EDEN, NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina was strongly influenced by the “Great Revival” that swept the country after the Revolutionary War and lasted intermittently until the War between the States… This emotional preaching, interspersed with stirring hymns, induced physical manifestations known as “the exercises.” These included the phenomena known as jerking, wheeling, dancing, laughing, barking, and falling down.
—North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State (WPA, 1939)

Eden, North Carolina is a city in Rockingham County that nearly borders Virginia. It’s where the Smith and Dan Rivers converge. It began as a utopian colony founded by William Byrd II and was later sold to some planters by Byrd’s son to pay off his gambling debts.
Guide note: One of the best photographic gifts I’ve been given was a viewing of Tod Papageorge’s “Passing Through Eden" read alongside some passages from the book of Genesis. Since then, I’ve been struck with some depictions of this biblical state of mind.
* * *
Aaron Canipe is a State Guide to North Carolina. He was born and raised in Hickory, North Carolina and received his BFA in photography from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C. Aaron also helps operate Empty Stretch, a DIY-publisher and blog. He’s exhibited work throughout the South and has been published in the Washington Post and the Oxford American’s “Eye on the South” blog. Follow him on Tumblr at mysteriesmanners and see more work on his website, aaroncanipe.com.
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EDEN, NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina was strongly influenced by the “Great Revival” that swept the country after the Revolutionary War and lasted intermittently until the War between the States… This emotional preaching, interspersed with stirring hymns, induced physical manifestations known as “the exercises.” These included the phenomena known as jerking, wheeling, dancing, laughing, barking, and falling down.
—North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State (WPA, 1939)

Eden, North Carolina is a city in Rockingham County that nearly borders Virginia. It’s where the Smith and Dan Rivers converge. It began as a utopian colony founded by William Byrd II and was later sold to some planters by Byrd’s son to pay off his gambling debts.
Guide note: One of the best photographic gifts I’ve been given was a viewing of Tod Papageorge’s “Passing Through Eden" read alongside some passages from the book of Genesis. Since then, I’ve been struck with some depictions of this biblical state of mind.
* * *
Aaron Canipe is a State Guide to North Carolina. He was born and raised in Hickory, North Carolina and received his BFA in photography from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C. Aaron also helps operate Empty Stretch, a DIY-publisher and blog. He’s exhibited work throughout the South and has been published in the Washington Post and the Oxford American’s “Eye on the South” blog. Follow him on Tumblr at mysteriesmanners and see more work on his website, aaroncanipe.com.
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EDEN, NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina was strongly influenced by the “Great Revival” that swept the country after the Revolutionary War and lasted intermittently until the War between the States… This emotional preaching, interspersed with stirring hymns, induced physical manifestations known as “the exercises.” These included the phenomena known as jerking, wheeling, dancing, laughing, barking, and falling down.
—North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State (WPA, 1939)

Eden, North Carolina is a city in Rockingham County that nearly borders Virginia. It’s where the Smith and Dan Rivers converge. It began as a utopian colony founded by William Byrd II and was later sold to some planters by Byrd’s son to pay off his gambling debts.
Guide note: One of the best photographic gifts I’ve been given was a viewing of Tod Papageorge’s “Passing Through Eden" read alongside some passages from the book of Genesis. Since then, I’ve been struck with some depictions of this biblical state of mind.
* * *
Aaron Canipe is a State Guide to North Carolina. He was born and raised in Hickory, North Carolina and received his BFA in photography from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C. Aaron also helps operate Empty Stretch, a DIY-publisher and blog. He’s exhibited work throughout the South and has been published in the Washington Post and the Oxford American’s “Eye on the South” blog. Follow him on Tumblr at mysteriesmanners and see more work on his website, aaroncanipe.com.
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EDEN, NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina was strongly influenced by the “Great Revival” that swept the country after the Revolutionary War and lasted intermittently until the War between the States… This emotional preaching, interspersed with stirring hymns, induced physical manifestations known as “the exercises.” These included the phenomena known as jerking, wheeling, dancing, laughing, barking, and falling down.
—North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State (WPA, 1939)

