Two weeks ago this Thursday my husband and I moved to Canton. Anyone who’s been in the area for any length of time and knows Canton for its reputed odor automatically reacts with surprise and a sense of almost compassion as they say, “Oh... Can you smell the mill?” In all honesty, no — we can’t. We’re upwind, on a bit of a hill and it’s only on the most overcast of days that we even get a whiff. This is despite the fact that we can see the mill just out the window and hear it at night when it seems to kick things up a notch. The mill churns along seemingly to say “Quick! Everyone’s asleep – make some paper, make some paper!” before returning to its day time pace and happily belching out steam like a cumulus cloud factory.

That said, I don’t mind the mill and its occasionally more odiferous days at all. It’s what has kept Canton a real town in amidst all the brick-a-brack designed to bring in the tourists and keep them coming back. There’s something more honest about an across the parking lot conversation about what type of chewing tobacco needs to be picked up from the store versus the tee-hee’s of some spit-shined pretty summer family as they debate just exactly what is that unheard of beverage — “Mountain Dew.” (I’m not making that one up either.) Weekdays see a regular tide of traffic, not a constant onslaught of out-of-state plates. Couples out for after work strolls with the dog wave as they pass on opposite sides of the street. Saturdays our neighbors mow their lawns and have folks over for a cookout.

We’ve got the Corner Sandwich shop — which is ALWAYS hopping — which wins the award for quite possibly being the only place in the world where you can have bacon added to your gyro. And while we’re not exactly a culinary hot spot the wait staff at Pizza Hut and Huddle House (essentials when one hasn’t yet set up their kitchen) have been most affable.

I admit that part of my attraction to Canton was its proximity to Asheville. Barring the usual I-26/I-40 Disfunction Junction traffic I can yuppie it up at EarthFare in about 15-20 minutes or just head over to have dinner at one of my favorite Thai restaurants and catch a flick at the Fine Arts Theater. I’m not trying to pretend to be an authentic corn-fed local, raised on high school football games and Wednesday church nights (after all I only moved to WNC when I was 4-years-old and come from a mixed breed of North Carolina’s Watagua/Alexander County and South Side Chicago stock).

But in short, we like it here. Thanks for having us. It’s a nice little place you’ve got here and we’ll do our best to keep it that way.

— By Sarah Kucharski

This Must Be the Place

Reading Room

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