Monthly Extras – 2022
















Video: NC Icons: Tryon Palace

During Christmastime in New Bern, 18th-century holiday traditions come to life at North Carolina’s first State Capitol.


A Guide to Downtown Asheboro

Around Christmastime, a nostalgic sense of anticipation and fellowship brings together this Randolph County community.

An Our State Playlist: A Carolina Christmas

Deck the halls and hit play on our curated Spotify playlist, which features a merry selection of classic and original holiday tunes by North Carolina artists.

A Christmas Cookie A Day Newsletter

Want to wake up to a sweet surprise every morning this holiday season? Sign up for our free Christmas cookie email newsletter!


Our State Knows Best: Tracing Your Family Tree

Find out what three North Carolina genealogists have to say about the best strategies for discovering your family history, some of the most interesting stories they’ve encountered — and the pitfalls of researching the past.






Video: NC Icons: A Pirate’s Life

Take to the high seas — er, Taylor’s Creek in Beaufort, that is — to learn more about North Carolina’s infamous pirates.


A Guide to Downtown Fayetteville

As home to one of the world’s largest military installations, this city has a wide array of shops to browse and cuisines to enjoy thanks to passionate locals from diverse backgrounds.

Our State Knows Best: Persimmons

We talked to three experts about growing our first-frost fruit, how to enjoy the pulp at peak ripeness, and their favorite way to eat them.

A Christmas Cookie A Day Newsletter

Want to wake up to a sweet surprise every morning this holiday season? Sign up for our free Christmas cookie email newsletter!

An Our State Playlist: Cornbread & Butterbeans — A Culinary Collection

You might work up an appetite when you listen to our curated Spotify playlist featuring 20 songs by North Carolina artists about some of our favorite Southern foods.

Bonus Recipe: Penne with Corn & Basil Cream Sauce

Corn adds fresh flavor to this rich pasta dish.

23 Holiday Sides That’ll Steal the Show

When it comes to planning a Thanksgiving spread, we’d never suggest forgoing a family favorite — but there’s always room on the table to try something new.

16 Desserts to Celebrate Fall

An irresistible selection of apple, pumpkin, and chocolate recipes to welcome the season.

10 Pecan Recipes Perfect for Fall

From cakes and pies to salads and party mixes, fall means sweet and savory dishes full of satisfying crunch.

14 Pie Recipes for Your Thanksgiving Dessert Table

Give thanks for pie! Creamy chocolate walnut; sweet potato covered in a buttery, crunchy topping; classic, custardy pumpkin — these favorites are fit for a feast.





Video: NC Icons: Mountain Primer

Find out what makes our ancient Appalachian Mountains so magnificent in this primer on our peaks.


A Guide to Downtown Franklin

This small town is a destination for gem enthusiasts, history buffs, and Appalachian Trail thru-hikers, which gives residents plenty of chances to share their beloved mountain home.

Our State Knows Best: Leaf Peeping

We talked to three biologists about how and when to plan a trip to see peak fall color in North Carolina, their favorite hikes and overlooks, and why our mountains are one of the best places in the country to see stunning autumn leaves.

The Leaf Peeper’s Guide to the North Carolina Mountains

Western North Carolina is at its most stunning when autumn arrives and the leaves burst into color. Before you head out leaf peeping this fall, check in weekly to see what colors our experts are seeing at 25 of our favorite mountain spots.

An Our State Playlist: Mountain Music

Our curated Spotify playlist features a selection of Appalachian folk music and bluegrass — the perfect soundtrack for a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, from Sparta to Cherokee.

8 Stops On the Surry Sonker Trail

This one-of-a-kind dessert that defies definition is the signature dish of Surry County — and each stop on the Sonker Trail is part of a delicious history.





Video: NC Icons: The Wild Horses of Shackleford Banks

Sturdy through storms and sun, North Carolina’s wild horses roam on.


The Our State Great Debate: Pulled vs. Chopped Pork

Which style of ’cue do you prefer on a sandwich?

More to Explore: A Guide to Downtown Elizabeth City

This waterfront community has always welcomed visiting boaters with a smile. And thanks to the efforts of local business owners, visitors have plenty to smile about, too.

Our State Knows Best: Barbecue

Find out what three pitmasters have to say about cooking low and slow, their best tips for backyard beginners; and the cardinal rule of smoking ’cue: patience.

A Q&A with Our Ramblin’ Man

Each month, T. Edward Nickens roams and writes on the Carolina countryside. We sat down with the longtime Our State contributor to discuss his favorite outdoor spot in the state, the inspiration behind his columns, and his most treasured story.

Everything but the Pig: 15 Southern Sides

A pig pickin’ must have barbecue; that’s a given. But what’s a cookout without a spectacular spread? Classic sides — from baked mac ’n’ cheese and corn pudding to pig pickin’ cake — take ’cue to the next level.

An Our State Playlist: Charlotte’s Musical Roots & Branches

Explore the Queen City’s musical influence and history with our curated Spotify playlist.

