photographs by Matt Ray Photography, Andrew Kornylak

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Season 3, Episode 1: Symbolism

In 2001, some state lawmakers were engaged in a less-than-sweet debate: Which berry should be named the official berry of North Carolina? We tracked down the teacher and fourth-graders who started it all with a class project and got a lot more than they bargained for. Plus, meet the former state senator who voted against every new state symbol. His reasoning says a lot about the things we pick to represent us.

 
 

A Preview of Away Message: Season 3

In the new season of Our State magazine’s podcast, host Jeremy Markovich travels across North Carolina in search of the strange, the weird, the unknown, and the forgotten. Highlights include a strange political fight, the effort to find a mythical creature, the story of the woman whose artwork may be in your pocket right now, a rescue in this state’s most rugged place, and the backstory you never knew about the man who ended the biggest manhunt in North Carolina history.

 
 

Season 2, Bonus: Deck Your Halls With Rauch Balls

In this special holiday episode, host Jeremy Markovich meets the man from Gastonia who became the world’s largest manufacturer of Christmas ornaments, and used his power to make North Carolina more tolerant of all religions.

 

Season 2, Episode 9: Florence

One month after Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina, we bring you three stories of strength, resilience, and perseverance in the face of the storm.

 

Season 2, Episode 8: 32 Miles Off The Coast

In the finale of Season 2, host Jeremy Markovich takes a trip to a remote place he’s been trying to visit for years: Frying Pan Tower, a decommissioned Coast Guard light station that sits far out in the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Season 2, Episode 7: Stealing Bill

North Carolina’s priceless copy of the Bill of Rights is hidden away in a secure underground vault, and for good reason: It was once stolen, hidden away for more than 100 years, then recovered in a spectacular FBI raid. In this extended episode, host Jeremy Markovich gets the inside story of how it all went down, directly from the people who were there.

 

Season 2, Episode 6: The Round Of Golf That Changed A City

In 1955, a dentist and five of his friends played a round of golf. They were black. The course was white-only. What happened next changed the course of one man’s life, and in turn, helped integrate an entire town.

 

Season 2, Episode 5: The Nuke They Left Behind

In 1961, a U.S. Air Force bomber crashed near Goldsboro, North Carolina, and the two thermonuclear bombs on board fell to the ground. Host Jeremy Markovich talks with the man who was sent to make sure those bombs didn’t explode, and finds out why the Air Force left a crucial part of the weapon behind, somewhere below the surface.

 

Season 2, Bonus: The Bridge To Nowhere

In this bonus episode, host Jeremy Markovich visits a majestic bridge that, for years, was never connected to any road, and finds out why its construction almost led to riots.

 

Season 2, Episode 4: How To Get Away With Murder (In 1892)

What would happen if you stood in one state, then shot and killed someone in another? That scenario actually took place along the Tennessee-North Carolina border more than 100 years ago, and the murderer got away with it. But what’s the real story? Host Jeremy Markovich spent months criss-crossing North Carolina to find answers that even the killer’s family didn’t know.

 

Season 2, Episode 3: The Riches Underneath Charlotte

In this supersized episode, host Jeremy Markovich goes looking for Charlotte’s original gold mines, and then gets inside a vault that’s full of billions of dollars to understand how North Carolina’s biggest city ended up being the place where the state stores its money.

 

Season 2, Episode 2: The Unsinkable Floating Homes of Fontana

On Fontana Lake, in far western North Carolina, sit hundreds of floating cabins, meant for fishing and weekend getaways. But when the homes were threatened with removal, the owners banded together and took their fight to Washington, D.C., where they found themselves in the middle of a debate over what private citizens can do on public property.

 

Season 2, Episode 1: The Dream Returns

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King once gave a speech in Rocky Mount, North Carolina that energized the city and changed the lives of the people in attendance. Now, after more than 50 years, a forgotten recording of that speech has resurfaced, and the discovery is providing new insight into how one of the most important men in American history came up with his most iconic phrase. In this episode, we listen to the speech with some of the people who were there, and find out how such an important artifact was lost … and found.

 

A Preview of Away Message: Season 2

In the next season of Away Message, we’re heading out on a scavenger hunt of sorts. We’re looking for hard to find places, lost artifacts, secrets, missing people, and forgotten stories.

 

Season 1, Bonus: The Voyager Who Didn’t Call Back

In this bonus episode, host Jeremy Markovich finally hears back from a guy who never returned his call, and gets the greatest excuse he’s ever heard. Plus, we find out what the future holds for this podcast.

 

Season 1, Episode 8: Short Trip, Long Walk

In the final episode of the season, host Jeremy Markovich tries to figure out whether his own home is a remote place by walking 14 miles from his house to his office. Along the way, he discovers the people and places that are overlooked from his car.

 

Season 1, Episode 7: Blurred Lines

In this episode, host Jeremy Markovich visits the small brass disc at the western edge of the state that’s become a strange tourist attraction, and finds out how remote terrain caused all sorts of problems for the people who drew North Carolina’s borders.

 

Season 1, Episode 6: Remote or Knott

Host Jeremy Markovich travels to Knotts Island, North Carolina — a unique place with colorful characters — where nobody can seem to agree about whether it’s a remote place, or not.

 

Season 1, Bonus: Total Eclipse of the Tar

We talk about what we’re left with after a brief, maybe once-in-a-lifetime event in North Carolina: A total solar eclipse. Plus, we gathered up the best reactions to the event.

 

Season 1, Episode 5: What Was Once Lost

A trip to a cemetery that’s only reachable by boat reveals a story about progress, a national park, promises made, and promises broken. Along the way, we meet the woman who kept hope alive, and kept a sacred spot from being forgotten.

 

Season 1, Episode 4: Dismally Yours

A trip into the Great Dismal Swamp reveals a lot of biting bugs, black water you can drink, and secrets about the runaway slaves who once called this remote place home.

 

Season 1, Bonus: Out on the Outer Banks

The weather’s perfect, but a power outage has driven all of the visitors and vacationers off of the southern Outer Banks of North Carolina. This week, people on Ocracoke Island talk about what happens when their tourist destination suddenly becomes off-limits to nearly everybody.

 

Season 1, Episode 3: As High As You Can Get

We go way up above the ground on a television broadcast tower, the tallest structure in North Carolina, to meet the surprisingly down-to-earth man who regularly climbs to the top.

 

Season 1, Episode 2: Wave If You Can See Me

We travel to a remote place, only a quarter-mile off of the North Carolina coast, that kept a Civil War shipwreck hidden for a century.

 

Season 1, Episode 1: The Most Remote

Host Jeremy Markovich sets his sights on Western North Carolina in search of the state’s most remote spot.

 

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Markovich is a senior editor/writer at Our State, and a former special content producer for NBC Charlotte. He has won two 2011 regional Emmy Awards and regional Edward R. Murrow awards along with the 2011 Green Eyeshade award for Magazine Feature Writing, the 2010 National City and Regional Magazine Award for Personality Profile, the 2010 Clarion Award for a Magazine Feature Article, and the 2010 Green Eyeshade Award’s Best-In-Show for Non Daily Print Journalism.

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