Easton (N.H.).

Summer resorts and points of interest of Virginia, western North Carolina, and north Georgia online

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salnio fonttnalis, and the guests at the hotel are to have the exclusive privilege of
indulging in the rare sport of angling for this gamy fish. In the centre of the valley,
above the shores of the lake, a conical-shaped little mountain rises to the height of a
few hundred feet, and from its crest the visitor can see the tortuous windings of the
cars as they ascend the mountain to its summit, at Swannanoa tunnel.

The distance from the Round Knob to the summit is eight miles, and presents
one of the most splendid achievements of civil engineering on this continent. The
line twists and turns and doubles itself on its own track in so many crooked trails
*that it often puts the passenger in doubt whether he is going up or coming back, and
while he gazes out of one window to discover the route above, his eyes penetrate into
some deep gorge when he sees the thread like track over which he has already come,
and before he can satisfy his astonished senses that he did actually come from that
depth, he goes around some jutting promontory of rock, and the scenes at which he
has just been gazing are shut out from view. The train rolls easily along from ridge
to ridge, and circling the knobs and dodging the coves like a thing of life, but ever
ascending higher and higher until with a bound it plunges into the tunnel through
which it burrows under the gap, and after a moment's suspense emerges into the light
of day on the western slope of the Blue Ridge. Words cannot describe the silent
grandeur of this passage over the mountain ; the photographer has gathered glimpses
here and there of its tunnels, aqueducts, the gorges and peaks, the streams and the
forests, and the artist has sketched the cascades and rocks, and painted the flowers
and fountains, but when the tourist goes over the route he forgets the productions of
art and gazes with awe, wonder and admiration at the mighty creation around him.

We have now crossed the Blue Ridge, called so from the color it presents to the
eye of the distant observer, and come to the little streams, which are descending the
western slope to be gathered into the Swannanoa river, fabled in poetry and song.

The first long whistle of the engine is echoed down the streams which flow to
the Mississippi, instead of the Atlantic, and the conductor announces " Black
Mountain Station."

Here a large new hotel has just been erected by Mr. Stepp, which will doubtless
be well patronized, especially by parties making the ascent of " The Black."


The eager passenger looks " to the right and the left " to see this lofty mountain
peak which rises above all others east of the " Rockies." If the day be clear, his
curiosity will be gratified, but " clouds and darkness " are round about his lofty dome,
as if it were too sacred for the common gaze of mankind.

On its loftiest altitude lies buried the body of Prof. Elisha Mitchell, D. D., who
first trod this lonely spot and measured its height.

It is called Mt. Mitchell in honor to his memory, and it has become at once his
monument and his tomb." The altitude is 6,711 feet. This was shown first by the
barometrical observations of Doctor Mitchell and afterwards tested and found correct
by an actual survey made by Maj. J. W. Wilson.

A charter was granted by the Legislature of North Carolina in 1883, for a rail-
road to run from some point near Black Mountain Station to the summit of Mt.
Mitchell, and it is expected that capitalists will soon take hold of this work and push
it to completion. A practicable surv-ey has been made and a route for a road, similar
to the one ascending the White Mountains, has been ascertained and partially located.

On the northwestern slope of the Black is one of the grandest game parks in
the world.

Some New York gentlemen have 1 3,000 acres of land reserved and in charge of
a keeper, for the sole purposes of hunting and fishing. The grounds are rugged and
rocky, with deep jungles here and there of rhododendron (or " Big Laurel," as the
natives call it) and hemlocks, and these afford cover for the game. Bears are very
numerous, and


