I never understood all my peers who said they wanted to get out of their hometown or their home state and escape. North Carolina has always been the best of all worlds to me.
Here are only a few of the reasons why I'm not one of the people anxious to get out and get away. North Carolina will always be my favorite to come home to.
1. Plenty of country.
This is a necessary qualification for me for the best state ever.
Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro, Asheville (for the hippies, you know). There's also Wilmington, which has a beach, so.
Another necessity. I love that we have beaches that are full of people, in the water, playing volleyball, tanning and having a good time.
But I also love that we have quiet beaches where you can be by yourself and have a relaxing day on the shore.
Also, we have an island with wild horses that you can go see, so I don't think there's any question that this is the best thing ever.
If you needed any more convincing, the sun rises perfectly above the glistening, green-blue waters of the ocean, and it doesn't get any better than that.
Best of both worlds, right? We have the gorgeous Blue Ridge Parkway, Biltmore Estate, a 60' natural waterfall rock slide in Pisgah National Forest. Stop in Boone or Asheville for a perfect downtown experience to round up your mountain vacation. Or just move there, I mean.
North Carolina's historic sites date as far back as some of the first European settlers arriving in the 1600s. Several Revolutionary and Civil War battle sites can be found as well, including the pivotal Battle of Guilford Courthouse, and the surrender of Confederate soldiers at Bennett Place.
The International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro is also located at the actual Woolworth's diner that sparked a huge wave of powerful, non-violent protests during the 1960s.
6. All the seasons.
FINALLY, a state with all four seasons in good balance. Spring is gorgeous and new and green. Summer is hot and perfect like it's supposed to be, especially with a few beach trips thrown in there. Fall is cool and breezy. The leaves are gorgeous and bonfires unending and the sky is clear blue to the horizon. Winter is... cold. Snow comes a few times a year, as long as the weather isn't feeling too moody, and Christmas is freezing as it should be.
Assuming you like that kind of thing. Especially politically, we have from either extreme end of the spectrum down to everything in between. It's not one of those strictly blue or red states. We've got a pretty equal balance.
8. Middle of the East coast.
This way it doesn't take 24 hours driving to get from one end to the other. You're just in the middle of everything! Also, if you're like me and live in the middle of North Carolina itself, you're just one day trip away from the beach and the mountains too. 10/10 would recommend.
9. Great universities.
Whether public or private, North Carolina has an impressive selection of excellent universities to choose from, including Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, Wilmington, and Charlotte, Davidson, Elon, NC State, and more.
10. Best college basketball rivalry.
OK, obviously I couldn't get through this whole thing without bringing up the infamous Duke-UNC college basketball rivalry. It's pretty much legendary at this point. Check out this statistic from Sporting News' Alex Novick.
Going back 41 years, these two teams have played each other 100 times. Incredibly, both teams have won exactly 50 games while Duke has scored 7,767 points to UNC's 7,765.
Excuse me, WHAT? Like I said, legendary.
11. My hometown.
Hillsborough, NC is where it's at. I know, bad grammar, I'm sorry. But I mean, really. It's the ideal, charming, Southern small town. The downtown area is winning in every area, plus there's a river walk right near downtown and lots of history in between. Just go the link attached, and you'll fall in love, I'm sure.