A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Purchase collections of Elizabeth Hudson’s columns at ourstatestore.com. Oh, how we’ve been waiting for you, the only month that is both a noun and a verb, an instruction, a direction,

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Purchase collections of Elizabeth Hudson’s columns at ourstatestore.com. Oh, how we’ve been waiting for you, the only month that is both a noun and a verb, an instruction, a direction,

Purchase collections of Elizabeth Hudson’s columns at ourstatestore.com.


Oh, how we’ve been waiting for you, the only month that is both a noun and a verb, an instruction, a direction, an encouragement to move, to stomp, to stride, to strut. To spring forward!

March trots out a parade of woodland wildflowers: milky white and fire pink trilliums poised along the paths near Pearson’s Falls and Tryon Depot Garden in Saluda; violets and lady’s slippers lie low in Nantahala National Forest and along the trails of the Eno River; trumpet daffodils play their golden notes at Dorothea Dix Park.

March! We traipse, tramp, tread on historic ground: In Greensboro, a living history reenactment recreates a turning point in the American Revolution at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse; in Four Oaks, we contemplate the Battle of Bentonville, where more than 4,000 Union and Confederate soldiers — brothers in our collective ancestry — lost their lives over three momentous days in March.

In like a lion, March breathes and blows, its winds unpredictable and mercurial, a Shakespearean temperament. Never mind the Ides of March; on the weekend before that portentous day, in 1993, the Storm of the Century barraged the state — two feet of snow piling up in West Jefferson, three in Blowing Rock, four on Mount Mitchell! — a cyclonic superstorm of snow and gale-force winds that lingers in the memories of the North Carolinians who weathered it.

But for all of March’s ephemerals, we celebrate, too, the eternals: the cyclical season of March Madness, a frenzy of basketball shoes scuffing, squeaking across the glossy hardwood courts of the Dean Dome, Cameron Indoor, PNC Arena, the Joel.

In Fayetteville, the cadence of military life moves forward with a new tradition at what was known as Fort Bragg: a recurring evening event, the Sunset Liberty March, designed to honor all veterans, past and present. On a half-mile path at the newly named Fort Liberty, designated “Liberty Marchers” — Gold Star families, service members, and veterans — walk with civilians for a reflective tour past 39 markers that trace the history of the military base, from its instillation as Camp Bragg to the stationing of the 82nd Airborne Division after World War II to humanitarian relief missions.

Time marches on, an ongoing procession of seasons, sunsets, and sunrises, and this month, after the full moon, Easter arrives, which brings us, say, to the mountaintop at Chimney Rock State Park or to Wrightsville Beach where, for 75 years, congregants from six different churches have gathered — friends, all — on the beach at first light.

Or maybe we find ourselves somewhere solitary, say, a front porch that overlooks a well-tended yard, full of hyacinths and daffodils, just the way my grandmother’s always was.

The sunrise comes here, too, along with a cavalcade of birds — chickadees, wrens, goldfinches, and bluebirds — visitors who rest for a moment on tree limbs, then flit, whipping the air with their tiny wings, a drumbeat imperceptible to our ears. So many small miracles to notice when we pause and stay still.

 

Elizabeth

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Hudson
Editor in Chief

 

print it

This story was published on Feb 26, 2024

Elizabeth Hudson

Hudson is a native of North Carolina who grew up in the small community of Farmer, near Asheboro. She holds a B.A. degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and began her publishing career in 1997 at Our State magazine. She held various editorial titles for 10 years before becoming Editor in Chief of the 88-year-old publication in 2009. For her work with the magazine, Hudson is also the 2014 recipient of the Ethel Fortner Writer and Community Award, an award that celebrates contributions to the literary arts of North Carolina.