Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Brushy Mountain Apple Festival in North Wilkesboro Among the Largest One-Day Festivals in the Southeast


October  3, 2015     Brushy Mountain Apple Festival   This Annual Festival is one of the largest one-day arts and crafts festivals in the Southeast. The streets of downtown North Wilkesboro NC are filled with over 425 arts and crafts vendors and 100 food concessions. Four different music stages consisting of Blue Grass, Country, Folk, Gospel, and Appalachian Heritage provide live music all day long. 

photos courtesy Apple Festival
Cloggers, folk dancers, rope skippers, and square dancers offer additional entertainment venues for festival goers. Appalachian Heritage crafts are highlighted such as woodcarving, chair making, soap making, pottery throwing, and quilting. 

The Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club owns, operates, and organizes this annual fundraising event, supporting over 100 civic, church and other non-profit organizations. 

The  Brushy Mountain Apple Jam is held this year on October 2. This top-tapping musical event takes place at the corner of 10th and Main in downtown North Wilkesboro, the Friday evening preceding the Apple Festival. This year Taylor Hope Miller joins the Apple Jam for special performances.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Chimney Rock State Park Holds Photography Contest

October 1 - 31, 2015    Fall Photography Contest: What's Your View?  Submit photos from your visit to the Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park for the 2015 Fall Photography contest. The theme is “Chimney Rock: What’s Your View?” and it’s up to you to determine how your photo fits into the theme. 

The amazing 75 mile view atop the Chimney is one of the most photographed wonders in all of Western North Carolina. Whether you photo includes that view or the tumbling waters of 404 foot Hickory Nut Falls or any of the Park's wildlife and flora, all are welcome submissions for the contest.

Have fun exploring your own personal view of Chimney Rock and get creative with it. The contest launched September 7 and the deadline to submit is  November 27, 2015. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Stories of Mountain Folk for this Week 9-19-15

Stories of Mountain Folk is a weekly podcast produced by Catch the Spirit of Appalachia and archived at Western Carolina University.

Podcast September 19, 2015:

Storytelling: Amy gives you another episode of her early married life with “My Greatest Fear.”  Music: Background Music: “Edelweiss” Jo Northup and Richard Birt)

Creative Corner:   Doreyl interviews Connie Hogan from Dillsboro. The two discuss the festivals offered in Dillsboro.  Music:  “Hey Good Looking’”  The Whitewater Bluegrass Co.

Barbara Sears McRae
Stories of Mountain Folk: Amy spends time Barbara Sears McRae from Franklin. Retired editor; presently (freelance) columnist and feature writer, photography; nature and local history, Barbara talks about some of the work she does in Macon County.  Music:“Shady Grove”  Clover.

This is my Home:  Joe interviews Ruth Truett,, a weaver at John C. Campbell School. They talk about the “Shaker” weekend at the school. Note:  upcoming Shaker Weekend at the John C. Campbell School:   Sunday, Nov 8 - Saturday, Nov 14, 2015.  Music: “Smith’s Reel” by the McDowell Family.

Down Another Road:  Judy tells a “Jack Tale”—“How Jack Outsmarted the Devil”.  Music: “Cotton'eyed Joe/ Breakin' Up Christmas” Lois Hornbostel.

Closing Song:  “Beautiful Home” by Cherokee National Children’s Choir. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Blue Ridge Mountain Bandits Book Signing at the Historic Rickman Store

September 26, 2015 - Join Roy Owenby at the historic Rickman Store at 11 AM this Saturday for a signing of his book, Blue Ridge Bandits. The book tells the fascinating story of five orphaned raccoons and how they grew.

The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Rickman Store. Blue Ridge Bandits was published by Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, a non profit dedicated to preserving mountain heritage. 

The Rickman Store is located at 259 Cowee Creek Road in Franklin NC. Parking will be available at the Macon County Heritage Center and the Old Cowee School. The Store is a part of the 370 acre Cowee/West's Mill National Register Historic District and was acquired by the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee in August of 2007. Since then the community has been active with fundraising, making the purchase, preservation and maintenance a reality.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Mountain Heritage Celebrated this Weekendin Sparta NC

September 19, 2015   21th Annual Mountain Heritage Festival    Craft and food vendors line Main Street Sparta NC in celebration of mountain heritage in craft and music. This year's entertainment features Loose Strings and 3 other local bands. 

