A Home Away From Home

Notes from Dickey Foster’s Diary – founder of The Log Cabin Motor Court

“We knew that we wanted this place the very minute we laid eyes on it,” was the thought that we had the day we came out to look the place over.  My husband and I agreed on this perfectly.

We loved our pine trees – they became a part of our family.  They sang a song of gladness as the morning breezes swept gently through their needles – then they sighed when stronger winds sounded an alarm of a coming storm.  I did not mind the moaning of the pines – it was a part of nature and all of Mother Nature’s creations and symphonies are beautiful to me.

It was almost prophetic about these pines – they were to determine our destiny in a way little dreamed at the time.  As they grew larger and spread their carpet of needles on the ground, they became even more inviting.  It was such a cool, lovely place for one to pitch a tent – where the shade of the trees would ward off the glare of the sun – the mountain at the back would be a sort of protection.

The main highway went right by our place, and often travelers would pass on their way to Tennessee.  Once, someone asked if they might pitch their tent for the night.  They were so pleased with the quiet beauty of the spot that they said we ought to make a regular stopping off place for travelers.

And so, it was purely a “happenstance” that made us decide to enter the tourist business.  This chance remark from a satisfied stranger led us into a new area of thinking and planning.

After a season or two of pitched tents under the trees, we decided to build a log cabin, making it just as rustic as we could, so that it would fit into the atmosphere we cherished.  We had a man, Bill Parker, or Reems Creek, build seven cottages with little porches across the front.  They were made of pine logs, all of the same size, chinked together with cement to form rustic walls within.  We used shingles for the roof.

Inside the rooms we had two beds, a table with a couple of chairs and a little stove with two eyes, the type called a laundry heater.  On this, our guests could cook their supper and breakfast.  Our “rest room facilities” was an outdoor toilet a short distance up the hill from the cabins – one for men and another for the women.

We named our place “Foster’s Log Cabin Court.”  We had a sign made with this name on it, and we had it mounted on a post by the side of the road.  Many people already knew about our court for they had stopped with us when they pitched their tents under our pines.  But the sign let all passers-by know that there was a place where they might spend the night.

We were the only tourist court on the whole road and we knew that our inviting pines would be a welcome sign.  People did come – and they liked what they found.  They loved our cabins and loved staying there.  We tried to keep our cabins as clean and attractive as possible and everyone mentioned how inviting it was.

We only charged a dollar a night at first and later a dollar and a half a room.  Every bit of the money we took in, we saved to go into building more cottages.

The next season we built six one-room cottages on the same pattern as the first, little ten by twelve one room log cabins.  We placed them side by side, in a straight line up the roadway at the back of our house.  All were under the pines and were made of pine longs.  Each was furnished like the first double cabin.

I shall never forget the young couple who came to rent the very first of these wee cabins.  A traveling man came with his wife and rented cabin #9 under the sweet apple tree.  The wife was just delighted.  I can hear her yet as she said joyfully, “Oh, Charlie, come look!”  They liked our place so well that they came back again and again as the years passed.  Later he brought his trailer and parked it under the shade of the apple tree.  His wife stayed here while he went away each day to call on his customers and sell his wares to the various stores in and around Asheville.  We became so well acquainted with them – Edith (our daughter) used to love to go to the trailer and visit with the women for hours.  Often at the noon hour, we would call her to come have lunch with us.

People always have been our friends – we had grown up in the country and those who came by came in as neighbors and friends and stayed a while to visit with us.  If it were near mealtime, we naturally took it for granted that they would have dinner with us.

As we started in our new enterprise, this same attitude crept into our relationship with our guests.  Unconsciously we made our court “a home away from home.”  Our guests loved this so much we later made this a slogan for the court.

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