North Carolina is an amazing state filled with facts. Some we knew, others surprised us. We knew that if we were missing out on facts about the Old North State, we weren’t alone and created the A to Z North Carolina – Fun Facts about the Old North State.
Some letters will have more facts than others and we promise to update this page on an ongoing basis. Do you have a fact we should include about North Carolina? Send us an email at handmadenorthcarolina at gmail dot com.
A — Three hundred miles of the Appalachian Trail wind through the North Carolina mountains.
A — Albemarle Sound is the largest freshwater sound in the world.
B — The Biltmore Estate is America’s largest private home containing 250 rooms.
B — The Brown Mountain Lights are a mysterious, rare occurring light phenomenon happening on Brown Mountain near Burke County. (Lisa grew up about 45 minutes from this area and has seen them on quite a few occasions.)
B — Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run in Fayetteville on March 7, 1914.
C– North Carolina’s State Bird is the Cardinal.
C — The Capital of North Carolina is in Raleigh.
C — Clay is the state art medium.
D — North Carolina’s state flower is the Dogwood.
E — Esse Quam Videri is our state motto and means “To be rather than to seem.”
F — Fontana Dam is the tallest dam in the Eastern United States, at 480 feet high.
G — The Great Smokey Mountains National Park straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America’s most visited national park.
G — Cabarrus County, North Carolina, was the site of America’s first gold rush.
H — Every year, on the third Saturday in June, the National Hollerin’ Contest takes place in Spivey’s Corner (population 49!) with the proceeds benefiting the Spivey’s Corner Volunteer Fire Department.
I — Many people believe that North Carolina was the first state to declare Independence from England with the Mecklenburg Declaration of 1775. It is celebrated every year with Meck Dec day.
J — Jazz. John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Billy Taylor, and Nina Simone are just a sampling of legendary jazz artists who were born in North Carolina
J — Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Heads is the location of the naturally tallest sand dune in the world. It is also the site of the Wright Brothers flight.
K — Krispy Kreme donuts were created in Winston-Salem.
L — The Linn Cove Viaduct located on the Blue Ridge Parkway is an international engineering marvel. The Viaduct was completed in 1987 at a cost of $10 million and was the last section of the Blue Ridge Parkway to be finished.
L — The Long Leaf Pine is the North Carolina state tree.
L — The Lost Colony of North Carolina is still a mystery. The only clue left was the word “Croatan” carved on a tree.
M — The state Mammal is the gray squirrel.
M– Moravians were one of the first settlers, creating what was “Old Salem” and is now “Winston-Salem.”
M — Mount Mitchell, known in Cherokee as Attakulla, is the highest peak of the Appalachian Mountains and the highest peak in mainland eastern North America.
N — New Bern is the home of Pepsi. It was born there in 1898.
N — Nickname — The Tar Heel State
O — North Carolina’s state song is the “Old North State.” Written by William Gaston in 1835, and set to an arrangement composed by Mrs. E.E. Randolph in 1926. The North Carolina General Assembly passed the adoption of the song in 1927.
P — We’re proud to call the Plott Hound our state dog.
P — Pirates? Arr Matey! Blackbeard is one of history’s most legendary pirates of all time, and the coast of North Carolina, from Ocracoke Island to the small inland town of Bath, has the rare distinction of being his favorite plundering grounds, hideout, and home.
P — Putt Putt. In 1954, a Fayetteville, North Carolina resident named Don Clayton created Putt-Putt golf as a no-frills alternative to windmill-filled, obstacle-ridden mini-golf course. Sing with us “Putt-Putt for the fun of it!”
Q — The Queen Anne’s Revenge was the flagship of Blackbeard the Pirate. (Many thanks to our Twitter friend @SurfinPirate for reminding us of this fact!)
R — Raleigh is North Carolina’s state capital.
S — Seagrove was designated the state birthplace of traditional pottery In 2006 by the North Carolina General Assembly.
S — North Carolina’s state fruit is the Scuppernong.
S — North Carolina was granted Statehood in 1789 and is the 12th state.
S — Students in Wilson County petitioned the NCGA in 1995 to have the Sweet Potato declared North Carolina’s state vegetable.
T — Did you know North Carolina has an official Tartan? Called the Carolina Tartan, it was designed in 1981 by Peter MacDonald of Crieff, Scotland. The tartan was registered with the Scottish Tartan Society in 1995.
U — The Unaka National Forest was established on February 24, 1920 by President Wilson. Unaka was formed by combining the White Top, Unaka, and French Broad Purchase Units. Later land transfers divided it and now this picturesque region of fertile valleys and towering hills at the meeting place of three States—Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
V — Students in Wilson County petitioned the NCGA in 1995 to have the Sweet Potato declared North Carolina’s state vegetable.
V — The first English child born in America, Virginia Dare, was born in Roanoke, North Carolina, in 1587.
V — The Linn Cove Viaduct located on the Blue Ridge Parkway is an international engineering marvel. The Viaduct was completed in 1987 for $10 million and was the last section of the Blue Ridge Parkway to be finished.
W — North Carolina’s state wildflower is the “Carolina Lily.”
W — Vollis Simpson created Whirligig’s at his home in North Carolina.
W — Whitewater Falls in Transylvania County, one of over 200 waterfalls in North Carolina, is the highest waterfall on the East Coast.
Y — Yonahlossee is the Cherokee word for “trail of the black bear.” Hugh MacRae built the Yonahlossee Trail in 1889 to connect his resort in Linville to Blowing Rock. This trail served as a toll road between Linville and Blowing Rock until the 1920’s when it became part of the national highway system as US 221.
Z — The North Carolina Zoo, located in Asheboro, is seated on a 2,200-acre tract of land near the Uwharrie Mountains. 500 acres of this property have been developed into one of the largest “natural habitat” zoos in the United States.
Latest update: December 27, 2021