I’m very impressed with a new guide to North Carolina’s state parks and recreation areas, the first comprehensive park guide in almost 20 years! “North Carolina State Parks: A Niche Guide,” ($14.95), written by Ida Phillips Lynch and Bill Pendergraft, is a high-quality paperback with detailed info on the state’s more than 50 parks, recreation and natural areas. The most amazing thing about this guidebook is its photos — 185 full color and gorgeous photos, most taken by the authors. (I’m very envious because my guidebook, “Farm Fresh North Carolina,” will have only black and white photos.)
The greatest thing about my great state is the diversity, starting with the Appalachias to the west and ending at the Atlantic Ocean to the east, with the foothills, piedmont and inner coastal areas along the way. The book is organized similarly, from the mountains to the coastal plain, and each chapter includes a general description of the site and detailed information about the park’s location, amenities, unique features, and contact and visitor information.
According to the authors, in 2007 a whopping 13.4 million people visited our parks. It’s wonderful to know that so many folks are interacting with the great outdoors here. We had Dutch visitors last month who spent their entire two-week vacation in North Carolina, spending a week in the mountains and a week on the coast, mostly outdoors. They were surprised at how beautiful and interesting North Carolina was, and said their only regret was they didn’t have enough time to experience more of the state. Way back when, the NC tourism slogan was “Variety Vacationland.” I think the state needs to bring that one back.