Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Grandfather Mountains Notes the Passing of an Era

Granfather Mountain officials have announced the end of an Era for The Singing on the Mountain with the passing of Singing Chairman Robert Hartley.

The 87th annual Singing on the Mountain will be a memorial to two of the event’s great leaders: Singing Chairman Robert Hartley who passed away in May 2011 and Music Master Tony Greene who passed away in September 2010.

Robert Hartley was the youngest child of Singing Founder Joe Hartley, who with his four brothers took over the role as Chairmen of the Singing after their father’s death in 1966. The last remaining Hartley brother, Robert’s passing is the end of an era that his friends and family will celebrate Sunday, June 26.

Performing at the 87th Singing will be the Tim Greene Trio, The Hoppers, The Primitive, The Cockman Family, Michael Combs, the Mighty Gospel Enforcers and George Hamilton IV with Terry Warren. Admission is free.

NC Trout Fishing: Troutacular! Festival and Heritage Program

June 4 - Troutacular! You'll find everything Trout at the state’s newest mountain heritage trout festival. The one-day event is a dual town Festival connecting Spruce Pine and Bakersville, two of the five mountain towns named participants in pilot programs for Mountain Heritage Trout Waters Cities in North Carolina.

The Mountain Heritage The Mountain Heritage Trout Waters Program was established by the General Assembly in 2007 as a means to encourage trout fishing as a heritage tourism activity.  Participation is limited to cities and towns that provide public access to trout waters which are currently in the North Carolina Wildlife Commission’s trout management program and run through or adjacent to those cities or towns.  Both Spruce Pine and Bakersville –along with Maggie Valley, Waynesville and Newland-have been designated as part of the pilot program.

Activities are being planned that will provide educational and fun entertainment for participants of all ages.  Events for the festival include fishing and wildlife vendors and exhibits, Trout Unlimited, trout fishing, Toe River Outfitters with demonstrations, children’s activities, a fishing tournament for cash prizes, NC Fish and Wildlife exhibits, local crafters and of course food!

The Mountain Heritage Trout Cities Festival is coordinated by the Spruce Pine Main Street, the Town of Bakersville, along with community business people. This event is free for kids age 14 and under. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Haywood County Memorial Day Parade

May 30   2011 Memorial Day Parade and Celebration   Downtown Canton NC has bee designated to host Haywood County's annual Memorial Day festivities.  The parade begins at 1 PM followed by a Ceremony at the Colonial Theatre.  The event includes food and entertainment along the river on Sorrells Street.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend Events: New Exhibits at the NC Aboretum begin today

Beginning May 28 and continuing through  Sept 6  the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville presents  Botanical Chords and The Fine Art of Wood,  two new exhibits at the NC Arboretum.

Botanical Chords by Terry Ashley blurs the line between science and art. A former research scientist at Yale University School of Medicine, Ashley developed her technique while pursuing her hobby of photographing plant parts under the light microscope. Ashley termed her art “chords” because they connect two separate images, one traditional plant photograph and one image taken at a cellular level.

The Fine Art of Wood:
An International Invitational Exhibition of Woodturning will feature the work of more than 40 artists from across the country and around the world. The exhibit will showcase a wide variety of style and presentation, from pedestal and tabletop pieces to wall hangings.

The North Carolina Arboretum offers Magnificent gardens and miles of woodland trails, plus year around special events and touring shows. Experience nature in an intimate environment and connect with plants that are as diverse and rich as the land itself.  Whether you enjoy strolling through gardens, exploring exhibits, enriching your mind or hiking and biking, the Arboretum offers activities for all ages. The Nc Arboretum is located at 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way in Asheville, North Carolina.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Great Smoky Mountain News and Events: May 26 - June 1

Weekly Events Update:

It's a Girl Thing grand opening -  Grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting, It’s a Girl Thing, Friday, May 27, 2 p.m. Pursenality owner Matt Kirkland has worked his magic again with a great new shop located only a couple of doors down the sidewalk. Come out for a look at all the cute things and enjoy refreshments and in store discounts. It's
a Girl Thing, 225 Everett Street in Bryson City NC

Thumbnails on greatsmokies.com   -  We have a new option for your listing on greatsmokies.com. We will soon have the capability of adding a thumbnail photo or logo to your listing. The cost is $50 annually. You will be billed on your next membership invoice which you should be receiving in a couple of weeks. If you are interested please send jennifer@greatsmokies.com  a jpeg of your logo or photo. The image should be at least 400 pixels wide and horizontal if possible. Please respond by Friday, May 27, if you can. The website format is being updated, so the thumbnails should appear with your listing in a few weeks.

New artwork for the Chamber office -
  Charles Heath presented the Chamber of Commerce with a framed picture to add to the collection of his art in the Chamber office. Pictured: Charles Heath, Chamber Board President Ron LaRocque, Chamber Executive Director Karen Wilmot

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
-  Visits into Great Smoky Mountains NP dropped by 18.7% for April 2011 compared witrh April 2010, but that decline is due to the 2010 Interstate 40 rockslide at the TN/NC state line that closed the Interstate. That funneled heavy traffic through the Park via Newfound Gap Road until the slide was finally cleared on April 25, 2010
Year to date entries into the Park are down by 9.2% from Jan-Apr, 2010
By entrance the April 2011 visitation was as follows:
Gatlinburg: -21.5%
Townsend: +16.4%
Cherokee: -35.6%
Outlying Entrances: -10.3%
All the stats are available on-line at:

The Lone Ranger at Great Smoky Mountains Railroad 
- America’s favorite legend brings law and order to the mountains of western North Carolina at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad this June. This exciting special event will take place June 11, and 12, 2011 at the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad’s Bryson City Depot.  Click here for more information.

