November 2017

As we celebrate Veterans Day this month, honoring the service of all U.S military veterans, I decided to explore the military’s impact on our state’s history and development. Having lived in Fayetteville for many years, home to Ft. Bragg, the 82nd Airborne and the Special Operations Forces, where camouflage was as common as NC State red in Raleigh or Carolina blue in Chapel Hill, I am well acquainted with the impact the military had on the local economy.

Fayetteville is also home to the North Carolina Military Business Center (NCMBC), the business development entity of the North Carolina Community College System, headquartered at Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC).

The mission of the NCMBC is to leverage military and other federal business opportunities to expand the economy, grow jobs and improve quality of life in North Carolina.

Did you know that Ft. Bragg is the largest military base in the US?
Ft. Bragg is home to more than 53,000 active duty military personnel and more than 14,000 civilian employees, making it the largest military base in the country in terms of population. Founded in the Sandhills of Cumberland and Moore Counties as a training facility for recruits as the U.S. entered World War I, Ft. Bragg was the only permanent military installation in the state prior to 1940. Next year Ft. Bragg will celebrate its 100th anniversary, as the nation observes the 100th anniversary of the United States entrance into World War I.

Would you be surprised if I were to tell you that the Department of Defense is the second largest sector in North Carolina’s economy (12% GDP)?
With six major military bases, 116 National Guard and 40 Army Reserve facilities, and the third highest number of uniformed military personnel in the country, the state of North Carolina created the North Carolina Military Business Center (NCMBC) to leverage opportunities with these installations and with DoD commands worldwide.

How did North Carolina come to play such a significant role in the defense of our country? To answer that question let’s explore a few key facts about the state and the five additional major military bases.
As the U.S. prepared to enter World War II, North Carolina, along with other southern states, was chosen for military bases because the War Department recognized that the state’s mild climate provided more training days than other parts of the country. Ready availability of large areas of undeveloped land was another contributing factor to North Carolina’s rise to the forefront of military base development. The Great Depression had decimated North Carolina’s economy, and the military bases’ construction was seen as an economic miracle, employing tens of thousands across the state. 

The Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base were all constructed and commissioned during World War II.
Camp Lejeune is the second largest military installation in the state, and home to more than 47,000 marines and sailors. Located in Jacksonville, the base’s 14 miles of beaches make it a major area for amphibious assault training, and its location between two deep-water ports (Wilmington and Morehead City) allows for fast deployments. Military forces from around the world come to Camp Lejeune on a regular basis for bilateral and NATO-sponsored exercises.

Adjacent to Camp Lejeune is the Marine Corps Air Station New River, the primary Marine Corps helicopter base on the East Coast. It is also home to the V-22 Osprey, that uniquely innovative and capable rotary winged aircraft that takes off like a helicopter and flies like an airplane.

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point is the world’s largest Marine Corps air station, and currently home to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, the major east coast aviation unit of the United States Marine Corps.  Located in Craven and Carteret Counties, an interesting fact about Cherry Point is its runway system which was large enough to serve as an alternate emergency landing site for the space shuttle launches.

Although it wasn’t until after World War II that the U.S. Air Force became an officially recognized independent branch of military service when President Harry Truman signed the National Security Act (1947), Seymour Johnson Field was activated on June 12, 1942, as an Army Air Forces Technical Training Command. Today, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base is home to the 4th Fighter Group which celebrated its 75th anniversary on September 16. This celebrated Group was credited with the destruction of more enemy aircraft than any other American fighter unit in World War II.

Base Support Unit Elizabeth City is a regional command that provides logistics, engineering, administrative, financial, purchasing, and healthcare services to Coast Guard units throughout North Carolina. 

The Coast Guard's Aviation Logistics Center and the Aviation Technical Training Center are both located at the base. It is home to a Small Boat Station that patrols local waterways and an Air Station that sends units along the Atlantic Coast, from Greenland to the southern Caribbean.

Just down the road from this Coast Guard facility in Pasquotank County, in northeastern North Carolina, is an amazing steel structure that is longer than three football fields and 20 stories high. When visiting my aunt in Elizabeth City as a child I was always amazed when a blimp appeared overhead. We’d stop playing and watch this slow-moving giant crawl silently across the sky. The Naval Air Station Weeksville built blimps at the site between 1941 and 1957. Today TCOM, a global airship manufacturing company, occupies this incredible building as a manufacturing and testing facility for their aerostat systems.