Bonus Recipe: Apricot Nut Bread

This sweet loaf makes for the perfect breakfast slice.





Video: NC Icons: The Fried Bologna Sandwich

Like the old-school, paper bag special, a fried bologna sandwich is a nostalgic Southern staple.


More to Explore: A Guide to Downtown Kannapolis

A town that once relied on the nearby textile mill to thrive now stands on its own thanks to a downtown revitalization project and enterprising local entrepreneurs.

Our State Knows Best: Baking Bread

Find out what three experts have to say about the science — and magic — of bread, the cooking skills that all home bakers should master, and how to make an artisan loaf in your own kitchen.

An Our State Playlist: Carolina Country

Trace the roots of country music in the Old North State with our curated Spotify playlist featuring 30 songs by North Carolina musicians.

10 Delicious Sandwich Shops in North Carolina

From Southern favorites like chicken salad and pimento cheese to deli classics like Reubens and Italian subs, sandwich shops across the state satisfy our cravings. Discover 10 we love.

10 Super Sandwich Recipes

From a towering turkey club to grilled pimento cheese, find some delicious inspiration for your next hand-held lunch.





Video: NC Icons: The Tractor Factor

North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler has a deep appreciation for the machine that changed the landscape of our state.


More to Explore: A Guide to Downtown Hendersonville

This western North Carolina city offers fine dining, shops, and galleries — plus a vibrant history — in a cozy mountain setting.

Bonus Recipe: Sweet & Sour Margaritas

Combine sugar and citrus for a refreshing, porch-perfect cocktail.

An Our State Playlist: 10 Summer Cookout Songs

Get a summer soirée started with our curated Spotify playlist featuring songs by North Carolina musicians.


Our State Knows Best: Figs

We talked to three North Carolina experts about the fleeting fruit’s celebrated history and heritage on Ocracoke Island, how to grow your own across the state, and their favorite way to eat them — from cake to biscuits.





Video: NC Icons: The Carolina Shad Boat

This graceful, traditional fishing vessel — our state historic boat — was was ideal for maneuvering in shallow water, but its history runs deep.

The Our State Great Debate: Fudge vs. Saltwater Taffy

When you’re on vacation at the Carolina coast, which beach town treat do you prefer: fresh, creamy fudge or sticky-sweet squares of saltwater taffy?

More to Explore: A Guide to Downtown Morehead City

A local historian has made it his life’s work to learn as much as he can about his hometown — a hub for sport and commercial fishing.

Video: One with the Water on Lake Waccamaw

Feel the waves beneath you and the wind in your hair as writer — and Camp Seafarer alumna — Susan Stafford Kelly sets sail.

An Our State Playlist: Carolina Beach Music

Whether you’re shagging, sailing, fishing, or simply relaxing in the shade of an umbrella, let our curated Spotify playlist be the soundtrack of your vacation.

23 Breathtaking Views on the Carolina Coast

At the top of the loftiest lighthouse, on sugar-sand beaches, beneath ancient live oaks twisting their knobby arms toward the sun, and from coastal cottages perched in the dunes, the North Carolina coast offers endless beauty on the edge of the earth.

Our State Knows Best: Beachcombing

Find out what three experts have to say about scouring North Carolina’s beaches for treasures from the sea, and where — and when — to find amazing shells on our shores.

7 Delicious Squash & Zucchini Recipes

From iced zucchini bars to crispy summer squash fritters, make the most of your garden bounty with these seven recipes.





Video: NC Icons: The Crystal Coast Shrimpburger

Fried shrimp, tartar sauce, slaw, and ketchup on a steamed bun — the shrimpburger is an icon of the Crystal Coast.


The Our State Great Debate: Smashburger vs. Thick burger

A perfectly crispy, flat-top-style smashburger, or a juicy, grilled thick burger piled high with toppings?

More to Explore: A Guide to Downtown Bryson City

In this small town, it’s easy to love where you live. Outdoor adventures, tasty dishes, and colorful shops — all aboard to Swain County!

8 Landmark Spots Serving Up Classic Burgers

For 40 years or more, these restaurants have been fulfilling our burger cravings with smashburgers and thick burgers alike. Take a tasty trip through time with us, won’t you?

Our State Knows Best: Homebrewing

Find out what two experts have to say about the art of making beer, the ingredients needed for a perfect batch, and how to become a homebrewing master.

Video: A Raleigh Neon Studio Perfects the Art of Light

Making neon signs is part art, part science. Since 1986, Nate Shaeffer has been bending glass to bring its special light to life.

An Our State Playlist: Essential Travel Tunes for a North Carolina Road Trip

The next time you take a road trip, roll down your windows and turn up the volume on Our State’s curated Spotify playlist featuring 45 songs by North Carolina artists.

May Music Festivals

As the weather warms up, check out these music festivals across the state.