News from the
Marianna Black Library -  Family movie day features the animated film "Up." Classic movie day features a James Stewart film.  Click here for more information.

Memorial Day Weekend at Fontana Village Resort  -  Fontana Village Resort begins its official summer kick-off with the annual Memorial Day Weekend celebration. This year’s schedule includes live music on both Friday and Saturday nights.  Click here for more information.

Craft festival at the Old Mill 1886
-  On June 18 artists from all over the Southeast will gather to demonstrate and sell their hand crafted works. Artists will include: Cherokee artists, wood carvers, blacksmith, quilters, jewelry designers, Appalachian crafters and authors. Smoked BBQ, kettle corn, homemade ice cream and music. The mill is located at 3082 U.S. 441. A mile south of Cherokee. Festival hours are 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. Admission is free. 828-497-6536

Artists/Farmers/Flea Market this weekend -  160 Main Street, Bryson City, Beside Rotary Park (in the building formerly used by No Faux Pas) Friday, May 27th & Saturday, May 28th 8 a.m. till 5 p.m. Some of you might be interested in renting a space to sell your art, produce or flea market items. Or you might just want to go and check it out during the Heritage Festival downtown Bryson City this weekend, May 27 and 28. Call 488-8597 or 736-0857 to reserve your space or for more information.

Gold coin raffle for memorial wall
  - Grand Prize of a 1 ounce gold coin currently valued at $3,000. Other prizes will be available as well from merchants that are members of the Swain County Chamber of Commerce. All monies collected will be used for the building of the Historic Wall at the Swain County Admin. Bldg. Ticket sales will be limited to 2,000 with $5.00 for one or $10.00 for three. The drawing will be held on Saturday, September 3, 2011 at 12:00 noon. Raffle ticket sales will kick off at the Heritage Festival beginning May 27 at Swain County Riverside Park in Bryson City For further information about the Wall or for ticket sales please contact Richard Allison, P.O. Box 386, Bryson City, NC 28713
For more Smoky Mountain Events contact the Swain County Chamber of Commerce, 210 Main Street in Bryson City, North Carolina

Memorial Day Sale at Asheville's Appalachian Vintner

Memorial Day Sale at Appalachian Vintner located at 2-B Huntsman Place in Asheville, NC.  All domestically produced items will be offered at generous discounts. Call (828) 505-7500 or send an email for details. Appalachian Vintner will be opened from 10am-6pm on Memorial Day!
Check it out at  " Asheville's Best Wine & Beer Tasting", a FREE wine tasting and beer Saturday May 28 4 PM-7 PM

Memorial Day Sale at Waynesville's Quilter's Quarters

3 day weekend sale at Quilter's Quarters in Waynesville NC.  "Fat Quarter Frenzy"....20 FQ's and more will be just $1.00!!!! Any amounts under will be $1.50....they will be located in the class room and there are at least 200 to choose from!!

Everyone will be eligible for a 'red -ticket' drawing for 10-25% discount on ANY kit, ANY 20FQ bundle or 5-1yd cut bundles. It will be opened at checkout to see your discount....many other discounted items and over 60 bolts of fabric that will be $4.00/yd with 1 yd min. cut. Memorial Day Weekend hours are 10 AM to 5:30 on Fri and Sat and until 3:00 o
n Monday. Quilter's Quarters is located at 1510 Dellwood Road in Waynesville  NC.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend Events: Horseback Riding

Memorial Day Horseback Rides from $35 ! Come & enjoy the peace & tranquility during Memorial Day week in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains on horseback at SANDY BOTTOM TRAIL RIDES!  Enjoy a ride to the Little Pine Garnet Mine Cave on horseback or in a covered wagon. Be sure to bring your camera to capture a memory or horseback mountain views!

Pack a lunch and come for an all day ride or choose a 1 hour ride, 2 hour ride or 3 hour ride by horse or buggy. Enjoy a horseback ride on a secluded ranch minutes north of Asheville, NC. OPEN YEAR-ROUND, except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Sandy Bottom Trail Rides

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend Events: Heritage Festival in Bryson City

May 27 - 28   Bryson City's   Heritage Festival   is and event that has it ALL.  The Friday night entertainment is loaded with local talent and features the best of old-time gospel music. Saturday's entertainment includes classic country and bluegrass, clogging and Indian hoop dancing. In addition to music, the festival will have local arts and crafts, food, games for the kids, a log-sawing contest and plenty of fun for the whole family.

Memorial Day Weekend Cabin Specials: Smoky Mountain Cabin near the Nantahala River

Stonewood Cabin in Bryson City NC is Available Memorial Day week, May 27 - June 2.  This Smoky Mountain Cabin is only 2 miles to the Nantahala River and one of the closest cabin rentals to the NOC (Nantahala Outdoor Center). Great for couples or family it is nestled on the side of a mountain in a serene wooded setting, but close to area attractions. Three porches, hot tub and lots of peace and quiet after a day of play on the Nantahala! Sleeps up to 8 people. $100-$150 night, $700-$875 week.

