The best way to tour a city is to know it, actually meet it, date it, and learn its history. Don’t we see new places for that very reason? Don’t we travel to become part of something charming we’ve been bored for, and to find something steeped in a past we’ll weave a connection to?
I’ve had that priviledge, here in my own city. A 3 mile ride over a once abandoned railroad track did it for me. It wasn’t the ambiance of the French Broad trailing beside me, or the delightful park we stopped at to picnic and pose for family pictures at, though those places were among the highlights. For me it was the story. It was learning the track had sat there for nearly 60 years awaiting a promise. The track had been useful once, told it would feed into bigger better tracks, and become a part of what Asheville was at the time; a city of railroads leading to industrial dreams, or just public transportation. The Craggy Mountain Line was promised it would be part of the buzz that eventually had no room for it. People forgot.
However, a man was born on August 10, 1964, that would save the railroad. This man rode out of the womb on a steam engine with a dream as long as the track itself. An avid trainlover, with a passion bordering insanity, his destiny would be to fulfil this railroad’s promise. It would be a functioning part of Asheville one day. Even better, it would be saved in the ninth hour, preserving the last of Asheville’s trolley , and usher in an era of old to the new generation. It would bring joy to the smiling faces of children and train enthusiasts everywhere. It would become more than hoped for, and would stand the test of time unlike the more prestigious rails that once thrived downtown. It would carry those cars on its tired rails and reign once again. It would become the little track that could.
My blessing? I married into this dream, wedding the son of that man gifted to the lonely track. I get to become a part of this history up close and personal, sharing my knowledge of it with the world. This is as much a part of Asheville’s quaint history as anything I’ve seen.
A work in progress, the track will hopefully be open full time in the coming months. Now, however, keep your eyes peeled for special holiday events, birthday party opportunities, and Saturday night rides. Taste history, and become it’s family. You’ll feel the dream when you first step foot on this line, the hallmark of perseverence.
post by: Lorna Hollifield
For more by Lorna visit http://www.lornahollifield.com and find her on twitter!