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October 9th, 2008
It’s Official Leaf-Looker Season
Western North Carolina, showplace of the Southern Appalachians, the Great Smoky Mountains and the venerable Black Mountains is a favorite destination for autumn leaf-lookers far and wide. The crisp mountain air – still warm in the day and jacket-cool at night – combines with cobalt skies and flame colored trees to provide a feast for the eyes and seasonal connections between the earth and the soul. Put that together with our many fine restaurants, local festivals and attractions, and fine accommodations, and pretty soon you’re talking about some of the best vacation getaway experiences the world has to offer.
The spectacular colors of autumn arise in hardwood tree leaves, which contain several different color pigments that appear as chlorophyll production shuts down and the tree prepares for winter by pulling the remaining chlorophyll/sugar energy out of the leaves. Brilliant reds, yellows and flame-bright oranges blanket the hills and valleys. Frost, which has already hit the high country, serves to break down the chlorophyll all at once, resulting longer lasting fall foliage. The result is a feast for the eyes and the heart that keeps visitors coming back year after year.
There are well-planned drives, whether you’re traveling by car, motorcycle or bicycle, well-worn hiking trails and fall festivals all over the region. Western North Carolina’s many beautiful resorts and golf courses beckon as well, with rest and recreational exercise in the clear mountain air. Check out some of the links below to find just what you’re looking for, and take some time off from the rat race to enjoy our natural beauty, talented artisans and musicians, fun family festivals and activities, and fine Southern hospitality. You won’t believe what our leaves can do!
MSNBC: Autumn is in the NC air
Leaf-Lookers Guide: Perfect Drives
High Country Outdoors
GolfNorthCarolina: Best Courses
High Country Reservations
High Country Attractions
Carolina BalloonFest 35
Crossroads Pumpkin Fest
June 18th, 2008
If your family is wondering where to go and what to do to celebrate Independence Day this year, consider some of the great events North Carolina has on offer, from the mountains to the piedmont to the coast, and everywhere in between!
For instance, Fort Bragg near Fayetteville is hosting Operation Celebrate Freedom VI on the Main Post Parade Field on base. Wynonna Judd and Dakota Rain, the Golden Knights Parachute Team and other musical guests will entertain the crowd. There will be plenty of food and drinks, and camping is allowed. The fireworks are spectacular every year at this event, almost as great as I remember on the Potomac in DC in my youth! The event is free and open to the public, the contact number is 910-396-9126.
If you’re on the coast near Southport/Oak Island in the Cape Fear area you’ll want to make plans to spend the day and evening in Southport, where there will be a car show on Bay Street in front of the Garrison House and all-day arts and crafts shows at Franklin Square Park and in the Franklin Square Gallery. Concessions, water stations and comfort stations will be along Howe Street, and on the Waterfront Stage there will be all-day stage entertainment even as the Decorated Boat Flotilla sails past the Southport Waterfront. Stay on your blanket for the wonderful fireworks at 9 pm!Blue Ridge, Carolina Coast, Family Activities, Family Events, Festivals, Holidays, North Carolina, Regional Crafts | Comment (0)
June 11th, 2008
July Events East and West
On both sides of the state the last weekend in July offers some great events that are family-friendly and musically rich. Out west, Asheville’s Bele Chere celebrates its 30th year this July, when the festival kicks off on Friday, July 25 and runs through Sunday, July 27. So far the lineup of musical entertainment includes Travis Tritt, The Wailers, The Grascals, Cowboy Mouth, Doyle Lawson, Edwin McCain and more, all seven stages will be offering constant music and fun. The Purina Ultimate Air Dogs will be there, as will the many great artists and craftsmen of Western North Carolina with their wares.
The South’s Largest Street Festival is free and offers a large children’s area, shuttles from area parking lots, plenty of food and drinks.
Down East, the Cape Fear Blues Festival is scheduled for the same weekend, hosted by the Cape Fear Blues Society. It begins with a Blues Cruise on a riverboat and ends with an all-day jam session you won’t want to miss. There’s a blues workshop on Saturday open to musicians and fans, a festival concert in the park, and live blues at The Rusty Nail late into the night. This festival is not free, but the events are reasonably priced and any true blues fan won’t want to miss it.Filed under Carolina Coast, Family Events, Festivals, North Carolina | Comment (0)
April 30th, 2008
Biannual Black Mountain Tradition
It’s not too late to get your tickets for the 2008 spring Lake Eden Arts Festival, at beautiful Lake Eden in Black Mountain. Word has it that vehicle camping permits are all sold out, but there are still tent permits available as well as weekend and day tickets for those who don’t mind staying at one of the many great hotels and motels in the Black Mountain and Asheville environs.
LEAF holds its festivals every spring and fall (this year the autumn festival will be October 17-19) to showcase the LEAF in Schools and Streets arts mentoring projects for youth, its LEAF International music collaborations from Panama, Guatemala, Rwanda, Bequia and Mexico, and dozens of great, culturally significant musical groups, individuals and artists from everywhere.
