Happening Now

14 Food Trails Worthy of Packing an Extra Pair of Comfortable Pants (March 2019)

Exploring Algiers Point, New Orleans' Second Oldest Neighborhood (January 2019)

Postcard from Bristol Tennessee/Virginia (January 2019)

21 "Spirited" Stays Throughout The South (October 2018)

Checking In for the Night: Nine Bed-and-Breakfasts Throughout the South (October 2018)

Rhythm is Deep during Cumberland Caverns Live at Cumberland Caverns (September 2018)

Postcard from Panama City, Florida (August 2018)

Take a Tour of The Lewis Ranch (July 2018)

Reservations, Please! New and Upcoming Properties in the South (July 2018)

Off-the-Beaten-Path: Four Very Different Museum in One Place on the Mississippi State University Campus (July 2018)

Explore Revolutionary War Sites in the South (July 2018)

So Cool, It's Hot: Southern Summer Bucket List (June 2018)

"It's Ours!" Tennessee Town Reclaims Long Island Iced Tea (June 2018)

In a Travel Slump? Find Some Getaway Inspiration with These Four Destinations (June 2018)

Remember and Honor: Seven Military Museums to Visit Year Round (May 2018)

Postcard from Tupelo, Mississippi (May 2018)

Off-the-Beaten-Path: Seven Museums (and a Bonus) Not to Miss in New Orleans' French Quarter (May 2018)

Relax, Recharge and Refresh at Coldwater Gardens in Milton, Florida (April 2018)

Let's Go! Reconnect and Create Memories at These Seven Family Fun Destinations (March 2018)

So Many Reasons to Visit Nashville, Tennessee (February 2018)

Gowns, Costumes and History: 11 Museums (and a Bonus) That Highlight Mardi Gras (January 2018)

Take a Retro U.S. Road Trip with "Addicted to Americana" (January 2018)

Experience Valhalla Resort Hotel in Helen, Georgia (December 2017)

Shop Local: Nine Places to Find Distinctive Gifts (November 2017)

Pose, Snap, Post at Any of These Top Seven Instagrammable Georgia State Parks and Historic Site Locations (November 2017)

A Quick Peek Inside the Omni Hotel at The Battery Atlanta (November 2017)

It's Coming! Great Wolf Lodge in LaGrange, Georgia to Open at the end of May 2018 (October 2017)

Take the Scenic Route: Three Drives not to Miss in the South (October 2017)

Postcard from Winston-Salem, North Carolina (September 2017)

Go, See, Do, Stay: Exploring Three Destinations in the Ozark Mountains (August 2017)

Edgar Degas and the Degas House in New Orleans (August 2017)

Find Unique Experiences in the South (and America) with "100 Things to Do in America Before You Die" (July 2017)

Dive in Gulf County, Florida with Daly's Watersports' "Discover Scuba Diving" (June 2017)

Unpacking the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama (June 2017)

Get Out(side) and Explore Seven of North Alabama's Natural Attractions (May 2017)

10 Things Not to Miss When Visiting Dollywood (May 2017)

Let the Concierge be Your Guide for Adventure in Gulf County, Florida (April 2017)

Discover Farmview Market in Madison, Georgia (October 2016)

Postcard from Natchitoches, Louisiana (October 2016)

Discover the Essence of the Florida Panhandle at State Parks (October 2016)

Experience Fayetteville, North Carolina (October 2016)

Nine Fun Ways to Enjoy Fall Foliage in Georgia (October 2016)

Postcard from Lexington, Kentucky (September 2016)

Get Out and Explore: Six States, 16 State Parks (September 2016)

Checking In...The Henderson in Destin, Florida (September 2016)

What to Do in Blowing Rock, North Carolina (September 2016)

Postcard from Baton Rouge, Louisiana (June 2016)

From Alligators to Whale Sharks: 10 Aquariums in the South to Explore (May 2016)

Postcard from LaGrange, Georgia (April 2016)

Nine Experiences to Enjoy in Bowling Green, Kentucky (March 2016)

Postcard from Middleburg, Virginia (February 2016)

Go, See, Do: Six Getaway-Worthy Southern Destinations (January 2016)