Eden, North Carolina is a city in Rockingham County that nearly borders Virginia. It’s where the Smith and Dan Rivers converge. It began as a utopian colony founded by William Byrd II and was later sold to some planters by Byrd’s son to pay off his gambling debts.
Guide note: One of the best photographic gifts I’ve been given was a viewing of Tod Papageorge’s “Passing Through Eden" read alongside some passages from the book of Genesis. Since then, I’ve been struck with some depictions of this biblical state of mind.
* * *
Aaron Canipe is a State Guide to North Carolina. He was born and raised in Hickory, North Carolina and received his BFA in photography from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C. Aaron also helps operate Empty Stretch, a DIY-publisher and blog. He’s exhibited work throughout the South and has been published in the Washington Post and the Oxford American’s “Eye on the South” blog. Follow him on Tumblr at mysteriesmanners and see more work on his website, aaroncanipe.com.
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EDEN, NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina was strongly influenced by the “Great Revival” that swept the country after the Revolutionary War and lasted intermittently until the War between the States… This emotional preaching, interspersed with stirring hymns, induced physical manifestations known as “the exercises.” These included the phenomena known as jerking, wheeling, dancing, laughing, barking, and falling down.
—North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State (WPA, 1939)

Eden, North Carolina is a city in Rockingham County that nearly borders Virginia. It’s where the Smith and Dan Rivers converge. It began as a utopian colony founded by William Byrd II and was later sold to some planters by Byrd’s son to pay off his gambling debts.
Guide note: One of the best photographic gifts I’ve been given was a viewing of Tod Papageorge’s “Passing Through Eden" read alongside some passages from the book of Genesis. Since then, I’ve been struck with some depictions of this biblical state of mind.
* * *
Aaron Canipe is a State Guide to North Carolina. He was born and raised in Hickory, North Carolina and received his BFA in photography from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C. Aaron also helps operate Empty Stretch, a DIY-publisher and blog. He’s exhibited work throughout the South and has been published in the Washington Post and the Oxford American’s “Eye on the South” blog. Follow him on Tumblr at mysteriesmanners and see more work on his website, aaroncanipe.com.
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EDEN, NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina was strongly influenced by the “Great Revival” that swept the country after the Revolutionary War and lasted intermittently until the War between the States… This emotional preaching, interspersed with stirring hymns, induced physical manifestations known as “the exercises.” These included the phenomena known as jerking, wheeling, dancing, laughing, barking, and falling down.
—North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State (WPA, 1939)

Eden, North Carolina is a city in Rockingham County that nearly borders Virginia. It’s where the Smith and Dan Rivers converge. It began as a utopian colony founded by William Byrd II and was later sold to some planters by Byrd’s son to pay off his gambling debts.
Guide note: One of the best photographic gifts I’ve been given was a viewing of Tod Papageorge’s “Passing Through Eden" read alongside some passages from the book of Genesis. Since then, I’ve been struck with some depictions of this biblical state of mind.
* * *
Aaron Canipe is a State Guide to North Carolina. He was born and raised in Hickory, North Carolina and received his BFA in photography from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C. Aaron also helps operate Empty Stretch, a DIY-publisher and blog. He’s exhibited work throughout the South and has been published in the Washington Post and the Oxford American’s “Eye on the South” blog. Follow him on Tumblr at mysteriesmanners and see more work on his website, aaroncanipe.com.
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EDEN, NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina was strongly influenced by the “Great Revival” that swept the country after the Revolutionary War and lasted intermittently until the War between the States… This emotional preaching, interspersed with stirring hymns, induced physical manifestations known as “the exercises.” These included the phenomena known as jerking, wheeling, dancing, laughing, barking, and falling down.
—North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State (WPA, 1939)

Eden, North Carolina is a city in Rockingham County that nearly borders Virginia. It’s where the Smith and Dan Rivers converge. It began as a utopian colony founded by William Byrd II and was later sold to some planters by Byrd’s son to pay off his gambling debts.
Guide note: One of the best photographic gifts I’ve been given was a viewing of Tod Papageorge’s “Passing Through Eden" read alongside some passages from the book of Genesis. Since then, I’ve been struck with some depictions of this biblical state of mind.
* * *
Aaron Canipe is a State Guide to North Carolina. He was born and raised in Hickory, North Carolina and received his BFA in photography from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C. Aaron also helps operate Empty Stretch, a DIY-publisher and blog. He’s exhibited work throughout the South and has been published in the Washington Post and the Oxford American’s “Eye on the South” blog. Follow him on Tumblr at mysteriesmanners and see more work on his website, aaroncanipe.com.
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EDEN, NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina was strongly influenced by the “Great Revival” that swept the country after the Revolutionary War and lasted intermittently until the War between the States… This emotional preaching, interspersed with stirring hymns, induced physical manifestations known as “the exercises.” These included the phenomena known as jerking, wheeling, dancing, laughing, barking, and falling down.
—North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State (WPA, 1939)

