North Carolina: Ocracoke Alive
Despite the island’s tiny size, Ocracoke has a rich heritage of homegrown crooners and musicians who perform with a distinctive style that blends the lively elements of bluegrass, blues, and folk. Tunes aside, the festival mixes aspects of the island’s long and often quirky history (Blackbeard the pirate was killed here), and fresh-off-the-boat seafood, and local crafts (pottery, weaving, jewelry). Many of the concerts and events take place among the village’s nearly 250 historic structures; ocracokealive.org.
While you’re here: Ride the 40-minute ferry between Ocracoke and Hatteras islands, beach hopping up the coast to Kill Devil Hills for tacos at Bad Bean Baja Grill & Cantina and a visit to the Wright Brothers National Memorial.
Where to stay: Near the center of the Village, Thurston House Inn occupies a 1920s clapboard manse built by a celebrated local sea captain. Nowadays the 10-room inn is a place where you can get a slice of local history and marvelous Ocracoke fig cake. Rates start at $95; thurstonhouseinn.com.