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North Carolina is one of those states that nearly everyone loves. Yet, when asked to name their favorite place, people frequently overlook it. From the Great Smokey Mountains to the sandy beaches of the Outer Banks, this is one of the most diverse states in the union. The Tar Heel state became famous for agriculture, namely Tobacco. Yet today, you’re more likely to stumble on vineyards and orchards than rows of tobacco or cotton. Once closely associated with slavery, the state is more commonly associated with entrepreneurs and big business.

For many people their first exposure to North Carolina is the Outer Banks. Over 150 miles of broad sandy beaches with almost no people welcome visitors every summer. On the opposite side of the state and not to be overlooked are the hills and mountains around Ashville – once home to one of the largest furniture industries in the world. Not to be missed is the broad stretch in the middle. Here you’ll find vineyards and mile after mile of barbeque establishments. Whatever your interest, you’ll probably find it in North Carolina. There’s something for everyone here.

13 Things to Do on a Weekend in Mayberry

A painted wall in downtown shows features of the area. From outdoor activities to wine tasting to taking in the sights of "Mayberry," there are so many fun things to do in Mount Airy NC

Mount Airy, North Carolina–affectionately known as Mayberry–was Andy Griffith’s hometown and the inspiration for the setting of The Andy Griffith Show. But Mount Airy is more than Mayberry, too. This charming town offers good eats, excitement in the great outdoors, and unexpected history lessons, with a bit of moonshine thrown in for good measure.

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Nine Yadkin Valley Wineries Not to Miss

The colorful vineyards in fall at Lexington's Childress Vineyards

Infinitely winding roads curve over streams and beside vast stretches of vineyards that used to be tobacco fields. They pass hillsides and wrap around a myriad of family-run wineries in mid-harvest. This is North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley, a natural beauty full of some of the state’s finest vineyards and most skilled winemakers.

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