Eden, North Carolina is a city in Rockingham County that nearly borders Virginia. It’s where the Smith and Dan Rivers converge. It began as a utopian colony founded by William Byrd II and was later sold to some planters by Byrd’s son to pay off his gambling debts.
Guide note: One of the best photographic gifts I’ve been given was a viewing of Tod Papageorge’s “Passing Through Eden" read alongside some passages from the book of Genesis. Since then, I’ve been struck with some depictions of this biblical state of mind.
* * *
Aaron Canipe is a State Guide to North Carolina. He was born and raised in Hickory, North Carolina and received his BFA in photography from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C. Aaron also helps operate Empty Stretch, a DIY-publisher and blog. He’s exhibited work throughout the South and has been published in the Washington Post and the Oxford American’s “Eye on the South” blog. Follow him on Tumblr at mysteriesmanners and see more work on his website, aaroncanipe.com.
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EDEN, NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina was strongly influenced by the “Great Revival” that swept the country after the Revolutionary War and lasted intermittently until the War between the States… This emotional preaching, interspersed with stirring hymns, induced physical manifestations known as “the exercises.” These included the phenomena known as jerking, wheeling, dancing, laughing, barking, and falling down.

North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State (WPA, 1939)

Eden, North Carolina is a city in Rockingham County that nearly borders Virginia. It’s where the Smith and Dan Rivers converge. It began as a utopian colony founded by William Byrd II and was later sold to some planters by Byrd’s son to pay off his gambling debts.

Guide note: One of the best photographic gifts I’ve been given was a viewing of Tod Papageorge’s “Passing Through Eden" read alongside some passages from the book of Genesis. Since then, I’ve been struck with some depictions of this biblical state of mind.

* * *

Aaron Canipe is a State Guide to North Carolina. He was born and raised in Hickory, North Carolina and received his BFA in photography from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C. Aaron also helps operate Empty Stretch, a DIY-publisher and blog. He’s exhibited work throughout the South and has been published in the Washington Post and the Oxford American’s “Eye on the South” blog. Follow him on Tumblr at mysteriesmanners and see more work on his website, aaroncanipe.com.

RURAL NORTH CAROLINA

Hard-working, hard-headed men, with no foreknowledge of the inevitable change in relationship from money and land to money and machinery, attached themselves and their region to the change.

North Carolina, A Guide To the Old North State (WPA, 1939)

Growing up in the Northeast, and being a photographer, my impressions of the South came largely through looking at photographs. So I was cognizant of the history of photography in this region—the work of the Farm Security Administration photographers, for example—when I moved to North Carolina from New Jersey in 1989.

I soon began exploring with my cameras, drawn to those places that are off the beaten track, neglected or abandoned.

By 2008, North Carolina was the third-fastest-growing state in the United States and the fastest-growing state east of the Mississippi River, and it was losing some of its distinctive characteristics. I’d become an unwitting witness to an inevitable transition.

I have now photographed in more than 365 cities, towns and small rural communities across the Tar Heel State—from Aberdeen to Zebulon, from the mountains to the coast—motivated by the dedication of my predecessors and by the affection I feel for my new home. Although my aim is to make good pictures, a local reviewer perceived a bigger picture when she wrote: “David Simonton records for us the old North Carolina at its moment of passing.”

* * *

David Simonton is a Raleigh-based photographer. His North Carolina photographs are in the collections of the George Eastman House, North Carolina Museum of Art, Asheville Art Museum and the Do Good Fund: Southern Photography Initiative. Find him on the web at www.davidsimonton.com and follow him on Tumblr at davidsimonton.tumblr.com.

CROSS-COUNTRY FIELD TRIP - OREGON to NORTH CAROLINA

Your folkloring guide to North Carolina, Chris Fowler, is taking to the highways and byways — plotting a route from Oregon to North Carolina — in an AG instagram takeover!

This is the American road in real time. Follow us over at instagram.com/americanguide as Chris shows us the folkway.

