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Growing up this city girl, along with my family, drove to the mountains of North Carolina one week in the summer. That week changed our lives forever.
On that trip, the vacation crew included not only my parents and I, but my aunt and uncle, their youngest daughter and her husband and daughter and their friends, a husband and wife and their two children. We rented a huge house which they called a cabin with rooms for everyone, including a loft overlooking the living room where I slept.
Funny story about that loft. When I slept on it, night after night, I awoke with stories. Sometimes I would hear things and no one believed me. Well, after we left the cabin to go home, the rest of the family stayed on as an extended vacation. Wouldn’t you know it? A bat flew down from the high ceiling, probably from the loft, and swooshed right over my three year old cousin’s head. All I could say was, “I told you so!”
Another thing about that house, there were hidden rooms. It was one of the homes still in existence with the Trail of Tears. We learned a lot about our Cherokee heritage going to the North Carolina Mountains. Even on a couple of trips, we had excursions to Cherokee, North Carolina, where we learned about the five tribes, what the earlier Indians ate, and how we could do research to prove a sixteenth and be registered. My Mom and cousin, Joe Bear, and his mom actually took that even further and researched our family in the Atlanta Archives with no luck in furnishing the necessary paperwork proving a sixteenth. Oh well.
Back to my story….
The mountains welcomed all of us with their beauty in hikes and fishing and just plain family time in and around the cabin. Little did we know that those mountains would welcome us to what became a tradition of family time up and around a little country town known as Burnsville, North Carolina.
I don’t know how much time past before we went up again. At this time, my aunt and uncle had bought a smaller house, also known by them as a cabin. My cousin, the older of my uncle and aunt’s children whose specialty is interior design, planned and helped to renovate the little home to what it is now. Originally the kitchen was in the back of the house and the front was a living room and bedroom. They rearranged the home in order to walk into a living room. At the back right is a bedroom and bath. From the living room to the left of the home is the kitchen. And then to the back of the kitchen is another bedroom and bath. My uncle built a beautiful wrap-around porch. And on it sits several welcoming rocking chairs.
Now when my parents and I went up for an earlier visit, we went around my birthday in November. Originally from Florida, I was determined to see snow. Space was limited in the house that trip, so my parents and I stayed at a bed and breakfast, without the breakfast, in town. Wouldn’t you know it? It did snow that trip. Dad fell on the bed and breakfast’s deck, verifying to me that I had seen a snowflake. Later that day we went to another of their pieces of property and posed in the snow. That was a good day.
But when summer came, back in the little cabin that my aunt and uncle purchased, there were plenty of gifts that this little piece of heaven offered. A creek running across the front of the house with its melody always calming its visitors from the world they left behind and soothing them into sleep. That is one of my favorite parts of the cabin and I will surely miss it.
And with that creek and being nestled within the mountain, there is an unbelievable breeze that blows. One of the best things to do in the morning is put on a pair of jeans and along with a cup of coffee, sit and rock on the porch as nature is waking. You’ll see all types of birds. My uncle has feeders on the rickety bridge that takes you from the main road to his front yard. And hanging off the overhang of the roof, over the porch, you’ll find hummingbird feeders. Last year there must have been about 10 hummingbirds at one time. There weren’t many on this trip, but “I’ll remember when…”.
Another thing about that house. It’s not alone on the property. There is a spring house that still keeps groceries cold, an old building that has been transformed into a playhouse for the kids and a barn. Oh and my uncle has planted a beautiful garden with squash, cucumbers and the like. He also has some apple trees.
But though you’re set a ways from the world, there is a walking trail to the next house. And when people drive by, they lift a single finger in a manner to say hello from the steering well.
This is a place where you don’t watch a lot of television. You’re cell phone won’t work but in spots on the way to town. But it is a place where you can get back to your roots.
I took one of my younger cousins up for a weekend, a couple of years ago. What I found on that trip was several people have shared in the love of this place. My cousin explained that growing up, while visiting her granny and pops, they played in the creek and picked up what to me looked like sea glass, but from a creek. They spent long hours in the playhouse in their make believe world.
I, on the other hand, would travel with my parents and was usually the only child to visit at those times. We spent our times touring local places like the shops in Burnsville, having lunch and wine and shopping in Little Switzerland, fishing at trout ponds, watching Dad and my uncle fly fish in the creek, going to the Biltmore House, visiting wineries, visiting Cherokee, Tweetsie Railroad and dinner at Daniel Boone Inn or Burnsville’s own New Wray Inn.
We have two different lives, but yet some great cherished memories. My Dad even had a chance to sleep peacefully along this property for years as we buried his ashes by the spring house. It was a beautiful day with a memorial and butterflies released. Years later, I was engaged in that same spot.
But with time moving on, my aunt and uncle aging, they have made a decision to sell this little piece of heaven. And in “My Midlife,” I’ve lived a thousand stories here and have many memories to take forward as “All good things must come to an end,” but my stories and memories of this little place in Burnsville will surely live.