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Archived articles for NC Mountain News
Swanannoa Gathering Continues with Guitar Week and Contemporary Folk Week 
July 26 - August 1, 2015     Swanannoa Gathering - Guitar Week and Contemporary Folk Week  One of the finest programs of its kind anywhere, staffed by some of the world’s best players and instructors. New instructors this year include Clive Carroll, Dakota Dave Hull, Bill Cooley, Allen Shadd, Jonathan Brown and Josh Goforth. Classes will be offered in a wide variety of styles ranging from Celtic and bossa nova to jazz and blues.

Contemporary Folk Week celebrates this 24th Gathering with another group of great artist/instructors offering a wide variety of classes designed to put music back where it belongs – in your hands. Returning instructors include: Grammy-winners Kathy Mattea, Jim Lauderdale, Jon Vezner, and Don Henry, folk stalwarts Ellis Paul, Peter Mulvey, Sara Hickman, and Amy Speace, vocal coaches Siobhan Quinn and Danny Ellis, and music theory guru Ray Chesna.

The final week of the Swanannoa Gathering will be August 2 - 8, Mando and Banjo Week.

Founded in 1991 by Warren Wilson College President Emeritus Douglas M. Orr, Jr., The Swannanoa Gathering is an educational program of the college, consisting of a series of week-long workshops in various folk arts held in July and August on the campus of Warren Wilson College just east of Asheville. With a limited enrollment and an 'open' format which allows each student to select their own curriculum from a variety of courses, the experience is intimate and supportive for students of all abilities, featuring a staff of some of the finest performers and teachers in the world.

Warren Wilson College is located at 701 Warren Wilson Rd. in Swannanoa, NC (between Black Mountain and Asheville NC. . Read more...  
LTL Receives Grants from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation  
LTLT (Little Tennessee Land Trust) was among the recipients of 23 grants from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation totaling over $2.4 million dollars. One grant to LTLT was awarded to continue the restoration of river cane and other resources on the historic Welch Farm and fund management of artisan resources on the Tessentee Bottomland Preserve. A second CPF grant was also awarded to LTLT to enhance the bird monitoring, research, and education programs tied to the national MAPS program. Read more...  
Outside Magazine Names North Carolina Best Domestic Adventure Hub   
North Carolina has been named Best Domestic Adventure Hub in Outside Magazine's 30 Most Incredible Trips to Take in 2015. "Take California, make the mountains greener and the beaches and restaurants less crowded, and replace all the digital millionaires with hospitable southerners, and you get North Carolina." - Outside Magazine.

Specific mountain area points of interest cited in the article include Asheville's farm-to-table restaurants, local breweries, and great music venues; mountain biking from world-class singletrack and road riding in the Blue Ridge mountains to the Big Avery Loop, a challenging 13-mile romp through rhododendron tunnels and way-off-the-back rock steps; 96 miles of Appalachian Trail with some of the most pristine hiking in the world; the Nantahala Outdoor Center with some of the country’s best whitewater and both national competitions and family-friendly activities.

A few of the other Outside Magazine "Top 30" trips to take in 2015 were:
Best Island: Bermuda
Best Street Food: Austin, Texas
Best Place to Tie One On: Portland, Maine (although we would remind readers that Asheville has beat out Portland for #1 Beer City USA several years running)
Best Way to Get Strong Quads: San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Best Beaches: South Carolina (we assume Outside Mag didn't get the opportunity to visit NE Florida and the incredible pristine beach parks, Little Talbot and Big Talbot Island - Florida beaches the way they were before people arrived...)
Best Road Biking: California
Best Urban Upgrade: Philadelphia
Best Place to Eat and Drink Yourself Silly: Scotland
Best Safari: Kenya
Best Airbnb Property: Mary May’s
Best Surf Trip: Baja, Mexico  
Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown Opens 2015 Season 
March 13 - 29, 2015 The Wizard of Oz – Young Performers Edition at The Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown. The season kicks off with this Wizard of Oz performance over the rainbow into the merry old land of Oz with Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion and Toto too as they jitterbug through the haunted forest, tangle with winged monkeys and confront the Wicked Witch of the West. The Wizard of Oz is a one-hour adaption for Young Performers.

The Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown, a venue for the Flat Rock Playhouse with live performances of staged productions and music revues, is located at125 South Main Street in historic downtown Hendersonville NC 
2015 Southern Conference
Basketball Tournament in Asheville 
Downtown will be filled with 50,000+ basketball fans, all enjoying Asheville's shopping, dining and drinking during the course of the tournament.  Men and women's games to be played at the ExploreAsheville.com Arena and Kimmel Arena on the UNCA campus. Visit the website or call for game days and times
The National Gingerbread House Competition and Display 
Contestants from across the country bring their architectural masterpieces to The Grove Park Inn for display over the holidays (11/19/14 - 1/1/15). Delight in the imagination shown in these sugar-and-spice creations, strolling through the competition is a sure way to be swept up in the holiday spirit.

There is no admission charge to view the entries to the National Gingerbread House Competition. In addition to the gingerbread overload, see the beautiful holiday displays throughout and warm by the giant fireplaces in the grand lobby. You may pick up a map in the lobby to find the various areas where the entries are displayed.
2014 Fall Leaf Color Report
see recent color photos HERE
The Week of November 2, 2014:
Final Report for 2014 Season:   YES - there is still some fall color! Although the unexpected and early snow caused closures on the Parkway and parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along with taking down most of the remaining fall leaves, color can still be seen in many valleys and the lowest elevations. You will find the most of the lingering color in the Chimney Rock and Lake James areas and the southwest mountains.
 2014 Fall Leaf Color Report
see recent color photos HERE
The Week of October 22, 2014:

Asheville and the Mid-elevations: This is the week to head for the hills! Despit some leaf loss from rains and heavy winds, the green leaves hung on and are ready to start turning this week, continuing through the end of the month. Elevations of 3,000 - 4,000 are showing excellent color. 10/22/14  ...read more and see INCREDIBLE photos

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park:  Waves of color can now be seen throughout the Park. Storms downed most of the leaves at higher elevations but now that the autumn weather has arrived colors are developing quickly everywhere in the Park. At middle elevations at 3500 feet color is fully developed. In the next week or so as 30-40% of lower elevation trees are just starting to turn and another 30-40% have well developed color. Sourwood, red maple, sugar maple and blueberry have vivid red foliage. Other foliage is pale yellow. It is estimated that we’re at least a week away from full color development around the valley floor in Cade's Cove. The Smokies are also still approaching their peak, so head on over to Cherokee and take the road up to Clingmans Dome and Newfound Gap. You’ll pass through green forests at the bottom, good color at mid-elevations, and then forests past their peak above 3,500’. 10/22/14
...read the full report and see photos

Southwest Mountains in the Nantahala and Cashiers / Highlands areas:As in other mountain areas colors are best around 4,000 feet with lower elevation beginning sweeps of colors and the highest elevation loosing their leaves and lower just beginning to turn from green to yellows, oranges and reds. 10/22/14

The High Country:  Most of the leaves in the highest elevations have fallen. At 4500 feet and below color is sweeping through and can be viewed from many overlooks along the Parkway or along the Parkway trails. Blowing Rock/Boone areas are just past peak with the best colors below 3,000 feet. 10/22/14 ....
see photos and read more from the biology department at Appalachian State University

Where to find color this weekend:
The "middle" mountains surrounding Asheville, Hendersonville and Brevard are full of color - check out the nearby parks such as Dupont State Forest and, of course, The Biltmore Estate. Travel the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville south.
Street Dances are a Summer Tradition in the Mountains
Get ready to kick up your heels or just enjoy watching a long time mountain tradition: Mountain Street Dances. Held on a regular schedule in a variety of mountain cities during the summer months the Mountain Street Dances are a favorite event for both locals and visitors alike.

Two annual favorites are held in Hendersonville and Waynesville. This week Hendersonville features the band Appalachian Fire and Dancers J. Creek Cloggers. Hendersonville's Street Dances have been a tradition for 92 years. The Street Dances highlight local mountain heritage music and dance on Monday evenings during the summer. Bring a chair and sit back, relax and enjoy mountain heritage music and dancing from 7:00-9:00PM. Seating area opens after 5:30.

At Waynesville's Mountain Street Dance you can put on your cloggin' and square dancin' shoes and enjoy an old-fashioned mountain hoedown. Live mountain music, demonstrations and instruction by local clogging teams are included. Refreshments are available for purchase. Limited bleacher seating available so feel free to bring a chair or blanket for the Courthouse lawn.

Caleb Johnson from Asheville wins American Idol
Asheville NC native Caleb Johnson proves that persistence AND talent counts as he won the 2014 American Idol designation. Johnson's consistent performances were key to moving up through this year's weeks of competition. With a voice and style that combine the best of rock and pop his genuine and caring nature (well, he IS from Asheville) shine through to make him a favorite with young and old.

