Did you know that North Carolina has the largest state-maintained highway system in the country?
Roads seem almost a natural part of our landscape. Only when passing the creation of a new housing development with its bulldozers removing trees and earth movers doing what they do - moving earth, creating roads - do I contemplate the engineering marvels that are the highway system we know today.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, North Carolina’s leaders recognized that in order to prosper, the state needed an educated citizenry and that cities and towns needed to be connected. At the time, counties had the responsibility for building and maintaining roads. In 1902, the Good Roads Association was formed to lobby the legislature to take over construction and maintenance of roads across North Carolina. The State Highway Commission was established during Governor Locke Craig’s term (1913-1917), and in 1921 the historic Highway Act was passed under Governor Cameron Morrison. This legislation positioned North Carolina to take advantage of matching funding from the federal government following passage of the Federal Aid Road Act of 1916 - the country’s first federal highway funding legislation. Within a decade, with the exception of one or two, county seats across North Carolina’s 100 counties were connected with 18-foot-wide concrete highways, paid for with four bond issues and a gas tax that had risen from one cent to five cents. As Brian Mims wrote in an in-depth article, “In retrospect, it’s staggering to contemplate: the manpower and materials – the money – required to lay stands of concrete and asphalt on a terrain dense with woods and rivers, mountains on one side and enormous wetlands on the other. And look at us now: a state with sweeping bypasses and interstates that slingshot us at 70 miles an hour.”
Included in visit NC concierge's 2019 brochure is a state map, devoid of roads and towns. It offers a perspective on the gargantuan undertaking that earned North Carolina “The Good Roads State” moniker. As we crisscross the state on our travel adventures this year, we’ll also learn something about the roads on which we travel.
Beginning with a day trip to New Bern on March 27 to visit Tryon Palace, our route follows U.S. 70, one of the state’s earliest federal highways that runs 2,385 miles from Atlantic, N.C. to east-central Arizona. We’ll begin our exploration in North Carolina’s colonial capital at The History Center taking visitors from the very formation of the coastline to the people who shaped the history of the region. For all the details, and to secure your spot, click here.
For many years, U.S. 70 was the major connector between Raleigh and Durham - our second spring destination. On April 9th we’ll tour Duke Chapel & Gardens and the city of Durham with our expert local guide whose fascinating stories of this vibrant city will entertain, as well as educate.
Roanoke Island and the Outer Banks await us in early June as we travel east on U.S. 64, another major east-west highway that runs from Nags Head to northeast Arizona (2,326 miles). The highlight of this multi-day tour is The Lost Colony. Manteo’s tranquil waterfront, with its charming shops and interesting attractions, will be our home-away-from-home for our exploration of the Outer Banks.
Summer is the time for family vacations, the majority of which are facilitated by driving to one’s destination. Whether traveling east to the beaches, west to the mountains, or somewhere in between, in North Carolina - Nothing Compares.
Visit NC concierge's fall trips include an immersion into Historic Halifax, “The Birthplace of Freedom.” Located on the Roanoke River in northeastern North Carolina, U.S. 64 and Interstate 95 will lead us to our destination where the first official action taken by a colony calling for independence took place on April 12, 1776. After lunch, we’ll visit the Sylvan Heights Bird Park, home to the world’s largest collection of waterfowl.
Heading west in November on Interstate 40, our destination is Asheville. This multi-day travel experience is filled with gems – A Candlelight Evening at Biltmore, a private tour and dinner at Sierra Nevada Brewery, a hands-on experience in the Arts District, along with delicious wine and beer tastings.
Visit NC concierge is based in Raleigh. Although Raleigh is not exactly in the center of the state, it’s a joy to invite our followers and patrons from across the state and beyond to join us during December for "A Capital Christmas." This festive weekend showcases our capital city dressed in its holiday splendor. Entertainment includes A Christmas Carol, a favorite holiday classic adapted by Ira David Wood III and celebrating its 45th year in December, a visit to the Governor’s Mansion decked out for the holidays, and numerous other treats. This tour is sure to become a favorite holiday tradition!
Kudos to the state’s visionary leaders who connected us from the mountains to the coast and everywhere in between. And remember, wherever you travel along the highways and byways of the Tarheel state...
Don't just see North Carolina. Experience it.