My wife and I just returned from a trip with some close friends of ours to Hayesville, NC. For those of you who don’t know where Hayesville is, don’t feel bad. I was THERE and I barely know where it is! If memory serves, the entire county has fewer people than the high school that services just my neighborhood.
Here’s what’s funny, though. I honestly can’t remember the last time that I felt more relaxed and welcome.
We were visiting the family of a married couple that we are friends with and by the end of the weekend it seemed like we were ALL part of the family. Despite the fact that it seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere, I honestly didn’t want to leave.
We did a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, but it wasn’t even that we had some great agenda of mind-blowing activities. We pretty much just sat around and talked, played some games, visited some of the locals, enjoyed some great food and drinks, and got some sleep.
The Gratitude that my wife and I feel towards our friends and their family for including us in their holiday is impossible to measure and I found myself asking my wife to be sure to send them an honest to goodness Thank You card, something that I almost never do.
It was one of the best Thanksgiving holidays that I have ever had, and I want to share some of the highlights and pictures with each of you. I hope that your holiday was equally full of heart-felt gratitude and that you are going into the rest of the holiday season motivated and happy just to be living each moment.
In the meantime, here are some of the things that I learned while I was in Hayesville:
1) You can get a very tasty and filling meal for dirt cheap at the Hayesville Family Restaurant, whose employees wear shirts that say “H.F.R.” I’ll leave it up to you to decide what that stands for…
2) When the host is a master carpenter, it is possible to party in a house whose BASEMENT included: a pool table, a pottery wheel and kiln, a full-size entertainment room with big-screen TV, a full bar with refrigerator and an ice maker, 2 bedrooms, and 2 bathrooms. And that’s just in the basement.
3) When you are experiencing southern hospitality, you can hang out in the main living area of a huge, beautiful house, but most of you will just sit at the breakfast bar because that’s where the coffee and the conversation will flow for so long that you’ll quickly realize that you chit-chatted clean through the lunch hour and you haven’t even had a shower yet.
4) You can bring the family dog along for the fun, but that won’t stop some of the local college kids from bringing their own adorable puppy to the party, and then going to the Flea Market the next day to buy a Jack Russell Terrier. Yes, the Flea Market.
5) Apparently the Pursuit of Trivia is big business in those foothills and I’m proud to say that when the gals challenged the guys to a late-night game, we brought home the trophy despite the fact that I don’t remember ANYONE getting very many of the questions right!
6) No matter how much you’ve had to eat, you’ll still want to stop by the roadside stand to pick up some homemade apple butter and boiled peanuts. Don’t eat too much, though, because you might just end up eating a Jambalaya later that same day that’ll make you sweat and beg for more at the same time.
7) College football lasts all day long when you’ve got enough channels on the big screen to switch around on. And, with the bar, the refridgerator, and 2 separate bathrooms all within 20 feet of the TV, you can (and will) sit there ALL day watching it!
8) The average age-range at a party in Hayesville goes anywhere from around 13 years old to over 60, and every single person interacts and has fun with every other person there. In fact, if you’re not careful, you’ll pick up an adopted family or two before you leave.
9) The average side road through the hills is not very wide, so when you are on the way home be sure to watch what you say about that person who is coming at you from the other direction and taking up too much space on the road. After you curse them, you JUST might find out that it was one of your relatives making a late run for the party you just left!
10) You have not witnessed friendship, hospitality, or good old-fashioned happiness to be alive until you have spent Thanksgiving dinner with people who have literally known each other for DECADES and would still give each other the shirt off their backs. Or, they would give YOU that shirt, too, even though they’ve only known you for a few hours.
Welcome to the South. I hope you enjoyed your visit!
Not quite to Hayesville, this was one of our stops for food on the way. A full-service Chick-Fil-A family restaurant called The Dwarf House. It even had a tiny dwarf door that you could walk through!
One of many spectacular pictures taken from the back deck of the house where we ate Thanksgiving Dinner. The weather was incredible considering that it was late November.
Another shot from the same location right before the sun dropped behind the hills.
Two of the locals who have been doing what they do there in Hayesville forever and a day. They entertained us with some great music. That was AFTER one of the other locals gave us a private air show in his bi-plane!
This was our botched attempt at getting pictures of horses. We couldn’t get any good shots while we were driving, so we decided to just take pictures of cows and hope that no one would know the difference…
Our last night in Hayesville we attended the 50th birthday party of one of the family friends. Ironically enough, this 50th birthday party was where I witnessed my first keg stand! For the record, there was a 70-plus year old woman who stepped up to the keg, but her husband pulled her back before she got lifted up. She got an “A” for making the attempt, though!