American Idol took a step up this year with the addition of Harry Connick Jr., one of the best musicians and musical artists this country has ever produced. Not to mention his acting, song-writing, support of family and hometown (New Orleans), humor and - OK - in the looks department it doesn't get much better. But hopefully his influence has brought more emphasis to the previously tedious show to musical skills, artistry and maybe even a little originality. Like Caleb Johnson.
Annual National Gingerbread House Competition
November 20, 2013 - January 2, 2014   The National Gingerbread House Competition and Display    Contestants from across the country bring their architectural masterpieces to The Grove Park Inn for display over the holidays. Delight in the imagination shown in these sugar-and-spice creations, strolling through the competition is a sure way to be swept up in the holiday spirit. 

There is no admission charge to view the entries to the National Gingerbread House Competition. In addition to the gingerbread display, see the beautiful holiday decorations throughout the Grove Park Inn and warm by the giant fireplaces in the grand lobby. Pick up a map in the lobby to find the various areas where the gingerbread entries are   read more... 
Saluda NC a Perfect Example of Small Business Saturday
November 30 - The 4th Annual Saluda Small Business Saturday. This year's event, falls between black Friday and cyber Monday on Thanksgiving weekend. Created in 2009 to recognize small businesses as the heart of the American economy, Small Business Saturday has become a boon to independent retailers. Last year over 100 million consumers came together in cities across the country to "shop small" and celebrate all that small local businesses do for their communities. Saluda NC perfectly represents "small town USA" with a Main Street comprised entirely of small independent businesses. "Just like good wine reflects the flavor of the grapes in the region where they are grown, local small businesses reflect the beauty and character of their communities. By supporting our individual entrepreneurs, we maintain and enhance the beauty and unique characteristics of our community and our quality of life. When we choose to   read more... 
Ghost Town in the Sky Opens for the 2013 Season
May 25, 2013 - Ghost Town in the Sky Opening Day The historic NC theme park opens its 2013 season under new ownership with a variety of renovations and new adventures.

"Level Fun" offers the ziplines at the bottom of Buck Mountain, Chair lift ride, Carousel, Kiddie Rides, Round-up, and the Ghost Town Museum which were opened in 2012.

The 2013 Season expands with "Western Town" including action-packed cowboy gunfights, can-can dancing and live music from Ghost Town's legendary Western Town. Shuttles will be available to transport guests from Level Fun to Western Town. Also new for 2013 are 6-8 artist "Studio" Spaces along with the sale of local art and crafts in the gift shop.

Adult tickets are $24.50, children $14.95, and those under five are free. Ghost Town in the Sky is located at 16 Fie Top Road in Maggie Valley NC. .  
Road Repairs Complete for Newfound Gap Road
April 15, 2013 -  Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced the completion of road repairs to Newfound Gap Road (Hwy 441). The road has been closed since the January 16th landslide that washed away approximately 200 feet of the road. At 10:00 AM on April 15 2013, the Park officially opened the road to all thru traffic between Cherokee, NC and Gatlinburg, TN.
Tweetsie Railroad Opens for the 2013 Season
April 12 - Tweetsie Railroad Opens for the 2013 Season.  All aboard for NC's oldest theme park and another season of wild-west fun & excitement! April 12 through May 27, 2013 hours: Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. May 31 through August 18, 2013: Open 7 days a week, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. August 23 through November 3, 2013: Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and Labor Day Monday, September 2, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Tweetsie Railroad, North Carolina's first theme park, takes a trip back into the days of the Old West. Hop aboard the train for an unforgettable three-mile journey through the scenic mountains. Even in today's high-tech world, there's still a place for old-fashioned fun.  
NC Road Closures and Landslides
January 28 - The Cherohala Skyway is re-opening with a temporary detour.  Part of the westbound lane of the road was washed down a 1,000-foot ravine on Jan. 17, forcing the North Carolina Department of Transportation to close the scenic road. The on-site detour route around a closed section of the Cherohala Skyway in Graham County near the Tennessee state line is a temporary fix, but will allow through traffic on the Skyway until the road is permanently repaired.