So, you see, the military and its civilian partners have played and continue to play a significant role in North Carolina’s economy, providing good jobs for North Carolinians and making up 12 percent of North Carolina’s GDP. The North Carolina Military Business Center’s website states that its return on the State’s investment is 23:1. Impressive!

As we enter the holiday season, we're gearing up for A Capital Christmas in Raleigh. Spots still remain — join us! Our Winston-Salem excursion was splendid — scroll down for a recap and photos.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Mary Esther
(919) 302-0574

Raleigh: A Capital Christmas
December 9, 2017

Join us to explore North Carolina’s capital city as it comes alive with the magic of the holiday season! Our adventure begins as you board a deluxe motor coach in Wilmington for a comfortable ride to this dynamic city, disembarking first at Governor’s Residence, dressed in holiday splendor. While enjoying a driving tour of this diverse, vibrant city's center, guided by a local historian, and viewing the beautiful, historic buildings, museums, reclaimed warehouses and skyscrapers, you will absorb your capital city's energy. Lunch will be enjoyed at one of the city’s popular restaurants. Memorial Auditorium is our next stop to experience the magic of Theatre in the Park’s A Christmas Carol, celebrating its 43rd year! This beloved musical comedy, a Raleigh holiday tradition, has been named one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast.” To learn more about A Capital Christmas, click here. To register for the tour, please contact Ginny Tyndall, our Cape Fear Regional Associate at (910) 264-5942

Learn More
'Tis the Season

Are sugarplums dancing in your head? With holiday decorations visible everywhere, it’s time to begin that gift list. As I’ve grown older, my appreciation for the gift of an experience has grown. I love sharing an outing with my children and grandchildren. Seems that the gift of time becomes more precious with the passing of each year.

If you are stumped for a gift for someone special on your list, consider visit NC concierge as the perfect answer. North Carolina is replete with history, arts, entertainment and sights that are not to be missed. Whether one is new to the state or a long time resident, we make it easy to explore, learn and have fun with others who are ready to enjoy an immersive travel experience at a comfortable and engaging pace.

Our travel experiences showcase North Carolina’s geography, history and culture while savoring the state’s finest sites, dining and lodging. Give us a call and we’ll help you create the perfect holiday gift for that special someone on your list.

Winston-Salem Tour Recap
On November 10th, a group of 27 like-minded travelers departed Raleigh on a day trip to Winston-Salem to explore, learn and have fun with others in “The City of Arts & Innovation." In this true immersion experience, we learned how Winston-Salem continues to reinvent itself building on its history and its rich tobacco and textile legacy as it embraces creativity and collaboration amongst a diverse university, business and arts community. Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern was the icing on the cake!  Scroll down to see the day’s pictures.
How do you like your PECANS?

In a pie, fudge, cookies, pralines, fruit cake, stuffed dates, Waldorf Salad, salted, chocolate covered or raw? It’s hard to select a favorite; I’ve never met a pecan I didn’t like! The pecan tree is a species of hickory that can live up to 300 years. The rich buttery flavor of the nuts makes them a wonderful compliment to numerous dishes. North Carolina is on the northern edge of U.S. pecan-producing areas (Texas, New Mexico, and Georgia produce more than 75 percent of the country’s pecans), but there are many family-owned pecan orchards in the state’s coastal plain. Try to secure some locally grown pecans that have been harvested this fall at a local farmers market for a real treat this holiday season.

What Our Guests are Saying About Us

"The experience in Winston-Salem yesterday was wonderful! Getting acquainted with the area – narrated introduction and 20th-century history as we drove – to begin with opened the door for greater understanding of the events of the day. Reynolda House was a delight – not only our special tour but especially the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit. Thank you for arranging the special time and your thoughtful hospitality throughout." 

"I had a great time. You are such a natural and definitely in your comfort zone. I will go again and again."  

"Just a short note to tell you how much we enjoyed our curated trip to the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit yesterday. It was truly first class ... It was our first trip with you and certainly will not be our last."

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visit NC concierge is a premier hospitality company dedicated to providing the discriminating traveler unique experiences savoring North Carolina’s history, geography, and culture at a leisurely travel pace while enjoying the state’s finest sites, cuisine, and lodgings. Itineraries are subject to change at the discretion of the company. Group size: minimum 10; maximum 30. Registration for each tour closes 30 days prior to tour start date. For more information, visit us at
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