Sunday, October 30, 2016

Blue RIdge Music Trails Offers a Fall full of Toe-Tapping Mountain Music

It's time for a hoedown! Literally, put your hoe down and lace up your dancing shoes. You can circle up October 28-30, 2016 at the Annual Fall Square Dance Weekend at The John C. Campbell Folk
School in Brasstown NC. Square dancing is experiencing a resurgence of popularity in many parts of the country, especially among young people. Led by three well-known callers, have fun dancing to live music by Evening Star. All dances will be taught and walked through in advance. The weekend also includes talks on the history of square dancing and a Saturday night (Halloween Costume) community square & contra dance. Some previous contra or square dance experience is recommended. Both ingles and couples welcome.

Hammer Down at The Stompin' Ground in Maggie Valley NC,  every Friday and Saturday night. See a
variety of Appalachian and other American group dance styles performed all in one place and all at the same time. A spacious lobby showcases exhibits telling the history of mountain dance.  The actual dance floor is enormous at sixty by eighty feet. Seating on two levels accommodates nearly a thousand people while the band plays a variety of mountain and popular music, ranging from old-time fiddle and bluegrass tunes to contemporary country hits. Whether you participate or just sit and watch, The Stompin' Ground is just plain good old fashioned fun.

Jimmy’s Pick N Grin, 220 Country Hearth Lane in Andrews NC boasts a house band, fronted by Steve Jordan, that moves easily between all acoustic old-time and bluegrass music and popular country styles, featuring songs and playing styles from the 1940s through the 1980s. Cloggers and flatfooters crowd the floor during the instrumental buckdance numbers, while other attendees prefer to line dance, two-step, or waltz – the musicians strive to please the dancing needs of everyone. Special guest singers and musicians appear on stage to add variety and spontaneity to the show. Check the Facebook page for special events and times.

And then there's the Alleghany Jubilee in the historic Spartan Theater building at 25 North Main Street in downtown Sparta NC.  If you love to flatfoot, clog, square dance or just tap your foot to old time mountain music, the Alleghany Jubilee is where you want to be. The Jubilee is open year-round with a spacious wood dance floor and live mountain music every Tuesday and Saturday night.Check the website for times and music details.

The Feed & Seed in Fletcher NC ( just outside of Asheville halfway to Hendersonville) is featured in the "Back Roads to the Blue Ridge Music Trails " video series produced by The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area with a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council. The Feed & Seed promotes a relaxed family-friendly atmosphere where good friends and good music come together for old-fashioned fun and entertainment. The house band, The Redeye Ramblers, plays traditional and orginal bluegrass and gospel music.

Information for this post provided courtesy of Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina, "your guide to the traditional music of the North Carolina mountains and foothills".

Friday, October 28, 2016

Head for the hills - There is Still Plenty of Fall Color in the Mountains

October 26. 2016
Fall in North Carolina is unlike anywhere else in the world. Every year 1000s of people visit the North Carolina mountains to view nature's glorious display of the changing seasons. North Carolina offers one of the longest periods of color, stretching from late September though mid November thanks to elevations ranging fro 500 feet to nearly 6,000 feet.

Linville Falls Visitor Center courtesy Grandfather Mountain

On Grandfather Mountain autumn colors continue to thrive at elevations near and below 3,000 feet. Oak tree leaves are now changing, including pin, red and scarlet, and some color remains to develop.See current photos of Grandfather Mountain HERE.

Pilot Mountain State Park is starting to get some good gold color and abundant reds and oranges, but has not seen peak change. Peak is expected between the first and second weeks of November. The parking area is small - 150 spaces - so visit on a weekday if possible during peak weekends.

In The Great Smoky Mountain National Park the fall color display usually reaches peak at mid and lower elevations between mid-October and early November. This is the park's most spectacular display as it includes such colorful trees as sugar maple, scarlet oak, sweetgum, red maple, and the hickories.

Cataloochee Overlook (Photo by K. Plaas) courtesy GSMNP

Asheville NC is enjoying an even longer, and later, fall color season than normal, giving you an extended opportunity to see the show well into November. The autumn colors remain strong at elevations around 3,000 feet with the lower elevations now beginning to show the strongest colors with downtown areas lighting up with reds, yellows and oranges.

photo by Jason Tarr courtesy of