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 HillGreensboroSee 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 SkyscraperCharlotteSee 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 StoreVariousSee 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 VineyardsDobsonSee 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
Sweets & Gourmet Goods
1 Black Mountain Chocolate
1 Black Mountain ChocolateWinston-SalemSee 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 ChocolatesAshevilleSee 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
4 Southern Season
4 Southern SeasonChapel HillSee 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.