Tuesday, January 17, 2012

N.C.: Winter wonderful travel land

It’s mid-January, and you can drive on more than 90 percent of the roads in North Carolina with nary a worry of slipping in snow or slush or on ice.

A trip to the North Carolina beach this weekend will welcome you with afternoon temperatures in the mid- to high 60s. Even Nags Head on the northern coast will reach the mid-50s. You won’t want to dive into the surf, but depending on your hardiness you could take a long walk on the beach wearing shorts and a sweatshirt.

Sure, that’s not typical for the state. But it’s not completely uncommon, either. My family has spent many a winter day at the coast. A few years ago, we spent an overnight 70 miles in the other direction, in Greensboro, visiting the Bog Garden and taking in an evening concert.

Of course, winter is prime travel time in far western North Carolina, where skiing and winter festivals abound in the communities tucked in the Blue Ridge and Smoky mountains.

In fact, winter is a fine time to travel, particularly if you are one of those people who slid into the doldrums during those months when the sun hugs the horizon. I think about museums that I’d like to visit in a nearby town. A one-day or long weekend visit is feasible from a pocketbook perspective -- you may be able to get a great rate at hotels that need to fill as many rooms at possible during a slow time of year. Yet it’s plenty of time to rest the soul or perhaps reconnect with your spouse. Take the family on a day-trip to the North Carolina Zoo. Most state historic sites are open, and you aren’t likely to have to elbow through crowds.
Indeed, we are fortunate to have plenty of places to visit, and enough good weather in the cold months to enjoy those places.

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