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Archive for the 'Kodak Moments' Category

Couple Celebrates 50th Anniversary With a Return To Bryson City


At just 19 years old, Robert Rybak and his fiancé Evadean drove all the way from Columbus, Ohio to Bryson City. Too scared to ask their parents for permission, the couple made the trip to North Carolina to secretly get married. February 22 marked 50 years of marriage for the couple.

Robert, who was in the Air Force, and Evadean, an operator at Ohio Bell, met at a popular restaurant near the Air Force Base.  She was there with a friend, and he showed up after a USO dance.  Evadean’s friend teased her saying she wouldn’t be able to get a date with Robert.  She proved her friend wrong. The two met and soon fell in love.

Robert and Evadean made the trip to Bryson City from Ohio again recently to rediscover the place that holds so many special memories.  The wedding took place at the Swain County Courthouse with Justice of the Peace O Neal Muse and witnesses Odis Sitton and Percival DeHart.  The couple was very excited to find the courthouse and both remarked, “It looks so much smaller now!”

Photo by Jennifer Wilson

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Local Residents Get Sneak Preview of New Cherokee Central School


The three Elks wandered out of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for an impromptu tour of the new Cherokee Central School scheduled to open in September. Architect Scott Donald of Padgett and Freeman took the photo while the animals were checking out the new football stadium.

Scott said “someone left the gate open and I and two other folks corralled them all over the field to various open gates, but they only wanted to go out the gate they came in …scoring 7 points on the way out, with the extra point, of course.”

Scott and associate Maggie Carnevale designed the state-of-the art facility which will consolidate all of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ schools into a single 473,000 square-foot Pre-K – 12 campus. It includes a new elementary, middle, and high school, as well as a 1000-seat performing arts facility and the 3500-seat football stadium. For more about the new school, visit the Padgett and Freeman web site.


When Adults Outgrow Their Model Trains


The tracks of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad are a favorite of NARCOAThe National Association of Railcar Owners. It’s always fun to see a caravan of their tiny railcars making their way through the Smoky Mountains near Bryson City, as they did in early June. The railcars above were parked on a sidetrack at the Nantahala Outdoor Center allowing the GSMR’s scenic excursion train to pass through.

Dennis Lockwood of the Greenville (SC) Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society was on the June excursion and told us a little about the railcars. “Our cars are all retired railroad maintenance of way vehicles. They are inspected for safety before each excursion and operators are tested regularly for railroad operational knowledge.  All operators must carry liability insurance offered through NARCOA.

“The motorcars require modification to reach NARCOA safety standards.  So a freshly retired railroad motorcar must be upgraded before it can be operated on an excursion.  Most owners also do some restoration and paint work, as the cars are usually worn when the railroads retire them,” Dennis added.

The next Smoky Mountains Railroad excursion is NARCOA’s “Sunshine or Icicles” run scheduled for December 31, 2009 – January 01, 2010.

Photo © Ken Taylor

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A Clouded View From Newfound Gap


Early morning views from the top of the Smokies often look down on a blanket of clouds. Then, as the temperature rises, the cloud cover slowly lifts – at first completely shrouding the view and then dissipating to reveal the majesty of the Great Smoky Mountains.

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There’s Nothing Like a Home-town Christmas Celebration

There are no giant Macy’s balloons. And the biggest celebrities are this year’s homecoming queens. Yet it’s earned the title of “The Biggest Little Christmas Parade in the Smokies”, a Bryson City holiday tradition that will be repeated for the 34th time this Saturday, December 6th.

The 2 o’clock parade is just part of a day-long celebration. In the morning, children can have Breakfast with Santa at the Bryson City Fire Department. At 10 a.m., runners will compete in the Holiday 5K street race. And after the parade, there’ll be singing and storytelling at the Calhoun House Country Inn on Everett Street.

At 6 p.m. the town’s annual Spirit of Christmas celebration will begin. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for photos and Christmas wishes. Shops and galleries will be open, luminaries will line historic Everett Street, carolers and musical artists will perform, and a flat-bed truck with a living nativity scene will lead a candle-light stroll through town at the end of the evening.

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The Christmas Lights of Tiny Whittier

As the destination of the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad’s Polar Express train ride, the town of Whittier doubles as Santa’s North Pole throughout November and December. The lights not only delight the train’s passengers, they’re a must-see for residents and visitors alike.

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A Spectacular Leaf Season’s Golden Finale

Late Fall color in the Great Smoky Mountains near Bryson City

Autumn 2008 in the Great Smoky Mountains has seen one of the most colorful Fall leaf seasons in recent memory. Even now in early November, with much of the Fall foliage laying on the ground, the golds still glow brightly in the afternoon sun.

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Autumn’s Annual Guessing Game — When is “Peak” Leaf Season?

October Color in the North Carolina Smokies

Fall visitors to the Smokies often try to plan their visit around the “peak season” for autumn color. Yet no one except Mother Nature knows when the “peak” will occur …and she’s not talking.

Fall arrives first at the higher elevations, suggesting early-to-mid October drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway (above), Cherohala Skyway, and US 441 across Newfound Gap. Yet at the lower elevations around Bryson City, the best color usually arrives mid-to-late October …sometimes as late as early November.

Truth is, if you visit the Smokies just about any time in October, you’re certain to find Fall foliage. Just look high and low.

Photo by J.R. vanLienden, Masterpiece Portraits

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Giant Bears on the Streets of Cherokee, NC

Bears on the Streets of Cherokee

On a recent visit to the Smokies, Susan Murphy spent the morning photographing daughters Alana (left) and Mary Caitlin with each of the sixteen colorfully painted bears that now grace Cherokee’s streets and plazas. Each bear was created by a local tribal artist as part of a public art program sponsored by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

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