Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 15

OUR BLUE RIDGE TOWNS

The Tryon International
Equestrian Center is emblematic
of the region's deep and
longstanding equine legacy.

JARED KAY | VISITNC.COM

there is the regional Art of the Horse Trail:
32 fiberglass statues scattered around the
Foothills, in Landrum and Spartanburg as
well as neighboring Tryon, Saluda, and
Columbus in Polk County, NC.
The Art of the Horse is a signature
fundraiser for one of the most creative
and well-marketed regional projects I've
encountered traveling our mountains:
Our Carolina Foothills.
The organization's founder and president, Suzanne Strickland, is owner of Stone Soup, a market and café on the outskirts of Landrum.
Why Stone Soup? The flyer she distributes to interested
customers brings it all back. "Stone Soup" is the folktale
about a hungry old man who comes to town looking for
food and rest. The townspeople, hungry themselves, say
they can't help. Then, working together, the old man and
the townspeople concoct a delicious soup with a "magic
stone" and vegetables and beef that appear as the citizens
contribute what they can.
"The story is about community. We can make something wonderful when we work together," Strickland says.
Each of the three North Carolina counterparts to Landrum offers visitors beautiful scenery, outdoor recreation,
great restaurants and shopping, and their own memorable stories:
* Artsy Tryon, a 10-minute drive from Landrum, hometown of Nina Simone and a magnet for artists, writers,
architects, naturalists, dramatists. They call it "The Tryon
Mystique," and it seems to be real-the town of just over
1,600 people has a thriving Main Street with dozens of
shops, a newly restored theater, and a longstanding Arts
and Crafts School.

* Polk County seat Columbus,
where the historical museum and
walking tour provide a solid sense of
place, and where you can find the
only flag museum in the United States.
It's the closest of the four towns to the
Tryon International Equestrian Center, location of the 2018 World Equestrian Games (known as the Olympics
for horses).
* Saluda, where the entire downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places and
where you'll find Thompson's Store, the oldest family
grocery in North Carolina. The Saluda Grade-the steepest main-line standard-gauge grade in America-ends
here, and today a new Rail Museum honors Saluda's rail
history. (It's worth noting that Saluda (population 980)
has its own monthly lifestyles magazine, print and online
versions!)
Visit a visitor information center in any of the four
towns, and you'll find brochures and regional maps
(in addition to the quilt trail and Art of the Horse tour,
there's a five-vineyard/winery trail) branded with the
colorful kaleidoscopic Our Carolina Foothills logo: four
intersecting circles representing the four towns who
have come together for cooperative ventures and economic stability.
"It's all in knowing how," says the old man to the
townspeople at the end of "Stone Soup." Landrum, Saluda, Columbus and Tryon have learned how to look
beyond town boundaries and state lines to promote one
another, bringing thousands of visitors annually to spend
several days and a lot of dollars...flourishing proof that
there is a great benefit in sharing.
JULY/AUGUST 2019

15


http://www.VISITNC.COM

Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019

Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - 8
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Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2019 - Cover4
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