Balsam Mountain Inn guest, 1928

Roberta Francis Pacetti and “Sunshine”

Teenager Roberta Frances Pacetti, from Daytona Beach, FL, and Dover, DE, spent several weeks at the inn in the summer of 1928. What follows are excerpts from Roberta’s diary from that summer. She and her daughter, Gail Trozzo, shared them with us in the spring of 1997.

July 3, 1928
We left Atlanta for Balsam. This train is dirty – boy! And how! Most beautiful moon up …

July 4
Arrived in Balsam at 9:30. Fixed our rooms up … and walked about five miles back in the woods. Climbed mountains, waded in a stream, fell over rapids – more fun!

July 9
Music lessons from Missy. She is marvelous. Delightful dance at the Pavilion. Had a glorious time! Three letters from my Sweet …

July 14
We drove to [Cashiers] today – a gorgeous drive through the top of the world. Far away lines of purple hills covered with a misty blue haze – mysteriously alluring. Gorgeous falls …

July 17
Went horseback riding today. We chose a delightful trail that led back over the mountain opposite the hotel. We had a darling entertainment at the dance hall. Polly and I sang “Remember”. Met a boy from Orlando. He was a clever dancer and nice looking. Wish he could have stayed longer …

July 18
Virginia and I had more fun all day. We talked with a man in the caboose of the 12:30 train. And we ate 15 cents worth of candy and I teased the “poet”. Then we went for a long tramp in the woods and met Mr. Jones, who is one of the most fascinating people I have yet met up here.

July 23
Daddy took us on a long drive. We went to Franklin. At Sylva I stopped at the drugstore … there was the cutest boy in it. My heel got caught in the register and he got it out. More fun! The ride was perfectly gorgeous. Most beautiful country. Got three letters …

July 24
Daddy and I got up at four. Had breakfast in an all-night lunch stand in Waynesville, then drove over to Palmers and fished for trout. Loveliest dawn I have ever seen. Most beautiful mountain stream. I found my hidden valley.

July 31
I took the kiddies walking, bought them candy and told them fairy stories. Tonight the moon rose over the mountains in a maze of golden glory …

August 1
Took a walk to my beautiful hill and “Dreams” and “Rubaiyat” aloud …

August 2
We went down to Mr Jones’s and saw the darling baby calf they have. Then we drove over the mountain to Palmers – over that perilous, majestic range of mountains. Tom King galloped by on his horse. He came back. M.J. and I took turns riding, then I rode behind Mr. King. Will I ever forget the glorious night air on my face? Mr. King is a – bootlegger. He was shot last week. Strange – how very nice he is. He has had a fascinating life roving: navy, West Indies …

August 3
Rose at half-past six. After breakfast, M.J. and I went down to the stream, put on our suits, made rock dams and went swimming. The water was clear and icy cold. We had more fun – cut up like two year olds. Rained in the afternoon, so we read.

August 5
Sunday … we went to church in Waynesville and heard … our Episcopal minister from Daytona, preach. He gave “Fundamental Fundamentalism” and it was wonderful. Aunt Alice phoned.

August 12
Not a thing doing all day. Terribly bored. Went to Waynesville tonight and had a soda. “That attractive boy” drove us again.

August 13
Rode horseback this morning. It surely is going to hurt leaving this gorgeous country. It is so intensely beautiful … packed this afternoon.

August 14
Rode over to Asheville in the Packard. Saw the Biltmore Estate and Grove Park Inn. Had a luncheon at the Vanderbily. Boarded the train at 4:30. And it sho’ is wigglin’!

August 15
Arrived in Wilmington (DE) at 10:30 this morning. Shopped bought a cute outfit, white pleated skirt, white vest and blazer. Came HOME to Dover. And it is good to be here again in beautiful Silver Lake Manor …