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Comment Archives: Stories: Special Issues: Summer Guide

Re: “Trespassing among the Ruins of Eastern North Carolina

Not sure if she told you, but her and Bob were both incredible scout leaders. They both taught many young men great values that we still hold on to today. It is great to hear they are doing well and glad that you enjoyed your stay in my home town. My irst job was in the hardware store next to the piggy wiggy. This write up hit home. Thanks.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by BrianParris on 05/30/2016 at 8:16 AM

Re: “Trespassing among the Ruins of Eastern North Carolina

Thank you for your notes and observations about Eastern North Carolina. Here's hoping Triangle readers of Independent can make their own forays "Down East" if they are not already personally familiar with the cities, towns and counties from Laurinburg to Elizabeth City.

The poetic challenge of one 20th Century North Carolina governor to appreciate the special heritage of Eastern North Carolina is before us still in the 21st Century. Gov. J.C.B. Ehringhaus, who was from Elizabeth City, was writing about the special meadows of Northeastern N.C. known as The Albemarle when he compared it to our imaginative fancy of what Camelot must have been like in medieval England, a comparison made all the more interesting when First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy suggested Camelot as a metaphoric touchstone for the administration of President John F. Kennedy.

As one who grew up in Charlotte and later attended Duke, I always enjoyed family gatherings in Piedmont places such as Shelby and Salisbury, and we had kinfolk from throughout Western North Carolina and the Piedmont from Marion and Hickory to Burlington and Chapel Hill, but few family ties to Eastern N.C., so I was able to get to know more about the eastern section of the state in these personal experiences from late teen years to age 30:

--Covering Charlotte 49ers "road games" in the old Dixie Conference as a high school stringer for the Charlotte Observer including trips to St. Andrews College in Laurinburg and N.C. Wesleyan in Rocky Mount.

--Scouting Eastern N.C. cities and towns as a reporter on the state desk of The News & Observer in my mid-20s. Back in those days, you had to "go out there and find out what was happening" because, absent some helpful news tips, that was about the only way to report on local government and business from Smithfield to Wilson.

--Doing a cross-state feature for The N&O in the now socially suspect guise of hitchhiker from the coast to the mountains trying to follow in the footsteps of such N.C. newspaper columnists as Jerry Bledsoe of the Greensboro Daily News, J.A.C. Dunn of the Winston-Salem Journal and Jack Aulis of The News & Observer. For my geographical endpoints for this dubious outing (which definitely contributed to a downward slide in my fortunes as a news staffer with The N&O), I selected Duck, N.C., and Ducktown, Tenn., as this featured was headlined: "Duck to Ducktown: A Stitch in Time." But the first installment was called "Stuck in Duck" because I had trouble hitching into Duck from the outskirts of town so that I could then begin hitching west out of Duck! But the best thing was enjoying the Albemarle Sound area while wondering how in the world I would be able to make it from Northeastern N.C. to Southwestern N.C. and on across the Tennessee line to Ducktown.

--Weekend excursions as an editorial writer for the Fayetteville Observer in my late 20s as our paper was still an afternoon daily in the mid-1970s, with an impressive regional circulation in the Cape Fear Country. So on Saturdays we would head out to enjoy unique and colorful Eastern N.C. events such as Mule Days in Benson, the Collard Festival in Ayden, the Shad Festival in Grifton and the National Hollerin' Contest in Spivey's Corner. At these gleeful local celebrations we would witness the best in local business-government cooperative efforts to spruce up hometown life in all those places Down East.

--Campaigning for the U.S. Senate in the wide open Democratic primary of 1978. Talk about the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival of the present time, that senatorial primary was wide open because everybody and his brother (we could have used some sisters in that field too) thought he could be just the guy to take on the Squire of Senatorial Conservatism, Sen. Jesse Helms, in what was to be his first re-election campaign in 1978 after his surprising win over Durham Congressman Nick Galifianakis in 1972. Drawing from the previous journalistic adventure of hitching from Duck to Ducktown, I chose to hike the state in 1977 from Manteo on the coast to Murphy in the mountains to see if I could get a leg up on the competition, which included a stellar field of Democratic hopefuls including two state senators from the Triad, a banker from Charlotte and son of a highly regarded former governor and our state commissioner of insurance. One single highlight of that hike: walking beside cornfields in Wayne County in the spring of 1977 with stalks of corn higher than I was only to learn with regret weeks later that a sustained summer drought was severely depleting the eventual autumn yield of what had promised to be such an abundant harvest for N.C. family farmers in that year before the May 1978 senatorial primary.

So, capsuling my personal, professional and philosophical outlook upon the one section of the state that I had not previously known very well, I would mention these favorable impressions of Eastern North Carolina:

--A deep love of learning among the people, including science, mathematics, classical literature, poetry, dance, music and drama.

--An eagerness to seek out gainful employment along with the upgrading of occupational skills to do a good day's work.

--A robust, good-hearted attitude toward visitors from the rest of North Carolina or from other states and country as to why they took pride in their home cities, towns and counties.

--A full willingness to be part of the supporting cast of the greater public support for all parts of North Carolina including industries, enterprises and technologies trending as "the latest things" on the urban scene in the Piedmont so long as the communities of Eastern North Carolina were not left behind in the investment in public education, environmental protection, employment training and the allocation of state-funded resources for economic development and advancement.

I wish we had as many passenger train connections to those cities and towns with such great future potential in Eastern North Carolina as we do to the cities of the N.C. Piedmont because I would sure book some more excursions "Down East," as Andy Griffith would say, "first chance I get."

