Trails for All Seasons: Exploring the Unique Greenway System of North Carolina

Greenway System of North CarolinaThere’s no better way to let go of stress, calm your mind, get fit and stay healthier longer than getting outside and enjoying the incredible outdoor spaces of our beautiful state. North Carolina’s extensive system of walkways, bikeways and rural trails – more commonly known as greenways – is a recreational resource unlike any other.

What is a Greenway?

A greenway is a stretch of trail, usually passing through a scenic area – urban and/or rural – that is designated for recreational use and is usually environmentally protected. Old rail lines or disused public paths or even newly designed trails through neighborhoods and public areas provide walkers, bikers and sometimes horseback riders a place where the path is given priority as it crosses through streets and wooded areas and across roads and commercial areas.

The Physical and Mental Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

The tangible benefits of exercise – lower blood pressure, better circulation, weight loss, stronger bones and fewer aching joints, for instance – are very real, and being outdoors adds an element of interest that, for some, makes the experience even more enjoyable. Science, too, has shown that increased activity helps to increase both productivity and creativity. For older individuals, gardening, walking or doing group activities in an outdoor setting have shown to improve dexterity and brain function. And for kids, outdoor activity helps them develop motor skills, live a healthy lifestyle, learn in a less structured environment than a classroom, and appreciate nature

History of North Carolina’s Trail System

The goal of the North Carolina Trails System Act of 1973 was to develop and maintain a trail system – including greenways for hiking and biking trails, paddling routes and off-road vehicle trails – in conjunction with various agencies, environmental groups and citizens’ organizations. A Trails Committee advises on funding a trail system which will eventually have regional routes across the entire state. Maintenance of the six state trails outside the Division of Parks & Recreation is based on regional partnerships between landowners, local agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

  • The Mountains-to-Sea State Trail, longest of them all, is a 667-mile long route – which will be about 1,400 when completed – that offers opportunities for hiking, biking and horseback riding from Nags Head to the very Greenway System of North Carolinawestern edge of the state.
  • The Yadkin River State Trail, or “blueway,” is a 130-mile scenic padding route.
  • The proposed scenic Deep River State Trail will feature hiking and paddling along the Piedmont region’s Deep River.
  • The 116-mile long French Broad River Trail, suitable for both paddlers and rafters, extends from Hot Springs in the north to Rosman in the south.
  • The Fonta Flora State Trail will eventually extend 100 miles from Asheville and around Lake James all the way to the Fonta Flora County park in Burke County.
  • North Carolina’s Wilderness Gateway State Trail is another planned route that will include walking and paddling sections and will connect the Hickory Nut Gorge State Trail and South Mountains State Park with Hickory and Valdese.
  • The state’s newest trail, the Hickory Nut Gorge State Trail, is still in the development state, but will eventually connect to Chimney Rock State park, Bat Cave, and Florence Nature Preserve.

American Tobacco Trail

The history of this incredible route began in 1904 as the New Hope Railroad was developed with the intention of connecting various sections of the region’s timberlands and agricultural areas where tobacco, cotton, corn and beans were farmed. In the 1920’s, when the American Tobacco company built a new plant in Durham, an extension was built to the facility; the move was so financially rewarding to the railroad that the route came to informally be called the American Tobacco Trail. During the Great Depression use of the railroad diminished, and when, in the ‘80s, Lake Jordan was developed, a section of the route had to be relocated.

Today the 22-mile long trail throughout Chatham, Durham and Wake Counties is a model greenway ideal for biking, horseback riding, and walking. Starting at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in the North and extending southward to the New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd. area, in Apex, the asphalt and crushed stone surface provides a very walkable path through forest and other rural areas and wildlife – deer, owls, hawks, turtles and songbirds – is abundant. Horseback riding is allowed along the southern stretch only.

The East Coast Greenway

Greenway System of North CarolinaThe magnificent East Coast Greenway, connecting 15 states and over 950 miles to date stretching all the way from Maine to Florida, is a walking and biking route broken down into 15 stretches, including the scenic North Carolina segment. Here the trail crosses through the Durham and Raleigh metro areas, along the Neuse River Trail and along 70 miles of a beautiful stretch of trail running through boardwalks and marshes. Upon completion, the East Coast Greenway will stretch 3,000 miles in total from Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida!