US 441 (Newfound Gap Road) is still closed due to a landslide.
While the access from Gatlinburg to Cherokee will remained closed during the construction period, Newfound Gap Road has been opened from the Gatlinburg, TN entrance to Newfound Gap, and from Cherokee, NC entrance to Smokemont Campground. Visitors who want to sightsee and recreate in the park will still find opportunities through both entrances.
Grove Park Inn Hosts a variety of Winter Events
Now until January 2, 2013 The National Gingerbread House Competition and Display continues at the Grove Park Inn. Contestants from across the country have brought their sweet architectural masterpieces to The Grove Park Inn for display over the holidays. Check availability and current rates at The Grove Park Inn.

The Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa is an historic Asheville mountain inn with renowned spa services. Additional facilities include the scenic golf course and a sports complex with swimming pool, tennis courts, racquetball and training equipment. The Resort offers onsite restaurants, lounge and bars. A large variety of accommodations include rooms and suites in varying stages of updates and ages with some original Inn antiques.

The Grove Park hosts a variety of winter events and weekend packages from New Year's Eve Celebrations to Big Band Dance Weekend to the All That Jazz Festival. Get a link for details on the Asheville NC Visitor Guide.  
RiverLink ends 2012 with a long list of accomplishments
2012  was a productive year  for RiverLink, working together with 300 collaborating organizations and partners to make the French Broad River Watershed swimmable, fishable and drinkable now and into the future.

Some of the year's accomplishments include
1644 volunteers put in 2800-plus hours, collecting 744 bags of trash, 271 tires and an assortment of TVs, toilets, mattresses, hubcaps, toys, and other debris.
 - MAJOR work was done at Karen Cragnolin Park. Not only was an easement donated across the front of the property for brand new sidewalks, the phytoremediation was begun on the land. Phytoremediation is a technique that uses nature's healing properties (plants) to clean up contaminated soils.
 -  RiverLink partnered with local micro-breweries to host the annual Winter Warmer Beer Festival. The brewers donated $2,500 which was directed to the Broadway greenway.
-  The 5th annual "Voices of the River: Art and Poetry Contest. Using all of their senses, students observe their watershed and created a piece of art or poetry based on topics such as fish and wildlife; boating and recreation; pollution and trash; geography; culture and history; water and the hydrologic cycle.
-  RiverLink co-sponsored two events in April: The River Management Society conference entitled "From Intimate Creeks to the Infinite Sea" and the 3rd annual French Broad River Classique Canoe and Kayak Race.
 - The old tire store at 704 Riverside Drive was transformed and welcomed new tenants, Asheville Adventure Rentals. AAR is a full-service gear rental, retail, travel and instruction company.
 -  RiverLink sponsored community dialogues with the neighborhoods around Amboy Road and the developer who is working on a project at the corner of Amboy Road and Riverview.
 - $25,000 was raised from the Pigeon River Fund to install the Best Management Practices or BMP's along the greenway that will help to control the erosion and sediment.
 - RiverMUSIC concerts series were held throughout the summer. The Series kicked off  at the RiverLink Sculpture and Performance Plaza with a live theatre performance by the Warren Wilson College Theatre Department.
 - The 13th annual RiverFest at French Broad River Park, including another year of the world famous Anything that Floats Parade during RiverFest.
 - Environmental education, river recreation and service learning  were incorporated during SUMMER CAMP.
 -  Long-time artist resident of the river Heinz Kossler was hired to create  handmade tiles for the new sidewalk that will surround The Warehouse Studios at 170 Lyman Street. The city installed the sidewalk using granite curbstones that were removed from the river area when they asphalted the street most times right over the granite and the old trolley tracks.
 -  Funding was received for an all-inclusive online interactive map for the French Broad River camping and paddle trail.
 -  Mew Board members were added -- Barb Korb, retired marketing and operations director for AT&T; Mike Sule, founder and executive director of Asheville on Bikes; Paul Dismukes, community volunteer who works with Habitat for Humanity, GreenWorks and Rotary; and Peter Sprague, an executive with Ingles Market and lifetime volunteer with Boy Scouts of America. Incidentally,
 -  The annual Friends of the River dinner.
 -  The dedication a new section of Broadway greenway.
 -  Water-related lessons were provided for approximately 4,000 children ages K-12.
 - Celebration the life and legacy of Wilma Dykeman with the installation of three new information kiosks at the Sculpture & Performance Park on Riverside Drive.
 - The Swannanoa RiverFest with river cleanups and a ton of Swannanoa fun with Warren Wilson College students and staff.
 -  A volunteer appreciation party at Dave Russell's Avant Garden.
 -  NC's BIG SWEEP, collecting over 90 bags of trash and 13 tires from a 15-mile stretch of the French Broad River.
 - Meetings withthe NC Secretary of Tourism and the head of the Community Foundation from the state of Guanajuato, Mexico, a two-day visit with Friendship Force folks from the Maldives.
 -  This year's Leadership Asheville Seniors Class adopted the labyrinth as their project and have installed a mediation bench and are working to spruce up the whole area.
 - RiverLink was voted The Best Environmental Group for the 7th year in a row in the Mountain Xpress.
 -  Announced the recipients of the 2012 RiverBusiness Awards: The Asheville Brewers Alliance, The Self-Help Credit Union, The Montford Neighborhood Association, PSNC Energy, Sundance Power and FLS Energy. These wonderful river-friendly companies have made lasting contributions to the entire community making the watershed a better place to live, work and play for everyone.
 - Announced the CriticaLink award winners for 2012. CriticaLinks are non-board members who through their extraordinary volunteer efforts have helped make the French Broad River watershed a better place for everyone to live, work and play.
 -  WaterRICH -- a new residential program designed to help homeowners and renters manage storm water and erosion on their property.
 - Installed 3 additional storm water features constructed for properties in the WaterRICH Program, conducted 8 WaterRICH Property installations and Certified 32 WaterRICH Consultations We helped attract the funding for the $600,000 federal highway administration road study for the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay that has been adopted.
 - An old-fashioned oyster roast in Marshall with over 300 people and great music. Our host was Rob Pulleyn who bought the old Marshall high school building on Blannahasset Island and turned it into Marshall High Studios, an artist enclave.
 - Development of an online interactive water quality game designed specifically for the French Broad River watershed, another way to reach children of all ages.
 - RiverLink was the recipient of the sale at an art show at Asheville Adventure Rentals by local artist, Maryanne Pappano, who has created a series of installations reflecting our work to improve the French Broad River.
Beech Mountain Ski Resort Prepares to Open its 45th Season with New Equipment and Personnel
BEECH MOUNTAIN, NC - The 2012 winter marks a milestone ski season at Beech Mountain Ski Resort. The resort celebrates 45 years since its christening in 1967, when it became the highest ski area east of the Rockies at 5,506 feet in elevation.

