September 2014

Beautiful, Lake Jocassee, S.C.

Typical sports that you consider of when you think of the mountains may include: hiking, mountain biking and white water rafting. But scuba diving? No, really. Although the Appalachian Mountains are miles from any deep seas, there is one place in the midst of the Blue Ridge Mountain range where you can learn the sport and even enjoy a day of scuba diving.

Surprises Beneath a South Carolina Lake

Queen Anne’s Lace is a flower found all over the Appalachians. You’ll see them driving to work along the roadsides and in your neighbor’s flower gardens. Queen Anne’s Lace, also called “Wild Carrot,” is a common plant found abundantly in dry fields, ditches, and open areas. The crocheted doily-looking plant was first introduced into the U.S. from Europe. The carrots you eat today once were cultivated from this plant.

But the Queen has her downside. She harbors tiny pests called chiggers.

Pesky Little Pests

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The Appalachians are sprinkled with wonderful chocolatiers and candy shops. Of the many worthy businesses, two companies stand out as “beyond compare.”

Ruth Hunt Candy Company

Box turtles are a common sight in the Southern Appalachians when the southern air starts to get steamy. As the weather gets colder, usually in mid-October, box turtles start looking for a place to hibernate. The Eastern box turtle found in North Carolina is on the “vulnerable” list of endangered species, so watch out when you’re driving and take care not to disturb nests if you find their eggs.

Giving Turtles a New Home

Apple Stack Cake — to most people who grew up in Appalachia, those words conjure up appetizing sights, smells and tastes from their childhoods. The delicious dessert is a traditional cake baked in the Appalachians often in iron skillets before bakeries and Betty Crocker arrived. Many Sunday dinners after church and during special occasions featured an Apple Stack Cake on the table.

When the weather is hot, a ride down the river — where you continually get splashed — is refreshing and welcomed. In the fall and winter, many whitewater rafting companies still provide runs, but they are best reserved for the hearty outdoor types who don’t mind the elements.

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Ashley English: Well known Wife, Mother, Baker, Artist, Homesteader creator right next door in Candler, NC!