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Rest. Relax. Return.

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Although the first recorded land sale in the area was 1700s, little progression towards a formal community and today’s inhabitance occurred until 1840. A botanist from New York was searching the North Carolina mountains for wild plants when he came upon a beautiful valley. Susan Fenimore Cooper explained his journey in 1890, writing,

“It was in the wild, yet luxuriant region so full of interest to the botanist, that the traveler from New York wandered for a time, gathering treasures for his herbarium, and delighting in the grand beauty of the country. He also became interested in the families living in the rude cabins where he sought shelter. He found them poor, but simple, honest, and kindly, though very quiet in manner. They received him hospitably and gave him the best of their mountain fare.”

“It was in the wild, yet luxuriant region so full of interest to the botanist, that the traveler from New York wandered for a time, gathering treasures for his herbarium, and delighting in the grand beauty of the country. He also became interested in the families living in the rude cabins where he sought shelter. He found them poor, but simple, honest, and kindly, though very quiet in manner. They received him hospitably and gave him the best of their mountain fare.”

The botanist stopped in Raleigh, North Carolina on his way back to New York and met with Episcopal Bishop Levi Silliman Ives to share his experience in the valley, explaining

“In 1840 the valley of the Watauga, in North Carolina, was a secluded region, isolated and forgotten, a mountain wilderness, showing only here and there the first rude touches of civilization. The narrow, winding trail or foot-path, the rough sled-road, often dangerous for wheels, here and there a log cabin, with a narrow, rough clearing about it, or at long interval a rube saw-mill or grist mill, with perchance a small, unpainted frame dwelling, or a blacksmith shop and a humble backwoods store, marking the beginning of a hamlet, such were the only traces of human habitation to be found on the banks of the stream. But the highland valley was magnificent in natural beauty. It lay in the elevated country between the Blue Ridge and the Alleghenies, nearly three thousand feet above the sea, while grand old mountains of successive ranges, broken into a hundred peaks, rose to nearly double the height on either hand, many so near that their distinctive features could be clearly seen, while others were only dimly outlined in the distance. These mountain ranges were peculiarly interesting, differing in some particulars from those of any other parts of the country. The vegetation was singularly rich and varied. The valley, entirely shut in by forest-clad mountains, was watered by three small, limpid streams, two of them leaping down the hillsides in foaming cascades; the principal stream, formed by the junction, after a short course of two miles, passing through a narrow gorge, threw itself into the Watauga.” – from “A Sketch of Missionary Life at Valle Crucis, 1842-1862”.

“It was in the wild, yet luxuriant region so full of interest to the botanist, that the traveler from New York wandered for a time, gathering treasures for his herbarium, and delighting in the grand beauty of the country. He also became interested in the families living in the rude cabins where he sought shelter. He found them poor, but simple, honest, and kindly, though very quiet in manner. They received him hospitably and gave him the best of their mountain fare.”
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