Friday, August 8, 2014

The Church on the Hill

Last year when we took our trip to the mountains, we visited Highlands, North Carolina.  I wrote about Highlands the year I started my blog in 2011, and I shared some images of the pretty churches there.  Most of my readers were really taken with the Episcopal church in Highlands (You can see the Episcopal Church in this post.)  I think it's very pretty, too; but I was intrigued with the Presbyterian Church, which I didn't get to see up close in 2011 because we ran out of time.  I finally got a chance to view the church at close range, and I wasn't disappointed.  Founded in 1885, it really is a charming little church.

I love the wrought iron hardware on these doors!

I love the pale yellow wooden siding, the dark green trim, and the green shingled roof.  It fits perfectly in this setting.

The grass was so green, and the flowers were proudly showing off their colors.

There was a bit of a climb to the front door.  ;)

The Presbyterian denomination was brought to North America mostly by Scots and Scots-Irish immigrants.  (source)

In the year 2000, the state of North Carolina had more citizens of Scottish ancestry than any other state in the U.S.  (source)  

California now claims the largest number of residents of Scottish descent.  Nevertheless, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2006 American Community Survey, North Carolina has the highest percentage of Scots-Irish inhabitants.  The greatest concentration of Scots-Irish is in the west of the state from Charlotte through the mountains.  (source)

The main street in Highlands as seen from the sidewalk in front of the church.

...and looking in the other direction.

Can you imagine being surrounded by all these beautiful flowers every Sunday before and after church services?

A joyful sight!

The little church on the hill is listed on the National Historic Register.

One reason Highlands has such an abundance of flowers is their very desirable climate.  Highlands actually has its own little microclimate.  They have abundant amounts of rainfall and sunshine, and the average temperature in July is 78 degrees.  That's my kind of summer weather!  The average elevation within town limits is 4,118 feet, but because it has a more southeastern location in the Appalachian Mountains, it's protected from most of the wind and snow.  Mild summers and mild winters -- what's not to love?

In comparison, the mountain town of Blowing Rock, which I wrote about Here, only has an elevation of 3,500 to 3,600 feet above sea level.  The daytime summer temperatures rarely get above 80 degrees in Blowing Rock, but winters there are much colder and harsher than one would expect in a southern state.  Daytime highs can frequently fall into the 20's or lower, and snow, sleet, and freezing rain are all common in the winter months.  (Wikipedia)

 More Scottish Highlanders came to North Carolina than to any other state and settled predominantly in the flat sandhills of the Cape Fear River Valley.  The Scots-Irish came to the mountains via the "Great Wagon Road" from Pennsylvania.  They brought with them the folk tales, ballads, farming strategies and some of the vernacular architectural traditions that would come to characterize the Southern Appalachian region.  (source)

Scotland County in North Carolina was founded by Scots-Irish and Scottish Highland settlers.  The town of Laurinburg in Scotland County hosts an annual Scotland County Highland Games, but the most well-known Scottish Highland Games are held every summer at Grandfather Mountain.  I've always wanted to go and I hope one day maybe Hubby and I can go and take Duncan with us.  ;)

Does your family have Scots or Scots-Irish heritage?  I'll give you a hint -- my mom's maiden name was McGee, and my married name is McGee.  I know -- what are the chances, right?  Well, I promise you I didn't marry my first cousin, or even my second or third cousin or any cousin at all.  Trust me, we checked.  :-D  Our families came from different parts of North Carolina, but we still get funny looks when I tell people my mother's maiden name.  Between our two families, Mr. Forest Manor and I have Scottish, Irish, English, German, and a bit of Native American ancestry.

Do you have a favorite mountain town, either in North Carolina or another state in our beautiful country?  As I'm always interested in new places, I'd love to hear from you!  Thanks so much for your visit and I hope you have a great weekend!



  1. What a beautiful church in a beautiful location. I hope it's easier to access in the back. =D

  2. Such a pretty church, so very well taken care of:@)

  3. Now that is quite something to marry someone with your mother's maiden name! What a fun history of North Carolina. That church is so charming and the flowers are beautiful. Mountain town...well let's see. We did enjoy Asheville (is that considered a mountain town?) Growing up I enjoyed Big Bear in Southern California but the windy roads to get there were a bit much. We so enjoyed driving into Mammoth in central California because the roads were not windy. Have a great weekend.

  4. I can just picture a small wedding party descending the stairs of the little church. Such a beautiful place with very interesting history. We share similar heritage, except for the Native American. I am English on yo dad's side and Irish and German on my mom's. My husband is Danish, English, and Scottish.

  5. Charming church and you know I love, love the flowers! You captured the essence of the church on the hill and it's history and the facts about the weather and settlement of the area is very interesting. You have given me thought that I should know more about my heritage. I don't think I have any Scot or Irish background.Great story about the McGee name.Thanks Denise for inspiring me to know more about my heritage. I do know both sets of great grandparents came from North Carolina to Alabama in the 1800's.

  6. A lovely and interesting post. Love the church on the hill too.
    And my house has Scottish-Irish ancestry. Does that count?

    1. It counts for me, Cynthia. :) Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend!

  7. Mr. Decor of course belongs to Clan Gunn and found the wee village of Gunn when he first visited Scotland. I am Scot in marriage only but fully embrace the plaid. :)



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