The Capital Area Greenway

Raleigh’s 117-mile greenway system is a network of 30 intertwining trails connecting public parklands in and around the city. In the mid-70’s the official Capital City Greenway masterplan was introduced, and today walkers, bikers, fishermen and picnickers enjoy paths that are mostly paved with concrete, asphalt or crushed granite while certain sections are unpaved and more natural. In some areas boardwalks cross over broad marshy areas, and in one section a bridge has been constructed over the Neuse River. The trail also crosses through Meredith College, the NC State campus, and William B. Umstead State park.

Find out more: Exploring the Unique Greenway System of North Carolina


Duck Lease NC

Roanoke River Duck Paradise in Bertie County, NC

Duck Impoundment for Sale in Bertie County North Carolina. THIS DUCK HUNTERS DREAM property is loaded with ducks and approximately 55 acres with approx 50 acres of impoundments! The impoundments are split into three separate impoundments. Each can be drained separately! Only miles from the Roanoke River, this property has road frontage on 832 NC Highway 45 S in Windsor and close to Hwy 17 and Merry Hill. $300,000

This area is renowned for the duck populations and close to many bodies of water including the Chowan River, Cashie River, Middle River, Roanoke River, and Albemarle Sound. Canvas Backs, Ring-necks, Geese, Gadwall, Hooded Merganzers and others are on the property now!! Property is approximately 12 miles from Williamston and 14 miles from Edenton.

There is a Wildlife management plan in place with future cabin site that sits under beautiful oak trees. Ponds are also loaded with fish and one could be used as a private fishing retreat and managed to create world class fishing for any species. Call Frank Gombatz (919)-696-4249 or Gardner Reynolds (919)749-3177 for details!

DUCK LEASE: Finding the right duck lease in NC can be challenging. Although there are many great places to hunt, finding your secluded property that is not over hunted is a luxury. Many of the duck hunting leases in NC are hard to come by just because the good places don’t come open very often and the hunter turnover is slower than some deer leases.

If you are looking for a duck impoundment lease in NC, this property might be of interest. This property lease includes a duck blind or two, planted corn, and two large bodies of water that have been full of ducks and is located in Eastern NC right outside of Windsor.

Many options are available for the buyer including cabin construction and full management for the impoundments.

Bertie County History

Bertie County is one of the largest counties in North Carolina, spanning 741 square miles. It was originally part of Albemarle County, established in 1660. In 1670, Chowan County, including Bertie Precinct, was cut from Albemarle County. Bertie Precinct was finally given status of county in 1722 when it separated from Chowan County. Initially, Bertie County was comprised of present Bertie County, Tyrrell County, Edgecombe County, Northampton County and Hertford County. By 1780, Bertie County had been divided to resemble its current shape.

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Duck Impoundments for Sale in Bertie County NC. Duck Hunting in Bertie County.



Why Farmland Investing Might be the Right Financial Move for You

Why Farmland Investing Might be the Right Financial Move for YouA real estate investment – residential, commercial, industrial or farmland – is considered a smart addition to any well-diversified portfolio, but buyers are sometimes wary of investing in real estate, and especially farmland, for a few simple reasons. First, there is the uncertainty involved in dealing with something they may not entirely understand or feel comfortable with. Second, they may lack the necessary capital to purchase and then maintain a property well enough to earn an acceptable rate of return. Third, the demanding process involved in locating, purchasing, and developing an investment property, whether it is for re-sale, rental or other use, is often more time-consuming than expected.

Farmland: A Healthy Long-Term Investment

It’s important to know that in the long run, almost all farmland increases in value, especially as the need for high quality farmed food continues to grow globally, and quality land that’s suitable for agriculture becomes more and more sought after. Historically, too, investments in farmland have proven to earn higher rates of return than other, more traditional types of investments.

The decision as to whether or not an investment in farmland is in line with your financial goals can be made easier by asking yourself a few basic questions.

  • Are you willing and able to make the financial investment required? If so, then finding an experienced lender who is knowledgeable about purchasing farmland and the various loan options – perhaps a government loan through the USDA – is critical. Traditional lenders are not always aware of the various types of loans (loans to purchase, farm operating loans and lines of credit, for instance) that are available to investors in agricultural real estate.
  • An investment in farmland is not a short-term prospect; in order to get the best return on your investment, are you willing to hold on to the land for an extended period of time in order to withstand all the ups and downs of the economy? Should you wish to sell at a certain point, you also need to be prepared for a process that may be significantly more cumbersome than selling shares of stock, for instance. Why Farmland Investing Might be the Right Financial Move for You
  • Should the farmland you’re considering be located in an area that is expected to grow, your investment, while higher initially, might pay off substantially down the road. But in the meantime, you may have to deal with environmental or zoning issues as well as obtaining or maintaining access to utilities and roadways; is this something you are prepared for, potentially?

