Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Our Short Exploratory Trip Concluded…

On the last day of our short exploratory trip to North Georgia and Southwestern North Carolina, we were able to pick up a few more sights and one more dining experience.

From Sylva North Carolina we headed west on US Hwy 74 toward our route across the Smoky Mountains.

Our first stop was at Bryson City North Carolina.  We didn’t do any shopping at this stop as the group wanted to get back to our home in East Tennessee by the afternoon…no late evening arrivals!

Still, I did stop and take some photographs.  Bryson City is the county seat for Swain County…and this Classical Revival structure is the old courthouse.  When it was built in 1907, this handsome building became the third county courthouse in Swain County.  It’s been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979.

As you can see from the photo, the structure is now the home of the Swain County Heritage Museum and Visitor’s Center.  This facility is open year around.  Phone: 828-488-7857.  Their website can be found at: https://www.swainheritagemuseum.com/.

Bryson City has a population of about 1,450 residents.  Located on the former lands of Cherokee Native Americans, the town was originally called Charleston.  It grew into an important railroad hub.  Today, its claim to fame is tourism, given its location near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Nantahala National Forest, the Nantahala River and Fontana Lake.  Bryson City is surrounded by mountains…

Another historic building in town is the Everett Hotel which is located at 16 Everett Street.  When it was built in 1905, it was the Bryson City Bank.  This luxury boutique hotel is centrally located in the middle of town…with the visitors center and museum just off to one side.

Today, the Everett Hotel features 10 luxury suites, a bar, upscale restaurant and a rooftop terrace.  Renovations were completed in the fall of 2015.   The building served as the bank until the mid-1960s.  For a time county government and the Chamber of Commerce offices occupied the space. 

To learn more about the hotel and its restaurant, you can call 828-488-1976 or check out the hotel’s website at https://www.theeveretthotel.com/.

These photos in Bryson City feature a very important regional tourist attraction.  The Bryson City railway depot was originally built in the 1890’s.  It has been restored and expanded…and now it is home for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.  This popular railway experience features 53 miles of track, 2 tunnels and 25 bridges as passengers go on journey through a remote corner of North Carolina…Bryson City to Dillsboro North Carolina.  Of interest to railway buffs, GSMR also operates a short line freight service to two points that connect with other rail lines.  

The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, its rails and locomotives have been featured in 4 different movies.  They are “The Fugitive”, “My Fellow Americans”, “Digging to China” and, “Forces of Nature”.

The railroad also operates the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum, which is located adjacent to the Depot.  The museum features a collection of over 7,000 Lionel engines, cars and accessories as well as a large model train layout, a children’s area and a gift shop.

I ‘borrowed’ this photo from the Internet.  While the majority of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad’s excursions are power by diesel locomotive, steam locomotive #1702 dates back to 1942 when it was built as part of the WWII war effort.  This large steam locomotive has been converted from coal to oil for fuel and it one of two in its class remaining in the USA.

The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad is owned and operated by American Heritage Railways, Inc.  That company also owns and operates the famous Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, as well as the 1883 Grand Imperial Hotel in Silverton Colorado.

Rail excursions on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad range from 3 and a half hours to full day trips and special trains are also operated.  An example of the latter is the “Polar Express”.  Different classes of service are offered depending on the trip chosen.  The depot in Bryson City is located at 45 Mitchell Street.  Phone: 800-872-4681.  Website: https://www.gsmr.com/.

From Bryson City, we continued in a southwesterly direction along US Hwy 74 and then headed northwest into the Smoky Mountains along on NC Hwy 28.  We stopped to take in this view of Fontana Lake…actually a reservoir formed behind Fontana Dam on the Little Tennessee River.  This scenic 17 mile long lake is situated along part of the southern border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  At its maximum depth of 440 feet, it is the deepest lake in North Carolina.

Fontana Dam was completed in 1944.  It was constructed to produce electricity to power the ALCOA plants in nearby Alcoa Tennessee.  The plant was a key producer of aluminum in support of the American war efforts during WWII.  The lake is named after a Montvale Lumber Company logging town that was once located on the lake’s north shore.  The current village of Fontana Dam has a population of about 27 people and it serves the Fontana Village Resort, a popular summer destination.  The resort’s website is found at https://fontanavillage.com/.

