A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

[caption id="attachment_149212" align="alignnone" width="1140"] Photo Credit Enabled[/caption] Krispy Kreme The glowing sign is a siren call, a thoroughly North Carolinian expression of “carpe diem.” The glazed, pillowy-soft doughnuts, invented in

Madison County Championship Rodeo

[caption id="attachment_149212" align="alignnone" width="1140"] Photo Credit Enabled[/caption] Krispy Kreme The glowing sign is a siren call, a thoroughly North Carolinian expression of “carpe diem.” The glazed, pillowy-soft doughnuts, invented in

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

[caption id="attachment_149212" align="alignnone" width="1140"] Photo Credit Enabled[/caption] Krispy Kreme The glowing sign is a siren call, a thoroughly North Carolinian expression of “carpe diem.” The glazed, pillowy-soft doughnuts, invented in

12 Piedmont Traditions

photograph by Stacey Van Berkel

Krispy Kreme

The glowing sign is a siren call, a thoroughly North Carolinian expression of “carpe diem.” The glazed, pillowy-soft doughnuts, invented in Winston-Salem in 1937, used to be our secret … but we can share. Read more.


photograph by Travis Dove

Lexington Barbecue

At this legendary Piedmont joint, the meat is the thing: pulled from slow-roasted pork shoulders and enhanced by a dark, thin sauce — or “dip” — that’s neither too mild nor too fiery. Read more.


photograph by Joey Seawell

Biscuitville

Beloved Greensboro-based Biscuitville — now with 59 locations across the Piedmont — has provided Southern comfort in all its flaky, golden-brown glory since 1975.


Cheerwine

We can’t help but feel a little possessive when it comes to this celebrated soda. The bubbly, burgundy nectar, invented in Salisbury, has been a cherished Tar Heel treasure for more than 100 years. Read more.


Sid Luck is a fifth-generation Seagrove potter who still digs local clay for some of his pieces, and is well-known for his face jugs. photograph by Stacey Van Berkel

Seagrove Pottery

Seagrove is in the geographic center of the state, but for many people, it’s the center of the pottery universe. In an area naturally rich in red clay, potters built this community of studios and shops from the ground up — literally. Read more.


Tobacco

For generations, tobacco cultivated a livelihood for families in both field and factory and built towns — like Durham and Winston-Salem — that put North Carolina on the map. Today, tobacco’s legacy still pervades the state like the leaves’ braided veins. Read more.


Gold

Until 1848, North Carolina led the nation in gold production — and it all started in 1799, when Conrad Reed discovered a 17-pound gold rock in a Cabarrus County creek. These days, signs of our rich past still sparkle throughout the Piedmont. Read more.


The South’s first flannel mill, Revolution Cotton Mills, opened in Greensboro in 1898. It’s now home to apartments, restaurants, and galleries. Photography courtesy of © CAROL W. MARTIN/GREENSBORO HISTORY MUSEUM COLLECTION

Textile Mills

In the early 20th century, textile manufacturing made up the fabric of many Piedmont towns. Throughout the cotton-growing region, mills employed thousands of people and served as the heart of the villages that sprang up around them. By the 1920s, North Carolina was the center of the textile industry, thanks to places like Greensboro — a k a “Jeansboro” — which was once known as “The Denim Capital of the World.” Now, a richly woven history is preserved in red brick. Read more.


An iconic blue-and-white DC-3 prop plane, with which the airline was synonymous, has found a home at the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte. photographs by JACK SOROKIN; COURTESY OF PIEDMONT AVIATION HISTORICAL SOCIETY; JERRY WOLFORD & SCOTT MUTHERSBAUGH

Piedmont Airlines

In 1948, a fledgling airline based in Winston-Salem made its maiden flight, soaring out of Wilmington on a trajectory that would shape the future of aviation across the state. By 1983, Piedmont had become the 10th-largest airline in the United States, and until 1989, when it was acquired by USAir, its success helped fuel the growth of the surrounding region. Read more.


At the edge of Uwharrie National Forest, you’ll find a slice of the savanna. photographs by Patrick Schneider

The North Carolina Zoo

The Piedmont’s largest, furriest — and most popular — residents can be found in Asheboro at the world’s largest natural-habitat zoo. Built at a time when the country was rethinking zoos, it was the first to radically reimagine ideas of habitat and captivity, seeking to provide animals with space to be, well, animals. Take the tram from North America to Africa to discover why the zoo has been North Carolina’s favorite field trip since 1976. Read more.


When it opened in 1948, Occoneechee was a thrilling and dangerous mile-long dirt track. Today, you can take a peaceful walk along the historic speedway’s front stretch. photograph by RACINGONE/ISC ARCHIVES/GETTY IMAGES

Occoneechee Speedway

This historic speedway was born at the same time as NASCAR, lived a short but spectacular life, and then faded away into the woods in Hillsborough. But the forest that hid it for decades has given it new life as a hiking trail that pays tribute to its past. Read more.


Before the first golfer comes strolling up the fairway, early risers can take in the natural beauty of the Sandhills. photographs by Emily Chaplin and Chris Council

Pinehurst

Seasoned golfers know that a visit to Pinehurst isn’t just about tee times at the legendary resort. The surrounding village offers rich history, charming shops, and fine flavors to fill a weekend on — and off — the greens. Read more.


Find this article and more in the 48-page bonus guide to the Piedmont inside the February 2022 issue of Our State. Pick up a copy on newsstands now!

This story was published on Jan 27, 2022

Our State Staff

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.