Beech Mountain Resort is offering specials and incentives throughout the winter in honor of its anniversary, including a $45 learn-to-ski package the entire month of January.

Although this is a landmark season to recognize the past, general manager Ryan Costin also has the resort focused on its future. Costin will continue a four-year revamping of Beech Mountain Resort's snowmaking department. The resort's recent purchase of six more SMI Super PoleCat automated snow guns, brings the total to 30. These state-of-the-art machines now combine with more than 100 smaller guns to provide the best snowmaking capacity in the resort's history. Several of the 30 high-tech guns have been re-positioned for use earlier in the season to boost snow coverage on popular runs like Upper Shawneehaw and Robbin's Run.

On the personnel side, key moves this winter include the addition of Ric Wilkerson as director of freestyle terrain, and Dean Blanton as ski school director. Wilkerson, who previously worked for Appalachian Ski Mountain, is known for creating excellent terrain parks. Blanton, meanwhile, is a former educator and principal who brings that
organizational background to the resort's growing ski school operation.

Skiers and snowboarders will also notice new shops in the resort's alpine village, a new high-tech grooming machine for the slopes, and a fresh coat of black paint on all chairlift towers. "We're really focused on the details," Costin said. "We continue to improve our product year over year."
It's the peak of apple season in the NC Mountains
NC_Apple_Orchards_to_Visit Visit an NC Apple Orchard or Farm and pick your own apples or buy pre-picked. Many Orchards offer tours, special events, country stores and other produce and handmade goods. Visit these farms and orchards online or in person:
JH Stepp Farm's Hillcrest Orchard has been inviting guests to pick their own apples for 40 years at their orchard in Hendersonville NC. Tours and activities are offered as well as The Market at Hillcrest, a rustic gift shop offering visitors a variety of unique gifts and delectable food items.

Meet "Grandma Lyda" at
Lyda farms and stroll through the farmyard where you'll see donkeys, goats, geese, ducks and chickens. Lyda farms is a 5th generation Hendersonville family farm and apple orchard located in the beautiful North Carolina Mountains near Asheville. The Market at Lyda Farms, open from June through November offers a large variety of locally grown produce, such as blueberries, cabbage, cantaloupe, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, peppers,potatoes, tomatoes, squash, sweet corn, turnips, and watermelon. Enjoy a varitey of fun activities at Grandad’s, a 70 acre family farm located in Hendersonville NC. Pre-picked or pick-your-own apples, a pumpkin patch, 5 acre corn maze, the Fun Train and Grandad’s Barnyard Corral will keep kids of all ages busy. At Grandad’s Barn and Country Store, you will find a great selection of fall harvest decorations, apple peelers, apple bakers, and other apple gifts.