Tax Deductions and Other Benefits to Investing in Farmland

Investing in farmland is one of the most stable and highest-yielding types of real estate investment. Improvements to farmland – assets – such as crop irrigation, grain storage or the addition of barns or other out-buildings – are often depreciated in value over time, which results in valuable tax deductions. Inflation, too, is less likely to affect the value of a farm in the long run as the need to produce more food for a growing worldwide population steadily increases. Also, agricultural investing doesn’t tend to be as volatile as investing in the stock market – which can either be very successful or very risky, in the short term – when it comes to recession. Finally, farmland is often used for much more than just traditional farming; it may produce income from for timbering, mining for minerals, and ranching, all areas that offer attractive rates of return.

Calculating the Internal Rate of Return (IRR) for a Piece of Farmland

Why Farmland Investing Might be the Right Financial Move for YouThe Internal Rate of Return (IRR) is a number – a percentage – which gives the lender and investor an idea of the potential value of the investment. This figure, still very commonly used, is calculated without taking into consideration any debt the investor might incur in purchasing the property.

Annual returns come in two forms – cash returns and changes in market value; the total Internal Rate of Return is the sum of these two numbers.

  • Cash Return, or Annual Yield. Calculated as the cash rental rate divided by the market value of that piece of land in the same year, this number represents rent that the owner will receive from the farmer, which varies somewhat, of course, from year to year due to trade wars, fluctuating interest rates, etc. Pricing on commodity crops such as corn or beans tends to follow the overall economy and is sometimes depressed. However, because commodity prices over time tend to rise, the annual yield of a piece of farmland on average does well.
  • Appreciation in Property Value. The annual increase or decrease of the value of a farm is measured as a percentage change in value. Over the past 50 years, which is the longest time period available from the USDA, we’ve seen that the annual percentage growth for farmland is around a very healthy 5.9%.

The Rich Agricultural Landscape of North Carolina: Ripe for Investment

The sheer variety of crops that are grown in North Carolina – over 80 different commodities – is vast indeed.

  • Along the coastal plain, the largest farms statewide – some up to 15,000 acres! – produce berries, melons, sweet potatoes and some of the state’s leading field crops: soybeans, cotton, tobacco and peanuts.  
  • The Piedmont area specializes in dairy products, turkeys and chickens, tobacco, sweet potatoes, vegetables and fruit.
  • North Carolina’s mountain region grows tobacco as well as corn, tomatoes, peaches and apples. Tree farms, too, are an integral part of North Carolina’s mountain farming economy.

As the third most agriculturally diverse state in the country thanks to a broad range of soil types, geography, and climate, North Carolinians are fortunate in that opportunities for farmland investment do exist from the mountains to the coast. Besides the increased demand for NC agricultural products worldwide, the growth of farmers’ markets, restaurants and grocery stores and an increased need for landscaping products in our own state – primarily the thriving financial center of Charlotte and tech hub of Raleigh – create additional demand as population increases. Although the production of certain crops, primarily tobacco, has dropped off, demand for other products such as landscaping plants, organic produce and hemp has successfully filled in that gap. The state’s economy has strong ties to its agriculture output in terms of both jobs and revenue.

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Winter Fun in the Mountains of North Carolina

Winter Fun in the Mountains of North CarolinaLooking for ways to get out and take advantage of our state’s beautiful – but chilly! – mountain weather? North Carolina’s awesome natural resources transform, come winter, into a wonderland of snowy trails, icy waterfalls, incredible lake views, and sunny, perfectly crisp sunrises in the Appalachian, Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains. It’s the ideal time to explore an area that, for most of us, has always been the perfect warm-weather destination.

Cabin Getaways

Vacation rentals throughout the area run the gamut from remote, rustic one-room cabins to condos to luxury homes with designer kitchens, hot tubs, expansive mountain views and deluxe furnishings. Per diem rates tend to be a bit more reasonable and the number of minimum nights are often relaxed somewhat during this “off” season, although weekend availability is still, at times, harder to come by in certain areas.

