web analytics

Archives for July 2015

Carolina in the Morning — A Musical Exploration

I’ve shared different videos of artists throughout this post to show you the differences each one has given this iconic tune.

Catchy songs always hook me, especially choruses filled with joyous reverie. That’s how “Carolina in the Morning” gets my toes tapping every single time I hear it. While it doesn’t have true roots in North Carolina, it has been adopted by North and South Carolina and definitely deserves mention here at Handmade NC. Written by Gus Kahn, with music by Walter Davidson, “Carolina in the Morning” started showing up in Broadway Musical Revues as early as 1922. I probably first heard this song when Daffy Duck impersonated Danny Kaye on Looney Tunes.
Carolina in the Morning
The song was originally featured in a very risqué Broadway revue called “The Passing Show” and interpretations are varied. However, they mainly left out from the mainstream today as the chorus is the big draw. Adopted by North and South Carolina, this song has been covered by popular artists including Phish, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Eddy Arnold, Jimmy Durante, Dinah Shore, Judy Garland, and Danny Kaye. Bill Haley & His Comets recorded a rock and roll version. If you’re old enough to have watched the Dick Van Dyke show, you probably remember Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore performing their own version. A Cappella groups around the world favor this tune for their performances.

My favorite rendition is the one by Al Jolson, recorded in 1947, and outselling the original recording done by Van and Schenk by nearly double. I’ve included both renditions and will let you choose your favorite!

Lyrics (part of public domain):

Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina
In the morning
No one could be sweeter than my sweetie when I meet her
In the morning,
Where the morning glories
Wind around the door
Whispering pretty stories
I long to hear once more.

Strolling with my girly where the dew is pearly early
In the morning.
Butterflies all flutter up and kiss each little buttercup
At dawning.
If I had Aladdin’s lamp for only a day
I’d make a wish and here’s what I’d say:
Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina
In the morning!

Where the morning glories
Wind around the door
Whispering pretty stories
I long to hear once more.

Strolling with my girly where the dew is pearly early
In the morning.
Butterflies all flutter up and kiss each little buttercup
At dawning.
If I had Aladdin’s lamp for only a day
I’d make a wish and here’s what I’d say:
Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina
In the morning!

The video quality isn’t great, but this is a recording of Phish performing “Carolina in the Morning” in Connecticut in 2007.

And again in Greensboro in 2003:

The 2015 N.C. State Fair “Nothing Could Be Finer” and the “Homegrown North Carolina” Concert Series for 2015

After this long hot summer we’ve been having in North Carolina, we are all ready for the N.C. State Fair. Counting down the days to the fair means cooler weather, fun foods, games that challenge our skills, exhibitions, as well as a great concert line up. The North Carolina State Fair is the largest 11-day event in North Carolina, attracting more than 800,000 attendees. Managed and produced by the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, it is consistently ranked among the top 25 fairs in North America.

The 2015 N.C. State Fair will be held this year on October 15-25 with the theme is “Nothing Could Be Finer.” Started in 1853, the N.C. State Fair has become a traditional fall-time event that aims to educate all North Carolinians about the importance of agriculture to our heritage and our economy. Their mission is to showcase and promote the state’s agriculture, agribusiness, arts, crafts and culture through the annual agricultural fair. (Ilina and I have a mutual friend who is a multiple Blue Ribbon winner in the baked goods category at the Iowa State Fair. We’re hoping she will visit one day and bring us some of her award-winning cinnamon rolls.)
2015 NC State Fair "Nothing Could Be Finer"
The State Fair is a a great event for families, groups of friends, or a fun first date. One of my personal favorite things to do is check out the display featuring the largest pumpkin and watermelon in the Expo Center. It’s always a great photo-op and makes a fun photo for your photo albums and Instagram.
Bumper Crop of Fun

Fun things to do at the N.C. State Fair:

  • Try to name as many crops, animals, pieces of machinery and crafts as you can in alphabetical order
  • Check out the 21-foot-tall Smokey Bear display and learn about healthy forests and how to prevent forest fires
  • Find out what the “buzz” is about at the Bee and Honey competition area in the Expo Center. Beekeepers are on hand to talk about beekeeping and the critical role bees play in producing our food. (The exhibit features a screened cage with an active beehive.)
  • See a Milking Demonstration and answer that age old question: Does chocolate milk come from brown cows? (Held between the Graham Building and Expo Center. Check out the daily schedule for times.)
  • Feeling Patriotic? Visit the WWI exhibit in the north-side lobby of Dorton Arena. A partnership between the Department of Cultural Resources, the North Carolina Museum of History and the North Carolina National Guard, this exhibit explains the plight of the American soldier during WWI, and even the role the North Carolina State Fairgrounds played in the victory!
  • Head over to the Expo Center and check out the unusual shaped vegetables
  • Decide which agricultural heritage activity you found most interesting at the Village of Yesteryear on the fairgrounds (blacksmith, boat making, craft-making, growing large horticulture crops, cutting flowers, raising and showing livestock, making clothes etc.) and then Instagram a photo with the hashtag #NCStateFair

Sights from the Expo Building
Take the kids to check out the kids who participate in the fair:

  • Livestock barns and shows. Many youngsters participate in livestock shows, some barely taller than the animals they are showing. In the Expo Center, students can even milk a cow at the N.C. State University Animal Science Club’s Milking Booth.
  • Folk Festival. This event features kids of all ages competing in dance and singing.
  • Arts and Crafts. School work for grades K-12 are on display in the Kerr Scott Building.
  • 4-H Displays in the Education Building features scenes created by 4-H groups in the state.
  • County Fair Best of Show Exhibit (Commercial & Education Building), where adult and junior Best of Show winning entries from fairs across the state are displayed.

