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Waterfalls and white squirrels October 21, 2009

Posted by Jenny in memoir, travel.
Tags: , ,
White squirrel

Photo source: White Squirrel Festival (see text)

After driving 1000 miles in a Toyota Echo with my unhappy companion, Lucy Meowington, I have arrived at my new home in Brevard, North Carolina.  I like the vitality of downtown Brevard (pop. 6,600).  Main Street bustles with activity (I won’t quite say “pulsates”) even though the outskirts have the same old strip malls and big box stores that you expect to find girdling all American towns.  Most importantly, downtown Brevard is where you find the famous white squirrels that are celebrated in an annual festival. And I have already spotted one, as it crossed (against the traffic light) on Probart Street.  It had a very faint gray patch on its back in the pattern of a saddle shoe.

As I explained last month, Brevard will not necessarily be my permanent home in western NC, but I do like it anyway.  I am living in a furnished rental house outside town in a place called Connestee Falls.  Probably what I like the best is that, within a five-minute drive of my place, someone has created a network of hiking trails around the actual falls, putting quite a bit of effort into trail construction: log bridges, stairsteps, switchbacks.  I took my altimeter and did a rough calculation that you can get in about 1000 vertical feet by looping around all the trails as they follow the valleys of Batson Creek and Amatola Creek.  Connestee Falls is quite beautiful, cascading down in several stages.

Connestee Falls

Connestee Falls

The drive down from Gloucester was pretty grueling.  Lucy went into a state of suspended animation, not eating or drinking, which made me worry about her and drive as fast as I could without stopping very much.  We encountered some snow flurries in the Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre area and a horrific construction project that narrowed three lanes of I-81 to one lane for a stretch of a couple of miles.  It took us 45 minutes to go those few miles.  We had a hard time finding our “pet-friendly” Motel 6 in Harrisburg in driving rain after dark, and then the guy at the desk said he didn’t remember my mentioning I had a cat with me, but he relented when I found out he was a Phillies fan and I badmouthed Manny Ramirez of the Dodgers—yeah, I know that guy from when he pretended to be one of the Red Sox.

I will miss Boston sports.  I’m glad the Patriots beat the Titans last weekend, though I am a bit sad for the Titans out of past fondness, since I was a big fan of the late Steve McNair.

The one really beautiful part of the drive down was on I-26 connecting Johnson City, TN with Asheville, getting views of Roan Mountain and admiring the hoar frost as I went over Sams Gap at 3400 feet.  Actually, the house I am renting is nearly that high, at 3000 feet.

I am happy to be in the mountains.  Funny thing—the owner of this house is apparently an “ocean person” rather than a “mountain person,” and the walls are covered with large pictures of sailing vessels, as one might expect to find in Gloucester, where I moved from.


1. linda - October 23, 2009

Delightful travelogue Jenny! And I do appreciate the photo of a white squirrel. Love, Linda

2. Jenny - October 24, 2009

Thanks for visiting, Linda… now you see the true majesty of the white squirrel for yourself.

3. DaffodilPlanter - October 24, 2009

Yes, of course you had your trusty altimeter handy after packing up a house full of stuff!

When I told my husband you had moved into your rental house in Brevard he asked, “When can we go visit her?”

BTW you don’t have to give up on Boston sports. We follow ACC basketball out here in California (of course there are few who want to talk about it with us).

4. mike d - October 26, 2009

Hey Jenny,
I thought about you on your drive given the storm on the east coast that day. It actually snowed again on Sun afternoon here on the 18th for several hours- huge flakes that covered the grass. A little unusual to get the first snowfall prior to the first frost, which I still have not had.

Definitely will miss all the times we all watched some of the bigger Pats and Sox games over the years.
I look forward to visiting the next time I’m in the area.


5. mike d - October 26, 2009

-By the way, I highly recommend satelite radio; for about 12 bucks a month you can listen to any baseball game in the US, plus college football and hockey and any kind of music. You could listen to every sox game. Since I live alone it’s my best friend! I even take it for car rides.

6. Gary Howell - October 29, 2009

Good walking out the door. Sounds great. Here in Cary, I’ve eventually learned the names, not just of the dogs, but of their


7. Elizabeth in KY - November 1, 2009

I love your blog and that you just picked up and moved to NC. Western NC and eastern TN are two of my favorite places on earth. Hope we here from you again soon!

Jenny - November 1, 2009

Thanks for visiting—just back from an interesting outing in the Smokies. Will report soon.

8. elizabethmy - November 1, 2009

hear. Just because I’m from KY doesn’t mean I can’t type proper English. 😉

Jenny - November 1, 2009

No problem! As an editor, I can usually tell the difference between typos that are just based on absent-mindedness (I do those myself) and ones that come from actually not understanding the difference between two words–obviously not the case here!

9. kaslkaos - November 14, 2009

What a beautiful place. Don’t you hope you can stay.
And I love the white (not albino) squirrels. I’ve seen one blond in my neighbourhood, but none white.

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