By Emily McIntosh

September usually marks a return to school and the ushering in of pumpkin spice lattes, the official start of autumn is September 22nd. So while the days are still long and the temperatures high, I took a trip with some friends to Eno River State Park to do some hiking and enjoy the river waters.

Though the Eno river has been appreciated and stewarded by Eno, Shakori, and Occonneechee tribes long before recorded history, the land became a North Carolina State Park in 1975 after efforts to conserve the area.

The NC State Park-sanctioned sign “Orange County” designating the line in the trail between Durham and Orange counties.

By Susan Allison-Dean, RN, MS, AHN-BC, CCAP is a Board Certified Advanced Holistic Nurse, CEO & Founder of The Nature Nurse™, PLLC. Follow @TheNatureNurse on Social Media

Image courtesy of Susan Allison-Dean

Have you ever noticed that some of your best ideas come while you are in the shower, that you sleep like a baby after a warm bath, or you’ve found yourself miles away from your beach chair in what seemed like an effortless stroll down the beach? These experiences are real and are now validated by science. The common link to these, and other wonders, is water.

Modern science, which now allows us…

By Diana Nava


Hometown Strong focuses on lifting the voices of small town NC, and connecting the resources that help us all make North Carolina a great place to live. Walking became much more common over the last year, and once the days becoming cooler, you have the opportunity to explore and learn more about rural art and artists in North Carolina. Don’t know where to start? Start here! These are the murals to visit while at Hometown Strong Sandhill Communities.

Astronaut Curtis Brown Jr. Mural-Elizabethtown, NC

Image Credit: BladenOnline

First up, take a stroll down downtown Elizabethtown to visit the iconic mural for Bladen County native Astronaut Curtis…

By Susan Allison-Dean, RN, MS, AHN-BC, CCAP is a Board Certified Advanced Holistic Nurse, CEO & Founder of The Nature Nurse™, PLLC. Follow @TheNatureNurse on Social Media

Image courtesy of Susan Allison-Dean

Did you know that North Carolina’s State Parks are full of healthy greens that can enhance our health and well-being? I’m not talking about the edible greens-collards, lettuce, turnips greens, and others that we know, and love, here in the south. I’m talking about the other kind of lush, leafy, or needly evergreen foliage that grows on trees, shrubs, and other plants. …

By Emily McIntosh

A landscape view of the New River, with blue skies, clouds, green trees, and blue waters

Ah, summer — here in North Carolina, it’s a season filled with all kinds of chances to get outside. Since my last few adventures focused primarily on hiking, I decided it was time to try out a new activity. So I left my hiking boots at home, grabbed a pair of water-proof shoes, and rented a kayak for my first-ever paddling trip to New River State Park.

By Karl Galloway

Warrenton, NC is the seat of Warren County and at the 2010 census had a population of 862. The Hometown Strong and Hello NC team visited a few weeks ago to learn more about this town, its quilters, and the patchwork of rich history that defines its community.

We were traveling to speak with the Heritage Quilters, and to learn about their craft. In 2015, a folklife project grant was awarded to Warrenton Library to fund “Stitching Life Stories,” a quilting and life-narrative community project run by the Heritage Quilters of Warren County.

By Karl Galloway

Diquan at Grand Tetons National Park

Diquan Edmonds is an outdoor professional, who currently works as the Education and Outreach Manager for the Triangle Land Conservancy. He’s from south Jersey (and still misses the pizza), but after nearly a decade in the Triangle, North Carolina is home. A career outside probably seemed like a forgone conclusion to his friends and family. As a child Diquan was always exploring the outdoors, catching frogs and getting lost, earning him the summer camp nickname “nature boy.” He loved Discovery Channel and Animal Planet and idolized Steve Irwin. However, it took him until his junior year in…

By Emily McIntosh

There’s a part of Eastern North Carolina that invokes a sense of escape into a place far away from the bustling cities or even the wide-open farmlands. During the spring season, the neon green leaves and new growth provide the perfect backdrop to spend a Friday afternoon outdoors. This spring, Cliffs of the Neuse State Park was where I decided to head east to see the views of spring.

Formed in 1945 in Wayne County, Cliffs of the Neuse State Park highlights the cliffs along the Neuse River, eroded away after millions of years of weather and…

The Longleaf pine is an evergreen conifer like other pines that you might see such as the Loblolly pine, but that gets its name because it has the longest leaves (needles) of all the eastern pines. The LLP leaves can grow up to 18”.

It all starts with the developing cone. The big clouds of pollen we see in the spring here are mostly pine pollen. And once that pollen meets up with an undeveloped cone, that cone can start to grow and produce the seeds. After about 2 years of becoming large and green they’ll dry up in…

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