D.G. Martin

One on One: Normandy, France and Anthony Bourdain

When I was in France last week, Anthony Bourdain — also in France working on his popular and influential food and culture program for CNN — took his life. Bourdain was in one of his favorite regions, Alsace, which was controlled by Germany for 50 years until the end of World War I. I was on the other side of the country in Normandy, which was controlled by the English off and on for hundreds of years during the Middle Ages. Both regions have much to brag about. Normandy’s iconic Mont Saint Michel, for instance, rises out of the...

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One on One: Carolina Quotes From a Book You Ought to Own

Here is a present for you from a column several years ago — a few quotes about North Carolina. From the journal of Frances Anne Kemble, traveling through the state in 1838: “North Carolina is, I believe, the poorest state in the Union: the part of it though which we traveled should seem to indicate as much … The few detached houses on the road were mean and beggarly in their appearance, and the people whom we saw when the coach stopped had a squalid, and at the same time fierce air, which at once bore witness to the...

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One on One: Not Too Late

You did not get to a parade or service on Memorial Day. You can’t get to the Normandy beaches this week for the anniversary of D-Day. You are feeling a need to be in touch with the sacrifices service men and women made for our country’s sake — for our sake. I have a suggestion to help you fill that need.  By visiting one place in North Carolina, you can go to a recreated village in Normandy and witness paratroopers and glider forces attack while their comrades storm the beaches. You can see how those troops were delivered. A...

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One on One: The Payoff of Liberal Arts

Can the experience of world-renowned musician and North Carolina native Joseph Robinson contribute to North Carolina’s on-going dialogue about the purpose and value of higher education? You be the judge. Robinson’s recent memoir, “Long Winded: An Oboist’s Incredible Journey to the New York Philharmonic,” asks: How did a small town-boy who never attended conservatory persuade one of the world’s greatest conductors, Zubin Mehta, to give him a chance at one of the world’s most coveted positions in one of the world’s greatest orchestras? Robinson grew up in Lenoir, finished Davidson College, spent a year in Germany on a Fulbright...

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One on One: Their Garden Is Still Open

“The Garden is Open” sign is still there. The tulips and azaleas, though well past their height, still glorify the yard. It is still worth a special trip to Chapel Hill to experience this lovely, well-planned, colorful garden. But the twin sisters who planned every part of their grounds and inspired others to be a part of their project are no longer there. Bernice Stiles Wade died peacefully on May 8, a few days after her 103rd birthday, on May 5. She joined her twin sister Barbara Stiles, who died at 101 two years ago. Even though their garden...

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One on One: Basnight Continues to Serve

Former state senate leader Marc Basnight’s restaurant near Manteo evokes two of my favorite things: politics and people coming together for good food. Working on a follow-up to my book, “North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries,” I am gathering material about local, family-owned restaurants along U.S. Highway 64. The highway connects Murphy near the Tennessee line all the way to Manteo and the waters of the Atlantic. It passes through 22 counties and extends more than 600 miles. Not far from where U.S. 64 ends at the Atlantic Ocean is Basnight’s Lone Cedar Café, an important gathering place. The owner, former...

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One on One: Who’s Got The Biggest House?

Here is a newspaper headline from last week: “A ‘palace’ in NC: One of the state’s largest homes is for sale.” Must be the Biltmore House in Asheville, I thought. Then I kept reading. No, the 16,000-square-foot home in the headlines is in Rougemont, a high-end Durham suburb. You can buy it for $6.95 million. But if you owned it, you would not come close to having one of the largest houses. Just for comparison’s sake, the White House has 50,000 square feet. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago has 62,500. Whitehall, the Palm Beach house Henry Flagler built for his...

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One on One: 4 More Important NC Books

Here are four more North Carolina-related books for your spring reading. Many of us remember the court-ordered desegregation of schools back in the early 1970s, but we never really understood what it was like for the children whose routines and expectations were disrupted. Two female students, one black, one white, were reassigned from schools where they felt at home to the formerly all-black Hillside High School in Durham. More than 40 years later, Cindy Waszak Geary and LaHoma Smith Romocki came together to write “Going to School in Black and White: A Dual Memoir of Desegregation.” The result is...

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One on One: New Novels from NC’s Best Writers

Is the cold weather really over at last? If the warmer season is finally here after all, what are some good books you should consider for your spring reading list? Here are four recent novels from three of North Carolina’s most popular writers and a promising debut author, all of them featured on recent or upcoming North Carolina Bookwatch broadcasts. When “Long Upon the Land” was published in 2015, North Carolina’s beloved mystery writer Margaret Maron told us it was her final in her 20-book series featuring District Court Judge Deborah Knott, the daughter of a bootlegger and the...

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One on One: SOS – Calling For Erskine Bowles

Where is Erskine Bowles when we most need him? Bowles is best known to North Carolinians as president of the UNC System from 2005 to 2010. Before then he was a successful business leader in Charlotte, a key staff member in the President Bill Clinton’s administration, and two times the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate. In 2010, he and former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson co-chaired the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, a bipartisan budget-reform effort that proposed a plan to reduce the country’s deficits by $4 trillion over a decade. Bowles had gained credibility in deficit...

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