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“The Christmas Song” (commonly known as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”) was my introduction to chestnuts. The trees on which these nuts grow made up approximately 25 percent of the hardwood forest four centuries ago when Europeans arrived on the shores of the eastern United States. Native Americans used the bark from these massive trees to build their houses and the nuts to feed themselves and their livestock. 

We recently spent a few days in Blowing Rock, one of North Carolina’s iconic mountain resort communities, its storybook downtown the setting of author Jan Karon’s Mitford series. Through the years of visiting the area I’ve noticed the unique siding on many of the older structures; however it wasn’t until this summer while visiting a friend’s new home that I learned the history of bark siding. I hope you’ll find it as interesting as I do. 

In the late 1800s one of American’s most highly regarded architects, Henry Bacon (designer of the Lincoln Memorial), was commissioned to build some homes and a chapel in the western North Carolina town of Linville. The area was just beginning to be developed as a summer resort attracting visitors to escape the heat of the lower elevations. Mr. Bacon was the first to specify that chestnut bark be squared into shingles for his projects. From that point on, this rustic, organic, well-made building product permeated the resort communities of the North Carolina mountains in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1904 blight from Asia attacked the North American chestnut and had decimated the tree’s entire range by the 1940s. Late in the 20th century the country began experiencing an architectural revival of this rugged, classic mountain look. How? The humble yellow poplar tree is providing the bark for shingles for new homeowners seeking the natural beauty and honoring the rustic mountain look of our southern Appalachian heritage.

Among the many bark siding structures designed by Mr. Bacon is the All Saints Episcopal Mission in Linville. If you’re in the area be sure to notice the older homes and buildings that have weathered many decades clad in chestnut bark siding. And look for the many recently constructed buildings utilizing this rustic, durable, time-honored product associated with our mountain culture.

Visit NC concierge trips for 2017 are starting to come together! Potential destinations include Wilmington in the spring, along with Blowing Rock in North Carolina’s High Country in the early summer, Pinehurst and the Sandhills, and Winston Salem. Look for dates and additional information this fall.

Deadlines for the day trip to Charlotte on September 26 and to New Bern and Bath on October 25-26 are fast approaching. Make your plans now to ensure your spot! 

Cordially,

maryesther@visitncconcierge.com
(919) 302-0574
Three Cheers for NC Peaches! 
Nothing says summer to me more than homemade ice cream - homemade PEACH ice cream to be exact. My mother and grandmother stood over a hot stove constantly stirring the custard that would yield this luscious creamy treat (once it was turned into Ice cream in the old timey crank freezer). It was a lot of work for everyone, but well worth it!

In my own family we employed an electric ice cream freezer, along with a no-cook mixture of milk, half and half, and pasteurized egg product. It warmed my heart to hear the excitement in my granddaughter’s voice last weekend when she told me they were going to make ice cream, PEACH ice cream, this summer. Don’t let the season pass without enjoying some homemade ice cream – one of summertime’s simple pleasures! 

To learn more about North Carolina peaches – and gather some recipes – visit this guide from the state Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. 
Spotlight on the Mountains
There are few better ways to beat the summer heat than by escaping to our state's beautiful mountains. We especially enjoyed our trip to Blowing Rock earlier this month.

Fresh air, breathtaking views and unique activities await! Visit this guide to the North Carolina mountains to plan your trip. 
2016 Fall Tours
Charlotte|September 26
 
(Day trip) Come with us to learn about and explore Charlotte. Charlotte is considered a region as well as a city. Sixteen counties, including four in South Carolina make up the region known as Charlotte, with the city of Charlotte as its hub. visit NC concierge's trip to Charlotte will focus on its history, particularly its history since the Civil War. Upon arrival in the city we will go directly to the Duke Mansion, one of the best examples of Colonial Revival architecture in North Carolina. James B. “Buck” Duke profoundly influenced the region and the state from his home where his most lasting legacies, including Duke University, Duke Power Company, and The Duke Endowment took shape. Following lunch a step on guide will point out highlights of North Carolina’s largest city before dropping us off at The Levine Museum of the New South. Following a tour of the museum, we’ll re-board the bus for our return to Raleigh, stopping for a casual dinner along the way.
 
Learn More About our Charlotte Trip
New Bern & Bath|October 25-26

(2 days, 1 night) Our tour will feature New Bern and Historic Eastern North Carolina. The state’s colonial history is deeply rooted in this region, often referred to as the Inner Banks. Bath and New Bern are the state’s oldest European-American towns, and a variety of experiences (on and off the beaten path) await us! Tryon Palace captures imaginations, telling the story of North Carolina when it was a Royal Colony. Bath‘s most famous visitor, Blackbeard, continues to intrigue 21st century adventurers of all ages. 
Learn More About our New Bern & Bath Trip
"A Capital Christmas" in Raleigh|December 9-11

(3 days, 2 nights) North Carolina’s state capital, Raleigh, comes alive with the magic of the holiday season. Friday afternoon we’ll board a motor coach for a scenic driving tour of the city’s core with our step-on guide pointing out the highlights you’ll surely want to explore further. Preceding the award winning performance of “A Christmas Carol,” we’ll enjoy dinner at one of the city’s most popular pre-show restaurants. The decked halls of the Governor’s Mansion will be our first stop Saturday morning and the afternoon is devoted to the Historic Oakwood Candlelight Tour. Sure to become a North Carolina holiday tradition, “A Capital Christmas” is a terrific addition to any December calendar. 
Learn More About "A Capital Christmas"
What Our Guests are Saying About Us
"Beautifully organized down to the last detail."
~ Anne F.

"The time of the trip was well-balanced -- a good format -- not too rushed, not too slow, and interestingly balanced."
~ Billie M.

"What I appreciate is that you provide guests an opportunity to learn and experience a part of North Carolina while you take care of all the logistics and details!"
~ Dana R.
Contact us to book your tour today! 
919-302-0574
info@visitncconcierge.com
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 visitncconcierge.com
 
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8726 Cypress Club Drive
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