The five unusual places to visit in North Carolina are an historic pinball museum (Asheville), a reflective metal sculpture of a giant face (Charlotte), a huge collection of tubas (Durham), a forgotten sea village (Ocracoke), and a beloved folk art mecca (Pittsboro). These curious places illustrate that The Tar Heel State is indeed unique, special, and worthy of visiting.
At the end of this blog post, we share the names of our 3 April winners of the Celebrations Getaways Contest who have their choice of staying at the following NCBBI member inns: Duke Mansion (Charlotte), Inn on Mill Creek (Old Fort), or Pamlico House (Washington).
In addition to having over 20 vintage tables and more than 20 classic video arcade games, The Asheville Pinball Museum is located in Old Battery Park Hotel (which is on the National Register of Historic Places). It was built in 1924 as a replacement for the old, old Battery Park Hotel which was a Queen Anne-style beauty torn down to make room for the new, old hotel’s 14 story tower.
Visitors are allowed to tour for free to see the pinball museum’s collection (some machines date back to the 1940’s) and watch other people play or they can pay one entry fee and play pinball inside (without putting in a bunch of quarters over and over). In the 1980’s the former hotel was converted to senior housing in the upper floors, with commercial and restaurant space on the bottom, including a space for the pinball museum.
Metalmorphosis, a mirrored sculpture found in the Whitehall Technology Park in Charlotte, North Carolina, consists of nearly 40 steel pieces grouped into 7 segments which independently rotate (360 degrees) and the mouth spits water into a huge pool of water that it sits in. When the segments are aligned, the sculpture appears to be a giant silver head with facial features in the same traditional places as human faces. However, when the motorized, internet-controlled segments are rotating, the result is an oddly mesmerizing and continuously moving work of art which alternately looks like a human head with disturbing, gaping holes where the mouth or eyes should be or like nothing else ever created in the physical world. The reflecting pool beneath the sculpture adds to the illusion.
The V and E Simonetti Historic Tuba Collection was started by Vincent Simonetti around 50 years ago when he was touring with the Moyseev Ballet Company as their resident tubist. He and his wife Ethel have continued collecting tubas. The museum details the history of the tuba from its invention (around 1830) all the way to present day. In Spring of 2016, the collection of 300 instruments in the tuba family (including saxhorns, ophicleides, euphoniums, sousaphones, and tubas) was put on public display in a little yellow house at 1825 Chapel Hill Road in Durham. Open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 pm to 5 pm.
Portsmouth, North Carolina on the Ocracoke Inlet was once a bustling port, but after two hurricanes devastated the area in 1846,it is now a desolate, wind-torn ghost town. The formerly crucial shipping lane lost its appeal. Its final two hold-out residents left in 1971. Currently, Portsmouth Island and its abandoned Portsmouth Village is under the care of the National Park Service. There are about 12 structures still left in the area. During the summer, visitors may explore this historic area, but there is no power, food, or drinkable water available.
Clyde’s Critter Crossing in Pittsboro is one of the most beloved folk art areas in the nation. Born in 1938, Clyde Jones, the Bynum North Carolina artist has devoted the later part of his life to creating roughly fashioned wooden creatures that are now scattered all over the world (from Taiwan to the Great Wall of China). Hundreds of his indistinct animals are on display in his yard. Jones is determined not to sell his work, only giving pieces to those he sees as worthy. His work is so celebrated that there have been gatherings known as “Clydefest” to honor the artist.
North Carolina has an eclectic variety of fascinating sites people can see. North Carolina Bed and Breakfast Inns are known for their Southern hospitality, gourmet cuisine, and luxurious accommodations.
Announcing our 3 lucky April winners of NCBBI Celebrations Getaways Contest:
Congratulations, April North Carolina Bed and Breakfast Inns Celebrations Getaway Contest Winners, and we look forward to awarding many more gift certificates to stay at our distinguished member inns in the coming months.