Randolph of Raleigh
Pier at Fort Fisher

Our State

About Our State

Since 1933, Our State has shared stories about North Carolina with readers both in state and around the world. We celebrate the people and places that make this state great. From the mountains to the coast, we feature North Carolina travel, history, food, and beautiful scenic photography.
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