Monday, January 11, 2016

A Recent Visit to the North Carolina Mountains

Several readers have written to ask why the CarolinaConsidered blog has so few posts on North Carolina. North Carolina deserves better, they argue. Well, the primary cause of this geographic imbalance is the overwhelming number of interesting places to visit in South Carolina. That makes it hard to find the time to travel North.

Last October we had an opportunity to balance the scales with a five-day visit to Peaceful Quest Retreats in Gerton, North Carolina. That’s a small town in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains, seventeen miles or so southeast of Asheville. It’s a beautiful spot. I couldn’t find a website for Gerton, but here’s a link to Henderson County’s site. It’s full of useful information about the surrounding area. Have a look. 

Here are some photos I took at Peaceful Quest. Just click this link. It’s a great place to stay when visiting the North Carolina mountains. And surprisingly inexpensive.

Driving up from Columbia, the scenery becomes – well, spectacular – after turning left onto Route Alt-74 West. North Carolina certainly has some beautiful mountains in the Western part of the State.

A word of caution. Don’t try to make up time on Alt-74 West. That 35 MPH speed limit may be frustrating after zipping along Interstates 77 and 26. But the local authorities know what they’re talking about. Sharp curves and switch-backs are more the rule than unusual.

A local resident said, “There’s only one traffic rule here. NEVER cross the double-yellow line.” Well, duh! Seems obvious. But it’s hard to do if you’re traveling much over 35 MPH. And on some of the more dramatic curves, even slower.

Not long before arriving at Peaceful Quest on Alt-74 keep an eye out for the Bear Wallow Baptist Church. It’s on the right. The name alone assures visitor interest. But this is a real church, beautifully maintained with pleasant surrounding grounds. Click here for a few photos of the church and grounds. 

Oh, and since Peaceful Quest doesn’t have a dining room, be sure to drive down the mountain – across the Continental Divide! – for a visit to The “Hot Dog King” in Fairview. What a place! Only a few tables inside, but they do a booming business. Much of it local folks who know where to go for good food. Click here for a few photos taken inside the restaurant.

So there you have it. A great North Carolina adventure. No “regionist” bias here.


  1. The pictures are great!! You are getting the hang of your digital camera.

  2. Thanks, Guyton. I'm working on it.