The Search for Fraser’s Ridge

Saturday was my Mother’s 70th birthday. That morning after breakfast, while still in our pajamas, we decided to put some boots on and traipse around in the woods. I have only visited during Christmas and therefore had never had a chance to see the woods in their summertime glory in the eight years since my sister moved there. Four of us grabbed our boots and water bottles and meandered our way down the path to the woods. My SIL, Tracy, led the way to beat down the path, while my sister helped Mother and I took up the rear.
We quickly found the creek and the cabin in which the kids often have sleepovers. I told my sister I was going to move in there and become the Crazy Lady who lives in the woods. #lifegoals

As we followed the overgrown path, I could not help but think about Claire and Jamie when they were scouting out a location for Fraser’s Ridge. Thankfully, everyone in our “expedition” party is a fan of Outlander so any talk about C and J is easily received. The conversation turned to what kind of location to pick, what should be its proximity to the creek and how long it would take to clear the timber with “primitive” tools. “Can you imagine how long it would take to do all of this with just an axe and a hand saw? They didn’t have chain saws back in that time!”
We walked down the path until we found the little waterfall and a site they had used for camping. It was wonderful to sit and look up at the sun shining through the canopy, making the leaves glow a magnificent green, and listen to the birds go about their day. The babbling water added the perfect accompaniment to this forest symphony.

We gingerly walked back through the creek while the dogs crashed back and forth from the woods to the creek, having a blast.

I stopped a few times on the way back to watch my family and BE in the moment. It was a perfect morning for this walk and I was glad to experience it with my family. These are the moments that I will treasure and I know it strengthened us just a wee bit more and gave my Mother a memorable birthday.


12 thoughts on “The Search for Fraser’s Ridge

  1. Virginia, I agree that Gabaldon did take some artistic license when describing traveling distances within North Carolina, having been a longtime resident of the state myself. I found, while researching, an aspen known as Bigtooth Aspen is rare but can be found in a few rocky ridges in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. One resource,, lists this type of aspen as a type of willow with leaves turning golden in the fall. I suspect, like the chestnuts and hemlocks, aspens were once more plentiful. I would not be surprised if Gabaldon referenced sources/writings such as those from the naturalist, William Bartram, or some other botanical references from the 18th century. Perhaps a modern day naturalist, skilled at identifying plant life, can attest to their existence and supply a photo. I don’t claim to have a vast knowledge of tree species but this presents a good challenge while hiking in the mountains with my family and friends and expect autumn hiking would be the best time to go about it.

  2. Exactly! And the reference to High Point is strange as well since it was named when the railroad line was constructed so definitely not in the 1700’s. It also bothered me that distances between areas in NC were so distorted. This is easy enough to check from a map even if you never visit NC. No major research involved.

  3. The use of Greensboro instead of Guilford or Guilford Courthouse prior to Revolutionary War bothered me as well. City of Greensboro got its name from Nathaniel Greene after the war. The National Park at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse is very interesting and it is easy to get the history straight if you visit there or even Google it. It is a shame D G messed up there when she has done such fantastic spot on research throughout her book series (which I love btw). I guess she was bound to have a mistake show up somewhere….just sorry it was the part that takes place in my state.

  4. This looks like a beautiful area! Where is this at? I am from Pennsylvania and it looks very similar to all of the wooded areas around here. I love the little cabin! I looks like such a peaceful place.

  5. If Fraser’s Ridge is supposed to be near Boone, then the distances are REALLy incorrect!
    And there are mentions of “snow as far south as Greensboro” but GReensboro is not far from the Virginia state line so it could not be “south”. There is also a mention of High Point but neither Greensboro of High Point even existed in the 1700’s. There was Guilford County.
    These inaccuracies, so easily researched. do bother me but in no way lessen my enjoyment of the books.

  6. I believe that there was a time that Aspen trees were prominent. Tree viruses can wipe out a whole species of tree rather quickly.

  7. I have lived in my home state of NC the majority of my life and I still cannot determine a reasonable location that could serve as Frasier’s Ridge. My friends and I who have all read the books have argued endlessly but to no avail! LOL
    One problem is that in the books distances are wildly compresses. For instance the distance from the mountains or foothills to Edenton could NEVER be accomplished by horse or cart in less than a week.
    Also, I was surprised to find several mentions of Aspen trees. There are no Aspen trees in NC.
    Anyone else from NC have a problem with these inconsistencies? And yes, I do know that the books are fiction but Gabaldon seems such an accomplished researcher that I was taken aback by these lapses.

  8. What a beautiful area! Nature is awesome! I read, in a comment by Ron D. Moore, that taxes were too high in the U.S. for them to film Outlander here. Too bad. I’d love to see some American beauty in the series.

  9. I grew up with woods all around and a babbling stream on the property. Thanks for providing a visit to my childhood! Beautiful images and memories made for your mom’s birthday!

  10. This is a fantastic moment. Thanks for sharing. I recently am returned from a trip through the Great Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge and was thinking of July and C and Fraser’s Ridge myself.

  11. Grew up with this and miss it so much. Not much younger than your mom. She knows a lot.
    I pray I can get back toxwhatcyou have. Thanks for sharing this wonderful walk.

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