give to the owners of this grand domain the keenest sport. " Big Tom Wilson,"
very remarkable for his giant strength, his knowledge of the mountain as a guide,
and his being the person who discovered the lost body of Prof. Mitchell, is the keeper
of this park. In one of his hunts he killed a bear or cub weighing 130 pounds, and
captured five 'coons, and carried them all, and his rifle, weighing fourteen pounds,
down the rough mountain to his home, a distance of five miles. The • fore paws of
the bear were tied together and this " varmint " was swung, around Tom's neck, its
hind legs and feet dragging the ground behind him. These 'coons were " hoppassed,"
that is their paws were tied together and swung on a grape vine, which was over
Tom's shoulders, three 'coons on one side and two on the other, then with rifle in
hand he completed his perilous journey home. No one who is fond of thrilling
adventure, of hairbreadth escapes, and big stories, should fail to make " Big Tom's "
acquaintance. He is as rough and unpolished as the primitive nature which surrounds
him, but as true and solid as the native granite ; with a big heart and hospitable home
and a generous, jolly nature that always wins your affection and respect. He lives
on the Caney river,


in the mountains. This river heads and receives all its tributaries from the Murchison
park, and up to these fountain streams the shiny trout makes his way, in the autumn,


to spawn, and being protected from nets and spears they pour down into the river
below in the spring by thousands, and are ready to jump to the fly in the shady
nooks as fast as one can bag them and prepare for another. They grow to weigh
one and a half pounds.

The writer once dined with " Big Tom," and the bill of fare included bear steak,
venison, squirrel, pheasant and brook trout. For dessert, buckwheat cakes with
maple sugar syrup, and the richest cold milk from his rock dair^' in the yard, with the
keen mountain air for an appetizer and the joy over killing a beautiful doe to exhil-
erate the spirits, the repast is still remembered with delight. Some novelist, some
Dickens, ought to make a " strike " by sketching Big Tom's life and character and
recording his numerous adventures. But we must reluctantly descend from the old
"Black," covered with balsams and studded with giant granite boulders, and wind
our way down one of its rollicking streams to the Swannanoa — " Nymph of Beauty "
— and getting on the tram again at the station, less than an hour's ride brings us to


n^HlS is the lovely little city, of Western North Carolina, which is set upon a hun-
dred hills, and where the buzz and clink of the builder's saw and hammer are
heard from " rosy morn to dewy eve " on every hand, erecting stately residences, con-
structing immense stores and warehouses, rearing magnificent hotels, and remodeling
and modernizing everything.

The streets are all being macadamized, the pavements laid with stone, and
water-works erected to supply fresh water from a cluster of springs on the mountains
overhanging, and other useful improvements are being added in every direction.
Thousands of people resort to this place every summer, seeking health and pleasure
and rest, and from May to November the hotels, boarding houses and private resi-
dences are crowded with visitors ; costly equipages go rattling over the streets ; splen-
did horses prance along the avenues, bearing beauty and chivalry, wealth and joy,
poetry and song, to the numerous romantic retreats, mountain views and gushing
springs which abound in this lovely region. Everybody is gay in this joyous season
and nature rejoices with her admirers. Nothing can excel the brilliant flowers of the
mountains around. First, the graceful azaleas, bending under their load of red and
yellow, lily-like blooms ; then the pink clusters of the ivy, on their dark evergreen
foliage for a background, succeeded by the crowning glory of the season, the rich,
waxy clusters, pink and white, of the royal rhododendron. There are great jungles
of this hardy evergreen, with its large, glossy, green leaves, matted in their luxuri-
ance along every stream, and in July it breaks out with these large bunches of
flowers, made up of innumerable small blooms, coming out from one footstalk, the
whole making a most gorgeous and brilliant display. Verily, " Solomon in all his
glory was not arrayed like one of these."

The railroad touches the banks of the French Broad in one mile of Asheville,
and hard by the junction of the Swannanoa with that stream, and continues along its
banks to its terminus at the Tennessee line, about fifty miles from Asheville.



This county abounds in the most magnificent white oak forests, many of which
have been cut down and burned, in clearing for the culture of tobacco, there being no
mills and lumbermen on hand to utilize them.

These splendid trees, often measuring two to three feet in diameter, are now being
purchased, and preparations made to export them, or manufacture them into useful

articles of commerce. The fantastically shaped stems and roots of the rhododendron
are worked into ornamental chairs and lawn seats, while the straight trunks are manu-
factured into shuttles and other small implements of trade.

