Category Archives: Tourism in Small Towns

Halloween Ghost Ship in Southport!

ghost ship southportClimb aboard the ghost ship! Little mariners will enjoy spooky tales of lost souls, pirates, and other mysteries along the Lower Cape Fear. Games and activities for goblins and ghouls include pirate bean bag toss, design your own trick-or-treat bag, ghost writing, and shadow drawing
NC Maritime Museum @ Southport 204 E. Moore Street, Southport
Contact: NC Maritime Museum @ Southport
Admission/Fees: Free. Registration Required.
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Beaufort ties with Hammondsport, N.Y. for the #1 spot!

  • This year’s Coolest Small Towns in America contest had a tie for first: Hammondsport, N.Y. (shown above), and Beaufort, N.C. (Arion Doerr)

We logged 368,000 votes in our seventh annual contest to choose the best hometown escapes in America. This year’s twist? A nail-biter of a finish that crashed our website (temporarily, of course!) and resulted in our first-ever tie for first place.

What’s your idea of cool? How about a place where the local dump doubles as an art gallery. Or a town that’s helped spawn a major foodie movement. A Gold Rush outpost with an unsung history of ethnic tolerance would certainly qualify, right?

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NC 4th of July Festival in Southport!

Celebrate the day of our nation’s independence at Southport’s NC 4th of July Festival. Festival events include: parade, naturalization ceremony, over 100 arts & craft booths, food vendors, 5K Freedom Walk/Run, live entertainment, art show, & beach day events on July 1st. The National 9/11 Flag, currently on a journey across America, will be making its only stop in NC in Southport on July 3rd & 4th. It will be featured at the Naturalization Ceremony, Parade and Sea Notes Concert. The public is invited to participate in the flag stitching ceremony on July 4th from 2 to 6 pm at the Southport Baptist Church Christian Ministry Center.

Event: NC 4th of July Festival
Town: Southport
Date(s): 7/1/2011 – 7/4/2011
Time: Event Times Vary
Price Range: Most events are free.
Phone: 910-457-5578 or 800-457-6964
Address: Southport & Oak Island

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North Carolina Watermelon Festival in Murfreesboro!

nc watermelon festivalEnjoy a complimentary slice of the State’s finest melons in Historic Murfreesboro, NC!

This year they are celebrating our 25th anniversary of the Watermelon Festival! Be sure to come out and be a part of the festivities. The Watermelon Festival promotes eating healthy — keeping your heart strong. Check out these watermelon recipes.

Daily events include:
New Home and Garden section
• Largest watermelon contest
• Large antiques/collectibles/crafts fair
• Fantastic variety of food
• Amusements rides
• Street dances each night
• Free watermelon slices
• W atermelon games round out the activities

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nc watermelon festivalMurfreesboro is a historic community, incorporated on January 6, 1787, and located along the banks of the Meherrin River in the Inner Banks of North Carolina – just a few miles from the Virginia state line, about 60 miles south of Norfolk, Virginia, and about 90 miles northeast of Raleigh.  Murfreesboro is in located in Hertford County, NC, which is characterized by historic communities nestled in some of the most unique agricultural areas of North Carolina.


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Spruce Pine reaps tourism gains from Blue Ridge Parkway

250px-Downtown_Spruce_Pine_NCSource: Asheville Citizen-Times

The owners of the Orchard at Altapass took North Carolina to court when the state proposed acquiring 200 acres of the apple orchard to create the Blue Ridge Parkway in the 1930s.

The owners at the time ran a wholesale apple business and did not see the benefit of having the scenic road come through the middle of their land, said the orchard’s current owner Bill Carson.

“They knew it was inevitable that it was going to go through, but they argued that it would cause more damage than good,” he said. “I don’t know if they ever thought the traffic would be much up there.”

More than 70 years later, the parkway has not destroyed the orchard. In fact, said Carson, it may be the thing that saved it.

Although apple growing in the region has declined, the orchard’s location on the Mitchell-McDowell county line on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Carson’s transformation of the orchard into a place to experience local culture and history, has helped the Historic Orchard at Altapass become a stop for 60,000 parkway visitors each year, about half of which Carson estimates are nonlocal travelers.


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Davidson, NC Selected For NC Main Street Program

27769135Source: The Davidsonian

By Katie Lovett

On Tuesday, Sep. 22, town officials received word that Davidson has been accepted into the North Carolina Main Street program.
According to the North Carolina Main Street Center, the program “helps small towns to recognize and preserve their historic fabric” by utilizing local resources to “build on their unique characteristics to create vibrant central business districts that meet the needs of today’s communities.”

Developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the program offers funding for the renewal of small town main streets and has proven successful in over a thousand smaller communities across the United States.

Since the establishment of the program in 1980, North Carolina Main Street downtowns have experienced a gain of $1.1 billion in new investments, a net gain of 13,000 jobs, a net gain of 3,100 businesses  and the renovation of 3,000 buildings. Nationwide, Main Street communities have received more than $41.6 billion of new public and private investment in their downtowns.

The Main Street program utilizes a four-point approach to implement its objective of downtown redevelopment and revitalization: organization, promotion, design, and economic restructuring in central business districts.

