The Latest From Carolina Traveler

Festivals, flowers, fancy lunches, floating on the lake, celestial phenomena…the 2024 solar eclipse and more events featured in this week's newsletter all belong at the top of our list of favorite springtime things.

🌞 2024 Solar Eclipse Viewing Guide: Get ready to witness one of nature's most breathtaking spectacles! We've got all the details you need to catch the celestial show of a lifetime.

🍷 Free Tickets to the Wine + Food Festival in Ballantyne's Backyard, Charlotte NC: Calling all foodies and wine aficionados! Indulge your senses at the ultimate culinary extravaganza, and guess what? We've got some exclusive tickets just waiting for you!

🏞️ Best Destination for Lakeside Lounging in the Carolinas: Craving some serenity by the water? We've uncovered the hidden gem where you can soak up the sun and savor the tranquility of lakeside living.

🌸 Happenings at the NC Azalea Festival in Wilmington: Dive into the vibrant culture and blooming beauty of Wilmington's iconic festival! From parades to concerts, we've got the inside scoop on all the must-see events.

🍯 Where to Find Purple Honey in the NC Mountains: Yes, you read that right! Discover the sweet secret tucked away in the mountains – purple honey! Join us as we embark on a quest to taste this unique delicacy.

Stay up to date with the seasonal festivals, spring bucket list items, and dazzling celestial events; follow us on Facebook, where we regularly offer free tickets and other giveaways, and make sure to become a 2024 subscriber to Carolina Traveler magazine!

2024 solar eclipse path

Looks like NC and SC have a pretty good view for the upcoming 2024 solar eclipse!

Get Ready For A Once-In-A Lifetime Event: The 2024 Solar Eclipse!

You may have heard buzz in the news about the upcoming 2024 solar eclipse. And, like most of us, you may have wondered — what's the difference between a solar and lunar eclipse again?

  • Solar Eclipse: Occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, blocking the sunlight and casting a shadow on the Earth. This can only happen during a new moon.
  • Lunar Eclipse: Occurs when the Earth passes between the sun and the moon, causing the Earth's shadow to fall on the moon. This can only happen during a full moon.

Solar eclipses are the same thing as total eclipses, and yes, they're the “cool” eclipses: they turn day into night for a brief time!

Solar eclipses are relatively rarer than lunar eclipses. While solar eclipses happen somewhere on Earth approximately every 18 months, the path of totality (where the total eclipse is visible) is much narrower, making it a less frequent occurrence in any specific location. You can see the path of totality for NC and SC in the image above — looks like we got good seats to this celestial show! Expect the “lights to dim” around 1:51 PM with “peak eclipse” occurring near 3:09 PM.

Fontana Village is expected to be the closest to totality in North Carolina. Here, you can witness an impressive 86.4% coverage of the sun's disk while enjoying the serene beauty of the surrounding landscape.

The North Carolina Arboretum is hosting a special event from 1-4 p.m., where families can dive into the science behind the eclipse while enjoying exciting activities and educational sessions. Thanks to NASA and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, you'll even receive special eclipse glasses to keep your eyes safe during the show. This cosmic adventure is absolutely free! No need to register, just pack up the family and head over for an unforgettable day.

Learn more about the 2024 Solar Eclipse in NC and SC


Make new connections at the Wine and Food Festival in Charlotte!

Free Food Festival Tickets!

While NC and SC are in the 70-90% path of totality for the 2024 solar eclipse, your odds of getting a free pass to the hottest food festivals in Charlotte are 100%! Now's your chance to enter to win FREE tickets to not one…not two…not three…but FIVE (all) food festivals, all in the Queen City in 2024!

Here's a teaser of what you get to experience at three of the festivals that take place over the course of a year:

April 20: Wine & Food Festival Ballantyne Experience an idyllic afternoon at Ballantyne’s Backyard, cherished by over 100,000 guests in Charlotte. Indulge in culinary delights with renowned chefs showcasing their signature dishes in the Tasting Theater. Savor a plethora of wines, beers, and spirits in an All-You-Care-To-Taste format, accompanied by lively music from ‘Trial By Fire – a tribute to Journey' and ‘Mallow Hill.' Upgrade to the VIP Experience for exclusive perks like access to the Champagne Lounge, extended sampling hours, souvenir items, and VIP amenities. Don't miss this opportunity for a memorable day of food, drinks, and entertainment in a delightful ambiance.

