The bloggers over at Gardening Gone Wild recently published a post on favorite independent garden centers -- local, not mail-order. It so happens that two of my favorite local nurseries are mail-order, but one is open to the public 5-7 days a week (depending upon the time of year), and the other has 4 open houses every year.
My favorite is Niche Gardens. It's about 10 miles from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill (home of the Tar Heels) and has a lovely display garden and wonderful selection. A lot of natives, but not a natives-only nursery. Elizabeth Lawrence once wrote that few people would buy a plant based on a catalog description. She would have changed her mind if she had had the opportunity to read the descriptions in the Niche Gardens catalogs. I believe that most of the entries were written by Bob, who has worked at Niche for years, and Kim Hawks, Niche's founder and former owner.
I don't have pictures of Niche Gardens, but I do have plenty of pictures of plants that I bought there. :)