Plenty of people have their own perception of North Carolina, but a lot of those people haven’t lived here or truly experienced the culture like a native North Carolinian. If you currently have family in town for the holidays, you might find yourself explaining a few of these things to your visitors…
1. The BBQ.
Plenty of people know North Carolina has amazing BBQ, but they also sometimes think it's all the same. You might find yourself telling your visitors the difference between eastern style and Lexington style...but it makes it more fun if you're able to try both.
2. The weather.
North Carolina weather is pretty unstable, and it's no surprise to us to go from AC to heat in one day. Make sure to explain to your visitors they'll need to pack a diverse range of clothes.
3. The political climate.
Politics as of lately have been a complete whirlwind to North Carolina and dividing the state in different ways. If you don't live here, just don't voice your opinion because we really don't care to hear it (unless you're super informed and actually know what's going on).
4. What half of our words mean.
Y'all is about as easy as it gets...you'll find North Carolinians have a wide amount of vocab ranging from words like buggy (shopping cart) to yonder (hypothetical place in the distance). Just use context clues.
5. Our rich culture filled with diverse, interesting people.
Some just assume North Carolina is in the south so we're all southerners, while others go to Asheville for sightings of hippies and hipsters. Sure, we're southerners, and there are plenty of hippies in Asheville, but there are also plenty of other types of people. Charlotte sees a lot of residents from all over, while smaller towns retain their own culture. It's a wild ride meeting and learning about the people here!
6. No two beaches are the same.
Each North Carolina beach has its own unique charm and aesthetic. In the southern Outer Banks you get the Crystal Coast - and yes, crystal clear water. Further south are some great waves for surfing. The northern OBX sometimes has a rough surf and you have to use caution when swimming. They're all very different.
7. Just how big college basketball is.
Sure, UNC V Duke is portrayed as the greatest rivalry in the nation, but you don't fully understand unless you go to a game. With that being said, even if you went to another college, everyone still has to choose a side between UNC V Duke.
8. Not all of our mountains are the Blue Ridge...
Sure, the Blue Ridge MTNS encompass a large portion, but North Carolina is also home to the Smokies. There are also smaller mountain chains found away from the western region of the state - like the Uwharrie near Asheboro.
North Carolinians have a deep relationship with tobacco, and not cigarettes. A lot of our families grew or once grew tobacco and their livelihoods depended on it. Especially if you're from Winston-Salem, AKA Camel City, people expect you to smoke cigarettes, but it's different than that. It's a deeper thing and all in all...just because we grow it doesn't mean we smoke it.
10. There's a lot more than just beach or mountains.
Throughout the state there's always something to do - small foothills in the Piedmont for hiking, also wine country in Yadkin Valley. Charlotte has all the metropolitan offerings, Raleigh is a city but still has plenty of hiking near by at Jordan Lake. Eastern NC has beautiful farmland and gorgeous rivers. We're more than just the Blue Ridge or OBX.
11. We treasure hidden gems.
Sure, North Carolina has some amazing five star restaurants, but if we take you to a place that looks like an abandoned building...trust us, the food will be good. This doesn't just apply to restaurants either. There are so many quaint small towns throughout the state and plenty to see and do besides larger cities or shopping malls.
12. We expect you to respect our state.
These days, it seems everyone has their own opinion about North Carolina...and guess what? You can keep it to yourself. We are a proud group of people with deep love and connection to our beautiful state. Don't visit and tell us how to do things or how to change our ways; it's just not necessary. We're very nice, hospitable southern people, but if you're already here...there must be something you love about the Tar Heel state.
Have you found yourself explaining any of these things? What else would you add to the list?
For more ways to experience North Carolina culture, read this hilarious article on why you should NEVER EVER move to North Carolina.