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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

 

 

Agent Spotlight – Greg Szabo

Our agents are known in the community for their integrity and the exceptional level of service they provide. Greg is one of those agents and joined our team as a trusted consultant to his clients. After several years out west, he chose Lake Lure for its charm and serenity and to continue his real estate career. 

 

Greg’s talent is rarely found, a plus for his clients. He continues to diligently stay abreast of current market trends, and he can quickly assess whether an investment makes financial sense. His commitment has gone beyond the old standard of customer satisfaction to a new standard of customer elation, exceeding every expectation and in the process establishing lifelong relationships. 

When not supporting his clients in finding their dream home, Greg loves spending time outdoors, including working part time at Canopy Ridge Zipline.   


Here are some of Greg’s significant “Recently Sold” Homes on the buyer’s side.

View all of Greg’s listings HERE.

Agent Spotlight – Ken Williams

Ken joined us in 2020 bringing with him expert real estate knowledge particularly in and around Rumbling Bald Resort. With over 25 years of experience, Ken is a huge assent to out team. 

Ken is incredibly talented and has a knack for helping his clients as evidenced by his list to sale ratio. Some properties even going to contract less than 24 hours after being listed. 

Our favorite thing about Ken is that he brought us our now resident furry friend, Edna. She brings joy and happiness to everyone she meets and we love her so so much!!


Here are some of Ken’s significant “Sold” Homes.

View all of Ken’s listings HERE.

5 Memorial Day Facts You May or May Not Know

1. Memorial Day was Originally Named “Decoration Day”

In 1869 Major General John A. Logan established Decoration Day as a day to honor the graves of those who died in the Civil War. In 1971 Decoration Day was changed to Memorial Day, placed on the last Monday in May and declared a national holiday by an act of Congress. It also evolved to include all wars to commemorate our American military.

2. National Moment of Remembrance

Observance of Memorial Day takes place at 3pm local time and asks Americans to pause in silence to honor our fallen heroes.

3. Memorial Day Flag Etiquette

To honor our American military, a unique flag etiquette was created for Memorial Day. At sunrise, the flag should swiftly be raised to full staff then slowly lowered to half-staff. This is to honor all the men and women who have fallen in the line of duty. At noon, the flag is swiftly raised back to full-staff to salute all of those who have served.  

4. Tradition of Wearing Red Poppies

This tradition originated from John McCrae’s 1915 poem, In Flanders Fields. As a WW1 brigade surgeon, McCrae was struck by the sight of the red flowers growing on a ravaged battlefield. The red poppy symbolizes honor and remembrance.

In Flanders Fields

BY JOHN MCCRAE
 
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
 
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
 
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

5. Fun Fact

818 Hot Dogs are eaten per second during the Hot Dog season which begins Memorial Day thru Labor Day. What are some of your favorite toppings? Have you ever had a Lured Dog? House-Made Pimento Cheese, Bacon, Super Food Slaw, Mustard on an All-Beef Hebrew National Dog on Duke’s® Mayo “Buttered” Bun -Check out Lured Market in Lake Lure, NC for some delicious, hand crafted hot dogs this summer!!  https://www.luredmarketandgrill.com/

Happy Memorial Day from Pinnacle SIR

Best Real Estate Website

The votes are in and sothebysrealty.com has officially been named the Best Real Estate Website in the People’s Choice Category in the 25th Annual Webby Awards. Acclaimed as the “Internet’s highest honor achievement” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards is the leading international awards organization honoring excellence on the Internet.  

The Webbys honors excellence in seven major media types and presents two honors in every category-The Webby Award and The Webby People’s Voice Award. The People’s Voice Award  garners millions of votes from all over the world. 

 

sothebysrealty.com 

Not only is this website beautiful to look at it is incredibly user friendly. Filter exclusive Sotheby’s Realty listings by exactly what you’re looking for. Price point, lifestyle, rentals, etc…..or just browse through some of the interesting stories that are captured through the Brand News, Featured Blogs and Headlines. 

CREDIT THE TEAM

Behind the scenes, a group of dedicated individuals at sothebysrealty.com works diligently to provide their affiliates with an outstanding website that enjoys continual growth year after year. It truly does take a village, and we are honored to be a part of this incredible team.  

We congratulate Sotheby’s International Realty and all affiliates worldwide, on this well-deserved award!!

Agent Spotlight – Kevin Swerdlin

 

Kevin Swerdlin comes to us from Wellington, FL from Equestrian SIR and has been with us for over 5 years.  His knowledge of equestrian properties gives him an edge when working with clients.

Kevin’s outgoing personality and charming character make him easy to talk to and fun to be around. His clients know that they can trust his knowledge and expertise when going through the buying or selling process.  Kevin is a licensed agent in both North and South Carolina as well as Florida.


Here are some of Kevin’s significant “Recently Sold” Homes.

View all of Kevin’s listings HERE.

Agent Spotlight – Michael Holden

 

Mike Holden has been with Pinnacle Sotheby’s International Realty from the beginning. His knowledge and expertise of the local market helps him strategically cater to each one of his client’s needs.

