Blue Ridge blog

Blue Ridge blog: “I walked along the Watauga River this morning before heading to work. I think I was trespassing, but only the birds noticed. This is the view of the Mast Farm Inn from the river. Actually this is the barn and the grainery. Forget cereal. This is the way to start your day…”

I wish I could show Marie’s photo…since I can’t you’ll have to follow the link yourself. I have to agree about a walk along the river being the way to start the day…The play of light on the farm is gorgeous.

Valle Crucis…my dreams continue to return there. I can’t wait to return for a week again this summer. Mornings on the porch with a cup of coffee looking out over Clarks Creek…hikes up the knob…days that don’t try to steam you until you’re cooked.

This year we are planning our trip to coincide with the Highland Games on Grandfather Mountain. Seems my wife really wants to experience the reality of the Scottish Culture, and to think I’m the one with the Scottish ancestry…I am really going to have to try and swing by the old home place out of Vilas, though after a couple of hundred years it might be a little hard to find. At least I should be able to cruise the creek they named after the family before most of them headed over the mountains into Tennessee. Great-great-great grandpa James Linville was born there on the 15th of July in 1794. Shortly after the turn of the century his family had migrated on over the mountains and he lived most of his life in north western Missouri where he died in 1873.

Google Earth

This is the view of North Carolina that I am dreaming over…Looking north over Boone into Virginia with Mt. Rogers on the horizon.

I can waste more time playing with Google Earth…They shouldn’t put programs like this in the hands of a mapaholic. The only problem I have is, why, with the latest photo update is this part of NC (and only this part) covered with clouds? Have I been using up too much bandwidth guys? I appreciate the higher resolution in the sat photo’s, but higher resolution of clouds is still clouds…

Oh well, If you don’t have Google Earth, get it…it will even work (slowly) on dial up.

North Carolina

A few months back I heard a singer-songwriter on a segment of NPR. His name was Jon Randall and he was one of the two writers (Bill Anderson was the other) of “Whiskey Lullaby” sung by Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss. He has a CD out and one of the songs I like a lot is North Carolina Moon. Check out the lyrics…

North Carolina Moon

I woke up this morning to the humming of the engines
Hauling nature’s finest from the Gulf of Mexico
Ridin’ this ol’ river is peaceful but it’s lonesome
It makes wonder how the old folks are at home
Now the years have blown by me like
the wind through the pines
But the song of the south is ever sweet
as homemade wine
Oh how I miss those mountains when the
Laurels are in bloom
And the southern stars are dancin’
’round a North Carolina moon

Just rolled through Memphis I could
hear them guitar’s a playing
They had the blues so bad it almost broke my heart
Don’t sound nothing like a band of tree frogs singing
When every now and then they’d get in tune
with grandpa’s harp
(repeat chorus)
When I die boys make me this promise
You’ll send my body back up North Carolina way
I don’t want no tombstone just lay me next to mama
And let the honeysuckle grow wild upon my grave
(repeat chorus)

Go ahead and follow the link above, there are a number of good songs on his CD…

For a great article on Mountain Laurel, see this (The Sweet Mountain Laurel of Spring) in the Blue Ridge Gazette.

Mabry Mill

This is said to be the most photographed spot in America. I can believe it. This is my version. This photo, also, was taken in June 2004. Unfortunately, the weather decided to let loose about the time we arrived. As a matter of fact if you look at the photo you can see the beginnings of the rainfall hitting the pond surface. So all we saw was the sites from the parking lot and the mill itself. Maybe next trip we can actually see the rest of the displays… Posted by Picasa

Parkway Cabin

Parkway Cabin

This photo came from my 2004 Vacation Shots. We did the trip in Early June. On this drive we were returning from Mabry Mill. It was a cool, rainy day for a drive on the Blue Ridge.

Posted by Picasa

Pastorial Spring

“the view from the parking lot of Calvary Missionary Baptist Church on Rush Branch Rd in the Bethel community. Over the yonder distant ridge is Tennessee.”

This is what I love about Marie’s Blue Ridge blog. It just makes the intention to relocate that much stronger…

Why I’m doing this…

For a number of years now I’ve been trying different methods to get in the habit of journaling. I am not sure what it is I am trying to do here; I don’t know what keeps me going back to the books and mags on journaling…Something keeps pushing me to say something and I guess the only way to figure out what is to just go ahead and try saying something…

I have been watching (and reading) blogs since almost the beginning, give or take a year or so, maybe. I remember stumbling onto Ev and Meg way back when they were in startup mode. I always thought they were on to something. Now, I’m getting to a new place in my life and find the urge to do my thinking in the “blogosphere” more compelling. Most of the blogs I have been reading in the past four years have tended to be political, but, now I am finding that I don’t like being mad at the system all the time (even though I believe I should be). So, for the last few months I have been reading a different group of blogs, what some are calling “location blogs”.

