Off the Beaten Path in Polk County NC

Sunday drive

Mose Bradley's corn crib
Mose Bradley's corn crib
Mose Bradley's barn
Mose Bradley's barn
Green River Narrows
Green River Narrows
Big Bradley Falls near Saluda NC
Big Bradley Falls near Saluda NC

A Mothers Day Gift

Today is Mothers Day and when I made my Sunday visit to my mom, now 86 years young, I ask her what she would like to do. I had taken her a hanging basket and another small gift she could put in her yard and enjoy this summer but she didn't hesitate and immediately said,"How about a drive down to Holbert's Cove?" I knew that drive had been a favorite one when she, daddy, her sister and her husband would often drive down to Holbert's Cove just to have a picnic along the way and if the season was the time of Poke Sallat, they enjoyed gathering a huge quantities of tender leaves from the Poke plants growing along the roadside banks.

"Sure, mom, we can drive down through Holbert's Cove and come back up through the Green River Cove." These are two winding roads through the Green River Gorge and some of the most pristine areas of Henderson and Polk Counties here in Western Carolina. A part of our family roots settled in this area and not much has changed since the times they originally came there. The mountains are beginning to be clear cut but development is limited largely because much of the land is now part of the National Wildlife Game Lands. Along our drive today however I did see signs of new construction as we came back up the Green River Cove.

Green River which has its headwaters near my home in Henderson County, widens as it flows South and East making its way to the Broad River Basin. The waters are pristine and cold. The Green River narrows lies along the course of the river where kayakers skills are challenged by the difficulty of the narrow rapids filled with huge rocks that have claimed the lives of some who failed to negotiate this now famous stretch of the Green River.

We began our trip today going down through Holbert's Cove. Along our journey the road begins to be s winding one and we pass Big Bradley Falls, a 100 foot water fall where several hikers have slipped and fallen to their death. This area has long been a favorite for school boys when trout season opens and coon hunters, turkey hunters and deer hunters alike love to hunt these coves and mountains. As a teen, I coon hunted in the area of Holbert's known as Rocky Mountain Cove and it was treacherous at night with looming ivy thickets and rock cliffs. There were lots of coons but getting to them was a chore.

As we got to the bottom of Holbert's Cove, we made a left turn and drove about a half mile to Silver Creek Baptist Church where we made another left onto Green River Cove Rd. It is along this mountain road the Green River is more visible and has become a favorite for fly fishermen delayed harvest and tubing. There are at least two tubing businesses along the lower stretch of the Green River. There is also now a new zip line business.

As we begin our drive up the mountain and through the Green River Cove, we come to the Mose Bradley farm. Mose was a notable character who purportedly made a little shine. Mose's barn and corn are pictured in my article. When I was a teenager, I came with my Uncle to the Green River Cove to Mose Bradley's farm to buy a variety of corn seed that only he grew and today my mom told me that she and my dad had come to Mose's to buy sweet potato slips.

As we continue on our Sunday Drive the river is more visible but will soon disappear from our view as we begin to negotiate the 27 curves that will take us back up the mountain and to Interstate 26 and onto Highway 176 through the small town of Saluda where our journey had begun. We had spent about 2 hours driving casually taking in the views of the mountains and the small river. We saw an abundance of Nature and most of all, my mom was happy.

I must say I too was happy. Seeing the mountains and the river, old barns and corn cribs and a part of Nature not contaminated with asphalt, concrete and subdivisions was so refreshing. Thinking about how folks must have lived 100 years ago in this area and in my minds eye, just wondering what they might think could they somehow return to see the world we live in today. Our roots and the pioneering spirit seem to have digressed but the mountains of our beautiful country remain noble barely unscathed by Father Time.

Big Bradley Falls

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Comments 6 comments

SusieQ42 2 years ago

My children used to spend their summers with their dad in Hendersonville, NC. I enjoyed reading this and miss the country drives we used to take up when I lived up north. I now live in central Florida where there are very few hills. We do have 33 lakes in Lakeland though, but you better not go swimming in them unless you want to tangle with an alligator.


Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 2 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina Author

Thanks Susie, I wouldn't trade places with you,love these mountains of Western NC so much. Come visit anytime we don't have alligators.


GClark profile image

GClark 2 years ago from United States

Have always been interested in the Carolinas but somehow the closest I have been is Georgia and Alabama when I represented a wholesaler based in Georgia. Too little time for everything I want to do. Thanks for all the great information in your interesting article!


Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 2 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina Author

Thank you GClark for your comments. As my father in law always said, the roads open! Come visit us in North Carolina anytime.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago

You always draw me in with your marvelous stories. Voted up, interesting, beautiful and awesome.


Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 2 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina Author

Thank you so much for your kind words and for the great articles you write. You are so smart,articulate. Your writing always has substance lacking from so many who vent aimlessly. You are a true American.

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