One of our favorite treats was Tweetsie Railroad https://tweetsie.com/ - we LOVED that place.
In the early 60's my parents bought some land in Blowing Rock and built a house for us. It was a wonderful place. A large a-frame. It was built for us and our friends. The top floor - in the peek - was my brother's room. Then the middle floor was the living/great room with kitchen, my parents' room, a guest room and a bathroom. The bottom floor was the kids living room and the bedroom for me and my sister and our friends. Both living rooms had gynormous stone fireplaces and outside decks.
It was an amazingly wonderful warm and friendly home. And a truly special place to all of us. We'd go up there most weekends in the Summer and often spend weeks there. We were encouraged to bring friends up and we did. We had huge Yahtzee tournaments and all kinds of card games. One of Daddy's friends had a huge tree blow down in his yard. He split it in half and made two beautiful cribbage coffee tables - one for us and one for them. We played a lot of cribbage.
One magical winter, they opened up a ski slope in Blowing Rock. It was the tiniest. There were two hills - a bunny hill with a rope tow and then the big (big being very relative and in this case not big at all) hill with a button tow. Skis were wooden slabs with metal edges. You stepped into the boot holder and then had to push down this metal lever which often didn't work. Oh and boots had to be tied with shoe strings that cut your hands. Glamorous stuff. But, we loved it. We got season passes for Christmas and were on those slopes every weekend there was snow. That was actually a bit of an issue because there wasn't that much and snow making equipment was new and really made ice, not snow. But none of that dampened our spirits.
Blowing Rock was a tiny town - the weekly newspaper was the Blowing Rocket. Everybody knew everybody - even the weekend/Summer people. It was really a magical place.
The Summer before my Senior year in high school, I lived up there the whole Summer and worked in the discount dress shop owned by the wife of our neighbors. It was my first real job for pay and it was miserable. I hated it so much and I sucked at it. Being nice to customers really was not my strong suit. BUT, it showed me I could actually work for a living - make my own money. And, unless I wanted to spend my life in a shit job, I needed to buckle down in school and get into college and graduate. Valuable lessons.
Also interestingly, the woman who owned the shop's husband, started the first TV cable company in North Carolina. All TV was over the air TV. If you lived near a TV station's tower, you won. If you didn't, you got no TV. The mountains stood in the way of most all TV signals in western part of North Carolina. Downtown Ashville had a station and Boone did but if you couldn't get their signals, you got no TV. Cable TV was not a shit load of weird TV stations, it was the same set of stations that you get if the mountains weren't in the way. Cable gave you those stations and a very clear picture. It was not available to most but it was going to be big, said our neighbor. Turns out he was a little bit right.
To Be Continued