Musings from the Mountains

Musings from the Mountains will be thoughts and happenings from the Maggie Valley and Waynesville area with little bit of everything else thrown in.

In Maggie Valley we are starting a road improvement project along Soco Road (Highway 19) this Spring.  The project aim is to make Soco Road (2.5 miles of it) more walkable and safer for pedestrians.  There will be a series of islands constructed in the existing turn lane.  (Soco Road is a 5-lane road with a turn lane in the middle.)  The crosswalks with be constructed with a stamped brick appearance.  The existing islands will be revamped with new landscaping.  In addition to the island crosswalks, 5 current painted crosswalks will get the faux-brick treatment and crossing signals.  This road improvement project has been on the back burner for some time with much discussion from locals.

In Waynesville, the apartment complex off Russ Avenue, where the old Bi-Lo Shopping Center once stood, is getting closer to being completed.   This complex was originally advertised to contain 210 units.   The area certainly needs this as rentals seem to be in short supply.  It’s difficult to miss these apartments, as they have certainly changed the look of Russ Avenue.  We old-timers probably remember Ready-Mix Concrete Company that was there prior to the Bi-Lo Shopping Center.

On a more local note, after years of seldom seeing any deer at our home on Utah Mountain, it seems we have our own herd of deer now.  We have 6 or more deer in our yard about every other day.  I didn’t know deer ate rhododendrons, but apparently, they do. Some of our rhododendrons look pathetic with most of the leaves gone.

While I’m on the subject of rhododendrons, did you know that most of the old-timers here in the mountains called them Mountain Laurel.  The plants we now call Mountain Laurel, the old-timers called Mountain Ivy.  This apparently goes way back as Horace Kephart wrote about this in his book Our Southern Highlanders, published in 1913.

If you haven’t been to the mountains in a while, come up and see us!