barbecue (n.): pork cooked slowly over real wood

You can spot a newcomer to North Carolina when they use the word “barbecue” as a verb. All Tar Heels know that barbecue is not something you do, it’s something you eat. See the caption below for an example of proper usage. The photo, from the Lee Wallace WPA photo album in the North Carolina Collection, was taken ca. 1936-1942 and shows a man hard at work at a pit in Ayden, N.C., home of the world-renowned Skylight Inn.



What’s New in the North Carolina Collection

I’ve just added a generous number of titles to our What’s New in the North Carolina Collection page. This list is updated four times a year with our latest selections. Full citations can be found in the University Library catalog and these items are all available for use in the North Carolina Collection Reading Room. Check out the list under Pages in the right column.

Film, Fun, and Cherry Cola

I’ve never been to the Sundance Film Festival, but it sounds like fun. I imagine spending a strenuous day viewing independent films then dining well and relaxing by the fire in some cozy restaurant with a view of the snow-capped mountains and leisurely sipping a fine glass of . . . Cheerwine.

That’s right, the Sundance Catalog is now offering, among other luxury items, North Carolina’s very own cherry cola. The price is a little bit steeper than you’d find at, say, the Food Lion in Salisbury, but who knows, maybe the bottles sold in the catalog come from Robert Redford’s own private soda cellar.

Postcard Exhibit Opens


A new exhibit, “Greetings from North Carolina: A Century of Postcards from the Durwood Barbour Collection,” has just opened in the North Carolina Collection Gallery. The exhibit features a couple of hundred postcards from the Durwood Barbour Collection. Barbour, a Raleigh deltiologist, amassed an impressive collection of more than 7,000 cards, which has recently been acquired by the North Carolina Collection.

Wild Game Cookout in Sampson County

As we begin to enter the hot days of Summer, like me you may already be yearning for cooler times. Look forward all the way to next January and remind yourself to check on the date for the Annual Wild Game Cookout sponsored by the Friends of Sampson County Waterways. Always a colorful event, the Cookout has in the past featured music and dancers, but the main event, always, is the cooking and eating of some unusual wild game treats. Haven’t had your fill of musk ox? Yearning for some delicious alligator tail? Fancy a nice beaver stroganoff? Sampson County next January is the place for you. Be sure to come early, the stroganoff goes fast.

Death of a Mill Town


This photograph depicts the fire at the textile mill in Avalon, N.C. on June 11, 1911. I had never heard of Avalon and so turned to the handy North Carolina Gazetteer to figure out exactly where it is. Or, in this case, was. The story of Avalon gives us a sense of just how important the local mill was to early 20th-century North Carolinians. The fire was a disaster, damaging the mill well beyond any point where it could have been repaired. With the primary engine of their economy gone, the people of Avalon, located in Rockingham County, loaded around sixty houses, a Moravian church, a school, and a company store onto horse-drawn rollers and moved the whole town two miles west to Mayodan.

Concord and Other Exotic Locales

The front page of today’s New York Times travel section lists, at the bottom of the page, the locations covered this week: Monaco; Shanghai; Antarctica; The Silk Road; Angkor; Concord, N.C.; and Venice. Does one seem to stand out from the others? Or do they all strike you as strange and exotic destinations worth planning a vacation around? The article on Concord is a “photo essay” on the Nextel All-Star Challenge held last month at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Best Beach

We all know that North Carolina leads the nation when it comes to college basketball and pork barbecue. Now we can add another superlative: best beach. No less an authority than Dr. Beach himself has named Ocracoke Island as the best beach in the nation for 2007. The fourteen miles of beach on Ocracoke are part of the National Park Service’s Cape Hatteras National Seashore and are protected from development. With temperatures reaching into the nineties for much of the state this afternoon, this would be an awfully good day to head to the Outer Banks and see if Dr. Beach really knows his stuff.