Posted by David McKnight on 05/27/2016 at 1:06 PM

Re: “Trespassing among the Ruins of Eastern North Carolina

Very well written. The City of Rocky Mount spent money to improve the appearance of its downtown core, and they succeeded. But they didn't succeed, or haven't yet, in filling the renovated storefronts with real tenants. The buildings are still mostly empty, although they look much better than before.

And it's not just the small towns and cities down east that are struggling. Out in the rural areas there are many abandoned houses, once family farms that either cannot compete with big ag or cannot attract a new generation of farmers.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by ct on 05/25/2016 at 9:14 AM

Re: “Census: The Triangle's top slave owners

Do you have any information regarding the slaves/slave owners in Duplin County?

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Kemba on 02/23/2016 at 8:22 AM

Re: “Census: The Triangle's top slave owners

My paternal family members/ancestors hail from the Knightdale/Shotwell area. I saw this area in passing. It is located in close proximity to the Mial plantation. My late mother mentioned Mials as relatives.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Elsie Hinton on 01/09/2016 at 5:43 AM

Re: “Will the ELF, from Durham-based Organic Transit, save the planet?

These are beautiful and I like the concept, but what's to stop thieves from jacking these with the occupant inside or outside? They are wide open and less agile than bicycles. So, I get laughed at or crushed by an SUV or have my transport stolen in Durham?

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by ammi on 11/10/2015 at 1:14 PM

Re: “Census: The Triangle's top slave owners


23 likes, 19 dislikes
Posted by Stanley Saunders on 11/09/2015 at 5:13 PM

Re: “Will the ELF, from Durham-based Organic Transit, save the planet?

I am sure the ELF will go far,

I am committed to promote this project with my Cycling activities

Posted by CyclOrBit on 11/06/2015 at 1:31 PM

Re: “What lies beneath

I love swimming in the Eno quarry!! Please tell me where the crystal clear quarry is located! I've heard about it from other people and I'm dying to see it! I'm a little obsessed with clear water.

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Arwen Carlin on 08/01/2015 at 9:00 AM

Re: “Über alleys

Loved your story. When I was a kid we'd go to Bethlehem, PA to visit my grandparents. The alleys behind their row house on Arcadia Street were a source of endless adventure. Nowadays, it's my 14 year old daughter who always wants to explore the alleys in Durham. While technically not an alley the cut through to Bull City Burger by the Methodist Church is great at night. We're always expecting those awesome spires to get struck by lighting and unleash legions of tormented souls.

Posted by Geoff Dunkak on 06/02/2015 at 2:37 PM

Re: “Will the ELF, from Durham-based Organic Transit, save the planet?

To get my ELF to cover 20-30 miles on a charge I run it at about 15 MPH instead of full speed at 22+_. I also pedal but not super hard and that makes it seem to go forever. I have a free website where many owners share how they drive and other mods on the ELF. check our site

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jiminy StAck on 03/11/2015 at 2:01 PM

Re: “Will the ELF, from Durham-based Organic Transit, save the planet?

Jiminy StAck--Great to hear about your Elf. However, can you please elaborate on how with the Elf's 14 mile range you go "20-30 mile trips and commute 22 miles" Are you peddling hard, running out of juice, stopping to recharge?? SUP with all that?
Thanks for info.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Al Mayberry on 01/25/2015 at 10:55 PM

Re: “Will the ELF, from Durham-based Organic Transit, save the planet?

At $4,000 this alternative means of transportation is a can't-miss thing. The more I investigate the Elf the more ready I am to buy one. What are the financing options?

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by John Gunderson on 10/28/2014 at 3:00 PM

Re: “Will the ELF, from Durham-based Organic Transit, save the planet?

It even improves health care. Many people don't get exercise and with the ELF you can get as much or little as you want and have fun.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jiminy StAck on 08/06/2014 at 9:46 AM

Re: “Will the ELF, from Durham-based Organic Transit, save the planet?

We are well known with our current transportation system; around the whole world we have found a better and modern transportation system. Especially in European and American continent we have found best transportation system; therefore they used to bring different types of variations in their transportation system like; organic transit system, environment friendly transit system and many other. It helps to reduce the affects of environment pollution and also increases the concept of organic transit. I hope it will be the best ever step to deal with the current environmental pollution.

Posted by glennwilson on 08/06/2014 at 2:27 AM

Re: “The last (outdoor) picture show

For reasons I don't understand, this drive-in shows first run pictures.

Posted by Thomas Parker on 06/01/2014 at 11:36 AM

Re: “Crossing the border

I liked deece story muchísimo, sez mi muchacho.

Posted by Shocka Kahn on 05/29/2014 at 2:40 PM

Re: “Crossing the border

I don't see how they can stay in business much longer, even though they have made cutbacks. Compared to 25 years ago, there are hardly any cars in the parking lots these days.

Posted by ct on 05/29/2014 at 1:09 AM

Re: “Will the ELF, from Durham-based Organic Transit, save the planet?

you should manufacture it here in Elkhart Indiana we have boat and rv builders here with fiberglass skills and plenty of empty factories. we need new energy type production here come on over.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Tammy Lundy on 11/05/2013 at 8:19 PM

Re: “Will the ELF, from Durham-based Organic Transit, save the planet?

I recently got my ELF and love it. The most efficient and useful vehicle I have ever owned. I also have a Nissan LEAD but as Rob says on a few mile commute do we really need a full sized car. I do many 20-30 mile trips and commute to work 22 miles each way. It's more fun than any of my other bicycles.

Lots of people flag me down to ask about it, take pictures as they drive by and give the ElFan thumbs up. It's not me in the ELF that is the star. As much attention as a Tesla S. I call it my M&M mini micro .

9 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Jiminy StAck on 09/29/2013 at 10:08 PM

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