Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

The Smell of North Carolina

Posted April 23, 2008

What is the smell of North Carolina?

Fragrances and scents from our childhood carve indelible memories that stick with us for life. What are the ones that you remember about growing up in North Carolina?

Maybe it’s the smoke from your grandfather’s pipe? Maybe it’s the scent of hotdogs roasting on the midway at the State Fair? Perhaps it’s the smell of a mountain meadow after a hard rain?

Several summers ago I was walking in downtown Marion and a specific smell suddenly awakened my memory. It transported me to a specific childhood moment with my father at the Morganton train depot. It was both a powerful and pleasing experience as I recalled the day I was allowed to operate a real train for a few minutes.

Please share your own aromatic tales of the Tar Heel state. Be as specific as possible. What are the smells that make you smile?


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  • cindyedwards38 Apr 29, 2008

    I was born and raised in Raleigh but have been gone from the area for 15 years. The smells I associate with NC are honeysuckle, fresh baked wonderbread,KFC frying chicken, freshly mowed fields of grass and the smell of snow.

  • At Work Apr 28, 2008

    The smell of spring onions right after the yard has been mowed.

  • mrkagain Apr 24, 2008

    Well, now that I've been singled out, I think I'll be quiet. My wife saw them from her work station on the job, and sent me an email that said I was on a roll, but I might want to cool my jets.... have a great day.

  • Duke_Blue_For_Life Apr 24, 2008

    Sampson county hog farms..........
    GOLO member since March 21, 2008--
    LOL, I know i'm a city slicker...The first time I experienced that horrible odor was in downtown Benson, a hog truck drove pass me, geesh, I had to pull over and barf.. :-)

  • mrkagain Apr 24, 2008

    Luzianne coffee with chicory and buttermilk fried chicken at Grandma's on Sunday afternoon.

  • mrkagain Apr 24, 2008

    A bar of Ivory soap by the wash basin on Grandma's back porch rail, where you washed up before dinner.

  • bleslie Apr 24, 2008

    mrkagain - outstanding work! Got any more?

  • mrkagain Apr 24, 2008

    "but the sweet betsy bushes are still "

    How'd I miss that? I've never heard of this, but you have me very curious.

  • mrkagain Apr 24, 2008

    The scent of bream beds in the shallows of a farm pond in the spring.

  • TheDude abides... Apr 24, 2008

    I agree with the Sweet Betsy. It does smell like the best apple you could dream of. My grandmother had two of these bushes with a lilac in between them and the smell was wonderful. The lilac has long ago disappeared from neglect, but the sweet betsy bushes are still there, and so is the smell.




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