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14 Ways Us Locals Know You’re Not From North Carolina

North Carolina
by Jason Frye Nov 14, 2016

You think “Moonshine” comes from the ABC Store.

Shelves in our ABC Stores—state run liquor stores that keep prices high and make sure you can’t buy booze on Sunday—are lined with fancy little mason jars filled with white corn liquor mistakenly called “moonshine.” Locals know one thing: moonshine comes in a plain mason jar with two or three Xs on the lid and you don’t get it from the ABC Store, you get it from “a guy.”

You needed the explanation for ABC Store.

Enough said.

You call it “Carolina”.

No matter if you’re talking about North Carolina or South Carolina, the University of North Carolina—the Tarheels (and, incidentally, the only “Carolina”)—or the University of South Carolina—the Gamecocks (or cocks, for short), you just call it Carolina as if that’s ok. It’s not.

You think Raleigh-Durham is one city.

Nope, there’s Raleigh and there’s Durham, two awesome cities with an airport in between. We do have two hyphenated cities though: Fuquay-Varina and the better known Winson-Salem.

You call every beach in North Carolina “The Outer Banks”.

The Outer Banks are our northernmost beaches and they’re perfectly lovely, but they’re not the whole coast. From north to south there’s the Outer Banks, the Crystal Coast, Topsail Island and the Cape Fear Coast, and the Brunswick Isles.

You order tea, it’s sweet, you’re surprised.

Tea is sweet. Unless it’s hot tea, and who in their right mind orders hot tea? It’s already hot outside, and humid too, so the last thing you want is hot tea. Just take your ice-cold sweet tea and love it.

You don’t get the big deal with Duke’s Mayonnaise.

It’s tangy; thick; spreads perfectly on any kind of bread or biscuit; and it’s exactly what you need for your Pimento cheese, deviled eggs or cole slaw. And once you try it, you’ll never buy another brand again.

You’re confused by our State Toast.

Yes, we have a State Toast. In fact, North Carolina’s the only state with an official toast. There are two versions, the short and the long. Most of the time you’ll hear the short version, but here’s the whole thing:

Here’s to the land of the long leaf pine,
The summer land where the sun doth shine,
Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great,
Here’s to “Down Home,” the Old North State!

Here’s to the land of the cotton bloom white,
Where the scuppernong perfumes the breeze at night,
Where the soft southern moss and jessamine mate,
‘Neath the murmuring pines of the Old North State!

Here’s to the land where the galax grows,
Where the rhododendron’s rosette glows,
Where soars Mount Mitchell’s summit great,
In the “Land of the Sky,” in the Old North State!

Here’s to the land where maidens are fair,
Where friends are true and cold hearts rare,
The near land, the dear land, whatever fate,
The blessed land, the best land, the Old North State!

When you hear it, raise a glass.

You order your beer all wrong.

At the bar you order up a Bud or Coors or Ballast Point Sculpin IPA (which is just a Bud, now) instead of supporting one of our awesome craft breweries like Fullsteam, Ponysaurus, Mother Earth, Flytrap, Big Boss, Lonerider, Duck-Rabbit, Mystery, D9, Hi-Wire, Fonta Flora, Foothills, Fortnight, Four Saints, Trophy, Wooden Robot, Free Range, NoDa, Crankarm, Mystery, Highland, Wicked Weed, Funkatorium, Innovation or any beer from any of the nearly 200 breweries spread across the state.

You think Great Smoky Mountains National Park is in Tennessee.

Well, technically, you’re right, sort of. More than half the park—the wildest, most rugged half—is in North Carolina, and after one visit you’ll understand why 15 million people come here every year.

You can’t spell or pronounce the name of the men’s basketball coach at Duke.

Whether you’re a lover or hater of the Blue Devils you know his name is Mike Krzyzewski. The easiest pronunciation: Coach K.

You’ve never taken a side in the great Tobacco Road Rivalry.

In North Carolina, college basketball is like politics or barbecue: you need to pick a team and stick with it. Your choices are simple on the surface—Duke or UNC—but the societal implications of wearing Carolina or Blue Devil Blue in public are long lasting. Chose wisely.

You mispronounce Topsail Island, Bodie Island and Ocracoke Island.

Ignore the spelling and talk like a local. Top-sul Island (pretend you’re a pirate talking about the highest sail on your ship). Body Island (sounds creepy but it’s quite lovely). Okra-coke Island (remember it like this: Okra, like the vegetable, plus coke, the drink).

You’ve never been skinny dipping.

Whether it’s a midnight run into the ocean along the coast, a dip in Lake Norman, a nude recreation of The Lift from Dirty Dancing in Lake Lure, or a surreptitious swim sans shorts at Skinnydip Falls (with a name like that, they’re asking for it), until you’ve decided to take a dip in your altogether, you can’t get your citizenship card stamped.

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