We love the Smoky Mountains. Wish you were here!

Archive for June, 2008

They Came to Slay the Dragon. And the Dragon Won.

The Tree of Shame at the Dragon, Deals Gap NC/TN

Motorcyclists from all over the world come to the Smokies to “slay the Dragon”, the infamous stretch of US Highway 129 at Deal’s Gap in western Swain County, NC. With 318 curves in just eleven miles, the Dragon is considered by many as one of the best motorcycling and sports car roads in the world.

At the Deal’s Gap Motorcycle Resort, the “Tree of Shame” is covered with broken parts and pieces of the bikes that crashed on the Dragon — a makeshift shrine to those who faced the beast …and lost.

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Deep Creek Tubing — Mother Nature’s Thrill Ride

Whitewater tubing on Deep Creek near Bryson City, NC

Floating down Deep Creek on an inner tube is not just a thrill, it’s a cheap thrill. For less than $5, you can rent a tube for the entire day. Then try your best to stay in the tube as it bounces over Deep Creek’s whitewater rapids.

The Deep Creek Recreation area is just inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, two miles north of Bryson City. There’s camping, picnicking, hiking trails, trout fishing and three beautiful waterfalls. Tubes (with protective seats) can be rented from several vendors near the park entrance.

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Fourth of July Fireworks Over Bryson City

4th of July Fireworks over the old courthouse in Bryson City, NC

For years, Bryson City’s Fourth of July fireworks show has been one of the best in the Western North Carolina mountains, the culmination of “Freedom Fest“, the town’s old fashioned Independence Day celebration. The day begins with a 5K race, includes music, food and crafts before ending with the fireworks. Above, the dome of Bryson City’s century-old courthouse building is silhouetted against last year’s pyrotechnics.

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Lemon Chess Pie – A True Southern Favorite

The Fryemont Inn\'s Lemon Chess Pie

Visitors to Bryson City and the Smokies often want to experience some authentic Southern Cookin’ …like the Fryemont Inn’s Lemon Chess Pie. The Fryemont’s Sue Brown graciously shares the recipe —

Lemon Chess Pie
2 c. sugar
4 large eggs
1 tbsp. each, flour and corn meal
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. grated lemon rind
1 unbaked pastry pie crust

Combine the sugar and eggs and beat well. Toss together the flour and corn meal and add to the egg mixture. Gradually add the milk, butter, lemon juice and rind. Pour into the crust. Bake in the center of a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes or until the filling is set and the top is lightly browned. Photo provided by the Fryemont Inn.

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Once Upon a Time, Bryson City Generated Its Own Power

The Bryson City dam on the Oconaluftee River at Ela

Located on the Oconaluftee River in Ela, about five miles east of town, the Bryson City hydroelectric plant was constructed for the town in 1924-25.

It was purchased from the Town of Bryson City by Nantahala Power and Light (now Duke Energy) in 1942. The sale was approved by the town board and then by the majority of the registered voters. The town had been trying to sell the hydro plant since the late 1930s. It includes a multiple-arch type concrete dam, originally known as Oconaluftee Dam, and a power house with two turbines and generators. The 36 feet high and 341 feet long dam still generates electricity for the Duke Energy system.

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Four-year-old Removes Eleven Fish From Fontana Lake

Gaige Jones (4) wins Fontana Kids Fishing Tourney

With eleven fish on his stringer, four-year-old Gaige Jones walked away with top honors at the Sixth Annual Kids Fishing Tournament, sponsored by the Fontana Lake Users Association. The tournament was held June 7 at the public boat ramp at the Old 288 Riverside Park, two miles west of downtown Bryson City, NC.

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A Chocolate Malt with Dairy Topping, a Cherry…and Two Straws

Bryson City ice cream shop serves the old favorites

A visit to Bryson City will take you back to simpler, less complicated times… especially when you step into Soda Pops, the old fashioned ice cream emporium on Everett Street. Owner and chief soda jerk Paul Crawley serves all the old favorites, including floats, shakes, and banana splits. Visitors Paul and Mary Dameron dropped in to share a chocolate malt …just like the good old days.

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