It’s hard to believe that around nine months ago a big truck with a backhoe pulled onto our property and began the grading process for the house. Nine incredible months of gravel and concrete, of drywall, paint, rock, electrical wires and plumbing pipes. Nine months of balancing on stones and limbs to cross a mud ravine … rain, snow, and then COVID.
It was one incredible experience with the worlds very best builder at the helm. James Herbert of JHL Builders began this project with all the excitement and energy of a kid at Christmas and it’s been a constant through this entire build. His crew became family and as we grow close to the end of this project, I can honestly say that they will be missed greatly.
Watching my forever home bloom from the earth like the trumpet plant that grows beside the driveway, is a surreal feeling. While this isn’t the first home we’ve had built, it IS the first home I’ve been actively involved in the design and decor. It’s actually thrilling to see a corner sanded or the final piece of trim go up.
I have awakened many a morning completely amazed that I can now call this place home. The dream I had for ages has now been realized. I live in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Instead of write a long diatribe about how it feels, I’m just going to post a couple of photos of the places I enjoy most.
Soco Falls ….
Soco Falls was one of the most surprising hikes since I’ve been there. Hearing people talk about the rough path and the difficulty of the hike, naturally excited me and sounded right up my alley. So, I packed a day pack with water, an apple for a snack and laced up my hiking boots for the “long rugged” trek to the falls.
I drove about twenty minutes from my house to the pull off to Soco Falls. I was so excited and ready to hike. It was drizzling rain and I’d been told the trail would be slick and rocky. Didn’t care. I was ready to hike, so I scooted around the rail and onto the rocky path. Then I froze in my boots. Approximately one-third of a mile downhill from where I stood were the falls. It took me all of five minutes to descend the steep trail, stand in front of the falls and laugh my head off. I’d unpacked my gear, packed water and an apple for what took about five minutes to get to from the parking lot!
Still, it was beautiful. Double water falls tumble over an incredible rocky foundation. Ice was still clinging to the plants and roots around it and the forest around me was beautiful. Down the creek I could see tents along the banks of the river and wished I had packed a tent as well. After a while of taking it all in the rain began to really fall, but I enjoyed this venture very much.
The Cataloochee Valley ….
I believe my favorite place, next to my property on Plott Creek, is the Cataloochee Valley where one of the oldest settlements in the area used to be. The drive to the Valley is one thing, but getting out and really exploring the area is another! Cataloochee Creek is one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever been.
Surrounded by Sterling Mountain, Nolan and Cataloochee which rises close to 6000 ft! Cataloochee fits its name perfectly. The Cherokee called this mountain Gadalutsi, which means “fringe standing erect”… and it truly does! The Cherokee gave up this incredible land in the Treaty of Holston in 1791, but continued hunting and trapping this rich farmland.
This place is one of the most serene places in the Great Smoky Mountains. Green meadows, sharp trails that climb upwards, 1 1/2 lane wide gravel roads, historic homes to explore that show their age through not only structure, but in the newspapers and wallpaper glued to the walls and ceilings. I could have stayed on the bright yellow back porch for hours just listening to the branch flowing and enjoying daffodils that have grown in the valley since the Palmers arrived there in 1854 to set up a farm that included cattle, sheep and various gardens that grew heartily in the dark rich soil.
Game was plentiful and they traded turkey along with an abundance of fur they trapped for luxury items such as indigo, salt, powder, lead, etc. The trading post used to be where the Ranger Station is now.
They were friendly with their Cherokee neighbors, who they protected and hid during the Trail of Tears around 1836. Because the area was heavy with wildlife such as panthers, bear, the Cherokee people taught them how to stalk and trap them for the skins. In turn, the settles traded tobacco, cotton, and vegetable crops with the Cherokee.
As for Me …
As for me, I’m quickly finding me feet and enjoying my new life here in Maggie Valley and the Cataloochee Valley … amazingly where my Davis ancestors first settled when they left Europe. It feels as though I’m living “in the family” circle in a way … retracing their steps and realizing my dream is not much different from theirs.
All About Ingles …
Each day I drive over to Ingles and buy a small plate of freshly created Sushi from Richard … “Rich” … who was a fisherman before he settled here. His stories fascinate me and his sushi is the best I’ve EVER had! He and his sidekick Freddy keep me up to date on local news and make me feel as if I’m a native here.
Nessa reads my blog but has become a dear dear friend. She remembered how the very first time I saw Waynesville, it was covered in snow. I fell in love with the town at first site and described it here on my blog. Sweet Nessa remembered that and tracked down a painting a friend of hers did of Waynesville in the Snow and picked it up.
Yesterday, she gave it to me and it was as if I was looking back at that moment when I fell in love with this beautiful place!
This Starbucks is located right inside Ingles … lucky for me! These people have become like a family to me. I started off with coffee, and then one day I was asked to try a Strawberry Acai. That simple suggestion changed the essence of my day! This one drink filled me not only with bounds of energy, but gave me a reason to revisit Starbucks day after day.
Even in the dead of winter when the snow was so piled up I’d have to crawl over it to get in the car, I’d be heading to Starbucks for this amazing iced drink! Then one day, I was offered something that one of the girls there actually crafted. It was a Peach infused Lemonaid/White Tea with just a bit of sweetener but loaded with ice! This is THE drink! I have one every day and it’s absolutely the BEST cold drink I’ve ever had in my life!
Now Nessa is one of the most precious souls I’ve ever met! I’m so blessed to have met her and know that I am blessed just to know her! It was just a lucky happening when we just struck up a conversation and realized how alike we are. She is a HUGE fan of the baby Hippo, Fiona at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio … and I’m an April the Giraffe fan. We both watched for hours during labor … I’m trying to get her interested in Ben Folds … and we have so much else in common!
It’s been a dream for a long time, to live in the Blue Ridge Mountains in a log cabin … and after 58 years, it finally came true! This morning I sat in the living room and drank coffee while I watched the birds warming themselves in the bright sunshine on my porch railing.
The tree looks so jolly and happy in the living room! The birds on the tree look as if they just flew through the front door to warm themselves! Once again, I have added the vintage ornaments inherited from family members!
The table has never looked more inviting with the stockings behind it going up the stairs. I’ll have eight people here Christmas and wanting a stocking for each person, the mantle seemed crowded no matter how I arranged them. It was Eric’s idea to run them up the stairs.
Yesterday, I made a quick drive up to Serenity Mountain to see the property in Plott Creek where the permanent house will be built. It was so peaceful and quiet that I didn’t exactly want to leave. I walked down by the creek and looked up to where the house will be and couldn’t believe it all was coming into fruition. In my imagination, I could almost see the house sitting there in the trees … the noisy creek babbling at my feet.
After I got back home, I had some homemade rustic soup and called it a day. ❤
… climbing McAfee Knob along the Appalachian Trail in Virginia today!
On that day (in 2014) I had set out that morning with my friend Brendle and we had hiked a leisurely hike till noon. Then we picked up the pace and made the knob around one-thirty! It truly was one of the best days of my life! My dream is to do it again …. someday!
My Dad had done this hike the month after he had returned from WWII in the European theater. He had seen a photo of McAfee Knob in Life Magazine when he got home and decided to climb it on his way home from visiting his cousin in Michigan. In a happy turn of events, his cousin, C.A. decided to make the climb with him! My Grandma Hamilton had the only photo of them on the knob … Dad sitting like I am, and C.A. standing behind him with his arms crossed.
It was that photo that inspired me to go … do a hike my Dad had done … cross the same rocks and streams that he had so many years ago! As I hiked I looked around and wondered how much different the forest around me must have looked back then!