In the Heart of Things

Out and About in North Carolina's Piedmont
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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 state’s three largest cities—Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro—and consequently its heaviest population density. Naturally, the area plays a prominent role in the state’s commercial fortunes, and has also been the stage for much of North Carolina’s historical and cultural evolution—Sioux 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 Piedmont’s fertile soil once made the state the world’s 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

Published: 2 Oct 2002 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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