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Edenton and Cupola House
Frances Ingills has lived in Edenton long enough to know the town intimately. Between her love of history and the town’s rich heritage, she has gathered stories from the past, and even participated in its preservation.
One such story centers around Cupola House, an historic family estate dating back to the early 1800s. After the last family member abandoned the home, the town debated about what to do with the house and surrounding gardens until a group of people interested in preserving the house stepped forward. Dubbing themselves the Cupola House Association, this group of volunteers restored most of the furniture and original structure of the house. Even Frances volunteered to help.
Frances’ love for the house is obvious as she walks up the winding wooden staircase and points out the watchtower at the top. The gardens around the house are spectacular in the springtime.
Besides Cupola House, Edenton tells other stories of America’s past. A bronze tea cup commemmorates the Edenton Tea Party, North Carolina’s show of support for the famous Boston Tea Party before the American Revolution. Every part of the town is a part of its history.
North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville
Located in Asheville, adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway and surrounded by the Southern Appalachian Mountains, the North Carolina Arboretum is nestled in one of America's most beautiful natural settings. It is also home to one of the finest bonsai collections in the country. Bonsai is the horticultural art form that creates a miniature representation of nature through special pruning and training of plants in pots.
From a few donated plants in 1992, the Arboretum's collection today numbers over 100 display quality trees and several hundred plants in training. The collection contains an array of plant species from all over the world including many native to the United States, particularly the Southern Appalachian region. Curator Arthur Joura has introduced to bonsai culture over 50 species native to western North Carolina and created several tray landscapes depicting well-known regional sites.
Joura demonstrates the meticulous pruning and delicate care that the unique collection requires. As Joura explains, bonsai isn't simply a "little foreign" tree but a carefully cultivated piece of living art that captures, in miniature, the essence of nature's wild beauty.
The construction of a Bonsai Exhibition Garden at the Arboretum is scheduled for completion by summer 2005.
As Orville and Wilbur Wright proved in the early 1900s, the concept of flight has long fascinated the human imagination. At the Statesville Regional Airport, people gather once a year to satisfy that desire to conquer the skies and to watch the beauty of pilots who do—in a hot air balloon.
In Statesville, the Carolina BalloonFest looks back to the days when flying a hot air balloon was a daredevil’s sport. However, hot air balloon flying has become more of an entertainment for both those in the gondola basket and those watching from the ground.
The balloons themselves can tower a full 7 stories and need to be heated to 100 degrees over the air temperature outside. Hot air balloons come in various colors and shapes, from the colors of the rainbow to the shape of the Energizer Bunny. Teams of balloon pilots and volunteer balloon crews assist eager participants into the basket, and once the balloon is airborne, it depends on wind currents to direct and steer it. Each balloon ride offers its own thrill for both pilot and passengers.
Hot Air Balloons
National Balloon Rally Charities dba Carolina BalloonFest, Statesville, NC
Held at the Statesville Regional Airport
Tickets and information are available online at CarolinaBalloonFest.com.
If You Want To Go
Edenton and Cupola House, Edenton
Tours are offered Monday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.; Sunday, 1:30 p.m. Admission is charged. Tours include several historic Edenton buildings. For information, call Historic Edenton at (252) 482-2637.
Bonsai - North Carolina Arboretum, Asheville
100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way in Asheville. Open daily. Parking fees are $6 per personal motor vehicle, $25 for commercial vans, and $45 for tour buses, with free parking for all visitors on Tuesday. For more information, call (828) 665-2492, or visit www.ncarboretum.org.