North Carolina Apple Country Tour - 2014 edition

Mountain Fresh Apples
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.


First stop was Tuxedo, off N.C. 225 (Old U.S. 25), to visit the former Tuxedo School building.
Tuxedo School building - 2

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.


Mountain Fresh Orchards
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.
Apple orchard
I bought my apples, then took a few photos before moving on.
Jack-o-lantern Strawwomen.


Edneyville 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.
Hoots Grocery and Garage - 2 old Turner's Store World's Edge Farm Old Edneyville business Boy Scout Hall - 3
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.
Edneyville High School monument Former Edneyville High School
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 Cave

Bat Cave is located a few miles north of Edneyville on U.S. 64. And no, Batman does not live here. Bat Cave, according to'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.
Bat Cave Baptist Church Former Bat Cave Baptist Church
While the churches were interesting, my main interest was an old school affectionately called the "Little Red Schoolhouse", located down the hill.
Little Red Schoolhouse - 2 Little Red Schoolhouse - 3
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.
Old Mill Inn
This former service station building currently hosts both the post office and a realty company.
Hoskin Realty / Bat Cave Post Office

Chimney Rock

Visiting 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 Lure

Lake 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.
Welcome to Morse Park Gardens
You can also take a boat tour, and rent kayaks if you are so inclined.Lake Lure Tours Kayaks on a rack
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.
Donald Ross Nature Trail Park
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 Spring

Next 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.
Mill Spring Agricultural Center
I also spotted some abandoned businesses.
Mill Spring business Abandoned business
It was getting late in the day so I had to move on if I wanted make it to one more stop.


My 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. Stearns School building - 2 School bell School bell School bell - 2
Near the street at a corner is a monument to the Battle of Round Mountain, a revolutionary war battle.
Battle of Round Mountain monument
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.
Class memorials Class of 1919
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.
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.
Polk County Courthouse - 2

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.


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