Saturday, April 2, 2011

North Carolina

This is not the North Carolina I lived in when I was in part of fourth and fifth grade, 1953. We lived near Jacksonville near the coast. Although if we wanted to go to the beach we went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Better beach and I don't think there is much of any beach in North Carolina.
We start the morning with traditional hoe cakes. Not as light as Paula Deen's, but I was using a package of cornbread mix and was unsure of how much hot water to use. Also Pam is not the same as whatever grease you are supposed to fry them in. Very filling. We ate less than half the batch. They should warm up OK again. Also no cane syrup. For Axel's benefit, cane juice is squeezed out of the sugar cane plant stalk. When it is cooked down some, it becomes cane syrup. If it is processed further, you get 2 things, granulated sugar or brown sugar and molasses. Cane syrup and sorghum syrup were the traditional pancake syrups.
The Cradle of Forestry is still closed for the winter. So another change of plans. Although it rained a bit last night, the robins hopping on the grass say spring.
We decide to go to the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
William has put in an address and sent it to me on the phone. The trouble is that the address is Blue Ridge Vista, which is a rural/residential area in Riceville somewhere above the Presbyterian Church miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The correct address was on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We eventually get to the parkway and from there to the Visitor Center and then to the Folk Art Center.
The Blue Ridge Parkway was conceived of as a way to link this unique Appalachian land and culture. The culture here is a blend of the Scots-Irish, English and German who moved here and the indigenous population of Cherokee and also black mountain communities. The construction of the parkway began in 1935. Italian and Spanish stone masons were brought to work on the road by local contractors and stayed. Part of the benefit of building the Parkway was to provide jobs through the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration. The CCC and the WPA built picnic areas and campgrounds and did landscaping projects.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is administered by the National Park Service and links a number of National Forests and State Parks. It stretches from Shenandoah National Park in Virgina 469 miles through The Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Tennessee wanted the parkway also, but it didn't work out.
We spent a couple of hours in The Folk Art Center. There is a lot to see from the craft demonstrators, to the shop that sells art from members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, the art on the wall to the second floor and the hanging art quilts. Upstairs is art from students. The current exhibit is from North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, GA.
I am in a shopping mood and buy a lovely pair of red pottery candle stick holders from the craft shop and a CD and a DVD from the Park Service Gift Shop. The CD is Dona got a ramblin mind by the Carolina Chocolate Drops. The DVD is about the Trail of Tears.
We are here in Mama Gerties RV Park for the next 3 days. Interesting hillside location. I am sure it is lovely when the huge rhododendrons bloom, maybe in a few weeks.
I have noticed lots of blooming trees around here that looked a lot like Valerie's driveway pear trees. William just read me a rant from the local paper. Bradford pears, an exotic from China, are invasive here and are out competing local species. The letter writer wants them torn out and trees planted that would provide better food and habitat for local animals and birds. Sort of like the Scotch Broom on the west coast, an ornamental that became invasive. Here they sell Scotch Broom as an ornamental. I guess it does not spread here.

1 comment:

robbin said...

I love this area of the country, esp. in the Fall. I'll never forget how bright the trees were. So bright it hurt your eyes to look at them. Snow makes it look like a fairy tale land. Summer was too hot and muggy. Spring and fall is the best time to visit. May the weather be great for you and the road rise up to meet you. Hoping you have peace in the RV and a well running engine to come home to us safely. Love the blog posts. They should be used in a history class. Nice job, M!!