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Patterson Wilson of Halifax has received the Esse Quam Videri Award, the highest honor given each year at the Visit NC Tourism Conference.

"We have been happy to represent all of Patterson's efforts to bring visitors to the town of Halifax and to work with Visit NC toward making this well-deserved award presentation,” said Lori Merdlin, president and CEO of the Halifax County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Visit NC and Visit Halifax have a strong relationship, and we are grateful for their support and efforts to highlight rural North Carolina."

The award was presented to Wilson for leading a revival of her hometown of Halifax, a Roanoke River town with rich Revolutionary War history, Visit NC said.

The conference was held at the Greenville Convention Center.

Wilson, who traveled the world during her 32-year corporate career with Marriott International, returned to Halifax in 2015 for a visit and found everything in the heart of town closed except for the bank and Post Office. 

She traded her Marriott title of vice president of Global Design Strategies for a mission to reverse the town’s fortunes. 

She found success with a series of enterprises, from The Hen & the Hog restaurant and The Bass House gift shop to her Halifax Studios art space and the new coffee-tea-dessert spot Two Doors Down.
“Patterson embodies the meaning of esse quam videri, the state’s motto,” said Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit NC, a part of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. “It means ‘to be, rather than to seem,’ and her decisive action personifies the spirit that drives our state to greatness.”
Visit NC said since her return, Halifax’s renewal includes the arrival of The Trophy Room bar, the John Brown House & Inn, the Parlor on Pitt salon, Hasty’s Holistic Health & Wellness, a new apartment complex and the Bradford-Denton House, a Colonial history museum. The museum complements the Halifax State Historic Site and the story of the Halifax Resolves, which made North Carolina the first colony to call for independence from Great Britain.
“North Carolina’s observance of the America 250 commemoration begins in Halifax in April,” Tuttell said. “The town can expect flocks of visitors who’ll enjoy the fresh vitality that Patterson inspired. Even without the lure of history, Halifax has become an appealing destination with easy access to Interstate 95.”