This video was initially filmed and created as a part of the 2020 Barbecue for Books telethon broadcast to raise funds for the Hot Springs library building fund. The full telecast can be viewed Here on YouTube.
Article by Stacey Geyer, Music in video titled ‘Hymn of the Sun’ by Sun and Moon Dance. Filmed by Sarajo Litwak and Phillip Solomon on Sept 5, 2020. Edited by Chris Chromey of Chromey Creative
Revisit the beautiful summer of 2020 and enjoy a leisurely driving stroll through the heart of downtown Hot Springs, NC. This cozy village feels alive with people reveling in the warmth of a brilliant afternoon.
Beginning our tour, we see the ‘Welcome to Hot Springs’ sign installed by the Lions Club. Our videographer, Sarajo Litwak, whispers ‘perfect’ as we ride by roadside greenery. Pass the entrance to the scenic River Road, then cross the ancient French Broad River, camera rocking as if floating on the water itself.
Now on ‘Bridge Street’, also the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, view the Hot Springs Resort & Spa and the expansive lawn where many festivals and gatherings have been hosted. Cross over the tracks of the Southern Railway, see initial construction of Big Pillow Brewing on N. Andrews Ave., and the colorful artists and vendors on the corner. Cruise on past folks gathered at the Trailside Bakery & Café and the Spring Creek Tavern, then Hiker’s Ministries and our friendly Post Office.
Hot Springs Rafting Company comes into view with its spacious lawn, Victorian home and festive vibe. Across Meadow Lane, the historic Dorland Memorial Presbyterian Church, built in 1900, has a fascinating architecture. Keep on driving by the Dorland Cottage, local mechanic shop, and Bolesart Studio, glimpsing the Bald Mountains in the distance. Turn around and say hello to folks at the Hillbilly Market and Sara Jo’s Station, then go right on Hwy 209, past Dollar General and the iconic Smokey Mountain Diner.
We now backtrack down the road just travelled and catch a view of the south side of town. The famous Sunnybank Inn has served as a hiker hostel and retreat center for many decades and, built in 1840, is the oldest structure in Hot Springs. The Belle BnB is next, followed by the Tobacco Road convenience store, now in the building that was once a restaurant for the vintage motor lodge, the Alpine Court. Remembrances back to the time when most travelers passed through our town on their traverse across the formidable mountains, before completion of Interstate 40.
The Welcome Center stands in the center of town and is home to fascinating exhibits about Hot Springs’ rich history. Gentry Hardware, a family business since 1946, has an incredible variety of goods in its creek rock building. Cross over Spring Creek again, then wave at Bluff Mountain Outfitters owner Wayne Crosby and his daughter Maia. Next door, people are enjoying the view, food and drink at Vaste Riviere Provisions.
The Hot Springs Public Library, for whom this film is dedicated, is seen in its new permanent, convenient location in downtown Hot Springs. We then pass local realtor, Mountain Home Properties and Hot Springs City Hall.
Turn onto South Andrews Ave and ride past eclectic Artisun Gallery & Café and the Iron Horse Station Inn and Restaurant. Our tour is almost over as the camera rounds back and bumps over the railroad tracks. Pass the red caboose and spacious campground, and cruise back over the French Broad River.