Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cold Mountain Tour


On June 27, the community of Bethel, near Waynesville, hosted it's 5th annual Cold Mountain Heritage Tour. I went on this tour two years ago, and thought that the rest of my group might like this. I know that Libby and Eddie love to see new mountain areas and that Curtis and Jill enjoy old buildings and such. So, that morning we went to the Mast General Store on Main in Waynesville to purchase the tickets. The proceeds go to support a renovation on a historical building in Bethel.

There is a Cold Mountain in Bethel that the author, Charles Frazier, used as the title in his book. Written accounts do actually verify an Inman who left his wife and daughter to fight in the Civil War. On his way home, he was shot by the homeguard. So, the book and movie are based on this Robert Inman's life in this place.

The first building is a Presbyterian Church that has historical significance to the community and a great nephew of Inman's was the pastor there during the 1960's. The thing about this that stood out most was the stained glass. We also saw Inman Chapel, that Inman's family began. It is a universalist church and sounded a little like some kind of commune. We visited Inman's grave and a local historian explained why Inman's grave did not recieve the honors or a headstone for a long time because he was considered a deserter. This was not the case, and you'd understand all that by seeing the movie. We also saw the oldest standing building in Haywood County which was a log cabin with an addition built onto it. It is thought that the builder of that cabin was a skilled furniture craftsman, because it is built with tongue and groove and has other really artistic features for its time. The original family handed it down and actually lived in it until about 10 years ago! This cabin did not get electricity until the 1970's; the old man living there walked over to a neighbors to look at a little tv now and then and everything else was gas or wood powered. We also toured a dairy farm that has been in the same family for 100 years. Now, in the big room they hold square dances and weddings. I think this could be the perfect place for Kevin and Toni's wedding; but, she did not seem to think so. I enjoy meeting locals and getting a look at the inside of things. But, my group is not quite as enthusiastic about it all. This made me really wish Brent was there to share it with. I felt a little tension about it because it was clear they were getting a little bored with it and I felt bad because they paid and committed a day when they'd rather be fishing. I was really feeling like somebody was pooping on my parade. But, the end of the day wound up at a pole barn with some music and food on the Pigeon River. I think everyone enjoyed cooling off in it.

But, the coolest thing by far was meeting Charles Frazier while I was at Inman's Chapel. He was talking to a reporter there doing an article about the heritage tour. I waited and Libby helped me to get his attention for a picture. I got his autograph in my notebook I had; too bad I did not have a copy of one of his books with me. As it turns out, he has recently bought acreage in Belleview! I gave him all of my contact information and told him how glad I'd be to show him historical things in Florida and that he might would like to see our farm. Jill kept picking on me for being a weirdo stalker trying to get a date with a very rich man. Maybe just a little bit of that is true. I seriously doubt I'll ever get a call, but I could not help myself. He is the most famous author I've ever met; and, surely, we'd have a lot of interests in common.

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