Memorial Day Weekend Events: Hero Day in Burnsville

May 27 -28 in downtown Burnsville NC the Memorial Day Weekend celebration Hero Day includes a free concert on Friday night on the town square called "Rockin' the Village Green" in conjunction with a "Cruisin' the way it used to be" event throughout the town. Saturday morning the "Ride for a Vet" (rideforavet.com) registration will begin on the town square at 8 am.

The concert and ride will benefit the United States Marine Corps League
Mt. Mitchell Detachment 1266. The event offers food, fun, fellowship and entertainment on the town square. The parade begins at 12:00 NOON with entertainment at 1 PM and the ceremony at 2 PM. Full SCHEDULE and contact information can be found HERE .

Memorial Day Weekend Events: High Country Herb Festival

May 28 - 29   the  Banner Elk Herb Festival   features Fantastic Spring herbs, great local bands, lots of arts and crafts vendors, farmers market items, a kid zone and, of course,  thousands of herb plants for sale. The festival benefits the local volunteer firefighters.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend Cabin Specials: 10% off Mountain or Golf View

Mount Mitchell Vacation Rentals    This is an E-Coupon for 10% off a mountain view or golf course view cabin rental! Just mention CEM 10% off when you make your reservation.

Hemlock Chalet is newly remodeled with loads of charm and a wonderful mountain view. 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, french country decor and a comfy hammock make this vacation rental the perfect mountain retreat.

12th Tee Lodge offers the cozy natural wood and stone interior known in the  Blue Ridge Mountains as rustic elegance. Enjoy a terrific view of the Mount Mitchell Golf course from the large deck. With 4 bedrooms and 3 baths and a fun-filled game room this is the perfect place for the whole family or friends and couples to relax and enjoy!

Both rentals have WIFI,  fireplaces, fully-equipped kitchens, gas grills, all linens, Cable TV and are
PET FRIENDLY for your well behaved four-legged family members.     Burnsville NC
$850 - $1050 TOTAL cost  - all fees included.  Get more details and see the videos here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend Events: The Black and Blue: Double Century Relay

May 28   The High Country hosts The Black and Blue: Double Century Relay  The only cycling event of its kind in the contiguous United States, The Black & Blue is a double century (218-mile) relay showcasing the demanding mountainous roads and notable rivers of Northwestern North Carolina, Southwestern Virginia and Northeastern Tennessee. The Black & Blue is a bike challenge like no other. Todd NC.

Last Minute Memorial Day Weekend Specials

It's not too late to join the fun and festivities for Memorial Day weekend in the beautiful North Carolina Mountains! Stay in a log cabin, vacation rental, mountain in or NC resort and enjoy all the festivals and spring scenery offered this Memorial Day.

The Cabins at Long Branch Get 15% off Smoky Mountain Cabins in Nantahala through Memorial Day! Secluded on 40 acres and bordered by a trout stream these cabins have easy access just minutes to whitewater rafting. Stone fireplace, grill, large porch with rockers, full kitchen. Each cabin Sleeps 6. Nantahala NC

Carolina Mornings All Last Minute Reservations secured and departed between May 14-31 will receive 2 free tickets to LaZoom Tours. A $46 savings, but hurry seats are limited! Enter Code MAYZOOM. Choose fro 75+ Asheville Cabins and luxury vacation rentals with mountain views, hot tubs, fireplaces, WIFI, pet friendly and other amenities. Asheville NC

Aquone Cabins
Last Minute Specials for Memorial Day Week - Smoky Mountain Cabins from $95. One or two bedroom log cabins with vaulted beamed ceilings, wood floors and hand-made furniture. Only 1 mile to Nantahala Lake! . All log cabins come with hot tub, pool table, satellite TV, DVD, BBQ grill, and outdoor fire pit. $95 - $250 night - Nantahala NC


Absolute Heaven Mountain Valley Cabins 30% DISCOUNT for active duty Military and Veterans. Peaceful mountain view cabins with creek access. Central location near Asheville and all attractions. Porches with rockers, gas grills, full kitchens. Hot Springs - Ashevillle Area.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

White Squirrel Shoppe Celebrates 22nd Aniversary

The White Squirrel Shoppe celebrates its 22nd Anniversary on Friday, May 27th with a one-day, 22% off storewide sale. Plus a special free gift to customers who purchase $25 or more. There will also be a drawing for two willow trees by Dendaco.

Enjoy the sound of water falling from a 12 foot waterfall, while shopping in  4,000 square feet of gifts and carefully selected specialty items. The White Squirrel Shoppe offers the largest selection of candles in the area including Yankee Candles. Find Amish Furniture, NC T-shirts, local jellies and, of course, lots of White Squirrel products. This is a great place to shop if you want something special! You can shop online for many of your favorite items or visit the store for even more! The  White Squirrel Shoppe  is located at 2 West Main Street in downtown  Brevard NC

Friday, May 20, 2011

Win an NC Vacation with "Front Porch Sweepstakes"

The North Carolina Division of Tourism is at it again! This season the Division will be offering a variety of sweepstakes for NC getaways from the mountain to the beaches.