Resorts and Spas

  • Asheville’s Biltmore offers special rates on winter stays through the end of March and is currently hosting the must-see “Downton Abbey: The Exhibition” display at Antler Hill Village through April 7. The Biltmore’s elegant spa experience includes massage, skin care, aromatherapy services and more, and year-round the resort features carriage rides, trail rides, kayak and bicycle rentals (weather permitting), wine, cheese and chocolate tastings, and hiking opportunities along more than 20 miles of trails.
  • The Omni Grove Park Inn, also in Asheville, hosts its Big Band Dance Weekend in mid-January, a Comedy Classic Package on February 8, and a variety of bed-and-breakfast or getaway packages no matter when you wish to visit. An indoor pool, indoor tennis courts and year-round kids’ programs will entertain all family members when it’s particularly cold outside, while the world-renowned spa offers an extensive menu of treatments and services and Winter Fun in the Mountains of North Carolinaunique “Simply Spa Package” for couples seeking an overnight with focus on wellness and relaxation.  
  • The Highlands’ Old Edwards Inn and Spa features Winter Getaway and Winter All-Inclusive packages that include hiking opportunities, dining on delicious, farm-to-table cuisine, and relaxation in the resort’s Jacuzzis or around any of the property’s several outdoor fireplaces. The area is known for its spectacular waterfalls, trails, gem mining and scenic drives.
  • Guests enjoy Bonfire Nights each Friday and Saturday at Blowing Rock’s Chetola Resort, as well as special wintertime rates, Sunday through Thursday. A range of special events – the WinterFeast restaurant crawl, WinterFashion Show, Chetola Lake Polar Bear Plunge, ice carving competitions and more – are offered as part of Blowing Rock’s late January WinterFest celebration. The resort also features archery and rifle ranges, clay pigeon shooting, an indoor pool, sauna and jacuzzi, games room, and children’s indoor play room.

Get Out and Play

No matter how outdoorsy you may or may not be, there are countless ways to warm up on your North Carolina High Country visit. With an annual snowfall of 60 inches and fairly mild average winter temperatures, the mountains are ideal Winter Fun in the Mountains of North Carolinafor outdoor winter family activities. Six ski areas throughout the state, for instance, offer downhill skiing (including night skiing), snowboarding and tubing.

  • Beech Mountain’s Ski Resort not only provides outstanding trails and slopes, but an outdoor skating rink, tubing, miles of snowshoeing trails and lessons for all age groups and skill levels.
  • Sugar Mountain, the state’s largest ski area, also offers skiing, snowboarding, tubing and outdoor skating as well as hour-long snowshoeing tours ranging from casual to intense levels of activity.
  • Visitors enjoy skiing, snowboarding, tubing and more at the Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, just north of Asheville. The resort’s Snow Sports School offers both group and individual instruction.
  • Appalachian Ski Mountain features day and nighttime skiing and snowboarding, ice skating, lessons and “Ski & Stay” packages with several hotels and resorts in the area.
  • Sapphire Valley is the mountains’ southernmost ski area, offering skiing, tubing, snowboarding and a thrilling winter zipline tour.
  • The Cataloochee Ski Area offers skiing, snowboarding, tubing, recreational ski racing opportunities and lessons including “Women on Wednesdays,” ladies-only classes.


The Hawksnest Snow Tubing Park, between Boone and Banner Elk, is the East Coast’s largest tubing area with three lifts and over 30 lanes. Snow-making equipment ensures that conditions are perfect for tubing all season long. A two-hour Snowboard Tour features panoramic Blue Ridge Mountain views on four of the area’s multiple zipline cables.

Hendersonville’s Moonshine Mountain Snow Tubing Park, the steepest in North Carolina, as well as Scaly Mountains Outdoor Center, Tube World in Maggie Valley and Newland’s Jonas Ridge Snow Park all offer both day and nighttime tubing.

Cross-Country Skiing

Certain trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway – especially between Linville and Blowing Rock – are a paradise for Nordic skiers. Picture-perfect paths within the Moses Cone Memorial Park and at Price Lake Trail, Roan Mountain Trail, Grandfather Mountain, Beech Mountain and numerous other trails in and around the area are all ideal for cross-country excursions. The dramatic landscapes of Elk Knob State Park are made even more magical in the snow. Mount Michell State Park’s Commissary Ridge Trail, another outstanding area, is only accessible from the highest point of the Blue Ridge Parkway – a region that, unfortunately, is often also closed when weather deteriorates.

