• Tag Archives: vacation NC


Overwhelming odds sounds good doesn’t it? We use the term to talk about odds balanced in favor of some victor. The past week the people in our area have been overwhelmed by wildfires. Loss u

pon loss. In our specific community, we also lost beloved community members who changed this area by activism and/or love and kindness. Living in the Appalachians is a blessing because of the wonder of nature and the majesty of the mountains. Vacationers often don’t know the poverty that lives behind the hotels and resorts. 

Not everyone lives in poverty of course. There are those who are able to make a decent living. But according to the US Census of 2015, 23.5% of our population in Jackson County lives in poverty. The surrounding counties will be similar. Many of those who live in poverty work hard and are employed seasonally working at resorts in the area. From Memorial Day in May to the last Fall leaf tourist date, that is the time when those resorts and those families make the money to live through winter.  

Our area was hard hit by the economy. It looked like we might have a good year in 2016 because nothing really bad happened…until the wildfires. Not only has this ended jobs early for many in our area, the promise of a job in the spring has been burned to the ground for those in Gatlinburg. I have no idea how many of our people drive to Gatlinburg to work. It’s surprising what people will do to live in the mountains and survive. One of my previous co-workers drove two hours one-way to have a good job, but live where it was good for his young family.

As you approach this holiday season, I ask you to consider the folks in Western NC and in Tennessee who have lost their sources of income (most people in our area work several jobs). Below are only a few organizations working to restore trails, homes, and keep fires at bay. There are still several fires that could become active again. Thank you for taking time to read this. God bless you.

Places your donations can make a difference

Dollywood Foundation

Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Firefighters Donation Points



Statistics from 2016 US Government Census for Jackson County NC
iMedian household income (in 2014 dollars), 2010-2014       $36,705
iPer capita income in past 12 months (in 2014 dollars), 2010-2014    $21,033
iPersons in poverty, percent    Warning Sign 23.5%


iMedian selected monthly owner costs -with a mortgage, 2010-2014
iMedian selected monthly owner costs -without a mortgage, 2010-2014
iMedian gross rent, 2010-2014
Families and Living Arrangements
iHouseholds, 2010-2014  15,872
iPersons per household, 2010-2014  2.33
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My Favored Season – Fall

Fall has always been my favored season. The cool winds begin to play with the leaves, improvising their own song. As the nights go by, the trees begin to participate in the song of nature. It’s a great time to get out with loved ones and take a hike. Come see us in the Nantahala Forest sometime!



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Vacation in Nature and Listen

Panther Road, Bryson City ©2016 JRobin Whitley

Panther Road, Bryson City – ©2016 JRobin Whitley


Nature is a mystery that reveals herself to us in many ways. I’ve always been a fan of nature. Just this morning, as I drove to my friend’s house, I had to roll down the window so I could hear the quiet out where he lived. While I live in the mountains, I am also near a major highway. Because I am by nature first an aural person, I most often hear something before I see it. That makes the sounds of nature even more beautiful for me. No special effects or Hollywood producer can create anything as beautiful as the sights and sounds of nature.


We live in an area where many people camp or choose to vacation. There is white water rafting, hiking, camping, Cherokee is nearby. You can access the Blue Ridge Parkway from several different areas. That can mean a lot of noise pollution. As you camp, vacation, and hike, please keep in mind that there are many who have never heard the sounds of nature. Be respectful of nature as well. In the section from NPR’s Morning Edition, today’s episode talks about how many animals are also affected by our noise. Get out of the house. Have fun. But remember, there’s always someone listening!

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