Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ghost Town in the Sky

By Shelley Wilburn

Okay, I'm probably going to date myself in this post...and that's okay. Anyway my husband, D.A. and I recently went on a mini vacation to none other than, the mountains of North Carolina. It was July fourth weekend so our favorite hangout, Maggie Valley, was jam packed with people. Where in the world do all these people come from anyway?

One thing I noticed is that one of the former "hot spots" Ghost Town in the Sky, had cars parked in front of it and the chair lift was actually moving. That place had not been open or active in more than thirty years (wait for it, I haven't dated myself yet)! As we passed it coming into town though, things were moving. We later found out that the first day open for Ghost Town was on the July Fourth weekend! Being the curious sort that one of us is (not me), we had to visit.

Now, I must tell you that I am not a fan of heights. In fact, I'm scared of heights. That's hard to believe I know, since I love the mountains and riding motorcycles up in them. But that's a little different to me than riding a chair lift up five thousand feet to the top of a mountain, putting my trust in a cable, suspended higher in the air than what I am on a motorcycle! Okay, back to topic...

D.A. and I got on the chair lift and began our ascent. That's when the tears started. Yes, I cried! I don't know if it was the ride, the height, or the fact that I can vaguely remember riding the very same chair lift nearly forty years ago, with my mom, dad, and brothers, to the top of this mountain, to visit Ghost Town in the Sky. I was nine then (there's the date!).
I vaguely remember that at the top of the mountain was Ghost Town in the Sky. It was an old, western town, with gun fights in the street, saloon girls, and various other things. So I was curious to see what was at the top of this mountain and if the ghost town was still there.

When we stepped off the chair lift at the top of mountain, I looked around and didn't see much of anything, much less people. Wow! Ghost Town in the Sky was now a real, ghost town! Of course, it had just opened back up and the chair lift was working again, but not everything was up to par just yet. I think they were just glad to get opened back up again.
D.A. and I looked around, took some pictures, played a shooting game, and noticed another road that we could walk up, but decided not to go any further. What he was really interested in was the view from the top of the mountain. I admit, it was spectacular! 
As we got on the chair lift to go back down, people looked at us and even asked, "Going back down already?" But we didn't care. We nabbed the next chair going down and away we went. And that's when I discovered that my wonderful husband switched places emotionally with me. Where he loved going up and I hated it...he hated going down and I loved it! Oh, what fun!

If you want a lovely mountain getaway. I encourage you to visit the Great Smoky Mountains. Especially Maggie Valley, North Carolina. It's just on the other side of the mountains from Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Maggie Valley is beautiful from the top of the mountain. It's beautiful from the bottom, too! And visiting a long-lost ghost town in the sky that I remembered from nearly forty years ago wasn't so bad either. Though everything seemed so much bigger then. 



  1. I am pretty impressed that you could take photos while in that little chair suspended from a cable. I haven't been to North Carolina since I was a baby. Maybe we'll have to give it a try!

    1. Prude, taking pictures kept me "busy." And I had a death grip on my iPhone! It wasn't so bad once we got going. You really should take a trip down there. Maggie Valley is my favorite spot. If you go, stay in the Stony Creek Motel and ask for a balcony room. Tell them the Casket People from Illinois sent you! ;)

  2. Sounds so cool! I've never been on a chair lift. Think I'll add that to my bucket list. =]

    1. Never been on a chair lift? Patty, you need to go for a ride. Be sure to take your camera! ;-)


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