Real Estate Horror Stories: Tales of Homebuying Nightmares

In the realm of real estate, the path to finding your dream home can sometimes lead you through a labyrinth of unsettling and hair-raising experiences. Welcome to a world where seemingly perfect properties conceal ominous secrets, where real estate transactions turn into chilling nightmares, and where the pursuit of home sweet home becomes a harrowing journey. Join us as we delve into a collection of spine-tingling stories that embody the essence of homebuying horrors. From deceitful sellers and properties plagued by paranormal activity to encounters with the downright bizarre, these tales will both entertain and serve as cautionary tales for anyone embarking on their own real estate adventure. So, brace yourself for a chilling ride through “Tales of Homebuying Nightmares.”

The Gun Slinging Homebuyer 

In the world of real estate, the vast majority of home viewings are routine affairs, where potential buyers and their realtors explore properties in search of the perfect match. However, every once in a while, an unsettling and extraordinary situation arises. Imagine this: a man, accompanied by his realtor, arrives at a property for a scheduled viewing. What sets this scene apart from the ordinary is the firearm conspicuously holstered at the man’s side. In this peculiar and unnerving scenario, a simple home tour transforms into an encounter that leaves everyone on edge, underscoring the unexpected and, at times, bizarre experiences that can unfold in the world of real estate.

Bringing a gun to a real estate showing is not advisable as it can create an atmosphere of discomfort and fear for potential buyers and agents. Real estate showings should be safe and welcoming environments, and the presence of firearms can inadvertently escalate tensions and deter prospective clients.

Till Deed Do You Part 

In the intricate landscape of real estate transactions, unexpected twists and turns can sometimes take an emotionally charged turn. Picture this scenario: a man decides to sell his family home, a place filled with cherished memories of his life with his now-deceased wife. However, to the astonishment of the buyers and the real estate professionals involved, he proceeds to put the property on the market without including his late wife’s name on the deed. This omission raises not only legal complexities but also poignant questions about the intricate intertwining of personal histories and real estate. In this puzzling and emotionally charged situation, the man’s decision to sell the home without recognizing his wife’s place in its history becomes a powerful reminder of the complexities that can arise when life and property intersect.

Including both spouses on the deed is crucial to avoid potential complications at closing when purchasing a property. In North Carolina real estate laws require the consent and signature of both spouses if the property is the marital residence. Failing to do so can lead to delays and legal hurdles, as well as potential disputes, making a smooth and successful closing much more challenging. It’s always advisable to consult with a real estate attorney to ensure compliance with local laws and to prevent any unnecessary complications during the home buying process.

Footprints on the Ceiling  


In a spine-tingling turn of events during the preparation of a commercial property for sale, our team encountered a hair-raising mystery. Late one night, as we were cleaning up, we noticed eerie footprints scattered all over the ceiling. The building had long been rumored to be haunted, and the strange occurrences didn’t end there. Throughout our time in the aging structure, we heard unexplained, ghostly noises.

However, the following day, we uncovered a more logical explanation from our contractor. It turns out that the workers had inadvertently stepped on the drywall before it was hung, creating the enigmatic footprints. While the tale of haunted footsteps had a rational conclusion, it left us with a lingering sense of intrigue and a newfound appreciation for the mysteries that can sometimes arise in the world of real estate.

Alexa:”Who’s There”

It was just another day in the real estate world when I found myself giving a group of clients a tour of a newly listed vacant condo. As we ventured from room to room, the seemingly empty space began to reveal its peculiar secrets. It was in the guest room, just off the hallway, that we were suddenly greeted by a woman’s voice echoing from the next room. We paused, exchanging puzzled glances and mustered a tentative “hello?” into the air. With no reply forthcoming, we cautiously resumed our exploration. However, our eerie encounter was far from over. Moments later, the mysterious voice resurfaced, this time emanating from the kitchen. Fueled by curiosity and a touch of apprehension, we did what any rational person would do – we ventured into the kitchen. Little did we know, our seemingly supernatural encounter was a quirky twist of technology, as it turned out that our conversation had inadvertently triggered the smart thermostat, which had been masquerading as an unexpected and unintentional house guest.

