Into the Sound Country

A Carolinian's Coastal Plain

By Bland Simpson

Photography by Ann Cary Simpson

288 pp., 7 x 10, 61 illus., 3 maps, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4686-5
    Published: November 1997
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-6819-5
    Published: December 2017

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Awards & distinctions

1998 Conservation Communicator of the Year Award, North Carolina Wildlife Federation

1999 Brown-Hudson Folklore Award, North Carolina Folklore Society

Into the Sound Country is a story of rediscovery--of two North Carolinians returning to seek their roots in the state's eastern provinces. It is an affectionate, impressionistic, and personal portrait of the coastal plain by two natives of the region, writer Bland Simpson and photographer Ann Cary Simpson.

Here Bland Simpson tours his old waterfront haunts in Elizabeth City, explores scuppernong vineyards from Hertford to Southport, tramps through Pasquotank swamps and Croatan pine savannas, and visits Roanoke River oyster bars and Core Banks fishing shanties. Ann Simpson's original photographs capture both the broad vistas of the sounds and rivers and the quieter corners of mossy creeks and country churchyards. Her selection of archival illustrations ranges from the informative to the humorous, from a turpentine scraper at work in the 1850s to a pair of little girls playing with a horseshoe crab on a Beaufort porch at the turn of the century.

A memorable journey into eastern Carolina's richly varied natural world, Into the Sound Country is for anyone who would spend a while in one of America's most intriguing and underexplored areas.

About the Author

Bland Simpson, who teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is author of The Great Dismal and The Mystery of Beautiful Nell Cropsey. A member of the Red Clay Ramblers, the internationally acclaimed string band, he has collaborated on such musicals as Diamond Studs, Fool Moon, Kudzu, and King Mackerel & The Blues Are Running.
For more information about Bland Simpson, visit the Author Page.


"A special portrait of a special region."--Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, VA

"A very personal account of the people, scenes, and events from the region."--Fayetteville Observer-Times

"With the ease of an old storyteller and the knowledge of a naturalist, Simpson writes eloquently of coastal history, combining it with personal anecdotes."--Creative Loafing

"An insightful and rich glance at an under-appreciated and under-explored region."--Coaster

"For anyone seeking a memorable journey into Eastern North Carolina's varied natural world, a reading of this volume should prove gratifying."--Our State

"If you've lived the city life all your years or visited only the prime tourist spots on the coast, Simpson will introduce you to a North Carolina you've never experienced."--Coastwatch