North Carolina The Tarheel State 15 inch finished block by Pearl Pereira. North Carolina is has gorgeous mountains and hills, hundreds of lakes and rivers, waterfalls, and a very desirable climate. North Carolina's early years, tar was one of the state's major products. There are two contradictory stories about the origin of the Tarheel nickname. Both stories refer to Civil War battles in which North Carolina troops were involved. State symbols: Cardinal, Blueberry, Dogwood and Carolina Lily.