Living Here Guide

Get a leg up on out-of-the-ordinary sites

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Biltmore Estate may be iconic tourist destinations in North Carolina, but they don’t begin to tell the complete story of what makes our state unique.

For a quirkier introduction, check out some of these attractions:

Country Doctor Museum(6642 Peele Road, Bailey.)

Considered the oldest museum in the United States dedicated to the history of rural health care in America, it includes tours through three buildings of exhibits, with docents available throughout for questions. Exhibits contain artifacts relevant to the practice of medicine between the late 18th century and the first half of the 20th century.

Created in 1967, the museum’s collection now includes more than 5,000 medical artifacts and many volumes of historic texts from across the nation.

Why it’s extra-weird: This museum gives you the opportunity to view the instruments used to amputate Stonewall Jackson’s arm. You can also check out an iron lung, Civil War field operating tables, a fake leg and more.

Details: 252-235-4165; www.countrydoctormuseum.org.

Belhaven Memorial Museum(210 E. Main St., Belhaven.)

This odd attraction holds the collections of Eva Blount Way, an avid and eccentric collector who lived from 1869 to 1962. The nonprofit’s mission is to collect, display and preserve historical and cultural artifacts, building upon Way’s original collection.

Throughout her life, Way collected buttons, Christmas memorabilia, period clothing, toys and dolls, china, farm tools and specimens from nature. She began showcasing her collection around 1940 in an effort to help the Red Cross. On April 1, 1965, the Belhaven Memorial Museum opened on the second floor of the historic Belhaven Town Hall.

Why it’s extra-weird: Exhibits include a two-headed kitten, a 20-pound tumor, a one-eyed fetal pig, mummified squirrels, several snakes that Way killed, a dress worn by a local 700-pound woman, a 10-inch-wide ball of string and a flea bride and groom.

Details: 252-943-6817; www.beaufort-county.com/Belhaven/museum/Belhaven.htm.

Digger’s Dungeon(5650 Caratoke Highway, Poplar Branch.)

Love monster trucks? Curious about why they’re such a big deal in the south? Here, you can learn about the genesis of the Grave Digger, which is one of the best-known monster trucks. You can even view a full-scale version out front or tour the garage next door where they’re working on monster truck maintenance.

Staff recommend that you bring beach towels, flip flops, sand buckets and Rev Treads for playing in the sand. Sunscreen and a camera are also recommended.

Why it’s extra-weird: You can see scraps of previous Grave Diggers hanging from the gift shop ceiling when you visit.

Details: 252-453-4121; www.gravedigger.com.

The Brown Mountain Lights(Visible from Linville, Wiseman’s Gap and the Blue Ridge Parkway.)

First reported by the Native Americans, these lights frequently can be seen from a couple of Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks (Brown Mountain Light overlook at Milepost 310 and Green Mountain overlook at Milepost 301), as well as from the Brown Mountain Overlook on NC Highway 181 between Morganton and Linville.

Locals say the best time to see the lights is between September and November. These lights appear sometime after sunset, rising above mountain peaks. The U.S. Geological Survey has said the lights are created by marsh gas, although there are no marshes in the vicinity.

Why it’s extra-weird: Legend has it that there was a great battle between the Cherokee and Catawba. The lights are said to be maidens looking for their lost warriors.

Details: www.secretary.state.nc.us/kidspg/lights.htm.

Old Burying Ground(At the intersection of Ann and Craven streets in Beaufort.)

Check out one of the oldest cemeteries in the state. You can learn about North Carolina’s history through such historic graves as that of a ship captain with a cannon atop his marker and a soldier buried standing up, facing his homeland of England.

Why it’s extra-weird: This cemetery is said to have a girl buried in a rum keg.

Details: www.historicbeaufort.com/burygnd1.htm.

Scottish Tartans Museum(86 E. Main St, Franklin.)

Founded by the Scottish Tartans Society, the museum focuses on the history of Scottish Highland clothing as well as the development of the tartan and the kilt.

Guests can view a dazzling showcase of tartans, kilts and Highland dress history, but there are a number of other aspects covered at the museum as well – including the Scottish emigrant experienceand the Scots’ interactions with the Cherokee people native to the area.

Why it’s extra-weird: The museum has original kilts dating back to more than 200 years ago, and features more than 500 samples of tartans, with some dating back to 1725.