The Front Porch Fun sweepstakes includes Lake Lure and The Blue Ridge Foothills with amazing scenery, heritage and stunning "front porch views". Lake Lure summer fireworks attract visitors from all over the country and next door Chimney Rock Park is a one-of-a-kind attraction with a variety of Park activities and hiking trails.

Enter to win a three-night trip for four to the Foothills area withVictorian styled accommodations at Carrier Houses Bed and Breakfast and a wide variety of kid-friendly activities and dining experiences including:
  • Three nights accommodations at Carrier Houses Bed and Breakfast in downtown Rutherfordton
  • A $300 Visa gift card from Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority
  • Four tickets to a show or concert at The Foundation at Isothermal Community College
  • Four gem mining experiences at Thermal City Gold Mine
  • $50 gift certificate to Gregory’s on Main Street restaurant
  • Admission for two adults and two children to the KidSenses Interactive Children’s Museum
  • $20 gift certificate to Main Street Coffee & Ice Cream
  • $15 gift certificate to The Fountain & Gift Shop at Spindale Drug Company
  PLUS - a $500 Visa gift card to get you here!
ENTER NOW - the sweepstakes ends May 31, 2011.
(one entry per email address)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Great Smoky Mountain News and Events - May 19 - 25

May 20, 5 PM - 7 PM Tuckasegee Tavern grand opening -  Grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting at the Tuckasegee Tavern, 103 Depot St in Bryson City NC . Please join new owner Tom Wilmot, the Chamber staff and Board as we welcome this new and improved business to the Chamber family and to the community. Featuring drink specials and live entertainment, you might just want to stay for a while and enjoy the great new pub of Bryson City!Grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting, Tuckasegee Tavern, Friday, May 20, 5-7 p.m. Please join new owner Tom Wilmot, the Chamber staff and Board as we welcome this new and improved business to the Chamber family and to the community. Featuring drink specials and live entertainment, you might just want to stay for a while and enjoy the great new pub of Bryson City!

May 21, 9 AM   Swain County Chamber of Commerce roadside clean up.  Meet at Ingle’s parking lot to grab your gear and divide into teams. Sections to be cleaned are Veteran’s Boulevard and Bryson Walk from Yellow Rose Realty to the old 288 boat put in. Let’s do our part and get Swain County and Bryson City cleaned up!

25, 5-7 p.m Chamber Business After Hours - Co-hosted by Mike and Joan Glover of Sleepy Hollow Farm and Shaklee Products represented by Harvey and Rota Krape. Join us for a great night out featuring a cheese and wine bar, door prizes, and more. The event will be held at Sleepy Hollow Farm, at 164 Sleepy Hollow Road, just off Sherrill Road (go past Swain High School and turn left onto Sherrill Road). Click here for a printable flyer.

May 27, 2 PM - It's A Girl Thing grand opening. Grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting at It's a Girl Thing, 225 Everett Street in Bryson City NC.  Pursenality owner Matt Kirkland has worked his magic again with a great new shop located only a couple of doors down the sidewalk. Come out for a look at all the cute things and enjoy refreshments and in store discounts.

May 27, 1 PM - 3 PM -
Ribbon cutting and grand re-opening of Cherokee Fun Park. Celebrate the re-opening of Cherokee Fun Park, 1897 Tsali Blvd. in Cherokee NC. Try out the go carts,  a round of mini-golf or food, rides and family fun at the special kick-off event.

Weekly Events May 19-25 - Click here for a printable flyer

New Chamber Members May 9-13

Bryson City Belly Dance & Movement 
125 Brendle Street in Bryson City NC, 828-788-3271Mission: to share the ancient art of belly dance with the Bryson City community through education, instruction and performance and to use this empowering dance form to create a sense of self and community for the women of Bryson City and surrounding communities. Find us on Facebook.

Cherokee Fun Park, 1897 Tsali Blvd. in Cherokee, NC  828-497-5877
Plenty of family fun! Mini golf, go karts, rides and an arcade.

News from P.A.W.S. -   Animal Welfare grassroots meeting
with state and local government including surrounding counties and HSUS representatives. On May 21st we need everybody to go on to Toyota 100 Cars for Good and vote for P.A.W.S. video so we can win a brand new Toyota van. Click here for more details.

News from the Marianna Black Library - Upcoming movies, music jams and a special program, "The Path to Publication," with author Kim Michelle Richardson. Click here for more information.

News from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
- Cosby in the Park and the trail rehabilitation program. Click here for more information.

- Cherokee fly fishing event - It is time for the 2011 U.S. National Fly Fishing Championship headquartered in Cherokee, NC. Click here for more information. 

For more Smoky Mountain Events contact the Swain County Chamber of Commerce,
210 Main Street in Bryson City, North Carolina

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Foorhills Conservancy Broad River Float

May 21, 9 AM -  Join the Foothills Conservancy on a joint paddle trip with the Rutherford Outdoor Coalition (ROC). The trip will be approximately 7 river miles and should take about 3-4 hours. The paddle trip starts at Rivercreek Campground and continues to River Road. This stretch of river is mostly Class I water with several short, fun rapids. It is a beautiful stretch with almost no visible development on the river and travels past Foothills Conservancy's River Bend Preserve.