Winter Hikes

Wintertime hiking in the higher elevations of the state offers some of the most incredible viewing of mountains, lakes and waterfalls around.

  • Dry Falls. An especially scenic trail in the area northwest of Highlands, NC leads to a walkway below a waterfall which may or not be entirely frozen over, depending on weather conditions.
  • A Linville Falls hike is spectacular at any time of year, but in the winter the falls are particularly lovely, though trails are steep and can be treacherous under icy conditions.
  • The 4,600-foot Appalachian Max Patch Trail leads to a unique “bald” – a wide open area without one single tree – where over 300 acres of meadow turn into a picturesque, snowy pasture that impresses all who take on the challenge of reaching an area only accessible by snowmobile or other off-road vehicle.

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58.32 Acre Tract With Paved Road Frontage on Hillmon Grove Road

58.32 Acre Tract With Paved Road Frontage on Hillmon Grove Road

$319,000! 1855 Hillmon Grove Road, Cameron NC 28326 Nice Rolling 58.32 Acre Tract With Paved Road Frontage on Hillmon Grove Road in Cameron. County Water and Electricity on Site with a World Class Family Fishing Pond on the Rear of the Property! Several Previous Home Sites For Mobile Homes. Mature Loblolly & Longleaf Pines Mixed With Blackjack Oaks. Great Road System! Ideal For Investment or Retreat for Church or Civic Group. Nice Areas for Home site, Pasture, Picnic Area, Shelters, etc. Wildlife Abounds! 1855 Hillmon Grove Road, Cameron NC 28326

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Bright Holiday Lights in the Big Cities and Small Towns of NC

Bright Holiday Lights in the Big Cities and Small Towns of NCFor many of us, nothing symbolizes the joy of the holidays more than the lights we use to string around our Christmas trees and light up our indoor and outdoor living spaces. Communities throughout the state, too, commemorate the season from Blowing Rock to Wilmington with colorful light shows and displays brightening up our neighborhoods, town and city centers, and shopping areas.

Traditions of Christmas Trees and Indoor / Outdoor Holiday Lighting

Evergreens have been used as a symbol of life throughout history. Early Romans, for instance, used tree branches in their homes during the long winter months in anticipation of the growing season to come. The custom spread over time, and soon northern Europeans were using evergreens in their houses to celebrate winter Solstice and, later during the Renaissance period, to commemorate Christmas. Many believe that the use of a “paradise tree” – a symbol of Adam and Eve’s Garden of Eden – in medieval plays, depicting the link between the Nativity and the story of the creation, was the first time an evergreen was actually used as a true symbol of the Christian holiday. The first instance of a song about a Christmas tree in recorded history, of course, was in Germany; “O Tannenbaum,” a holiday favorite, was composed around 1550, kicking off the European tradition of celebrating the holiday by decorating an indoor tree.

Bright Holiday Lights in the Big Cities and Small Towns of NCMoravian immigrants brought their beloved German Christmas traditions with them to America in the early 1800s, which included setting up Christmas trees in their homes and decorating them with ornaments and wax candles. While Thomas Edison first used electric lights outdoors in 1880, two short years later Edward Johnson, his cohort, displayed the very first tree illuminated by electric lighting in his parlor, and by 1895 the first electrically-lit White House tree debuted. General Electric started selling tree lights to the public in 1903, and soon the market for holiday lights exploded. During the 1940s and 1950s, the practice of decorating the Christmas tree, house and yard became widespread as a period of post-World War II economic prosperity took over and department store displays became more colorful and complex, inspiring the more elaborate use of lighting at home.

Piedmont Lights

  • Wake Forest’s amazing – and free – 70-acre Piper Lights display is a family-run property and kids’ favorite, featuring a Santa train and visits with the one-and-only four nights a week from 7-9 pm.
  • The Charlotte Motor Speedway comes even more alive during the holiday season as it decorates with more than 3 million lights and provides a Christmas Village with petting zoo, hot chocolate, holiday movie nights and popular “s’more” station. A horse-drawn sleigh ride around the track offers a special Speedway touch.
  • Blowing Rock’s Chetola resort puts up lights around its beautiful lake as part of the annual Festival of Lights; displays are best viewed by car but can also be admired by foot. In addition, the town of Blowing Rock has its own lovely tree as part of its Christmas in the Park Celebration, which includes several Santa visits and traditional caroling.
  • The tiny town of McAdenville, NC is in the spotlight during the holidays with its renowned Christmas Town USA light display that include a two-mile drive or walk from brightly lit downtown through a colorfully decorated residential area. Over 600,000 visitors visit annually, enjoying the community where virtually every home is decorated and on vivid display.
  • Benson’s Meadow Lights’ 10 acres of lighted displays are designed to depict the true meaning of Christmas: the life of Jesus. View the lights by car or train, ride the carousel, and enjoy visits with Santa. The town’s Christmas on Main also includes an annual tree lighting and parade.