Details: 828-524-7472; www.scottishtartans.org.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Biltmore Estate may be iconic tourist destinations in North Carolina, but they don’t begin to tell the complete story of what makes our state unique.

For a quirkier introduction, check out some of these attractions:

Country Doctor Museum(6642 Peele Road, Bailey.)

Considered the oldest museum in the United States dedicated to the history of rural health care in America, it includes tours through three buildings of exhibits, with docents available throughout for questions. Exhibits contain artifacts relevant to the practice of medicine between the late 18th century and the first half of the 20th century.

Created in 1967, the museum’s collection now includes more than 5,000 medical artifacts and many volumes of historic texts from across the nation.

Why it’s extra-weird: This museum gives you the opportunity to view the instruments used to amputate Stonewall Jackson’s arm. You can also check out an iron lung, Civil War field operating tables, a fake leg and more.

Details: 252-235-4165; www.countrydoctormuseum.org.

Belhaven Memorial Museum(210 E. Main St., Belhaven.)

This odd attraction holds the collections of Eva Blount Way, an avid and eccentric collector who lived from 1869 to 1962. The nonprofit’s mission is to collect, display and preserve historical and cultural artifacts, building upon Way’s original collection.

Throughout her life, Way collected buttons, Christmas memorabilia, period clothing, toys and dolls, china, farm tools and specimens from nature. She began showcasing her collection around 1940 in an effort to help the Red Cross. On April 1, 1965, the Belhaven Memorial Museum opened on the second floor of the historic Belhaven Town Hall.

Why it’s extra-weird: Exhibits include a two-headed kitten, a 20-pound tumor, a one-eyed fetal pig, mummified squirrels, several snakes that Way killed, a dress worn by a local 700-pound woman, a 10-inch-wide ball of string and a flea bride and groom.

Details: 252-943-6817; www.beaufort-county.com/Belhaven/museum/Belhaven.htm.

Digger’s Dungeon(5650 Caratoke Highway, Poplar Branch.)

Love monster trucks? Curious about why they’re such a big deal in the south? Here, you can learn about the genesis of the Grave Digger, which is one of the best-known monster trucks. You can even view a full-scale version out front or tour the garage next door where they’re working on monster truck maintenance.

Staff recommend that you bring beach towels, flip flops, sand buckets and Rev Treads for playing in the sand. Sunscreen and a camera are also recommended.

Why it’s extra-weird: You can see scraps of previous Grave Diggers hanging from the gift shop ceiling when you visit.

Details: 252-453-4121; www.gravedigger.com.

The Brown Mountain Lights(Visible from Linville, Wiseman’s Gap and the Blue Ridge Parkway.)

First reported by the Native Americans, these lights frequently can be seen from a couple of Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks (Brown Mountain Light overlook at Milepost 310 and Green Mountain overlook at Milepost 301), as well as from the Brown Mountain Overlook on NC Highway 181 between Morganton and Linville.

Locals say the best time to see the lights is between September and November. These lights appear sometime after sunset, rising above mountain peaks. The U.S. Geological Survey has said the lights are created by marsh gas, although there are no marshes in the vicinity.

Why it’s extra-weird: Legend has it that there was a great battle between the Cherokee and Catawba. The lights are said to be maidens looking for their lost warriors.

Details: www.secretary.state.nc.us/kidspg/lights.htm.

Old Burying Ground(At the intersection of Ann and Craven streets in Beaufort.)

Check out one of the oldest cemeteries in the state. You can learn about North Carolina’s history through such historic graves as that of a ship captain with a cannon atop his marker and a soldier buried standing up, facing his homeland of England.

Why it’s extra-weird: This cemetery is said to have a girl buried in a rum keg.

Details: www.historicbeaufort.com/burygnd1.htm.

Scottish Tartans Museum(86 E. Main St, Franklin.)

Founded by the Scottish Tartans Society, the museum focuses on the history of Scottish Highland clothing as well as the development of the tartan and the kilt.

Guests can view a dazzling showcase of tartans, kilts and Highland dress history, but there are a number of other aspects covered at the museum as well – including the Scottish emigrant experienceand the Scots’ interactions with the Cherokee people native to the area.

Why it’s extra-weird: The museum has original kilts dating back to more than 200 years ago, and features more than 500 samples of tartans, with some dating back to 1725.