Meeting Time: 9am at the campground which is located off Rock Springs Church Rd. near the intersection with US 64/74-A about 12 miles west of Rutherfordton towards Lake Lure. Use 217 River Creek Drive, Lake Lure, NC to Google directions. Bring your own canoe or kayak.

The Conservancy thanks  Rivercreek Campground for allowing the use their put-in. They have RV and tent campsites available and a store on site if you need to stock up on snacks before the trip.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Women's Horse Industry Association Announces Breast Cancer Fund Raiser

On June 25th riders and hikers will join together at the Settlement At Thomas Divide in Bryson City, NC to help raise funds for women suffering from breast cancer. The organization is hoping for a great turnout and invites you and your friends, co-workers and family to join in. Enjoy the beautify Smoky Mountains, make some new friends, have fun and help the WHIA help others!

You can come as an individual or a team member. Bring together your family, your friends or co-workers and form a team. Prizes will be awarded for a variety of things. Get details here.

The event will benefit the Equestrian Aid Foundation and the WHIA Charitable Trust. More information and registration forms can be could at:
Women's Horse Industry Association

The WHIA has more than 700 equine professional women members networking
to help members gather the information they need to become more successful in their equine businesses and to promote the advancement of women in the equine industry.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Things to do in the NC Mountains: 2011 Season Bigger and Better than ever!

The NC Division of Tourism reports an increase in Festivals, Events and special things to do in the NC mountains for 2011. If May and the Memorial Day Weekend are an indication, both the quality and quantity of mountain events offers something for everyone from sports competitions to arts and crafts to old fashioned family fun.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors and this spring's wonderful weather with mountain biking and the Assault on Mt Mitchell and Marion or Bryson City's  12 Hours of Tsali for the 7th annual Team and Solo competitions, one of the most fun and challenging races of the year. Held on the famous Tsali trail system, the race is10 miles per lap of fast flowing single track through the hills of Western North Carolina. Or test you overall fitness with the Second Annual Lake James Triathlon, a 750 meter swim in Lake James followed by a 22 mile bicycle ride ending with a 3.1 mile foot race to the finish line! And on Memorial Day Weekend Asheville's 11th Annual Mountain Sports Festival  challenges both pros and ametuers in mountain sports in a festival setting. In the High Country The Black and Blue: Double Century Relay  is the only cycling event of its kind in the contiguous United States with 218 miles showcasing the demanding mountainous roads and notable rivers of Northwestern North Carolina, Southwestern Virginia and Northeastern Tennessee. Find more Mountain Sports events here...

Special Festivals with live music and local mountain arts and crafts include Brevard's renowned White Squirrel Festival  voted "Best Spring Music Festival in Western North Carolina" by the reader's of the Asheville Citizen Times and Asheville's 8th Annual Monford Arts and Music Festival  with two stages  filled with continuous live music and entertainment from featured local and national artists. The 8th Annual Arts and Music Festival  in charming downtown Saluda celebrates the talent of more than 50 outstanding local artists and craftspeople during Saluda's 130th birthday year. On Memorial Day Weekend Bryson City hosts  Heritage Festival  a two day event with old – time gospel, classic country and bluegrass, clogging, and Indian hoop dancing. In addition to music, the festival offers local arts and crafts, food, games for the kids, log-sawing contest and fun for the whole family. Pickin' on the Square  in downtown Franklin kicks off its 2011 season with free live entertainment every Saturday night Memorial Day weekend through October. Bring your own chair and enjoy some good mountain music and dancing. On Memorial Day, the Carl Sandburg Folk Music Festival  is held on the grounds of the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site. The folk music which was an important part of Carl Sandburg's life comes alive with instrumentals, folk ballads and spiritual songs.     Find more Music and Arts and Crafts Festivals here...

How does your garden grow?
Whether you're an avid gardener or just appreciate the beauty of  spring blossoms you'll want to attend these celebrations of spring: CHimney Rock Park's  Spring Wildflower Guided Hike  includes the maximum diversity of Park wildflowers on several Park trails. Memorial Day Weekend's  18th Annual Garden Jubilee Festival  in
Hendersonville offers over 200 vendors selling thousands of plants, arts and crafts along with  garden talks,  clinics, garden accessories, and food. The festival covers 8 blocks of Main Street. Find Fantastic Spring herbs, great local bands, lots of arts and crafts vendors and farmers market items at the Banner Elk Herb Festival.  Asheville's  Annual Asheville-Blue Ridge Rose Society Exhibition features award-winning roses of every color and size. Experts will be on hand and a sale will be held in conjunction with the exhibition, which will include rose plants, fertilizer, and soil amendments.  You can see the mountains' remarkable Catawba Rhododendron up close and personal on Grandfather Mountain's  Remarkable Rhododendron RamblePrograms will occur daily at 1 PM and last for approximately one hour. Find more gardening and nature activities here...

