North Carolina can be divided into three general regions: the High Country, the Piedmont and the coast. In the far west of the state, the High Country is a beautiful area to visit year-round. I love the spring, when azaleas, pink laurel and rhododendron trees bloom and grand poplars rise from valley floors. But fall, when the Appalachian Mountains are ablaze in orange, red and yellow foliage, is extraordinary.
The best way to behold the splendor of the landscape is to drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. East of the rolling hills of the Piedmont, the coastal plains are warmed by the Gulf Stream and comprise vast sand dunes, wetlands and the Outer Banks, a loose chain of small barrier islands.
The area is also home to several colonial-era sites, Civil War battlegrounds, historic lighthouses and Kitty Hawk, the birthplace of modern flight. Our recommended properties are located outside the most charming small cities and are as steeped in history and lore as the state itself.