From Fontana Dam, we moved along NC Hwy 28 until it intersected with US Hwy 129, and it’s infamous segment called the “Dragon’s Tail”.  But instead of immediately weaving our way through the mountains to our eventual destination in East Tennessee, we turned back to the south along US Hwy 129 for a couple of miles.

Hey…it was time for lunch!  So we stopped at yet another site that was originally built to support dam construction…that has since morphed into a resort.  Tapoco Lodge and Tavern pre-dates Fontana and Fontana Dam.  This lodge was built in 1930, and like Fontana Dam, it was built by the Aluminum Company of America for its hydroelectricity.  The name Tapoco comes from the first two letters of each word for the Tallassee Power Company…which started construction of the nearby Cheoah Dam in 1916.

Laurie’s sister Bonnie and Bonnie’s husband Bill had dined here once before and Laurie and I have eaten here on several occasions.  Unfortunately, it was too chilly on this April day in the mountains to dine on the patio.  The fact that the inside dining area for the Tapoco Tavern isn’t a great space is amplified by the fact that I didn’t take any photos of it…

On to the food… Always a fan of fish or seafood of any type, Bill ordered the “Riverside Trout Sandwich”, blackened Carolina Mountain trout with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce. ($17.00) For his side, he selected the Southern style green beans.  He did enjoy his sandwich…

Our group also shared this order of “Chilhowee Cheese Fries”…thick cut fries loaded with chili, cheddar cheese and green onions. ($14.00) It was OK but it could have used a bit more chili and a little more cheese…

Both Laurie and Bonnie decided that given the big order of chili cheese fries, that they would each just order the soup of the day. ($6.00) They were happy with their choice, in this case a chicken and vegetable broth creation.

As for my lunch, sorry about the horrid photo… I ordered the “Tavern Burger”, an 8 oz. premium Black Angus beef patty with a toasted buttered brioche bun topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles and cheddar cheese. ($15.00) For my side I chose the Tapoco Chips.  The burger was overcooked and my meal was just OK. 

Just who in the H___ is that old guy with Laurie?  After lunch we all wandered out on the patio for a better look at the Cheoah River…and Laurie took this ‘selfie’ of us.  The older I get, the more I don’t like having my picture taken.

Historic Tapoco Lodge and the Tapoco Tavern are located at 14981 Tapoco Road along US Hwy 129 in Robbinsville North Carolina.  The restaurant is open daily.  Phone: 828-498-2800.  Website: https://tapoco.com/.

Following lunch we headed back along the “Dragon’s Tail” aka US Hwy 129 and made it safely across the mountains to East Tennessee and home.  It was unusual but we didn’t encounter very many motorcycles along the way…and this is hallowed ground for motorcycle devotees.

Next up…home again. 

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, June 24, 2022

Food and Fauna

Before I complete the last post pertaining to our trip to North Georgia and Southwestern North Carolina...and before I begin our chronicles related to our most recent road trip, I've paused to catch up on a few local bits and pieces.  Of course, as usual, food is heavily featured!

I didn’t imply that the food that I was featuring would be gourmet in variety… Laurie and I hadn’t eaten at an “IHOP”, formerly named “International House of Pancakes”, since the late 1970’s when we frequented a location in Clayton Missouri.

We were out and about and on impulse we decided to stop and have a late breakfast.  The restaurant was fairly busy.

We stuck to the basics.  Laurie ordered 2 over-easy eggs, hash brown potatoes, bacon and toast. ($9.49) The “Quick 2-egg Breakfast” was just the right size for her appetite.  Not too many potatoes and only a single slice of toast…although I’m pretty sure she would have liked a third piece of bacon.

I was craving pancakes.  We almost never make them at home as Laurie just doesn’t like them.  It’s a texture thing for her.  So, I ordered IHOP’s “2x2x2”, 2 pancakes, 2 sausage links and 2 easy over eggs. ($8.69) The pancakes were just OK as they tended to separate as I ate them…and they should have held up. 

Service was slow, probably because they were short staffed in the kitchen.  Our waitress was OK but she could have been a little more attentive re: coffee refills.  The IHOP in Maryville Tennessee is located at 906 Turner Street.  Phone: 865-981-9677.  Website: https://restaurants.ihop.com/en-us/tn/maryville/breakfast-906-turner-st-4412.

