This week we took a trip to Cherokee, NC. I haven't been there since I was a teenager, but the place hasn't changed much -- except for the giant strange-looking building containing Harrah's Casino. It was a great trip, not just because of reliving old memories, but because of visiting old friends we hadn't seen in eight years. I have no excuse for not going to Cherokee because it's only a four-hour drive from home, but our friends now live in London and were back on vacation. It was a treat to see them.
I was amazed at the Indian crafts from the double weave baskets to pottery to carvings at oodles of stores all up and down the main street. Since our visit was during the week, not many people were at the Museum or milling about in the shops. However, the play "Unto These Hills" telling the story of the Cherokee people had almost a thousand people in attendance on a Tuesday evening. We went back stage and saw how the scenery was transported on a small train car and where the actors waited in the wings. I was surprised that more accidents did not occur since most of the area around the stage was natural rocks covered with sand.
We had dinner at the restaurant only a dozen or so feet from the vast array of hundreds and hundreds of gaming machines. Our friends' daughter was fifteen years old and was fascinated with the way they treated her at the casino. Since no one under the age of twenty-one could be on the casino floor, we had to wind tortuously through the building to get to the casino entrance near the restaurant. The guardians said that our friend's daughter had to stay on the tile near the wall and not get on the carpet to walk the thirty feet to the restaurant. She felt like she was being treated like her dogs, being told to 'stay off the carpet'. I don't think she minded it much since she said she was going to tell people 'back home' that she was thrown out of a casino. Apparently the younger set thinks that is more interesting than being in a casino or gambling. She was a good sport about it.
At the restaurant, they seated our group in an unused section in complete privacy. At first we thought nobody else was there, but as we left, we saw the main section which was nearly full. It's always nice to have that feeling of having the restaurant to ourselves. The food and service were excellent; however, our friend had heart surgery a year before and was on a low fat diet. He ate his salmon and green beans while eyeing my husband's steak and potatoes au gratin.
Overall, we had an enjoyable trip with lasting memories with many people and things that can be used in my novels.
Sabena Stone -- Author of The Rachel Christie Murder Mysteries