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Archive for the 'Kodak Moments' Category

The End of a Perfect Day in the Smokies

Nothing is more beautiful than sunset over the placid waters of Fontana Lake. Photographer Aaron Morgan captured this image with fog hovering over the railroad trestle in the Spring.

You can see more of Aaron’s work at the website and Facebook page.

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Cherokee’s Street Chiefs, in the Tradition of Chief Henry

It’s a marketing technique that’s uniquely Cherokee — street chiefs and dancers perform on curbside stages outside retail shops and souvenir stores, attracting crowds of shoppers. The shows, often featuring the traditional, ‘friendship dance’, ‘eagle dance’ and ‘hoop dance’, are free; yet tipping is encouraged, particularly when the “chiefs” pose for photographs. It’s a tradition that began years ago with the late Chief Henry, who was once billed as “The World’s Most Photographed Indian.”

And yes, their Native American regalia often represents indian nations and traditions other than Cherokee.

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Making hay while the sun shines

The phrase “make hay while the sun shines” means make the most of your opportunities while you have the chance. For us, that meant photographing this picturesque scene of freshly-baled hay before it’s all hauled away. Regular Postcard readers should recognize the red Whittier barn, one of our favorite motifs.

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Easter Bunny Includes Bryson City on 2011 World Tour

Yesterday, at the Swain County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Easter egg hunt, local children had the opportunity to meet the famed Easter Bunny up close and in person. As he’s done in years past, the legendary great white rabbit again included Bryson City on his world tour of holiday egg hunts.

Chamber Executive Director Karen Wilmot was thrilled with the Big Bunny’s arrival saying “Bryson City is indeed fortunate to have such a celebrity at our egg hunt. The kids were awe-struck. And the Bunny almost seemed dazed by their admiration. We’re already working to book him again for 2012. Keep your fingers crossed.”

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A Christmas Snow for the North Carolina Mountains

Dreams of a white Christmas came true in the Smokies this year, with a thick blanket of snow that’s still falling on the 26th. About seven inches was measured at the Whittier home above where a lighted holly tree illuminates the snowy scene.

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The Rewards of Hiking With Camera

In her blog “Hiking in Stilettos”, Ashley Hamby recently chronicled an October weekend in Bryson City …making us appreciate the fact that she also hikes with camera. Her post included several nice images shot around Bryson City, including the one above.

Ashley says Bryson City is one of her favorite weekend getaways “especially since there is so much to do there.” About the photo, she said “We started on the Deep Creek Trail and hiked to Martin’s Gap trail, then down Sunkota Ridge back to Deep Creek for a total of 14 miles. This is where the waterfall and leaf pictures are from.”

If you’d like to hike this trail, you can download a PDF map of the Deep Creek Trails and Waterfalls from the Bryson City online travel guide.

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See The Little Tennessee River Up Close on Needmore Road

Robert Davis says he’s “lucky and blessed to have the most beautiful drive going to work and home again that anyone can have”, a drive which leads alongside the Little Tennessee River. One foggy October morning, he stopped long enough to capture the above image, which later won second place in the Marianna Black Library’s annual “Life in Swain” photo contest.

Some of the best views of the Little Tennessee River in Swain County are along Needmore Road. From Bryson City, drive about eight miles west on US 74. At Smoky Mountain Jet Boats, turn left on Needmore Road. Proceed about two miles to the river.

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A Cold-Weather Fontana Outing Results in Prize-Winning Photo

Last Winter, Michelle Archer of Bryson City captured this beautiful image of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s snow-capped peaks high above the mouth of Eagle Creek on Fontana Lake. The image recently won first place in the Marianna Black Library’s “Life in Swain” photo contest — a reminder that the Smokies are beautiful in every season of the year.

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Photographer Finds Inspiration in His ‘Backyard’

Thanks to Scott Hotaling for this week’s Postcard From The Smokies. Scott is an area photographer who lives near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and routinely captures the Park’s beauty, as in his atmospheric “Mountain Cascade” above. For more of Scott’s photography and print information, visit his website at LightOfTheWild.com.

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The Bookends Of A Perfect Day On Fontana Lake

This week’s double postcard of Fontana Lake scenery provides a beautiful followup to our July 25th mountain sunrise and sunset photos. Gloria Kaylor, who rents cabins in the Smokies, captured these early morning and late evening images of her ‘favorite place on this earth’.

Interested in spending the day on Fontana Lake? You’ll find more information here.

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The View From Mount LeConte. Well Worth The Hike.

The two most popular vistas in the Great Smoky Mountains are at Newfound Gap and Clingmans Dome, primarily because both are accessible by car …although there’s a fairly steep half-mile walk from the parking lot to the Clingmans Dome observation tower.

The spectacular view from atop Mt. LeConte requires considerably more effort. It can only be reached on foot, the most popular route being the rather strenuous 5.5 mile trek along the Alum Cave Trail. From the parking lot on US 441, hikers climb 2763 feet to reach the 6593 foot peak, averaging more than 500 feet elevation gain per mile. But the reward is the breathtaking view that Shari Jardina enjoys above.

