They soon bought a bigger sailboat and decided to spend the Thanksgiving holidays on it in Florida. It was then they started to see that people could actually “live” on their boats. They started talking with year-round “boatsteaders,” researched the lifestyle of being on the water year-round, and discovered that there’s an entire “cult” of people who do this. In 2006 Sami and Barry took the bait and made a big lifestyle change that started a whole chain of events to fall into place. They sold their Landrum farm, rehomed the horses, Sami retired from her job, they bought an even bigger boat, and made the decision to become one with the sea. Okay two with the sea. They were soon living a new life on the water. Barry, a college professor, was able to continue teaching as long as they had an Internet signal…and they learned to seek those out.
Even with the services of an equine vet donating his time and using his own money to help the effort, they were unable to capture the mare at the right time to collect the eggs. ViaGen, a company specializing in cloning special animals was providing the special collection kit needed to store whatever they could obtain and the kits had to be refreshed constantly in order to have the proper storage solution.
It finally came down to getting the vet on scene as Nunki was living her last hours. The vet and ViaGen were working together on what to do next and in this case that involved getting a clipping of Nunki’s ear once she died. This had to be placed in the solution and then there was only so much time left to get the tissue back across the preserve, to a boat, to a jet, and to the lab in the U.S. On top of that, there’s this thing called Bahamian government red tape. With just minutes to spare, the government gave its okay to leave the island with the preserved specimen and the USDA gave its approval to have it enter the US, and the final chance to preserve this breed was on the plane to the ViaGen lab where it would be kept in the proper environmental conditions.
The possibilities are real. It could happen. What is mostly standing in the way now is money. There is a non-profit organization set up for donations and every bit helps. Of course, a few large donors could make this happen now.
Mimi is still down on the Abaco Islands maintaining the preserve in hopes of bringing a brand-new Abaco Island Horse home for good. And then another and another until a small herd can preserve the species. She has given a quarter-century of her life and her money to this cause. She needs help to change this from a possibility to a reality. Sami is committed to helping in anyway she can. Just imagine how equine history could be changed. Sami Bolton wants to be a part and you can too! It can happen. It needs to happen. It has to happen.
More to Know:
Sami and Barry moved back home (here in the foothills) about a year ago. Sami is very active locally. She’s on the board of the Foothills Humane Society and volunteers with TROT (Therapeutic Riding of Tryon). Sami invites you to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on saving the Abaco Island Horse and how you can help. You might be able to convince her to tell you everything I’ve had to leave out. You can also check out www.ArkWild.org for additional information on the Abaco Island Horse.
Since the train stopped running there has been talk of transforming the track into a “Rails-to-Trails” conversion or possibly getting an excursion train to operate. Norfolk-Southern isn’t about to abandon this track though it is now officially “out of service” from Saluda to just beyond Landrum, SC. There is a shortline railroad that is currently hauling freight from the Hendersonville area to Asheville and some talk has been circulating that the company might start an excursion train experience. A lot of rail fans would love to see that line extend to Saluda. I would definitely be among the first standing in line to buy a ticket for that. I’m guessing it would be a very long line.
Mike Reeves and Evan Lazer are two of the volunteer docents and were busy helping visitors the day I visited. Nancy Pew (third from left) is a friend of the museum and helps out at the shop next door so that owner Mark Ray can step in and open the depot on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Judy Ward on the right is the chair of the museum board. It takes a village to keep something like this running without any paid staff.
More to Know:
The Saluda Historic Depot and Museum is open every day except Monday. Times vary. Check the website at: www.saludahistoricdepot.com and their Facebook page for more info. The museum has a well-stocked gift shop along with their excellent professionally built exhibits including a “Z scale” model of the entire run down the famous Saluda Grade to Melrose Junction. To take your own trip down the grade from the safety of your laptop, check out an excellent YouTube video by Bob Keeton at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsS3fbhuJPg. The video combines original music by “The Carburetors” and Google Earth images into a fascinating “trip” that will give you a sense of the run. The Saluda Historic Depot offers tours, monthly “Train Tales” presentations, and has a couple of upcoming fundraising events including a 60s-themed party at the Party & Event Center in Saluda in July and a golf tournament in October at Kenmure. It’s a happening place!
Click on each photo in the gallery below to enlarge.
A big setback occurred just a few months after opening day. There was a late-night fire at the laundry that adjoins her building. While Andrea’s store didn’t suffer any direct damage from the fire, all her clothing stock was ruined from smoke damage. Most people would use this as a good excuse to lock the door for good. But not Andrea Whiteside. The store has just recently celebrated its first anniversary after reopening following the fire.
Andrea has yet to make a profit but she’s optimistic and doing her best to make this succeed. She’s received good advice from customers, from friends, and from Faye Bishop, the director of the Small Business Center at Isothermal Community College.
I asked Andrea what advice she would give to someone thinking of starting a business. Andrea, someone without any previous retail experience, says, “Be willing to take advice. Go to school. Ask for help. Find out what the people want. And do one thing and do it well.”
Andrea started the store for several reasons. One of course is that she herself is a “plus size” and knows how hard it is to find clothing that she likes. She knew there were plenty of potential customers faced with the same situation and why not be the store that can help?
Andrea’s Plus Size Clothing is more than “just” a store. She has become a de facto “counselor” helping people – friends and strangers, when they come in with something on their minds. She listens and listens and then offers them comfort. She recalls a homeless person who came into the store one day and she knew this woman needed some help. The woman said she just needed someone to talk to and Andrea was her rock in that time of need. Her pastor says the store is not just a store, it is Andrea’s own little ministry.
It has become a “calling” for Andrea to make this work. No doubt she will.
More to Know:
Andrea’s Plus Size Clothing is located at 415 Main Street in Spindale. 828-447-9737. She’s open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday through Saturday. Check her Facebook page for hours. In addition to clothes, the store carries jewelry, handbags, scarves, and other accessories including some items handmade right in the store by Andrea herself. Clothes styles are changed with each season.
Dana Mayer lives and breathes compassion. She is the driving force behind Paws, Prayers & Promises- a local non-profit animal rescue and adoption organization. Dana can’t do it alone and is thankfully backed up by a small army of volunteers that help in every aspect of the almost three-year-old non-profit organization. Last year alone Dana and her like-minded volunteers helped over 500 cats and dogs find a better life. This doesn’t even include providing food for some of our area’s neediest animals.
Dana has loved, rescued, and taken care of animals all her life. For ten years she worked with the Foothills Humane Society as a board member and coordinator of the rescue, foster, and Po’ Kitties programs before leaving to form Paws, Prayers & Promises.
We are lucky and grateful in this community to have so many people willing to give of their time, talents, homes, and money to help others in need—including our animal friends. Dana Mayer is just one of many – but she’s also one of a kind. The Paws, Prayers & Promises website says, “We believe in miracles.” There is one happening every day with the help of Dana and her volunteers.
More to Know
Go to the Paws, Prayers & Promises website at: http://www.PawsPrayersandPromises.org to read about the organization. There you can also learn how to help the organization. Check them out on Facebook where you can get updates on new animals coming into their care and those finding their forever homes. Call Dana for additional info at 828/ 243-1852. Do visit P3 Consignment Shop at 112 East Rutherford Street in Landrum to see a couple of kittens looking for a home as well as some resident shop cats ready to welcome you as you peruse this amazing store.
Click on the photos below to see a larger image.
Is starting out retirement with this new endeavor - to bring you short snippets of life through photography, videography, and audio recordings of some of the wonderful people and places of the Carolina Foothills..