With demonstrations of the skills of local ancestors and music that mixes local heritage with modern influences, there is something for everyone. Dancers will be kicking up their heels and  the  Possum Queen will be crowned.

Sparta NC is located in the northwest Blue Ridge Mountains between the New River and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Sparta and all of Alleghany County offer scenic vistas, unspoiled landscape and friendly folk. At the crossroads of two of the county's main corridors, US 21 and NC 18, Sparta NC is the physical and community life center for Alleghany County. Like many southern towns, the Courthouse is the focal point of downtown Sparta. The original business district maintains the charm of the town's early history. 


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Organic Growers School Launches Farm Beginnings Farmer Training in WNC -- Open to Applicants

Asheville, NC: Organic Growers School is launching Farm Beginnings®, a yearlong farmer training course beginning on October 24th, 2015. The program is designed to offer beginning and expanding farmers the practical skills and knowledge needed to start and grow successful long-term farm businesses. 

Farm Beginnings® is focused on sustainable agriculture practices and is taught by established farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs. The course is open to aspiring, beginning and expanding farmers in Western North Carolina (WNC) and surrounding Southern Appalachian states – Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Farm Beginnings® is a 12-month training session that helps beginning farmers clarify their goals and strengths, establish a strong enterprise plan, and begin to build their operation. The course uses a mix of farmer-led classroom sessions, on-farm tours, and an extensive farmer network. This curriculum taps into the knowledge of the most innovative and skilled farmers operating in WNC, helps build a strong peer-to-peer farmer network for skill sharing, problem solving, and mentoring for success, and teaches critical farm management skills such as creative financing and innovative marketing strategies. 

Through the on-farm portion of the program, students will be able to experience sustainable farm practices being used on real farms under a variety of conditions. Through the principles of AgroEcology and Holistic Farm Management participants will learn to view a farm as an interconnected system and discover how goals influence farming practices. 

Organic Growers School recently conducted a survey of WNC farmers to ascertain their barriers to success. Overwhelmingly, farmers expressed a need for more farmer training. “I never got into farming to be a small business owner, but now I realize that’s what I am,” explained one farmer participant. Sixty-five percent of the farmers surveyed felt that a lack of financial planning and business training were significant barriers to farming in WNC. This reiterates that farmers need a whole tool set that includes production training, as well as comprehensive financial planning and business training in order to farm successfully. 

Farm BeginningsⓇ will directly address the needs of the regional farming community and offer a comprehensive farmer-led training course to better prepare the future generation of farming professionals in WNC. The one-year course consists of 120+ hours of training time including 49 hours of whole farm business planning sessions to take place October through March, 55 hours of production training through field days on sustainable farms around WNC and on the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy Incubator Farm April through October, and 20+ hours of classes at Organic Growers School’s Annual Spring Conference in March. 

The application deadline is October 15th, 2015, and the pilot program fee for the one-year course is $1500, a 50% discount from the ultimate cost of the program. Scholarships and payment plans are available. For more information and to apply for Farm Beginnings visit

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"Fly" Gets Rave Reviews at The Flat Rock Playhouse

Check out these incredible photos from opening week of FLY at the Flat Rock Playhouse and read the review at

Read audience comments on the Flat Rock Playhouse Facebook Page HERE.

Fly will continue at The Flat Rock Playhouse Mainstage, 2661 Greenville Highway in Flat Rock NC, through September 27, 2015. Don't miss an exceptional production of this historical and inspiring story. GET TICKETS HERE.

"The performance last night was astounding. My husband and I more than enjoyed it. I once again thank Flat Rock Playhouse for bringing such fine theater to our region and more importantly, this is meaningful, thoughtful theater that is moving and inspiring with such important things to say about unity and solidarity in this time of racial strife and division. Thanks for all you do."

"Seriously — this is, without a doubt, the BEST play I have ever seen at the Playhouse (and I think just about everything you do is perfect!) From the first set of taps, I was enthralled.  I was especially touched by the interaction of the dancer with the actors, using the dancer to generate an emotional climate, the acting, the singing, and just the overall flow of the play—all conveying an important part of our history."

"Fly was awesome, powerful, one of the most powerful things I've ever seen...I strongly suggest that anyone looking to get away from this hectic world we live in go and see this. I was transformed back in time. Go see it! Front row!!"