These blogs remind me of one of my favorite local newspaper columnists, Leon Hale. Leon has been writing a column here in Houston for my entire life (just to set the record straight, I was born in 1954). He started with the Houston Post and then moved to the Houston Chronicle before the Post folded up it’s tent and left the city with just one paper. If you would like to check out what I think a pre-computer blog would look like, take a look at his writing. I always thought Mr. Hale must have one the best jobs there was, even though I never could figure out how he managed to keep coming up with new stories. Can you imagine, three to four stories a week for over 50 years…go on take a few minute and check out his patter. It’s definitely a Texas voice from the last generation, but it has stories to tell.

Because I have felt a call to the mountains of North Carolina, and the area of Valle Crucis, North Carolina in particular, I have found myself becoming involved with a group of bloggers from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. The first blog I discovered was Blue Ridge Blog by Marie Freeman. Marie’s photo’s of the Valle Crucis and Boone area keep bringing me back to the Mountains. Marie’s site led next to Fred First and his Fragments From Floyd. I am in the process of reading Fred’s new book “Slow Road Home” and working my way back through his archives, both of which are giving me inspiration that maybe I too can have a life after the corporate world.

All of this is causing me to reach way back into the ‘70’s and some of the things I remember from the Nearing’s books. Maybe it’s time to start my own five year plan for getting into those mountains I have come to love…So Marie and Fred, I’ll be seeing you down my own “slow road home” some time in the future…

Maybe the real question is do I have something to say that anyone else wants to here…The only way to know is to say what I have to say and see if anyone reacts…so the journey begins.

Valle Crucis

Watauga County North Carolina

(I originally published this on my genealogy site a while back)

I don’t remember what it was that first pulled me to Valle Crucis when I was planning our 2003 Vacation. I had fallen in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains on my Charlotte trip in 2000. During that trip I had cruised from Blowing Rock south through Little Switzerland to Linville Falls and I was really impressed with the area. Due to my genealogical research I had a general interest in North Carolina but hadn’t pinned down any areas of specific interest. Both my Boyd ancestors and my Sewell ancestors (via the Linville family) had moved through the area in the later part of the 18th and the early part of the 19th centuries.

I had decided I wanted to take the family to the North Carolina Mountains and was exploring the Internet for a place to go and stay. Something kept pulling me to the Valle Crucis area. I was intrigued with the history of the Mast General Store. Grandfather Mountain called me; I can still remember the awe I felt on my first trip over the viaduct. I wanted to experience the places and the people. That spring I spent many hours on the internet and at home with the family going over different options until we settled for a rental log cabin on Ayers Mountain above Valle Crucis.

We left Texas on a normal hot August day and after two long days of driving we arrived on the mountain and immediately felt at home. After lazing around for a day, we started doing some sight seeing. I learned to love driving the narrow mountain roads. We spent five days and wished it could have been longer, and then it was the long drive home.

The planning for 2004 wasn’t as long or as intensive as the year before, but we ended up in the same general area only further up the mountain. We managed a longer stay this year but it still wasn’t long enough. It was the first week in June and one of the crowning glories of this year’s trip was the nightly light show. We were in the last occupied cabin about a half mile from the end of the road, and nightly at dusk the fireflies would come out. There were millions of them, and they would line the side of the mountain above the road cut in front of the house. It was the first time in my life I have ever seen so many at one time. The most amazing thing though, was the way they would synchronize their blinking. It was like watching a wave of light roll down the mountain. By the time it would pass where you were standing, it would start again up at the far end of the road…Amazing. I stood out for what seemed like hours each night.

It was just recently though as I was doing some reading of research that I found a reference to my Linville ancestors having lived in Wilkes County, North Carolina. When I went looking for the info on the internet (gotta love it), I discovered that the part of Wilkes County where they lived was now in Watauga County. So dig out the trusty atlas of North Carolina and lo and behold just out of Vilas is Linville Creek…So Great-Great(five in all) Grandpa Thomas Linville was living just north of Valle Crucis in the 1780’s and 90’s before moving on to Tennessee.

So anyway that is how Valle Crucis came to be added to my favorite places and it looks as if it will be on the list for another generation of my family at least.

If you would like to check out what it is that I keep going back for, follow these links:

· Mast General Store

· Grandfather Mountain – This is a privately owned bio-reserve. If you ever get the chance, check it out.

“Valle Crucis.— …There is a dreamy spell which hangs over this little valley, lending its charm to the story of the spiritual doubts that once perplexed the soul of a good man in his struggles to see the true light of Christianity. “
“Watauga County, NC” by J P Arthur, 1915

Day One of the next stage of my life…

Inventing the Myth as I Go

Where am I heading and how will I get there?

You are welcome to come along for the ride. Try not to fall off as we round the curves…

I have tried to do this blog thing before and haven’t managed to develop the discipline to make it work…Blame it on the Floyd County Group of Bloggers for this new try. Fred First and his Fragments From Floyd Blog is inspiring me to begin again in the creation of the myth that is my life. Give me a little time and I’ll try to tie up the loose ends…