Carolina Coastal Celebrations

  • Manteo’s lovely Winterlights at Elizabethan Gardens includes displays using flowers and other natural elements as well as a wonderland of festively-Bright Holiday Lights in the Big Cities and Small Towns of NClit trees, shrubs and buildings. An open-air bonfire warms visitors on the magnificent Great Lawn.  
  • In Wilmington, the Christmas Train & Light Spectacular takes place at the Train Museum, where kids can hear readings of the popular “Polar Express” and everyone enjoys browsing the museum’s 20,000 holiday lights and animations.
  • Past winner of The Today Show’s annual nationwide holiday lights competition, one of the most impressive lights displays in the Outer Banks is the annual Poulos Family Christmas Lights Display. Besides multiple colorful light scenes, the property also features a popular model train and toy display.

The Best of the Best Mountain Displays

  • The Biltmore Estate’s Biltmore Christmas, in Asheville, is a spectacular celebration of lights, decorations, Christmas trees and colorful flowers throughout the property. Listen to carolers in Antler Hill Village, decorate ornaments at The Inn or cookies at the Village Hotel, and enjoy special illuminated landscapes at Antler Hill Village & Winery.
  • Forest City’s holiday display includes hay rides, carriage rides, ice-skating, holiday movies, a children’s train and Santa visits. Santa Paws is on hand to take pictures with your beloved pet on Sundays.
  • Asheville’s Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum features 3 acres of colorfully-lit gardens and landscapes, animated displays, holiday music, and a traditional model train exhibit.

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200 Acres for Sale in Harnett County NC

200 Acres on Jose Williams Road in Harnett County

$695,000 Prime Harnett County Farm Land with Paved Road Frontage On Josey Williams Rd! This Tract has Lots of Open Agricultural Land and Mixed Timber! Rolling Topography and Diverse Terrain enhances the Aesthetic Value and Don’t Forget there is Lots of Frontage on the Little River! Prime Hunting and Fishing Tract! Perfect for Family Compound, Recreational Use, Horses, 4 Wheelers and Future Timber Investment Potential!

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North Carolina’s Best Farm Stays and Dude Ranches

North Carolina’s Best Farm Stays and Dude RanchesHave your kids ever asked you, what’s it like to milk a cow, collect eggs, or feed farm animals? The experience of doing any of these things for a child – or an adult! – is invaluable in that it shows what life is like in an entirely new environment and opens up for them a whole new world of knowledge and connection to nature. What better way to get away from it all, introduce your kids or yourselves to the wonders of farm life and enjoy the resources of our own state than to book a fun, active getaway at a North Carolina working farm or dude ranch?

North Carolina Working Farms

As the field of agritourism grows worldwide and thrives in North Carolina, more and more NC properties offer farm stays as an entirely new type of “destination” in the form of an inn, bed & breakfast, resort or guest ranch; nationwide, in fact, our state is a leader in the support of farmers growing their farm visit businesses. Hundreds of working farms now welcome visitors in rural areas between the mountains and the coast, offering true farm work experiences – opportunities for guests to do typical farm chores or even prepare their own meals with meats and produce from the farm – or luxurious retreats designed to provide a sense of sublime rest and relaxation in five-star surroundings, or something in between.

