It was a perfect time to visit the mountains. It always seems to be 10-15 degrees cooler than the foothills and even more so compared to the Sandhills and Lowcountry. Clear skies with a few clouds for a bit of contrast were above, and a winding county road was my path up the mountain to visit the quaint little town of Sparta, North Carolina.
When driving, I often listen to podcasts or CDs that artists have sent or given me after or before an interview. On this day, I was enjoying the music of the group The Arcadian Wild, and as I grew closer to my destination, I noticed an increased sense of calm.
As I became mindful of this reality, the song Millstatt played with lyrics, “This must be where God comes to rest.” It was one of those moments when you feel yourself smiling, and life seems to balance out a bit.
Based on the never-ending request list, I’m not sure if God has a lot of time for much resting; however, I am confident that the rest of us are indeed most likely better off when we take time to rest, refuel and reflect. It may not be that way for everyone, but it is for me.
Soon I found myself on Main Street in Sparta. Sparta is one of those mountain towns that you are glad you found. If you like the idea of quaint streets, good people, great food options and a slower pace, then Sparta is a place for you to visit.
On this trip, I visited several of the shops in town including a charming used bookstore that always seems to have a good deal on something I can add to my Carolinas reference books. And with the Backwoods Beans Coffee Shop right down the street, it’s easy to be satisfied.
I cannot stress enough the importance of slowing down when visiting small towns in the Carolinas. When we slow down, we reap the benefits of uncovering great treasures of all sorts and delightful interactions with locals and visitors alike.
It was great visiting with Bob Bamberg, editor of the Alleghany News. They have been around since 1889 and still publish a newspaper today. They have seen it all, or at least most of it.
A visit to the Visitors Center and Chamber of Commerce was enjoyable. I learned a lot from Executive Director Katee Hettleman, who also introduced me to “Gertie,” the artistic interactive alpaca. Sparta is known for its Fiber enthusiasts, so much so that they now host the annual Blue Ridge Fiber Fest that attracts attendees from multiple states.
There are several events throughout the year in Sparta, so if your travels bring you to this mountain town on event days, you will get a nice bonus for your travel journal.
Good news for the people of Sparta and us guests. Within a year or so, their new Street Scape program should be finished. It’s always nice to see history preserved and protected for the future.
I look forward to my next visit up the mountain, and you never know who might be taking their rest at higher elevations.