By Ellen Cirino • Special To The Smoky Mountain News
The fifth Cold Mountain Heritage Tour, a self-driving tour to historic sites in and around the Haywood County community of Bethel that aren’t open for public access, will be held Saturday, June 27, and Sunday, June 28. The tour provides a unique opportunity for tourists and locals to experience some of the Appalachian mountain heritage in Haywood County.
The tour kicks off at 9 a.m. Saturday at North Hominy Community Club, located at 2670 Newfound Road just off Exit 33 on I-40. Guests will receive driving directions to each site on the tour.
The first stop is the private home of the Mann family who have graciously opened up their working century old farm. Tour guides as well as members of the Mann family will be explaining the farm’s history while showing guests the calf barn, milk processing house and where the first telephone in the community was located.
The next site on the tour is another private home whose original owners were Clyde Roark Hoey Jr. and his wife Bernice. Mr. Hoey was a North Carolina State Senator and it’s Governor from 1929 to 1933. The current owners, Gail and Doug Mull, will be showing the distinct Federalist style of their house as well as the many collectables throughout the home.
Other sites on the Saturday tour include the oldest remaining log cabin in Haywood County and four more historically significant locations. The last stop on Saturday’s tour is at the East Fork of the Pigeon River, of Pinkney Inman Hollywood fame. This location was one of the only landmarks that Inman could rely on as the end of his 300-mile trek home, through landscape that was devastated by the ravages of the Civil War. This historic setting is now the home of the Riverhouse Acres Campground and guests will be treated to an evening of entertainment by local musicians and folklorists. Food will also be available at a nominal cost.
Sunday’s tour begins at noon at the Gateway Club in Waynesville. This building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was originally built during the pre-Depression era as a home for Lodge #259 of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolinas.
Tour guests will also have the opportunity to purchase the 5th edition of Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, written by local author Evelyn M. Coltman. This year’s book tells the history of farms, mercantile and people, detailing the history of Haywood County. “Walking In The Footsteps Of Those Who Came Before Us” is a two-hour CD available for purchase that features local descendents stories and versions of events that happened long ago.
Tickets may be purchased in advance at Zoolies, and Blue Ridge Books & News in Waynesville, Realty World/Heritage Realty in Maggie Valley, Jukebox Junction in Bethel. The two-day ticket for the whole tour is $25 and a one-day ticket is $15. Children under 12 are free. Tickets may also be purchased the day of the tour at the North Hominy Community Club and Blue Ridge Books and News.
The Bethel Rural Community Organization uses the proceeds of the ticket sales to help support farmland and historic preservation, MANNA food distribution, Bethel school activities, volunteer fire department, as well as benevolence to needy families and other worthy causes in the community. More information about the Cold Mountain Heritage Tour and the Bethel Rural Community Organization can be found at www.bethcomm.org.