This year there will be more than 40 Healing Arts Workshops during the day, featuring Yoga and Tai Chi, Folk Art, Juried Handicrafts, a national $1,000 Poetry SLAM, a children’s village with clowns, jugglers, puppeteers, games, stories and art projects. There are joyful parades, jam sessions, circus arts and zipline fun out over the lake.
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March 27th, 2008
It began innocently enough. The French ambassador Vicompte Bertrand Fenelon de Saint Julen had arrived at the Lord Mayor’s manor just ahead of the Spanish ambassador, Count Bernadino de Mendoza. A day ahead of Good Queen Bess’ scheduled arrival. The two had been shown their lavish quarters, and having unloaded personal possessions, strode together along the South Wing’s stained glass lined hall seeking the privy. They were not friends, exactly, but they both took their positions with utmost seriousness. Thus what they overheard in the privy – a conversation abruptly cut short when their presence was noted – set them upon a quest to discover the plot and earn the favor of the Queen…
The 14th Annual North Carolina Renaissance Faire begins this year with a tale of intrigue among the nobles on the very eve of the Queen’s spring visit. The Faire runs for three weekends – March 29th and 30th, April 5th and 6th, and April 12th and 13th at the North Carolina Fair Grounds in Raleigh. The weekend of April 5-6 will host Tartan Day celebrations, so wear your clan’s tartan and join in the highland games!
Enjoying the Duke University Medieval and Renaissance Studies Department’s involvement and support, the North Carolina Faire is one of the premier Ren-Faires in the nation, as well as one of the earliest. So dig out those Elizabethan costumes, that treasured sword as well as all the crown jewels, and make plans to attend the North Carolina Renaissance Faire this year!Family Activities, Family Events, Festivals, North Carolina, Tourism | Comment (1)
March 12th, 2008
Part 3: Reasons 11 – 15
Moving toward the east, there are more great reasons to consider North Carolina’s abundant offerings for family fun when planning getaways and vacations.
Agriculture, Art, Biking, Carolina History, Family Activities, Festivals, Football, Hiking, Lakes, Music, NASCAR, NC Trails, Night Life, Regional Crafts, Resorts, Restaurants, Tourism, Wineries | Comments (2)
From the very top of Clingman’s Dome near the Tennessee border to the sand dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the strand of the Outer Banks, North Carolina’s 925-mile long Mountains-to-Sea Trail offers an adventurous way to explore the state’s natural treasures and human wonders. This is an adventure a visitor can embrace in small chunks or in an extended all at once while experiencing the best of NC’s towns and cities, rural agritourism initiatives and natural preserves.
March 11th, 2008
Part 2: Reasons 6 – 10
North Carolina’s western mountains are home to a number of world-class ski resorts, most of whom offer summer fun as well. The chalets and cabins are as comfortable in summer as in winter, with easy access to Western North Carolina’s favorite recreational areas.
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January 14th, 2008
Way back in the middle ages – 1174 to be exact – a French businessman from Lyons caught the radical gist of Jesus’ teachings in the gospels and committed himself to a life of voluntary poverty and itinerant preaching. His name was Valdes. He renounced his previous business practices, threw all his money into the street, and started a soup kitchen during the famine of 1176. He traveled the countryside preaching the gospel of Jesus and eventually creating a rift with the dominant Catholic Church.
Valdes inspired other wandering preachers including Peter Waldo, who established the Poor Men of Lyons sect that preached apostolic poverty as the way to perfection. They traveled to Rome around 1177 and received the blessing of Pope Alexander III, who at the same time forbade their preaching without authorization from local clergy. The Waldensias (as they became known) of course disobeyed the papal edict, and were formally declared heretics by Pope Lucius III in 1184 and by the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215.Carolina History, Education, Family Activities, Festivals, Museums, North Carolina, Sports, Tourism, Wineries | Comment (1)
January 7th, 2008
Cultural life in North Carolina is rich and very diverse, with something for everyone living in the state, visiting, or just passing through. Below is an overview of upcoming concert events – for the musically inclined – at our many excellent venues throughout the state.
Proudly presented first is the January schedule of events for our wonderful, world-class North Carolina symphony, based in Raleigh.Art, Festivals, Music, Night Life, North Carolina, Resorts | Comment (0)
September 17th, 2007
Leaf-Looker Season in the Blue Ridge
First come the wannabe Leaf-Lookers. They start arriving in late September, inevitably disappointed by the lack of fall foliage anywhere but atop the highest portions of the Blue Ridge Parkway, but happy there are so many side excursions to engage, festivals to attend, and adventures to embark upon.
Then, about mid-October the real Leaf-Lookers arrive in droves. They can start at either end of North Carolina’s section of the Parkway, timing their stops along the way to the many events going on. Starting in the north, the Yadkin Valley Grape Festival is scheduled for Saturday, October 20 in downtown Yadkinville.Autumn Leaves, Blue Ridge Parkway, Family Events, Festivals, North Carolina | Comment (1)