“In the eerie world of real estate nightmares, the ordinary can quickly transform into the extraordinary. From mysterious voices in vacant homes to concealed defects and peculiar omissions, these chilling tales serve as cautionary reminders of the unexpected twists and turns that can unfold in the quest for the perfect property. Exploring the darker side of real estate, these stories shed light on the importance of due diligence, careful planning, and the need to be prepared for the unforeseen, ensuring that your real estate journey remains a dream, not a nightmare.”

“Guard against a potential home buying nightmare by entrusting your experience to the experts at Pinnacle Sotheby’s International Realty. Let us guide and elevate your journey.”

Specializing in luxury real estate properties for discerning individuals who are seeking a home that creates a unique lifestyle experience. If you are searching for your new lifestyle please give us a call and we can schedule a tour. 

 If you looking to list your property now or in the future we can help you on that journey as well. We invite you to get in touch to see why we are number one in marketing unique properties around the world.


In the ever-evolving world of real estate, choosing the right realtor to represent your interests can make all the difference. While there may be a plethora of options available, one aspect that often goes overlooked is the significance of working with a local realtor. Whether you’re buying or selling a property, here are 5 compelling reasons why it’s important to work with a realtor who knows the local market inside and out.

5. REALTORS® are members of the National Association of REALTORS®

Reason #5 why you should work with a local Realtor.

REALTORS® are guided by a strict code of ethics, and their paramount responsibility is to prioritize their clients’ interests. With this foundational commitment in mind, it’s crucial to highlight that the agents at Pinnacle Sotheby’s International Realty not only uphold these principles but also place a profound emphasis on their role. As proud members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which stands as America’s largest trade association, they are dedicated advocates for the rights of property buyers and sellers. Furthermore, our agents hold memberships with the NC State Board of Realtors and our local Hendersonville Board of Realtors, reinforcing their unwavering dedication to their profession and the communities they serve.


Reason #4 why you should work with a local Realtor. Stress reduction. 

In today’s fast-paced world, stress seems to infiltrate every aspect of our lives. From juggling daily responsibilities to navigating complex decisions, it’s a constant presence. And when it comes to home buying or selling, this stress often escalates to the top of the charts! However, there’s a silver lining in the form of local REALTORS who excel at alleviating some of these stressors, ultimately streamlining the entire process. They boast a robust network of connections, including appraisers, inspectors, housekeepers, and landscapers—all of whom are not only well-established but also come highly recommended.


Reason #3 why you should work with a local Realtor. 

To ensure you stay well-informed and up-to-date, it’s vital to consider using a local REALTOR, especially one affiliated with Pinnacle Sotheby’s International Realty. They possess an intricate knowledge of the local laws and regulations, which tend to evolve from year to year or term to term. Moreover, their status as local residents ensures that they remain attuned to changes within the community, even those that might escape your notice. Furthermore, many of our agents actively engage with local community boards, further enhancing their capacity to keep you informed and in the know.


Reason #2 why you should work with a local Realtor. 

A local realtor can offer personalized guidance tailored to your specific needs and preferences. Furthermore,  they can help you find properties that match your criteria. They will negotiate on your behalf and provide recommendations based on your unique situation. They are professional negotiators and not afraid to go back and forth as much as possible, getting you the best outcome. Remember they are representing YOU! They look from your perspective helping to negotiate on terms you are comfortable with.


The #1 Reason you should work with a local realtor is they are LOCAL MARKET EXPERTS. 

Working with a local REALTOR is essential because they are experts in the local market. Real estate is highly localized, and local REALTORS have in-depth knowledge of the current market, including inventory, home types, pricing, and key insights like average days on the market and zoning regulations. They can offer valuable advice on your preferred area, along with information on nearby healthcare, grocery stores, restaurants, shopping, contractors, and schools. Additionally, local REALTORS are familiar with the local topography, identifying buildable lots, flood zones, and potential hazards like sinkholes or landslides, providing insights only a local expert can offer.