16 Things to Do in the South in 2016 (January 2016)

Rider or Not, There are Many Reasons to Visit Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson (October 2015)

The Great Georgia Escape: Discovering (and Enjoying) Big Canoe (September 2015)

Quick Glimpse into Birmingham, Alabama's Growing Culinary Scene (August 2015)

Discover the Vast Musical Side of the South with the Americana Music Triangle (June 2015)

Take Grilling to the Next Level with Grillocracy.com (June 2015)

True Cajun Experience Found at Crawfish Haven/Mrs. Rose's Bed and Breakfast (May 2015)

Experience Acre in Auburn, Alabama (May 2015)

Experience the Mississippi Delta with These Four Destinations (January 2015)

Four Days, Three Destinations: Exploring Columbia County and Augusta, Ga., and Aiken, S.C. (January 2015)

Finding the Perfect Southern Destination for Your Next Getaway (January 2015)

So Many Fun Ways to Spend Your Holiday Gift Cash in the South (December 2014)

Behind the Scenes: The Personal Collection (and Memories) at the Gone With the Wind Museum: Scarlett on the Square (December 2014)

Spending a Day or Weekend in Bardstown, Kentucky (September 2014)

"Celebrate" Your Getaway to The Pearl on Rosemary Beach (September 2014)

College Football Hall of Fame Debuts in Atlanta (August 2014)

Discover Alabama's Varied Culinary Side during Alabama Restaurant Week (August 2014)

Get Out and Enjoy Scallop Season (and Scallops) on St. Joseph Bay in Gulf County, Florida (August 2014)

Bringing the Past and Present Together in Rock Hill, S.C. with "75 Years, Still One Gear" (July 2014)

Four Reasons to Plan a Getaway to Sunny Isles Beach, Florida (July 2014)

So Many Ways in the South to Make This Summer One to Remember (June 2014)

Amp Up Your Doughnut Making (and Eating) Experience with Sublime Doughnuts' Kamal Grant's Cookbook (May 2014)

Streamsong Resort: A Golfing Resort Beyond the Ordinary in Florida (April 2014)

In the Kitchen with Chef Douglas Olsen (March 2014)

Celebrating Farmers and Farm Life with the Farm Star Living Website and App (March 2014)

In the Kitchen with Chef Sam Lodovico, The Resort at Glade Springs (February 2014)

Checking Out Charleston's Culinary Scene with Charleston Culinary Tours (February 2014)

Discovering Downtown Birmingham, Ala. with Alabama Road Trips (January 2014)

Season Two of "Emeril's Florida" Highlights Culinary Gems of South Walton (January 2014)

Chatting with Barbecue Champion and Restaurateur Melissa Cookston (November 2013)

"Cast Iron Chef" Competition to Heat Up the 3rd annual Brooks County Skillet Festival (October 2013)

Crowd Pleasing Recipes to Amp Up Tailgating (September 2013)

Discovering Georgia's Lake Oconee Area (July 2013)

Honoring the Man in Black: Johnny Cash Museum (June 2013)

Experience Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island (June 2013)

Build Your Own Memorable Experience in Columbus, Georgia (May 2013)

South Walton’s Art Culture: People Behind the Creations (May 2013)

Louisville, Kentucky Beyond the Derby (May 2013)

City Insider: Mark Wyant, owner, The Saint Hotel in New Orleans (February 2013)

Dining Out at Osteria Tulia (January 2013)

Discover Florida's Charm with Emeril's Florida (January 2013)

Taste Nostalgia (and Fun) with Pure Sodaworks (December 2012)

Find Serenity (and More) at Red Horse Inn (December 2012)

In Tall Cotton: Chef Cory Bahr and Restaurant Cotton (November 2012)

Under the Grand Chapiteau with Cirque du Soleil’s Totem (November 2012)

Feelin’ Presidential: Presidential Sites Throughout the South (October 2012)

Eight Cool Southern College Towns (September 2012)

Mark Your Calendar... Fabulous Southern Fall Music Festivals (September 2012)

In the Kitchen with Chef Eric Fulkerson (August 2012)

Visiting The Inn at Magnolia Oaks (August 2012)

