WNC Travel Guide

op frDozing in and out of sleep on the flight home from Leon, Nicaragua, I was thinking about circles. More to the point, I was contemplating the work of my father-in-law, Bill Sullivan, at the hospital in Leon, the Hospital Escuela Oscar Danilo Rosales Arguello.

I had read something recently about people who lead meaningful lives and how they move in circles, how as they circle back to relationships, places, or important work they add layers of emotional depth to their existence. Returning again and again to those touchstones, everything becomes more relevant and worthwhile as all those interactions add up over days, months and years.

op coverMy cousin has always been an inspiration. Wilton Collins Jones Jr. — he’s always been called “Corky” — is one year younger than me (54) and has been a lifelong professional musician. We were raised in Fayetteville, our mothers were sisters who both ended up divorced and raising sons as single moms. We had that single mom bond and that of family, and so we were close. 

As I headed off to college, he was getting schooled in music, playing in rock bands, jazz fusion bands, duos, trios, sometimes groups that toured the country and kept him gone for long periods of time.

All in the family

art frLouis Perrone loves being part of an Italian family.

“I come from a big family — always a reason to celebrate, always a reason to eat,” he smiled.

coverLana Quinn of Waynesville has lost friends, been called crazy and was turned away from a pediatrician’s office because of her decision to not vaccinate her three sons.

Waynesville resident Janet Presson’s son was diagnosed with autism at 2 years old, shortly after he received his scheduled vaccines. She isn’t against vaccinations completely but feels like small children are over-immunized at a young age.

op frOne of my wife’s childhood friends lives near Wilmington. Her daughter, a senior at Appalachian State, died last week in a tragic car accident. We went to the service two days after Christmas. 

One of the young lady’s sorority sisters had the courage and strength to speak, but could only do so with six or seven of her friends surrounding her, literally helping her keep standing and keep talking at times when she was overcome. When they got to the podium — most of them in tears — it was as if the grief, already overwhelming, was multiplied by 10.

This must be the place

art theplaceIt snuck up on me this year.

I know that it resides at the end of November. I know it’s filled with food, friends and family. But, I wasn’t really paying attention to the calendar until the day before the “feast” when it struck me. 

op frMoments, mostly the ones unplanned, are the stuff of important and lasting life memories. 

We had a great Thanksgiving day with our daughter Hannah, son Liam and family in Asheville. My wife Lori and her sister Julie had planned the dinner for some time, and all turned out as we had hoped. 

I left for the office Friday with Lori and Hannah snuggled on the couch watching an old Audrey Hepburn film because, well, that’s what my girls do on vacation days. On Saturday morning we went skiing early at Cataloochee to get in some first-of-the-season runs before the holiday weekend crowds jammed the lift lines. The snow was perfect, and we all gushed once again about how lucky we are to have such a great ski mountain so close to home.

tg raftingShane Williams knows exactly when he’s reached the essence of a river.

“For me, it’s all about the glide,” he said. “If you’ve ever been on a raft, boat, canoe, kayak or paddleboard, when you come across that current and hit the glide, it’s pretty magical.”

tg omalleysIt’s about making everyone feel welcome for Lynn Stanberry.

“You get a warm feeling coming in here,” she smiled. “There are college kids, locals, people on vacation. It all kind of mixes and blends well together.”

tg pizzaIt was time for something different.

“We’ve been looking at doing something like this for years,” said Sally Peterkin. “And when we found the right place, we knew it was time to do it.”

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