Monday morning, the Hawthornes left Marion and went to points west. Specifically, we traveled to Franklin, Highlands, and Cashiers to explore the Cullasaja Gorge and waterfalls, meaning Mr. Hawthorne drove and Rosie told him when and where to pull over and then she got out and shot pictures.Franklin, Highlands, and Cashiers are all small mountain communities surrounded by beautiful waterfalls, streams, mountains, hills, and valleys. Franklin, known as the Gem Capital of the World, is located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and overlooks the Little Tennessee River. Highlands, at an elevation of 4118 feet, has the highest altitude of all incorporated towns east of the Rocky Mountains. Cashiers is on a plateau, surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest and the Appalachian Mountains in the southern crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Hawthornes traveled the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway, a two-lane, rather dangerous highway, which travels through the Nantahala National Forest. The first part of this byway follows the combined routes of US 64 and NC 28 from Highlands, NC, to Franklin, NC. and offers views of the Cullasaja Gorge, the Cullasaja River, and numerous waterfalls. The Cullasaja River Gorge in North Carolina flows westward from Highlands to Franklin, where it meets the Little Tennessee River. The Cullasaja River was named by the Cherokee Indians and means "honey locust place." The river flows through the Nantahala National Forest, the largest of North Carolina's four national forest. The forest was also named by the Cherokee. Nantahala means "land of the noonday sun," an appropriate name as the sun only reaches the floor of the deep gorges and valleys when directly overhead at midday.
We woke up in Marion to a gray, overcast day with the threat of drizzles.
Here's bustling downtown Marion with my favorite-named bank - the Fifth Third Bank. I will never understand this. Why not the Third Fifth Bank? The Fourth Second Bank? The Second Fourth Bank? Can someone 'splain this to me? ETA: A big thank you to Becky, one of my readers, for explaining the provenance of Fifth Third Bank: Fifth Third Bank from The Straight Dope.
On our way out of town, we passed Jalapeno Fresh Grill. Buh bye, Jalapeno Grill. I will miss you. Until next time, my friend.
Oh my gosh. She's EVERYWHERE! Please forgive me for not going to Paula Deen's Kitchen at Harrah's Casino in Cherokee, and critiquing it for you, but I have to draw the line somewhere. Here's the blurb: NOW OPEN! Paula Deen's Kitchen, the property's first new restaurant to be introduced as part of a $633 million, three-year expansion program. Created as a full-service, 404-seat restaurant, Paula Deen's Kitchen at Harrah's Cherokee serves á la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner, and will be reminiscent of the décor and ambiance of her legendary home and kitchen in Savannah. The á la carte aspect of the restaurant is a first for Paula Deen in the Harrah's brand, as her restaurant at Harrah's Tunica Casino is a traditional buffet. At the entrance of the restaurant enjoy shopping at the Paula Deen retail shop which offers Paula's cookbooks, spices and food items, cookware, logo wear and gifts. Read all about it HERE.
If you take the drive from Franklin to Cashiers, be aware that there's no sign announcing the lower Cullasaja Falls. All of a sudden, it's there. And there's no where to park- maybe 2-3 places which were already filled.
We traveled a bit farther along and we have cascading water! There are few places to park along the way - just dangerous pull-offs on the side of the road. Don't miss the videos at the end.
Notice the two kids climbing up the escarpment on a rope. Mama was on a rock, posing for pictures, while Daddy snapped away.
Stay tuned for Dry Falls. Previously, the Hawthornes were in Marion, NC., where we had dinner at the Jalapeno Fresh Grill, one of my all-time favoritest places.