Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tour of Jackson County

Tuesday, we found ourselves with another rainy day.  Not wanting to sit at home, we decided to take a driving tour of Jackson County, North Carolina, the next county east from the one where we’re staying.

Jackson County Courthouse
Sylva is the county seat of Jackson County so we started our tour there with our first stop being the Visitor Information Center at the Chamber of Commerce.  The lady there was very helpful and had many suggestions about things we might want to see.  I was more interested in all the beautiful quilts hanging on the walls than what she was telling Gene.  There may have been twenty quilted pieces on display.  Most were quilts, but there were a few decorative pillows and table runners, as well.  The quilts were both old and new.  As beautiful and intricately quilted as the new quilts are, I prefer the old quilts that have been hand quilted.  Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but I like to think it’s because the old quilts bring back so many memories of my grandmother.  During the winter months, she always had a quilt in a frame and every spare minute was spent quilting.  I helped on many of those quilts although I could never get the stitches quite as small or uniform as she’d like.  Ah, the childhood memories.

Lone Star pattern
Before leaving Silva we walked down one side of Main Street for a few blocks and back along the other side, stopping in an antique store, a hardware store, and a used book store.  It’s a nice little downtown with a coffee shop and a couple restaurants along with the other specialty shops.

From Sylva we drove south on county road 107 toward Glenville.  Hwy 107 is a four-lane divided highway for a few miles south of Silva, but then narrows to two lanes and soon becomes a curvy mountain road.  Just past Webster is Western Carolina University.  WCU was founded in the late 1800s and now serves a student population of about 9,000.  We stopped at the campus to visit the Mountain Heritage Center.  This is a very small exhibit which focuses on the cultural heritage of the southern Appalachians.  There is one permanent exhibit which describes the migration of the Scotch-Irish during the eighteenth century from northern Ireland to the mountains of western North Carolina.  The exhibit is small, but very well done and we enjoyed the time we spent there.

What a small cabin may have looked like inside
Continuing south to Glenville we stopped at a pullout by Glenville Lake for our picnic lunch.  Glenville is just a few miles north of Cashiers which is a resort community.  Along the banks of Glenville Lake we began to spot some pretty nice real estate--summer homes of the rich and famous, I suppose.

Glenville Lake
After our lunch break we drove into Cashiers.  During the early 1900s this community became the summer resort for the wealthy folks living in warmer climates who wanted a respite from the heat so came to the mountains.  It’s still a resort community today with upscale boutiques and galleries to lure the ladies from those big houses.  We didn’t stop in Cashiers but turned on US 64 and headed north toward Franklin, North Carolina.  Although, this wasn’t in Jackson County, we drove up US 64 to see the waterfalls.  Bridal Veil Falls was the most impressive--dropping from a height of 120 feet.  The pullout from the road went right under the falls.

Bridal Veil Falls
US 64 between Highlands and Franklin is truly a mountain road--very narrow and very curvy.  By the time we got to Franklin after a couple stops at waterfalls and a side trip to find a trailhead, we just wanted to get on the expressway and get home.

There is much of Jackson County we didn’t see and we’ll definitely be back, especially to those areas along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Gorges State Park.  Just can’t do it all in one day.

That’s all for now.  Thanks for tagging along.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful old courthouse. What a neat road going under the Bridal Falls - great photo!