One recent morning we stopped at the smallish farmer’s market that is held/staged in a shopping area near the center of Tellico Village in Loudon Tennessee.  With the exception of the orchids from my endodontist’s office, we did pick up a few items.  They included 2 nice bunches of radishes, a bag of locally ground coffee and a new plant for Laurie’s deck top garden.  The plant is a blue honeywort.   These plants originated in the Mediterranean and have been known since ancient times…with one reference book describing the plant that was published in 1597.   

The weekly Tellico Village Farmer’s Market is held on Wednesdays between 9 AM and Noon at 202 Chota Center, just off TN Hwy 444 in Loudon Tennessee.   

Every once in a while, we love having breakfast for dinner.  In this case, I fried up some roast beef hash (from a can with my added spices), bacon, 2 over-easy eggs and a slice of buttered toast.  Truly a satisfying dinner!

As we’ve gotten older and are generally eating less, our home cooking adventures do tend to stray toward the prepared or semi prepared food items.  Hassle and clean-up are both simplified.  In this case, we picked up a package of ready to microwave cheesy scalloped potatoes and seasoned bacon wrapped chunks of beef on skewers.  I grilled the beef skewers and we finished our meal ‘presentation’ with some red seedless grapes.

As I’ve previously posted, two lots across the street from our home have been almost completely cleared in preparation for the construction of 2 new homes.  Hence the ‘charming view’ of a blue ‘porta-potty’ right next to our mail box…as well as the heavy equipment finishing preparation of the adjacent lot.

On two occasions, Laurie and I have spotted a large herd of deer working their way across the back fringe of the newly cleared lots.  We don’t know if they were grazing on new growth or if they were seeking newly available minerals that had been exposed as the properties were cleared.  At one point we counted 14 deer that we could see from our 2nd story windows.

I thought that I’d end this post with this whimsical and very cute photo.  Laurie was out on the front porch checking on her plants when she looked up at the birdhouse hanging from the roof/beam over the railing.  And what did she see…a baby bird, about to fledge, just looking for something to eat!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Looking Around Downtown Sylva North Carolina

…after departing from our hotel in Franklin North Carolina, we headed up US Hwy 441 and US Hwy 23 toward the town of Sylva.  We had plenty of time to make the short drive through the mountains to our home in East Tennessee, so a little more exploration was warranted...

After leaving the highway en route to Sylva, we passed through the town of Dillsboro North Carolina. (Population about 250) We didn’t stop and look around but I did stop long enough to take a photo of this old hotel that is under renovation.  The Jarrett House was built by W.A. Dills, the founder of Dillsboro, in 1884.  It was originally named the Mount Beulah Hotel.  This is one of the few remaining original grand Southern Railway Resort Hotels.  The hotel was sold for back taxes a bit over a year ago.  The new owner is a Sylva native who is in the process of developing his vision for the future of The Jarrett House.

FYI, The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is a freight and heritage railroad based in Bryson City North Carolina.  The railroad operates tourist excursions on the former Southern Railway branch line between Bryson City and Dillsboro.  Website: https://www.gsmr.com/.

Sylva North Carolina is just up the road from Dillsboro.  This huge and impressive home caught my eye as soon as we rolled into downtown Sylva.  This town, with a population of about 2,500 residents, is the county seat for Jackson County North Carolina.  The town was apparently named for a handyman who had worked in the town for a short time in its early days…

The Dr. D.D. Hooper House is a 2-story Queen Anne-style home that was built in 1906.  One of the wings was added to the house in the 1930s and it served as Dr. Hooper’s office.  The home was deeded to Jackson County in 1986 and then it served as the county library.  Today, it is operated by the Chamber of Commerce and it serves as the county’s welcome/information center…complete with gifts and souvenirs for tourists.

Before this impressive home was built, Dr. Hooper was boarding at a local hotel.  While he was there, Thomas Edison came to Sylva looking for barium.  They became friends and boarded together for 6 months.  While Edison was in Sylva, Henry Ford drove his first version of the Model-T to visit him.  Dr. Hooper rode to the nearby town of Webster and back with these two American originals.  Later, the doctor purchased the first “motor car” in Jackson County.

This is the Farmhouse Mercantile and Coffee Bar at 582 West Main Street in Sylva.  In addition to home d├ęcor items, gifts, mugs, handcrafted jewelry, clothing, candles, wallets, purses and bags, this store also offers coffee and bakery treats in a pleasant setting.  Phone: 828-734-5835.  Website: https://www.thefarmhousesylva.com/.

