Driving down Interstate 77 toward Charlotte, it can be easy to dismiss the four towns along Lake Norman as generic suburbs. There’s little sign of the unique attractions that await a few miles off the highway.
A half-hour’s drive south of the clipped lawns of George Vanderbilt’s mansion, out of the shadows of the towering deco relics of downtown Asheville, rests the town of Hendersonville, with many of the charms of its more-visited mountain neighbor minus the traffic.
Waynesville, the state’s biggest town on the other side of Asheville, came to life after the railroad arrived in the 1880s. Since then the town has served as a jumping-off point for visitors to the unique wonders of North Carolina’s western mountains.
Hatteras Island is a fragile but resilient place that has been reshaped by hurricanes and nor’easters throughout history. Connected by ferry or bridge, NC 12, the island’s north-south road, hugs the Atlantic Ocean coast, transporting visitors from the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge – a birder’s paradise – to the Ocracoke ferry landing.
In Week 2 of the Day Trip Edition of The News & Observer's Best-Kept Secrets of North Carolina series, we spend a day looking for the less obvious attractions of Asheville. Video by Eric Frederick, email@example.com.