US East Coast 2018: How Towns Are Created

We had a quiet day to give us all some downtime in our travel schedule, particularly after the exhilaration of Grandfather Mountain the previous day, and in anticipation of the long drive ahead tomorrow.

We headed to the Banner House Museum in Banner Elk, a few minutes from our accommodation, after a breakfast at Bojangles in the morning, having to forego our plans for raspberry picking as a thunderstorm was heading our way. It was a blessing in disguise as we got to experience what life was like for the founding family of the town we’d been living in this past week.

The Banners were an extremely influential and wealthy entrepreneurial family, one of the first to migrate to the area. This particular house was the second Sam Banner had built, and the amazing thing was how much of it had been preserved over the years, down to some of the flooring and banisters, and the rounded Boxwood bushes out front. In fact, the town gets its name from their family last name, and the Elk River that runs through the property. (The town used to be called "The Banners of Elk River". It is now called "Banner Elk" for short.)

An interesting historical nugget is that the father Lewis Banner supported the Union cause even though he lived in the South.
He also supported the "Underground Railroad" and provided safe passage to both Union and Confederate soldiers. 
The boys have been loving checking out ‘exkibits’, as our younger son E likes to call them, and our three volunteer guides Susan, Ann and Paul were ever so patient in showing them cool stuff, like a cabinet stained with ox blood to darken it, and the family’s travel chest left pretty much the way it had been 140 years ago. They had fun trying out the cherry pitter and the butter churner, and we were inspired by the community efforts which continue to work towards preserving these artefacts and the area as much as possible, as part of the collective memory for generations to come. We also learned why the expression says, “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!”

The beds in those days were snugly secured with string; hence the saying "Sleep tight." As for the bed bugs, it is
probably wise to dispel romantic notions of history to state that there is a good reason for the prevalence of that saying.
We headed to the dam behind the property at Paul’s recommendation, and enjoyed a picnic lunch on mossy rocks as E and Daddy clambered over the mountain stream to get a better view of the pristine waters. The rest of the day was spent back at our accommodation, resting as the boys did some painting, school work and updating their trip journals. We were sad to be leaving the heavenly High Country.

The gorgeous dam just behind the Banner House. Peaceful and serene, it was the perfect end to our time in Banner Elk.

The littler one clearly enjoying his time after a simple picnic.

The Previous Page - Chasing Grandfather. Read here.
What's Next? Just the Way Things Were. Read here.

From the Beginning - Start reading the record pages of our US East Coast Travel Adventure here.

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