Courtesy Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
Published April 25, 2014
Some attractions in the Carolinas are multi-generational in their appeal. If you have a mix of ages in your travel group, you can get to the heart of the Carolinas by learning about the people and cultures that influenced North Carolina and South Carolina and the rest of the world at these sites.
Wright Brothers National Memorial
Manteo, North Carolina
Built in 1960 as part of the National Park Service system, the Wright Brothers National Memorial tells the story of Wilbur and Orville Wright from their early childhood to their first flight in 1903 and beyond.
Artifacts from the first plane they flew are on display, including the engine. Inside the Flight Room, visitors can view a reproduction of the 1902 glider and the 1903 flying machine. A reproduction of the Wrights’ innovative wind tunnel is also on display.
Park rangers tell the story of the brothers and guide visitors to a reconstructed campsite that depicts how they lived and the hangar that housed their planes. A sculpture garden memorializes the first flight in bronze, a gift from the state of North Carolina to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first flight.
“[The sculpture] was built as a jungle gym and is intended for children and adults to get on it, play on it and make a photo op for everyone to fly with the brothers,” said park ranger Darrell Collins. “Lots of people love to see the airplanes and where the airplane flew for the first time.”
A granite boulder marks the place where the brothers’ first flight took off, and if you travel to the site by plane, you can even land on the First Flight Airstrip, the airstrip used by the Wrights.
“We hope visitors gain a great appreciation for what the Wright brothers actually did,” said Collins. “Their invention was a pure invention that was the foundation of modern aviation.”
Billy Graham Library
Charlotte, North Carolina
Evangelist Billy Graham is known worldwide for spreading the message of Christ. Today you can visit the Billy Graham Library to learn about Graham’s life and legacy.
The main building is constructed to look like a dairy barn, which reflects Graham’s upbringing in rural North Carolina. A large, glass cross window covers the front of the building, and inside are 40,000 square feet of galleries, multimedia, film and memorabilia covering 70 years of Graham’s life and work.
Ruth’s Attic Bookstore is a tribute to Graham’s wife, Ruth; there, visitors can find Christian books, DVDs and Bibles. The Graham Brothers Dairy Bar is the on-site cafe where visitors enjoy freshly made soups, salads and sandwiches.
The Graham Family Homeplace is where Graham lived from age 9 to when he left for college. The house was reassembled on the property brick by brick and is filled with family memorabilia.
“It feels like you’re walking back in time to when Billy was growing up,” said promotions manager Sonya Johnson.
For many, the eclectic content on display is a pleasant surprise. Ruth Graham’s wedding dress, which she made herself, can be seen alongside a piece of the Berlin wall, a poem Bono wrote to her and items from Graham’s numerous interactions with U.S. presidents. A new exhibit related to Graham’s work with Youth for Christ was also recently installed.
“The library is more than a museum,” Johnson said. “It’s a living crusade and testimony of how Billy Graham was used by God.”