Fourteen miles below Marshall the traveler can see a curious freak of nature. It
is called " the place when the devil broks his apron-strings." The mountain rises on


the north banks of the river, at this place, more gradually than at the points above,
and all over the surface of the slope are myriads of small stones weighing from one
to five pounds, as if some mighty creature had stood at the summit of the ridge and
poured them out from an apron and let them roll to the base. There are enough of
these hard rocks here to ballast hundreds of miles of railroad track, or to macadamize
all the streets and pavements in North Carolina. Nature broke them up and placed
them here for some wise purpose, which man will discover in the future. But the
cars are moving and we cannot tarry to mend his satanic majesty's apron-strings,
or to inquire how it was that such an accident befell him. The whistle blows keen
and loud, and while the sound is reverberating down the tortuous windings of the
stream and echoing back from the hills we make another start and glide around the
projecting points and into the recesses until we suddenly come to the


which spans the French Broad, one mile above the Warm Springs. At this point the
opposite ridges are only 250 feet apart, and the river, which comes with maddening
roar from above, is forced into this narrow defile and ponded back for a quarter of a
mile, giving it a depth of from fifty to one hundred feet. This handsome and costly
iron bridge crosses the stream with one span of 260 feet in length, and sixty feet
above the water.

The road-bed on the other side of the river is blasted out of solid rock for a
quarter of a mile, and the jagged face of this stupendous boulder frowns upon the
train that passes by. The cun^e is sharp as we pass around the ridge, and the train
moves along the high banks of the stream and gives the passenger an opportunity to
scan the


a huge, rough column of rock, which rises from the other bank of the river to the
height of eighty feet. It is a dark brown stone, with lighter streaks traversing its
surface, and so uneven that one may work his way to the summit by stepping from
one offset to another. The mountain behind this singular formation is entirely bare
for some distance up its face, and the ridge comes down with a sharp point to
separate the waters of Silver creek from the river.

As we double the massive promontory on our left the ridges separate half a mile
from each other, and a beautiful undulating plain forms the space between them. In
this valley is situated


one of the most fashionable summer resorts in the South.

The hotel has capacity sufficient to accommodate one thousand guests, and there
is usually no room to spare during the months of July and August. Splendid private
residences crown all the hills in the vicinity, which are owned by social and cultivated
persons, who add many charms to the elegant society which assembles here during
the summer.


The tourist is always impatient to descend this deep canon, which makes the
great highway over the Alleghanies to the Mississippi. There are no lakes in this
region ; the streams have long since worn away the rocks and made themselves a
bed deep down in the bosom of the mountain, leaving the perpendicular stone walls
to mark the place from which they began their work centuries ago. The descent
down the river is from sixteen to twenty feet per mile, and follows all the curves and
bends of the crooked stream.

Looking from the car window, we often see the engine of a long train running
almost at right angles to the rear coach, and drawing it on in graceful curves until it
changes direction, and the projecting ridge on the convex side of the semi-circle con-
ceals the motive power from the view ; and one imagines that some invisible force is
impelling us onward among these crags and curves. At narrow points of the ridge,
where the mighty rocks have extended to the water's edge, the road-bed has been
blasted out of the solid stone. The mountains bordering on either side of this deep
gorge rise to the height of from 500 to i ,000 feet, and then spread out from the river
in plateaus or undulated plains. These rugged palisades, which the Creator made of
everlasting granite, have scarcely any soil lodged upon them, and often their faces are
entirely naked and bare ; occasionally we discover a silvery little stream threading its
way among the ravines, and leaping down over precipices to join the " racing waters "
below. Twenty miles from Asheville, in a narrow little valley, not more than three
hundred feet wide and that many yards long, is situated the picturesque little village of
Marshall, which has only two or three hundred inhabitants. The view from the river
only presents the continuous precipitous walls, and one wonders how people live
where nothing but water and rocks and trees can be seen, and he will be the more
astonished when told that the railroad carries off from this obscure station more than
1,000,000 pounds of tobacco every year.