Guide Note:

  • Image is from Highway 26 near Unity, Oregon.
FOLKLIFE: A VISION FROM GOD - HOLDEN BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA
Mary Paulsen is a visionary artist who lives and works near Holden Beach, North Carolina. Sixteen years ago, while washing dishes in her kitchen, she received a vision from God that instructed and compelled her to to paint. She often paints on the back sides of old windows, layering on details “in reverse.” Most of the materials that she uses are upcycled. In addition to painting, over the course of several years she constructed glass bottle houses and created an entire village of dollhouses on the property surrounding her home. Mary owns over eight thousand dolls and hopes to one day open a museum that charges admission, with proceeds going to charities that help provide food for hungry children.
“I think it’s really a shame and a cry that anybody would be going hungry in the land of plenty. It shouldn’t be that way and it wouldn’t be that way if some people weren’t so greedy and thinking of themselves all the time.”
The doll house village contains a small chapel, pictured above, where Mary was married.
Editor’s Note: This work began as a project of the North Carolina Folklife Institute.
* * *
Guide to North Carolina and the South Chris Fowler is a North Carolinian, photographer, folklorist, and curator. In 2011 he was awarded a Lewis Hine Documentary Fellowship from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Follow his work at http://www.chrisfowlerphoto.com.
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FOLKLIFE: A VISION FROM GOD - HOLDEN BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA
Mary Paulsen is a visionary artist who lives and works near Holden Beach, North Carolina. Sixteen years ago, while washing dishes in her kitchen, she received a vision from God that instructed and compelled her to to paint. She often paints on the back sides of old windows, layering on details “in reverse.” Most of the materials that she uses are upcycled. In addition to painting, over the course of several years she constructed glass bottle houses and created an entire village of dollhouses on the property surrounding her home. Mary owns over eight thousand dolls and hopes to one day open a museum that charges admission, with proceeds going to charities that help provide food for hungry children.
“I think it’s really a shame and a cry that anybody would be going hungry in the land of plenty. It shouldn’t be that way and it wouldn’t be that way if some people weren’t so greedy and thinking of themselves all the time.”
The doll house village contains a small chapel, pictured above, where Mary was married.
Editor’s Note: This work began as a project of the North Carolina Folklife Institute.
* * *
Guide to North Carolina and the South Chris Fowler is a North Carolinian, photographer, folklorist, and curator. In 2011 he was awarded a Lewis Hine Documentary Fellowship from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Follow his work at http://www.chrisfowlerphoto.com.
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FOLKLIFE: A VISION FROM GOD - HOLDEN BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA
Mary Paulsen is a visionary artist who lives and works near Holden Beach, North Carolina. Sixteen years ago, while washing dishes in her kitchen, she received a vision from God that instructed and compelled her to to paint. She often paints on the back sides of old windows, layering on details “in reverse.” Most of the materials that she uses are upcycled. In addition to painting, over the course of several years she constructed glass bottle houses and created an entire village of dollhouses on the property surrounding her home. Mary owns over eight thousand dolls and hopes to one day open a museum that charges admission, with proceeds going to charities that help provide food for hungry children.
“I think it’s really a shame and a cry that anybody would be going hungry in the land of plenty. It shouldn’t be that way and it wouldn’t be that way if some people weren’t so greedy and thinking of themselves all the time.”
The doll house village contains a small chapel, pictured above, where Mary was married.
Editor’s Note: This work began as a project of the North Carolina Folklife Institute.
* * *
Guide to North Carolina and the South Chris Fowler is a North Carolinian, photographer, folklorist, and curator. In 2011 he was awarded a Lewis Hine Documentary Fellowship from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Follow his work at http://www.chrisfowlerphoto.com.
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FOLKLIFE: A VISION FROM GOD - HOLDEN BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA
Mary Paulsen is a visionary artist who lives and works near Holden Beach, North Carolina. Sixteen years ago, while washing dishes in her kitchen, she received a vision from God that instructed and compelled her to to paint. She often paints on the back sides of old windows, layering on details “in reverse.” Most of the materials that she uses are upcycled. In addition to painting, over the course of several years she constructed glass bottle houses and created an entire village of dollhouses on the property surrounding her home. Mary owns over eight thousand dolls and hopes to one day open a museum that charges admission, with proceeds going to charities that help provide food for hungry children.
“I think it’s really a shame and a cry that anybody would be going hungry in the land of plenty. It shouldn’t be that way and it wouldn’t be that way if some people weren’t so greedy and thinking of themselves all the time.”
The doll house village contains a small chapel, pictured above, where Mary was married.
Editor’s Note: This work began as a project of the North Carolina Folklife Institute.
* * *
Guide to North Carolina and the South Chris Fowler is a North Carolinian, photographer, folklorist, and curator. In 2011 he was awarded a Lewis Hine Documentary Fellowship from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Follow his work at http://www.chrisfowlerphoto.com.
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FOLKLIFE: A VISION FROM GOD - HOLDEN BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA

