Build the Perfect North Carolina Welcome Bag

Whether you’re planning a wedding with out-of-town guests or coordinating a reunion for family or friends, welcome bags are always a thoughtful way to greet guests from afar.

In addition to providing helpful logistics like an itinerary, visitor guide, local magazine and contact sheet, welcome bags can introduce guests to the Tar Heel State with fantastic North Carolina-made products.

The fun can even start with the bag itself. Instead of something nondescript, try a custom tote from a local company. Or, think outside the “bag” with beach pails, apple baskets or wine crates. Whatever vessel you choose, deciding what you put inside is key. Here’s a list of shops across North Carolina that specialize in locally made goods that are perfect for a welcome bag. And while all of these are storefronts waiting for you to peruse the shelves in person, most also accept orders online.

Cool & Unique Gifts

1 Hudson’s Hill

1 Hudson’s Hill

GreensboroSee on mapSee on map

A self-described “American General Store,” Hudson’s Hill offers high-quality retail goods, mainly crafted by small American businesses. Consider unconventional North Carolina-made gifts like the store’s line of classic sport socks, wood bottle openers from Red Dog Woodworks or hand-poured candles from Serene Candle Co.

2 Paper Skyscraper

2 Paper Skyscraper

CharlotteSee on mapSee on map

Locals repeatedly vote this store in the Dilworth neighborhood as one of the best places to buy gifts. Find whiskey glasses adorned with the state’s symbols, socks emblazoned with the city’s skyline, handmade greeting cards, and books and board games with North Carolina ties.

3 Mast General Store

3 Mast General Store

VariousSee on mapSee on map

There are few stores more emblematic to North Carolina than Mast General Store. Although the original location is in the small town of Valle Crucis and there are a handful of others across the state, try the location in downtown Boone to find Mast General Store-branded campfire mugs, lip balm and coasters.

North Carolina Wine

1 Shelton Vineyards

1 Shelton Vineyards

DobsonSee on mapSee on map

Located in the heart of the Yadkin Valley, North Carolina’s famed wine region, Shelton Vineyards grows several different varietals of grapes, yielding wines spanning the range from Cabernet Sauvignon to Riesling. Gift bottles of the Shelton Vineyards Dry Rosé for a summer wedding.

2 Duplin Winery

2 Duplin Winery

Rose HillSee on mapSee on map

Duplin Winery is the oldest and largest winery in the South. The rustic shop in Rose Hill is home to a wide selection of its award-winning muscadine wine, as well as pantry items like jellies, sauces, dressings and dips.

3 Biltmore Winery

3 Biltmore Winery

Asheville

Offer your guests a taste of one of North Carolina’s most famous landmarks with a bottle of wine from Biltmore. The winery offers more than 20 handcrafted vintages, as well as locally made cheeses and truffles.

Sweets & Gourmet Goods

1 Black Mountain Chocolate

1 Black Mountain Chocolate

Winston-SalemSee on mapSee on map

Although located in Winston-Salem and not Black Mountain, the Black Mountain Chocolate factory brings a taste of the mountains to their cocoa bean to bar shop. Choose from dark milk chocolate bars, drinking chocolate, cookies and other sweet treats to include in your welcome bag.

2 French Broad Chocolates

2 French Broad Chocolates

AshevilleSee on mapSee on map

On a visit to French Broad Chocolate Lounge, you may find yourself indulging in scratch-made cakes, cookies and ice cream, but once you get around to shopping, items like artisan truffles, malted milk chocolate bars and dark chocolate-covered espresso beans are perfect for welcome bags.

3 La Farm Bakery

3 La Farm Bakery

CarySee on mapSee on map

Modeled after a small-town French boulangerie, La Farm specializes in time-honored baking techniques and delicious breads and pastries. Stock welcome bags with scone mix, French macaroons, hearth-baked granola and hot chocolate mix.

4 Southern Season

4 Southern Season

Chapel HillSee on mapSee on map

Southern Season is a premier food and gifts specialty shop and, lucky for you, the Chapel Hill store has an entire section called “The Best of North Carolina” to make shopping simple. Find celebrated North Carolina food brands like Chapel Hill Toffee, Pig Whistle BBQ sauce and Cloister Honey.

 

Updated August 2, 2018
About the Author
Shayla Martin

Shayla Martin

Shayla Martin is a Durham-based travel and food writer. She has contributed to The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fodors Travel and more.

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