By Lisa Whaley

I’ve been making a list of favorites.

Each week, as I explore Erwin and Unicoi County,  I find some new delight that thrills and amazes me.

Last week, my favorite discovery was Steel Rails  Coffee House.

I love their coffee, but have you tasted their spicy mustard sauce? It was all I could do not to ask for it in a bowl.

The week before, my favorite surprise was the moment I stepped into the downtown Clinchfield Drug Co. to grab a BLT for lunch.

Sitting there quietly reading the newspaper and chatting with the very sweet woman who waited on me was one of the most relaxing breaks I’ve had in a long time.

And then there was that moment — I replay it in my mind —  as I was driving from Unicoi to Erwin and very nearly couldn’t catch my breath due to the absolute beauty of the countryside.

This week, however, it is all about the elephants. Throughout Erwin’s downtown, small, colorful pachyderms enliven the scene, reminding residents of Unicoi County’s new cause — the Elephant Revival.

A clever way to turn the story of Mary — the elephant brought to Erwin’s railroad cranes in 1916 to be hanged — into something more positive for the town, the  Elephant Revival celebrates Mary and her kind, all the while raising funds for a refuge dedicated to elephant care.

The event runs Sept. 16 through Sept. 23, and promises everything from a scavenger hunt, a party in downtown Erwin, the chance to purchase the elephant statues and — my favorite — a Queen Kamarymary Hawaiian Luau charity dinner. 

Yep, elephants are definitely my new favorite — a bit of brilliance, a bit of whimsy and a whole lot of magic.

For more details on the Revival, call 220-7624.

.