With every issue of Our State, our intent is to tell good stories that capture the true essence of the people and places that make North Carolina unique. We often hear from you about the stories you enjoy most, the stories that you share, and the stories that make you think just a little differently about the state we call home. Below are some of the most talked about stories of 2013. Which was your favorite?

Click the links below to read each story. Cast your vote at the bottom of the page.

Help us create the Best of Our State 2013! You can also vote for your favorite cover, story, video, recipe, and photo essay of the year. We’ll post the collection of winners to ourstate.com and our Facebook page at the end of December.

Avett-Brothers-Opening-SpreadThe Avett Brothers by Michael Kruse (January)
There were two boys, Scott and Seth Avett, in Concord. And then there were THE AVETT BROTHERS. This is the story of the in-between — how the band that sounds like where it’s from got from here to the world.
Pittsboro-Opening-SpreadPittsboro by Sarah Perry (February)
In a town where everyone seems to have big ideas, the success of a local currency shows the value in working together to make them happen.
Hickory-Opening-SpreadHickory by Brady Dennis (March)
A town defined by what it once made is figuring out what to make of today.
Generator-Society-Opening-SpreadThe Generator Society by Michael Kruse (May)
Nineteen families found a raw barrier island in the 1970s and made it theirs. They took advantage of the hardscrabble, primitive playground that was Bald Head Island and developed a vision for this place that still holds true.
The-Men-Who-Reinvented-Fishing-Opening-SpreadThe Men Who Reinvented Fishing by Michael Graff (May)
Capt. Ernie Foster is likely the last captain in the original family of sport fishing — his father started the first charter boat in North Carolina in 1937. Now this Hatteras captain works to keep the family fleet that fishes for fun in harmony with neighbors who fish for profit.
Rutherfordton-Opening-Spread“It’s Rulfton” by Susan Kelly (August)
Anyone who has ever lived in — and left — a small town knows what it’s like to return. In a step-by-step journey of memory, a writer recaptures her hometown and lets the groundswell of emotion remind her how much she loved it there.
Screen-Doors-Opening-SpreadScreen Doors by Scott Huler (August)
Its mission may seem simple — keep out bugs and let in breeze — but on a sultry summer day, a screen door is sublime. Comprising little more than wire mesh, a wooden frame, and a handful of hardware, it creates a barrier and an invitation, and an unmistakable sound that defines summer.
The-Only-Game-in-Town-Opening-SpreadThe Only Game in Town by Megan Crotty (September)
On fall Friday nights, communities gather under stadium lights to root for our sons and grandsons, and cheer along with our daughters and neighbors. Win or lose, we celebrate the successes of the current generation, and revel in the glory of past gridiron stars.
Dogs-of-War-Opening-SpreadDogs of War by Bryan Mims (November)
After they complete their military service, K9 veterans find respect, admiration, and plenty of snuggle time from adoptive families.
Oh-State-Christmas-Tree-CenteredOh, (State) Christmas Tree by Drew Perry (December)
A Fraser fir, always and only. Folks who’d stoop to taking home something like a Scotch pine? Amateurs.

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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.