Coston Farm and Apple House in the autumn for pre-picked fresh apples, plus everything you need to decorate for the fall season, including pumpkins, gourds, corn shocks, hay, and indian corn. You can also find other unique fall decorations in the Gift shop. Enjoy a memorable pick-your-own-experience at Coston Farm with the NC mountains as a back drop.

Creasman Farms is a third-generation family-owned farm with approximately 35 acres in apples and  a "pick your own" orchard.  Visit the animals and get a taste of life on a real working farm.

Justus Apple Orchard  find U Pick or We Pick Apples, Blackberries, Pumpkins and Peaches. The Apple House Bakery features our famous Fried Apple Pies, Delicious Cobblers and Apple Cider Donuts! Enjoy a weekend Tractor ride to and from the Orchard, sip a cup of Fresh Apple Cider on the big covered porch and shop for your favorite Jam, Jelly and Preserves.

Mountain Fresh Orchards  grows 16 varieties of apples on 12-acres of orchards and invites you to visit their roadside fruit and vegetable stand located in Hendersonville in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina.  
NC Apple Festival (66th) - a Labor Day Weekend Tradition
August 31 - September 3   NC Apple Festival  This annual Labor Day Weekend Event features a street fair on Historic Main Street in downtown Hendersonville NC. This favorite annual festival is now in its 66th year.

NC Apple Festival on Labor Day Weekend Apple Festival activities include: entertainment, arts and crafts, apple products, children and youth activities, special exhibits, food and the King Apple Parade on Labor Day. 

The King Apple Parade is a highlight of the Festival and an appropriate conclusion to this popular event. . At the parade there will be professional floats, bands, youth groups, antique cars, fire trucks and many others participating in this event that will draw over 60,000 individuals.
Mountain Heritage comes to life at the Franklin Folk Festival
July 21  9th Annual Franklin Folk Festival   More than 100 living exhibits and demonstrations allow visitors to experience what mountain life was like way back when. These folks learned at their parents’ knee woodcarving, moon shining, basket making, weaving and spinning, and all the many other things they’ll be demonstrating.

Exhibits include everything from quilting and moonshinin' to Civil War reenactors. Activities get underway at 9:00 AM and conclude with Pickin' on the Square in the evening.

This year a special event, the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Franklin Fire Department, will held in collaboration with the festival and will feature booths, speakers, games, and vintage trucks, equipment and memorabilia. There will be antique Fire Engines on Display along the west end of Main Street plus an old fashioned bucket brigade challenge and other games & contests for all ages. The Fire Department Celebration area will kick off at 11:00 AM. in front of Macon Bank with greetings from the NC State Fire Marshal, Wayne Goodwin.
Wilkesboro NC is on List of Top 10 Places to Bike
Biking has become a way of life in Wilkesboro NC and Wilkes County. Led in large part by the Brushy Mountain Cyclists Club, city residents take advantage of both road and mountain biking and enjoy the challenges of the expansive Kerr Scott Trail. Made up of four separate trails ranging in size and difficulty, the area caters to all kinds of biking crowds.

According to Livability.com Wilkesboro is # 5 on the list of top 10 places to ride a bike. The List includes some of the best places to ride a bike around the country, ranging from a cool cruise through the woods of North Carolina to the rocky terrain of New Mexico.
Brevard Music Center Kicks Off 2012 Season
June 22 at 7:30 PM   Principal Guest Conductor JoAnn Falletta and the Brevard Music Center Orchestra will kick off the 2012 season on Friday  with a full program of well-known classical music. Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 4 in G major, one of Beethoven's best-known piano concertos, will be performed with BMC faculty pianist Norman Krieger. Also on the program will be Strauss's Suite from Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59, Berlioz's Roman Carnival Overture and Schmidt's Intermezzo from Notre Dame.
Get a complete schedule and list of concerts and performances for the Brevard Music Center 2012 Festival HERE
Tweetsie Railroad Cool Summer Nights Series
July 7, 14, 21 and 28 you can enjoy Western North Carolina's favorite Wild West Adventure in a Whole New Light. Tweetsie Railroad is once again celebrating long summer days with extended hours of family fun on select nights in July during its Cool Summer Nights event. When the sun begins to drop behind the Blue Ridge Mountains, the day turns to dusk and the fireflies begin their nightly performance visitors can see the theme park in a whole new light. Tweetsie’s newest program features four special evenings with the park remaining open until 9:00 PM.   
MerleFest 25 Includes 90+ Artists Live
April 26-29   MerleFest 25  Considered one of the premier music festivals in the country. MerleFest is held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro NC. The four-day festival features over 90 artists performing on 14 stages, including Doc & Richard Watson, Vince Gill, Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives and the Tedeschi Trucks Band.

