14 Quirky Facts About North Carolina That Sound Made Up, But Are 100% Accurate
Obvious attractions bring folks to visit the wildly unique and alluring state of North Carolina, known by approximately 44 million visitors in 2021 and counting. The gorgeous coastlines and mountains are obvious draws. But this sprawling land harbors other interesting attractions and facts that may sound made up, but are 100 percent true. From an official drinking toast to a big coffee pot, tune in for some quirky facts about North Carolina that may bring you here.
1. Tallest Lighthouse in the U.S.
Imagine the reassurance this stately structure brings, especially when it was first lit on Dec. 16, 1870 — at 210 feet tall and with 269 steps to climb. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse still protects one of the most hazardous sections of the Atlantic Coast. While it is closed for restoration,
you can view the virtual tour.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, 46379 Lighthouse Rd, Buxton, NC 27920, USA
2. Mickey Coffee Pot
In 1858, The 7-foot-3-inch-tall coffee pot was created by tinsmiths Samuel and Julius Mickey to advertise their tin shop. Over the years, the pot has been relocated a couple of times and is owned by the City of Winston-Salem.
The Mickey Coffee Pot Marker, 401 Old Salem Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27101, USA
3. The Only State with an Official Drinking Toast
In 1957 the poem "A Toast" was adopted as the official toast to the State of North Carolina. The work in its entirety is
four stanzas long
and written by Leonora Martin and Mary Burke Kerr in 1904.
In 1987, North Carolina cows per year produced 179 million gallons of milk, earning about $4,800 per cow. That same year, the General Assembly adopted milk as the official State beverage.
Today, N.C. still has hundreds of dairy farms and you can tour one at Homeland Creamery in
Homeland Creamery, 6506 Bowman Dairy Rd, Julian, NC 27283, USA
5. First Krispy Kreme Doughnut Shop
We know this one gets talked about a lot, and speaking of milk, you must have one with this adored treat. A big thanks goes to Vernon Rudolph for purchasing a secret doughnut recipe, creating the most splendid sweetness to touch your lips. On July 13, 1937, He opened a shop in Old Salem, now Winston-Salem, to begin selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts to local grocery stores, and the rest is history.
Krispy Kreme, 259 S Stratford Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27103, USA
6. Largest Producer of Sweet Potatoes
The sweet theme continues with North Carolina being the largest producer of sweet potatoes in the U.S. In 2021, the state harvested more than 1.8 billion pounds of sweet potatoes. In 1995 it officially became the State Vegetable. One working farm, Scott Farms, is a sixth-generation family farm based in Lucama, North Carolina.
Scott Farms, Inc., 7965 Simpson Rd, Lucama, NC 27851, USA
7. Infamous Pirate Blackbeard
Imagine the summer of 1718, when the notorious Blackbeard lived in Bath, walking the streets there. What cruel things did he say to those he passed? He was killed with his crew by British sailors on Nov. 22, 1718, while hiding on Ocracoke Island.
North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort, 315 Front St, Beaufort, NC 28516, USA
8. State's Oldest Town and Port
And speaking of Bath, located 50 miles from the Atlantic Ocean on the picturesque Pamlico River, the town was incorporated in 1705 and is also the state's first port. The interesting town only has about 245 residents, but that's OK, because the history, including that of Edward Teach, draws lots of visitors.
9. Nation's Highest Suspension Footbridge
Since 1952, a constant stream of hundreds of thousands of people per year visit the majestic Grandfather Mountain to walk across the Mile High Swinging Bridge and take in the 360-degree panoramic views from
Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak.
Mile High Swinging Bridge, 2050 Blowing Rock Hwy, Linville, NC 28646, USA
10. One of the 1st Satellite Tracking Stations in the U.S.
NASA selected this location for one of the nation’s first satellite tracking stations and construction began at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute in 1962. While operations were relocated in 1995, NASA and the Department of Defense invested several hundred million dollars in the 200-acre campus during the time in between. In 1998, the site was acquired by new owners and
PARI was born.
Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute, 1 Pari Dr, Rosman, NC 28772, USA
11. The Origination of Vicks VapoRub
We have fond memories of our parents applying Vicks VapoRub when we had chest colds. The topical ointment was first sold in 1905 and manufactured by the family-owned Richardson-Vicks Inc., based in Greensboro. In 1985 it was sold to Procter & Gamble and renamed Vicks.
12. World's Largest Duncan Phyfe Chair
You won't forget your welcome to the charming town of Thomasville once you see this pretty, 30 feet tall, steel and concrete chair. And the seat alone is 10 feet 6 inches wide.
6 W Main St, Thomasville, NC 27360, USA
13. Learn the State Dance
The Shag was adopted in 2005 by the General Assembly
as North Carolina's official popular dance. Although the two-person dance was done to the beats of jazz and swing music in the 1920s and 1930s, the modern shag evolved into beach music.
4801 Leigh Dr, Raleigh, NC 27616, USA
14. Birth of First English Child
In 1587, Virginia Dare was the first English child born in America at Roanoke Island. This gorgeous statue has
a story of its own
and is located in the lush Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island in Manteo.
Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, 1401 National Park Dr, Manteo, NC 27954, USA
Have you learned something new about
North Carolina’s quirky facts? We know there are many more, so please share your favorites in the comments below.
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