We love the Smoky Mountains. Wish you were here!

Archive for January, 2011

In Bryson City, You Can See a “See a Rock City” Barn

This creaky old barn is a piece of disappearing Americana — a relic of the depression and a Bryson City landmark.

Working for the Chattanooga tourist attraction, sign painter Clark Byers traveled the nation’s highways for three decades offering to paint farmers’ barns in exchange for letting him include just three simple words: “See Rock City.”

Byers began his project in the 1930s and continued until his retirement in 1969. In the 60s, more than 900 “See Rock City” barns dotted American roadsides from Michigan to Florida and as far west as Texas. Today, fewer than 100 remain, including this one that greets motorists entering Bryson City on Highway 19 just east of town.

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Everywhere You Looked, a Picture Postcard Scene

The January 10th snow created an endless tableau of winter scenes worthy of a Postcard From The Smokies …like this view of Alarka Creek, photographed by Faye Bumgarner.

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All This Snow And It’s Not Even February

Since mid-December, the Bryson City area has recorded between two and three feet of total snowfall; and much more in the higher elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But even the incredible beauty loses its appeal after a while. Those of us who live in the more remote, rural areas of the mountains are ready for a thaw. We want to put away the tire chains and take the car out of four-wheel drive …at least until February, traditionally our snowiest month.

Photo by Faye Bumgarner

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Competitive Kayaking Is No Casual Float Trip

Best known for whitewater rafting, the Nantahala River is now the focus of a different group of paddlers — the world-class athletes who will compete in two upcoming international events to be held in the Nantahala Gorge. In 2012, a Junior World Cup Freestyle Kayaking competition will be held on the river. And that’s merely a warm-up for the World Freestyle Kayaking Championships, which will focus worldwide attention on Bryson City and the Nantahala River Gorge in 2013.

This week’s postcard, a photo entitled “Cartwheeling” by Erin Worley of Bryson City, captures a paddler performing an acrobatic maneuver  typical of freestyle kayaking. It also captured the third place in the Marianna Black Library’s “Life in Swain” photo contest.

To learn more about freestyle kayaking, visit the International Canoe Federation’s website.

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You say Tuckasegee, I say Tuckaseigee. Or is it Tuckaseegee?

Half of the residents of Western North Carolina insist the other half misspells our favorite river. Over in Jackson County, it’s the “Tuckasegee”, while in Bryson City it’s usually the “Tuckeseigee”. To others, it’s the “Tuckaseegee”. It’s a long-standing disagreement that’s partly territorial, partly hereditary. But spellings aside, we all agree on one thing — it’s a beautiful river.

As it flows over rocks and ledges on its way to Fontana Lake, the Tuckaseigee is rarely placid. But as it widens across the sandy bottoms at Governors Island, the Tuck briefly becomes calm, smooth and reflective — a delightful scene that includes beehives, Fall plantings and an old red canoe at Darnell Farms.

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