And the answers I wanted to give. As you can see, I'm better with a pen:
What are your top three destinations in NC?
1. Anything Blue Ridge Parkway. We've driven the entire road.
2. Pisgah National Forest
3. We haven't decided on a coastal favorite yet; we're still learning our way around. So far, it's between Lake Mattamuskeet and New Bern.
However, we haven't explored the Piedmont yet, though after researching a few potential destinations, I've stopped referring to it as the land between me and the mountains.
What would you say is a rare jewel in the Carolinas?
I automatically pictured the swamp at Cypress Gardens, the marshes at Cape Romain, and the haunting forest of Congaree, but then remembered the view from the end of Table Rock's Summit Trail, and Pearson Falls in Saluda. [And I failed to mention Pretty Place and places along the Outer Banks.]
However, we've yet to see spider lilies blanketing parts of Landsford Canal State Park, to stroll the pristine shores of Bulls Island, see the view from Jumping Off Rock, watch snow geese swirl over the pocosin lake at sunrise, or witness the wonder of sea turtles hatching before they make their way into the silvery ocean. So I think the best answer is the Carolinas themselves, since they're home to all of these.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
As often as I can, I include warnings about dangers, both hidden and visible, one may encounter. We're so accustomed to walking around city streets and inside buildings, expecting care has been taken to ensure our safety. But as I've mentioned in several posts, nature doesn't care about liability, and when people steps in its boundaries, they do so at their own risk. Having learned the hard way, we tell people to watch out for snakes and other critters--including bears. To watch where they walk (rocks, holes and tree roots often litter trails), to make sure they fill out hiker registration forms available at many trailheads, and tell someone where they're going and what time they should return home. Take plenty of water, and wear appropriate clothing. I can't tell you how many people we've seen hiking Table Rock with purses and sandals. Heed warnings listed on websites or posted at the destination. Use common sense.
Above all, don't play near the edge of cliffs or on wet rocks around waterfalls. Have fun, but be careful. We want people to enjoy the Carolinas, but we want them to go home safely so they can return again.
Thanks for sharing this event with me. In my mind, it isn't about us and our talent or work, it's about showcasing the wonders of the Carolinas, which we hope to continually explore, and to share with you.