MerleFest began in 1988 and is the primary fundraiser for Wilkes Community College. The Music of MerleFest is "traditional plus" as Doc Watson best describes it. Traditional plus means the traditional music of the Appalachian region plus whatever other stylesthe musicians are in the mood to play.

The Fest includes unique shopping experiences. The Shoppes at MerleFest, a centrally located shopping village, features commercial vendors, official MerleFest memorabilia, and services such as first aid, lost and found, overnight storage and internet access. The Heritage Crafts Tent offers some of the region's finest artisans selling and demonstrating handicrafts.
New Belgium Brewing Company
  Comes to Asheville's River Arts District
April 6 - In conjunction with the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County (EDC), New Belgium Brewing Company announced the selection of Asheville, North Carolina to build its first expansion brewery outside of Fort Collins, Colorado.  

The nation’s third-largest craft brewer plans to invest $175 million over seven years to build a state-of-the-art brewery on Craven Street in Asheville’s historic River Arts District. The expansion will strengthen the company’s capacity to serve new markets and reduce the cost and environmental impact of cross-country distribution. The brewery will create over 154 new jobs by 2020 and is expected to launch production in the first quarter of 2015. The average annual wage for jobs created will exceed $50,000, plus benefits, exceeding the county's average wage by 43 percent.

The company plans to break ground in the first quarter 2013 and commence hiring in the fourth quarter of 2014. For additional information on New Belgium Brewing Company, visit www.newbelgium.com. For more detail on the project plans, community reaction, maps etc. 
 NC Hunger Games Tour
March 30 -  NBC's Today Show featured a segment about North Carolina film locations used in the blockbuster movie 'The Hunger Games.' The 3:44-minute segment featuring North Carolina reached a national audience of 12,206,542, generating $538,268 in advertising equivalency on America's top-rated morning show program. 

Because of the extreme interest in everything related to the 'Hunger Games' The North Carolina Division of Tourism has developed a Hunger Games 4-day Itinerary including District 12 and the Arena (aka Dupont State Forest). The four-day itinerary, which loops from Charlotte to Asheville and back, leads to film locations, choice star hangouts and sites that connect to elements of the Suzanne Collins novel.

Dupont State Forest and Transylvania County is home to the best "action" both in the movie in real life. With 10,400 acres of forest featuring four major waterfalls on the Little River and several on the Grassy Creek you can hike, bike, fish, ride your horse...or even battle the forces of evil.
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NC Mountain News Publications:
The Alleghany News 
The Andrews Journal
Asheville Citizen Times
Beech Mountain News
Black Mountain News
The Cherokee Scout
The Cherokee Sentinel
Crossroads Chronicle
The Franklin Press
The Graham Star
Hendersonville Times News
Herald and Ruralite
Hickory Daily Record
High Country Press
The Highlander
Macon County News
Mc Dowell News
Mitchell News Journal
The Mountaineer
The Mountain Time
Mountain Xpress
Our State, North Carolina
Polk County News Journal
The Record
Smoky Mountain News
Smoky Mountain Times
Spruce Pine News-Journal
The Sylva Herald
The Transylvania Times
The Tryon Daily Bulletin
Watauga Democrat
Wilkes Journal Patriot
WNC Magazine
NC TV and Radio Stations
UNC TV  Public television provided by the University of North Carolina. 

Isothermal Community College Spindale, NC

WLOS TV   Asheville ABC affiliate

MOUNTAIN TELEVISION NETWORK  (MTN) the High Country's only local television station, is now available online 24 hours with ALL regular programming.


MOUNTAIN TV GUIDE  The High Country's Online Video Resource for the Skyline Drive in Virginia, Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, Smoky Mountain Expressway in Tennessee, and Adjacent Towns and Cities

Life in the Carolinas  Each Life in the Carolinas episode features a unique Carolinas destination. The program airs Saturdays at noon on Charlotte's WCCB.