Mary Paulsen is a visionary artist who lives and works near Holden Beach, North Carolina. Sixteen years ago, while washing dishes in her kitchen, she received a vision from God that instructed and compelled her to to paint. She often paints on the back sides of old windows, layering on details “in reverse.” Most of the materials that she uses are upcycled. In addition to painting, over the course of several years she constructed glass bottle houses and created an entire village of dollhouses on the property surrounding her home. Mary owns over eight thousand dolls and hopes to one day open a museum that charges admission, with proceeds going to charities that help provide food for hungry children.

“I think it’s really a shame and a cry that anybody would be going hungry in the land of plenty. It shouldn’t be that way and it wouldn’t be that way if some people weren’t so greedy and thinking of themselves all the time.”

The doll house village contains a small chapel, pictured above, where Mary was married.

Editor’s NoteThis work began as a project of the North Carolina Folklife Institute.

* * *

Guide to North Carolina and the South Chris Fowler is a North Carolinian, photographer, folklorist, and curator. In 2011 he was awarded a Lewis Hine Documentary Fellowship from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Follow his work at http://www.chrisfowlerphoto.com.

SOUTH OF THE BORDER - NORTH CAROLINA and SOUTH CAROLINA BORDERLINE

About halfway between New York and Florida on I-95 is a roadside attraction that should not be missed. South of the Border is located between the North Carolina and South Carolina border and is a little town within itself. Just look for the billboards on I-95 and you’ll find your way there (at one time there were more than 250 South of the Border billboards from Philadelphia to Daytona Beach.)

Started in 1949 by Alan Schafer and known as South of the Border Beer Depot, it became a popular place in the 1950s due to North Carolina being dry of alcohol. A grill and motel were soon added and South of the Border continued to grow.

If you’re into cheesy kitch, fireworks, mexican food and souvenirs, pull on over. Just look for the 97 foot tall Pedro and 200 foot Sombrero Observation Tower on the side of I-95. It’s like stepping back in time. 

* * *
Bryan Regan is a Raleigh, NC-based editorial/advertising photographer. A photography school drop out, he learned his craft assisting photographers across the country back in the film days. When he’s not booked, he’s out shooting personal projects and spending time with his family. Follow him on tumblr at bryanreganphotography.tumblr.com and find more of his images at www.bryanreganphotography.com.

GUINEA HOGS - BLADEN COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA

“Meat” still means pork to many people in the State.—North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State (WPA, 1939)

The Guinea Hog, sometimes called an Acorn Eater or Yard Pig, was once the predominate breed of hog in the Southeast. As industrial agriculture expanded in the 20th Century, many heritage hog breeds, including the American Guinea, dwindled. In 2011 there were less than one thousand known American Guinea Hogs in existence. 

Scott and Lydia McGhee believe that in order to save the breed, the animals have to be carefully raised for their highest and best use: to be eaten. On their farm in Bladen County, North Carolina, the McGhees are raising a modest number of pigs (among other things) on the ground amid long straw pines and acorn-producing oaks. The animals root and forage for the majority of their diet and have plenty of time and space to grow. Scott, a trained arborist and Journeyman Bladesmith, is also an accomplished chef and charcuterie maker.

“We’ll show you anything you want to see, but we’ll have to ask that you stand over by the shop when we kill the hog. That’s just out of respect for the animal. What happens over there is between me, my wife, and the pig.”

After the hog is stunned and bled, it is immersed, or scalded, in hot water so that its hair may be easily scraped off. When this is complete the carcass is hoisted by its hindquarters, butterflied, and divested of its innards. At this point it is ready to be broken down into distinct cuts: shoulders, hams, ribs, belly, fat, and so on.

Bacon, sausage seasoned with salt, red pepper, and sage, and country ham are the most typical pork products that North Carolinians have traditionally enjoyed. More elusive today are individuals making souse or pickling trotters. The hog harvested in these images went mostly into soppressata, fresh sausage, and bratwurst. Two years ago Scott also began making his own prosciutto in his bladesmithing shop.

