Monday, July 4, 2016

The Curiosities of Brevard, North Carolina

While we are staying at River Bend Campground, our address is Lake Toxaway, North Carolina. We checked out the lake on google maps, thinking it looked like a good place for a kayak trip during the week we are in town. But since we have been here, we found that the lake is completely encircled with large homes, the country club, and the golf club. It's the first time we have found a town named after a sizable lake with absolutely no public access.

The town of Lake Toxaway has only a fire station, a community center, and a post office. So our nearest town for groceries or gas is Brevard--an interesting little city about 15 miles away. We visited there for their farmer's market and really enjoyed the live blue grass music.

We thought this booth at the farmer's market was especially creative. "Fruity Pedals" features fruit smoothies. But what makes them unique is that the buyer gets to pedal power the blender to make the smoothie.

We also drove to the edge of town where the Brevard Music Center campus is. We were there on the opening day of the 80th annual summer festival.

We checked out the outdoor amphitheater where most of the performances will happen. The opening day featured Amy Grant, and her bus was already parked outside. We would have loved to see the show, but the tickets didn't fit into our entertainment budget. They have a long list of musical performances that happen almost daily throughout the rest of the summer, but the ones we checked on cost a minimum of $15 for lawn chair seats outside of the amphitheater.

Another big celebration in Brevard is the "White Squirrel Festival" in May. There is a "White Squirrel Shop" on a prominent downtown street corner. 

White squirrel silhouettes adorn the stop lights on Main Street. So what are these white squirrels, and why are they celebrating them in Brevard?

We found that a pair of rare white squirrels came to Brevard all the way from an island off Hawaii via a circus train wreck in 1940. They became caged pets of the Mull Family until they escaped in Brevard. They immediately felt at home in the many trees of this little town, and began multiplying happily. Denisa has now switched from chasing butterflies to white squirrels, and we heard that the Brevard Community College campus was our best place to find one. 

Our first trip to campus was fruitless, but we were pretty impressed that the Administration Building featured wooden rockers on its front porch.

It took a second trip, and the cooler temperatures of morning before we found the elusive white squirrels.

After walking the entire campus, we asked the security officer for advice on where to find the white squirrels. He suggested going across the creek to the gym. Bingo!

The security officer also told us that not long ago a film crew from Canada spent a couple days on campus filming these now-famous squirrels.

We took way too many white squirrel pictures, so we feel obliged to share too many.

We heard great things about several eating places and ice cream venues in Brevard. But we have to report that we didn't eat out even once. We are on a mission to clean out our refrigerator and pantry, and it's a great money-saving strategy as well.

But we enjoyed the town of Brevard, and would recommend it as a nice stop when exploring the other curiosities of the Appalachians.

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