We love the Smoky Mountains. Wish you were here!

Archive for June, 2012

If It’s Not a Tube, Is It Still ‘Tubing’?

For generations of Smokies vacationers, ‘tubing’ has meant floating down the river on heavy black truck tubes, with protective disc seats lashed to the center (and making sure the long valve is on the underside of the tube).

Traditionalists call this ‘real’ tubing. They argue that today’s light-weight plastic floats, while round, are not really tubes. “If it’s not a tube, how can you call it tubing?”, they say.

It’s a searing controversy that’s totally ignored by the throngs that simply enjoy floating down the Tuck, the Oconaluftee and Deep Creek on a Summer afternoon. Tubing is a cool, relaxing and inexpensive activity for the whole family. Want to join in? You’ll find a list of tubing outfitters here.

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Bryson City – A Railroad Town Since the 1880s

This image of a railroad locomotive parked on a downtown side track has been a familiar Bryson City scene for well over a century – since the Murphy Branch first connected our rugged mountains with the rest of the world. Initially it was copper ore and later lumber that used these tracks. And today it’s the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad that treats tourists to a leisurely ride through the mountains, over Fontana Lake and along our scenic rivers, the Tuckaseigee and the Nantahala.

Photo by Aaron Morgan – website and Facebook

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A Swinging Summer Afternoon at Bryson City’s ‘Beach’

In the mountains, it’s hard to find anything vaguely resembling a beach. Most river and lake banks are simply too steep and too rocky. One exception is the so-called ‘finger lakes’ area of Fontana Lake where you’ll find a small park with picnic tables, public restrooms and a swimming area with rope swing. Since there are no life guards, you naturally swim at your own risk. The park is on the south side of Highway 28 near Almond Boat Park.

Nowhere else in the Smokies will you find as many different ways to enjoy water as the Bryson City area offers. To learn everything you can do in ‘Mother Nature’s Water Park’ go here.

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Bryson City Artisans Gallery Offers Classes

Bryson City basket weaver Debra Mills fashions one of her favorite designs, a ‘cat head’ basket; so named because, when turned upside down, the reed basket’s pointed corners resemble cat’s ears.

Inspired by an old Ozark oak egg basket that belonged to her husband’s grandmother, Debra began weaving baskets in 1990. While mostly self-taught, she’s learned some of her techniques from other talented professionals through classes and workshops. And now, she’s passing that knowledge on through her own classes at Studio 19, the working studio and gallery she shares with three other artisans in downtown Bryson City.

Debra offers beginner and refresher courses for families and small groups. For more information, call 828-736-1605.

Studio 19’s other artisans are corn shuck artist Lori Anderson; functional gourd artist Joan Glover; and metal clay jewelry designer Jules Bottorf. All offer classes in their craft.

Studio 19
19 Main Street
Bryson City, NC 28713
Open 10 am – 5:30 pm Mon – Sat

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