You’re going where? Best odd places to visit in North Carolina

North Carolina news

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — North Carolina is a beautiful state filled with history, charming small towns and an abundance of natural wonders.

However, there are some places in the Tar Heel State that will make you look twice … maybe more. Here is a list of some of the odd places you can visit in North Carolina that are certain to catch your eye. 

Abandoned Henry River Mill Village 

The Henry River Mill Village opened in 1905, and like so many gold-panning towns, the promise of jobs and prosperity followed. Before long, the town grew to incorporate more than 20 buildings, supporting a population that worked almost exclusively at the mill, producing miles upon miles of fine yarn for half a century.

But like any boomtown, this one was destined to go bust. As industry marched on, the mill town became less and less useful (as did, one must admit, having an abundance of yarn), and the Henry River Mill shut down in 1973. The town was finally abandoned in 1987 when its last resident left.

All that now remains is a strikingly modern town from the industrial age. More curiously, it’s entirely owned by a single man, 83-year-old Wade Shepherd. He is a nearby resident, and now owns all 20 buildings in Henry River Mill Village proper. 

A brief breath of life came back to Henry River Mill Village in 2012 by way of fame and fortune. Hollywood thought the run-down village would serve as the perfect setting for the post-apocalyptic dystopia District 12 featured in the film “The Hunger Games.”

The Last Shell Oil Clamshell Station 

Although Winston Salem is known more for tobacco than oil, it is home to the last Shell Oil clamshell station in the United States.

Located on the quiet corner of Sprague and Peachtree Streets, the station sits abandoned, its two tall pumps now no more than curiosities. In the 1930s, a local distributor of Shell called Quality Oil built seven stations in Winston-Salem and one in the nearby town of Kernersville.

Joe Glenn and Bert Bennett, who had acquired the distribution, erected the clamshells as advertisements; their quirkiness intended to draw customers. 

The Road to Nowhere 

The road got its name from a dispute in the 1930s and 40s when Swain County gave up the majority of its private land so the federal government could create Fontana Lake and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

People had to move, family cemeteries were cut off and the former road was buried beneath the waters of the lake. The federal government made an agreement with Swain County to build a new road along the lake’s north shore, but environmental issues stopped construction.

With no resolution, now decades later, the road still goes nowhere. 

Myers House 

The Myers family home from John Carpenter’s seminal 1978 slasher classic, “Halloween,” is one of the most iconic locations in all of horror cinema. One overachieving fan has gone to the trouble building his own version of it. 

Located in Hillsborough, the real-life replica was built by Kenny Caperton, maybe the biggest “Halloween” fan of all time. The original Myers house used in the film is actually located in California, but when Caperton built his house, he could not locate the blueprints of the original, which was built in 1888.

Nonetheless, he went to the film and faithfully recreated the interior as best he could, only updating it to be more livable, but keeping the corridors as tight and claustrophobic as in the film. 

The Grave of Chang and Eng Bunker 

The final resting place of Chang and Eng Bunker, the world’s most famous Siamese twins who were born in Thailand in 1811, the site in North Carolina grave is an interesting site to spend the day.

The Bunkers (a surname they did not take until retiring in the United States) were born in Siam (now Thailand) in 1811. Joined at the chest by a bridge of cartilage, the duo traveled the world as the famed “Siamese Twins,” first for Scotsman Robert Hunter, and later as an independent act.

In their final years, Chang’s health declined and he began to drink heavily. He died in his sleep on January 17, 1874. When Eng awoke to find his brother dead, he was distraught and apparently cried out, “Then I am going.” He died three hours later.

The bodies of the twins were carted around for ghoulish poking and prodding. They were eventually laid to rest in Mount Airy, where their children had begun spreading out with families of their own. The twins’ wives were also buried next to them in their final plot. 

The Rum Keg Girl 

There’s a cemetery in Beaufort that’s simply called The Old Burying Grounds. It is undeniably an old cemetery, the earliest marked grave dates to 1711.

Its beautiful, peaceful old tombstones are covered with a shady canopy of moss-covered live oak trees. But there’s one grave in the cemetery that has a story to tell that’s sadder and stranger than most, and it tells it on the simple wooden plaque that marks the grave and reads “Little Girl Buried in a Keg of Rum.” 

The Futuro House

Located in Frisco, on the Outer Banks, this place is an out-of-this-world experience.

It was originally sold as a kit in Playboy magazine but has gained far more attention where it sits now. It has served as a home, beach cottage, Girl Scout meeting place and even a hot dog stand.

Now, it stands out as a gotta-stop-here place that owner James Bagwell shows off. He even dresses up as an alien and greets visitors.

“It’s the second most photographed thing in Dare County,” Bagwell told UNC-TV, “and the only other thing is the lighthouse itself.”

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