Details: 828-524-7472; www.scottishtartans.org.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Biltmore Estate may be iconic tourist destinations in North Carolina, but they don’t begin to tell the complete story of what makes our state unique.

For a quirkier introduction, check out some of these attractions:

Country Doctor Museum(6642 Peele Road, Bailey.)

Considered the oldest museum in the United States dedicated to the history of rural health care in America, it includes tours through three buildings of exhibits, with docents available throughout for questions. Exhibits contain artifacts relevant to the practice of medicine between the late 18th century and the first half of the 20th century.

Created in 1967, the museum’s collection now includes more than 5,000 medical artifacts and many volumes of historic texts from across the nation.

Why it’s extra-weird: This museum gives you the opportunity to view the instruments used to amputate Stonewall Jackson’s arm. You can also check out an iron lung, Civil War field operating tables, a fake leg and more.

Details: 252-235-4165; www.countrydoctormuseum.org.

Belhaven Memorial Museum(210 E. Main St., Belhaven.)

This odd attraction holds the collections of Eva Blount Way, an avid and eccentric collector who lived from 1869 to 1962. The nonprofit’s mission is to collect, display and preserve historical and cultural artifacts, building upon Way’s original collection.

Throughout her life, Way collected buttons, Christmas memorabilia, period clothing, toys and dolls, china, farm tools and specimens from nature. She began showcasing her collection around 1940 in an effort to help the Red Cross. On April 1, 1965, the Belhaven Memorial Museum opened on the second floor of the historic Belhaven Town Hall.

Why it’s extra-weird: Exhibits include a two-headed kitten, a 20-pound tumor, a one-eyed fetal pig, mummified squirrels, several snakes that Way killed, a dress worn by a local 700-pound woman, a 10-inch-wide ball of string and a flea bride and groom.

Details: 252-943-6817; www.beaufort-county.com/Belhaven/museum/Belhaven.htm.

Digger’s Dungeon(5650 Caratoke Highway, Poplar Branch.)

Love monster trucks? Curious about why they’re such a big deal in the south? Here, you can learn about the genesis of the Grave Digger, which is one of the best-known monster trucks. You can even view a full-scale version out front or tour the garage next door where they’re working on monster truck maintenance.

Staff recommend that you bring beach towels, flip flops, sand buckets and Rev Treads for playing in the sand. Sunscreen and a camera are also recommended.

Why it’s extra-weird: You can see scraps of previous Grave Diggers hanging from the gift shop ceiling when you visit.

Details: 252-453-4121; www.gravedigger.com.

The Brown Mountain Lights(Visible from Linville, Wiseman’s Gap and the Blue Ridge Parkway.)

First reported by the Native Americans, these lights frequently can be seen from a couple of Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks (Brown Mountain Light overlook at Milepost 310 and Green Mountain overlook at Milepost 301), as well as from the Brown Mountain Overlook on NC Highway 181 between Morganton and Linville.

Locals say the best time to see the lights is between September and November. These lights appear sometime after sunset, rising above mountain peaks. The U.S. Geological Survey has said the lights are created by marsh gas, although there are no marshes in the vicinity.

Why it’s extra-weird: Legend has it that there was a great battle between the Cherokee and Catawba. The lights are said to be maidens looking for their lost warriors.

Details: www.secretary.state.nc.us/kidspg/lights.htm.

Old Burying Ground(At the intersection of Ann and Craven streets in Beaufort.)

Check out one of the oldest cemeteries in the state. You can learn about North Carolina’s history through such historic graves as that of a ship captain with a cannon atop his marker and a soldier buried standing up, facing his homeland of England.

Why it’s extra-weird: This cemetery is said to have a girl buried in a rum keg.

Details: www.historicbeaufort.com/burygnd1.htm.

Scottish Tartans Museum(86 E. Main St, Franklin.)

Founded by the Scottish Tartans Society, the museum focuses on the history of Scottish Highland clothing as well as the development of the tartan and the kilt.

Guests can view a dazzling showcase of tartans, kilts and Highland dress history, but there are a number of other aspects covered at the museum as well – including the Scottish emigrant experienceand the Scots’ interactions with the Cherokee people native to the area.

Why it’s extra-weird: The museum has original kilts dating back to more than 200 years ago, and features more than 500 samples of tartans, with some dating back to 1725.