Journey to New Orleans Plantation Country (August 2012)

Turn Your Vacation into an Experience at the Plantation on Crystal River (July 2012)

Dazzle Your Summer with Fata Morgana (July 2012)

Coming Home to Hightower Creek Vineyards (July 2012)

Exploring I-95 in the South with Barbara Barnes, Author of What’s Great About I-95: Maine to Florida (July 2012)

Timeless Experiences Await You at High Hampton Inn (June 2012)

Discover Cummins Falls, Tennessee's Newest State Park (June 2012)

See Savannah on a Segway Tour (June 2012)

Newest Addition to Biloxi, Mississippi - Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant (May 2012)

Coming Home: Chef David Guas set for New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (May 2012)

Experience Southern Sweetness with South Carolina's Firefly Distillery (May 2012)

The Running of the 71st Iroquois Steeplechase (May 2012)

100 Years and Counting: Riding the African Queen (May 2012)

Get Into the Wild with Safari Wilderness Ranch (May 2012)

Discover Another Side of Spartanburg with the Underground Guide to Spartanburg (April 2012)

Get Out and Explore National Parks During National Park Week (April 2012)

Glide Through Downtown Memphis on the Segway Experience of Memphis Tour (April 2012)

Congratulations to Our "Adventure Time Getaway" Winner (April 2012)

The Tennessee Aquarium, 20 Years Later and Still Going Strong (March 2012)

Fashion Weeks Show Off Stylish South (March 2012)

What to do When You’re Not Breathing Baseball During Spring Training in Florida (March 2012)

Tables are Set for Restaurant Weeks in the South (January 2012)

Congratulations to our Couples Comedy Getaway Winner (December 2011)

Discovering South Florida’s Three Distinctively Different Kimpton Hotels (November 2011)

Congratulations to our Back To Nature Getaway Winner (November 2011)

“Fall” for the Outdoors and More in Wilmington, North Carolina (October 2011)

Festivals, Football, Foliage and Fun: The Many Reasons Fall is Great in the South (October 2011)

The New Must-Do’s in Raleigh, North Carolina (September 2011)

Culinary Delights and Cultural Gems Await You Along SW Alabama's Culinary Trail (September 2011)

Exploring Seaside with the Seaside Walking Tour (September 2011)

Ending the Summer with a Bang: Labor Day Weekend Fun in the South (September 2011)

Celebrating Food and Music at The Shed in Ocean Springs, Miss. (August 2011)

Extend Your Summer with an Outdoor Concert (August 2011)

Discover Southern Charm and Hospitality at Fairview Inn in Jackson, Mississippi (August 2011)

Living History (and More) Awaits You at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill (August 2011)

Exploring New Orleans’ Culinary Scene During COOLinary (August 2011)

Celebrate Hampton Bear and Teddy Bears at High Hampton Inn (July 2011)

Fireworks, Parades and More: 25 Ways to Have a “Blast” This 4th of July Weekend in the South (July 2011)

Simply Southern...James Madison Inn in Madison, Ga. (June 2011)

Fun and Free (or Inexpensive) Ways to Celebrate Dad this Father's Day (June 2011)

Congratulations to Our Simply Delightful Getaway Winner (June 2011)

Discovering One of Florida’s Surprises: Paddling the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail (April 2011)

Rediscovering old Florida at the Florida House Inn (March 2011)

Sip and Taste at the 26th annual Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival (March 2011)

Congratulations to our "Savannah's Best" Getaway Winner (March 2011)

Let’s Play Ball! Spring Training in Florida (February 2011)

Getting Back to Nature: Touring Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge (February 2011)

Spotting Winter Wildlife (and Possibly Whales) in Virginia Beach, Virginia (January 2011)

Congratulations to our “Let’s Just Go” Getaway Winner (January 2011)

Finding “Treasures” on Jekyll Island, Georgia (January 2011)

Yo, Ho Ho: Exploring the Life of Pirates at the Pirate and Treasure Museum (January 2011)

It’s All About Experiences This Year in the South (January 2011)

Holidays are Hot at Hotels Across the South (December 2010)