Building partnerships between diverse groups including merchants, bankers, public officials, civic groups and the chamber of commerce promotes effective management and downtown leadership. The program aims to restore downtown areas as attractions for shoppers, investors and tourists by improving retail merchandising and rejuvenating community involvement.

The four-point approach also includes enhancing the aesthetic quality of the downtown area with attention to environmental elements and public improvements.
 Finally, the program seeks to diversify the economic base of the community while maintaining and strengthening the existing economic assets of the business district.

The town of Davidson hopes to benefit from the program guidance, technical assistance, training, networking, advocacy and leadership that the North Carolina Main Street Center offers. Over the past year, Davidson has been devising a new comprehensive plan for the redevelopment of the downtown area.

Beginning with a restructuring that shifted the director of the non-profit Downtown Davidson Inc. (DDI) to a department head position in Town Hall, town officials have been seeking to improve the local business climate.


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2009 NC Apple Fesitval in Hendersonville

Picture1The 2009 NC Apple Festival will be held on Main Street in downtown Hendersonville, NC over the weekend of September 4-7, 2009. The festival not only features a street fair with arts & crafts vendors but it includes continuous live musical entertainment, apple growers and their apples, children’s & youth activities, special exhibits & open houses, food, and, to top it all off, on Labor Day, the King Apple Parade. Capture the spirit of a hometown celebration that has something for the whole family, with many individual events and entertainers throughout the festival. The festival is held annually, during the Labor Day weekend.

The Apple Festival’s Street Fair covers 9 blocks of Main Street with more than 150 vendors . Main Street is closed to traffic from 6th Avenue to Caswell Street.

North Carolina is the 7th largest apple-producing state in the nation and Henderson County is the largest apple-producing county in North Carolina. The most widely-grown apples are Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty and Galas. In addition, many orchards grow a number of other varieties.  Fresh apples may be purchased at one of the many roadside apple markets or produce stands located throughout the county.

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Book Signing at Mayberry on Main – August 29th!


I never need an excuse to visit Mount Airy. In fact, I look for reasons to make the 25 minute drive every day. On Saturday, August 29th I have a GREAT reason to make the trip! I’ll be signing books at Mayberry on Main in beautiful Downtown Mount Airy.

Darrel & Debbie Miles, owners of the store, have got to be some of the nicest folks I’ve ever met. They invited me up to do a book signing in the store and I was quick to accept. Darrel & Debbie have an awesome story about how they opened the store. Instead of me interpreting, here’s their story…straight from them:

We have been visiting Mt. Airy since 1999.   We are both Andy Griffith fans and began coming to the Mayberry Days Festival and liked coming in early every year and staying as long as we could.   In June of this year we made the permanent move from Indiana to Mt Airy. 

After 32 years at the same mfg company in Indiana, Darrel was ready for a change.   Debbie’s background is in interior design and administrative office work, so the two make a pretty well rounded pair.   They have been married for over 30 years and have two daughters, Natalie and Samantha.  They also have two grandchildren, Gregory and Gweneth, who have all moved down here to Mount Airy from Indiana. 

We had always wanted to do something (business wise) together, so we were happy to find the shop space available on North Main and we found and bought a house on North Main.    We love our home and our neighbors have been wonderful.   They have really made us feel welcome and we are happy to be a part of this wonderful community.  Our “merchant neighbors” have been supportive and encouraging to us too. Especially Russell Hiatt (aka “Floyd” of Floyd’s City Barber Shop) who has taken us under his wing and has offered a lot of advice and always adds a little humor to our day. 

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I’m looking forward to spending the day in Mount Airy with my new friends and signing books for more new friends. I’m sure we’ll have lots to talk about, as we always do when we see each other. Andy Griffith Show fans love to swap stories and talk about Mayberry and the show. Come by and join us on Saturday, August 29th at 192 North Main St. in Downtown Mount Airy, NC!

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Badin, NC Looks To The Future

Source: Stanly News & Press

By Dexter Hinson, Staff Writer

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Badin residents this week were given an overview as to how the town could look in the future.

Town Manager Jay Almond gave a detailed report concerning a recent charrette, which examines and defines the physical planning design of municipalities.

Through the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s “Small Town Main Street” program, which addresses the number of small, rural towns that need downtown development assistance, Badin residents presented ideas to a group of planners and designers during the July workshop, namely, the charrette.

After looking at several factors to determine items, including the way the town should be branded, a report was returned in the form of a slide show and other packets of information that detail the information collected during the charrette.

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Mount Airy News: Tourism remains a leading industry in state and county!


Tourism remains one of the leading industries in North Carolina and Surry County, according to an economic impact study that shows the tourism brought $87 million to Surry County in 2008, an increase of 4.4 percent from 2007.

Surry County also rose from ranking 40th in tourism expenditures in the state to 39th.

The county’s jump in tourism numbers is a good sign of progression in a sour economy, said Valerie Oberle, the chair of the Tourism Partnership of Surry County.

“We’re thrilled that in this down economy tourism has increased, and it reinforces we are a county of great vacation experiences,” she said.

The partnership is designed to market and brand the area to bring in tourism dollars. It has been working on a campaign called “Very Surry” that is intended to draw people to the area based on the area’s southern hospitality and southern pleasures.


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