(North) Carolina on My Mind

I’ve spent most of my life in the southeast U.S. and I love it. I grew up in southern Mississippi about a mile from the Gulf of Mexico, spent 2 years on the Florida west coast, and 10 years in the central Texas hill country. Those are all unique and beautiful places. But this mini photo essay is about the little piece of the South I call home now, North Carolina.

We lived in the western part of the state in the Blue Ridge Mountains for 10 years. Up there, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a national forest full of water falls, rhododendrons, black bears, abandoned mines, and hardwoods that turn fifty shades of brilliant in the fall. Now we’re living in the piedmont, about halfway between the mountains and the sea. The weather’s warmer, the land flatter, the wild flowers bloom longer, and the woods have a few more pines. And it’s just a few hours from the Outer Banks, 200 miles of largely undeveloped barrier islands that protect most of the Carolina coast from seas so treacherous that the area became known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic.

Taken from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

One of the falls visible from the Graveyard Fields trail off the parkway.

Pearson's Falls located on a botanical preserve in western NC.

The closest I ever came to meeting a bear in the woods. Some deer also passed this way.

Autumn on Falls Lake.

Surfers at Wrightsville Beach/

Hatteras Lighthouse

Nag's Head

Leave a comment


  1. Cara High

     /  March 26, 2012

    Great pictures. We’re so glad you moved here to the Piedmont:)

  2. Beautiful…..NC has some pretty sights. I love the mild weather too. 🙂

  3. Beautiful pics! I spent a family vacation in Waves, NC a few years ago. I loved it! Saw the Hatteras Lighthouse, KittyHawk, and Ocracoke Island among other sites… beautiful scenery. Would love to go back! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • We spent a week in Avon last year (the next village south of Waves, I think). Though I’d been in NC over 10 years, it was the first time I’d been to the Outer Banks. I think it’s one of my favorite places on the planet now.

  4. Beautiful photos – thanks for sharing:)

  5. My favourites were the one of the waterfall through the leaves and Wrightsville beach. So pretty!

    • Thanks! I appreciate the sentiment even more coming from someone with your eye. I’ve really been enjoying your photo blog.

  6. Sherrie stringer

     /  March 27, 2012

    Very nice pics Tori Jean.
    Maybe we could do a birthday trip for our 47th: Asheville, Blueridge Parkway, Biltmore Festival of Flowers. Your blog is fantastic!

    • Hi Coppertop! I would love to do that! We’d be better off going later in April to be sure to miss the snow. And most of the Parkway is usually closed until early April. But spring is a beautiful time there. Sounds good, yes!

  7. Gosh, T, these photos are gorgeous. I especially love the lighthouse one with driftwood in the foreground and the beach scene at the end. Stunning shots. About the bear print–yikes!

    • Thanks, Kathy! I spent a long time trying to get the right foreground for that lighthouse shot. Glad you appprove! As for the silly bear print, I spent 10 years hiking around in the mountains and didn’t once get to see a wild bear. I had a friend though, who lives near the woods and sees them in her yard or on her street at least once a year. She posts the photos on FB. Drives me nuts.

  8. Wow. Just. Wow.
    As a lifelong flatlander, I’ve only passed through the south on occasion and never been to the east coast. Someday…

    • Oh, if you get the chance, you have to spend some time at the edge of the Atlantic! The Outer Banks is maybe my favorite place to do that. Also Edisto on the SC coast.

  9. lyonsroarforgod

     /  March 27, 2012

    Wonderful post and pictures….our family has gone to the Outer Banks every summer since I was 3, and it has such a great feel to it. If I had to live anywhere else other than where I am, it would either be the Outer Banks or Ireland. Thanks for posting, and have an awesome day!


    • Every year since you were 3?! That’s so awesome. We went last year for the first time and I loved it. I’d love to see Ireland someday too. My great grandparents were from County Cork. Thanks for the kind words!

  10. We are very near each other. I love it too. Can’t decide whether the mountains or the beach are my favorite. It’s good to be in the middle!

  11. Another NC girl! Excellent. I loved everything about living in the mountains except the winters. It’s so much warmer in the piedmont. And being closer to the coast is always good. So yes, I think I like the middle too!

  12. wow! it’s a lovely place… what a wonderful composition! ^_^

  13. Paul J. Stam

     /  April 21, 2012

    it’s been many years since I was there and I always loved that part of the country. I passed Hatteras light many times from the other side and was always glad to see it. It is both the physical and spiritual lighthouses that keep us off the rocks. Thanks again. Love all the pictures.

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