Tar Heel Traveler
The Tar Heel Traveler takes us to fascinating places across the state and into the lives of memorable characters.
At times, the Traveler will even tread onto controversial turf, putting a human face to heartfelt issues.
Look for thoughtful stories that are poignant, witty, interesting and inspiring, crafted with photography that is beautiful and compelling.
Watch the Tar Heel Traveler Mondays through Thursdays at 5:55 p.m. on WRAL News.
Know any fascinating places and people across the state that you'd like to see featured on WRAL? Email the Tar Heel Traveler, Scott Mason at SMason@WRAL.com.
Bring the Tar Heel Traveler home
To mark the Tar Heel Traveler's first 1,000 stories, WRAL-TV has compiled a select few into an hour-long DVD or Blue Ray disc. Net proceeds from sales of the special benefit Friends of the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that sustains memorial and educational programming honoring World War II veterans and all who serve.
Ginny O's Cheese Straws are in stores all over the country and even overseas.
Tuesday marked the 110th anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight. Years after that historic event, Orville Wright climbed behind the controls of a Piper Flitfire that's now on display at the North Carolina Aviation Museum and Hall of Fame in Asheboro.
Three million lights illuminate the Christmas display at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Santa Al shares the true spirit of love and generosity. Both make Santa real for the man whose 'civlian' name is Al.
Stanley and Brenda Hall adorn their Nash County home with more than 40,000 blinking Christmas lights each year.
Families have all kinds of traditions during the holidays. One might be to visit the Farmers Market in Raleigh to pick up a Christmas tree.
Some people are convinced that a monster nicknamed "Normy" lives in the waters of Lake Norman.
Will Allen of Raleigh has assembled an extensive model train collection.
There's a little place in the Bertie County town of Windsor that used to be a gas station. Now, it's famous for barbecue and cornbread, Bunn's Barbecue is already well known for surviving two floods, when water nearly reached the ceiling.
Years ago, a man from Louisburg started his own small auto shop. Now, his son runs the business, which has evolved into a chain of stores. The mechanics started grilling out during their lunch breaks, and Shop Sauce barbecue sauce was born.
Robert and Virginia Gerald, of Goldsboro, have been married 80 years. They have 11 children, 45 grandchildren, 47 great grandchildren and 75 great great grandchildren.
The folks at Peachtree Baptist Church in Spring Hope love cooking collards at Thanksgiving. The tasty dish is part of the fun and fellowship. It's also meaningful, because parishioners remember back a few years ago when the church caught fire. The collard cooking was a fundraiser that helped them rebuild.
They do Thanksgiving a little different in Bertie County. Folks get together for a fish fry fundraiser at the Perrytown Volunteer Fire Department. The event is all about family, friends, fellowship - and herring.
The largest sweet potato producer in the United States runs a farm in Nash County. Johnny Barnes of Spring Hope is a busy man this time of year, shipping potatoes to Thanksgiving dinner tables across the country.
G. Wesley Williams helped organize Raleigh's first Christmas parade and has remained involved with it for more than six decades.
The Warren County High School Dynamic Marching Machine just won its fifth national championship, unusual, perhaps, for a school in such a rural area. Hard work, determination, and team chemistry strike the right notes.
The Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh has an intriguing new exhibition that merges technology with art, and that combines art with innocence. The exhibition docents are middle school students.
Marilyn Monroe was longtime friends with her massage therapist, Ralph Roberts, whose nephew lives in Salisbury. Hap Roberts has amassed a collection of the famed actress' possessions that lend insight into her life.
Bill Shelton still remembers the day his best friend, James Robert "Crow" Patterson, died. Patterson was a member of the Marshall University football team, which perished in a plane crash on Nov. 14, 1970.
Randy Jones, who was born in Raleigh, was a mustachioed member of the 1970s musical group Village People, which scored hits including "YMCA" and "Macho Man."
Bobby Monk, a cousin of jazz legend Thelonious Monk, wants to establish a center to honor the musician in Rocky Mount, where he was born.
Veterans Day parades happen all over the country, but one in the Duplin County town of Warsaw has been taking place longer than any other community in America - 93 years.
"Laughter, Tears and Braids" is the title of a memoir by a Raleigh man raising three girls on his own after his wife died of cancer. Bruce Ham will read from his book and speak about his wife and journey at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, at Quail Ridge Books and Music in Raleigh.
What began as a fish market in Morehead City is now a popular restaurant. The Sanitary is famous for its name, T-shirts and a longtime employee known as the Memory Man.
Clyde Cooper's Barbecue in Raleigh is celebrating 75 years of service.
The Vietri story began in 1983 when a mother and two daughters traveled to Italy and fell in love with colorful, hand painted dinnerware made by local artisans. Today, the Hillsborough-based company is largest importer of exclusively Italian home and garden goods in the country.
Brevard College has racked up mountain bike championships, capitalizing on the local terrain in a place known as the cycling capital of the South.
The Tar Heel Traveler revisits some strange and mysterious stories across North Carolina.
Roffers Davis drives a green truck decorated with dollar bills, but the portrait is of himself instead of George Washington.
Joe Byers, of Transylvania County, formed his own bluegrass band, the Smoky Mountain Cut Ups, in 1957 and still performs with them.
Through the years, politicians and even presidents have used the NC State Fair as a venue to reach voters.
Alabama artist "Maw" Hutto sells her work and shares her wisdom for free at the North Carolina State Fair.
Every once in a while, we air a 30-minute special of some of Scott Mason's most memorable and most interesting Tar Heel Traveler reports.
Check here for more Tar Heel Traveler stories.