(Note: I wrote these posts while on vacation with my family, but I did not post them until I returned home. Each post will begin with the date on which I wrote it.)
Today begins a yearly tradition for my family – our vacation in Fontana Village. As I write this I am eating a late lunch while waiting for my family to arrive. Fontana Village is a resort on Hwy 28 in the mountains of North Carolina. A family can have either an active or quiet vacation here, depending on when they visit. It is close to the Tail of the Dragon, and so it is a popular stop for bikers. People hiking the Appalachian Trail will stop here for a break, a chance to eat some good food, and maybe sleep a night in a real bed.
Fontana Village was originally called Welch Cove and was the residence for the people working to build the Fontana Dam, a hydro-electric dam in the Tennessee Valley Authority system. Construction began in 1942 and was completed in 1942. The crew built the dam for the purpose of providing power for the Aluminum Company of America to process aluminum for fighter planes and for the war effort in Oakridge, TN. After the dam was completed, some of the workers and their families remained in the area, and some of their descendants still live in the area. They wanted to continue visiting the village, because it is such a nice area, and so it was turned into a vacation resort.
My family has come here almost every year for at least thirty years, usually in the summer. When I was young I enjoyed the games, daily miniature golf, and swimming. Now I enjoy relaxing, reading, and spending time with family. One of my favorite activities is reading in a rocking chair on the ledge above the miniature golf course. I can lean back and read in the shade, and when I want to pause from reading I can watch people playing on the course.
The most important part of the week is time with my family. Over the past 30+ years we have missed very few visits here. I suppose you could say that it serves as a family reunion for me, my parents, my sisters, brothers-in-law, and nephews. Sometimes we celebrate a birthday here. On two occasions we celebrated Thanksgiving. We have accumulated countless stories: our visit to Tuckaleechee Caverns, our many trips to Cades Cove and Twenty Mile Creek, tubing down the many rivers, the time I nearly fell out of our raft while whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River, and the time I spent much of the week studying for my PhD entrance exam. I will include more stories in upcoming posts as I explore the many facets of the resort.
Here are a few highlights from my drive up here.
Overlook Way, Sky Valley, GA, on Hwy 246.
Bridal Veil Falls on Hwy 64
Dry Falls. You can walk behind this waterfall.
I am glad I visited Dry Falls on the way to Fontana rather than on the way home. The road to the south of Dry Falls was steep with many sharp turns. Fortunately I was driving uphill. Driving downhill on that road would have been more difficult.
Entering Fontana Village after checking in at the lodge
Nice view during lunch at the Wildwood Grill. From here I can see the Gunter Cabin and one of the fire pits.