On the plantations lying on the flanks of these knobs the finest tobacco in the
world is grown. It has taken the premium at the Universal Exposition in Vienna,
where the best specimens of this commodity were exhibited from all parts of the uni-
verse. Numbers of farmers own small farms peculiarly adapted, by climate and soil,
to the production of the golden yellow tobacco. The crop of this section averages
from 80 cents to $1.00 per pound, and is engaged at these costly figures every year
by bidders who contract to purchase it before the seeds have germinated which are to
produce the plants. The pioneers and leaders of this new enterprise, by their industry
and example, have been able to introduce tobacco culture into all the surrounding
counties. It has proved so profitable as to become, now, the leading crop in Bun-
combe, Madison, and parts of Yancey, Haywood, Swain, Graham and Jackson counties.
There are several large warehouses in Marshall.

The writer saw the returns from sales of tobacco on five acres of new ground
that yielded $1,197, and this is not an uncommon production. Others have made even

Madison County has thousands of acres of this tobacco land which is yet unde-
veloped, only waiting the assistance of capital to yield its splendid profits to the lucky


The springs, which constitute the chief attraction for invalids, boil and bubble up
very near the bank of the stream. The waters are gathered into large square pools,
four or five feet deep, where the patient can bathe himself, or exercise in splashing
and swimming, or if he is too feeble for this, there are private rooms and bath-tubs
where the water is conveyed for his convenience. Many persons drink the warm
water from other springs, and find it very efficacious in diseases of the stomach and
liver. The baths are almost a specific for rheumatism, gout and other nervous affec-
tions. These springs are numerous, and where these outlets to the surface are
obstructed the stream makes its way out and indicates the spot.

On the surface of the pools bubbles are constantly forming and bursting, made
by the gas which escapes from the bottom.

Many persons suppose that these springs equal, if they do not excel, the Hot
Springs of Arkansas in their wonderful curative properties.

In the vicinity of the springs there are many beautiful cascades, cataracts and
romantic retreats among the rocks, shining streams and tiny rivulets, deep shades
where the sun never penetrates, and every charm which the weary and loving heart
can wish.

There are fashionable drives, comfortable walks, and inviting pathways, leading
to and from the hotel, affording opportunities for exercise and meditation, or gayety
and pleasure, according to the humor and means of the guest.

The property is owned by Messrs. Rumbough & Rollins, the former of whom
occupies a handsome and commodious residence overlooking the hotel.

There are immense veins of the best limestone very near this place, which have
heretofore been profitably worked, and railroad facilities which are now offered, will
greatly increase the production of this indispensable commodity.

Colonel Rumbough has a beautiful grazing farm, and his tine Jerseys and fleecy
Southdowns will be quite an attraction to those who fancy fine cattle and stock.

The coaches and Pullman sleepers which run through from Washington are first-
class, and the conductors are polite and attentive to the guests.

The main trunk line of the Western N. C. Railroad goes beyond the Warm
Springs to Paint Rock, seven miles, where it terminates at the Tennessee line and
makes connection with the East Tennessee System.

The Paint Rock, or rather the great giant walls of rock, that rise in perpendicular
lines from the base of the river to the height of four or five hundred feet, is a great
natural curiosity and the tourists will be amply repaid to spend a day in exploring and
examining it. The face of the rock presents an infinite variety of shades and colors
and fantastic delineations, which resemble Chinese and Egyptian hieroglyphics ; and
with the aid of a little fancy one can imagine that he discovers the trace of a rude
artist's brush, in an attempt to transfer some scene from life or nature. Having
enjoyed the delicious baths and the sweet repose and sleep which follows, and having
explored all the poetic spots around Warm Springs, the tourist is admonished that he
has only seen a small portion of the mountains of North Carolina, and that his jour-
ney can be extended on the Ducktown Line of the W. N. C. Railroad into a hitherto


unopened country, where the genius of the speculator and the covetousness of the
capitalist have just begun to enter. He must not, however, leave the " Racing River,"
as the Indians called the French Broad, until he makes a short stay at


twelve miles from Asheville. There is a commodious hotel here, situated near the
bank of the river and at the intersection of two public highways, where there are
stores, workshops, and other evidences of thi-ift and comfort. The house has been
enlarged, remodeled, freshly painted, is furnished comfortably, and offers the most
charming inducements to the traveler to stop and rest, eat and be refreshed. The
house has all the patronage it can accommodate, and few go away unsatisfied. From
Alexanders it is a short run of twelve miles to Asheville, where we will spend a day or
two before exploring the Ducktown Line.

