What is your earliest Salem memory?
When I was little, we lived out of town for a bit and would come in for the holidays. Driving in on Northbound I-81 there is that pass of mountains you go through after Christiansburg and it was always a gateway to me. This very magical, mountain gateway. On one side was Salem, on the other side was away. Then there was my grandfather’s house that was a beautiful brick labyrinth, full of mazes and mystery and love, with a creek running through the front yard. We would play down by that creek as kids and it was so much fun. Honeysuckle Road will always be enchanting to me.
Who has been the most important person in your life?
To answer that honestly, there isn’t one single person. There’ve been amazing people in my life and each one has played immensely important roles whether for good or bad that have helped me become the person I am today.
What are some of the services that your organization Salem 215 provides?
We founded Salem215 to be a positive source of information and promotion for Salem, and especially one that recognized that Salem is “more than balls and steeples.” Not that there is anything wrong with sports or churches, but Salem has got those covered. We wanted to show that there was more to Salem than just those things. We did an Easter Egg Hunt for Adults; we help do a Window Decorating Contest for the downtown businesses; we held a city-wide July 4 House Decorating Contest; we’ve partnered with the Salem Museum to do a Tuesday Trivia (Salem has a LOT of neat history!); we put out a weekly Things to Do in Salem list on Thursdays; we’ve put together a Salem215 Summer Bucket List; and so on. There is always this notion that there isn’t a lot going on in Salem, and while sometimes that may be true, there really actually is a lot going on. You just have to know where to look. We want to help promote those things. We want to see locally owned businesses thrive and we want people to feel like Salem is the place where they would actively choose to live and socialize.
How did you know that your husband was the person you wanted to spend the rest of your life with?
It sounds cheesy, but we had a connection that I’d never had with anyone else before. We quickly became best friends and that is still a key component to our relationship. He’s the person I want to hang out with.
If you were to hit the lottery next Friday, what would you do?
After fixing up our 127-year-old house and setting money aside for the kids/grandkids, I would go all Beatrix Potter on Salem and the general area.
On average, how many Salem events do you volunteer at throughout the year?
I’ve been present at all the things Salem215 has done, and that keeps me fairly busy. For the past several years, I’ve also been fairly active within the Star City Brewers Guild. I like to find things to volunteer with that really speak to me. Good beer speaks to me.
Why do you set so many goals for yourself?
I don’t know that I do set so many goals for myself, it is just how I live. I love to cook, bake, grow things and create things from scratch. There is always something to do when you’re doing it all from scratch: harvest fruit, can jellies, bake bread, brew beer, create art, chat with friends, eat good food and take naps among other things. It is important to take naps.
What does an average week look like for you?
We homeschool our two sons so there’s often lessons, lots of Legos and time spent at our local libraries; by 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. everyday my mind is on dinner, simply because I usually need to be ready to start cooking if I haven’t already; while we try not to be plugged in all the time, I try to stay pretty available for Salem215; there is time spent tending to the gardens and chickens and messing around with the dogs. Sundays are our one constant though: we have brunch with biscuits from scratch and usually some home-cured bacon .. followed, of course, by a nap.
What is your favorite thing to do in Salem?
I like to meander about and explore the area. The views around here are amazing and always stun me into silence (a true miracle indeed!), and we have a lot of really pretty architecture and landscaping and there’s just so much to see. I like to watch the sunset and the moonrise. I like to explore our local shops and meet new people. I like to drive the Duck Way and watch the river. I like to venerate nature and being in Salem makes that easy to do.
If you could go back and give an 18-year-old Carrie some advice, what would you say?
Be true to yourself. Life gets better and as long as you do what you know to be right, you stand up for what you believe in, and are true to yourself, you’ll get through this. Some of the dark days will even become the source of your strength, so hang in there. Also, you were so terribly adorable at 18, you really rocked that look. You’ve so got this.