Mike is personable and easy going. His way of explaining the real estate process is easy to understand. Mike is a licensed agent in both North and South Carolina.


Here are some of Mike’s significant “Recently Sold” Homes.

Check out all of his listings here.

Welcome Ken Williams!!

Please join us in welcoming Ken Williams to our Pinnacle Sotheby’s International Realty family.  Ken has lived and worked in Real Estate in Lake Lure for more than 25 years. 

Legends and Lore – Ghosts in the Gorge

Ghosts in the Gorge

“A very numerous crowd of beings resembling the human species, they were of every size and all clad with brilliant white raiment, and they appeared to rise off the side of the mountain.”

 

This account was told by a woman named Patsy Reaves on July 31, 1806. She and her children related that while they could not make out any distinct features, the images ranged from infant to adult with no distinction as to gender. Legends of ghostly sightings within the Hickory Nut Gorge and the tales they sparked date back to the early 1800’s. The Reaves family’s report was confirmed by other eyewitnesses. One such testimonial was given by a man by the name of Robert Siercy.

After spending the next hour watching the strange spectacle, he told of seeing the mystical throng rise to the top of Chimney Rock. When all but a few had gathered there, three members of the crowd advanced upward above the others, hovered there then led the congregation of shining beings up through the air to disappear heavenward. Five years later, in 1811, five other people witnessed the same sight in the same place, further fueling the Reaves family account.

Ahh, but what of the fierce battle enacted high in the air?

Subsequently, this strange event was seen in Chimney Rock as several witnesses claim to have seen a pair of armies, riding tiny, winged horses. These armies met in a fierce battle high in the air. Over the next several days, the warriors, brandishing swords, would circle one another in the sky over Chimney Rock. The witnesses told of hearing clashes of metal and groans of the wounded, which lasted about ten minutes. At the end of the battle, the defeated army retreated, and the victorious army disappeared into the darkness.

Soon after, a public meeting was held in the nearby town of Rutherfordton to discuss this. The attendees concluded that the battle was a divine vision. It was believed to represent a time warp, revealing highlights from the not-to-distant Revolutionary War. A peek into the future? Maybe. Maybe not. But certainly, an awesome sight to see!

Fast-forward a hundred years or so,

tales of the ghosts who haunt the Lake Lure Inn, built in 1927, raise a few chill bumps. In the 1930’s the story came about of a jealous groom who murdered his wife for talking to another man in the Inn’s lobby. The couple were staying in room 217-218, which was at that time one large room. Since that tragic time, guests have described an overpowering smell of roses in those rooms, furthermore, some have even reported seeing a lady in white roaming the halls.

The Bottomless Pools located nearby were the spot of a 1985 calamity. A young boy from a nearby town slipped on a mossy spot and fell from a rocky ledge. Tragically, he perished in the pools. Several people have told of seeing a boy fitting his description wandering the halls of the Lake Lure Inn. Housekeepers have also whispered of hearing the sound of bouncing balls in the basement, and of one in particular being teased by the boy. On one instance, she said she felt her hair being pulled straight up above her head. Hair-raising, indeed!

The beautiful Flowering Bridge is a popular spot for visitors to the area and full-time residents alike. But few know is it used to be referred to as Clementine’s Bridge. The bridge is said by some to be haunted by Clementine, a beautiful young woman who was water skiing in the 1960’s,  lost her balance and as a result was hurled into the bridge, where now her spirit still lingers.


So many stories, told and retold through the years. Many of them based upon actual facts, many embellished, but every one of them important. For it is through our stories that our history is formed. The history of Hickory Nut Gorge.


Written by Andrea Stewart and Melva Dye

Sources:

https://northcarolinaghosts.com/mountains/chimney-rock-apparitions/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJGxrD2cRE8

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/28828178/asheville-citizen-times/

https://www.city-data.com/forum/western-north-carolina/177169-haunted-north-carolina-mountains-foothills-3.html

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/48408/48408-h/48408-h.htm#c15

 

 

Legends and Lore- The Little People of Hickory Nut Gorge

The Little People of Hickory Nut Gorge 

The mountains of Western North Carolina have long been a place steeped in mystery. Legends range from reports of documented sighting of luminous, many-hued lights flickering against the darkness of the mountains-which some say are the spirits of lost travelers searching for their homes-to stories of chilling fascination associated with ghost towns dating back to the Civil War. Imagine, if you will, a solitary trek through a mist-shrouded forest where the snap of every twig beneath your feet echoes and every tree creaks and moans when the wind blows. What was that sound? Could it be the spirits lying beneath a nearby forgotten graveyard choosing this particular moment to mess with an ill-fated wanderer?


If you happen to be hiking in the area of the Hickory Nut Gorge, then you are passing through one of the oldest routes through the southern Appalachians. And one of the most beautiful. The villages of Bat Cave, Chimney Rock and Lake Lure lay nestled within the approximate 14-mile route from Gerton to Lake Lure. According to historians, we know that the Gorge formed one of the few natural gaps in the mountains, allowing settlers traveling west to pass through on their route to Tennessee and beyond.
But how was the Gorge with its high-walled valleys, craggy rock cliffs and narrow pathways actually formed? A popular notion is that earthquakes hundreds of years ago loosed the giant boulders, causing them to thunder down the steep mountainsides to the river below – the Rocky Broad River.

