Friday, September 25, 2015

Why? Because it was there...

Sometimes, you just have to shake up the routine a little bit...which makes it sound like I actually had a choice, when in truth I was really subject to the whims of the ever-so-fickle dame we all know as Mother Nature. What I'm trying to say is: given the wet and blustery forecast for today, I had to go with the relatively unheard-of Wednesday Field Trip. (Yep, that's me....livin' on the edge all the way, baby...or, you know...whatever...)

I decided to take a short jaunt to a nearby town that goes by the improbable moniker of Saxapahaw. Because seriously, how could you NOT visit such a place, simply based on the name alone? But wait, it gets even better! In order to travel to this little piece of rural North Carolina, you must spend time on a lovely byway called...Swepsonville Saxapahaw Road. Holy Tongue Twister, Batman, can you imagine for a second if you lived somewhere along that stretch of pavement? I mean, does anyone actually try to squish that onto an envelope? How would that even fit on a return label...or a pre-printed form of any kind? I swear, I'd get a P.O. box just so I never, ever had to resort to spelling the location of my house! Even worse--what about the poor children? Possible school scenario: The Kindergarten teacher announces that it's time to practice basic items like your address and phone number. "So, where do you live, honey?" "Oh, I have no idea--my mom told me not to bother trying to pronounce it until at least 3rd grade..."

Okay, that rant lasted approximately as long as the actual drive...and much, MUCH longer than it took to whiz right through the place...completely failing to recognize it because, well,  there's not so much there. Yeah, it's one of those charming...minuscule..."blink and you'll miss it" kinds of locales. Once I realized my mistake, turned around, and parked, I surveyed the landscape. All 1-block of it. I spotted crowds of students milling about, from what I looked up later and found out was a public charter school. And there's an old-timey general store, with an interesting mixture of modern-day snack foods and beverages; locally sourced artisan items such as chipotle flavored honey, handmade small-batch barbecue sauces, and fresh bakery bread; and a deli counter where you could order customized sandwiches and the like.

For the obligatory (brief) history portion: the town was supposedly settled by the Sissipahaw tribe, of which little is evidently known. On the banks of the Haw River, it was the site of a working cotton mill from 1848 until the building was damaged by a tornado in 1994. A hydroelectric power plant was later added (circa 1938) and continues to produce energy to this day. After the mill's demise, it was refurbished into its current state, in which it houses apartments, restaurants, and businesses. You can still go kayaking or canoeing on the waterway if that's your thing...although with our recent dry conditions the part of the river that I could see appeared distinctly more "rocky and treacherous" than "flowing and fun". I chose instead to enjoy a leisurely stroll along a nice wooded trail, parallel to the water, shady and cool.

Aaaannnnd...that's about all there is to tell, folks. As excursions go, I have to admit it was...ahem...not among the most exhilarating ones I've taken, for sure. But it provided an excuse to escape the house for a couple of hours...take some photos...get a little exercise...commune with the Great Outdoors. And now, if anyone ever asks, I can proudly proclaim that yes, indeed, I have been to Saxapahaw!

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