The Beautiful Blue Haze of the Appalachians
Favorite thing: Cashiers, North Carolina, is located in the westernmost eighth of the state and lies within the Appalachian Mountains.
These are some of the oldest mountain ranges of the entire world. Cashiers is in the Blue Ridge Mountain Range. This mountain range runs parallel to the coast (northeast to southwest). The Great Smoky Mountains are parallel to the Blue Ridge. Both of these mountain ranges got their names because of the blue-grey haze veil that always seems to hover over them.
What really put this area "on the map" so-to-speak was the Blue Ridge Parkway, which took actually 52 years to complete! It took so long because workers had to chisel roads through mountainsides.Today this Parkway is the most popular scenic drive in America. In NC, the Blue Ridge Parkway meanders from the Virginia border to Asheville and then swerves west to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The only reason the Parkway was built was because of FDR's insistence to connect Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee borders. In addition, President Roosevelt needed to put people to work
Fondest memory: I thought, like many other Americans, that the Appalachians were just mountains where poor, uneducated people lived.
Oh, how misled I was...yes, there is poverty; yes, there are uneducated people. So what? Beauty does not require wealth and/or intelligence. Beauty lies within the people and within the beautiful landscape.
Besides, the Appalachian area is a cross-section of the entire state...it has it all...mountains, forests, waterfalls, lakes, cities, farms...it's all there with all kinds of people.
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In Cashiers, Your Senses Come Alive!
Favorite thing: In 2004, Outside Magazine selected Cashiers, North Carolina, as one of the BEST towns for 2004! That is saying a great deal because the actual town is not much...it is really a crossroads at the junction of U.S. 64 and North Carolina 107. There are a few antique shops, a few fine restaurants, several "second-home clusters that are tucked away in the woods", and two or three resorts. It's the scenery, the location, the affordability.
The location in the Blue Ridge Mountains provides incredible "eye candy" such as granite dropoffs, gorgeous trees, hiking trails, serene lakes, and lovely cascading streams. Because Cashiers (pronounced CASH-ers) is perched about 3,500 feet on the Eastern Continental Divide, and because the area has more than 80 inches of rain a year, there are waterfalls everywhere! Some are mere tiny cliffside seeps, but others are 400-foot "cataracts that roar into deep gorges." It's like seeing Niagra Falls without all the tackiness.
Some of the scenes are astonishing such as tranquil lakes which mirror majestic mountain scenery; some are old Appalachian cabins nestled in low tree hallows; some are crystal-clear streams with one lone fly fisherman. Sometimes it feels as though time has stood still and always will here in this western part of North Carolina.
Fondest memory: It's hard to put into words the gut feeling I had while visiting this area...it's a combination of all the senses uniting....the smell of pine trees in the early morning mist, the feel of frigid water as you dip your toes into a mountain stream; the sight of the stone-faced Yellow Mountain, Rock Mountain, Chimney Top, and Whiteside standing like stoic sentinels; the sound of thunder as the tallest waterfall in the Eastern United States plunges 4,000 feet downward; and the taste of southern fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, fresh mountain trout, corn on the cob, and fresh blueberries and strawberries...(real Southern treats)...it's all these senses coming alive at once!
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