North Carolina Apple Country Tour - 2014 edition
It's become a tradition to head up to Hendersonville, NC about this time every year to buy some Granny Smith apples and explore the area. Last year I visited the historic train depot and Little Bradley Falls. This year on a warm October 30th I toured several tourist towns along U.S. 64 and N.C. 9.
TuxedoFirst stop was Tuxedo, off N.C. 225 (Old U.S. 25), to visit the former Tuxedo School building.
According to a history of the school, the first Tuxedo School building opened in 1926, but burned three years later in 1929. This second school was built in 1930, and closed in 1994. The school is unoccupied right now.
For many years I've been going to Sky Top Orchard to buy my apples, but I haven't felt like dealing the crowds the past two years. I just want to get my apples and get on my way.
Lately, I've been going to Mountain Fresh Orchards, just off Interstate 26 near Hendersonville. Their apple orchard is beside and behind the store.
I bought my apples, then took a few photos before moving on.
EdneyvilleEdneyville is a historic small town located a few miles north of Hendersonville and a few miles south of Bat Cave on U.S. 64. Here I found several of old buildings to visit.
The most prominent historic building in Edneyville is the old high school campus, now the Larry T. Justus Western Justice Academy for training those involved with criminal justice. A monument to the old school sits out out front.
If I were a bit smarter that day, I would have gone up a side road a bit and taken a much closer shot of the old high school. Oh well.
Bat CaveBat Cave is located a few miles north of Edneyville on U.S. 64. And no, Batman does not live here. Bat Cave, according to HenersonvilleHeritage.com's history of the community, takes its name after a cave in Bat Cave Preserve situated a few miles away to the southeast straddling the border of Henderson and Rutherford counties.
I parked at Bat Cave Baptist Church for my next series of photos. The current church sits up on a hill, while the older church sits a bit lower.
While the churches were interesting, my main interest was an old school affectionately called the "Little Red Schoolhouse", located down the hill.
My search of Google's newspaper archives finds a few stories about the school I found interesting.
In town, I parked at the post office to take a photo of an abandoned hotel.
This former service station building currently hosts both the post office and a realty company.
Chimney RockVisiting Chimney Rock and the state park is a full day by itself, so I kept going without taking photos. The town was crowded with tourists, an even better reason to keep going.
Lake LureLake Lure is a reservoir created in 1926 with the construction of a hydroelectric dam. The town of Lake Lure incorporated in 1927, becoming owners of the lake and the dam in 1965.
I stopped at Morse Park, located at the western end of the lake right off the highway.The park has a tennis court, a basketball court, and walking trails.
You can also take a boat tour, and rent kayaks if you are so inclined.
I was plenty content to walk the paths. I wore a minimalist pair of sandals on this trip due to the nice temperatures, but the sandy gravel kept getting in my sandals. I eventually just took them off and went barefoot.
Going barefoot felt great, but it made my feet gray and filthy.
When I had my fill of this park, I traveled over to another park also belonging to the town, the Donald Ross Nature Trail Park, located on N.C. 9 across the street from an Ingles.
The trails are mostly easy, with only a few parts that are anything resembling strenuous. Picnic tables and shelters are scattered throughout the park. The trails were clearly labeled and not too long either. The only two people who stopped here besides myself were just letting their dogs relieve themselves.
Mill SpringNext it was down N.C. to Mill Spring at the intersection of N.C. 9 and N.C. 108. The Mill Spring Agricultural Center was once Mill Spring School.
I also spotted some abandoned businesses.
It was getting late in the day so I had to move on if I wanted make it to one more stop.
ColumbusMy last stop of this trip was to Stearns School, located in Columbus. The Stearns School building is now used as administrative offices for the local school district, and in front is a walking park.
Near the street at a corner is a monument to the Battle of Round Mountain, a revolutionary war battle.
This is the monument's third location since it was built in 1909. It was moved here in 2007 from its former location near I-26.
Also near the street are memorials to classes of yesteryear.
Across the street is a monument to the Polk County soldiers that did not return from World War I, the Doughboy statue. This is not related to the more famous Sprit of the American Doughboy statue.
According to a history of Columbus, this statue is built on a column of local field and river stones. The solder is holding a "'09 Springfield rifle, field gear, a knapsack slung over his shoulder, and a bayonet attached to his belt".
Behind the monument is the historic courthouse built in 1859, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Traffic was too heavy for me to even consider crossing the street, so I stayed put.
By the time I made it home, the sun had long set and I arrived home in the dark. This day was warm and pleasant, yet two days later snow would fall in the area, including my backyard. Cool.
Next year, I think I may head west this time and seek out waterfalls. We'll see.
I uploaded my photos to an album on Flickr and an album on Google Photos.