Most make it a day hike — an 11-mile hike roundtrip. While there are overnight accommodations at the rustic LeConte Lodge, space is limited and in high demand. Reservations generally fill up months in advance.

Shari is an Indianapolis photographer who’s captured many images of the North Carolina Smokies. This one was made by her husband Eric.

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The Bookends Of A Perfect Day In The Smokies

This week’s double postcard illustrates the perfect beginning and end to a day in the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. The misty morning view is what John and Nancy Greenfield see from their condo at Smoky Mountain Country Club in Whittier (Photo by Nancy). And Bruce Watson, a visitor from Huntersville, NC captured the spectacular sunset from the ‘Moonshine’ Cabin, near Bryson City.

If you want to know what happens between sunrise and sunset, simply browse through the more than 100 Postcards From The Smokies we’ve published over the past two years. It’s a composite picture of small town life in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.

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Get a Load of This Curvaceous 75 Year-old Beauty!

BRP75The Blue Ridge Parkway turns 75 this year and it’s as gorgeous as ever, with unmatched views of Appalachia. “America’s Favorite Drive” stretches 470 miles from the Shehandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. We’re a little prejudiced of course, but we believe the rugged southern section is the most scenic. In fact, the 90 mile drive from Cherokee to Asheville will take you to the highest point on the Parkway at Richland Balsam. It’s a great day trip from the Bryson City / Cherokee area.

Download a pdf map of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Photo by Shari Jardina, an Indianapolis photographer who’s captured many images of the North Carolina Smokies.

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Snowy View From the Top of Alarka

Julia Thompson photographed this winter scene at the top of Deep Gap Road in the Alarka community south of Bryson City. At 3000 feet, the scene includes a spectacular skyline view of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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A Winter Wonderland at the Top of the Smokies

From late March thru November, the remote and rustic LeConte Lodge is a busy place with the arrival of overnight guests. Most are hikers who have have completed the seven mile, 4000 foot trek on Trillium Gap trail to the top of Mt. LeConte (elevation 6593 ft.). Others will have taken the equally challenging Boulevard or Alum Cave trails. Needless to say, all are hungry and looking forward to the evening meal prepared by the Lodge’s cook Doug McFalls.

But in the off-season, when things are quiet at the lodge, Doug is still there in his role as winter caretaker …and the only person to witness the winter wonderland created by last week’s snowfall. On the morning of December 21 when he took this photo, the temperature was 12 degrees and the snowfall measured 32 inches.

While in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, LeConte Lodge is a privately-owned business. The Lodge is so popular that, when reservations are opened on October 1 each year, many of the bookings are immediately filled. For more information, visit their website.

For more of Doug’s photos, visit his solar-powered “Life on LeConte” blog.

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

The peaks of the Smokies have already seen several snows this year, but Friday’s snowfall was the first to blanket the bottomlands. By nightfall, the Bryson City area had accumulated more than six inches of the white stuff.

The above scene was photographed early Saturday just as the morning sun reached this picturesque valley in the Whittier community, with geese on the half-frozen pond and the cows waiting on their morning hay.

Meanwhile, high in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Doug McFalls, the winter caretaker at Mt. LeConte Lodge, reported 20 inches of snow with drifts up to three feet. You can see photos on Doug”s Blog “Life on LeConte.”

Sorry Doug, but after seeing your photos, we’d rather stay home in the valley …and maybe watch “The Shining.”

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A Beautiful Fall in the Smokies


As the colors change, everyone enjoys the grand panoramic vistas. Yet the most brilliant colors are often viewed up close, especially when the afternoon sun is backlighting the scene, as photographer J.R. vanLienden captured in this week’s Postcard From The Smokies.

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How to Enjoy an Early Morning Fog


With temperatures dropping in the Fall, early morning fogs are fairly common in the Smokies. Obviously, when clouds are touching the ground, there’s not much to see. But if you head for the higher elevations, along the Blue Ridge Parkway or Newfound Gap Road in the National Park, you can enjoy a spectacular sunrise above the clouds.

Photo by J.R. vanLienden

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When is the Peak Fall Color in the North Carolina Smokies?


It’s the question of the month from callers to the Bryson City Chamber of Commerce. And the answer is “You can see fall color just about anytime from early October through early November. You just may have to drive to see it.” That’s because the arrival of peak color varies with the elevation, which ranges from 2000 to more than 6000 feet in Swain County.

Autumn’s annual color show is already making its way down from highest elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where the climate is more like New England’s. And over the next three weeks, the above display will be repeated throughout the the Smoky Mountain landscape with the grand finale coming around the end of the month. The only spoiler could be a heavy thunderstorm, which could bring down the curtain early.

But right now, it’s shaping up to be quite a show.

Photo by J.R.VanLienden

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Bryson City’s Iconic Landmark From a Slightly Different Perspective


Smoky Mountain Times reporter Aaron Morgan captured this image of yellow flowers, the Chamber of Commerce fountain and the Old Swain County Courthouse reflected in the Chamber window. The photo was taken around 9 p.m. in late May this year. Aaron used a tripod and flash at 18mm, f/14, 30 seconds, ISO 100.

An exhibit of Aaron’s photography will be on display at the Marianna Black Library in Bryson City through the end of this month.

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