Season 1 : Episode 3

On this episode of the Life in the Carolinas podcast, we are joined by Vivian Hopkins, a proud resident of and ambassador for the town of Gold Hill, North Carolina. Located in eastern Rowan county, Gold Hill was the site of the first gold discovery in North Carolina, in 1824. From that time until the Civil War, 98% of the gold in circulation in the US was from North Carolina, 30-40% of which was from Gold Hill. The town saw an influx in immigrants from Cornwall, England, where the primary trade was tin mining, and these English workers were very familiar with the similar process of mining gold. The gold mining industry was ahead of its time in terms of industrialization, as evidenced by the agreements to share workers between their mines based on supply. Tourists and locals are still able to catch a glimpse of the gold mining era by visiting the North Carolina Gold Trail, which traverses through Mint Hill, Gold Hill, Charlotte, and Rutherfordton, and by attending the annual North Carolina Gold Festival located in Old Fort.

Gold Hill’s picturesque downtown is home to a dozen restored shops and is known as the hub of the North Carolina Bluegrass Association, which hosts bluegrass “jams” every Friday night at the Montgomery store in town. On the mysterious side of things, Gold Hill is home to decades of ghost stories, which visitors can hear about during the two annual walking ghost tours. So it is safe to say that this old mining town is still very much full of life!

For more information about Gold Hill:


Link to Life In The Carolinas Broadcast show featuring Gold Hill NC

Carl White

Season 1 : Episode 2

On this episode of the Life in the Carolinas podcast, our guest is Dale Isom, an engineer by trade who has recently entered the hospitality industry and is doing a lot for the northwestern North Carolina community. Dale and his wife own several hotel properties in the area and across the state, and they have come to understand the importance of making their guests feel secure and welcome in the community. About 5 years ago, Dale and the Kruger Brothers came up with the idea to brand Wilkes county as “The Heart of American Folk Music”, which has created the tradition of year-round concerts in local establishments as well as the Carolina in the Fall annual event, highlighting the talented musicians of the area and the genre of American Folk.

Additionally, Dale has revitalized the old post office and federal courthouse in downtown Wilkesboro and created The 1915 event space that is also the home of the Blue Ridge Artisan Center. These artisans and those who will be involved in the Artisan Café opening this fall showcase the culture of Wilkes and the surrounding counties, celebrating the community and what makes it unique. Dale’s efforts have jump-started the rejuvenation of downtown Wilkesboro, supported by local merchants, private investments, and local government funding. These investments will continue to impact the community and the celebration of its culture for many years to come.


Connect with Dale:


Link to LITC broadcast segment on Carolina In the Fall

Season 1 : Episode 1

On this episode of the Life in the Carolinas podcast, our guests are Charlotte and Bill Barnes of Matthews and Jan Krenzel of Denmark. Despite their very different cultural backgrounds, Charlotte and Jan both became familiar with Tom Dooley’s (more accurately: Dula’s) story after hearing the Kingston Trio song in the 1950s on the topic. They both became more than merely interested in Tom’s story and did their own research to find out the truth.  

Charlotte and Bill were operating their video production business outside of Charlotte when they heard that a Tom Dooley museum was opening in the mountains, which they promptly visited. There, they met Edith Carter who put them in touch with descendants of those involved in Tom’s story as well as others who had done significant research on Tom. Over the past 30 years, Charlotte has acquired so much content through these interviews and by visiting the archives of local libraries that in 2016 she published “The Tom Dooley Files” book containing every detail that she had found in an attempt to uncover the truth. She is currently working on a novel from the point of view of the New York reporter who came down to cover the trial.

Jan became enamored with Tom’s story after a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway many years ago, where he saw the plaque about Tom Dooley, who he had always assumed was fictitious. In 2004, Jen and his wife visited the Tom Dooley museum and met Edith, and in 2016, Jan purchased Charlotte’s book. Additionally, he read records from the census, the trial, Iredell County’s archives, and genealogies to try to find out the truth.

Tom Dooley’s story continues to be one that captivates the generations, those near and far.

For more information:

The Tom Dooley Files Book:

The Tom Dooley Outdoor Drama (Play)

Life In The Carolinas TV show Link for Tom Dooley Segment with Charlotte Barns: