We love the Smoky Mountains. Wish you were here!

Archive for August, 2008

And You Thought Museums Were Stuffy Collections of Old Relics

The Mountain Farm Museum is indeed a collection of 19th century relics, but there’s nothing stuffy about this open air museum. Its location — in a lush green valley on the banks of the Oconaluftee River — is literally in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains. In summer, the Museum is a working farm, with crops such as squash, corn and tomatoes cultivated in the garden and live farm animals grazing in the fields.

Just as it was a century ago, fall is a busy time on the farm as the summer’s crops are preserved for the winter. And on Saturday, September 20, you can see it all, with live demonstrations of soap making, hearth cooking, hominy, apple butter and cider, plus a working cane mill and wood-fired cooker used for the making of sorghum syrup. The event is the annual Mountain Life Festival, a one day event from 10 am – 4 pm.

The Davis House
— All the historic log structures in the Mountain Farm Museum were gathered from throughout the Smoky Mountains when the museum was constructed in the 1950s. The main farmhouse (above) was originally built by John E. Davis and his two oldest sons in the Indian Creek – Thomas Divide area north of Bryson City. The log house was built from chestnut wood before the chestnut blight decimated the American Chestnut in our forests during the 1930s and early 1940s.

The Mountain Farm Museum is located adjacent to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center on US 441 north of Cherokee and just inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Museum is open daily from sunrise to sunset, year around.

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Friday Nights in Bryson City – The Only Game in Town

Swain County High School football stadium, Bryson City, NC

If Bryson City appears deserted on some Friday nights in the Fall, it’s because almost everyone’s attending “the game” at Swain County High School. Having won seven state football championships over the years, the Maroon Devils enjoy a loyal and passionate hometown following. The passion peaked in the late ’80s when the team won three consecutive state championships led by former University of Tennessee and NFL quarterback and current U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler. The team’s most recent state title was in 2004.

Want to see what all the fuss is about? Attend one of the Maroon Devils’ remaining home games. Kickoff is at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $5. The stadium is on Fontana Road, just north of town.

August 22 — Swain County 6 – Polk County 14 (above photo)
September 5 — Asheville School
September 12 — Franklin
September 26 — Robbinsville (homecoming)
October 10 — Hayesville
October 31 — Rosman

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Clingmans Dome — On Top of Old Smoky

At 6643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Located in the northernmost part of Swain County along the North Carolina–Tennessee border, the temperatures at Clingmans Dome are often 10 to 20 degrees cooler than Bryson City’s. On a clear day, take the (steep) half-mile walk from the parking lot to the observation tower, and you’ll be rewarded with a stunning 360-degree view of the Smokies and beyond. The seven-mile road from US 441 to Clingmans Dome is open Aprll thru November. Photo by J.R. vanLienden, Masterpiece Portraits.

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Fontana Lake — a Relaxing Day in the Smoky Mountains

Of all the ways to enjoy the Great Smokies, nothing is more relaxing than a pontoon boat outing on beautiful Fontana Lake. With the entire north shore of the 35-mile-long lake protected by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, wildlife sightings are common, including black bears and bald eagles. Several marinas rent the covered boats for full-day or half-day outings. Photo by J.R. vanLienden, Masterpiece Portraits.

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The Many Ways to Enjoy The Nantahala River

Nantahala kayakers and the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad\'s scenic excursion

The Nantahala is one of the most scenic and popular rivers in the North Carolina Smokies. Best-known for whitewater rafting, the river is also popular for kayaking, trout fishing and the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad’s scenic excursion which runs alongside the Nantahala’s eight-mile whitewater rafting venue. Photo by Jennifer Wilson.

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