Want to be revitalized? This is not an ad for Centrum Silver, Geritol, Alive!, or Nugenix. It’s a suggestion: If you want to refresh your attitude and want your faith restored in America, visit a small town in “fly over” country. I recently had the opportunity to do this. What a tonic and antidote for the toxic times we live in.
The occasion for my visit to the wonderful North Carolina town of Burnsville was my dear and best friends eightieth birthday. It’s a relationship that I’ve treasured for 50 years. His birthday celebration and the wonderful people who made it successful is an inspirational story and I’ll save that for a future post.
It is my relationship with CTC that exposed me to Burnsville and the North Carolina mountain country. Only 35 miles from Asheville, the town is the Yancey County seat. Its cool air and crystal waters are a summer oasis for flat-landers like myself and that’s what attracted my Floridian friend to its environs. Burnsville was/is the setting for one of my novels, September on Echo Creek.
Some of Burnsville’s stores have changed since I wrote September on Echo Creek. New businesses have replaced old ones in some cases. I miss the general store that was an institution for years. The library has moved a few hundred yards to new digs. But, the town’s flavor and charm haven’t changed. I recognized many of the business names that were around when my novel was published. Most importantly, the friendly nature of the establishments is a reassuring constant. A great example of this is the inn where we stayed. The Nuwray is living history. Built in the 1830’s, it is a can’t miss stop for people who are antique lovers, history buffs, and observers of Americana … a place so warm and wonderful its effect is far more invigorating than a shot of B-12. Great small town restaurants surround the Nuwray. Find a place to park your car and forget it.
However, the most encouraging and soothing thing I discovered was that the Burnsville people were as I remembered. Stable, friendly, and helpful, they remain the same as when I wrote about them in my novel September on Echo Creek … published 20 years ago. The heroine, Gaylynn, escaped poisonous relationships by fleeing an environment that threatened to destroy her. Her life was controlled by guilt strings. The Burnsville people rescue her and help her cut her bonds. The fabric of these wonderful people hasn’t changed. The Brendas, Ferrells, Bos, Annettes, Kens, Micheals, Micheles, Randys and Christinas are the same as the ever-lasting earth. The earth grows the bread to nurture our bodies. These small town people grow relationships that satisfy our souls.
Try this if you want some solace for your psyche. Find a map of a rural location 100 miles from a big city. It can be in your area … or not. Extend your index finger and point to a small town. Look for a spot with a past like the Nuwray. Visit and stay there. Don’t try to rush around and see the sights. Toss your car keys on the dresser and forget them. Believe me, if you’re not certain about a place, the Nuwray and Burnsville are a marvelous choice. Go. Then just enjoy breathing. Enjoy people. Life in America is still great if we’ll take the time to live it.
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