Easter morning at Chimney Rock
Updated: Monday, April 1 2013, 09:58 PM EDT
It's like a lot of tourist spots, except on Easter it's known for being heavenly.
"On a nice summer or nice spring day, Easter morning, we get maybe 1500 people," says Chimney Rock State Park Ticket Plaza supervisor Dave Finsel. "And we put them all through that front gate within an hours time."
The traffic for the park's Easter sunrise service backs up in the pitch black morning along the two-lane road that routes through downtown Chimney Rock.
"As far as employees, we come in at 3:30am, 4 o'clock and there's already people lined up at the gate down there waiting to come in."
The park gates open at five and close - in preparation for the service - at 6am. Once inside the park, cars trail quietly up the mountain towards the makeshift wooden alter at the top.
Park General Manager Mary Jaeger-Gale says the same simple whitewashed cross has stood against the sky every Easter morning since 1955, when the first sunrise service was held at the suggestion of a Hendersonville radio station.
"We've actually seen people that'll tear up when they see it," says Jaeger-Gale. "It's incredibly beautiful when the sun rises over Lake Lure."
It's a simple service with a local pastor and this year bagpipes and a dulcimer, and always the one extraordinary Easter decoration of the sun itself.
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