Come See What’s New in North Carolina For 2008

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From AmericaÂ?s Best Beach to luxury hotels and classic barbecue, North Carolina is making news in 2008. Here are the biggest stories happening throughout the state for 2008. For the whole story, go to http://www.VisitNC.com or call 1-800-VISIT NC.

Raleigh, NC (Jan. 15, 2008) From America’s Best Beach to luxury hotels and classic barbecue, North Carolina is making news in 2008. Here are the biggest stories happening throughout the state for 2008. For the whole story, go to http://www.VisitNC.com or call 1-800-VISIT NC.

Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center

This 12,800-square-foot, $9.8 million facility houses exhibits that highlight the natural and cultural diversity, economic traditions and recreational opportunities found along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The center, built to the latest energy-saving standards, also has a 70-seat auditorium with a high-definition film and classroom space for groups. 828-271-4779; nps.gov/blri

Dr. Beach Names Ocracoke America’s Best Beach

Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach on Ocracoke Island was named #1 in Dr. Beach’s America’s Best Beaches list 2007, the first time a beach outside of Hawaii or Florida reached the top. Ocracoke features a pristine beach and a historic village – and no chain hotels or restaurants. 305-348-8364; drbeach.org

World’s Largest Bodyflight Center Opens in NC

Paraclete XP opened January 11, 2008, in Raeford, NC, featuring the innovative sport of bodyflight. Paraclete’s wind tunnel enables guests to fly in a controlled manner in the safety of a wall-to-wall air flow chamber. 910-495-3334; paracletexp.com

Greensboro Celebrates 200

The city of Greensboro is celebrating 200 years of history, culture, education, art, industry and progress in 2008. The series of special events will run from March 25 through May 17. 800-344-2282; visitgreensboronc.com

Emissaries Return to Cherokee

After a five-month run at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Emissaries of Peace: The 1762 Cherokee and British Delegations has returned to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. The exhibit chronicles the 1762 trip of Cherokee leaders to London to meet King George III. 828-497-3481; cherokeemuseum.org

North Carolina Barbecue Trail    

The North Carolina Barbeque Society has created a “Barbecue Trail” that hits 25 hot spots across the “Cradle of ’Cue.” These historic Barbecue Pits must have operated continuously for fifteen or more years, make their own sauce and have earned the high esteem of barbeque aficionados. 336-765-NCBS (6227); ncbbqsociety.com

Billy Graham Library

This innovative and interactive facility opened in June 2007 chronicling the life, ministry and message of Billy Graham with exhibits, multimedia displays and films. 704-401-2432; billygraham.org/BGLibrary_Index.asp

Animal News at The Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro is in the midst of an $8.5 million expansion of its elephant and rhinoceros facilities called the Watani Grasslands Reserve. 800-488-0444; nczoo.org

Conservancy to Create Barrier Island Study Center

The Bald Head Island Conservancy, an independent non-profit organization, is creating the world’s first Barrier Island Study Center in response to growing global concern about barrier island sustainability. 910-256-9742; baldheadisland.com

Orchid Conservatory, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

The $12.5 million Orchid Conservatory opening January 19, 2008 will be the area’s only public conservatory devoted to the display of tropical plants. 704-829-1240; dsbg.org

El Greco to Velázquez

The Nasher Museum in Durham presents several works of two of the world’s greatest painters – El Greco and Velázquez – that have never before been seen in the United States. The exhibit runs Aug. 21 – Nov. 9. 919-684-5135; nasher.duke.edu

NC Literary Trails

The North Carolina Arts Council has created a Literary Trails Guide that connects the lives and work of 170 of North Carolina’s visiting and native writers with destinations across the 25 counties of the state’s mountain region. 919-807-6520; ncliterarytrails.org

Benny Parsons Wine Tasting and Racing Museum

The family of Nascar Racing Legend Benny Parsons mixes wine and racing, but not on Sunday because Benny believed that “there’s two things that Sundays should be for and that’s for going to church and going to races.” 336-973-7375; rendezvousridge.com

Accommodations:

The Proximity Hotel, Greensboro

One of the “greenest” hotels in the country, the new Proximity Hotel is built to use 36.5 percent less energy and 30 percent less water than a convention hotel. 336-379-8200; proximityhotel.com

The Umstead Hotel and Spa, Cary

This 150-room, AAA-Five Diamond hotel with 14,000-square-foot spa opened in January 2007 with a private art collection and signature restaurant. 919-447-4000; theumstead.com

Embassy Suites, Concord - Lowes Motor Speedway

The new $65 million Embassy Suites Hotel Resort and Conference Center is the official hotel of Lowe’s Motor Speedway. 704-455-8200; embassysuitesconcord.com

Hampton Inn and Suites at Shelton Vineyards

Owner Shelton Vineyards features a wine tasting bar in the lobby, and you can also relax in the indoor pool and jacuzzi. 336-353-9400; sheltonvineyards.com/default.aspx?shelton=41

Landmark Carolina Hotel Gets Makeover, Pinehurst

More than 100 years after it was built, the grand Carolina Hotel at Pinehurst -- once known once as the Queen of the South -- is getting a tiara-to-glass slipper $8 million makeover. 800-487-4653; pinehurst.com

Media Contacts:

Wit Tuttell

919-733-7420

wit@visitnc.com

Susan Dosier

704-364-8969

sdosier@LKMideas.com

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