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Five Things Every North Carolinian Should Do In May

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By Julia Sayers

5thingsFrom the Got to Be N.C. Festival in Raleigh to outdoor activities at the Eno River State Park, catch these five things every North Carolinian should do during the month of May.

Museum of Coastal Carolina

At Ocean Isle Beach, one question led one man to build a dream.

Stuart Ingram stood fishing in the surf on Ocean Isle Beach when a young boy approached him and asked, “What kind of fish is that, mister?” It was the 1970s, and Ingram and his wife, Louise, lived in Charlotte and owned a vacation home on Ocean Isle Beach. The boy’s question stayed with Ingram until he retired from commercial real estate and dedicated his time to creating a museum about the nature and science of North Carolina’s coast. In 1991, Ingram watched with wonder as the doors first opened to the Museum of Coastal Carolina.

Today, the museum fascinates visitors with seven different galleries that explore life on the Coastal Plain and in the ocean. The galleries include a walk-through diorama of an ocean reef with life-size replicas of sharks, sea turtles, fish, and other marine life found some 65 miles off North Carolina’s shores. The museum’s live touch tank includes sea stars, sea urchins, and crabs. Nearby, a shell collection contains more than 200 different shells. Other galleries include a shark-jaw exhibit (collected from the catches of local fishermen), a sea turtle room, bird exhibits, and a diorama of North Carolina’s Green Swamp.

Four miles south in Sunset Beach sits a planetarium — the museum’s sister facility. An airman during World War II, Ingram learned to navigate his aircraft by looking at the stars and planets. His fascination with the night sky led him to open Ingram Planetarium in 2002. The 85-seat domed theater holds simulated screenings of the night sky and laser shows set to music.

Ingram never saw the planetarium open; he died just a few weeks before its completion. But Ingram is remembered in the mystery of the ocean’s depths and the night sky overhead.

Museum of Coastal Carolina
21 East Second Street
Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. 28469
(910) 579-1016

Ingram Planetarium
7625 High Market Street
Sunset Beach, N.C. 28468
(910) 575-0033

And don’t miss…

  1. Wildcat Falls

Inside the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Creek Wilderness, at the western edge of North Carolina, Wildcat Falls is a series of small waterfalls that drops a total of 50 feet, with the last cascade dropping 10 feet over a boulder into a crystal-clear swimming hole. The trail is rated moderate in difficulty and has two stream crossings. (828) 479-6431.

  1. Wooden Boat Show

An abundance of pine, live oak, and cedar trees ignited the shipbuilding industry in Beaufort in the mid-1700s. Today, craftsmen still build boats in this Carteret County town, and the North Carolina Maritime Museum holds its annual Wooden Boat Show to celebrate. This year’s 38th annual event offers sailboat rides, sailboat races, and boat work demonstrations May 3-5 in downtown Beaufort. (252) 728-7317 or ncmaritimemuseums.com.

  1. Got to Be N.C. Festival

Tasty, fresh food abounds in the Tar Heel State thanks to North Carolina’s farmers. The Got to Be N.C. Festival pays tribute to this important industry May 18-20 at the N.C. State Fairgrounds. The event includes a food and wine expo, fiber fair, antique tractors, draft horses, children’s activities, music, and more. Enjoy fried fish from the Shriners on Friday and barbecue at the Masons’ Pig Jig on Saturday. (919) 818-9059 or gottobencfestival.com.

  1. NoDa

NoDa, short for North Davidson Street, is home to some of Charlotte’s best galleries, performance venues, cuisines, and shops. Located in north Charlotte, this neighborhood offers an array of activities all within walking distance. Attend a gallery crawl NoDa holds every first and third Friday to experience the neighborhood’s lively street scene. For more information, visit noda.org.

  1. Eno River State Park

Swift and shallow, the Eno River flows for 33 miles through Orange and Durham counties. About halfway, Eno River State Park is located on more than 3,900 quiet, natural acres. It holds 24 miles of hiking trails, including scenic spots on the river such as Bobbitt Hole Trail. While you’re here, cast a line in the Eno for the Roanoke “red-eye” bass. The fish puts up a fight and is found in only four river drainages in northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. (919) 383-1686.

(Published in Our State, May 2012)


Written by juliasayers

January 30, 2013 at 9:53 am

Posted in Uncategorized