At Asheville the tourist will find two immense hotels. " The Eagle " covers one
entire block and is four stories high.

The " Swannanoa," on the opposite side of Main street, was built a few years
ago, with seventy-tive rooms, and last year its patronage justified its proprietors in
doubling its capacity.

Both hotels are well kept, and have modern conveniences and comforts attached.

Besides these two mammoth hotels, there are several others capable of
accommodating fifty and a hundred guests each, which are well kept ; the boarding
houses are very numerous, and families can be accommodated in them with good
fare at moderate prices. In addition to this many private families take select boarders,
so that all classes and conditions of people can find living, cheap or dear, luxurious
or frugal, as their taste or purse may induce them to choose.

The most comprehensive and beautiful view of the city and its surroundings is


a small mountain which rises out of the valley 6f the Swannanoa. It was occupied
as a confederate fort at one time, and for years has been the evening and morning
resort of belles and beaux, who come hither to see the sun rise or set, as the case
may be, or to witness their ventures of love passing through the same revolution.
The summit is now crowned by a handsome private residence, that looks like a half
way house to heaven, and " many there be " who visit this charming spot.
The most picturesque view in the vicinity is


the elegant residence of a gentleman by that name, which is situated on an elevated
point of a mountain ridge that drops off suddenly into the plain near the confluence
of the Swannanoa and French Broad Rivers. It commands a view of both rivers up
and down for a mile or more, and the trains on the Western North Carolina Rail-
road give life and animation to the scene, as they come rushing down the one stream
and make a graceful curve along the banks of the other, and shoot off in a bee-line
for the station ahead.




two miles southwest of the city, which has been cleared and adorned by Mr. Pearson
and made accessible by easy grades, has now become a most popular resort, and many
persons ascend its height in preference to the other two.


is another attraction of the city. It occupies large grounds on an elevation northwest
of the court-house, and its shady groves and pleasant walks are very inviting to the
young ladies who are seeking education and a charming retreat. The nights at
Asheville are cool and refreshing during the whole summer, and one always arises in
the morning invigorated and rested. There is none of the languor and weariness
that follows the sultry, close atmosphere of warmer, heavier climates. Consumptives
congregate here in great numbers, both winter and summer, and bear testimony to
the efficacy of the healthful climate.

The morning has come and a pleasant drive of a mile over the descending slope
of a fine avenue brings us to the depot. At 9 o'clock A. M. the train leaves the depot,
on the Paint Rock line, and in half mile switches off for the


'T^HIS road from Asheville to the Tennessee line, at or near Ducktown, will be
158 miles in length when completed.

It traverses the counties of Buncombe, Haywood, Jackson, Swain, Macon and
Cherokee. These counties constitute a wedge-shaped territory, about fifty miles
across its base on the east end, and one hundred and fifty miles long to the west or
to the apex of the figure, which terminates at the point where the States of Georgia,
Tennessee and North Carolina converge.

Just over the North Carolina line and west of it, and just north of the Georgia
line and near to it, is situated the famous Ducktown Copper Mines, in Tennessee.
Large quantities of copper was, before the war, shipped from these mines. After the
war the owners became involved in litigation, which, continuing, closed the mines.

The vast country which we have described, is divided from Tennessee on the
northwest by the Unakoi mountains— a corruption of the Indian word " Unaka,"
which means " white." This is the spine of the Alleghany range, and its average
height is greater here than on any other similar distance in its course. There are
quite a number of its peaks that reach over six thousand feet, and some of them are
covered with almost perpetual snow — hence " Unaka," white. From this spine there
go out connecting ranges to the parallel Blue Ridge range lying to the south. The first

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Online LibraryEaston (N.H.)Summer resorts and points of interest of Virginia, western North Carolina, and north Georgia → online text (page 8 of 11)