Sights from the Flower ShowFirst Weekend: Oct. 13-16

I’m looking at heading over to the fair on October 15th to see an old favorite band from my youth, Firehouse. I might even break out my very old, err, vintage rocker gear to wear to the show! Wait, I think it’s time for a NC Handmade Trivia Question: What was the original name of Firehouse? The answer will be at the end of the post.

NC State Fair Homegrown Concert Series

Oct. 15 — Firehouse with The Fifth

Oct. 16 — The Summit Church featuring Kaimy Masse, Hank Murphy and Summit Worship

Oct. 17 — Jason Michael Carroll, Luke Combs, Stephanie Quayle

Oct. 18 — Orquesta GarDel

Oct. 19 — Nuv Yug Presents Bollywood Night

Oct. 20 — Black Sheep with Shadina

Oct. 21 — Band of Oz and The Embers

Oct. 22 — Wake Chapel Choir, Instrument of Praise Gospel Concert Chrale, Watts Chapel Gospel Choir

Oct. 23 — The Love Language

Oct. 24 — Charlie Daniels Band and Kasey Tyndall

Oct. 25 — Nantucket and Sidewinder

All concerts are free, but floor seating (closest to the stage) will require a ticket, which can be picked up beginning at 9 a.m. the day of the show at the Dorton Arena Box Office. There is a limit of six tickets per person and tickets will only be available for that day’s show. First-come, first-served seating will be available in the arena’s permanent seating section.

Doors will open at 6:15 p.m., with shows starting at 7:30.


The N.C. State Fair runs Oct. 15-25. For more information, go to www.ncstatefair.org.

Discount tickets to the 2015 N.C. State Fair go on sale on Monday, Aug. 3, at 10 a.m.

Trivia Question Answer: Firehouse used to be called “White Heat.” I saw them play when I was a freshman in high school at the local community college.

Civil Rights Movement Has Roots in NC

The history of the South is complex, just as it is in points around the globe. Our story is deep and vast, and most importantly, defined by the lens we wear. North Carolina is rooted in civil rights history.

Inspired by the Greensboro sit-ins, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) began at Shaw University in 1960. Shaw, the oldest historically black university in the South, is around the corner from my son’s school so I often marvel at what those walls hold.  Julian Bond, a founding member of SNCC, was instrumental in the group’s organization and growth. Incidentally, he was my professor in college for a course that has moved me more than any other, the History of the Civil Rights Movement. Can you imagine a more apt teacher for such a class? Bond is honored at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in its Hall of Fame.

My husband and son were recently there. This summer my husband has taken each of our sons for a sojourn of their choice within our state. My newly minted 10-year old son chose Greensboro and the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. I had visited there before with my older son so our youngest has been itching to reach double digits so he too could visit. He has studied the civil rights movement in school, and we have been to points all over Washington, D.C., including the Martin Luther King memorial on MLK Day. Yet my son was yearning to learn about the movement that sprouted so close to home.

He was not disappointed.

In fact, as all of us have experienced on our visits there, we left moved, angry, and motivated. We have a new appreciation for the ferocity of the civil rights leaders and the immense risks they took. We feel honored to have seen pieces of history firsthand. Imagine the lump in my throat seeing Julian Bond commemorated, a man whose lectures and stories riveted me at a time in my life when I was grasping to find my way and my own voice.

I am amazed at how few people we know have visited the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. We are lucky to have this bastion of history in our state. There are guided tours, speakers, children’s story time, and more. My son has already asked to go back. This time, in light of national news and a resurgence of civil rights discussions in my own family and across the country, we will experience the museum together with yet a new lens.

The International Civil Rights Center & Museum is an archival center, collecting museum and teaching facility devoted to the international struggle for civil and human rights. The Museum celebrates the nonviolent protests of the 1960 Greensboro sit-ins that served as a catalyst in the civil rights movement.”

The International Civil Rights Center & Museum is located in downtown Greensboro at 134 South Elm Street.


Summer (April – September)
Monday – Saturday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday Closed

Winter (October – March)
Monday – Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday Closed


Happy Independence Day!


DSC_0045 DSC_0031

Flags are proudly waving in the mountain air and the ocean breeze. This beautiful perch atop Chimney Rock is a favorite. We wish you safe and happy 4th of July!