Downtown: Statesville

Horse-drawn carriages, carolers on the sidewalks, storefronts aglow with Christmas lights: In December, downtown Statesville is full of comfort and joy. Even after the season ends, the magic lingers.

Downtown: Wilkesboro

When a couple from out of state ventured off the highway in search of a peaceful place to stop, they discovered musicians and makers, outdoor adventures, farm-to-table fare, and friendly neighbors.

Downtown: Edenton

Climb aboard: A trolley offers a unique vantage point from which to explore this waterfront town. But as a seasoned tour guide can attest, a great ride is about much more than names and dates — it’s about making connections.