Thursday, January 15, 2009

a noble and glamorous quest for undulating mountainous bliss

“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.”
– Carl Jung


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Recently, I received a remarkable document*, from which these wise words are taken. elizabeth adams writes:

For newcomers to the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau, the unexpected beauty of this North Carolina landscape literally wallops the senses like a flash snowstorm in July – a foreign yet somehow familiar phenomenon from out of the mountainous, misty blue. Damp and craggy cliffs, dropped from higher ground, decide every bend in the road. Traces of a tropical nature mingle amid northern forests, intriguing, bewildering.

Continue, my dear elizabeth, to bestow upon us the insufflated outpouring that reflects a meld of language and vision and nature such as that of the earliest inhabitants of these sacred hills:


If one has the even greater fortune of penetrating the Plateau during one of its lengthy fall seasons, then yes – words like “euphoria” and “exultation” emerge as entirely appropriate. For on this elevated tray of undulating mountainous bliss, with its seductive waterfalls and signature winding roads, lies what is perhaps the Southeast’s – nay, America’s most unusual earthly gem.

That this Foreword has found its way into your hands means that you, dear reader, are among those chosen to mine it, polish it, and present its story to the world….

Well, of course I am!

Sadly, when I turned the page to read more, I learned that this letter was not written to me, but was an invitation to a RiverRock Envisioning Session, November 15th and 16th, 2006.

Dang it. Why didn’t they invite me? I’d do almost anything to meet elizabeth adams. Consider how she described the mission of the Envisioning Session:


Twenty-one people will convene under one of the most luxurious roofs in the Carolinas to provoke thought, scratch heads, opine over and in the end determine the fate of five pristine, Plateau mountain properties. The process is one of enlightenment, immersion and inspiration, designed to tap the wealth of knowledge and wisdom present, and lay the groundwork for a story as fresh and clear as the water in Glenville Lake. You are asked to bring an open mind, all your ideas and a desire to journey far beyond your comfort zone – we’ll provide the stationery.

Ahem, she lost me there at the end. I prefer to remain well within my comfort zone. But I suppose that’s what separates the great writers from the hacks, like me. Never at a loss for words, e.a. continues:

Unlike most projects that begin with an envisioning, RiverRock has already begun. The team is assembled, the land is secured, divided and parts of it sold, the sales pitch is practiced and the Cashiers Sales Center is open for discovery. The overarching challenge for the participants of the RiverRock Envisioning Session is to rein in the tremendous lead the project already has on becoming, and conceive of redirecting it onto a clearer, more unified path.

Articulation of the future experience at RiverRock will be of primary importance to the significant portion of buyers who conceive of one day making RiverRock their primary residence.

Wait, wait. It gets better:

RiverRock has the potential to establish itself as a new category of mountain living – as the greatest mountain destination in the East. What would that experience look like? What would it take to create it?

Nowhere is it written that “luxury” and “eco-sensitivity” are necessarily mutually exclusive terms. Perhaps the real challenge is in fact a fantastic, trend setting opportunity for RiverRock to define and create a groundbreaking new category of “eco-luxury” living.

The timing for such a definition is propitious. Music and film celebrities like, Bono, Sting and George Clooney, together with high-profile politicians like Al Gore and Robert Kennedy have helped evolve the stigma surrounding “green” efforts from a “tree-hugging hybrid driver” affair, into a noble and glamorous quest to preserve our world for future generations. Closer to home, RiverRock can look to the noble and green legacy left by the Vanderbilts with the Biltmore Estate – an example of the most privileged among society putting the needs of the planet first.

Bono? Sting? Robert Kennedy? Evolve the stigma? Huh?
What more can I say?

Take us out with one of your favorite quotes, elizabeth:

“The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.”
– John Muir


*From "Out of the Blue" by elizabeth adams

4 comments:

The Appalachianist said...

Morning. I went to Sylva evening taking 107. It had been a while since I had been down through there. I usually take 281 across. I remember when I first saw them trying to cut a road down towards the bottom of the gorge. Now I see what it was all about. When ever I see someone trying to develop along a gorge like that, it's scary. But, I imagine the place reaches beyond the walls of the gorge.

"Eco-luxury"...Now that one required some thought, LOL.

Anonymous said...

If you, Mr. Bigbucks, are one of the chosen few, the pristine beautiful mountainside wildernesses, mountain tops and waterways are yours for the plundering.

"you, dear reader, are among those chosen to mine it, polish it, and present its story to the world…."

"create a groundbreaking new category of “eco-luxury” living"

"a noble and glamorous quest to preserve our world for future generations"

As long as it remains hidden behind a security fence, available to only those few who can afford to live in such "eco-luxury".

Ayn Rand would be proud.

Anonymous said...

Oh sweet misery - that is the prettiest word-smithing that money can buy. Eco-luxury - the best of mother nature reserved for those able to buy it solely for themselves.

Anonymous said...

I've kept on the lookout for Elizabeth Adams, her mastery of realty porn is not to be missed by the discerning reader, but I have seen nothing attributed to her lately.

'74