Video: Painting Our State Parks

In 2020, Greensboro artist Katie Podracky and her family decided to visit every state park in North Carolina. Then she added another challenge: a painting per park.


An Our State Playlist: That Ole Time Religion

This spring, we’ve curated a roof-raising, harmony-laden Spotify playlist featuring 20 great gospel songs by North Carolina artists.

Bonus Recipe: Breakfast Burritos with Spicy Avocado Salsa

We’ve rolled all of the classic breakfast ingredients, plus a spicy avocado salsa, into one packed burrito.

9 Spots for Delicious Bites After a State Park Adventure

After a day of hiking, walking, climbing, or kayaking, nothing is better than enjoying some tasty brews and bites.

More to Explore: A Guide to Downtown Goldsboro

Inspired by her family’s deep Wayne County roots, a business owner showcases her hometown’s multicultural cuisine, rich history, and vibrant arts scene.

7 Pick-Your-Own Flower Farms in North Carolina

Whether you want a simple bouquet for the kitchen table or stunning flowers for a special occasion, fill your bucket with fresh blooms at pick-your-own farms across the state.

Our State Knows Best: Hiking

Find out what three hiking experts have to say about hitting the trail, the gear they’d never leave behind, and North Carolina’s must-do mountain treks with stunning views.

A Timeline of North Carolina’s State Parks

Find out how the purchase of a single plot of land on Mount Mitchell in 1915 turned into a thriving state park system that provides North Carolinians with the opportunity to explore the outdoors in all its natural beauty.





Our State Knows Best: Vegetable Gardening

Ready to hone your green thumb? Find out what three experts have to say about growing your own veggies in North Carolina, the common gardening mistakes you should avoid, and the best places to plant.


An Our State Playlist: Voices of North Carolina Women

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’ve curated a Spotify playlist featuring tunes by iconic North Carolina-born female musicians.

Bonus Recipe: Grits & Greens

For a double dose of Southern flavor, add cooked greens to a bowl of local stone-ground grits.

21 Portable Recipes for Your Picnic Basket

Prepare these dishes at home, pack ’em up, then spread out a blanket for a perfect picnic.


More to Explore: A Guide to Downtown Durham

Residents of this resilient city have embraced the nickname “Dirty Durham” as a symbol of the grit and determination of its shop owners, restaurateurs, and community advocates.






Our State Knows Best: Cocktail Mixology

Find out what three experts have to say about stocking a home bar, the cocktails every beginner should master, and the locally made spirits they always keep on hand.


An Our State Playlist: Black History in North Carolina

To celebrate Black History Month, take a journey into the history of African American music in North Carolina with our curated Spotify playlist.

A Q&A with Our State’s Resident Playlist Maker: Mark Kemp

Each month, our senior editor, a former music editor of Rolling Stone, curates one-of-a-kind Spotify playlists featuring North Carolina songs and musicians. We sat down with him to find out more about his love of music.

More to Explore: A Guide to Downtown Laurinburg

“The Fighting Scots” is more than a high school team name: It’s a rallying cry for longtime residents — including one community director — who are building up their downtown for generations to come.

11 Decadent Chocolate Desserts

Surprise your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day with a heartfelt, homemade dessert.

Video: Made in NC: Filled With Love

At a homey specialty pasta shop in Durham, the South meets Southern Italy in a pimento cheese ravioli that would make any grandma proud.

Video: Made in NC: Fancy & Functional

Her porcelain pieces may look like works of art, but Julie Wiggins’s teapots are ready for any occasion.

Video: Made in NC: Bravo, Wilkes County!

The winemaking traditions of a family-owned vineyard in northwestern North Carolina stretch back to New York City in the early 20th century and, before that, to the fertile hills of Italy.

Video: Made in NC: Where There’s Smoke

Early on, a woodworker in Rowan County learned to infuse his projects with a blend of art, science, and ingenuity. Then, a chance request sparked the idea to add smoke and spirits to the mix.

Video: Made in NC: From Scraps to Fashion

A Lee County couple has turned a love of bags and a talent for upcycling old military gear into a career.





Our State Knows Best: Skiing

Find out what three experts have to say about falling in love with the slopes, taking lessons, essential gear, and what makes North Carolina ski resorts so special.


An Our State Playlist: The North Carolina Music Primer

Our curated Spotify playlist features a selection of 10 songs about North Carolina that every North Carolinian should know.

Video: The Snowmakers of Sugar Mountain Ski Resort

These four colorful meals let mushrooms, cheese, and vegetables take center stage — no meat necessary.

More to Explore: A Guide to Downtown Hickory

The heart of this city flourishes as a hub of art, food, and entertainment with the help of an impassioned community advocate.

Bonus Recipe: Sweet Potato & Red Bean Tacos

Pair our state vegetable — the sweet potato! — with red beans and avocado for flavorful tacos.

Video: Snow Cream Dreams

In a quest for the perfect bowl of snow cream, the sweetest spoonfuls are always found in the past, mixed together with memories of snow day fun.



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