Posts Tagged ‘N.C. Executive Mansion’

The annual lighting of the state holiday tree in Raleigh, ornament making in Asheville and a demonstration of military life on North Carolina’s western frontier in Statesville are just a few of the opportunities for fun and discovery you’ll find this weekend with the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

Here are 18 suggestions to help you make the most of your weekend:

1. Join Gov. Pat McCrory for the state tree lighting and holiday festival at the State Capitol in Raleigh Thursday.

2. Learn how Christmas was celebrated by Civil War soldiers and sailors at home and in the field at the CSS Neuse Interpretive Center Saturday in Kinston.

3. Meet historical figures from the Lower Cape Fear region and hear some seasonal stories from the area at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Southport Friday as part of the town-wide Winterfest celebration.

4. Explore two of Raleigh‘s iconic landmarks-the Executive Mansion and the State Capitol-decorated for the season and open for tours throughout the weekend.

5. Make a holiday ornament Saturday at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial in Asheville.

6. See how soldiers braved the harsh winter on North Carolina’s western frontier Saturday at Fort Dobbs in Statesville.

7. Attend an authentic candlelit service at the ruins of St. Philips Anglican Church and explore how American colonists celebrated Christmas at Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson’s 18th Century Christmas Saturday in Winnabow.

8. Enjoy a concert of classical Christmas selections by Mozart, Bach and others Saturday in Chapel Hill.

9. Spend a festive holiday afternoon with Duke Homestead in Durham Sunday, as part of the site’s Victorian Family Christmas.

10. Delight in the sights, sounds and tastes of Christmases past with music, hearth-baked food, children’s activities and special tours at Historic Bath Saturday.

11. See Iron Man 3 Friday as part of the N.C. Museum of History’s Starring North Carolina!film series in Raleigh.

12. Celebrate the season with Historic Edenton, which will be hosting caroling at the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse and the annual James Iredell House holiday “groaning board”throughout the weekend.

13. Experience the spectacle of a colonial Christmas at Tryon Palace complete with fireworks, fire-eating, magic tricks and meetings with military re-enactors representing 300 years of history throughout the weekend in New Bern.

14. Hear the music and taste the food of an 1897 Christmas in Fayetteville at the Museum of the Cape Fear’s Holiday Jubilee Sunday.

15. Tour the stately buildings at Historic Halifax decorated for the season Saturday.

16. Join Alamance Battleground in Burlington for dulcimer music, refreshments and musket firings as part of its annual holiday open house Saturday.

17. See 18th century craft demonstrations as you listen to period music and sample seasonal treats at the House in Horseshoe’s holiday open house Saturday in Sanford.

18. Take a family-friendly tour of the Small Treasures exhibition at the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh.

Check out DCR’s calendar for more information on these and other events, and a enjoy a great North Carolina weekend!

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Ancient Verona isn’t the only place where stories of star-crossed lovers can be found, and to celebrate Valentine’s Day we thought we’d share two pretty incredible stories of forbidden love from North Carolina’s past.

Gov. David Lowry Swain

Gov. David Lowry Swain

The first story begins with the occupation of Chapel Hill by Union forces on Easter Sunday 1865. Shortly after troops arrived in the small Orange County town, one among them, Brigadier General Smith D. Atkins, was sent to the house of UNC president and former governor David Lowry Swain to arrange for the quartering of troops. Atkins quickly fell in love with Swain’s daughter, Ellie, and immediately began trying to win her and her family over, much to the chagrin of both Chapel Hill residents and the occupying troops.

Shortly after his arrival in Chapel Hill, Atkins was reassigned to western North Carolina. At his departure Ellie announced that she would marry him despite her family’s objections. Though concerned with the health of the university and the larger community, Swain ultimately consented to the wedding after investigating Atkins’ background.

The wedding was reviled by the community and ultimately had disastrous consequences for the university, which saw declining enrollment and was forced to close shortly after Swain’s death a few years later. Gov. Swain’s papers are still held by the State Archives today.

An image of Rachel Blythe from the State Archives

An image of Rachel Blythe from the State Archives

The second tale concerns the noted architect A.G. Bauer, who worked on a number of important public buildings including the Executive Mansion, Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill and the Western North Carolina Hospital for the Insane in Morganton. While working on the Executive Mansion in Raleigh, he fell deeply in love with Rachel Blythe, the beautiful young daughter of a Cherokee mother and a white father. Because of a state law forbidding marriage between whites and Indians, the two married in a secret ceremony in 1894.

The couple was eventually able to live openly, but only for a short time. Rachel died in 1897, leaving Bauer totally heartbroken. To honor her life, Bauer constructed a small Grecian Temple of Diana at her grave in Historic Oakwood Cemetery.

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Gotta green thumb?

Gardens galore! What a weekend ahead – the tulips are perky and bright, ready for you to see at Tryon Palace in New Bern’s Garden Lover’s Weekend. Free admission to the gardens, heritage plants for sale and Suzuki violins and dulcimers, too. Not to mention the famous Tryon Palace Fife & Drum Corps (video). No wonder George Washington danced here in this beautiful city on the banks of the Trent River! This is a unique chance to own rare or historic perennials, herbs, annuals, trees and shrubs–straight from the Palace greenhouse to your own garden. Make a day of it with New Bern’s Historic Homes Tour, too.

You’ll find more ideas for your home garden with a stop on Saturday, April 16, to the Executive Mansion on South Blount Street in downtown Raleigh for the Spring Open Garden Tours (video). Meet volunteer docents in the garden who can tell you about the bee and bird friendly landscaping, the 20 varieties of lettuce in the kitchen garden – we hear salad is the Governor’s favorite food!—and see interesting North Carolina artist’s sculptures. The gates will be open from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. No reservation is required for the free tour. The Executive Mansion – “the people’s house” – is one of the finest examples of Queen Anne cottage style of Victorian architecture in the country.

Growing great food in the kitchen garden has been a way of life here forever. Most North Carolinians lived on small farms during the 1800s. Just a block away from the Executive Mansion, at the new Museum of History exhibit, “The North Carolina Story,” you can step inside the restored two-room house that carpenter Solomon Robson built in Pitt County in 1742, and learn about the lifestyles of many farm families before the Civil War. In those days folks grew veggies aplenty –they didn’t know they were growing fancy and trendy “heirlooms!”  The exhibit opens April 16.

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