Courtesy Biltmore Estate
Published April 25, 2014
The Carolinas are visually rich with historic homes, breathtaking landscapes, romantic gardens and a centuries-old pottery tradition. This wealth of beauty and activity options makes the region ideal for baby boomers, who can experience the area by land, water and air.
Eagles Wings Hot Air Balloon Ride
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Sometimes seeing a new place is best when you have a bird’s-eye view. Pilot Robert Sarratt helps visitors to South Carolina do just that in his hot-air balloon rides.
The experience is about three hours long, with the ride itself lasting about an hour. Visitors can help inflate the balloon and get ready for takeoff and, while in the air, see many exceptional sights.
“We see a lot of things in the countryside,” Sarratt said, “rabbits, coyotes, cows, eagles and hawks.”
Small airplanes and helicopters have also been known to fly close so that the inhabitants of the aircrafts can wave to one another.
What visitors enjoy most, Sarratt said, is the silence. The quiet offers time away from daily distractions and allows passengers the chance to see the natural landscape unimpeded.
At the end of the ride, guests are treated to delicacies of their choice, depending on the occasion.
“We’ve had birthday cake and champagne,” Sarratt said, “and everything from birthdays to anniversaries to marriage proposals.”
Visitors are also offered the opportunity to have their pictures taken and put on a disk as a souvenir.
North Carolina Pottery Center
Seagrove, North Carolina
Known as the pottery capital of the United States, the Seagrove, North Carolina, area boasts more than 100 local potters and an ongoing pottery tradition dating back to prehistoric Native Americans. The North Carolina Pottery Center has a permanent exhibit of more than 800 pieces of pottery, artifacts and photographs from the beginning of the tradition to the present.
“We focus on the collective work of the potters of North Carolina, both historic and traditional,” said Lindsey Lambert, the center’s executive director. “It’s the collective unit that makes the ongoing tradition.”
The local clay, which potters used to dig themselves, is what makes the North Carolina pottery tradition unique. The properties differ between regions, but in general, the clay sports a red-orange color when fired.
In addition to the pieces on display, the center includes models of Native American pit firing and early kilns. Lectures and classes are also available for seasoned potters and novices alike.
The center hosts four major exhibitions each year, and this year, the center will feature exhibits on the face-jug tradition as well as the influence of Japanese inspiration on pottery.