The Farmhouse Mercantile is one of the many buildings in downtown Sylva that are featured as part of the Heritage Walk.  This particular building was built in 1902.  Named the C.J. Harris Building, it was the home of the Sylva Supply Company from 1902 until 1999.  A tannery and bank also rented space here.  Two different chapters of the Knights of Pythias and a chapter of the Odd Fellows regularly met on the 3rd floor of the building.  This is one of many buildings that are included in Sylva’s downtown “Heritage Walk”.

I’m still scratching my head over this statue on display in an open space between 2 buildings in downtown Sylva.  What the heck is an artistic replica of an Easter Island Moai sculpture doing in northwestern North Carolina?  Quirky for sure…but I couldn’t find any information about it…

I wouldn’t have guessed that a book store like Harry Alter Books at 528 West Main Street would be found in a small town like Sylva.  This store offers about 20,000 titles for customers to browse through and consider.  Who said that small town independent book stores have disappeared!  Phone: 828-631-9070.  This bookstore can be found on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/harryalterbooks/.  

This book store is also located in a building featured on the town’s Heritage Walk.  Named the P.L. & S. Building, this former clothing store was built by 3 siblings in 1932.  Sol Schulman leased it from the other siblings and the business continued from 1933 until 2002.

There are 41 contributing buildings included in Sylva’s Heritage Walk.  They include: a former auto dealer (1934); a movie theater (1927); an auto service garage (1920); a hotel (1920); a five and ten Cents store (1935; a hardware store (1920), and; a general store (1908).

To learn more about the Heritage Walk and to view a number of photos in the tour brochure, go to https://www.discoverjacksonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Sylva-Heritage-Walk.pdf.

Western North Carolina with its plethora of cool mountain brooks and streams is a fly fishing paradise.  Jackson County has the largest number of stocked fish anywhere in the State.  The Tuckaseegee is just one of many streams to fly fish.  Fly fishing is a bit addictive…and there are 3 Tuckaseegee Fly Shops in North Carolina.  In addition to this location at 530 West Main Street in Sylva, 2 other stores can be found in the area, one in Bryson City and the other in Waynesville.  Fly fishing affectionados can buy everything from rods and reels to logo shirts and hats.  All necessary supplies for tying flies for a fishing expedition are stocked in this store.  Website: https://www.flyshopusa.com/.

The Tuckaseegee Fly Shop along the Heritage Walk occupies the former Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company’s location…and many of us older folks remember this once dominant grocery chain.  The company continued operations here from 1925, when the store was built, until 1956.  FYI, the structures and buildings included in the Heritage Walk are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

If you like shopping…Sylva has much to offer!  Check out the possibilities at https://www.mainstreetsylva.org/shopping.

I couldn’t find any direct historical information regarding the First Baptist Church at 669 West Main Street in Sylva.  Nevertheless, it is a large and imposing structure in the center of town.  I did find an article from the Asheville Citizen-Times Newspaper from April 7, 1923, that reported a major fire in the heart of Sylva.  Many shops and stores were destroyed or damaged “and only streams of water pouring from a dozen hydrants on Main and Jackson Streets saved the fire from spreading to other businesses along Main Street, as well as the First Baptist Church. 

This impressive old Classical Revival style courthouse is situated high on a hill looking directly down Main Street in Sylva North Carolina.  The former Jackson County Courthouse was constructed in 1913.  From the fountain and plaza at the foot of the hill there are 107 steps leading up to the building’s front portico.  The cost of the building was agreed on…not to exceed $30,000 and it came in on budget.  The building served as the courthouse until 1994.  In 2007, it became the new Jackson County Library.  No, I did not venture up all those stairs for a close up of the building!

Here’s a little more about Sylva… With a growing population of about 2,750 residents, the town continues as the county seat for Jackson County North Carolina.  As per popular but not necessarily accurate accounts, Sylva was named after William D. Sylva, a Danish handyman who spent a bit of time in the home of General E.R. Hampton…who owned much of the land that became the downtown area.  Two major festivals are held here every year, the ‘Greening up the Mountains Festival’ in April and the ‘Hook, Line and Drinker Festival’ in May.

Several movies have been filmed in and around Sylva.  They include “Deliverance” (1972), “Paradise Falls” aka “Carolina Low” (1997), portions of “The Fugitive” (1993) and, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri” (2017).