Photos and comments provided by 
Dane Whitlock, Marketing and Communications Director for the Flat Rock Playhouse 

Monday, September 14, 2015

News from the Purple Onion, Saluda NC Restaurant

NEW FALL HOURS: Labor Day marks the end of the summer hours and the seven day week. The Purple Onion is now closed on Wednesdays until May 1, 2016. THE PURPLE ONION WILL ALSO BE CLOSED MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 THROUGH LUNCH ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17.

September Live Music Calendar:
September 10 - Letters to Abigail Appalachian/Americana Band from nearby Flat Rock returns 

September 12 - Shana Blake Band high-energy band from Charlotte returns with their R&B/soul/funk sound

September 17 - Dana and Susan Robinson with their unique blend of contemporary songwriting and traditional music is always welcome here 

September 19 - Joseph Hasty and Centerpiece Jazz,  straight ahead jazz from this wonderful North Carolina band

September 24 - Dan Keller Trio One, of the region's finest jazz and classical guitarist 

September 26 - Lonesome Road Band A favorite bluegrass band from Hendersonville returns

The Purple Onion Restaurant features a variety of ethnically and regionally inspired dishes with an emphasis on the Mediterranean's simple, healthful cuisines and a focus on freshness. 16 Main Street in historic downtown Saluda NC.  

photo courtesy of The Purple Onion

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Flat Rock Cinema Hosts Manhattan Short FIlm Festival

The Flat Rock Cinema has been chosen to host the Manhattan Short Film Festival, the world's first global film festival during which over 100,000 film lovers in over 250 cities across six continents unite for one purpose: to view and vote on the 10 Finalists' Films in the 18th Annual Festival.

Showtimes: Sunday and Monday, September 27-28, 2015 at 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM. All shows are the 10 shorts finalists and all patrons will be given a ballot to cast their votes. YOU BE THE JUDGE.  Click HERE for more info and tickets.

The Flat Rock Cinema is located at 2700 Greenville Hwy. in Flat Rock NC 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friends of the Smokies Report Fall Color News and Events in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Shorter days, cooler nights, and beautiful fall colors are right around the corner in the Smokies. Fall is one of the busiest times in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park when the outstanding reds, yellows, and oranges of autumn bring visitors from all over to this little corner of the world.

Friends of the Smokies has some great events coming up and exciting successes to share. Appalachian State's Fall Color Report, news on the 21st annual telethon and 2nd annual Gran Fondo Asheville, are examples of  just a few of the great programs donations to Friends of the Smokies support.

This year, fall colors are expected to peak around October 1 at high elevations and continue through October further down into the valleys. Of course, this is an estimation and can be effected by a number of contributing factors. With the wide range of elevations in the Smokies, the chances are good that you can see some spectacular colors on your visit this fall.

Howard Neufeld and Michael Denslow of the Department of Biology at ASU created this map of western North Carolina. Get more details about the map and color regions HERE.

The 2015 Smokies Telethon held in August exceeded $200,000 for the second year. Thanks to hundreds of callers, online donations and help from sponsors Dollywood, Mast General Store, Pilot Flying J, and Tennessee State Bank "Friends Across the Mountains" raised $202,351. Over the years, the telethons have raised more than $3.2 million in support of America’s most-visited national park.

Telethon donations can still be made online at to help fund more than $800,000 of Park needs this year to protect black bears, educate school children, and preserve historic log cabins and churches from Cades Cove to Cataloochee Valley.

Historic Mills Renovations are completed. Friends of the Smokies and Great Smoky Mountains Association matched federal grants from the Centennial Challenge Fund to complete renovations on two historic mills in Great Smoky Mountains National Park this year.

"We're really excited to be able to do this for the centennial," said Historic Preservation Program Manager Randy Hatten. "A big shout out for the Friends of the Smokies and Great Smoky Mountains Association for partnering with us to be able to accomplish this. We wouldn't be financially able to accomplish it without assistance. The public's donations really do make a difference."

The Second Annual Gran Fondo was also a huge success, raising more than $53,00. Approximately 390 riders came out to challenge themselves and help support Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The event's success was due in part to all the hard-working volunteers.

The National Park Service will begin its centennial in 2016. In January, The Evergreen Ball will kick-off a year-long celebration of NPS's Centennial Anniversary. In the expanded silent auction, special treasures like vintage household items and crafts, antiques, and memorabilia from 1930's Appalachia will be featured. The Friends are especially looking for items from the Civilian Conservation Corps. If you have items like these that you would like to donate, please send an email.