Miscellaneous NC News Links:
NC Heritage Podcast
Stories of Mountain Folk. Enjoy a different broadcast every week with local music performances, gardening and mountain traditions, local authors and storytellers. Listen to theses "down-to-earth", full of local color shows while you surf the web or anytime you need an infusion of that magic Spirit of Appalachia.
NC Green Travel Initiative 

WIFI Finder Travel App
find WIFI hotspots for 650,000+ locations  in 144 countrues FREE download on
NC Christmas Tree Association
A White Christmas Tree Farm
Appalachian Evergreens
Bickerstaff Farms
Big Ridge Tree Farm
Banner Elk
Boyd Mountain
Buck's Tree Farm
Carolina Tree Farms
Elk Park  
Cartner Christmas Tree Farm
Christmas Corner
Circle C Tree Farm
Cool Springs Nursery
Banner Elk 
Dark Mountain Tree Farm
Elk River Evergreens
Elk Park 
Evergreen Ridge Christmas Tree Farm
Fox Ridge Tree Farm
Glade Valley
Frosty Mountain Christmas Trees
Harrell Hill Farms
Hickory Nut Christmas Tree Farm
Hudler Carolina Tree Farms
W Jefferson
J & D Tree Farms
Leiner Tree Farm
Lil' Grandfather Mountain
Laurel Springs 
Little Switzerland Christmas Tree Farm
Little Switzerland 
Little Switzerland Frasier Firs
Little Switzerland
Long Ridge Nursery
McKinney Evergreens
Mehaffey Tree Farm
Mistletoe Meadows
Laurel Springs 
Motsinger Christmas Trees
Roaring Gap
Mountain Advantage Farms
Panoramic Tree Farm
Reeves Ridge Christmas Trees
Reindeer Crossing Trees
RRR Tree Farms
Smoky Mountain Christmas Tree Farm
Snow Creek Christmas Trees
Sugar Mountain Nursery & Landscape
Sugar Plum Farms
Sunnyside Tree Farm
Glendale Springs
The Great Fraser Fir Company
Tom Miller's Tree Farm
Laurel Springs 
Top of the World Christmas Trees
Glendale Springs
Two Ds Nursery
Ty-Lyn Plantation
Touch of the Mountains
Elk Park 
Twin Oaks Christmas Tree Farm
Elk Park 
West End Wreaths
West Jefferson
What Fir! Tree Farm
Wishon Evergreens
B & H Farms Choose & Cut 828-387-7588
7439 Dogwood Knob Road, Newland, NC
Bear Wallow at Long Ridge Farms 828-297-4373, 406 Long Ridge Farm Rd, Sugar Grove
Brown's Choose & Cut    828-264-2800
2648 NC Hwy 194 North, Boone, NC
Buck Knob Farm      828-743-0248
Cullowhee NC
Christmas Mountain     336-982-6082
647C Lowgap Road, Jefferson, NC
Clawson's Choose & Cut  828-264-3162
4944 Hwy 194 N, Boone, NC
English Tree Farm    828-765-9561
617 Biggerstaff Road, Spruce Pine, NC
Grouse Ridge Trees Inc.   336-384-9094
14911 Old Hwy 16,  Grassy Creek, NC
Hickory Dendron Farms    828-963-0876
2301 Hickory Nut Gap Road, Newland,
Jerry Wilson Farms     828-682-6842
9343 Hwy 197 S, Burnsville, NC
McDaniel Tree Farms     828-733-4495
900 Grandview Lane, Newland, NC
Mountain Memories Christmas Trees  336-877-0170   252 Rocky Gap Road, West Jefferson, NC
Osage Farms, Inc.      828-526-3989
1604 Hale Ridge Road, Scaly Mountain, NC
Papa Goats Tree Farm    704-618-7360
PO Box 401, Sparta, NC
Parker's Tree Farm    828-321-0552
198 Sam Waters Road, Topton, NC
Sam & Edna Miller Trees  336-359-2365
14633 Hwy NC 18 S., Laurel Springs, NC
Sandy Hollar Farms        828-683-3645
63 Sandy Hollar Lane, Leicester, NC
Sparta Tree Farm       336-372-5448
6749 Friedens Church Road, Gibsonville, NC
Sparta Tree Farm       336-372-5448
6749 Friedens Church Road, Gibsonville, NC
Sweetwater Christmas Tree Farm   828-524-5412,   51 Sweetwater Drive, Franklin, NC 
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