Article Title Issue

House brand

It began as a rich man's folly — a French Renaissance chateau in North Carolina’s hillbilly highlands. George Vanderbilt, grandson of steamship and railroad magnate Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt, nearly exhausted his share of the family fortune by buying 125,000 acres and building the 250-room mansion.

Heroes worship

“Superman, thank you! You saved my life! How can I ever thank you enough?”

”Well, Lois, there are a million comics for sale in endless rows of boxes at the 25th anniversary Heroes Convention!"

Twice-told tale

Maury Faggart drove some 1,300 miles, from Charlotte to Carteret County’s Down East extremity, then up and down the length of the Outer Banks twice, to take the photos that accompany this month’s cover story. Part of his trek was retracing Ed Martin’s trail reporting the piece, but when conditions weren’t right or the people Ed had talked to weren’t available, Maury had to double back to be there when they were.

Town might take another's course

To hear Leonard Cottom talk, Seven Devils is going to hell in a handbasket. The mountain town, which had a population of just 129 in the 2000 census but swells to many times that during the summer, might use eminent domain to take his golf course.

Current assets

It’s easy to forget chronic concerns while fighting froth and fury at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, which opened last fall outside Charlotte. That’s because they’re drowned out by more-immediate worries — such as how to stay in the raft and avoid plunging into the soggy swirl.

All aboard

During the Depression, conductors on the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina — wags called it the “eat taters and wear no clothes” — sometimes let locals ride free if they couldn’t pay the fare between Boone and Johnson City, Tenn.

Grandson’s career reaches its peak

Now that Crae Morton is running the show at Grandfather Mountain, he doesn’t feel compelled to do things the way his grandfather did.

Slips shape image of museum group

Any publicity, they say, is good publicity. Backers of the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort might not be so sure after their experience with Pepsi Americas’ Sail 2006.

He'll do more than just peddle paddling

At 27, Sutton Bacon has been a consultant for Coca-Cola and Holiday Inn. Now he’s CEO and president of Nantahala Outdoor Center Inc. He took over the Bryson City business’ top job Jan. 1 from Payson Kennedy, one of its founders 35 years ago.

Like many in the state, this 1,200-acre Sandhills farm raised tobacco as a money crop. Now it’s for the birds.

Some call quail a gentleman’s bird. There’s no need to be in the field at break of day, so a hunt at The Webb Farm usually doesn’t begin until about 9, after a hearty breakfast for overnight guests. Then it’s back to the lodge at noon for lunch, the kind that, if this place didn’t draw such serious hunters, would have them thinking about naps rather than the afternoon’s shooting, which runs to around 5. That is, unless the dogs keep pointing up birds.

What's up - docks - when slips show

If you want to stash your boat at Creekside Yacht Club in Wrightsville Beach, you’d better act fast and bring some serious green. Prices for a slip run from $90,000 to $159,000, General Manager Tommy Vann says.

Coming attractions boost industry's going concerns

Good weather meant good times for Tar Heel tourist attractions last year. From the coast to the mountains, a winter that was cold but not too cold, a summer that was hot but not too hot and a hurricane season that brought little wind or rain allowed crowds to flock to beaches, golf courses and other spots.

Cigarette maker takes up the Penns'

Calvin Phelps sees a bit of himself in Jeff Penn. Like that fellow, whose family started Penn Tobacco in Reidsville in the 1870s, Phelps is a tobacco executive. His Mocksville-based Renegade Holdings Inc. and its subsidiaries make cigarettes and filters as well as refurbish and sell cigarette-manufacturing and -packing machinery.

On exhibits

It takes a lot of effort and not a little artifice to maintain a sense of reality at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.

25 years made a world of change for economy

Michael Walden has monitored changes in North Carolina’s economy since joining N.C. State University’s faculty in 1978. A professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, he prepares The North Carolina Economic Outlook, a semiannual forecast. In 2008, the University of North Carolina Press will publish The Modern North Carolina Economy: Origins and Prospects, his analysis of how it has evolved over the last 30 years.

Change could keep bowl from its goal

During its first four years, Charlotte’s college-football bowl has been a success off the field, with average attendance of 64,000, but usually a snoozer on it. Just once has the final margin been fewer than 13 points.

Down by the river

Nantahala Outdoor Center is one place business sends individuals to train them to work as teams.

Game of chance

That’s how Corky Powers won the State Fair midway contract. But will his fortune be tolled?

Yadkin wineries try to crush a festival

It’s bigger, more established and has the better name. So why do some of the state’s leading winemakers want to put a cork in the North Carolina Wine Festival in favor of a new event that attracted only about a third as many people?

Leaving lost wages

With furniture manufacturing moving overseas, Las Vegas bets on winning the world’s biggest market — High Point’s.