Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Making History Fun

Posted June 30, 2009

I’ve enjoyed exchanging emails over the past month with Heather Lucas of Dunn. Heather is spending the summer traveling across the state with her nine year old daughter Jessica visiting N.C. historical sites. Heather and Jessica are devoting two days each week to their travels.

Heather says she decided to do this after Jessica expressed a keen interest in history. As Heather put it: “Jessica is almost to the age where ‘hanging with mom’ is not cool and I want to get every minute I can until then. I want to feed her interest of history as much as I can.”

Heather can do this because she has flexibility in her schedule. Heather runs a sewing business and can “work and play at her own pace.” This mother-daughter venture is seen as a blessing to both.

“As a mom, my short term pay off is spending great time with my daughter. She is learning hands-on about history and less time playing hand-held video games. As for long term, Jessica will be more educated in history, life and may come in handy in school for her one day. If she becomes a historian, a writer, tour guide, re-enactor, teacher or whatever because of her travels, that would be wonderful. She is learning and we are making memories at the same time. It’s great!"

I asked Jessica what her favorite destination has been so far. Roanoke Island took top honors. She said she is having a great time and it’s mostly free: “I just have to pay for my souvenirs.” Of course, Heather has to pay for the gas, food and an occasional overnight stay. Heather’s favorite historical site so far is Bentonville.

Heather and Jessica have put together a wonderful blog on their travels:

Where else should this mother-daughter team visit this summer to get a true taste of Tarheelia? Please offer your suggestions.


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  • ziradog Jun 30, 2009

    Some of these have already been mentioned, all are big hits with my daughters:
    Fort Macon
    Old Burying Ground & North Carolina Maritime Museum, Beaufort
    North Carolina History Museum, Raleigh
    Old Fashioned Farmers Days - Silk Hope Labor Day Weekend
    Lost Colony - Manteo
    Spencer RR Shops - Spencer

    Many more. My youngest in particular cannot get enough of it.

  • history6557 Jun 30, 2009

    Don't forget a tour of the Lower Cape Fear historic sites related to the Civil War such as Forts Fisher and Anderson (and Brunswick Town) with side trips to Wilmington, Southport and Bald Head Island.

  • dnrkearney2 Jun 30, 2009

    Certainly they have Biltmore on their schedule, suggest a 'ghost tour'. Very interesting info on Asheville and your daughter WILL NOT be disappointed, with her wanting to encounter 'eerie'.
    Make sure she takes her camera, me a non-believe, got some great shots of 'orbs'.

  • Riverracer8 Jun 30, 2009

    Don't forget Fort Macon!

  • thefensk Jun 30, 2009

    Oh, and how can I forget, Old Salem. Not cheap but pretty darn interesting. Jessica might also want to check out Salem College while she is there. Sure she's a bit young to check out colleges, but it might interest her, all nestled into Old Salem like it is.

  • thefensk Jun 30, 2009

    You mean you have to MAKE history fun?

    Some suggestions I'd make are the Alamance County Historical Museum, which is just up the road from the Alamance Battleground site.
    The Country Doctor Museum in Bailey is very interesting.
    Duke Homestead in Durham is often overlooked but provides a very good tour and a lot of insight into the beginnings of the tobacco industry and the impact of that industry on the economy of the state. The same with Bennett Place, also in Durham ... the location of the largest single surrender of forces in the Civil War (good follow-up for Bentonville).

    Glad they hit the House in the Horseshoe. I liked that place. Went there with out of town guests and happened to overhear the workers complaining about a computer problem. I offered to take a look and fixed it for them and then we got the cook's tour. Pretty cool.

  • shutterbug Jun 30, 2009

    Moore's Creek near Wilmington would be good. It is the site of a Revolutionary War battleground and maybe extend to USS North Carolina. Also the town of Old Brusnwick would be good. I have been there many time over the years and have some 40 year old slides from when they were first excavating it.

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