We love the Smoky Mountains. Wish you were here!

Archive for June, 2009

When Adults Outgrow Their Model Trains


The tracks of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad are a favorite of NARCOAThe National Association of Railcar Owners. It’s always fun to see a caravan of their tiny railcars making their way through the Smoky Mountains near Bryson City, as they did in early June. The railcars above were parked on a sidetrack at the Nantahala Outdoor Center allowing the GSMR’s scenic excursion train to pass through.

Dennis Lockwood of the Greenville (SC) Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society was on the June excursion and told us a little about the railcars. “Our cars are all retired railroad maintenance of way vehicles. They are inspected for safety before each excursion and operators are tested regularly for railroad operational knowledge.  All operators must carry liability insurance offered through NARCOA.

“The motorcars require modification to reach NARCOA safety standards.  So a freshly retired railroad motorcar must be upgraded before it can be operated on an excursion.  Most owners also do some restoration and paint work, as the cars are usually worn when the railroads retire them,” Dennis added.

The next Smoky Mountains Railroad excursion is NARCOA’s “Sunshine or Icicles” run scheduled for December 31, 2009 – January 01, 2010.

Photo © Ken Taylor

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Some Portions of Deep Creek Are Actually Deep


Not all of Deep Creek’s mile-long tubing course is fast-moving water. At the end of the upper “whitewater” section, Deep Creek widens at a deep swimming hole that provides a refreshing pause from tubing.

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 can be rented from several vendors near the park entrance. Where else can you have a day of great fun for less than five bucks?

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Hoppy Sack Race Winner


What’s more ‘heritage’ than an old-fashioned sack race? No wonder it’s a highlight of  Swain County’s annual Heritage Festival held Memorial Day weekend.

If you enjoy the nostalgia of small town street festivals, come to the North Carolina Smokies July 4 weekend for Bryson City’s annual Freedom Fest. The day includes a 5K footrace, pet show, kids area, “tater” cook-off, arts and crafts, and live entertainment. The festival concludes with the largest fireworks display in the Smokies at 10 pm.

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Old-fashioned Flowers in an Antique Garden


The Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Mountain Farm Museum is a re-creation of the many household gardens that were once common throughout the Smoky Mountains. Located near the Cherokee entrance to the Park, the living museum accurately demonstrates the farming methods and crops of the nineteenth century, including the hollyhocks that were often grown along the split-rail fence lines. Photo by Jennifer Wilson.

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