And if you're looking for the unusual and just plain FUN events, try Music and More at the Historic Orchard at Alta Pass  in between Little Switzerland and Spruce Pine with music, mountain dancing, storytelling, hayrides, monarch butterfly raising, naturalist tours and birding walks and arts and handwork demonstrations.
Or head north to Wilkesboro for the Candle Light Ghost Tours and an evening of tales, mystery and haunts. Learn about the ghosts that haunt the old buildings of downtown Wilkesboro. Visit a cemetery where Civil War Soldiers are buried, stand in the jail cell where Tom Dooley spent his last days.  Love comic books, SI-FI and all things fantasy?   FANATICON2  hosted by Tthe Asheville Art Museum is a free event for fans of comic books, science fiction, fantasy and pop culture. Over 70 artists and vendors will be on hand for an opportunity to interact with Asheville's own independent comic book creators and to shop for comics, graphic novels and collectibles. Lake Lure's 4th Annual  Lure of the Dragons  highlights dragon boat racing, one of  the fastest growing water sports in the world. Enjoyed by both the young and old, the occasional calorie burner, or the weekend warrior, all teams will have a chance to learn and practice the basics of paddling a dragon boat in the fund-raising event. For animal lovers there is the Tryon Summer Premier Horse Show   or the AKC dog Agility Trials  during Memorial Day Weekend. Or find lots of "horse power" in Maggie Valley at the  7th Annual Vettes in the Valley  with over 320 Corvettes from 15 states plus a Road Rally, Vendors, Entertainment, Door Prizes, Contests and a Silent Auction.  The official show car of the NASCAR Nationwide Series will make a “Pit Stop” on Saturday.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Riverlink Volunteer Opportunity at The Mountain Sports Festival

Riverlink is offering an exciting volunteer opportunity to enjoy one of Asheville's premier parks and hear some great music while representing RiverLink.   The Mountain Sports Festival , a weekend event featuring live music, sports competitions and local beer, takes place May 27-29.  This year's event boasts music headliners such as Zach Deputy and Big Daddy Love as well as cycling, a disc golf competition and a triathlon. 

RiverLink is grateful for all the dedicated volunteers who have already signed up to help, but still need a few extra hands to fly the RiverLink flag. If you're available to help, please respond to Laura Barry, RiverLink's Assistant Volunteer Coordinator, at laura@riverlink.org.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Asheville Wins BeerCity Title Again

Asheville NC hits number one in the BeerCity USA poll for 2011. 14,999 votes cast in this year’s BeerCity USA poll, 7,002 of which were cast for Asheville.  The San Diego community and its supporters came on strong in 2011, with 2,374 votes, easily surpassing Portland, Oregon which had 1,495 votes.

Nearly 50% of Asheville's votes came from out of state voters showing strong support for the quality and popularity of Asheville's brewers. There are 8 small breweries in the city of Asheville with others in the surrounding area. Breweries as well as local restaurants and retail businesses receive strong support from the community and its visitors. "Support Local" isn't just a concept in Asheville, it's a way of life.

The BeerCity USA poll is solely about popularity and community support. Individuals cast their votes without regard to commercial success, advertising or statistics. When a community with a population under 200,000 can garner more votes than some of the largest cities in the United States, it's time to acknowledge the significance of the accomplishment.

The Top Ten BeerCity USA 2011
  1. Asheville, NC                                         7,002         46.68%
  2. San Diego, CA                                      2,374         15.83%
  3. Portland, OR                                          1,495           9.97%   
  4. Bend, OR                                                  821            5.47%   
  5. St. Louis, MO                                           549            3.66%   
  6. Milwaukee, WI                                          391           2.61%   
  7. Philadelphia, PA                                      366           2.44%   
  8. Seattle, WA                                              336           2.24%   
  9. San Francisco/Oakland-Bay Area        320            2.13%   
  10. Chicago, IL                                               287           1.91%   
Votes were cast from 50 countries, with 14,766 from the U.S. and only one vote per computer and IP address.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hayes Performing Art Center Interim Managing Director

Todd Morgan is proud to be a part of the Hayes Performing Arts Center for the 2011 season as the Interim Managing Director. He comes to the Center directly from the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Va. Todd received his MFA in Performing Arts Management from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

As a component of that program, he spent a full season at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC, working in the General Management office.  Prior to UNCSA, Todd helped to produce all of the park entertainment at Tweetsie Railroad while serving as the Director of Entertainment. As the founder and director of the North Carolina Stage Ensemble, Todd has also produced such musical productions as Little Shop of Horrors, Smokey Joe's CafĂ©, Forever Plaid
and The Will Rogers Follies in various theatres, universities and resorts across North Carolina. Todd currently resides in Linville with his wife Donna and their daughters, Molly and Allyssa.

Todd will oversee the day-to-day operations of the 5-year-old 348-seat performing arts facility. Hayes Center operations were suspended in  September 2009, but the organization has since been restructured and repositioned to reopen next month. Todd has been assisting the repositioning efforts in an advisory role for the past few months.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Register Early for National Trails Days and Save

National Trails Day is Saturday, June 4 with early registration $15 before May 16th. The day is filled with fun and hard work.  This year The Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will  be improving sections of the Appalachian Trail between The Boulevard Trail and Siler's Bald.

The day begins with check-in, t-shirts + Blue Smoke Coffee, juice and donuts followed by team departures to specific work locations.
Members of the 2011 Trails Forever Crew will be working alongside.  Get details about the day, as well as links to the event announcement and registration form.

