Dearest Readers,

How are y’all? I am having a lovely Monday evening listening to Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble while I write this week’s column.

Dinner cooks in the oven while I enjoy the time change and early nightfall outside of my antique windows in the historic district. I have a very romantic imagination, but the streetlamps look like the ones in merry Old London. Divine evening.

I hope you had a great weekend. Fall is made for mystery, exploration, and candy corn of course. So, I explored the paint Creek corridor here in Greene County. Talk about exploring, talk about mystery, the Paint Creek corridor has it all.

This corridor is deep in the Cherokee National Forest. Come along for the ride with me!

The way I like to go is South on the Andrew Johnson Highway through Greeneville. Because, one must stop at Pal’s Sudden Service for a sweet tea and Frenchie fries! Then I take a right down Hwy. 107, or what we refer here to ‘the 107.” You drive that a little piece, (hey, if you want exact directions, check GPS, I am a ‘turn right at the cow’ sort of girl) and turn right on to what we locals call the 107 cutoff. It is also marked as 321. You drive that a good spell. You will get to a four-way stop with a gas station if you need some more sweet tea. Then you get back on to 321 going the direction you came in.

Soon you will reach the Asheville Highway and turn left onto that road. Not too far down the pike, probably three to four miles, there will be a road to the right that makes a sharp left called Houston Valley Road. You take it and drive for around 10 minutes and you will see a sign to turn left into the Cherokee National Forest.

Until this point you will have been traveling through Greene County’s rolling farmland. Absolutely gorgeous countryside! But as you drive deeper into the Park the terrain will dramatically change. You are now in the deep, dark, and, to me, alluring forest. There are towering, massive evergreens with many variations of trees. You will descend a big hill, and down and down you will go into the corridor. Go slow, as the road has one lane in parts of it with a big drop off.

As you reach the bottom of the hill to your left will be the camping area, you will want to go to the right, over a rock bridge. From this point on, as you go through the corridor the river will run beside you.

The speed limit is 20 MPH, which you should follow, because in many places there is just one lane. Now, just meander through and think of the history of this mystical place. The Cherokees made this their home. President Andrew Johnson when leaving North Carolina came through here.

You will see a cluster of log cabins. There will be several waterfalls as you drive. Suddenly the road will make a turn to the left and you will see the French Broad River. Look up to your left as you pass the cliffs there, there are original Indian hieroglyphics on the top of them.

If you are feeling very adventurous you can follow this road all the way to Hot Springs North Carolina. Its only about 20 miles from that point.

Hot Springs has the historic mineral waters there that you can pay to go soak your troubles away in. My Uncle Lowell and two of my aunts like to go soak for their arthritis. The Appalachian Trail runs smack down the middle of town. I would recommend the Iron Horse for dining. I have never had a bad meal there.

Goodness, I think I need a soak and something good to eat from the iron Horse!

I never get tired of traveling through there.

Who wants to go with me and ride in my little red car?

Until next time, y’all, have a Paint Creek week, and have a literary week!