Deep In The Heart

of The Great Smokey Mountains
of North Carolina is a splendid place to retreat. It's called Balsam Mountain Inn. Getting to it is as much fun as sitting on the porch of this 1905 bed and breakfast. I could have stayed here for a while. But far better than that... I think sitting on this porch or in any of the gazillion parlors I could write a really good story.

Balsam is a little whistle stop between Waynesville and Sylva. In earlier days, people from the Low Country who could stand the heat and humidity just so long used to take the train up to Balsam and recover on this very porch and in these parlors.

As you cross the railroad tracks and head toward the Inn, there's a Whistle Stop Cafe or Grocery Store (could have been either) that sits beside the tracks. Time has surely woven a story about this place, now all grown up with morning glories and kudzu and honeysuckle. Clapboard wood, once painted white is now in dire need of a coat of something. 

There must have been a barrel of dill pickles and a homemade drink box filled with ice chipped with a pick just inside the door, and a stalk of bananas likely hung from the ceiling. But no longer. This old country store is closed, maybe forever. But it still sits beside the railroad track just like it did way back in the early 1900s.

The inn had no need for air conditioning. It was (and still is) cooled by heavenly breezes whipping in and out of the evergreens and a multitude of hardwoods.

It was a better day and time, one that, except for the cool of a summer day (as opposed to the insufferable heat of the Low Country, or the Delta for that matter), reminds me of sitting on the old wicker porch swing of my childhood, invoking memories that only a southern girl can conjure.

Anything that brings this much pleasure deserves the company of good friends. Our trip would not have been nearly so good without Sam and Ginny. They brought us to this lovely place in the high mountains.

We will go back someday. Hopefully with Sam and Ginny Triassi! I dedicate my post to them. Thank you, my friends, for those wonderful days we spent together. See you at Panera! In Sunny Florida... which is not nearly so sunny as Balsam, North Carolina, on any given day.

Jane Bennett Gaddy
Trinity, FLA


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