[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to welcome author Lilah Suzanne to the site today! They’re talking all things romance in North Carolina. Take it away, Lilah!]
Though it may be more well-known for barbeque and hurricanes (of both the weather and hockey varieties) North Carolina is chock full of beautiful scenery and romantic spots— from the coast to the Piedmont to the Great Smoky Mountains.
When I decided it was finally time to set a book here in my home state, I had a lot of incredible places to choose from before settling on the Outer Banks for my small-town sailing themed romance Tack & Jibe. The coast of North Carolina in particular has a unique romantic flavor: with miles of secluded, undeveloped beaches, beautiful views of sunset-tipped waves, laid-back small towns to stroll, private, isolated islands, and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy with your beloved. But the beach isn’t the only place in North Carolina brimming with romance! So grab your love(s) and head out to some of these enchanting North Carolina locations.
Cape Lookout National Seashore
My latest book, Tack & Jibe, is set in the Outer Banks and for good reason. This unique chain of islands off the coast of North Carolina offers beautiful beaches with a relaxed, small-town feel. Some, like Cape Lookout, are still largely undeveloped. Take a ferry to the pristine, remote beaches of Cape Lookout and spend a day climbing the lighthouse for a gorgeous view of the ocean, swim and splash in the water while keeping an eye out for egrets, sea turtles, fiddler crabs, and other local wildlife, then head out by boat to spot the Shackleford wild horses who have been roaming the island for centuries.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
Located just outside of Charlotte, the Botanical Garden boasts a 110 square foot outdoor pavilion that stunningly showcases the best of native Southern plants and flowers. Stroll the peaceful picturesque grounds, making sure to walk beneath the tunnel fountain, through the tucked-away white garden teeming with white and silver blooms, and, my personal favorite, the tropical and ambrosial orchid conservatory.
North Carolina Museum of Art
This Raleigh museum features renowned contemporary artists as well as pieces from the Italian Renaissance, pre-Columbian art, and fine Egyptian art. Be sure to explore the outdoor museum park where you’ll find larger-than life outdoor pieces that have been integrated into the landscape. And on warm summer evenings, bring wine and a picnic to enjoy one of the many outdoor concerts and movie screenings.
The Raleigh Rose Garden
While you’re in the Triangle area, stop by the Raleigh Rose Garden, a historic garden tucked away near North Carolina State University, which is the largest university in the Carolinas. The Raleigh Rose Garden sits on 6.5 acres and features a labyrinth of over 12,000 roses. Surrounded by an arboretum of evergreen and deciduous trees, the rosebeds are filled with a wide variety of colors and types of roses. There’s also an open-air amphitheater when you can catch a summer play, and on weekends you’re likely to come across a wedding taking place among the beautiful blooms, adding to the already-swoony ambiance.
Blue Ridge Mountains
Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway for an unbeatable view of fall foliage, explore eclectic and artsy Asheville, take a hike to discover one of the sixty waterfalls tucked away in the lush forests, then tour an “American Castle,” Biltmore Estates, an 8,000 acre, 250 room estate built by George W. Vanderbilt in 1895.
For a mellower mountain experience, Watuga County is home to Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina’s highest peak, where you can hold each other tight as you cross the Mile-High Swinging Bridge. Then head deep underground to Linville Caverns, an active limestone cavern, to take in the stalactites, stalagmites, and crystal-clear underground streams.
About the Author:
Lilah Suzanne is a queer author of bestselling and award-winning romantic fiction. Their 2018 novel Jilted was named a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and a Foreword INDIES Award, and won a Bisexual Book Award for romantic fiction. Their critically acclaimed Spotlight series included the Amazon #1 bestseller Broken Records, along with Burning Tracks and Blended Notes. Lilah also authored the romantic comedy Spice, the novellas Pivot & Slip and After the Sunset, and the short story Halfway Home, from the holiday anthology If the Fates Allow. A writer from a young age, Lilah resides in North Carolina and mostly enjoys staying indoors, though sometimes ventures out for concerts, museum visits, and quiet walks in the woods. Find Lilah at LilahSuzanne.com
Tack & Jibe by Lilah Suzanne, out now!
Willa documents a picture-perfect nautical life on her popular Instagram, but when overzealous online fans register her in the High Seas national sailing championship, she needs a crash course in sailing to protect her carefully curated reputation.
She gets help from champion sailor Lane Cordova. But Lane’s mastery of the sport is matched only by Willa’s ineptitude—and her growing crush on Lane isn’t helping matters. Can Willa keep her reputation afloat while taking a chance on love?