Home is far way, but also here with me

By Hannah McLeod • Guest columnist

I arrived in Costa Rica at the beginning of February. After floundering for a few too many months in the shallows of real life following college graduation in May, I decided to flounder somewhere else and wound up teaching yoga and cooking meals at a surf camp in Avellanas.

Careers can wait; it’s time for some adventuring

When the text came letting us know that our daughter Hannah had arrived safely in Costa Rica, a sense of relief — mixed with pride — enveloped me. 

To state the obvious, parenting is both complicated and never-ending. You get your kids to 18 and out of high school, you feel some small sense of accomplishment. If they choose college, you do your best to help out and provide whatever guidance you can. As they enter adulthood, the role becomes more complicated. You’re not quite on the outside looking in, but it sometimes feels that way.

Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet celebrates 25 years

The Sylva-based Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet will present a concert celebrating 25 years of music, travel and fun together on Sunday, Feb. 17, in the Community Room of the Jackson County Public Library.

The essence of power is a towel

There, in Sumter County, Georgia, not far from the Alabama line lies the tiny town of Plains (pop. 784), a most unremarkable place home to a most remarkable man. 

Home for President Jimmy Carter has always been the clay roads and cotton fields of Plains, except when he was at Annapolis, in the Navy, or serving as state senator or governor or president. 

‘When did we see you, a stranger, and welcome you?’

By Autumn Woodward • Guest Columnist

The Irish morning was cool. I’d tumbled over a stone wall into the park to go walking. Under two lines of ancient beech trees a peculiar, crooked figure dressed all in black was moving down the path. Overtaking it (it wasn’t moving fast), I peered sideways. The figure stopped.

This must be the place: ‘A little before she left me, I asked her what it’s all about’

Hello, from the “Mile High City.”

Sitting here in Denver, onward back to Asheville tomorrow morning. This summer has been quite the physical and emotional odyssey. The fog in my heart and soul is slowly lifting, disappearing into the cosmos. I went north in July and out west in August to find myself once again. 

The Naturalist's Corner: It’s getting pinker

Our annual beach and marsh R&R at Wild Dunes on Isle of Palms, South Carolina, is history. Thanks to the generosity of dear friends we have been making the trip for a decade or so. It has become the high point of our summer and it never disappoints — but how could it, with wonderful beach and marsh access. 

This must be the place: With a little help from my friends

Bolting up Interstate 95, just outside of Portland, Maine, this past Monday, I finally could smell that smell that conjures innumerable cherished memories, genuine emotions and deep thoughts in my mind — the ocean. 

My eyes and heart open after Mexico trip

Though my parents were both teachers and worked second jobs to give my sister and me all we needed, they never put travel on the back burner. Their mentality was “less stuff, more experiences.” We always had a used station wagon and a modest home but we never sat still very long, and for that I’m forever grateful. 

A life stranger than fiction: Local author releases novel of true-life confessions

As Royal Phillips packs up her belongings that signify the last 20 years she’s spent in Waynesville and prepares for her next chapter in Palm Springs, California, she can’t help but to feel like her life has come full circle — and what a crazy circle it has been. 

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