It’s Nice on Ice–Where to Go Ice Skating in the South This Holiday Season (December 2010)

Congratulations to our Private Island Getaway Winner (December 2010)

Celebrating the Holiday Season in Williamsburg Virginia (December 2010)

Discovering Nu Wray Inn in Burnsville North Carolina (December 2010)

Thanksgiving Day Chef Competition at Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation (November 2010)

Many Reasons to Celebrate the Holiday Season at Gaylord Opryland (November 2010)

Discover the Birdhouse Trail in Monroeville Alabama (November 2010)

Congratulations to Our Casino Giveaway Winner (November 2010)

Get Out This Saturday for VISIT FLORIDA’s Great Beach Walk (November 2010)

Nathan Beaver set to Return to Perform in Madison Georgia (November 2010)

Fall for Fishing Along North Carolina’s Coast (October 2010)

Savor the Flavor in Polk County, Florida One Bite at a Time (October 2010)

Congratulations to Our Beach Giveaway Winner! (September 2010)

Discovering Mississippi's Culinary Trail (August 2010)

Going Coastal…Now is the Perfect Time to Visit the Florida Panhandle (August 2010)

Ways You Can Support the Recovery Effort in the Gulf (June 2010)

Get Out and Go to Alabama’s Gulf Coast (June 2010)

Soak in the Sun (and Fun) Along Florida's West Coast Beaches (June 2010)

It's New - The Titanic Museum Attraction (June 2010)

Celebrate Dollywood and Dollywood's Splash Country in 2010 (June 2010)

Tell Orlando (and the World) Why the City Makes You Smile (June 2010)

Fun Awaits You Along the Mississippi Gulf Coast (June 2010)

Staying Current on the Oil Spill in the Gulf (May 2010)

Where to Go for the Latest on the Nashville Floods (May 2010)

Keeping Current with the Oil Spill (May 2010)

Published: March 2018
Let's Go! Reconnect and Create Memories at These Seven Family Fun Destinations  

Regardless of if it’s a long weekend or a week, a getaway allows families to reconnect and recharge.

Create memories and spend quality time together while exploring any of these seven destinations.

There's just something about Eureka Springs, Arkansas, that you have to experience for yourself. Located in the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas, this quaint village can be considered eclectic, or even odd. And that's not a bad thing. Its many peculiarities, such as none of the streets cross at right angles and there are no stoplights in town, made it a favorite of Robert Ripley of Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

When it comes to family fun, the destination doesn't disappoint. Discover outdoor adventures like as urban hiking and mountain biking along various trails or zip lining with Ozark Mountain Ziplines. For those looking for something a little more laid-back, head on an underground tour of Onyx Cave.

Everyone will enjoy visiting Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, home to Bengal and Siberian tigers, leopards and other exotic animals. The USDA licensed non-profit certified facility offers talks and tours.

Spend quality time together on a ghost hunt in one of America's top paranormally active communities. Choose among the Crescent Ghost Tour at the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, The Ghost Hunt Adventour at the 1905 Basin Park Hotel and the Haunted Eureka Springs Tour, a combination driving/walking tour of other active locations in Western Carroll County.

Did You Know... Eureka Springs is home to over 63 cold water springs. Many of them have been restored and can be seen today.

Galveston, Texas, provides a perfect blend of beach, history and culture. Not only is the destination home 32 miles of beaches, but also one of the largest collections of Victorian architecture in the country, and plenty of museums like The Bryan Museum and Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum.

Once regarded as the "Playground of the South" in the 1800s, the destination remains attractive to travelers.

Fun is the name of the game when exploring Galveston. Make it a team effort by participating in Island Treasure Hunts; or if you have older children who demand something more challenging, check out Fantastic Race Galveston.

Impressive doesn't even begin to describe Moody Gardens. The three separate pyramids house an aquarium, a rainforest and discovery center. And that's just the beginning. There's also a 3-D and 4-D theater, ropes course and zip line, and more, including the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat.

If you're visiting Galveston in the spring, the Indoor Waterpark at Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston is open on weekends and select holidays. The entire park opens in the summer.

Take a spin on the carousel or ride the Galaxy Ferris wheel at Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. Be sure to check out the Midway games while you are there.