  • Celebrity Dairy / Siler City. Guests here decide for themselves just how involved in the day-to-cay activities of the 300-acre working goat dairy they  North Carolina’s Best Farm Stays and Dude Rancheschoose to be. A goat herd of 100 Alpine and Saanen goats keeps farm workers busy with twice daily milking, cheesemaking and all the chores that go hand-in-hand with running a successful dairy. Breakfasts are a special treat on the farm, featuring their own chèvre (goat cheese) and omelets made from the eggs of the farm’s own free range chickens
  • Cloud 9 Farm / Fletcher. Just 15 minutes outside of Asheville, Cloud 9 offers a hideaway cabin for couples and larger 3-bedroom ranch home for families or groups. U-pick blueberries are available from June through August, but throughout the year visitors are welcome to learn all about the farm’s honey bee community and gather eggs themselves
  • Turtle Mist Farm / Franklinton. The guesthouse at Turtle Mist Farm overlooks a pond stocked with fish, and a stay there includes the opportunity to help owners take care of a collection of sheep, cattle, chickens, goats, pigs, rabbits, and a variety of game birds.
  • Willet Ponds Farm / Todd. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains just north of Boone, visitors here experience the peaceful life of a farm in the Appalachians, where they’ll be able to gather eggs, feed the chickens, and enjoy fly fishing, berry picking, bird watching and horseback riding in the outdoor riding arena.
  • Emerald Gate Farm / Waynesville. This organic farm is ideal for families with kids as year-round activities include fishing, berry picking and helping care for the farm’s pigs, free-range chickens and horse. Meals are self-prepared, but visitors are supplied with fresh produce and eggs.

North Carolina’s Best Farm Stays and Dude RanchesDude Ranches & Guest Ranches

There are three basic types of dude ranches in the U.S. – working dude ranch, basic dude ranch and resort dude ranch – but all involve getting on the back of a horse and riding it. While on a basic dude ranch you may learn to ride a horse and some of the other skills – lassoing, herding cattle, etc. – like a real cowboy, a stay at a working dude ranch will likely involve directly contributing to the care of livestock.

Some of North Carolina’s best dude ranches – those offering the most amenities at the best possible value – include these.

  • Cataloochee Guest Ranch / Maggie Valley. The Cataloochee Guest Ranch is the perfect spot for those wishing to relax and take advantage of some of the finest horseback riding and hiking trails in North Carolina as well as wagon rides, bonfires, and well-stocked trout ponds. At least one ride is guaranteed per guest per day, and reservations for wrangling (cattle herding) are taken at the breakfast table each morning.
  • Pisgah View Ranch / Candler, NC. A stay at this family-owned, 2,000-acre paradise of horseback-riding trails, scenic mountain hiking paths, and fishing ponds includes nightly storytelling, music, movie nights and campfires, while in the daytime guests enjoy full access to tennis courts, an outdoor pool, and an indoor game room.
  • Clear Creek Guest Ranch / Burnsville. The Great Smoky Mountains’ Clear Creek Ranch, an all-inclusive option designed with families in mind, offers activities from kids-only cookouts to tubing to mountain biking to horseback riding – the last, on any of the ranch’s own 45 horses. The stunning natural surroundings and opportunities to develop riding skills (for newbies) or hone already-existing skills (for experienced riders) make this an outstanding option for an authentic ranch visit.    

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Fulfilling Your Dream of Iconic Rural Living

Louisburg NC Farm for Sale on Old Express RoadFulfilling Your Dream of Iconic Rural Living

Historic Franklin County, North Carolina, whose namesake, Benjamin Franklin, was playing such a significant role in our nation’s fight for independence when the county was established in April of 1778, is a standout in the state’s diverse Piedmont region. With a mild climate, prime location and thriving economy, the area is also blessed with an unspoiled natural beauty that makes it one of the most rewarding and sought-after places to live in our fair state.

Franklin County’s “Sweet Spot”: Louisburg, NC

The lovely rural setting of Louisburg makes this town one of the most spectacular jewels in the crown of charming North Carolina communities. In an area of abundant streams and lakes, wooded areas, wide open fields and rolling hills, Louisburg holds a universal appeal for just about any home buyer seeking that rare combination of convenience and peaceful rural living within the greater Triangle area. Situated just 30 miles north of the Raleigh-Durham area and RTP (Research Triangle Park) and a mere 45-minute drive to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, the town is only 2-1/2 hours to the Carolina coast, 3 hours to Charlotte, and just over 3 hours to the state’s stunning mountain region. Falls Lake Recreation Area is located just 40 minutes to the west of Louisburg, while a 40-minute drive to the north takes residents to the boating and fishing facilities of the John H. Kerr Reservoir.

The town of Louisburg, known for its tree-lined streets and pedestrian-friendly downtown region, is full of the old-fashioned charm of a quaint southern community. Residents enjoy biking along the Louisburg Bike Trail, hunting and fishing, hiking and utilizing the sports facilities at Louisburg’s Riverbend and Joyner parks, and various annual activities including the Tar River Festival, Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration, and Chamber of Commerce Christmas parade.

