Arts + Entertainment

A cadre of curious animals gathers at the gate as Joe Moore, owner of Indian Springs Farms in Bethel, approaches the pasture. 

“Hello girls,” he says, addressing the herd of bright-eyed, tuft-headed alpacas. As he opens the door, some draw near to sniff his shirt or hands, while others — the shier ones, presumably — hang back to gauge the situation from afar.

fr barkcladBy Paul Clark • Correspondent

Harvesting poplar bark to make bark shingles is never easy, but this summer Danny Heatherly and his crew had a short season shortened even further by all the rain that fell.

The Haywood County Historical and Genealogical Society will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 27 at the Shook House in Clyde. Following the business meeting, Ted Carr and Evelyn Coltman will present a program entitled, “The Best of the Cold Mountain Heritage Tour.”  The tour, which was the sixth and final one of its kind, was held in June.

The presentation will include video clips from “The Best of Bethel” and parts of a DVD entitled, “Walking in the Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us.”  The video describes the Heritage Tour, and the DVD features interviews of local people such as Ted Darrell Inman discussing Inman’s Chapel, Tanna Timbes talking about Francis Mill, and Doris Cathey who discusses her home, all of which have been on the tour.

828.627.9828.

By Ellen Cirino • Special To The Smoky Mountain News

The fifth Cold Mountain Heritage Tour, a self-driving tour to historic sites in and around the Haywood County community of Bethel that aren’t open for public access, will be held Saturday, June 27, and Sunday, June 28. The tour provides a unique opportunity for tourists and locals to experience some of the Appalachian mountain heritage in Haywood County.

The tour kicks off at 9 a.m. Saturday at North Hominy Community Club, located at 2670 Newfound Road just off Exit 33 on I-40. Guests will receive driving directions to each site on the tour.

The first stop is the private home of the Mann family who have graciously opened up their working century old farm. Tour guides as well as members of the Mann family will be explaining the farm’s history while showing guests the calf barn, milk processing house and where the first telephone in the community was located.

The next site on the tour is another private home whose original owners were Clyde Roark Hoey Jr. and his wife Bernice. Mr. Hoey was a North Carolina State Senator and it’s Governor from 1929 to 1933. The current owners, Gail and Doug Mull, will be showing the distinct Federalist style of their house as well as the many collectables throughout the home.

Other sites on the Saturday tour include the oldest remaining log cabin in Haywood County and four more historically significant locations. The last stop on Saturday’s tour is at the East Fork of the Pigeon River, of Pinkney Inman Hollywood fame. This location was one of the only landmarks that Inman could rely on as the end of his 300-mile trek home, through landscape that was devastated by the ravages of the Civil War. This historic setting is now the home of the Riverhouse Acres Campground and guests will be treated to an evening of entertainment by local musicians and folklorists. Food will also be available at a nominal cost.

Sunday’s tour begins at noon at the Gateway Club in Waynesville. This building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was originally built during the pre-Depression era as a home for Lodge #259 of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolinas.

Tour guests will also have the opportunity to purchase the 5th edition of Legends, Tales & History of Cold Mountain, written by local author Evelyn M. Coltman. This year’s book tells the history of farms, mercantile and people, detailing the history of Haywood County. “Walking In The Footsteps Of Those Who Came Before Us” is a two-hour CD available for purchase that features local descendents stories and versions of events that happened long ago.

Tickets may be purchased in advance at Zoolies, and Blue Ridge Books & News in Waynesville, Realty World/Heritage Realty in Maggie Valley, Jukebox Junction in Bethel. The two-day ticket for the whole tour is $25 and a one-day ticket is $15. Children under 12 are free. Tickets may also be purchased the day of the tour at the North Hominy Community Club and Blue Ridge Books and News.

The Bethel Rural Community Organization uses the proceeds of the ticket sales to help support farmland and historic preservation, MANNA food distribution, Bethel school activities, volunteer fire department, as well as benevolence to needy families and other worthy causes in the community. More information about the Cold Mountain Heritage Tour and the Bethel Rural Community Organization can be found at www.bethcomm.org.

Farmer Skipper Russell thought he was helping drive tourism with his famous corn “maize,” an agricultural attraction he operates each fall in Bethel. After all, the maze attracted nearly 7,000 visitors this year, many from out of town, who came to wander through the series of intricate paths cut into his corn field.

But the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority, which promised Russell $3,000 to advertise the attraction says Russell didn’t follow the guidelines associated with the money — so he won’t be getting any of it.

The tourism authority says Russell failed to list them as a sponsor on any of his advertising, be it billboards or brochures. That’s a stipulation the TDA makes to anyone it doles out money to: receive TDA dollars, and TDA better get some recognition.

Russell admits he failed to read the fine print and accepts responsibility for what he says was an innocent mistake. TDA officials brought the mistake to his attention in December, after the maze had closed for the season.

“It was just an oversight I made. I guess I just overlooked that,” he said.

TDA’s refusal to refund the $3,000 is a blow to Russell, who spent more than $8,000 on advertising for the corn maze. The blow stings even more because Russell made a special effort this year to use his attraction to highlight Haywood County. The corn maze featured a bicentennial theme in honor of the county’s year-long celebration to honor its 200th year.

Russell accepts the TDA’s decision, though as a farmer struggling after a particularly bad season, the loss of $3,000 will make finances tighter.

“Well, I’ll have to be OK with it,” he said.

A long-standing controversy over extending water and sewer lines to the semi-rural community of Bethel could be a defining issue in the election for the Haywood County Soil and Water Conservation District board this November.

On-going farmland conservation efforts in the rural Haywood County community of Bethel got a boost with a $20,000 grant from the Pigeon River Fund this month.

Bethel survey

The Bethel survey polled a random sample of 273 residents in Bethel via telephone. The Bethel Rural Community Organization sanctioned the study to identify community sentiment toward development, farmland and what makes their community special. Here are some of the more striking results:

This Must Be the Place

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