USA - North Carolina

Known as the "Tar Heel State" and "Old North State", North Carolina is nestled between Virginia and South Carolina.



Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina. A good place to start is the North Carolina Museum of History to discover the state's past, dominated by tobacco and pirates.

Tobacco. For the past century, tobacco was North Carolina's key product. Throughout the US, smoking began to replace chewing as the preferred means of consuming tobacco, and cigars and cigarettes came to be seen as stylish accessories. Manufacturers based in North Carolina used to produce millions of pre-rolled cigarettes, each of them rolled by hand. The shot in the arm came in 1884, when James Bonsack created a machine that mechanised the rolling, hence introducing mass-production techniques in cigarette manufacturing. Farming and industry in the state were built around tobacco, and two of the four largest cities developed as company towns for the world's largest tobacco companies.

Pirates. With its shallow inlets, North Carolina's shoreline became a haven for many pirates during the 17th and 18th centuries. The most legendary one was Blackbeard. Blackbeard earned a reputation as a ruthless pirate. He terrorised sailors and ambushed ships in the dim light of dawn. Often the crew of the ships would surrender without a fight after laying eyes on the pirate. Blackbeard grew a rich, dark beard out so that it covered almost his entire face. He would often tie slow burning matches or hemp to the ends of his beard and under his captain's hat, so that smoke billowed out and around his face, striking terror into the heart of his victims. He added to his alarming appearance by wearing a crimson coat and always carrying two swords on his waist as well as stuffing any other pockets with an array of pistols and knives.
After a few years, Blackbeard was eventually captured and as a warning to other pirates, his head was cut off and suspended from the bow of a ship. Blackbeard's treasure has never been found and to this day, it is claimed that on a clear evening by the seashore you can see the ghost of Blackbeard's body swimming through the water looking for his severed head.

Nowadays, Raleigh is more about food truck rodeos, outdoor concerts series, restaurants and bars. With 3 universities around Raleigh, there's a pretty good student scene. Every once in a while they designate a weekend day where over 100 food trucks come downtown and they close down the streets.



Durham is a city not far from Raleigh. The tobacco industry is part of Durham's identity and you can see all the old tobacco red brick buildings downtown, nestled amongst the numerous local breweries and distilleries. It's home to the Durham Bulls, a minor league baseball team. Baseball is not the most exciting sport to watch, I highly recommend drinking a strong espresso beforehand.


High Point

While many towns usually feature statues of local heroes or conventional tourist attractions, some have gone out of their way to create something eccentric to lure visitors. High Point is a small town who did just that, it's home to a 11.5 meters tall chest of drawers with two large socks hanging out {the largest set of drawers in the world}.


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