Celo Inn is a one of the places on earth where I feel in tune with the universe. Somehow this place nestled in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina embraces me so warmly. It is a little strange since I usually want to be close to the ocean to a get a “home feeling”. At Celo Inn one can see the stars and hear the sounds of the crickets and the stream running by the window and smell a hint of smoke from the nearby campground. And wake up to the blend of the smells of coffee, muffins and a smell of the wood stove. Nancy and Randy Raskin’s loving care not to forget.
Celo Inn is a part of Celo community which is a communal settlement founded in 1937 by Arthur Morgan. It is a land trust with its own rules of taxation that runs its internal government by consensus. The community is based on ideals of cooperation between residents and care for the natural environment. Today, Celo has 40 families living on its 1,200 acres (4.9 km2). Members do not own the land in fee but purchase “holdings” that carry most, but not all, the privileges of regular ownership. A holding may be sold only to another member or to the community. The community includes a some single people and unmarried couples and many families. Members live in separate homes and make their livings independently. There is a meeting once a month and a “community workday”.
Among the communities’ goals is to “to pay allegiance to our common humanity overshadowing religious, racial, economic or political differences.” Members are expected to work “at a calling that will provide simple but adequate living…to raise some of their own food and in doing so to conserve rather than deplete the land.” The community also stated as a central goal “to rear our children in a wholesome environment where they can become acquainted with nature and be stimulated by intellectual freedom.”
In the History of Celo community founder Arthur Morgan explained the cooperative element of Celo by employing a metaphor, which he named “human uranium.” Morgan explained that although a cubic yard of granite contains enough uranium to blow up a mountain, the particles have no effect when separated. Only when brought together, in what is called a “critical mass,” can they exercise power. Celo’s has a food co-op, a cooperative retail crafts store, and Cabin Fever University, a program for sharing knowledge and skills and many social community events. Arthur Morgan also founded Arthur Morgan school which is a progressive boarding and day school for 27 girls and boys in grades 7, 8 and 9.
Mount Mitchell nearby is a great picnic and hiking destination.