In the Heart of Things
North Carolina spreads across a canvas of land that is mountainous and rugged to the west, gently sloping in the middle, and fissured and watery to the east. The Piedmont Mountain range that occupies its heartland is a relative geological infant, formed some 250 million years ago in the wake of similiar tectonic buckling that created the Appalachian Mountains to the west.
The North Carolinian heartland contains the states three largest citiesCharlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboroand consequently its heaviest population density. Naturally, the area plays a prominent role in the states commercial fortunes, and has also been the stage for much of North Carolinas historical and cultural evolutionSioux tribes occupied the land long before the arrival of European settlers; over 40,000 North Carolinian soldiers lost their lives in the Civil War; and the Piedmonts fertile soil once made the state the worlds largest manufacturer of cigarettes.Fortunately, the region's bustling metropolises lie close to a landscape of hills, forests, and lakes brimming with opportunities for outdoor escape. Let GORP guide you to the best day and overnight trips, all within striking distance of Charlotte, the "Triad" of Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and High Point, and the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill "Research Triangle."See maps of North Carolina
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication