Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont: A Guidebook (North Carolina Literary Trails) by Georgann Eubanks, The University of North Carolina Press; North Carolina: First Edition (October 15, 2010), Paperback: 472 pages, $19.80 (New), $12.49 (Kindle Edition) reviewed by John Hall
In addition to its natural beauty and other attractions, North Carolina’s Piedmont has rich literary heritage. Georgann Eubanks’ Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont, according to one reviewer “Rolls out that legacy in eighteen guided tours that spotlight sites explored by more than 200 Tar Heel authors.
However Eubanks does more than “Offer a tourist’s perspective on the rich literary history of the state’s central plateau.” She “Provides in-depth commentary on the significance of each site to North Carolina authors, poets, and playwrights, as well as plentiful excerpts that link the literature to the landscape.”
The numerous rivers and waterways of the North Carolina Piedmont inspire much of the writing “that link the literature to the landscape.” For example, when writing about the “village” of Danbury, North Carolina, Eubanks mentions the legends of Native Americans about the curative powers nearby springs at Vade Mecum and the sacred Saura Mountains.
This particular group of Native people, known as Saura or Cheraw, established at least two settlements on the Dan River called Upper and Lower Saura Town. After devastating smallpox epidemics in the late eighteenth century, the Saura or Cheraw as a separate Native People disappeared from history. Their name remains in the Saura Town Mountains of Stokes County and in the town of Cheraw, S.C.
Today, according to Eubanks, the Main Street of Danbury, NC offers a museum, a bakery and café called Artist’s Way Creations. There is also the Dan River Company, which organizes canoe and kayak tours on the ancient Dan River.
If you happen to visit Danbury, North Carolina look for a North Carolina Historical Marker that reads:
LOWER SAURA TOWN
A village of the Saura Indians, abandoned by that tribe in the early 18th century,
was on Dan River, 2-1/2 mi. N.E,
(Image courtesy of the NC Office of Archives & History)
Marker: J: 44