The Piedmont is the central region of North Carolina, a plateau of gentle hills between the flat Coastal Plain and the majestic mountains. The Piedmont is home to the state's biggest cities as well as rolling farmland; fast-growing research centers as well as old-fashioned Southern hospitality.
|Research Triangle |
A sprawling metro area anchored by three major research universities.
|Piedmont Triad |
Historic North Carolina: Old Salem, Civil Rights sites, and quiet townscapes.
|Charlotte Metro |
The culture and activity of North Carolina's biggest city, plus NASCAR.
Small towns popular for golfing.
- 1 Chapel Hill - Home of the University of North Carolina.
- 2 Durham - Famous for Duke University and tobacco connections.
- 3 Raleigh - North Carolina's capital, with great museums and cultural attractions.
- 4 Greensboro - One of the largest cities in the state, with several colleges and universities, attractive historic districts, and civil rights history.
- 5 High Point - "Furniture Capital of the World".
- 6 Winston-Salem - Mid-sized city, home to the famous historic Moravian settlement of Old Salem.
- 7 Charlotte - The Carolinas' largest city, and the center of commerce and culture in the Piedmont.
- 8 Concord - Home of Charlotte Motor Speedway (formerly Lowe's Motor Speedway), host to three major NASCAR races; Concord Mills, the state's #1 tourist destination; a lovely historic district; and many cultural attractions.
- 9 Kannapolis - Historic mill town now home to the NC Research Campus. Local attractions include the Gem Theater (built 1938); Cannon Village; and the Village Park, host to many concerts and festivals throughout the year.
|Piedmont (North Carolina)|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
The Piedmont is, in more ways than one, a transitional zone. It is between the Deep South (the Hollywood version of Southern culture) and the Mid-Atlantic coastline. It also represents a gradual transition from the Appalachian mountain range toward the coastal area. Therefore it seems rather "in the middle" culturally and politically. Standard rules of Southern culture -- pronounced etiquette, slower speech patterns, relatively conservative social standards -- are present, but not nearly as overbearing for visitors as one might expect to find in other areas.
Due to the strong banking industry, mild climate, and natural resources, it has become a desirable destination for companies and families to relocate from the Northeast and Midwest.
The two main airports in the region are Raleigh-Durham (RDU IATA) and Charlotte Douglas (CLT IATA). Charlotte is a major hub for American, with destinations all around the world, while Raleigh-Durham is connected with most big cities in the US. The Greensboro area is also served by Piedmont Triad (GSO IATA) Airport, although in many cases it may be more convenient to fly into Charlotte or Raleigh-Durham and then drive around 1 - 1½ hours to your destination in the Triad.
The main highways in the Piedmont are:
- I-40 - connects California with North Carolina
- I-85 - passes through NC on its way between Richmond and Atlanta.
Amtrak's Carolinian service originates in New York and terminates in Charlotte, while the Silver Service passes through on its way to New York from Florida.
The Piedmont is well served by Greyhound and Megabus.
Driving is the most popular option for getting around the region. But train coverage is better than average for the US: Amtrak's aptly named Piedmont line goes across the Piedmont, as does the Carolinian. Both lines connect Raleigh and Charlotte as well as cities in between, such as Durham and Greensboro. The train is a convenient and nice way to travel between the region's cities.
Megabus and Greyhound buses are available. There's also a regional bus system called PART (Piedmont Authority for Regional Transit), mostly centered around the Piedmont Triad but with one line that connects to Chapel Hill. The Research Triangle and Charlotte Metro have their own bus systems as well.
There are short commercial flights between the airports in the area (though the region is small enough that flying within it probably isn't worth the hassle if you're not making a connection).
Biking in the Piedmont is a pleasant way to enjoy the green, wooded scenery and farmland. Expect plenty of hills.
Nature lovers will like Charlotte. The area is very green compared to most cities. The closest (large) bodies of water and waterways are:
- The Catawba River
- Mountain Island Lake.
- Lake Norman.
- Lake Wylie.
Several cities in the region have a good selection of museums, especially Charlotte and Raleigh. Greensboro is home to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.
- Old Salem: Visit this 1800-style neighborhood and check out the college. Learn how to make corn pancakes and play old fashion games.
- Tour Greensboro's historic Blandwood Mansion, have lunch at one of several restaurants on South Elm Street (three blocks east), then visit art and antique galleries along South Elm Street between Elm and Lee streets. 5 hours.
A local favorite is Cheerwine soft drink, you should give it a try. Other favorites include Sun Drop and RC Cola. As for beer, Char-Meck is nothing out of the ordinary. Liquor is available by the drink throughout the county, though some nearby small towns have wrestled with whether to permit it.
Liquor is only available through state-sanctioned ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Commission) stores. Therefore, traditional liquor stores do not exist. Wine and beer are available for purchase at any gas station or grocery store.
Allergy sufferers be warned: because of the heavily wooded nature of this region, this area will be hell on you during the spring. If you are sensitive to high pollen levels, you should consider coming another time, or bring medicine.
- Central Virginia
- North Carolina Coastal Plain
- North Carolina Mountains
- Olde English District, a region of South Carolina that includes some of Charlotte's suburbs
|Piedmont (United States)|