In summation, having a REALTOR who is trained in the market you are searching for gives you an advantage over others who may enter the community without any knowledge of the area. Similarly, by providing the best service to our sellers, our agents accompany all showings. This ensures that potential buyer clients receive all the property and local details they need to make the most informed decision possible.

Specializing in luxury real estate properties for discerning individuals who are seeking a home that creates a unique lifestyle experience. If you are searching for your new lifestyle please give us a call and we can schedule a tour. 

 If you looking to list your property now or in the future we can help you on that journey as well. We invite you to get in touch to see why we are number one in marketing unique properties around the world.

Don’t just get it on the market.

 Get it the attention it deserves.

Let us show you how Sotheby’s International Realty differs from the rest. 


OPEN HOUSES APRIL 1st & 2nd 2023

Open Houses located in Tryon, NC and Lake Lure, NC this Saturday and Sunday, April 1st & 2nd from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM  

Call Ken Williams at 828.429.4004

26 Silver Fox Lane Tryon, NC 28782


126 Apple Meadow Court Lake Lure, NC 28746

SUNDAY APRIL 2ND 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM 



Specializing in luxury real estate properties for discerning individuals who are seeking a home that creates a unique lifestyle experience. If this one speaks to you,  please give us a call and we can schedule a tour. 

 If you looking to list your property now or in the future we can help you on that journey as well. We invite you to get in touch to see why we are number one in marketing unique properties around the world.

Don’t just get it on the market.

 Get it the attention it deserves.

Let us show you how Sotheby’s International Realty differs from the rest. 


Custom Contemporary Farmhouse in Tryon, NC

A home that exudes luxury. Custom built by the owner himself, sparing no expense down to the last detail. Let’s take a look a why you can live extraordinary in this custom contemporary farmhouse in Tryon, NC at 26 Silver Fox Lane.

26 Silver Fox Lane, Tryon, NC

Tryon, North Carolina 

If you know you know. Tryon, NC is an eclectic historic town on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the foothills of Western North Carolina. Known for its mild climate, outstanding restaurants, rich equestrian history and hometown of singer-songwriter, Nina Simone, best known for her jazz contributions and timeless hit, “Feeling Good”.  

downtown Tryon, NC

Red Fox Community

Just a few miles from town sits the community of Red Fox. Once renowned country club and golf course played by the best of the best, now a quiet community surrounded by lush greens, rich forests and an abundance of nature. 

Pristine land on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

This immaculate home was designed by the owner with the intent of building and designing the ultimate in extravagance. In this custom contemporary farmhouse, its all about the details. From the professional interior design to the entirely symmetrical floorplan. A juxtaposition of elements; neutral and bold, rustic yet modern and contemporary, relaxed with touches of refined sophistication. Neutral with cool earth tones touched with pops of bold blue accent walls.  Each element both inside and out was well thought out and methodically planned. 

The great room. One of grandeur this space is truly immaculate. The picture windows at entry provide a gorgeous display of light. The main focal point would have to be the double sided fireplace made of  hand-cut stone, LED lighting and 360° mantel made of maple. Chandeliers adorn from the vaulted ceiling creating a regal atmosphere. 

The kitchen. A state of the art culinary set up with only the best of the best features and appliances including custom laser cut European granite, herringbone designed subway tile backsplash, as well as the stunning custom island with farmhouse sink, double oven and soft close drawers. A wet bar with wine fridge. The one-of-a-kind custom backlit cabinetry completes this designer kitchen fit for the finest of chefery.   

The owner’s suite. Bright and airy space with vaulted ceiling, marble fireplace and  hide-away TV feature above the mantel. A bathroom suited for royalty. Only the finest furnishings including a rare circulating tub, walk-in shower with invisible drain, bidet and custom maple cabinetry. Additionally, the primary closet is spacious with ample shelving and custom granite make-up counter.

Outdoor living. Entertain yourself or guests in this luxurious living space. Fenced in patio for privacy with sparkling inground pool and water feature, gazebo, firepit and built in dog lot for your furry family members. 

Specializing in luxury real estate properties for discerning individuals who are seeking a home that creates a unique lifestyle experience. If this one speaks to you,  please give us a call and we can schedule a tour. 