May 18: Charlotte Beer Bourbon & BBQ Return to the beloved setting of Ballantyne’s Backyard for Charlotte’s premier event: the Beer Bourbon & BBQ Festival. This 17th annual celebration promises a true Southern experience, featuring beer, bourbon, barbeque, live music, and more. Admission grants a souvenir glass for unlimited beer and bourbon tastings, with the iconic Shrine of Swine showcasing whole hogs and surprises. VIP Admission offers extended sampling hours, a BBQ Dinner Plate, exclusive lounge access, and live entertainment. Indulge in seminars with industry experts, groove to live bands, and explore a variety of brewerania, hot sauces, and BBQ accessories. Don’t miss out on this day of indulgence and entertainment!


NC Azalea Festival promo

A highlight of the festival is the Street Fair, where visitors can enjoy live entertainment, delicious food vendors, arts and crafts, and much more.

Attend One Of The Oldest Festivals In The U.S.

🌸 It's looking to be a blooming extravaganza at the NC Azalea Festival in Wilmington, NC! 🌸Immerse yourself in a floral frenzy like no other as we dive into the vibrant history and captivating charm of one of the South's most beloved celebrations.

Established in 1948, the NC Azalea Festival has blossomed into an iconic event that draws over 300K visitors from far and wide to the enchanting city of Wilmington. What began as a simple garden tour has evolved into a multi-day extravaganza, showcasing the beauty of Wilmington's azaleas and the rich culture of the region. Here are some fun facts to pique your interest:

  • Did you know that the festival has welcomed a host of esteemed guests over the years, including presidents, celebrities, and dignitaries?
  • The Azalea Belles, adorned in antebellum attire, add a touch of Southern charm to the festivities, serving as ambassadors for the event.
  • From dazzling parades to captivating concerts, the festival offers something for everyone, with lively entertainment and delicious culinary delights at every turn.

Now, let's fast forward to the 2024 NC Azalea Festival, where the excitement is sure to be in full bloom! Expect enchanting garden tours showcasing Wilmington's breathtaking azaleas, electrifying street fairs bustling with arts, crafts, and delectable treats, and pulsating parades filled with color and cheer.

Whether you're a seasoned festival-goer or a first-time visitor, the NC Azalea Festival promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you longing to return year after year. So pack your bags, don your floral attire, and join us in Wilmington for a celebration of beauty, culture, and Southern hospitality like no other! 🎉🌺

Boats on Lake Murray

The perfect day in Lexington SC includes a boat ride on Lake Murray. Photo credit: @lakemurraycountry (Instagram)

Set Your Anchor In Lexington, SC For The Perfect Lake Day

🚤 Welcome to Lexington, SC – where adventure meets relaxation in perfect harmony! 🌞

Start your day with the ultimate aquatic adventure on the pristine waters of Lake Murray. Rent a boat, paddleboard, or kayak and set sail on this sprawling lake, renowned for its scenic beauty and abundance of fish. Cast your line and reel in a big catch while basking in the serenity of the surroundings. Lake Murray offers endless opportunities for water-based fun, from water skiing and tubing to leisurely cruises soaking up the sun.

Once you've worked up an appetite, head over to the charming Lexington SC Old Mill, a historic landmark brimming with local shops and restaurants. Indulge in a culinary feast featuring Southern favorites and artisanal delights, or browse the unique boutiques for one-of-a-kind treasures to take home as souvenirs.

For a taste of nature's wonders, lace up your hiking boots and venture into the Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve. Traverse scenic trails adorned with fascinating rock formations, including the iconic Peachtree Rock itself, a geological marvel that's sure to impress nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.

As the sun begins to set, immerse yourself in the local culture with an evening of entertainment. Catch a thrilling Lexington County Blowfish baseball game, cheering on the home team as they hit it out of the park. Alternatively, groove to the rhythm of live music under the stars at the Icehouse Amphitheater, where top-notch performances promise to captivate audiences of all ages.

With its perfect blend of outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and scenic beauty, Lexington, SC, offers the ideal destination for a memorable lake day excursion that's sure to leave you longing to return for more! 🎣🌳🎶


purple honey

Your chances of finding purple honey may be more rare than witnessing the 2024 solar eclipse!

Purple Honey In Western NC…We Ain't April Foolin' Around!

We know…it would be very much on brand for us to come up with a purple honey scheme on April Fools Day at Carolina Traveler. But we promise, we're not buzzin' around your bonnet without good reason. As it happens, western NC is the only place in the world where you can find this marvelous purple honey. Learn more about what makes purple honey purple!

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