In North Carolina, passion for pork is a birthright…Whatever happens in this humble state, as tobacco slowly becomes a memory with banking and bio-tech taking its place at the center of things, hogs will remain nearest and dearest to our hearts. For better or for worse, pigs are us. 

—Randall Kenan

Editor’s Note: This work began as a project of the North Carolina Folklife Institute. Learn more about Scott’s knives at http://www.guineahogforge.com.

* * *

Guide to North Carolina and the South Chris Fowler is a North Carolinian, photographer, folklorist, and curator. In 2011 he was awarded a Lewis Hine Documentary Fellowship from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Follow his work at http://www.chrisfowlerphoto.com.

MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION - THE CAR IN AMERICA 

I counted down the day until I was able to get my driver’s license as
a teenager. A car represented independence and the rest of my life.

My Dad had started a savings account for me when I was born and had
dutifully put in a couple bucks a week every week. We decided a
suitable amount to spend on a first car would be about $500. It
couldn’t just be any car though — this was MY first car. After an epic
back and forth with my parents, who I can now say wisely wanted me to
get a boring dependable car, I was able to get the car of my dreams or
the closest thing that $500 could get me. It was a 1979 Pontiac
special edition “Yellow Bird” Firebird with t-tops.

It was awful. The t-tops leaked in the rain. They were so heavy. I
was pulled over often because it was Iowa and not a lot happened, so
they had time to check in on young girls with crazy cars. Most days I
had to “two foot it” or constantly give the car slight gas so that it
wouldn’t die at intersections. One door had been dented by the farm
boy who sold it to me and it was very much a different shade of yellow
than the rest of the car. But — I adored it. The imperfections made it
mine.

My friend Theresa and I would go over to the East side to cruise the
loop most weekend nights. I could drive myself to school. My friend
Mike and I would jump in without opening the doors like Bo and Luke
Duke and then drive around listening to cassette tapes we bought at
the pawn shop. I loved every minute of it.

The car only lasted about six months total before it stopped running.
My uncle Hulie bought the engine off me for about the price of the car
so I could get my next car. I’ve had many cars, a couple scooters and
one motorcycle since, but I’ll probably never love a car more than
that one.

We experience life in our cars — we eat in them, sleep in them, watch
movies in them, and they become a small expression of us.

Guide Note: Photos from Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

* * *

Tammy Mercure is a State Guide to Tennessee. She was named one of the “100 under 100: The New Superstars of Southern Art” by Oxford American magazine.

Follow on Tumblr at tammymercure or on her website, TammyMercure.com. Support her work at TCB Press. 

SALT HERRING, A TIDEWATER DELICACY 

In eastern Carolina the proverbial Sunday breakfast is broiled salt roe herring and hot biscuits.
—North Carolina: a guide to the old north state (WPA, 1939)

#AmericanGuideWeek Southern folklife recorder Fatchance tries one of the food specialities of North Carolina: Salt Herring. It goes way back in the “Old North State” and is a report for Field Assignment #4: Folk Festivals, Pageants, Celebrations and Customs: 

For years my father and his brothers ran a seasonal herring fishery on the Meherrin River, near the town of Murfreesboro in eastern North Carolina. It was the last haul seine fishery to operate in the state. Now only a few fisheries are able to obtain permits to harvest a strictly controlled catch. 
My father often told stories of days when the river was so clotted with fish that a bushel basket could be filled with herring just by drawing it through the water. The herring fishery today is cautiously managed. In some years North Carolina has imposed a complete moratorium on the inland herring catch, in order to protect a diminished fish population that was once so plentiful most of the harvest was ground up to be used as fertilizer. 
In the coastal south herring was a poor man’s food, transformed today into a rare delicacy because of scarcity of supply. 
As a food fish herring were valued because they could be easily preserved. Cleaned and scaled fish are packed in plain table salt to corn. They will keep for many months preserved in this fashion. After soaking in water overnight the corned fish can be breaded and fried. Fried corned herring was common breakfast fare when I was growing up. The herring roe are eaten fresh – dredged in white cornmeal and crisply fried. 
The Meherrin is a tidal, fresh-water tributary of the Chowan River, which debouches into the Albemarle Sound. The herring run peaks during high spring tides, from late February through early May each year.
I mostly recall pulling the net as a very cold, uncomfortable business. Catching fish required stretching the net upriver the length of the seining beach - not a true beach, but the shallow water on the deposition side of a bend in the river - then using a shallow-draft bateau to form a purse across the deep water of the river channel. The net would then be tied off, and the purse slowly closed by walking the net back to land the fish downriver. Because the river is tidal, flows alternate direction during the course of the day. Fish were netted as they moved upstream on rising tides. 
At top: Illustration of a blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis) by Hugh Chrisp, from the online collection of the Cornell University Department of Natural Resouces. Chrisp joined the State of New York Conservation Department Watershed Survey to paint fish when his architecture practice failed during the great depression. Center left: Photo from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, showing a pull seine being hauled at a fishery on the Roanoke River in 1939. Center right: Scaled and cleaned herring in salt for corning. Bottom photo: Aunt Maggie Parrish preparing herring roe for frying.

