On the Rocks Near Hendersonville, North Carolina

CR view copy
Chimney Rock from Above (Photo by Bruce Godzik)

Having moved to Laurel Park near Hendersonville in Western North Carolina’s “Blue Ridge Mountains,” I shouldn’t be surprised by the number of places given names for “rocks” such as “Flat Rock,” “Jump Off Rock” and “Chimney Rock.”

But I have been surprised; each has an interesting history connected with it. This blog story is about these rock formations and the stories about them… stories which have been passed between generations of Native Americans and others living in these beautiful mountains.

IMG_4088
Stream Flowing to the Broad River

There are many natural areas in the Hendersonville-area mountains. I have seen beautiful waterfalls and crystal clear water smashing against rocks as it cascades down the mountains.

Unique names add color in one’s mind in these mountains. Going on the twisting mountain road from Gerton to Bat Cave to Chimney Rock to Lake Lure is a beautiful drive with lush forests and bare-faced rock mountains adjacent to the road.

The town of “Bat Cave” is close to the real cave by that name. Located near to the village of “Chimney Rock” is the “Chimney Rock State Park.” And the Cherokee trading place “flat rock” lends its name to the town of “Flat Rock” and the playhouse that is there.

This Western North Carolina area is a natural paradise and a dream come true for those loving outdoor activities including exploring, hiking, fishing, camping, kayaking, bicycling, and riding horses. But this blog entry is about three of the nearby rock formations and their stories… other stories will have to wait for future blog entries.

“Jump Off Rock”

Jump Off Rock is only about six miles up the mountain where I reside in Laurel Park. In those 6 miles, you drive a serpentine highway through the forest with many laurel shrubs embracing you on the way.

IMG_4128
Blue Ridge Mountains from Jump Off Rock

As you drive to Jump Off Rock you ascend from an elevation around 2000 feet to just over 3000. Once at the top, the panorama of the Blue Ridge is breathtaking. In the distance there are many valleys and peaks. The most famous of the peaks to me is “Cold Mountain” (of movie fame) at just over 6000 feet in the photo above.

 

According to legend, more than 300 years ago, this place was a favorite spot for two Cherokee lovers. The young Cherokee maiden received word that her love, a young chief had been killed in battle. She climbed to the edge of the rock and jumped off. Legend has it that on moonlit nights you can see the ghost of the maiden on Jump Off Rock.

“Flat Rock”

For centuries prior to the arrival of Europeans in North America and the subsequent westward expansion, the “flat rock” in the mountains was a place for trading and settling disputes by Cherokee and Catawba tribes. The flat rock wasn’t a ceremonial site. Over time, Cherokees and the colonial settlers from the coast also traded at the “flat rock” during annual trading gatherings.

The granite rock isn’t “flat” like you would think of a table or a floor. Rather it is undulating. But when compared to rock structures in the mountains, one would see that it is quite different and prominent for being relatively “flat.”

Today, much of the huge structure is covered with soil, grass, houses and roads but it is evident in several places. The most prominent location is where the pictured “Flat Rock Playhouse” has been constructed atop it.

“Chimney Rock”

“Chimney Rock” is a 315′ tall monolith located at the edge of the Hickory Nut Gorge. Unlike the stories from Flat Rock and Jump Off Rock, there isn’t much history about the rock except for the past century or so. Cherokee artifacts have been found in the Chimney Rock State Park but we are uncertain if the rock itself held any ceremonial or other significance to natives.

The rock is today known for the views of the gorge and within the park, there is unique biodiversity. As pictured in the beginning of this blog story, visitors can go to the top of the rock to appreciate the view. I have included Chimney Rock in this blog entry because of the curious geologic feature and my interest in further exploring it. As I learn more I will update this story.

With a plethora of  incredible views and features in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and a wealth of native history, the Hendersonville area is an explorers treat! The three rock formations I described are only the beginning as there is more natural beauty everywhere (particularly in the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard) to provide inspiration for future stories. So stay tuned for my future blog stories about these beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina and the things that make them great.

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “On the Rocks Near Hendersonville, North Carolina”

  1. So glad to see you are back to blogging! I love reading all the posts! How are you feeling? And I am so sad we can not do the Green Gables dinner, but Rog is very much looking forward to his cousin’scelebration!

    Pam

    Sent from XFINITY Connect Mobile App

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s great to be able to read your colorful and interesting descriptions, again Barry. There’s so much beauty in the area where you are now living….it’s wonderful that you appreciate all that surrounds you in North Carolina!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Barry, just reading this. Was in Hilton Head island lady week, fun time. Great blog, almost like being there. When I was 16 the hi was pawn Chee’s went to Cherokee North Carolina to perform at the school. what’s a fun time.mountaibs were beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s