Monday, May 9, 2011

LTLT's Hiwassee-Valley Land Trust project conserves its first riverfront property

Hiwassee-Valley Land Trust, a project of the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee, is celebrating a milestone in its conservation work: the acquisition of a unique, historic farm that lies on 0.8 miles of Valley River near Andrews NC. The 100-acre Salman Farm  and wildlife habitat was acquired by the land trust on April 29 and is now protected by a conservation easement that ensures that the land will remain available for agriculture, stream and wildlife habitat, and passive recreation. The conservation easement allows one residence, as well as barns and other farm structures.

Lying near Andrews, about a mile and a half west of the airport, the Salman Farm contains exceptional surface waters, productive farmland, cultural history, and scenic beauty. In addition to almost 4,500 feet of Valley River
frontage, the farm holds portions of three creeks as well as 3,000 linear feet of oxbow wetlands - the old, meandering channel of Valley River - which provide outstanding waterfowl habitat. Streams and oxbows will be protected by buffer areas of native trees and shrubs, still leaving two-thirds of the land available for farming. The sandy loam soil in the Valley River floodplain has a history of exceptionally heavy crop yields. This year, a local farmer will lease most of the farmland for corn, soybeans, and beef cattle, while a smaller section will be a community garden tended by local young people through Cherokee County Cooperative Extension's
4-H program.

The cultural significance of the Salman Farm rests on its being a part of the historic Welch Farm and  contains most of the cropland and river frontage of what was, in the early-to-mid 1800s, a two-square-mile estate. "Welch's Town" consisted of two village areas in the lower Snowbird Mountains north of today's Salman Farm, where several Native families escaped the 1838 removal by accepting safe haven provided by John and Betty Welch. According to the records of William Holland Thomas, 27 Cherokee families were living in Welch's Town by 1840. Further information is available in A Struggle for Cherokee Community: Excavating Identity in Post-Removal North Carolina, a 2009 UNC-Chapel Hill doctoral dissertation by Lance Greene.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

Got Cougar?

Asheville's  WNC Nature Center has let the cat out of the bag and its newest additions are making themselves at home in the renovated Predator Pavilion!  If you have not visited the new cougar cubs, stop by and see these beautiful creatures enjoying the mountain sunshine.  They are still getting settled going in and out of their den and may not be visiable at all times, but they are spending more time out enjoying the wonderful habitat created by the dedicated Nature Center staff.

The Friends of the Nature Center have funded new signage with some fun interactive elements and video that will be in place soon.  In the meantime,just have fun watching the boys play.  Keep an eye out on FaceBook and our YouTube channel for more fun news and video on the cubs.

Name the Cougars Contest!  Submit a name for each cougar brother and you will be entered to win a year's family pass to the WNC Nature Center and an Adopt-A-Cougar award that includes a stuffed cougar! Thank you to 99.9 KISS Country for hosting the contest!  The top 5 names will be revealed and voted on in July!  Click here to enter...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Great Smoky Mountain News and Events

Events and happenings in the Smoky Mountains May 5-11. Click here for a printable flyer.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park News -
Storm damage causes trail closures. Press release.
Park celebrates Tourism Week with local communities. Press Release.
Corridor K Coalition -
Invitation to a pre-hearing open house and cooridor public hearing on May 17. More information.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Cabin Raffle -
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina is raffling off a custom-built log cabin located near Bryson City on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Perfect as a family vacation getaway, the 2000 square foot cabin has a hot tub, pool table, sleeping loft, two bathrooms, and a 1,400 square foot wraparound porch with majestic views overlooking beautiful Deep Creek Valley. Tickets are $100 and help BBBS of WNC further its mission of matching children and teenagers with mentors. Purchase tickets at www.logcabinraffle.org by June 24, 2011. The drawing for the cabin will be held on July 4, 2011.
Endless River Adventures Fundraiser -
May Fundraiser for Victims of the Tornado Disaster. For every guest we book for rafting during the month of May we will donate $1/guest to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
Bryson City Bicycles Bike Rack Offer -
Bryson City Bicycles is offering to order bike racks at wholesale for Bryson City Merchants wishing to purchase them. More information.
Events at Fontana Village -
Click here for more information on upcoming events at Fontana Village Resort.
Mountain BizWorks Offering an Excel Course -
Mountain BizWorks is offering a 3-week Advanced Excel course at the Center for New Mountain Business located at 673 Siler Road in Franklin, just before the library. The class will begin May 12. Click here for more information.
Historical Memorial Wall -
Memorial to honor the approximately 600 families displaced by the World War II war effort. Click here for more information.
Music Jam at the Marianna Black Library -
The Music Jam at the library is this Thursday, May 5. Click here for more information.
Ponie Express for Breast Ride/Hike -
Enjoy a fun filled day of riding and hiking to raise money for women with breast cancer. Click here for a printable flyer.
Events at Swain County Center for the Arts -
Click here for the schedule of upcoming events at Swain County Center for the Arts.
Shakespeare in Swain County -
Shakespeare’s "Much Ado About Nothing‘ will be in Swain County. There will be four performances at Smoky Mountain Community Theatre. Click here for more information.

