Beauty Amplified Photography Contest: offers one-of-a-kind vacation experiences

One of my favorite beach states is North Carolina. I spend as much of my summer (and sometimes fall) as possible on the sandy shores of the Outer Banks. Between the surf, sound, sun, lighthouses and other natural elements, I never fail to fill up my camera’s SD card.



The North Carolina Division of Tourism has just launched a major sweepstakes for North Carolina-obsessed shutterbugs. In celebration of its newly revamped travel planning website,, the Beauty Amplified Photo Sweepstakes is all about magnifying the sights and sounds of North Carolina.

The three very unique and once-in-a-lifetime experiences include a behind-closed-doors tour of the Biltmore estate, a private dinner in the home of renowned Raleigh chef Ashley Christensen and a dive on the wreck of Blackbeard’s legendary Queen Anne’s Revenge (winners of the wreck dive trip must be certified divers).

 To enter the Beauty Amplified photo contest from

  • Use any photo showing beauty in North Carolina, whether it be the beach, the mountains or a city scene. Photos can be taken at any time, past or present.
  • Fill out the entry form and upload the photo.
  • Choose the prize package you would like to win. Keep in mind that only certified divers can partake in the Queen Anne’s Revenge wreck dive.
  • After submitting, the photo will be reviewed by administrators and then placed on the Entries page.
  • Next, start sharing! Email friends, post on Facebook and tweet it out to let people know they can start voting.
  • After the photo has received at least 20 votes, it is eligible for the prize package drawing.

The Amplify Beauty photo winner will be chosen at random on August 5, 2013, so get out there and start snapping.

From the press release, Wit Tuttell, director of marketing for the North Carolina Division of Tourism, said …

“These vacations of a lifetime showcase the amazing experiences awaiting visitors to North Carolina. Our state’s beauty really comes to life in the places, the people and the stories, which add depth to the natural beauty and the connection the traveler feels. We’re excited to see what our visitors consider their favorite North Carolina experiences, and to offer three lucky prize winners trips that symbolize beauty amplified.”

About the Amplify Beauty prize packages

* The Ultimate Dinner Party with Ashley Christensen (estimated value: $4,250)

  • Dine in Ashley’s home where, along with Fullsteam craft brewery owner Sean Lilly Wilson, you’ll be the guest of honor at a meal created exclusively for this occasion. Hear all about the places and flavors that inspire them both in their creation of dishes and drinks.
  • Three-night hotel accommodations for two at the Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary.
  • Vouchers for fine dining around Wake County.
  • A three-course dinner for two at Heron’s at the Umstead with wine pairings and gift cards to The Oxford and Zinda restaurants, both in Raleigh.
  • Passes for the downtown Raleigh Taste Carolina Food Tour.
  • A $1,000 Visa gift card to use toward travel expenses.

Ashley Christensen started out in some of the top restaurants in the Research Triangle (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill) before moving on to her own delicious devices. She was named one of the “Female Chefs of the Next Generation” by Bon Appétit, is a three-time James Beard semi-finalist for “Best Chef: Southeast” and has appeared on Food Network’s Iron Chef America with Bobby Flay. Ashley Christensen’s Raleigh, North Carolina restaurants include Poole’s Diner, Beasley’s Kitchen + Honey, Chuck’s and Fox Liquor Bar.

* Wreck Dive the Queen Anne’s Revenge (estimated value: $4,500)

  • Scuba dive around the remains of Blackbeard’s sunken Queen Anne’s Revenge off the coast of North Carolina
  • Three nights in an oceanfront condo courtesy of Atlantic Beach Realty
  • Tour Blackbeard’s artifacts at the North Carolina Maritime Museum
  • Tickets to experience the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores
  • Beaufort Historic Site
  • Beaches and Banks Tour with Southern Air
  • Ferryboat ride to Cape Lookout – picnic along the shoreline and climb the lighthouse if you desire
  • Gift certificates for fine dining at Circa 81, Bistro by the Sea and Amos Mosquito’s restaurants, all favorites among Crystal Coast visitors.
  • A $1,000 gift card to use toward travel expenses.

Please Note: Only certified divers are allowed to participate in the scuba diving excursion.

* Biltmore Behind-The-Scenes – Live Like a Vanderbilt (estimated value: $3,500)

  • Behind-the-scenes access to exclusive rooms and areas around the estate, led by knowledgeable curators
  • Three nights accommodations for two at the Renaissance Downtown Ashville
  • Choose one of the following: a VIP dinner for two in a unique setting not allowed by daily visitors, a private orchid evening dinner for two in the Winter Garden of Biltmore House (available January through March), or an exclusive dinner for two on the rooftop of Biltmore House, accompanied by a string quartet
  • Choose from a closed-door-tour of Biltmore House, a four-hour private Biltmore Professional Development Course, or a land tour guided by Biltmore’s Chief of Agritourism
  • Choose from one of the following hands-on experiences: planting tulip bulbs with the chief horticulturist, decorate the Christmas tree (season permitting), horseback riding, spending the day with a Biltmore museum service member, being Doc’s apprentice for a day, or making your own wine with Biltmore’s wine maker
  • A $1,000 gift card to use toward travel expenses

Please visit to learn more about’s Amplify Beauty photo contest and its prizes. Please click here for all of the official fine print rules and regulations.Check out some of the current Beauty Amplified entries right here.


Photo: is the place to go to learn all about the great state of North Carolina, and plan your own memorable excursions. It has been completely revamped to feature a dynamic look and more enhanced content. Find everything you need on attractions, restaurants, events, accommodations, sports and special offers.


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