These days, this close into Asheville, NC, it’s difficult to find large tracts of farm land that remain mostly undeveloped. We are thankful to have as our neighbor, Warren Wilson College, which has helped to preserve at least 1100 acres of land in this, the Swannanoa Valley. Hidden River seeks to add to the conservation by adjoining our neighbor with a low footprint business, the beauty of which is the fact that the land remains largely undeveloped.
The land in our valley has sustained generations of families, as the oldest Native American archeological site is just yards from our river ceremony site. It dates back to around 5000 bce. Consider the mountains that surround our valley: they are older than the Himalayas, worn down by time to these nurturing, verdant sleeping giants that guard the valley. Our couples feel when they are here, that they are joining their lives in a fertile valley, rich with history, and providing nutrition and beauty for generations. Couples bring their children back for family vacations and photo shoots and just to enjoy a picnic along the river, marking the spot where they were wed.
We are planning on being on this land for the long haul, making sure that all endeavors we undertake are gentle upon the land, give back to the community, and enrich love, the arts, and education. In 2019, we planted a new forest on the property, a combination of red maples and yellow wood trees, in the hope that couples, one day, will wed underneath their canopy as well or you might return to renew your vows here in their shade.
There is a Jewish story that inspired the planting of these trees, whose beauty may likely be at their fullest long after any of us have walked this earth:
One day, Honi the Circle Maker was walking on the road and saw a man planting a carob tree. Honi asked the man, “How long will it take for this tree to bear fruit?”
The man replied, “Seventy years.”
Honi then asked the man, “And do you think you will live another seventy years and eat the fruit of this tree?”
The man answered, “Perhaps not. However, when I was born into this world, I found many carob trees planted by my father and grandfather. Just as they planted trees for me, I am planting trees for my children and grandchildren so they will be able to eat the fruit of these trees.” https://spiritoftrees.org/honi-and-the-carob-tree
At Hidden River we do this work not just for ourselves, but for those who come after us. Will you join with us to celebrate this circle of life?