Great Smoky Mountains Farm Museum Fall Harvest Celebration

Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The mountain farm is a great place to discover the secrets of the Smokies.

Great Smoky Mountains Farm Museum Fall Harvest Celebration. The annual Mountain Life Festival at the Mountain Farm Museum in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is scheduled for Saturday, September 15, 2018.  This event continues to preserve the legacy of Appalachian folkways and is a tribute to the many families who lived on lands that would later become the national park.  The event is from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm.  All activities are free and open to the public.

The purpose of the Mountain Life Festival is to share with park visitors some of the traditional fall activities that were an important part of rural life in the southern mountains.  The spirit of cooperation that existed among families and neighbors is reflected in this event.  Demonstrations on the grounds of the mountain farm museum include hearth cooking, apple butter making, blacksmithing, lye soap making, food preservation, and gardening.   Artifacts and historic photographs from the National Park’s collection will also be on display.  Mountain Life Festival will coincide with our music jam sessions held on the porch of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center from 1 -3 pm every first and third Saturday of the month.

The centerpiece of the event is the sorghum syrup demonstration, which the National Park has provided each fall for over 30 years.  The syrup is made much the same way it was produced a hundred or more years ago, using a horse or mule-powered cane mill and a wood-fired cooker.  The syrup making demonstration is provided by students, staff, and volunteers from Swain County High School Future Farmer’s of America through a cooperative agreement with Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains Association.

The Mountain Farm Museum is located adjacent to the park’s Oconaluftee Visitor Center on US 441 in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, two miles north of Cherokee, North Carolina.  For more information call the visitor center at (828) 497-1904.

 

Back Porch Old Time Music Jam

Boogertown Gap

Local artists Boogertown Gap will tell y’all these mountains can inspire anyone to make music!

Back Porch Old Time Music Jam at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. June 16th; July 7th and 21st; August 4th and 18th; and September 1st and 15th, 2018.

Musicians of every skill level are encouraged to string up their favorite acoustic instrument and join the fun. This is your chance to pick with world class music lovers in the beautiful Oconaluftee valley. The raised roof porch is the perfect venue for some old time mountain music that is quintessential to the Smoky Mountains!

Pickers and their families come from far and wide to scrub a rug in Oconaluftee. Music ranges from traditional Scotch-Irish tunes to more contemporary fare including bands such as the Dillards, Old Crow Medicine Show, Flatt & Scruggs and more. Of course they will be pickin’ both kinds of music, Country and Bluegrass!

One of the great things about this event is the entire family can enjoy the music in the cool shade of the porch. Another option is to let the tunes waft down to you on a summers breeze while touring the historic Mountain Farm Museum. They say music hath charm and has been known to soothe the savage beast so don’t be surprised to see an elk or two toe tapping along with the tunes. Speaking of toes, dipping yours in the cool waters of the scenic Oconaluftee river is a sure cure for a hot summer day!

Join us at the Oconaluftee Back Porch for some music and fun. You just might learn something before it is done!

National Park Hosts Appalachian Women’s Work Event

Join the fun at Oconaluftee Visitors Center and help us honor the hard work and sacrifices of the women of Appalachia!

National Park Hosts Appalachian Women’s Work Event. Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host the annual Women’s Work Event at the Mountain Farm Museum on Saturday, June 16, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m at the Mountain Farm Museum next to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. The visitors center is located two miles north of Cherokee, North Carolina on highway 441. The event honors the service and sacrifice made by the women of Appalachia.

Park staff and volunteers will showcase the toils of mountain life and the customs practiced by women and their families in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Demonstrations among the historic buildings include hearth cooking, soap making, cornshuck crafts, and using plants for home remedies. Artifacts and historic photographs will be exhibited providing a glimpse into the varied roles of mountain women. The Davis-Queen house will be open for visitors to tour and will feature an audio exhibit of the last child born in the house. The event gives families a

Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Oconaluftee Visitors Center is always a great place to discover secrets of the Smokies!

chance to see into the past  and also participate in hands-on activities of traditional southern Appalachia.

Visitors will also be treated to an old timey music jam  on the porch of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. Porch jam sessions are held every first and third Saturday of the month from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. All activities are free to the public. For additional information call the visitor center at 828-497-1904 or visit NPS.gov.