* * *
Follow Fatchance on Tumblr at fatchance.tumblr.com.
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SALT HERRING, A TIDEWATER DELICACY 

In eastern Carolina the proverbial Sunday breakfast is broiled salt roe herring and hot biscuits.
—North Carolina: a guide to the old north state (WPA, 1939)

#AmericanGuideWeek Southern folklife recorder Fatchance tries one of the food specialities of North Carolina: Salt Herring. It goes way back in the “Old North State” and is a report for Field Assignment #4: Folk Festivals, Pageants, Celebrations and Customs: 

For years my father and his brothers ran a seasonal herring fishery on the Meherrin River, near the town of Murfreesboro in eastern North Carolina. It was the last haul seine fishery to operate in the state. Now only a few fisheries are able to obtain permits to harvest a strictly controlled catch. 
My father often told stories of days when the river was so clotted with fish that a bushel basket could be filled with herring just by drawing it through the water. The herring fishery today is cautiously managed. In some years North Carolina has imposed a complete moratorium on the inland herring catch, in order to protect a diminished fish population that was once so plentiful most of the harvest was ground up to be used as fertilizer. 
In the coastal south herring was a poor man’s food, transformed today into a rare delicacy because of scarcity of supply. 
As a food fish herring were valued because they could be easily preserved. Cleaned and scaled fish are packed in plain table salt to corn. They will keep for many months preserved in this fashion. After soaking in water overnight the corned fish can be breaded and fried. Fried corned herring was common breakfast fare when I was growing up. The herring roe are eaten fresh – dredged in white cornmeal and crisply fried. 
The Meherrin is a tidal, fresh-water tributary of the Chowan River, which debouches into the Albemarle Sound. The herring run peaks during high spring tides, from late February through early May each year.
I mostly recall pulling the net as a very cold, uncomfortable business. Catching fish required stretching the net upriver the length of the seining beach - not a true beach, but the shallow water on the deposition side of a bend in the river - then using a shallow-draft bateau to form a purse across the deep water of the river channel. The net would then be tied off, and the purse slowly closed by walking the net back to land the fish downriver. Because the river is tidal, flows alternate direction during the course of the day. Fish were netted as they moved upstream on rising tides. 
At top: Illustration of a blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis) by Hugh Chrisp, from the online collection of the Cornell University Department of Natural Resouces. Chrisp joined the State of New York Conservation Department Watershed Survey to paint fish when his architecture practice failed during the great depression. Center left: Photo from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, showing a pull seine being hauled at a fishery on the Roanoke River in 1939. Center right: Scaled and cleaned herring in salt for corning. Bottom photo: Aunt Maggie Parrish preparing herring roe for frying.

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Follow Fatchance on Tumblr at fatchance.tumblr.com.
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SALT HERRING, A TIDEWATER DELICACY 

In eastern Carolina the proverbial Sunday breakfast is broiled salt roe herring and hot biscuits.

North Carolina: a guide to the old north state (WPA, 1939)

#AmericanGuideWeek Southern folklife recorder Fatchance tries one of the food specialities of North Carolina: Salt Herring. It goes way back in the “Old North State” and is a report for Field Assignment #4: Folk Festivals, Pageants, Celebrations and Customs: 

For years my father and his brothers ran a seasonal herring fishery on the Meherrin River, near the town of Murfreesboro in eastern North Carolina. It was the last haul seine fishery to operate in the state. Now only a few fisheries are able to obtain permits to harvest a strictly controlled catch. 

My father often told stories of days when the river was so clotted with fish that a bushel basket could be filled with herring just by drawing it through the water. The herring fishery today is cautiously managed. In some years North Carolina has imposed a complete moratorium on the inland herring catch, in order to protect a diminished fish population that was once so plentiful most of the harvest was ground up to be used as fertilizer. 

In the coastal south herring was a poor man’s food, transformed today into a rare delicacy because of scarcity of supply.

As a food fish herring were valued because they could be easily preserved. Cleaned and scaled fish are packed in plain table salt to corn. They will keep for many months preserved in this fashion. After soaking in water overnight the corned fish can be breaded and fried. Fried corned herring was common breakfast fare when I was growing up. The herring roe are eaten fresh – dredged in white cornmeal and crisply fried.

The Meherrin is a tidal, fresh-water tributary of the Chowan River, which debouches into the Albemarle Sound. The herring run peaks during high spring tides, from late February through early May each year.

I mostly recall pulling the net as a very cold, uncomfortable business. Catching fish required stretching the net upriver the length of the seining beach - not a true beach, but the shallow water on the deposition side of a bend in the river - then using a shallow-draft bateau to form a purse across the deep water of the river channel. The net would then be tied off, and the purse slowly closed by walking the net back to land the fish downriver. Because the river is tidal, flows alternate direction during the course of the day. Fish were netted as they moved upstream on rising tides. 

At top: Illustration of a blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis) by Hugh Chrisp, from the online collection of the Cornell University Department of Natural Resouces. Chrisp joined the State of New York Conservation Department Watershed Survey to paint fish when his architecture practice failed during the great depression. Center left: Photo from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, showing a pull seine being hauled at a fishery on the Roanoke River in 1939. Center right: Scaled and cleaned herring in salt for corning. Bottom photo: Aunt Maggie Parrish preparing herring roe for frying.

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Follow Fatchance on Tumblr at fatchance.tumblr.com.

GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS, NORTH CAROLINA
Guide to North Carolina Brittany Kearns logs a report for Field Assignment #1: Topography and Climate, on how the Great Smoky Mountains got their name:

The Cherokee Indians have many legends about this area, which was part of their former home. Origin of the name Great Smoky is buried in obscurity, but it was probably suggested to Indians or early settlers by the tenuous mist, a dreamy blue haze like that of Indian summer, or deeper that hovers almost always over the high peaks. Earliest official Government use of the term is in the 1789 act of cession delimiting the boundaries of North Carolina and what is now the State of Tennessee: “… thence along the highest ridge of said mountains to the place where it is called Great Iron or Smoky Mountain.”
—North Carolina: a guide to the old north state (WPA, 1939)

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Brittany Kearns is a Guide to North Carolina. An honorary Southerner, she was born in New Jersey, but now calls rural Chatham County home. She’s got a degree in anthropology, a love for documentary photography and takes film over digital any day. Follow her on Tumblr at thebeekearns.tumblr.com and check out her portfolio at BrittanyKearns.com.  
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GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS, NORTH CAROLINA

Guide to North Carolina Brittany Kearns logs a report for Field Assignment #1: Topography and Climate, on how the Great Smoky Mountains got their name:

The Cherokee Indians have many legends about this area, which was part of their former home. Origin of the name Great Smoky is buried in obscurity, but it was probably suggested to Indians or early settlers by the tenuous mist, a dreamy blue haze like that of Indian summer, or deeper that hovers almost always over the high peaks. Earliest official Government use of the term is in the 1789 act of cession delimiting the boundaries of North Carolina and what is now the State of Tennessee: “… thence along the highest ridge of said mountains to the place where it is called Great Iron or Smoky Mountain.”

North Carolina: a guide to the old north state (WPA, 1939)

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Brittany Kearns is a Guide to North Carolina. An honorary Southerner, she was born in New Jersey, but now calls rural Chatham County home. She’s got a degree in anthropology, a love for documentary photography and takes film over digital any day. Follow her on Tumblr at thebeekearns.tumblr.com and check out her portfolio at BrittanyKearns.com.  

JORDAN DAM, NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina Guide Brittany Kearns kills two birds with one stone, covering #AmericanGuideWeek Field Assignments #5 National Parks, Monuments and Landmarks and #8 Waterways with a trip to Jordan Dam, which is operated by the Army Corps of Engineers in Chatham County, North Carolina. 

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Brittany Kearns is a Guide to North Carolina. An honorary Southerner, she was born in New Jersey, but now calls rural Chatham County home. She’s got a degree in anthropology, a love for documentary photography and takes film over digital any day. Follow her on Tumblr at thebeekearns.tumblr.com and check out her portfolio at BrittanyKearns.com.