The world's very first working airplane took flight at Kitty Hawk, making North Carolina a natural place to explore the world of aviation. Almost the entire story of flight unfolds here at Carolinas Aviation Museum, from the development of commercial and military planes to privately owned aircraft. It's not all about the technology, either?the museum places heavy emphasis on the human stories behind these marvels of engineering, including heroic Vietnam War veterans.
Don't Miss: the "Miracle on the Hudson," the US Airways plane that Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger safely emergency-landed in New York City's Hudson River in 2009
Size: a 40,000-square-foot hangar with an active ramp area that allows visitors to take guided tours of the planes
The Building: though the visitors' area is in a newer hangar, the original building?the first commercial hangar in Charlotte from 1938?can still be seen across the runway
Eye Catcher: once the fastest plane in the world, there are only two D-558-1 Skystreaks still in existence, and one is here at the museum
Permanent Mainstay: it might not be the flashiest plane at the museum, but no trip here would be complete without seeing the original breaker of gravity's bonds, the Wright Flyer
Linda Minor, a member of the North Carolina Society of Goldsmiths and a former fashion buyer for J.C. Penney and Belk department stores, sells handmade creations within Bead Me’s spacious shop. Her first designed jewelry, which has been recognized as American-made by Martha Stewart, was chosen to be given to First Lady Michelle Obama on behalf of the city of Charlotte, NC. She draws from her style expertise to create necklaces, earrings, and bracelets with pearls, coral, turquoise, Swarovski crystals, and semiprecious gemstones. Many of her pieces incorporate copper, an antimicrobial metal that resists fading. During fun, BYOB jewelry-making classes, Linda imparts her beading know-how to students of all skill levels, giving them hands-on practice with metal-manipulation techniques such as fold forming and reverse psychology.
Sisters and native Charlotteans Neha Negandhi and Monika Shah didn?t let respective stints in Seattle and Alaska keep them away from their hometown arts scene. Inspired by similar BYOB painting sessions seen during their travels, they harnessed their diverse experiences with event management and Alaskan train tours to open their own studio, where they encourage students of all artistic levels to tap into their inimitable creativity just as they did. Joined by an impressive cast of local artists, the sisters unfurl a calendar stocked with a barrage of painting options, allowing students to portray a sailboat with an impressionistic mast or a seahorse wearing a gilded saddle.
Photographers, filmmakers, and fans of both art forms unite at the Light Factory, a buzzing cultural center on Charlotte's Central Avenue. Here, visionaries of all stripes have the chance to express their creativity amid the acclaimed?and oftentimes, infamous?images that line the gallery walls.?
In addition to attending events and gathering for exhibitions, folks interested in improving their own skills can enroll in the Light Factory's array of classes. During these sessions, students learn about black-and-white photography, portraiture, and how to handle DSLR cameras, which are especially difficult to house train.
Drawing from the more frightening pages of the area's history, Carolina History & Haunts? guides lead lantern-lit tours of eerie and haunted locales. The ?Nightmares Around Elm Street? tour sends groups through the specter-laden streets of Greensboro, while the Beyond the Grave tour braves uptown Charlotte?s paranormal avenues to learn the fates of the less fortunate and possibly even witness a prankster ghost grabbing a dog's tail as it's chased.
Carolina History & Haunts partners with local businesses to give tour goers discounts on accommodations and food, and large groups are eligible for discounted pricing and private tours.
Art bursts around every corner of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Acclaimed architect Mario Botta designed the intimate museum to showcase art in every arresting space and vista, including works by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Joan Mir?. The spiraling colors of the European perspective highlight the best of mid-20th-century modern art.