With nearly 4000 votes cast for readers’ favorites from 2011, the results are in! Thanks to all who voted. Each of these winners garnered the most votes in its respective category. Enjoy this compilation of the Best of 2011. We look forward to bringing you more of the most interesting people, places, and stories in North Carolina in 2012.

Tell us what you think about the Best of 2011 in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

2011 Cover of the Year

Our August issue was devoted to “Our Southern Summer” and it doesn’t get much more Southern than lightening bugs in a jar. With stories about Spanish moss, trains, tomato sandwiches, hammocks, and moonshine, the issue – and the cover image chosen to represent it – paid homage to the things we love most about the South in the summertime.

Photo Essay

March: Historic Cemeteries of Eastern North Carolina

More than books, more than oral history, cemeteries provide an actual place for the past. In the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, grave markers symbolize the lives of some of our earliest settlers. And the designs and sizes of those markers can offer glimpses into a person’s religious beliefs, economic status, or family history. They are logs of time, and they are pieces of art. Four cemeteries in Tarboro, Beaufort, Bath, and Wilmington have arranged them all in plots of spacious land filled with plants and trees, giving the art a canvas and the stones a setting and past a place. Photography by Geoff Wood. Written by Michael Graff.


Mountain Dancer by Leigh Ann Henion

When he was a boy growing up in Sugar Grove, Robert Dotson took up flatfooting. Now 88, he still lives in the same High Country community, and he’s the master of an art form that requires his feet stay close to the ground. Read the full story. Meet Robert Dotson and see him perform in this exclusive video.


Vidalia Onion Casserole

For Edith Lee Casey, writing down her recipes unleashed a flood of memories, which became the heart of a family cookbook. This simple recipe for Vidalia Onion Casserole comes from Casey’s book, Memories of Food, People, & Places.


Tellin’ Stories with Clyde Edgerton

With the release of his 10th novel, Night Train, Wilmington writer Clyde Edgerton shows us that everything in life has rhythm. Enjoy scenes from Edgerton’s performance and reading at Southeastern Community College in Whiteville, N.C. Read more about Edgerton and his new novel here.

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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.