 If you looking to list your property now or in the future we can help you on that journey as well. We invite you to get in touch to see why we are number one in marketing unique properties around the world.

Don’t just get it on the market.

 Get it the attention it deserves.

Let us show you how Sotheby’s International Realty differs from the rest. 


Inside the Turner Estate – A French Inspired Chateau

Just outside the small town of Shelby, NC on the edge the rolling foothills sits the Turner Estate, a French inspired chateau, a magnificent property that will entice you as you pass by.  At first glace you may wonder if it’s an old castle with its stone turrets and copper rooftops. You can imagine Romeo portraying his love to Juliet at the bottom of the bedroom balcony. Or Rapunzel letting down her golden hair for the prince who just rode up on horseback to climb up and whisk her away to his far off kingdom. Back to reality – you wonder what really does entail to this majestic abode? This impressive property is a must see!!

Welcome to Chateau du Coeur  – Castle of the Heart 

This French Country Estate lies inside almost fifty sprawling acres of rolling countryside.  An equestrian’s dream, as the fenced pastures await your luxe barn and horses. 

Each detail of this magnificent home has been meticulously accomplished, from the hand painted murals, which took over a year to complete, to the custom furnishings, motorized chandeliers and formed plaster and limestone walls. Not to mention the custom antique stone floors procured in Provence. 

An immense great room is adorned with arched beamed ceilings and heart of pine floors. Three Juliet balconies overlook from the second floor halls above. The family crest embellished with the home’s motto: Le Chateau du Coeur translating to The Castle of the Heart. 

A state of the art kitchen with the best of the best appliances including the stunning custom designed La Cornue range comes together to achieve an architectural masterpiece. 

Owner's Suite

One of ultimate luxury, the owner’s suite provides upscale comfort at its best. A spacious bedroom with views of the pool and gardens and a cozy gas log fireplace.

An en suite fit for royalty with custom solid glazed clay tile, chandelier lighting, his and her vanity, soaking tub, a shower room and lavish dressing room.

A light filled morning room, which opens to the fountain patio, a quiet spot for morning tea and your favorite novel. May we suggest local author, Melva Dye’s newest novel, Over the Devil’s Back. It will keep you guessing till the very end.  

An ultimate spa like resort transforms the outdoors into a awe-inspiring scene. Two custom pools each with its own waterfall connected by a footbridge to the hot tub. The custom carved fountain depicting a family of lions creates a grand backdrop tying the two pools into one. 

Each detail has been compassionately thought out and designed from the stone terraces to the expansive gardens where every tree, bush and flower has been tended to perfection, creating unequaled splendor.  

This French inspired chateau has so much more to offer. If you are looking for a property of this grandeur and this one speaks to you,  please give us a call and we can schedule a tour. 

 If you looking to list your property now or in the future we can help you on that journey as well.

Don’t just get it on the market.

 Get it the attention it deserves.

Let us show you how Sotheby’s International Realty differs from the rest. 


2021 Significant Sales in Real Estate

Significant sales in real estate in Lake Lure and surrounding areas started and ended strong. With properties selling at record prices, it looks like this real estate trend will continue into the new year. 

This rustic mountain cabin set in Three Creeks, a secluded gated community, sold in January for $1.2M. This significant sale was the highest priced home sold in Three Creeks in 2021. 

This stunning lakefront home is located in Rumbling Bald on Lake Lure, has close to 7,000 SQ FT and sold for over $1.5M.

This mountaintop home in Gateway Mountain boasts some of the most magnificent views around. On a clear day you can see Mt. Mitchell, the tallest mountain in North Carolina. This significant sale was the second highest priced home sold in Gateway Mountain last year.

This home in Tryon’s Hunting Country shows off its old world charm with beamed ceilings, along with hardwood floors and four wood burning fireplaces. 

Deerwood is Lake Lure’s most sought after neighborhood, known for the best views on the lake. This home has the added benefit of privacy and lots of surrounding landscape to enjoy.

This prime lakefront property with majestic mountain views was the highest priced lot sold in Lake Lure in over 25 years. 

Southwest influences mixed with mountain charm brought this significant sale in as the second highest priced home sold in Lake Lure in 2021.

