This must be the place: Drifting back down to earth at the peak of beauty

It was right around 3 p.m. when I knew I had to escape.

Sitting in the Panacea Coffeehouse in the Frog Level District of Waynesville on Monday afternoon, I had finished my writing for the day. I had concluded all my emails, correspondences and text messages, too. I just wanted to get away, even if but for a moment, from my damn smart phone and laptop in an era of Wi-Fi and unlimited data plans. 

Sharing the craft: Jo Ridge Kelley Fine Art

With the traffic and noise of a busy Main Street in downtown Waynesville zooming by outside her window, Jo Ridge Kelley creates works of tranquility and natural wonders inside her cozy studio. 

“I love being able to pull from myself,” she said. “I’m a very soulful person, and painting is a way to work with my feelings — to be living in the moment.”

Wildlife through a lens: Highlands couple explores the outdoors one photograph at a time

The years since retirement have been anything but dull for Highlands residents Ed and Cindy Boos. From Ecuador to Kenya to destinations across North America, they’ve traveled the world — camera bags in hand.

The resulting catalogue of photos, primarily depicting wildlife but also featuring plenty of landscapes, includes everything from a young elephant feeding from its mother on an African Savannah to a Smokies black bear giving a wave as it rolls on the ground.

George Ellison releases new book, reflects on decades of life lived in nature

The Fourth of July, 1976, was just around the corner when George and Elizabeth Ellison embarked on a hike that would change their lives forever. The two were walking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park when their wandering brought them to the park’s edge, a remote and beautiful cove with a bubbling stream flowing through it.

SEE ALSO: Ellison releases new title

Ellison releases new title

When George Ellison first started writing nature columns for the Asheville Citizen-Times back in 1986, it was with the assumption that, while he enjoyed such things, reader interest was likely limited and the column would be a short-lived venture. So, when the editor called him in to talk, Ellison was surprised to get not a polite goodbye but promotion to permanent status. The resulting column, “Nature Journal,” is still published today.

Robin redbreasts are a perennial favorite

Our elementary school primers were populated by robins pulling worms out of holes. They appeared on television screens on Saturday mornings, hopping about in Disney cartoons that represented “the idea of a bird.” We know what a robin looks like in outline, but do we know much about the real thing?

One park at a time: WNC hiker explores the South’s natural and human history through national parks

out frFor Danny Bernstein and her husband Lenny, trips south to visit Lenny’s family in Miami Beach are a regular feature of life. They always drive rather than fly, and it didn’t take long to realize that the route brushes near an awful lot of national park units. The couple’s travel routine soon began to include two park visits with each trip — one on the way south and one on the return trip north. 

“As I really dug into it, this was not in and out,” said Danny Bernstein, who lives in Asheville. “It was, we’re going to spend a day and we’re going to do this.”

Plants and animals who choose to hunker down

mtnvoicesThe evergreen plants and birds that overwinter here in the Southern Appalachians have made fundamental “choices” in how their lives will be governed. Being aware of what those “choices” are provides a better understanding and appreciation of what they’re up to.

The smelly truth about stink bugs

mtn voicesWell, I knew it would happen sooner or later. Our house has been invaded by a herd of pygmy rhinoceroses, which is the plural form (I just discovered) of rhinoceros.

Balsam Nature Center property headed for sale on court house steps

jacksonA nonprofit nature center ensnared in a foreclosure saga at Balsam Mountain Preserve is one step closer to being evicted.

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