It seems fairly safe to assume that the first people in the Gorge were Native American Indians. To be specific, they were Cherokees, part of the Catawba tribe. Legend has it that the Indians were not comfortable in the Gorge. Actually, they feared the area, believing it to be inhabited by spirits. In spite of their superstition, though, the Gorge provided a gateway to the land below, allowing them access to their prized tobacco.
As years pass, so legends are born and nurtured. Apparitions on the mountainside, or appearing in the sky?
Veiled images swirling within fog, perhaps? When dusk begins to gather and the mists rise from the river bottom to grow thick and obscure the high rocky walls of the Gorge, a never-solved mystery becomes a reality to those who have in fact seen them. By them, I speak of the Little People of Hickory Nut Gorge. Local legend hints that they disappeared in the great earthquake. Or, that only a few survived and have long since passed. Some say that it’s only a myth, that they never existed in the first place…

Ah, but the mystical tribe not only existed a century ago; they still do. What makes me such an expert, you might ask? Well, because I am a Little Person! First of all, you need to understand that we are not fairies.
Or elves. We do not have wings; therefore, we cannot fly. And although we are rarely seen, we are not invisible-only selective. Just so you know.

I am thought of among the People as ‘different.’ Actually, they look upon me as being very strange. This could be because I don’t go in for the constant drumming and dancing that occupies most of their days. But just because I’m not very sociable doesn’t mean that I don’t have feelings. I do. I just keep them to myself. Perhaps that’s how I got my name. The People call me Lanis: the one who is peaceful. And I don’t cry. At least, I don’t ever remember crying, although I have tried to do so on many occasions. My heart broke when the rocks rained down and took the mother and the baby and so many of the People.

Although my days are spent in quiet seclusion, they never reflect loneliness. You should also know that I am very brave. I wander these woods on nights when the fog comes and the owl hoots, but I never fall victim to imagined fears that feed the other children in the tribe. But that’s just me.


My daily chore is to gather nuts and berries and herbs. I never get lost, so I do this very well. Today, though, I am on another mission. My senses told me that today was the day. So, after rising well before the sun could burn through the early-morning fog, I slipped from my hut nestled underneath a rock outcropping. The first part of my trek took me down the steep mountainside to the river. And here I rest beside one of the deep, still pools. Gazing at my reflection in the crystal water, a not unfamiliar expression of distress looks back at me.

If only! If only my image would mirror a different Lanis! One with sleek black hair and blemish ­free skin instead of this mass of unruly russet tresses that constantly fall across my freckled face! I would see different body, too; a tall body with sinewy back and long, straight legs that would carry me through the forest with ease. But enough about me and my discontent with my appearance and on with my mission. The first part of my journey was easy; now comes the difficult part. Climbing up the other high wall (grunt) of the valley is difficult with my short legs (pant), but I can do it. I must do it. I must see (whew) them. One … more … time!

There; by threading my way through the tall ferns, scrambling over one huge bolder after another and reaching this rocky shelf just below the trail’ s edge, I’ll be able to see them when they come walking down the path. That was quite a journey! But I’m here now, and I’ll wait and watch them as I have countless times as they hunt for food or fish in the river. Today, though, I fear will be different and not in a good way.
Talk is, that the Tall Ones are leaving the Gorge forever, and that this is the day of their journey. It is said that they fear us. But why? We are so small! Some say because they believed us to be a family of specters, that their medicine men cast spells long ago, causing the boulders to rain down from the hillsides to crush us. I find that hard to believe. And even if there was some truth in it, we’re still here, aren’t we?

My people also talk in hushed tones of treasure buried in the Gorge and of the strangers who found it, fought over it, and are no more. Personally, I think that the treasure is all around us in the serenity of this place and all it provides us in life. Again, that’s just me-peaceful, simple.

Wait; what did I hear? Oh, it is them! My vantage point allows me to peek unseen just over the trail’s edge. Just look at them! The men walk ever so stately in front with their spears, their headdresses regal, their faces solemn. Behind them come the women, toting packs, with babes strapped on their backs. Their journey is silent and purposeful. I feel such anguish at their departure as all too soon, the last one disappears around the sharp bend in the trail. And I am alone once again.

The day is slipping away, and I must begin the arduous journey back to our huts. I cast one more furtive glance down the empty trail, as I brush the rain drops off my cheek. Wait a minute! The bright blue sky above the jagged outline of the pine trees shows no rain clouds! So, how can it be raining? Ah, now would you look at that-tears! Perhaps I’m not so different, after all. My tears, so long in coming, mourn the tall ones’ leaving. The spirits tell me that one day they will return, though, and perhaps then they will not fear us.


I, Lanis, will be here when they return and when others come as well. The Little People will always be here, for we are timeless-a timeless and enduring part of the mystique that is Hickory Nut Gorge.


Written by Melva Dye