There are still lots of beautiful homes for sale. If you are looking for your dream home we would love the honor to help.

 If you looking to list your property now or in the future we can help you on that journey as well.

Don’t just get it on the market.

 Get it the attention it deserves.

Let us show you how Sotheby’s International Realty differs from the rest. 


22 Good Luck Items to Bring Into Your Home in 2022

Are you looking to have better luck in 2022? If so, here are 22 items you can add around your home that may bring you good luck this year!!

1. Painted Door

Depending on which way your door faces, painting certain colors are said to bring good luck. In Fung Shui;

  • South-Red or Orange represents warmth, passion, and inspiration.
  • North- Blue or Black represents wisdom and depth
  • West -Gray or White
  • East – Brown or Green

2. Elephants

Elephants symbolize good luck, protection, and strength and are known as wise and intelligent animals. (Just make sure the trunk is facing up)

3. Citrus Fruit

Bring in good luck with a bowl full of citrus because it is supposed to attract wealth and bring positivity into your home.

4. Horseshoe

Hang over the entrance of your home to bring good luck and protection.

5. Fish 

Fish symbolize good health, prosperity, happiness, wealth and power. Go a step further and build a koi pond to enhance your good fortune.

6. Mirrors 

Placing mirrors in spots where it will reflect a beautiful view such as a garden or backyard will fill your home with positivity. On the other hand, keeping a clean mirror in your cash drawer is said to improve your financial situation.

7. Bamboo 

Use bamboo throughout your home to bring focus, tranquility, and good fortune.

8. Turtle 

Placing a turtle in your home or yard symbolizes longevity.

9. Essential Oil  

Not only do they make a space smell wonderful, these powerful oils such as lavender repel misfortune and calm the mind while peppermint helps ward off negative energy and will keep the home in perfect harmony. 

10. Cricket on the Hearth 

Ever heard the expression “to find a cricket on the hearth is the luckiest thing of all”? These small insects are considered a sign of eminent good fortune in China. It is said they would keep them as pets inside tiny cages. We think just a small trinket will suffice!  

11. Peacock Feather 

The “eye’ pattern on a peacock’s feather represents openness vision and believed to represent good luck, wisdom, and beauty.

12. Fountain

Place a fountain in or outside your home to draw good fortune and positivity.

13. Clock

Hang a clock on a North, East, or West wall to bring in positive energy.

14. Crescent Moon

Considered lucky for children and mothers; display a crescent moon wall hanging in your child’s bedroom for good luck.

15. Keys

Some cultures believe keys hold the power to send prayers. Furthermore, if you give your love a key it symbolizes unlocking the door to their heart.

16. Acorn

Carrying an acorn is believed to protect your health, thus, keeping you from illness, aches and pains.

17. Dreamcatcher

Hang one over your bed to catch bad dreams. Ultimately, the first sun rays that touch it in the morning will destroy the trapped bad dreams.

18. Four-Leaf Clover

Those who find a four-leaf clover are destined for good luck, as each leaf in the clover symbolizes good omens for faith, hope, love, and luck for the finder. It is also said that as Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, Eve picked a single four-leaf clover as a souvenir of paradise.

19. Wishbone

Unbroken is a promise of a wish, consequently, for the wish to come true it must be broken.

20. Jade Plant

Also called the money plant, aside from being lucky jade plants bring in natures energy and will clean and purify the air.

21. Pair of Ducks

A pair of mandarin ducks, swans or doves are an exemplary symbol of a happy couple so place in the bedroom to intensify luck in love.

22. Horse Statue

Horses symbolize freedom, determination, beauty and majesty among other things. Likewise, the beloved horse is considered good for happiness and prosperity and should be placed facing a door or window.

The best way to ensure good luck is work hard, be kind to everyone, celebrate life and freedom and find some quite time each day to be grateful and connect to the provider of all. We hope you have a wonderful 2022!!

  • If you are thinking of putting your home on the market in 2022 learn how we can Market Your Home at Pinnacle Sotheby’s International Realty.
  • Looking to buy? Visit our Properties page. 

