We love the Smoky Mountains. Wish you were here!

Archive for May, 2010

Celebrating Summer With a Three-Day Holiday Weekend

The Summer vacation season got off to a great start this Memorial weekend. Bryson City’s motels and campgrounds were filled, there were great crowds at the Heritage Festival, and Deep Creek had a steady parade of holiday vacationers floating and bouncing along on brightly-colored “tubes” (the old-fashioned black truck-tire inner tubes have all but disappeared).

Since the Park Service does not rent tubes, the Hannah family of Hope Mills, NC rented their tubes at the Deep Creek Tube Center and Campground, where they were camping. The Tube Center is just one of several tubing vendors along West Deep Creek Road near the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and on the Oconaluftee River in Cherokee.

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Music in the Mountains Begins June 5

The 2010 season of Bryson City’s Music in the Mountains gets underway the first Saturday in June with a free concert by Dusk Weaver, a performer whose music has been described as “unique, toe-tapping, thought-provoking fun.” The following week’s concert features Bryson City’s own “The Barn Cats”, pictured above.

Each Saturday night, through October, Music in the Mountains brings a different performer to the stage at the Bryson City train depot. The groups range from old-time country to bluegrass, to jazz, to Celtic music. And Elvis will even make an appearance as the final show in October. The concerts are free and last from 6:30 to 8 pm. You’ll find a complete schedule on the Bryson City area entertainment calendar.

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Paddling on Fontana’s Calm, Flat Waters

Unlike whitewater kayaking, which appeals to more adventurous individuals, lake kayaking is a more relaxed experience available to everyone. Along Fontana Lake’s north shore, kayaking provides a unique view of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park where sightings of bear, river otter, deer or bald eagles are not uncommon. Interested? Visit the Bryson City website for information about kayaking in the Smokies, including outfitters.

Innkeeper Scot Warf (Charleston Inn) took this photo as he glided into the cove below the Goldmine Loop trail near the eastern end of the lake.

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How Sweet It Is! Locally-grown Berries.

After months of commercially-grown-who-knows-where strawberries, the month of May is indeed special — we can finally enjoy the sweet taste of fresh-picked, locally-grown berries.

On Friday at the Bryson City Tailgate Market, Molly Shaw treated young Abby Shuler to a bright red berry from Shelton Family Farm in Whittier. Shelton and Darnell Farms are two area growers where you can pick your own or purchase containers of freshly-picked berries. And May 15 is the date for Darnell Farms’ annual Strawberry Jam, a full day of music, crafts, hayrides and food …including strawberry shortcake.

Molly Shaw is an elementary school teacher whose award-winning strawberry jam is available at the Cottage Craftsman and the Fryemont Inn. You can purchase local produce and crafts at Bryson City Tailgate Market, Fridays from 9am to 1 pm at the parking lot next to Fred’s on Highway 19 West.

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Small Boat. Large Lake. So Many Possibilities.

Jennifer Wilson snapped this early morning scene on Fontana Lake as a boat passed under railroad trestle on its way to a day of fun on the 11,700-acre lake.

Several marinas rent boats for full-day or half-day outings which can include fishing, swimming and sightseeing. 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.

The 791-foot long bridge, which crosses the lake 100 feet above the water, is one of the highlights of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad’s 44-mile Nantahala Gorge excursion which departs from Bryson City, March thru December.

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