New in the collection: Tourism-promoting license plate

Front license plate that reads "North Carolina Variety Vacationland"


“Never before had there been a coordinated statewide effort to showcase North Carolina as a destination. Tourism had the potential to lift the state out of economic despair. So in 1937, the newly created Division of State Advertising embarked on a campaign under the slogan ‘Variety Vacationland’….

“The phrase … would become mostly history by the 1980s, falling out of favor to another alliterative phrase: First in Flight….”

— From “How North Carolina Became ‘Variety Vacationland’ “ by Bryan Mims in Our State (July 23, 2015) 


View from Boston: South yes, Southerners no

“In ‘The Poetry of Traveling’ (1838)… Bostonian Anna Marie Wells spoke of the fine scenery in Buncombe County but warned visitors about the crudeness of Southern society. While the views from the mountains filled her soul with the wonder of God’s glory, the local population did not…. She mocked their strange accents and their peculiar attitudes…. A log cabin made her want ‘to smile at its rudeness and insignificance’ until she realized it was a church.”

— From “Souvenirs of the Old South: Northern Tourism and Southern Mythology” by Rebecca Cawood McIntyre (2011)


The rise and long, hard fall of muscadine wine

More phrase-frequency charts from Google Books Ngram Reader:

— Chapel Hill vs. Raleigh and Durham

Variety Vacationland. Tourism promotion not a priority during World War II?

— Billy Graham vs. Jim Bakker. No contest, even during the glory run of PTL.

— North Carolina vs. South Carolina. South Carolina’s spike in the early 1700s roughly coincides with its becoming a royal colony.

muscadine wine. After 150 years out of favor — longer even than big band music! — still waiting for a comeback.