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, June 17, 2022

Overnight in Franklin North Carolina

…continuing with our very brief exploration of Southwestern North Carolina.  We left the town of Highlands and rolled on up US Hwy 64 to the city of Franklin where we planned to have dinner and spend the night.

We didn’t know what to expect in Franklin or most of the other towns we’d visited on this little journey.  Blue Ridge and Clayton Georgia had been a pleasant surprise while Swiss themed Helen Georgia was a bit of a letdown.  Other than dinner and our Hampton Inn for the night, we had no big plans for this stop.

Almost every site about Franklin features a photo much like the second one shown above.  The architecture isn't all that inspiring but there were plenty of folks around.  Franklin North Carolina is the county seat for Macon County.  Mostly situated within the Nantahala National Forest, the town is popular with hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.  With the National Forest, the Great Smoky Mountains and the Appalachian Trail in close proximity, the town provides a good base for exploration.  Franklin is growing too with a 2020 population of 4,175 residents.

We just ‘had to’ stop and shop somewhere during the day… Kitchen stores are always scary for me because ‘we’ can always find something nifty that we ‘need’ for our kitchen.  This locally owned and operated store specializes in high-end cookware, bakeware, kitchen gadgets, cutlery, small electric appliances, cookie cutters and much more.

That's Bill in the doorway of the store.  The building was constructed in 1907.  Originally it was a drug store and general merchandise store with attorney's offices upstairs.

Kitchen Sink Inc. is located at 72 East Main Street in Franklin North Carolina.  Phone: 828-524-2956.  For on-line shoppers, there are 601 items available for your shopping pleasure.  To learn more, go to their website at https://thekitchensinkinc.com/.

Franklin was named for one of its founders but the town was built around a 1,000 year old Native American platform mound, actually the center of the historic Cherokee town of Niwasi…which meant “center of activity” in the Cherokee language.  The Cherokee built their Council House on top of the mound.  At the time of our visit I was unaware that the remains of the Nikwasi Mound are still visible in downtown Franklin.  The property is owned by the city and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Our next shopping adventure was at the Scottish Tartans Museum and Heritage Center’s gift shop.  The Museum and gift shop was first established in Highlands North Carolina but it was moved to Franklin in 1994.  The combined establishment is a center for reliable information on Scottish Highland Dress traditions within the USA and to serve the large Scottish-American heritage community.  Given the Scottish heritage shared by Laurie and Bonnie, (fitting names aren’t they?), we spent quite a bit of time perusing the information available in the store.

For some reason we didn’t wander through the museum but it is located side by side with the gift shop.  Admission to the museum is $4.00 per adult.  The museum and gift shop can be found at 86 and 88 East Main Street.  Phone: 828-524-7472.  Websites: https://www.scottishtartansmuseum.org/ and https://scottishtartansgiftshop.com/. 

Our next stop was at the Lazy Hiker Brewing Company for a couple of local brews… Lazy Hiker has been crafting beer since 2015 and their products are distributed to 38 counties in North Carolina as well as 37 counties in Georgia.  The brewery is located in Franklin’s former town hall and fire department…and as you can see it features both an expansive outdoor patio and a taproom. 

I always love to check out the names given to the beers by local breweries.  In this case examples included: Trail Candy – Tropical IPA; The Darkening; Nitro Winter Nutterland: Dad Jokes II, and Slack Pack IPA.  Lazy Hiker Brewing Company is located at 88 West Main Street in Franklin.  Phone: 828-349-beer (2337).  Website: https://lazyhikerbrewing.com/.

FYI, the Franklin area is famous for its gem mining.  It hosts a jewelry and gem show twice a year.  The Cowee Valley just north of Franklin attracts thousands of visitors to its mines each year and valuable stones are still being found.  Gems include ruby, sapphire and garnets.  The Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum is free to the public.  It is in the old jail…couldn’t break out and hard to break into!  It’s located at 27 Phillips Street.  Phone: 828-369-7831.  Website: https://www.fgmm.org/.

It was time for dinner and we decided on Barbeque.  We chose Haywood Smoke House in Franklin for our evening repast… Haywood doesn’t sauce their meats during the smoking process…something they learned when they were on the BBQ competition circuit.  “Great meat should stand on its own.”  Sauce is meant to complement the meat’s flavor, not just to hide poor quality or dryness.  Haywood smokes their briskets for a minimum of 16 hours and their butts for a minimum of 14 hours.