Got to See... During Hurricane Ike in 2008, the stately oak trees, many which were planted after the devastating hurricane in 1900, were destroyed. Leaving only stumps behind, homeowners along with the help of three artists did something positive with the remains. View the tree sculptures on a self-guided tour.

There's a lot to Huntsville, Alabama. The state's fourth-largest city is teeming with history, cultural and recreational opportunities that'll please every member of the family. You'll never hear the phrase "I'm bored," but instead "what are we going to do next?"

Did you know Huntsville was the birthplace of the nation's space program? Learn about its past and what the future holds at U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Get a family photo in the shadow of the Saturn V moon rocket, one of three on display in the world.

For those looking to spend time outdoors, Huntsville has plenty of options. The fam can stroll through the 112-acre Huntsville Botanical Gardens and take in the various blooms. There's also a two-acre children’s garden and seasonal butterfly house, said to be the nation’s largest. Head downtown to Big Spring International Park to enjoy the scenery. Get in those much-needed steps along the trails in Monte Sano State Park.

History comes to life in places like Alabama Constitution Village and Burritt on the Mountain. For the younger crowd, stop by EarlyWorks Children’s History Museum, complete with a talking tree.

Got to Do... Everyone can join in on the Lucky Duck Scavenger Hunt. Who in your family will be the first to find all 14 ducks scattered throughout downtown?

All it takes is one visit to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and you are soon planning a return trip. Perhaps it’s the surroundings that many find enchanting; after all, the destination is referred to as the "Scenic City". Maybe it’s the Chattanooga/Lookout Mountain-specific attractions like Tennessee Aquarium, Incline Railway, Ruby Falls and Rock City that attract travelers. Whatever the reason may be, it’s easy to fall in with the city, especially for families.

Whether your gang is into adventure, nature or general exploration, there is plenty in Chattanooga to satisfy the pickiest traveler in the group.

For thrill-seekers, you are in the right place. For those traveling with teens, treat everyone to a one-of-kind activity like the Introductory Experience at Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding, Flight Park & Training Center. Learn and practice the skills needed hang glide in a controlled environment and then glide tandem with an instructor. Raccoon Mountain Caverns and Campground offers Wild Cave Expeditions (reservations required) that allows visitors to explore deeper and undeveloped sections of the cave.

For softer thrills, sign up for rock climbing classes at High Point Climbing and Fitness, located downtown. Want to get on the water? Rent a stand-up paddle (SUP) board or kayak from L2 Outside and explore the Tennessee River. They also offer guided trips.


Have fun! Everyone will love seeing all the animals at Chattanooga Zoo. Let your children’s imagination run wild at the Creative Discovery Center. Walk across the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge to Coolidge Park and take a spin on the antique carousel. Let everyone create a blown glass ornament at iGNis Glass Studio.

Need to Visit... New to the Chattanooga scene is Songbirds Guitar Museum. On the grounds of Chattanooga Choo-Choo, the museum features rare and vintage guitars, and exhibits with an in-depth look at how the instrument shaped various music genres.

With museums like Museum of Science & History (MOSH) and attractions such as Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, and home to the largest urban park system in the United States, Jacksonville, Florida, is an all-around destination for all-around families. There’s plenty here to keep all ages occupied, engaged and most of all - happy.

With more shoreline than any other city in the nation, including 1,100 miles of navigable water and 22 miles of beaches, it’s easy to get on the water in Jacksonville. Find an outfitter that can get your family in a kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard. There’s even surfing and diving (yes, you read that right) opportunities.

Add a little culture to the getaway with a visit to either (or both) Cummer Museum of Arts or Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville.

Explore the area’s rich history at Kingsley Plantation, a part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. As the state’s oldest standing plantation, the grounds provide a fascinating glimpse into a time when sea cotton was king. See the remains of the slave quarters, made of tabby and the nearby witness oak tree. Walk through the plantation home built in the late-1700s, facing the Fort George River.

In the mood for a challenging game of putt-putt or laser tag, or racing around in go-karts? If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, gather everyone together and head straight to Adventure Landing. With two locations in Jacksonville, you aren’t far from fun. Plan your trip at the right time, and everyone can enjoy Shipwreck Island WaterPark at the Jacksonville Beach location.

