Saturday, September 15, 2018


Stanley has always reminded me of a downtown you would find out west.  Businesses along Main Street are fronted with covered sidewalks.  This is very similar to some of the towns I have seen in Texas.  Two of the main businesses along South Main Street, The WoodShed and Bill Wither's Specialized Services, have a western appeal to it.

Stanley is located in Northeast Gaston County off of NC Highway 27.  Settlements near the town date to the 1700s.  The town was originally incorporated in 1879 as Brevard Station.  In the early 1860's, Robert Alexander Brevard allowed a railroad station to be built on their family land.  The area was also known as Stanley Creek.  Stanley Creek was named after a gold prospector that resided in the area in the 1700s. (1)

During the late 1800's, Brevard Station was renamed Stanley Creek.  Stanley Creek was already the name of a nearby post office.  That post office was originally named Brevard Station but concerns over confusion with the Western mountains town of Brevard prompted that name change. (1)  The town name was shortened to Stanley in 1911.

Stanley is known as "A Friendly Place" and hosts their annual "Country Fest" the first Friday and Saturday in October.  The Brevard Station Museum, founded in 1991, is an excellent resource to learn more about the history of this Gaston County town.

Further Reading:
Getting There:

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Sparta Walkabout

Located in North Carolina's High Country, the Alleghany County Seat of Sparta is one of many small towns nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains.  At just under 3,000 feet in elevation, the town of just over 1,700 residents is a popular spot for vacationers wishing for a break in the heat during the Summer or to enjoy the colors of Autumn. 

Sparta is actually the third name for the town.  It was originally named Bower's Store when founded in 1825.  Twenty-one years later - the town was renamed Gap Civil.  Finally, when the town was incorporated in 1879, the name Sparta - after the city in ancient Greece - stuck.  But there's another twist to the town's name.  Sparta is the SECOND North Carolina community to be named Sparta.  In Edgecombe County, there is a community called Old Sparta that sits along the Tar River.  Old Sparta was originally named Sparta.  The community which was established in 1829 changed its name to Old Sparta in 1903 so it would not be confused with the town over 200 miles to the west.

Sparta is located along US Highway 21.  At one point, US 21 ran from Cleveland to the Atlantic Coast in South Carolina.  US 21 now begins 40 miles to the north in Wytheville, Virginia.  A group of local businesses are trying to promote travel along US 21 from Wytheville to Harmony, NC.  Many of the businesses in Sparta have special US 21 signs to promote the organization.  One of the larger events the organization sponsors is the 21 Road Market.  This over 100 mile event runs annually during the last weekend of July.

Sparta also hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year.  From weekly farmer's markets in the Summer, regular performances by the Crouse House Pickers, or the annual Mountain Heritage Festival held every September, there are many reasons to visit. 

Thursday, September 6, 2018


Scottville - Community located on US 221 at the Alleghany/Ashe County line.  It was originally known as Flint Hill when settled in 1830.  A post office was established here in 1855 and the area was renamed Scottville.  Believed to be named after a nearby resident Elizabeth Scott.  The post office closed in 1954.

Interestingly, there are six communities within North Carolina that are or were once named Flint Hill.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Twin Oaks

Twin Oaks - Alleghany County Community where US 21 and 221 meet.  Named for a pair of tall oak trees that stood nearby.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Laurel Springs

Laurel Springs - Located at where NC 18 and 88 meet in Southwestern Alleghany County.  The community of Laurel Springs was settled around 1859 and named after a nearby spring that was flowing from laurel covered rocks.  There is still an operating Post Office here.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Halls Mills

Halls Mills - Community on NC 18 in Wilkes County.  I am unsure why the sign removes the "s" in Mills.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Sesquicentennial State Park

Known affectionately as 'Sesqui' by locals, South Carolina's Sesquicentennial State Park is located not far from Downtown Columbia.  The park features numerous activities that allow for a fun day or an overnight stay.

The over 1400 acre park features numerous activities from a six mile mountain bike trail, six miles of hiking trail, a 30 acre pond that is popular for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing, and a splash pad for kids to cool off in the summer months.  The park came about as a donation from the Sesquicentennial Commission in 1937 and a number of the building and facilities at the park were built by the Civil Conservation Corps (CCC).

The park also offers three different types of overnight lodging - RV friendly campsites with electric and water hookups, primitive camp sites for those wishing to rough it a little bit , and a retreat center for lodging of large groups.

Sequi is located minutes from Downtown Columbia and is very close to both Interstates 20 and 77.  It is a popular spot for those in the Columbia area but also a great break for those traveling through the area or a day trip for residents 1-2 hours away.  The park is also home to a two acre dog park which is a great break for those traveling long distances with pets.

Park admission is $5 for adults, $3.25 for SC resident seniors (65+), $3 for children 6-15.  Ages five and under are free.

Getting There:

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