Mount Airy

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     My dad is a champion whistler. The family has encouraged him to compete in Louisburg's International Whistlers Competition, and we've no doubt he'd take it, but once he found out the complexities of the rules, he wasn't interested. I did not inherit the whistling gift from him. But like all good Southern lads, I could whistle at least two tunes - Sesame Street, and the intro to The Andy Griffith Show.      It was a sad day this past July 3rd, when we North Carolinians, Southerners, Americans, and good people everywhere lost Andy Griffith.  I felt it my duty to head to Mt. Airy -- known to the outside world as Mayberry -- to pay my respects to a legend. For the uninitiated, Mt. Airy is located in the shade of Pilot Mountain,...

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Heavy Rebel Weekender

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     My introduction to Rockabilly culture was several years ago in Raleigh, and I thought it was kind of hokey, with throwback haircuts and clothes and back-to-basics rock and roll. And then I went to Heavy Rebel Weekender for the first time, and became a convert. This annual gathering of rockers and gearheads takes place every post-July 4th weekend in downtown Winston Salem, NC, and continues to grow every year, now in its 12th iteration.      This three day congregation of some of the most interesting folks you’ll meet is “church” to many of us. It’s a place where women’s 50s updos are appreciated, where low-brow art isn’t looked down upon, where rust on your car is a badge of honor (it means you actually DRIVE it), PBR flows freely, and independent music artists...

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I-95 South

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     One of the curses of living on the eastern Seaboard and wanting to embark on a north-south road trip is the fact that you’ll probably have to use Interstate Highway 95 at some point. This stretch of road is great for travel between DC (where the South really starts, right?!) and northern Florida (south Jersey, as I call it) – in terms of convenience – but much of it has a tendency to be poorly paved, over traveled, and lacks visual stimulation. But if you keep your eyes open and your taste for kitsch piqued, you can spice up your trip a bit.      Since I find myself a resident of Virginia at present, we’ll start there. Once you escape the madding crowds (and traffic) of DC and northern VA, you’ll find yourself...

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Deal’s Gap

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     The winter was just cold enough to keep us close to home, but not cold enough to inspire ski trips or pastoral winter scenes. For many of my less-dedicated motorcyclismo friends, it was cold enough to keep their trusty steeds in the barn – no longer. It’s time to dust off your two-wheeled friend and warm those tires up on some mountain curves! I can attest that the air is fine and the roads are calling you back! I chose to start the warm riding season with a pilgrimage to Deal’s Gap, North Carolina, on the Tennessee border.      If you’ve never heard of Deal’s Gap, you may have heard its popular nickname – the Tail of the Dragon. This particular stretch of US Highway 129 between Fontana, NC and Chilhowee,...

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Highland Maple Festival

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     Yes, it’s been a mild winter, and there’s not been much temptation to head to the mountains to freeze without the justification of snow. But the small communities in Highland County, Virginia can supply you with more than just a reason to see the mountains this early spring – maple syrup.      The Highland Maple Festival kicks off its 53rd year on the second and third weekends of March, with festivities on Saturdays and Sundays at various locations throughout the county. There are multiple “sugar camps” to choose from, offering tours and a look at how the maple-sugar making process takes place. These farms are old family traditions, taking a very long time to grow the proper sugar maples, and the people of these hills take a deep pride in their...

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