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All Aboard the Tweetsie Railroad!

A trip to Tweetsie Railroad.

One of my fondest memories as a child is visiting Tweetsie Railroad with my grandparents.  I remember taking the short car ride up to Boone NC, and admiring the mountain tops and views that seemed endless.   I thought I was on top of the world, and that life just couldn’t get any better than this, but of course I was only 10.  I remember walking in holding my grandfather’s hand anticipating the day!  As a child I remember visiting the petting zoo, and panning for gold, thinking “if I could just find one piece we would be rich”.  I also remember the cowboys and Indians, and thinking that I too would grow up to be a cowgirl.  I have several pictures of me sitting atop the ceramic horses cheesing for the camera with my red Tweetsie Cowgirl hat.

It’s amazing that when you grow older, how life changes in the blink of an eye, you get married, have children, and realize you probably are not going to become that cowgirl you once dreamed of.  One thing that hasn’t changed though is Tweetsie Railroad.  I remember taking my daughter for the first time thinking… I wonder if it’s going to be as I remember, and amazingly enough it was!

She was 4 at the time, and I wasn’t sure if she would understand or even have a good time being so young.  Immediately the magic of childhood came to life.  We rode the chairlifts to the top of the mountain and chose to ride the mouse mine for her first “real” ride.  It was very low key but she was extremely excited.  We visited the petting zoo and fed the deer, goats, and ostriches.  It was amazing to watch her interact with the animals and how her eyes lit up.  After fun on top of the mountain we took as short break, and watched the dancing girls in the Tweetsie Saloon.  Our last stop of the day was the train!  As we started to ride, the memories of my childhood came back immediately, the voice over the loud speaker warned of flying cinders from the locomotive and to keep your arms inside the cart at all times.  The cowboys walked heroically through the aisles vowing to protect us from the Indians.  Once we made our stop at the fort, the Indians invaded the train; the cowboys acted courageously and defended the patrons and overtook the Indians.  The people cheered at the bravery of cowboys…. I remember thinking this place is still awesome, and I cheered just as loud as everyone else.  What an amazing day we had creating memories with our family.  Tweetsie is truly a place for families to gather and enjoy the company of one another, and remember what life is really about.  After our first trip, my daughter had such a great time we received season passes for Christmas for the following year, my grandmother and grandfather also purchased season passes for themselves.  They would attend Tweetsie several times a month with my daughter.  I just wonder if they were reminiscing back to when they would bring me and their other grandchildren.  What a great place to be a kid!  My daughter is now 9 and each summer we make our way to Tweetsie.

As a hotel General Manager, my goal is to make sure our guest have a long lasting experience while visiting Wilkesboro NC.  Every chance I get I refer people to Tweetsie.  People are always asking what is there to do with a small child that isn’t that far away.  I send them to Tweetise.  We have even built a package that includes hotel accommodations and tickets to the attraction.  It is a must do when visiting the High Country with Children!

Friend in Town

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As the General Manager of the Hampton Inn in Wilkesboro, NC, my goal is to keep our guests informed about what’s happening, not only at the hotel, but also around Wilkesboro. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of operations, I need a reminder of what being Hampton is really all about.

Arriving at the hotel in the mornings, I smell the fresh coffee brewing and the waffles cooking in the breakfast area. I hear the chatter of people getting their morning started. It’s honestly one of my favorite parts of the day! I like to think of the dining room as the “melting pot” of the hotel. People from everywhere gather together in a warm, cozy room in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, sharing breakfast and preparing for their day.

Are they visiting for an interview to make that next step in their career? Are they calling on a local company, preparing to make the sale that could bring that next big promotion? Maybe they are visiting friends they haven’t seen since high school or exploring the area to enjoy the beauty of the mountains and foothills? Or are they just simply passing through the area on their way to some far off destination? Each person brings with them a different story to tell and I love to hear them all. I get to hear stories of where folks have been or where they are going next. Occasionally, some even need a little direction on how to get there and I am happy to help.

Travelers are often looking for that “friend in town”, the person who has their finger on the pulse of the community. This is where I come in! I make it my business to be in the know about everything going on in the community and I can get them going in the right direction. I can provide you with information about little things, like where to get your laundry dry cleaned, the location of the best Italian food in town, or maybe where to pound the pavement with those running shoes. And when it is time for the big things, I can give you inside information about wedding venues and where to buy that special someone a gift for the birthday that you missed while you were with us. That is what we aspire to be every day; the people that you count on for friendly and knowledgable service. Thanks for letting us serve you. That’s why we are Hampton!

Stop by the front desk and ask for Summer, I can’t wait to hear your story.