By: Dwayne Parton

Bryson City

Bryson City is a special place. Growing up here I never realized just how special it was. All I could think was that I need to get out of this town. It’s just too small and there is absolutely nothing to do. So, when I graduated high school I left, only returning to see my family and leaving as quickly as I could. Almost 10 years later(after graduating from college, traveling the world, and living in Oklahoma) it was time to move back.

I have a new found appreciation for the town I was raised in. A new set of lenses that reveal just how much opportunity there is here. We live in a mecca for outdoor life and we have a community that embraces the people within it. Our community is filled with love, talent, and passion.

I am no longer a high school kid looking for a place to skateboard with his friends. I am a small business owner who knows the value of contributing to the community. Whether that is by telling someone just how wonderful Bryson City is, smiling as I walk down the sidewalks, or becoming a sponsor for the local high school play. My business is now part of this towns personality and I want to do what I can to show the world just how great Bryson City is.

I am excited to join together with other small businesses and celebrate in the town festivities. I look forward to embracing things that may be foreign like the 2013 Freestyle Kayaking World Championships. I look forward to stepping out of the office to watch the passing Christmas Parade. And I look forward to trick or treating with all the children who want a safe place to enjoy halloween. What a great privilege it is to be apart of such a town.

Few places have businesses and organizations who genuinely invest into the community. Ministries who would find it fitting to provide free hot dogs for hundreds, if not thousands, of people. And a town who is willing to close it’s streets for a few hours to come together as a community and celebrate. That’s what makes this town special. That’s why people want to come and visit. They know that they will be welcomed and that our town is safe and friendly.

I left. I traveled. Then I returned. I’m a lot different now, but I have realized just how lucky I was to grow up in Bryson City, North Carolina. We can all contribute in some way or another. May we all do our part in making Bryson City a beautiful place inside and out.

The featured photograph is Nestled in the Smokys by Aaron Morgan. Make sure you follow him on Facebook. He takes all kinds of great photos. :D