Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Day in Meat Camp, NC

Note:  a version of this was posted on 9/6/14 at Jungle Red Writers

Most of you have heard me talk about our home in the small town of Boone, NC, which is in the northwestern part of the state where North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia meet.

Photo by Don Barley

It is a beautiful part of the world.

Photo by Don Barley

But we actually live north of Boone in an area named Meat Camp.

Photo by Kaye Barley

Meat Camp.  What a name, huh?

When we first bought our house I swore I was going to petition to have the name changed (kiddingly).  

But it didn't take me long to learn to be proud as punch to be a part of an area so rich in history and tradition.

Greene Farm in Meat Camp,NC - Uncredited photo found on the web 

Meat Camp is situated along the Old Buffalo Trail and was established before the Revolutionary War.  As the story goes, Meat Camp was the location where hunters stored their dressed animal carcasses in a cabin that served as a primitive packing house. 

In 1851, the Meat Camp Baptist Church was organized and is still active today.

Photo by Kaye Barley

Meat Camp covers 30 square miles and has a rural population of approximately 2,700. 

Elevation is 3,402 feet (and up).

Our little part of Meat Camp is the coolest, most wonderful neighborhood I've ever had the good fortune to live in, with a pretty nice view from our bedroom window.  

This is how we enjoy our coffee in the morning.  

Watching morning arrive over Elk Knob.

Photo by Kaye Barley

When we first bought our house, our road was gravel.  

We have moved up to being a paved road now, but other than that - things haven't changed.

Photo by Kaye Barley

I remember when I was still working at Appalachian State University, before retirement, someone asked where we lived and when I told her, she asked if we were on Rich Mountain (elevation 4,741 ft.).  

I had to think about this - these mountains were a whole new thing for me, and still confusing.  

When I told her our road was at the base of Rich Mountain and explained how it went up (and up and up), she explained how yes, we did live on Rich Mountain, just not on Rich Mountain Road.  


She went on to say there were stories and legends about spiritual energy in this area.  

These ancient mountains work some magic - I do believe that.

What is interesting to me is that our little neighborhood is small, and we're spread out from one another over a few miles from the base to the top of our mountain road.  

We are a wide, wide range of economic and educational diversity.  Blue collar to PhDs and MDs.  

And yet, more closely knit and supportive than any neighborhood I've lived previously.

More interesting to me is the creative vitality within this small group.  We have people who do pottery, who sculpt, paint, do some blacksmithing, stained glass, collage artistry, leather working, jewelry making, photography and writing.  

Our get-togethers are not only fun, but inspirational and motivating. Our most recent get together was at an Open Studio event neighbors Keith Lambert and Willie Baucom hosted last weekend.

A combination of all good things - good food, good music, good friends - and surrounded by the natural beauty of the mountains along with the beauty of Keith and Willie's art. 

 Their first annual Open Studio in Meat Camp.

Life is Meat Camp is very good.

Moving to this part of the world was a major life-style change.

  We came from big city Atlanta to small town Boone - living in the rural Meat Camp.  But, I have to say, I think I've adjusted well. 

Life is good.  Very, very good.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This still reads well a second time. I esp. love the photo of the lonely road with the single mailbox... what a story you could make. Thelma Straw in Manhattan