6 Styles of Homes You Can Find in Lake Lure

Ever wonder what types of homes are located on Lake Lure, North Carolina? Are you searching for the perfect lake home but not sure what you are looking for? Here are six of the most popular home designs found on the lake. What is your favorite style home?


Arts and Crafts style homes refer to the late 19th Century British and American movement to revive handicrafts. Originally, it meant a home built from a plan in Stickley’s magazine. Now, Arts and Crafts style homes are built upon inspiration through nature, the beauty of the materials used and simplicity. Encompassing not only the architecture, but interior design, textiles, and art.

Arts and Crafts - This home is currently on the market. Click the photo to be directed to this listing.


Craftsman style homes focus on the value of handmade, well-constructed architecture. Inspired by Arts and Crafts style, craftsman homes are far from cookie cutter and some feature hand crafted wood beams, raw/exposed wood beams, large, tapered columns, and low-pitched gable roof lines. Covered porches are a must for craftsman homes and patterned windowpanes offer a unique perspective where imagination can shine. There are four types of Craftsman style homes but the most popular in Lake Lure is the Bungalow or Mission Revival.

Craftsman - This home is not currently for sale.


Typically cottages are smaller and modest built by the lake, in the mountains or by a river and boast cozy features such as small stone fireplaces, hardwood floors and smaller separate rooms. Open floor plans were not popular because it was harder to heat in the wintertime. Many of the cottages in Lake Lure today were built in the 40s and 50s.  Moreover, they were less expensive to build and typically smaller as families used them as vacation homes.

Cottage - This home is not currently for sale.


Originally cabins were small, typically stick built made from wood or logs by the same person that planned on dwelling there. Nowadays, cabins can range from small single story of one to two rooms, to massive multi-level ones with huge logs sometimes imported from the north. Cabins are rustic and many found on Lake Lure use forest themes for inspiration.

Cabin - This home is not currently for sale.


Contemporary began in the 1970’s and pays emphasis on geometric lines and modern architecture. These homes incorporate modernist styles using eco-friendly materials and design; focus on clean lines, neutral colors, and textures. Likewise, contemporary homes reflect a more streamlined approach and use materials such as concrete, soapstone, terrazzo, recycled materials such as glass and wood rather than more traditional mediums such as carpet, granite, and laminate. Open-floor plans and high ceilings are more the norm which let in lots of natural light. These styles are more open for imagination and design and can be easily spotted on Lake Lure.

Contemporary - This home is not currently for sale.


This style of construction shows off wooden beams and framing on both the interior and exterior of the home using a framework of upright and horizontal beams. Early timber frame techniques were developed thousands of years ago, and since iron was not readily available builders used woodworking joints. Nowadays, post and beam can be joined with iron and more modern components making post and beam homes unique and architecturally pleasing.

Post and Beam - This home is not currently for sale.

Are you looking to build your dream home?

We still have several lots available in Lake Lure. Click the link below to be directed to our page where you can browse all Lake Lure homes and land.  

Lake Lure Flip! 136 Neighborly Drive

Built in 1945 and owned by one family until 2019, this beautiful vintage lake cabin has had a stunning makeover!

Imagine for a moment; summers spent jumping in the lake, playing tag in the yard, catching fireflies and nighttime campfires of hotdogs and s’mores. Now, families can continue making lasting memories at the lake for generations to come.   


With a new coat of cobalt blue paint on the exterior and a deep clean of the interior, along with some necessary updates like new windows, doors and modern fixtures, this dark and dreary, ramshackle cabin has been transformed into a cozy summer retreat.

After a good scrub, white paint and new furniture, this cabin went from drab to fab! We love how you still get the cabin feel even after adding these modern touches. 

It’s all about the bathroom and this one does not disappoint. A tight squeeze in the old has been transformed to an ultra modern light-filled space. Look at the gorgeous patterned tile in the bathtub!

Wear and tear on the boathouse shows many years of enjoyment on the lake, however, a newly restored boathouse with access to sundeck will allow for lots more entertaining now!!

All in all, this well-loved cabin at the lake is now ready for new generations of lake jumping, freeze tag and campfires filled with lasting memories for years to come! 