For more Smoky Mountain information and events visit the 
Swain County Chamber of Commerce

Mother's Day Buffets and Brunches

Get Mom out of the kitchen on her special day with any of the Mother's Day Brunches and Buffets at fine restaurants throughout the Western North carolina Mountains: 

Find more Mother's Day events here...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Riverlink Hosts 3rd Annual Fins and Gills Classic

May 13 at the Asheville Outdoor Center RiverLink, ClearChannel and the Asheville Outdoor Center are hosting the 2011 Fins & Gills Classic. The Fins & Gills Classic is designed to get fishermen on the French Broad River and rods & reels in the hands of  kids to get them interested in fishing and the French Broad.

There will be free Shakespeare rods and reels for the first 100 kids who show up
. There will also be a portable trout pond stocked with trout -- brook trout. "Brookies," as they are known, are native to the mountains of WNC. 
Hot dogs cooked will be cooked on site, and storyteller Vixi Jil Glen will spin a yarn or two from inside one of the AOC's teepees.

Martin will teach a variety of classes aimed at young anglers and there will be door prizes, spot prizes, and for those taking part in the fishing tournament, prizes in categories like "biggest fish" and "most species caught."

More seasoned anglers can register for the fishing tournament up until 8 a.m. Saturday morning. At 08:30, an Asheville Outdoor Center shuttle will take anglers and their watercraft to Bent Creek for a float-and-fish back to the AOC. Weigh-and-release stations will be provided, and the final weigh-in will be at 2 p.m., followed by the prize-giving. Prizes include goods -- kayaks, flyrods, gift certificates -- from Diamond Brand, Davidson River Outfitters, Greg Clark's Country Side Marine.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

6th Annual Patchwork Folk and Fabric Festival Preserves Heritage Handwork

June 4, 9 AM - 4 PM See Old Time Tatting, Caning, Quilting and Spinning Demonstrations at the 6th Annual Patchwork Folk and Fabric Festival

“I remember as a child when my aunts would drop a quilt from the quilting rack on the ceiling,” says Amy Ammons Garza, co-organizer, “and quilt for days on end until the quilt was completed. Well, this year, we will once more have some special local quilts hanging from the ceiling on display...hand pieced quilts with written descriptive stories attached to each quilt.”

More quilts will be displayed as members of Dogwood Crafters once again share quilt stories in a “Bed Turning” display which will happen every hour on the hour during the day. And to add to the day, the Smoky Mountain Quilters Guild will be demonstrating the art of old time needle quilting.

Other demonstrations this year will include nature illustrations, tatting, caning, corn shuck doll making, wood carving, and other folk arts such as rug braiding, rug hooking, spinning and carting, weaving, crocheting, knitting--with demonstrators from Western North Carolina's towns of Sylva, Cullowhee, Tuckasegee, Hendersonville, Asheville, Robbinsville, Franklin, Waynesville, Lake Junaluska, Whittier and Dillsboro.

Ruth Ensley Bryson from Cullowhee will be on hand to demonstrate her “needle tatting” ability
. Tatting is an old craft used to make a type of lace. Tatting has experienced numerous periods of popularity, including during Victorian times and the 1950s and 60s. The English name of tatting is said to be derived from ‘tatters’ and to denote the frail disconnected character of the fabric. In recent years, it has been revived again with great enthusiasm. Tatting can be a very fulfilling hobby - it is easy to learn (contrary to how you might feel when viewing the incredible complexity of designs that result from tatting projects) and there are a vast array of projects available to the avid tatter. Tatting designs are elegant, dainty and useful.

David Ammons, chair caner, weaves his heritage into his craft, for with every row of splints, he recreates his time with his grandfather. “Grandpa Ammons made his own chairs,” he says. “I watched in awe as a child as he wove his magic after carefully framing the chair piece by piece. I often wonder now why I didn’t ask him to teach me when I was that 8-year-old, watching. I just sat there drinking in each movement of his strong, yet gentle, hands. All of this came back to me in 1975 when I sat looking at one of Grandpa’s chairs. I told my wife, Sherilyn, that I thought I could recreate Grandpa’s movements that I remembered so well. I got an old chair frame and some split oak splints and the rest is history.

“Caning comes in many disguises, but all of it is weaving. I watched Grandpa do only the herringbone weave from white oak splints. However, there are many forms of weaving...wicker, rush, splint, shaker tape, rawhide, Danish cord, binder cane, and the 7-step method hand caning. Caning dates back to before 4000 B. C., I have learned, and is still popular in most households today. Someone wise once said that the hands and mind of the caner work together to join the past with the present.”

Another highlight of the festival will be the opportunity to purchase homemade food for lunch, made by the board of directors of Catch the Spirit of Appalachia led by Mary Jo Cobb and Gail Nolen.

Presented by Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, Inc. (CSA), the Appalachian Homestead Farm & Preserve, and the Jackson County Parks & Recreational Department
, this indoor folk and fabric festival has drawn crafters in traditional dress from the region to showcase these old-time traditions. The Patchwork Folk and Fabric Festival exemplifies a culture that has grown up and persevered throughout the years.  Come join the nonprofit organizations as they honor local roots, customs, love of nature, love of people.

The Festival takes place at the Jackson County Recreation Center at 88 Cullowhee Mountain Road in Cullowhee NC. Call the Recreation Center for more information at 828-293-3053.