A pair of national publications are poised to put Lenoir and Caldwell County back in the spotlight. Parade Magazine, the most widely read weekly publication in the United States, recently had a reporter and photographer in Lenoir for an article and photo shoot on the city's Unity Park and Community Gardens.

Meanwhile, National Geographic - following up on a 2008 report - lists the Lenoir area as one of the country's top adventure towns. "Writer Kaye Meyers was here with Parade Magazine (last) Friday and Saturday to work on a potential story about community gardens and their impact," Lenoir Communications and Resources Director Kaye Reynolds said. "It's great for the City of Lenoir and the incredible people in the community who make these things become a reality."

Though unsure if and when the Parade report will appear, Reynolds said she hopes to learn more about the article later this month.

Parade has a circulation of more thank 33 million and a readership that tops 70 million. "She had a pretty good sense of what she wanted," Reynolds said. "She's still doing interviews with people by phone. I think the Parade staff had a wonderful time."

Lenoir's Unity Park has gained attention for turning the former site of a downtown furniture manufacturing operation into a community garden. Residents are able to plant and tend to their crops, with certain beds being reserved to provide food for non-profit assistance organizations.

Meanwhile, National Geographic refers to the Lenoir area as a "hidden gem" that is home to weekly farmers' markets and live bluegrass music. Also highlighted are Wilson Creek and Hannah's Bar-B-Q, along with the Irish Rose Bed & Breakfast and camping areas in the Pisgah National Forest.

The online article, which was follow-up to the top-50 most livable list from four years ago, received a positive response from Caldwell County Executive Director Deborah Murray. "We are so fortunate to be in one of the most livable areas of the country," Murray said. "When you compare us to anywhere else, we win on so many different levels. I am very proud our community has begun attracting such wide acclaim. Outside validation is wonderful."

Murray noted that the area already has been recognized as one of the top-10 metro areas for industry development in 2011. In addition, Site Selection Magazine is planning an upcoming feature on Carolina Prime Pet, which is moving its manufacturing operation from Murphy to Lenoir.

The National Geographic article can be found online at http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/trips/adventure-towns/lenoir-north-carolina

by Paul Teague  pteague@newstopic.net
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