Are you looking for your next flip? We are here to help! Get in touch to let us know what you are looking for and we can help you search out the property of your dreams. Check out “Our Listings” page for all Western North Carolina properties. Looking to sell, check out: List With Us. Click here for more info on how you can get connected or give us a call at 828.625.9600.

Legends and Lore – Footprints in the Gorge

Footprints in the Gorge

Nestled within the Hickory Nut Gorge is the towering monolith known as Chimney Rock. This iconic feature is enjoyed by thousands of visitors yearly, leaving behind their footprints in one of Western North Carolina’s most picturesque settings. It peaks the imagination to ponder the original footprints in the Gorge, undoubtedly left by native Americans more than a century ago.

Cherokee Indian leaves footprints in the Gorge


These native tribes, primarily the Catawba and Cherokee, relied on the resources of the Gorge for their livelihood. In turn, they honored the land and held it sacred, believing that it possessed many a magical power. The native folk called the land beyond the stone pillar of Chimney Rock, Suwainuna. This was part of their trading path that followed the river as it snaked through the Gorge to the lands of the Catawba eastward. They left their footprints on this path in their search for tsa’lu, or tobacco.


Footprints on this path in their search for tsa’lu.

Were there other footprints left within the Gorge?

The natives thought so. They spoke in hushed and wary whispers of the Little People. History, Myths and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees describe them thusly:


There is another race of spirits […] who live in rock caves on the mountain side. They are little fellows, hardly reaching up to a man’s knee, but well-shaped and handsome, with long hair falling to the ground. They are great wonder workers and are very fond of music, spending half their time drumming and dancing. They are helpful and kind-hearted, and often when people have been lost in the mountains, especially children who have strayed away from their parents, the Yun’wi Tsundsdi have found them and taken them back to their homes. […] the Little People do not like to be disturbed at home, and they throw a spell over the stranger so that he is bewildered and loses his way…In Suwali-nuna, however, these benevolent beings are not so forgiving. They were guardians of the sacred tsa’lu, or tobacco, which they kept there and took harsh action against anyone trespassing in the gorge in search of it. In the beginning of the world, there was a single tsa’lu plant for all creatures, but it had been used up. In one version of the story, the plant was stolen by geese and swiftly carried to a place in the south. Nonetheless, without the power of tsa’lu men grew weak and death was imminent. Swift warriors and powerful shamans sent into the gorge in search of the sacred medicine were crushed by boulders toppled by the Yun’wi Tsundsdi. The strong winds blowing through the stone hollow would sometimes throw these braves into the turbulent waters of the river and they would never be seen again. One young man, worried by the impending death of his father for lack of tsa’lu, traveled to Suwali-nuna in search of it. Reaching the mountains that border the gorge, the young man opened his medicine bag and brought out the skin of a hummingbird. Placing the skin over himself he transformed into the swift bird and flew, undetected into the heart of the gorge. Quickly, he gathered a few leaves of tsa’lu with some seeds and slipped, unseen, out of the gorge. Returning home, he found his father very weak but with one draw from the pipe, he regained strength. The Cherokee planted the seeds and have had tsa’lu ever since.

Little Person in the Gorge…can you spot him?

The Hickory Nut Gorge became part of Rutherford County,

named for General Griffith Rutherford, a military leader who led forces against Chief Dragging Canoe and the Cherokee during the Chickamauga Wars. As more and more settlers began to pour into the Gorge, they were awed by the region’s natural beauty and their interest peaked by the Cherokee’s mystical legend. Sadly, the native tribe were forced to migrate to the west, many of them leaving footprints along the trail of tears. Some members remained, however, and today reside in the Qualla Boundary, which is held as a land trust by the United States government. They are recognized as the Eastern Band of the Cherokee.

Chief Dragging Canoe


Their stories and legends remain along with pieces of Native American history. Arrowheads, tomahawks, and bits of pottery lay hidden among the soil and along the riverbank. Perhaps you will be fortunate enough to find one of these treasures from long ago. Better still, you might come across ancient footprints—as you leave yours behind.

Written by Andrea Stewart and Melva Dye