Smoky Mountain Service Day Volunteers Needed

Smoky Mountain service days

Lend a hand and make a difference in Great Smoky Mountains National Park!

Smoky Mountain Service Day Volunteers Needed.  Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials are excited to announce the popular “Smokies Service Days” volunteer program resumes this month.

This is your chance to lend a hand in much needed national park restoration projects. Park staff will lead service opportunities beginning June 9. Individuals and groups are invited to sign up for the scheduled service projects that interest them. Service Days will provide opportunities to help care for park campgrounds, native plant gardens, and other natural and cultural resources in the Smokies.

The goal of these programs is to complete much needed work across the park and is ideal for those seeking to fulfill community service requirements. High school and college students, scout troops, civic organizations, visitors, families, and working adults are all encouraged to participate! Each project will provide tasks appropriate for a wide range of ages and skill levels. Volunteer projects begin at 9:00 a.m. and last until noon on Saturday mornings. Each project will conclude with an optional enrichment adventure to immerse participants in the natural and cultural resources of the park.

Park staff will provide tools and safety gear, including gloves and high visibility safety vests. Wearing closed-toe shoes is a requirement and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) may be provided as necessary.  You will definitely want to bring a sack lunch if you plan to stay for the optional enrichment activity.

Those interested in volunteering should contact Project Coordinator, Logan Boldon, at 865-436-1278 prior to the scheduled event date to register. Space may be limited.

Current service opportunities include:
June  9  : Campground Clean-Up at Elkmont
June 16  : Campground Clean-Up at Smokemont
June 30 : Gardening at Oconaluftee
July    7 : Picnic Area & Campground Clean-Up at Deep Creek
July  21  : Campground Clean-Up at Cosby

Cades Cove Car Ban

Cades Cove Car Ban - Heysmokies

If you have never experienced the serenity of Cades Cove without the noise and exhaust fumes of cars you are in for a treat!

Cades Cove Car Ban begins Wednesday, May 9, 2018. Cades Cove Loop Road will be closed to motor vehicles from sunrise until 10:00 a.m. on both Wednesday and Saturday mornings to allow bicyclists, runners, and walkers time to enjoy the cove without having to worry about heavy traffic. This special experience on the 11-mile paved loop road will last until late September.

During the season, bicycles can be rented at the Cades Cove Campground Store. For pricing info, give them a call at 865.448.9034. Of course, you can bring your own bikes and helmets to enjoy the scenic ride through this historic landscape. Be mindful that Tennessee law requires cyclists under the age of 16 to wear a helmet. HeySmokies and the GSMNP recommend anyone of any age wear protective head gear…just sayin’!

You won’t find any mountain biking trails within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are only 3 trails in the National Park that allow bicycles:

  • Gatlinburg Trail
    Begins at Sugarlands Visitor Center and travels 1.9 miles one-way toward the outskirts of Gatlinburg along the West

    Deep Creek biking in the Smokies

    You will love the remote beauty of Deep Creek ranger district in Great Smoky Mountains National Park!

    Prong of the Little Pigeon River. Leashed pets are allowed on this trail.

  • Oconaluftee River Trail
    Begins at Oconaluftee Visitor Center and travels 1.5 miles one-way toward the outskirts of Cherokee along the Oconaluftee River. Leashed pets are allowed on this trail.
  • Deep Creek and Indian Creek Trails
    From the Deep Creek Campground, cyclists can access both Deep Creek and Indian Creek Trails. Bicycles are allowed on both trails until the point where the old roadbed ends and the hiking trails begin. Pets are not allowed on this trail.

Bicycles are allowed on most roads in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so drivers need to be alert of cyclists when driving through the park. Due to the narrow, steep, curvy conditions of park roads the HeySmokies cycling team recommends avoiding biking park roads in the interest of the safety of all park visitors.

Bonus Biking Tip! – Tsali Recreation Area has over 40 miles of mountain bike trails with varying degrees of difficulty. Tsali is located on the Southern border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the southern shore of Fontana Lake near Bryson City, North Carolina.

For more information on bicycling in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and adjacent National Forests, please visit NPS.gov.