Got to See… An urban woodland, the 120-acre Jacksonville Arboretum Gardens feature seven walking trails and a two-acre lake. Check out their calendar for events and activities.

The mountain towns of western North Carolina's Jackson County are filled with one-of-a-kind attractions. For instance, it isn’t every day you can introduce your family to American Museum of the House Cat. Found in Sylva, it is one of two museums dedicated to the domestic feline.

Outside of Sylva is the Judaculla Rock. The sizeable boulder contains unexplained petroglyphs said to be carved by Indians possibly thousands of years ago.

Stop by Jackson County Green Energy Park in Dillsboro. It's situated on an old landfill that harnesses the methane to create energy. The renewable energy is used for glassblowing studios, blacksmith forges and pottery kilns.

Each town within the county is perfect for families looking to slow down, unplug (for at least a few hours) and spend quality time together.

They also provide many opportunities to get out of your comfort zone and try something new like fly fishing along the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail or rafting on one of Jackson County’s four whitewater rivers.

Want more time outdoors? Go hiking! From beginner to advance, you will find a trail or two suitable for everyone.

Jackson County is home to over two dozen waterfalls, including the family favorite Silver Run Falls, picturesque Courthouse Falls and one of the tallest east of the Rocky Mountains, Whitewater Falls.

Don't Miss It... Start or end the day with a brisk walk along Tuckasegee River Greenway in Sylva. The one-mile round-trip trail winds around a scenic stretch of the Tuckasegee River.

From NASCAR to gold, Cabarrus County, North Carolina, has plenty of stories to tell. Located 20 miles northeast of Charlotte, the area, consisting of Kannapolis, Midland, Mount Pleasant, Concord and Harrisburg, offers families a variety of attractions that detail this region's uniqueness.

“Drivers, start your engines!” Cabarrus County is recognized as the birthplace of NASCAR, and even if you and other family members have a slight interest in the sport, there are certain things not to miss. Get a closer look Charlotte Motor Speedway with either the Feel the Thrill Speedway Tour or Over the Wall Tour. Don’t miss Kannapolis’ Dale Trail, honoring hometown hero Dale Earnhardt, Sr. The 19 locations highlight his life, legendary NASCAR career and old stomping grounds. For those who want more, check out one (or more) of the many NASCAR Race Shops found throughout Cabarrus County.

Pan for gold at the first documented site of gold discovery in the nation at Reed Gold Mine in Midland. Will you or another family member be lucky enough to get a gold flake or two? If anyone does, it’s theirs to keep (yet another good reason to visit.) Head on a guided tour to see the restored areas of the tunnels, historic mining equipment exhibits and walking trails. Reed Gold Mine is the only underground mine in North Carolina open to the public.

Learn about the state’s contributions to the music world inside the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in Kannapolis. The exhibits detail the works of musicians, producers, music executives and writers from the state through with memorabilia, artifacts and more.

Stroll the streets of Concord on a self-guided walking tour of pivotal properties. Take everyone downtown to snap a photo in front of the Coca-Cola “ghost sign” discovered beneath the metal façade at 2 Union Street, and visit the Cabarrus Arts Council for a free gallery tour.

Grab a Treat... Downtown Concord is filled with decadent dessert options for every palate. Try the Moon Pie ice cream at Cabarrus Creamery or bite into a made-to-order doughnut from Downtown Donuts. For those looking for something chocolate, check out the confections from Chocolatier Barrucand.

all photos are from personal collection with the exception of the following: zip lining, courtesy of Eureka Springs Media Center; inside Songbirds Guitar Museum (Chattanooga), courtesy of Songbirds Guitar Museum/Richly Marketing; rafting in Dillsboro (North Carolina), courtesy of Jackson County Tourism Development Authority/Pineapple PR; Silver Run Falls, photog Robert Stephens, courtesy of Jackson County Tourism Development Authority/Pineapple PR; Reed Gold Mine (Carrabus County, North Carolina), downtown Concord and Chocolatier Barrucand, courtesy of Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau/Eric Mower and Associates