Louisburg Cattle Farm With Prime Hunting Lands FOR SALE

Louisburg is also home to a number of ranches and farms, including the outstanding, easy-access cattle farm for sale at 190 Old Express Road. This 290-acre Louisburg NC Farm for Sale on Old Express Roadpiece of property, located just minutes from downtown Louisburg, features amazing views, a number of barns and out-buildings, a diverse terrain – 180 acres of open land suitable for farming and/or grazing as well as 110 wooded acres offering superb hunting or hiking – and two entirely separate homes.

Louisburg NC Farm for Sale on Old Express RoadThe property includes three barns – a 50’ x 80’ equipment barn, 80’ x 130’ barn with walk-in freezer, and 20’ x 50’ hoop barn – as well as durable, high-tensile fencing, pasture piping and waterers for livestock grazing.

The first of the homes on this beautiful site – a magnificently-situated, 5,000 sq. ft. house and in-ground swimming pool – offers the perfect opportunity to renovate as to the buyers’ own unique specifications. The second house, a recently-built log home with its own remarkable property views, includes a large great room, open dining and kitchen area, and master and bath on the first floor; while downstairs, a second bedroom and bath, large den or  Louisburg NC Farm for Sale on Old Express Roadgame room and a spacious storage area offer additional valuable living space. Cozy and warm, this classic log home has an open and sunny feel that is perfect for buyers interested in a lifestyle combining indoor comfort with outdoor activities.

Due to a recent price reduction, this farm at 190 Old Express Road in Louisburg is listed at $899,000. If interested, 192 acres of land only are also available for the price of $495,000. Call for details.

Bringing the Outdoors In: Adding a Screened-in Porch or Sunroom to Your North Carolina Home

Sunrooms in NCAdding on a screen-enclosed porch or sunroom might sound like a project that involves more permits and plans and financial investment than some of us are willing to take on, but the process can be surprisingly straightforward and worry-free when you work with a qualified and experienced contractor.

Sunroom or screen enclosure – what’s the difference?

A sunroom – also known as a solarium, garden room, sun porch or Florida room in some regions – is a space added on to a house to let in additional daylight and provide views of the outdoors while NOT letting in rain, snow or other outdoor elements. Typically built with with walls of glass, a sunroom provides months of supplemental living space and light at a substantially lower cost than building an entire whole-room addition would be. A sunroom provides a transition between the inside and out, and while some are wired for electricity, some are not. It can either be custom-built – designed to your exact specifications – or “pre-fab,” which means all supplies and instructions come in a kit. No matter which route you go – kit or custom-built – a building permit will be required in most areas.

A screen-enclosed porch is similar in that it provides an additional close-to-outdoor living space, which can be especially valuable if a home’s backyard area is utilized and enjoyed. The big difference, of course, is the fact that the “walls” aren’t solid at all; they are a mesh screening material that serves to keep out insects, leaves, etc. while allowing the outdoor air to flow easily in and out. A fireplace is sometimes incorporated into the design, or portable heaters or fans added to help make the space more comfortable in very warm or cold times of the year.

When to take this project on.

Although the risk of bad weather is always something to consider when taking on any building project in the cooler, more inclement fall and winter months, this is also the time of year when building contractors are at their most idle, and their rates, perhaps, a bit more reasonable than they would be over the busy spring and summer seasons. Building supplies, too, in the “off” season, will likely be more affordable when there is not such a heavy demand. Sunrooms in NC

How to furnish your new indoor/outdoor space.

A sunroom, typically glass-enclosed, is able to be completely closed off and therefore traditional furnishings can be used – rugs, tables, lighting, chairs and drapes, even – that are not practical with a screened-in enclosure. There are many, many lines of durable furniture, however, that are designed specifically to weather the elements – excessive heat, light and humidity – and are appropriate for a screened-in porch that is much more exposed to the great outdoors.

Is a sunroom or screened-in porch worth the investment?

The cost of building a sunroom varies tremendously based on whether or not you use a kit – with a price tag of anywhere between $15,000 and $35,000 – or you have your sunroom custom-built, which can substantially increase the price. Whether or not the space is wired for electricity or heating – often baseboard heating is used in a sunroom, or fan-driven heaters – also greatly affects the final cost.

A screened-in porch is often more economical because building supplies – mesh screening material rather than glass and no heating or electricity – are less costly all around. The extra space provides an additional seating or dining area that most people value and appreciate, and the investment, in this instance, is almost always worth it.  


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