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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Charles Kuralt & the Magic Elevator

Posted November 19, 2009 10:55 a.m. EST
Updated November 19, 2009 10:57 a.m. EST

Forgive me if this sounds like bragging but I wanted to tell you about my trip to Greensboro last week. I was summoned to the Proximity Hotel to receive an award from the North Carolina Travel Industry Association. It’s probably the most unusual award I’ve received in my ancient career as a journalist. It’s also one of the most satisfying.

The Charles Kuralt Award is given annually to someone who helps further a positive image about North Carolina. I can think of many people much more worthy of the award but I was delighted to accept it. T. Jerry Williams of Raleigh who presented the award said it was given to me for a combination of reasons – my work as a journalist at WRAL including this blog, my NC-themed songs and the book I wrote about growing up in western NC titled Blue Ridge Reunion.

Needless to say I was thrilled and deeply honored especially since Kuralt was one of my journalistic idols. I was fortunate enough to interview him just a month before his death in 1997.

Now to the magic elevator. That’s what I called it. The Proximity is renowned as the greenest hotel in America for its impressive array of earth-friendly features. The elevators in the hotel actually generate electricity when they descend. Solar panels on the roof generate enough power to heat all of the hotel showers. Plus, the Proximity’s toilets take low-flush to a whole new level. As an old environmental reporter I couldn’t think of a better place to have an awards luncheon.

The hotel’s CEO spoke to us about his green adventure. Dennis Quaintance says you will “notice nothing that makes you think it’s a green hotel.” Dennis says with proper planning and execution it is not difficult to create a sustainable facility at a reasonable price. The Proximity is a luxury hotel that proves conservation doesn’t have to mean deprivation.

The Proximity is located near the intersection of Wendover and Benjamin on Green Valley Road. I’m sure if Charles Kuralt were still “On the Road” he would enjoy spending some time here.