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 North Carolina State Flag  North Carolina

The North Carolina State Toast

"A Toast" to North Carolina

by Leonora Martin and Mary Burke Kerr

    Here's to the land of the long leaf pine,
    The summer land where the sun doth shine,
    Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great,
    Here's to "Down Home," the Old North State!

    Here's to the land of the cotton bloom white,
    Where the scuppernong perfumes the breeze at night,
    Where the soft southern moss and jessamine mate,
    'Neath the murmuring pines of the Old North State!

    Here's to the land where the galax grows,
    Where the rhododendron's rosette glows,
    Where soars Mount Mitchell's summit great,
    In the "Land of the Sky," in the Old North State!

    Here's to the land where maidens are fair,
    Where friends are true and cold hearts rare,
    The near land, the dear land, whatever fate,
    The blest land, the best land, the Old North State!

About the State Toast

A Toast to North Carolina

The toast is sometimes referred to as "The Tar Heel Toast" but there is no mention of this name in the statutes. The first verse seems to be quoted the most frequently.

We were curious about one of the words used in "The Toast" and decided to do a little homework. The following might be of interest to you as it was to us.

We weren't sure about the word scuppernong, so we decided to consult Merriam-Webster Online. Here we found out that Scuppernong was the name of a river in North Carolina that ran into Abamarle Sound, the secton of which was also called Scuppernong Lake. This didn't seem to work well within the verse of "The Toast". We looked a little further and found that a scuppernong is a muscadine grape, native to the southern states and named for the river and lake. This brings life to the verse. For more.

If you follow this link, you may be able to hear the North Carolina Secretary of State read the State Toast!

Adoption of the State Toast

In 1957 the North Carolina General Assembly officially adopted a poem, written by Leonora Martin and Mary Burke Kerr in 1904, as the official toast to the state (Session Laws, 1957, c.777). The following is from the North Carolina General Statutes provided on the web site of the North Carolina General Assembly, September 25, 2001.

North Carolina General Statutes

The following information is excerpted from the North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 149, Section 2. The words are included within the statute.

    Here's to the land of the long leaf pine,
    The summer land where the sun doth shine,
    Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great,
    Here's to "Down Home," the Old North State!

    Here's to the land of the cotton bloom white,
    Where the scuppernong perfumes the breeze at night,
    Where the soft southern moss and jessamine mate,
    'Neath the murmuring pines of the Old North State!

    Here's to the land where the galax grows,
    Where the rhododendron's rosette glows,
    Where soars Mount Mitchell's summit great,
    In the "Land of the Sky," in the Old North State!

    Here's to the land where maidens are fair,
    Where friends are true and cold hearts rare,
    The near land, the dear land, whatever fate,
    The blest land, the best land, the Old North State!

    (1957, c. 777.)<.PRE>


Source: North Carolina State Web Site, (http://www.state.nc.us), December 3, 2004
Source: State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols by Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, Copyright 2002




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