Details: 828-524-7472; www.scottishtartans.org.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Biltmore Estate may be iconic tourist destinations in North Carolina, but they don’t begin to tell the complete story of what makes our state unique.

For a quirkier introduction, check out some of these attractions:

Country Doctor Museum(6642 Peele Road, Bailey.)

Considered the oldest museum in the United States dedicated to the history of rural health care in America, it includes tours through three buildings of exhibits, with docents available throughout for questions. Exhibits contain artifacts relevant to the practice of medicine between the late 18th century and the first half of the 20th century.

Created in 1967, the museum’s collection now includes more than 5,000 medical artifacts and many volumes of historic texts from across the nation.

Why it’s extra-weird: This museum gives you the opportunity to view the instruments used to amputate Stonewall Jackson’s arm. You can also check out an iron lung, Civil War field operating tables, a fake leg and more.

Details: 252-235-4165; www.countrydoctormuseum.org.

Belhaven Memorial Museum(210 E. Main St., Belhaven.)

This odd attraction holds the collections of Eva Blount Way, an avid and eccentric collector who lived from 1869 to 1962. The nonprofit’s mission is to collect, display and preserve historical and cultural artifacts, building upon Way’s original collection.

Throughout her life, Way collected buttons, Christmas memorabilia, period clothing, toys and dolls, china, farm tools and specimens from nature. She began showcasing her collection around 1940 in an effort to help the Red Cross. On April 1, 1965, the Belhaven Memorial Museum opened on the second floor of the historic Belhaven Town Hall.

Why it’s extra-weird: Exhibits include a two-headed kitten, a 20-pound tumor, a one-eyed fetal pig, mummified squirrels, several snakes that Way killed, a dress worn by a local 700-pound woman, a 10-inch-wide ball of string and a flea bride and groom.

Details: 252-943-6817; www.beaufort-county.com/Belhaven/museum/Belhaven.htm.

Digger’s Dungeon(5650 Caratoke Highway, Poplar Branch.)

Love monster trucks? Curious about why they’re such a big deal in the south? Here, you can learn about the genesis of the Grave Digger, which is one of the best-known monster trucks. You can even view a full-scale version out front or tour the garage next door where they’re working on monster truck maintenance.

Staff recommend that you bring beach towels, flip flops, sand buckets and Rev Treads for playing in the sand. Sunscreen and a camera are also recommended.

Why it’s extra-weird: You can see scraps of previous Grave Diggers hanging from the gift shop ceiling when you visit.

Details: 252-453-4121; www.gravedigger.com.

The Brown Mountain Lights(Visible from Linville, Wiseman’s Gap and the Blue Ridge Parkway.)

First reported by the Native Americans, these lights frequently can be seen from a couple of Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks (Brown Mountain Light overlook at Milepost 310 and Green Mountain overlook at Milepost 301), as well as from the Brown Mountain Overlook on NC Highway 181 between Morganton and Linville.

Locals say the best time to see the lights is between September and November. These lights appear sometime after sunset, rising above mountain peaks. The U.S. Geological Survey has said the lights are created by marsh gas, although there are no marshes in the vicinity.

Why it’s extra-weird: Legend has it that there was a great battle between the Cherokee and Catawba. The lights are said to be maidens looking for their lost warriors.

Details: www.secretary.state.nc.us/kidspg/lights.htm.

Old Burying Ground(At the intersection of Ann and Craven streets in Beaufort.)

Check out one of the oldest cemeteries in the state. You can learn about North Carolina’s history through such historic graves as that of a ship captain with a cannon atop his marker and a soldier buried standing up, facing his homeland of England.

Why it’s extra-weird: This cemetery is said to have a girl buried in a rum keg.

Details: www.historicbeaufort.com/burygnd1.htm.

Scottish Tartans Museum(86 E. Main St, Franklin.)

Founded by the Scottish Tartans Society, the museum focuses on the history of Scottish Highland clothing as well as the development of the tartan and the kilt.

Guests can view a dazzling showcase of tartans, kilts and Highland dress history, but there are a number of other aspects covered at the museum as well – including the Scottish emigrant experienceand the Scots’ interactions with the Cherokee people native to the area.

Why it’s extra-weird: The museum has original kilts dating back to more than 200 years ago, and features more than 500 samples of tartans, with some dating back to 1725.

Details: 828-524-7472; www.scottishtartans.org.

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