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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Discovering Haywood County

Posted October 11, 2007 7:54 a.m. EDT

My first impression of Haywood County was negative. I was five years old and headed with my family to a vacation in Cherokee. The rotten egg odor from a pulp mill in Canton triggered snickers and frowns from my sister Miriam and me.

Today I love Haywood County. It is truly the "Gateway to the Smoky Mountains."

Haywood follows Perquimans in our 100 county tour on Carolina Conversations. Once a week we will profile a NC county. Haywood seemed like a good pick this week with the autumn colors coming into focus.

It is believed that Haywood has the highest average elevation of any US county east of the Rockies. 19 peaks rise over 6000 feet including Cold Mountain of literary and film fame.

Here is an interesting thing I didn't discover until recently about Haywood County. No streams or rivers flow into Haywood. In fact, it is said to be the only NC county where all of the water flows out.

When I was growing up in Morganton we used to play football in Waynesville. It was always the coldest game of the year.

Some other things about Haywood: there is a new Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley featuring 250 antique cars. Also in Maggie Valley is the renovated amusement park Ghost Town in the Sky.

A few questions for you. Can you name a NC governor who grew up in Haywood County?

Can you name NC's first ski resort which sprang up in Haywood?

Welcome to the magic!