Fall in the Smoky Mountains, photo courtesy of Friends of the Smokies

Upcoming Events from the Friends of the Smokies:

Sept. 12, 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM: Friends' Day at Mast General Store.  Stop by and shop at Mast General Store in Waynesville and Knoxville. Mast General Store will donate 10% of the day's sales from both locations to Friends of the Smokies.

Sept. 18,  6:00 - 9:00 PM: Wine on the Lawn and Autumn Path Release. Join Friends and Sugarland Cellars at the Robert A. Tino Gallery for Wine on the Lawn and the limited-edition Autumn Path release. $5 from every bottle sold benefits Friends of the Smokies. 

Sept. 24,  6:30 - 8:00 PM: Hiking 101 at Blue Ridge Mountain Sports. Join Friends for a free Hiking 101 seminar at Blue Ridge Mountains Sports in Bearden. 

Sept. 26,  7:00 - 10:00 PM: Glow-In-The-Dark Kickball. Join Friends for a fun game of glow-in-the-dark kickball! $10 for adults & $5 for kids raises money for the Smokies.Family-friendly fun at Sequoyah Park in Knoxville.  


A Blue Danube Evening in Flat Rock NC

September 12, 2015    A Blue Danube Evening   Enjoy an evening of waltzes, polkas, mazurkas, and marches by the Strauss family, Mozart, Schubert, Nicolai, von SuppĂ©, and more. Maestro Joiner leads the HSO (Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra) with baton and bow to recreate the atmosphere of the annual Vienna New Year’s concerts. 

Dance to the Blue Danube Waltz and clap with the traditional Radesky March, a concert designed as an immersive concert experience from the lobby to the stage–with surprises galore . 7:30 PM at Blue Ridge Community College Conference Hall,  180 West Campus Drive Flat Rock, NC.  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Chimney Rock State Park Honors Grandparents this Weekend

September 12 - 13, 2015    Grandparents Day Special at Chimney Rock State Park    Grandparents love spending time with the grandkids. What better way to spend time together than at Chimney Rock? 

When you purchase one regularly-priced adult admission, receive one youth admission free. Click here to download this special coupon. Coupon must be presented to the Ticket Plaza at the time of purchase. Valid September 12 and 13, 2015 only. 

Chimney Rock State Park - Standing atop Chimney Rock, a 500 million-year-old giant granite monolith overlooking Hickory Nut Gorge, visitors are awed by the breathtaking view that spreads 1200 vertical feet beneath them and 75 miles across the Carolinas. 

The state owned park, located in Chimney Rock North Carolina, encompasses 1,000 acres, including the Chimney itself and Hickory Nut Falls. 

The Park, located 25 miles southeast of Asheville North Carolina, offers a variety of experiences including 75-mile views, guided hikes and hiking trails for all ages, a 404-foot waterfall,  special events and nature programs, rock climbing, bird watching and more.  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Celebrate the Last Days of Summer with Three Outdoor Events

September 12, 2015: Family Friendly Outing on the Henry Fork River.   This Saturday bring your bathing suit or wading shorts and a picnic lunch to the cool, clean waters of the Henry Fork River at the Foothills Conservancy's new Smith Cliff/Henry Fork Preserve.  This event is free for current members/supporters; $10 per person for non members. If you would like to attend please RSVP by noon this Friday 9/11/15; call 828-437-9930 or email
Henry Fork River, photo courtesy of Foothills Conservancy

September 19, 2015: Catawba RiverFest.  For generations, the Catawba River has shaped the economic vitality of the region and remains a public commons of immeasurable recreational value. Catawba RiverFest promotes a greater appreciation of this vital waterway. The day-long event at Lake James State Park highlights a variety of conservation groups and their ongoing projects working to improve the quality of life for people and animals along the river.

The event will place at the Paddy's Creek Area from 10 AM - 3 PM. Admission is Free. Enjoy music, food, educational exhibits, a live raptor release at approximately 10:30 AM., nature hikes, and try out canoes and kayaks for free. For more information email  or call Lake James State Park at (828) 584-7728.

