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UNC Press - Longleaf Services

Natural Traveler NC Coast by John Manuel

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The coast of North Carolina remains one of the nation's top tourist draws, bringing in more than 8 million visitors each year to fish, fly kites, and build sand castles. For those who are about to make their summer vacation plans - those ready for more adventure than what they can find on the pier, those whose knees buckle at the thought of miniature golf, those with no more quarters for the video arcade - John Manuel offers his new guidebook The Natural Traveler Along North Carolina's Coast. An experienced writer on travel and the outdoors, Manuel says he wrote The Natural Traveler to combine the best of both worlds. It is comprehensive and current, with a special emphasis on natural areas and the wildlife that frequents them. The guidebook also covers traditional attractions, such as lighthouses, museums, aquariums, historic homes, restaurants, and lodging, he adds. This unique combination means that a few pages before learning about Tryon Palace, one of eastern North Carolina's most popular attractions, the reader finds out about the evening swolfhowlings led during the spring, summer, and fall by staff of the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. Immediately after Manuel profiles the famous seafood of Calabash, he leads readers into the nearby Green Swamp Preserve, where more then 14 species of carnivorous plants make their home. The Natural Traveler Along North Carolina's Coast begins with an overview of the natural history of the North Carolina coastal plain. Manuel traces the changes wrought to the coast by ice ages, hurricanes, Native Americans, and European settlers. He then describes each of the prominent natural features to be found on the coast today, from theopen offshore waters and sandy beaches to the longleaf pine savannas and densely wooded bottom lands beyond the tidal reach. For the curious, Manuel explains some of the North Carolina coast's most unusual phenomena, including Carolina bays - vast oval-shaped ponds, always aligned northwest to southeast, that are scattered throughout the coastal plain. He discusses many of the theories proposed to explain their origins, which have been attributed to everything from meteor showers to the spawning habits of prehistoric fish.