To capture the tradition of a joyride in the mountains, we enlisted photographer Emily Chaplin, a Charlotte native with ties to Asheville. Emily spent 10 days in the mountains working solo — no assistant, other than the helpful car owners, who were incredibly generous with their time and prized possessions.

“On a number of occasions, I rode in the passenger side of the car on the way to our shoot location,” Emily says, “and something I found surprising (though I shouldn’t have) and wonderful was how many smiles, thumbs-up, cheers, and waves we received — from pedestrians, other drivers, cyclists.”

For this essay, Emily shot 1,936 pictures and photographed 27 different cars.

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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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