We love the Smoky Mountains. Wish you were here!

Archive for October, 2008

Down by the Old Mill Race

Mill Race at the historic Mingus Mill

One of the most fascinating attractions in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Mingus Mill, the historic grist mill near the Oconaluftee Visitor Center just north of Cherokee. Built in 1886 and still producing stone-ground cornmeal, the mill uses a water-powered turbine rather than a water wheel to power its machinery. Visitors are treated to demonstrations of the corn-grinding process and may even purchase a bag of cornmeal. Open 9 to 5 daily from mid-March through mid-November. Also open Thanksgiving weekend. Photo by Jennifer Wilson.

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The Cool Fall Weather Brings Out the Trout …and the Fishermen

Trout fishing on Deep Creek near Bryson City

Trout love cold water and that makes Fall a great time for fly fishing in Smoky Mountain streams like Deep Creek (above). To fish in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you must have either a valid North Carolina or Tennessee fishing license. No license is required to fish in Cherokee Reservation waters, however a tribal permit is required. The cost is $7 per day with a creel limit of ten.

You can purchase a basic North Carolina license for a period of one day, three days or one year. The one-day cost for a resident is $5 (one year is $15); for a non-resident is $10, two days $15, one year $30. If you plan to fish for trout outside the National Park, an additional “trout stamp” is required at a cost of $10. Some of the trout streams are strictly catch-and-release.

For more information about North Carolina fishing, go to Online Fishing Regulations.

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Bryson City Artist Carves Ghastly Pumpkins

Most days he assists customers at the N.C. Clampitt Hardware Store on Main Street in Bryson City. But come mid-October, Frank O’Neil is transformed into his alter-ego — the award-winning pumpkin artist. Above, Frank shows off four of his ‘ghastly’ jack-o-lanterns on the front porch of the Charleston Station gift shop.

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Catch a Train to the Peanuts Great Pumpkin Patch

Carry home a pumpkin from the Peanuts Great Pumpkin Patch, Bryson City, NC

Jeanna Davis of Waynesville, NC carries home the pumpkin she picked from the Peanuts Great Pumpkin Patch last Saturday. She and her parents rode the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad’s annual “Pumpkin Patch Express” from the Bryson City depot.

Aboard the excursion train, children hear the story “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” At The Great Pumpkin Patch, they meet Charlie Brown, Lucy and Snoopy, enjoy campfire marshmallows, a coloring station, temporary tattoos, trick or treating, petting zoo, bouncy train, giant hay bale maze, hay rides, bobbing for apples, apple cider or apple juice, and treats.

The Peanuts Great Pumpkin Patch Express continues over the next two weekends — October 17–19 and October 24-26. For information, call 800-872-4681 or visit www.gsmr.com. You’ll find lodging information at GreatSmokies.com.

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Canada Geese on the Banks of the Oconaluftee

Canada Geese at Cherokee\'s Island Park

At Cherokee’s Island Park, the shoals of the Oconaluftee River are as popular with the wild ducks and geese as they are with visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains. Above, South Carolina visitors Sherri and Mitchell McCutcheon enjoy the geese on an early Fall afternoon.

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