As you can see from the photos, other than the bar, this restaurant was quite busy.  Servers were having a hard time keeping up and we had to ask twice sometimes when we asked for napkins, different sauces, etc.  It’s a sign of the times…with everyone short staffed…

Bill selected one of the Smokehouse Combo Platters.  Diners can chose between pork, brisket, chicken, turkey, ribs or the Sausage of the Day.  There is a choice of 2 or 3 meats… In his case he went for two, choosing ribs and brisket. ($20.99) For Bill’s sides he went for the Potato Salad and Baked Beans.  It was all good!

Bonnie wasn’t too hungry so she selected the “Dressed” Chopped Pork Sandwich. ($9.99) Her chopped pork on a bun was topped with creamy coleslaw.  She really enjoyed her sandwich and thought that her side of baked beans was especially tasty.

Both Laurie and I love good BBQ pork ribs.  She wasn’t too hungry but with the understanding that I’d eat one of her ribs, she ordered the “3-Bone Platter” with French fries and coleslaw. ($13.99) Her ribs were very good indeed…and I can verify that personally!

I also went for a 2-meat Smokehouse Platter.  All platters include 2 sides and Texas Toast.  In my case, I went for the brisket and andouille sausage.  The brisket was pretty decent and I really liked the sausage.  I also liked the coleslaw and those baked beans…which were laced with bits of pulled pork.

FYI, available sides at Haywood Smokehouse include coleslaw, collard greens, burnt-end baked beans, mac and cheese, potato salad, campfire taters and green beans.  I was really tempted to order an extra side when I saw that they had Brunswick stew on the menu. (Cup $3.99/Bowl $6.99) I forgot to take a photo of our dessert.  We shared a large fruit cobbler with ice cream. ($6.99) It was very nice but we were really satiated.    

Haywood Smokehouse is located at 33 Macon Center Drive in Franklin North Carolina.  Phone: 828-369-6666.  Haywood Smokehouse’s Website is found at: https://haywoodsmokehouse.com/.  Other Haywood locations can be found in Waynesboro and Dillsboro North Carolina.  This restaurant is closed Sunday and Monday.    

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Onward to Southwestern North Carolina

…continuing with our short exploration of North Georgia and Southwestern North Carolina.  As you may remember, we were accompanied by Laurie’s sister Bonnie and Bonnie’s husband Bill…

As we cruised north on US Hwy 441/23 through the community of Rabun Gap, toward the North Carolina State Line, I spotted a railway depot and more, alongside of the highway.  S I turned around and pulled into a partially overgrown parking area.  The first thing that I checked out was this set of railcar ‘trucks’ or wheels.  The sign proclaimed that they came from a boxcar that was part of the “Great Locomotive Chase”, a well-known event from the American Civil War.  It also stated that the boxcar was to be restored and put on display.  

Rabun Gap was named for the mountain pass where it’s located.  This unincorporated community is located 3 miles south of North Carolina and it was once served by the Tallulah Falls Railway.  Rabun Gap was sometimes referred to as “Head of Tennessee” as it’s located on the Little Tennessee River…

Next I checked out the two buildings as shown above.  The first was the old depot…except that I learned that it wasn’t old, but rather a handsome replica that had been built in 2001 by the students of the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School…which is located on the other side of the highway.  Apparently the depot/museum is no longer in operation.  Exhibits included Tallulah Falls Railroad artifacts as well as a full-size two-foot gauge locomotive and train…all of which were constructed by Rabun Gap-Nacoochee school students.

I found this old photo of the Rabun Gap replica railway depot on line.  It looked like quite a nice operation.  Sad that it's no longer in business...

The Tallulah Falls Railroad was a 58 mile long ‘short line’ railroad.  It was called the Rabun Gap Route.  It ran from Cornelia Georgia to Franklin North Carolina and it was eventually completed in 1907.  The line crossed 42 wooden-truss trestles and although it was slow, it did open up this remote mountainous area of Georgia and North Carolina.  For some time, it was the only sensible way to gain access to the region.  It ceased all operations in 1961.

Back to those boxcar ‘trucks’.  The old TF (Tallulah Falls) railroad was the location for filming Walt Disney’s 1965 movie, “The Great Locomotive Chase” starring Fess Parker and Slim Pickens.  Apparently the trucks were part of the train used for the film.

The Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School was founded in 1903 and it seems like a great place to learn.  This private institution serves grades 6 through 12, includes both day students and boarding students. (USA and international) From what I read, scholarships are readily available.  To learn more about this school, go to https://www.rabungap.org/.

As you can see the scenery in this mountainous area isn’t too hard on the eyes… As we had plenty of time for sightseeing, we took GA Hwy 246 and NC Hwy 106 to the town of Highlands North Carolina. 

This is the Highlands Inn.  It is situated at the corner of 4th and Main Streets in Highlands.  The core of this 31-room hotel is a 3-story Victorian structure that was built in 1880.  This is one of the oldest continuously-operating hotels in the highlands of North Carolina.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.  Despite the obvious wealth in the area, the rates at the Inn are not sky high.  I looked at their website and, depending on the season, a room or suite can be had for between $139.00 and $259.00 a night.  Website: http://www.highlandsinn-nc.com/highlandsInnIntro.html.

The town of Highlands was actually founded in 1875 by two men who drew a line on the map from Chicago to Savannah and from New York City to New Orleans.  They decided that where the lines met would become a great trading center and commercial crossroad. 

This is the Church of the Incarnation.  This historic Victorian Carpenter Gothic Style Episcopal Church is located at 111 North 5th Street in Highlands.  It was built in 1896 and it is listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The first photo shows the original church structure…now the chapel.  The second photo is of the new sanctuary which was built in 220 apparently to reflect a similar style of architecture.  The website for this church is at https://incarnationwnc.org/.

Highlands is situated at 4,118 feet above sea level, one of the highest incorporated towns above sea level in the eastern USA.  Much of the town’s and area’s growth has been the result of its mild summer climate.  In the 1930s, professional golfer and celebrity, Bobby Jones and a few of his friends founded the Highlands Country Club…and the area became a golfing mecca. 

This second church is even older than the Church of the Incarnation.  The First Presbyterian Church, located at 471 Main Street, was completed in 1885.  Surrounded by a period picket fence, it occupies a prominent site in downtown Highlands.  Built by a local master builder, it is an interpretation of Italianate architecture…shown most clearly in its belfry tower which features a flared roof with extended bracketed eaves.  This church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.  The website for the First Presbyterian Church is at https://www.fpchighlands.org/.

Given that Highlands’ permanent population is just a little over 1,000 residents, it offers a surprising plethora of services not normally found in a town of this size.  There are antique dealers, an auction house, no less than 6 restaurants that have won awards from “Wine Spectator” Magazine, plus 4 theaters an art center and many, many shopping opportunities.

At one point, I took us on a local street or road up the hill from the downtown area.  It was cool, a little foggy and quite beautiful…and at this altitude in April…spring was still getting started. 

OK…these aren’t typical homes and Highlands and the surrounding area is beyond our ‘pay grade’.  The second home was just being completed.  The one across the valley was just huge.  Consider this, with a year around census of just over 1,000 in Highlands, there are 1,713 housing units in the town.  Beyond that, in addition to the Homes built at the Highlands Country Club, there are no less than 6 other successful residential golfing communities in the immediate area.  Therein lies the reason that all those services exist in Highlands North Carolina.

Moving north from Highlands to our overnight destination in Franklin North Carolina, we headed on up US Hwy 64.  This is a winding and interesting route for sure…

This portion of US Hwy 64 is known at the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway.  This waterfall conveniently located right next to the road is named “Bridal Veil Falls”.  Much of this area is surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest.  As you can see, given the comparison of Laurie, Bill and Bonnie to the waterfall, it is higher than visitor’s initial impression. 

I’m always fascinated by tiny little micro-gardens or natures creations in the most unlikely spots.  In this case I took several photos of a variety of small plants clinging to the cliff near the waterfall.  I liked this photo better than the others.

The Nantahala National Forest, with its 531,270 acres, is the largest National Forest in North Carolina.  Second only to the Northwestern USA, the Nantahala is the wettest region in the country.  “Nantahala” is a Cherokee derived word meaning “Land of the Noonday Sun”.  In some spots, the sun reaches the floors of deep gorges only when it is high overhead at midday.  For more information about this National Forest, go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/nfsnc/recarea/?recid=48634.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave