What’s Happening Locally

Cades Cove, Townsend TN, the 2012 Winter Heritage Festival & Craft Beer!

Posted by on Feb 6, 2012 in What's Happening Locally | 1 comment

A Mother Lode Cache of Antique Instraments at the 2012 Winter Heritage Festival

A Mother Lode Cache of Antique Instruments at the 2012 Winter Heritage Festival

The 6th Annual Townsend TN Winter Heritage Festival kept folks busy for four days.  The festival is a celebration of  human history and cultural traditions of the Tuckaleechee Cove area including Cades Cove, Townsend and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The kickoff was Thursday night at the Thompson-Brown House Museum with storytelling, refreshments and access to a new exhibit on the Civil War as Blount County celebrates the Civil War Sesquicentennial.  Friday, Saturday, and Sunday had events going on all day long at Cades Cove, the Townsend Visitor Center, the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, and the Little River Railroad and Lumber Company Museum.

A comprehensive list of events was posted in the Daily Times and online at www.smokymountains.org.  The emphasis was the history of the area, and mountain music was predominant.   Mom and I attended Friday afternoon’s, “Music of the Mountains” by Great Smoky Mountains National Park Park Ranger Lisa Free.  It was a combination of lecture on the oral traditions of passing music down or along, playing various instruments and some singing and foot tapping!  Instruments were made out of just about anything and there was a definite bias about which sex could play what instrument.  For instance, a 150 years ago you normally would not see a

Jeanie Hilten of the Townsend TN Visitor Center and Lisa Free, ranger at the great Smoky Mountains National Park

Jeanie Hilten of the Townsend TN Visitor Center and Lisa Free, ranger at the great Smoky Mountains National Park

woman playing the fiddle or banjo as Ranger Free and Visitor Center’s Manager of Partnership Events, Jeanie Hilten, are doing in this photograph. They would have been considered “loose”!  I knew Townsend was a hot bed of emancipated women!

In addition to all of the events listed above, Steve Fillmore of Miss Lily’s Cafe and the Lily Barn decided to test the waters to see if there would be interest in holding an annual craft beer festival in Townsend.  National beer sales are in decline overall, but craft beer sales are on the upswing as interest grows.  The event was held on Saturday at Laurel Valley Restaurant and Golf Course and was a sold out.  Attendee’s were effusive in their praise!   Blessings, mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

 

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Cades Cove Preservation Association, CCPA

Posted by on Oct 12, 2011 in What's Happening Locally | Comments Off

Cades Cove Preservation Society

Cades Cove Preservation Society

The Cades Cove Preservation Association is celebrating their 10th anniversary with a day long celebration at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend, TN, on Saturday October 22nd, from 10am to 4pm.  The featured speaker is Dwight McCarter, a retired ranger from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Mountain Folk Reunion and Mountain Gap are providing the music.  There will be door prizes every hour, horse and buggy rides, and old time toy demonstrations and games for the kids.  You can get your photo taken with Cades Cove pioneers.  For more information, contact Stephen Weber at sgw9309@earthlink.net .

The mission of the Cades Cove Preservation Association (CCPA) is to help preserve the heritage of Cades Cove located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The majority of the members are descendants of the Cove and many were born and lived there as children.  There are others, like Kathy and Dave Rudd, who have joined out of a love for the Cove. Non-natives, such as the Rudds, Kathy says, as she agreed to be interviewed, have been warmly embraced by those who have deep roots in the community.  It’s an enjoyable group of those who work to preserve both their history and some of the early history of our nation.

A One on One Tour of the Thompson Brown House

A One on One Tour of the Thompson Brown House

Members participate in several events throughout the year to educate the public on the Cove’s history and share their experiences and memories of living there.  Some members have published books. In addition to monthly meetings, they also have several ongoing projects during the year, such as maintaining the cemeteries, clearing trails to old home sites, etc. One project, in the summer of 2010, was cleaning up the Caughron barn that was destroyed by winds late last year to salvage the materials for the Park to use in restoring the other buildings of the Cove.

In Maryville, is the Thompson Brown House that houses many Cove artifacts and is staffed by CCPA members.  My nephew and I stopped there recently and were warmly greeted by a volunteer who gave Kane a behind the scenes tour.  Currently older descendants of the Cove are being interviewed, videotaped and recorded as a way to preserve their stories.  My hat is off to those volunteering their time.

PS, I read one of Dwight McCarter’s books, Lost, several years ago.  Since then I have never hiked without a whistle.  Furthermore, my guests hike with whistles.  Period.  If you are too macho to wear a whistle, I send you to Pigeon Forge to shop instead of giving you an overview and map of trails in the Park. After a day in Pigeon Forge, you will happily wear a whistle.  Over time,  I have populated the entire eastern seaboard with at least a gross of Wal-Mart whistles that my guests have taken home in their glove boxes,  dreaming of orange and yellow leaves against the blue skies, rivers and mountains of the Smokies.  Blessings, mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast


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Highland Games, Scottish Highland Games, Maryville College

Posted by on Jul 12, 2011 in What's Happening Locally | 1 comment

Smoky Mountain Highland Games

Smoky Mountain Highland Games

A year ago I wrote about the Gatlinburg Scottish Festival held in Gatlinburg.  For many reasons including space, they moved this year to Maryville College, re-branded themselves as the Smoky Mountain Highland Games, and there is no looking back.  Attendance last year was between 2,500-2,700; celebrating this year, for the 30th annual time, the Maryville, TN inaugural event had over 6,000 in attendance.

The Daily Times, our local paper, certainly gave it a whopping amount of space.  Their calendar of events, headline and side stories may have helped create interest, but certainly the additional space and 2 to 3 times the tent space helped.  Of course, what better place than Maryville College, home of the “Fighting Scots?” One person was overheard saying it was redundant to call a Scot a Fighting Scot!

30th Annual Games held for the 1st time at Maryville College, Home of the Fighting Scots

This year’s honored guest was Lord Hugh Montgomerie, a chieftain of his clan and heir to his father the 18th Earl of Eglinton and 6th Earl of Winton!  Finding out more about your own clan is an important part of the festival but you certainly, don’t have to be Scottish to partake of the festivities.  Food: Scottish eggs, meat pies and haggis to name a few of the traditional offerings, were almost as popular as the beer tent.  For the activities, it really helps to go with the Times pre-printed schedule.  Friday kicked off with the Knoxville Pipes and Drums parade and a reception at the Clayton Center.  Saturday 8am-8pm and Sunday 8:30pm to 5pm was nonstop competitive events, music, shopping and demonstrations.  mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

 

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Beekeeping, a Family Hobby for a Smoky Mountain Inn

Posted by on Jun 29, 2011 in What's Happening Locally | Comments Off

Father and Son Hobby

Father and Son Hobby

Most beekeepers are in it for the honey, although others maintain colonies of bees to pollinate crops, or for the beeswax, propolis, pollen or royal jelly.  My brother Mike and his son Kane started beekeeping four years ago, primarily for the pollen and propolis, and secondarily for the honey.

I talked to my nephew first.  To quote an eight year old, he likes beekeeping.  Opening the hive is cool.  They fly and crawl all over you.  I asked him if he wore protective clothing?  He said yes, an astronaut’s suit!  Can you describe it?  Hat with a screen, gloves, long socks, boots and an all white suit.  I asked him if he knew why the suit was white? He didn’t know. (I had spent an hour reading Wikipedi before calling him.)  I told him that natural predators of beehives were bears and skunks that were black and furry, so the suit by being white and slick, was as different as we could make it. So his mother may call him a skunk, but the bees could tell that he really wasn’t one.  He was not impressed.  I asked him what else he did. He said he pulled the tray out the bottom and checked the pollen.  He said it was NOT COOL if there were beetles in the pollen cause they eat it, so his dad would clean it out.  I asked him what he did with the pollen and he said he ate it, which he thinks is gross, but his dad thinks is good for him.  Other than hearing what colors their pollen was, the fact that the queen bee had a blue dot on her, and honey was good on bread, bagels, and by itself, I had pretty well sucked this hive dry.

On to my brother. He has one hive.  He says pollen is one of nature’s whole foods in and of itself.  Says you could live a good while just on pollen.  It has a complete string of vitamins and amino acids.  He said it also acclimates you to a lot of pollen allergies in the area.  He also collects the propolis, which is a tree resin the bees use to sterilize and seal off the hive.  Mike says you can make an extract with it by diluting it in pure grain alcohol, and it is good to use on canker sores, sealing wounds, etc.  He bottles the honey and shares with family and friends and our Smoky Mountain Bed and Breakfast, praise be!

In Pursuit of a Little Honey for Breakfast

In Pursuit of a Little Honey for Breakfast

So Auntie Kathy here would have to say, I’m leaning with my nephew.  I like the honey the best.  Mom makes a loaf of fresh baked bread and I pop a slice in the toaster, slather on some butter and honey and feel like the Queen Bee.  I think I could live a good while just on that, and I wouldn’t be inclined to kill the male drones when cold weather approaches!  Who else is there, other than the male drones, to put up the Christmas lights?  mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

 

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Herb and Wildflower Day at the Townsend, TN Visitor Center

Posted by on Jun 15, 2011 in What's Happening Locally | Comments Off

Herb and Wildflower Day, at the Townsend Visitor Center, is one of the many smaller festivals that they host all year long in Townsend, TN, but the participants are no less passionate about their subject matter. Booths were set up under the pavilion representing several of the local Herb and Wildflower Nurseries in the area. Other offerings to round out the day included: fine pottery with a nature theme, a baked good sale, walks in the woods, classes and garden tours.

The day started at 7AM at Tremont with a walk lead by retired NPS Ranger Carey Jones featuring “Birds of the Smokies.” Afternoon wildflower rambles and hikes were on Chestnut Top Trail (“What’s in Bloom”) and Spruce Flats Falls (“Wildflowers on Rocks”).

The two most heavily attended classes were held at the Visitor Center. A 9AM lecture by Dr. Patricia Cox of TVA Natural Heritage on “Spring Flowers and Ferns of the Smokies” had an attendance of about 40 along with the 10:30AM lecture by NPS Ranger Adrian Mayor on “Wildflowers Pollinators- Bees and More.” Afternoon lectures were on “Exotic and Invasive Plants” and a “Blount Friendly Landscaping Gardening Class.” Perfect weather for the perfect Townsend style festival! mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

Katie Gamble with Overhill Gardens, Vonore, TN

Katie Gamble with Overhill Gardens, Vonore, TN

Susan Chattin with The Lily Barn, Townsend, TN

Susan Chattin with The Lily Barn, Townsend, TN

Sara Berry owner of Trillium Cove Home and Garden, Townsend, TN

Sara Berry owner of Trillium Cove Home and Garden, Townsend, TN

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TroutFest, Townsend, TN, Hosted by the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited

Posted by on May 29, 2011 in What's Happening Locally | Comments Off

 

TroutFest, Townsend, TN 2011

Trout Fest, Townsend, TN 2011

This photo shows a fraction of the tents set up at the 8th annual TroutFest 2011, held in Townsend, TN.  A rousing success, as always, the festival is one of the largest of its kind in the country and the biggest in the Southeast.  It’s hosted by the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited to benefit trout stream preservation and restoration.  Last year they netted $45,000 that was donated to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fisheries Department.  This year, the festival had around 4,000 attendees including the guests staying at Gracehill Bed and Breakfast, our Smoky Mountain Inn.  Although the sport of fly fishing is enjoyed by men and women alike,  I’m here to say I have never seen so many solo men in the 30 to 60 age bracket, gathered in one spot  in my life.  Their minds however, were on 6 legged insect nymphs as in the “#12 George Nymph,” rather than the 2 legged nymphs of the goddess variety!

Top fly fishing vendors in the nation were represented along with some of the best known headliners like Lefty Kreh, Joe Humphreys, Bob Clouser, Zach Matthews and Tom Rosenbauer of Orvis.   This year heralded the premier issue of the TroutFest Journal which was clutched to bosoms like my grannie’s Bible on a Sunday morning.  Friday night had a reservation only banquet, and Saturday & Sunday was chock full of clinics, demonstrations, and heavy duty shopping.  Maybe the most fun was the Kid’s Casting Clinic, but the most original was the brain child of Paula Begley of Little River Outfitters.  She calls it a  “6 hole course,” that was a casting competition at six different stations with paper mache rocks, waterfalls, rhododendron  bushes and other assorted obstacles.  She hopes to do a 9 hole course next year, and I plan on spending more time scoping it out.  mizkathleen@ Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

The Orvis Booth at TroutFest

The Orvis Booth at TroutFest

Ian Rutter at the R&R Fly Fishing Booth

Ian Rutter at the R&R Fly Fishing Booth

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