We love the Smoky Mountains. Wish you were here!

Archive for March, 2012

Bryson City Artist Fashions Gourds Into Functional Art

Bryson City artist Joan Glover practices a craft that is as old as mankind — fashioning hard-shell gourds – “nature’s pottery” – into beautiful, functional vessels.

In a few short years, what began as a gourd birdhouse hobby has grown into a full-time craft enterprise that takes Joan to major craft shows throughout the region. Her creations combine gourds with just about anything natural — feathers,  philodendron sheaths, jacaranda pods, wooden beads, basketry and tillandsia air plants.

And nothing is wasted. The gourd tops become vases or wind chimes, and the parts she can’t use are recycled. Another artisan uses the dried pulp in her handmade papers. And the seeds go back into the ground to grow more gourds.

You can see examples of Joan’s creations on her website. Or visit Sleepy Hollow Farm where she and husband Mike market organically-grown produce and farm-fresh brown eggs in Bryson City.

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Cherokee Trout Season Kicks Off With Prizes March 31

For most of North Carolina’s hatchery-supported trout waters, trout season begins the first Saturday on April. But in Cherokee, where trout fishing is now permitted year’round, the traditional “opening day” will be celebrated a week earlier, with a special tournament on Saturday, March 31.

The Second Annual Cherokee Opening Day Trout Fishing Tournament will give participants a chance to catch $10,000 worth of tagged trout in the rivers of the Cherokee reservation (excluding the 2.2 miles of catch and release waters). Hundreds of specially tagged fish will be stocked in the Cherokee public fishing waters, and when a tagged fish is caught it can be redeemed for cash prizes ranging from $20 to $500 based on the color of the tag. The tournament is open to all ages and for all legal fishing methods.

The entry fee is just $5 – available everywhere Cherokee fishing permits are sold. Of course, registration is necessary to redeem prizes.

You’ll find more information about fishing on the Cherokee reservation at FishCherokee.com. And for information about fishing throughout the Smokies, go to the fishing page on GreatSmokies.com.

Photo courtesy Eugene Shuler, Fly Fishing in the Smokies

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Dillsboro Glass Studio Heats Up the Arts & Crafts Scene

With more than 4000 artisans at work in the North Carolina Mountains, the Smokies is indeed a hotbed of arts and crafts activity. And one of the hottest (literally) is the glassblowing studio in neighboring Dillsboro. Above, noted glass artist Tadashi Torii works in molten glass from an oven fueled by captured landfill gas at the Jackson County Green Energy Park.

Since opening in 2006, the Green Energy Park has provided studios for a variety of artists and businesses that utilize its green energy resources, including blacksmiths, metal artists, potters and the commercial growers that rent the Park’s greenhouse facilities. Tours of the Park are available by appointment. Call 828-631-0271.

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Where Have I Seen That Before?

If viewing the above photo gives you a sense of deja vu, you probably saw the 1993 movie “The Fugitive” in which Dr. Richard Kimball (Harrison Ford) eludes capture by Deputy Marshall Samuel Garard (Tommy Lee Jones) by jumping off a high dam. The scene was filmed at Cheoah Dam in the western tip of Swain County.

Almost all of the escape sequences were shot in the Bryson City area, including the dramatic train wreck which was staged on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad near Dillsboro. Remnants of the ‘wreck’ remain along the tracks and can be seen on the Railroad’s Bryson City to Dillsboro excursions.

“The Fugitive” is one of several motion pictures filmed in the mountains of Western North Carolina. You’ll find complete list of the books, films, music and celebrities with Bryson City and Swain County ties, at GreatSmokies.com

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