September 19, 2015: Rutherford Outdoor Coalition Broad River Cleanup.  The Rutherford Outdoor Coalition is hosting a cleanup on the Broad River beginning at 10:00 AM. The number of sections cleaned will be determined by the number of volunteers. ROC hopes to clean sections 2 (starting at Rock Springs Church Road), 3, 4, and 5 (ending at Coxe Road in Rutherfordton).

Each group of volunteers will clean one section of the river. To volunteer contact Trash bags and gloves will be provided. There are a few pair of grabbers available, but people are encouraged to bring their own if they have them. ROC needs people with canoes as well as kayaks to attend. They may have a few extra kayaks or canoes for those who want to help but do not have a boat of their own.
Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to working together with you and others to preserve and protect the places we all love across the eastern Blue Ridge Mountains and Foothills, including watersheds, environmentally significant habitats and forests and farm lands for this and future generations. 


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

LTLT Calls for Volunteers for The BigSweep

Volunteers Needed for Two September Projects

Sept. 12, 2015:   On the River LTLT (Little Tennessee Land Trust)  is hosting a Little Tennessee River BigSweep on Saturday from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM. Volunteers are asked to meet in the lower parking area at Big Bear Park in Franklin, wearing clothes and shoes suitable for picking up trash in the river. Canoes and boats would be helpful but are not necessary to participate. Gloves and bags will be provided. For more information about the Little Tennessee BigSweep, contact Guy Gooder by phone at 828.349.4097 or by email.

Sept. 19: On Dry Land - For those of you who prefer to remain dry, there will be a workday Saturday, September 19, from 9 AM to noon, at the LTLT office (557 East Main Street, Franklin NC). The back building is now cleaned out at the property adjoining the LTLT office, and the group will be dismantling and salvaging the tin walls, maybe the roof, and perhaps some of the interior lumber, depending on volunteer turnout. There is also some brush that could be burned. Please wear long pants, sturdy shoes, leather gloves, and safety glasses if you have them. Crowbars and clawfoot hammers will be the main tools needed.

To volunteer for this day, please contact Dennis Desmond at 828-524-2711 x310 or The volunteer day is weather-dependent, and Dennis will update those who have signed up if inclement weather is a possibility.

Little Tennessee Land Trust is dedicated to conserving the waters, forests, farms and heritage of the Upper Little Tennessee and the Hiwassee River Valley.  LTLT works in partnership with private landowners, public agencies, and others to conserve land and water, ensuring that the water quality, natural beauty, ecological integrity, and rural character of our region are preserved for generations to come. DONATIONS are always needed along with volunteer workers. CLICK HERE for details.

Tessentee Bottomland Preserve 

Experience the richness and diversity of the Upper Little Tennessee in the Tessentee Bottomland Preserve. This nearly 70-acre tract of bottomland and river bluff land lies at the junction of Tessentee Creek and the Little Tennessee River. The Tessentee Preserve is stop #53 on the NC Birding Trail with the preserve’s bird list at Tessentee Bottomland Preserve Signage115 species and butterfly list at 42 species and counting. Here one can hike the most extensive trail system found on any LTLT property. Volunteers have also helped to restore the historic farmstead – by restoring the apple house, smoke house, and in recent months the foundation of the historic farmhouse. The Tessentee preserve is a wonderful place to walk and to appreciate the extraordinary richness and diversity of the Upper Little Tennessee. 
Directions: From Franklin NC -  Take the Georgia Rd (US 23/US 441) south for approx.5.2 miles, turn left onto Riverside Rd and follow for 0.5 miles, turn right onto Hickory Knoll Rd and follow for approx. 1.9 miles — the Preserve is located off a private drive (2249 Hickory Knoll Rd) on the right-hand side of the road; parking area is on the left, before the farm gate.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Labor Day Weekend Events: Annual Smoky Mountain Folk Festival at Lake Junaluska

September 4 - 5, 2015   Annual Smoky Mountain Folk Festival  -  45th Annual Festival. Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center offers two nights of the finest traditional music and dance of the Southern Appalachian Region. 

The main shows begin at 6:00 PM,  both Friday and Saturday, on the grand stage of the Stuart Auditorium overlooking beautiful Lake Junaluska. Both nights will include a rich variety of the region's finest fiddlers, banjo players, string bands, ballad singers, buck dancers, and square dance teams as well as the marvelous sounds of dulcimer, harmonica, jew's harp, bagpipes, spoons, saws, and folk ensembles. 

Check for last minute availability 
and the lowest rates at Lake Junaluska Inns: