A brush with fate

travel bucknerJust mere feet from a bustling South Main Street in Waynesville resides a cocoon of creativity. With a steady stream of vehicles rushing by, one enters Jenny Bucker’s studio as if to step into a portal of a calmer ambiance. Vibrant, intricate paintings hang from any available wall space, while the sounds of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair” echo throughout the cozy abode.

Crafting the future — Dillsboro

travel dillsboroartsAmid the numerous businesses in Dillsboro, its cultural and economic heart lies in the plentiful art galleries and studios. From decades old locations to brand new operations, the town is an ever-evolving community, one with the drive and commitment to bring a beloved art haven into the 21st century.

Tapping your dreams — Andrews Brewing Company

travel andrewsbrewingSitting on the porch of the Andrews Brewing Company, co-owner Eric Carlson looks out onto his property. With bluebird skies overhead, bumblebees joyously buzzing in the garden and the majestic peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains in the distance, he shakes his head in awe of where his lives and thrives.

From the farm to your plate — The Chef’s Table

travel chefstableWhat started as a job while in high school turned itself into a lifelong career and passion for Josh Monroe.

“It’s about using the best possible ingredients you can find and being able to let those ingredients shine in every dish,” he said.

Discovering Rome with the help of American ex-pats

bookWhen we think of American writers living and working overseas, most of us turn to those authors who lived in Paris. We recollect Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, that fine account of his life in Paris in the 1920s; we imagine Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald making the rounds to such bars as La Rotonde and Les Deux Magots; we conjure up Gertrude Stein; we think of Sylvia Beach’s bookshop Shakespeare & Co., later brought back to life by George Whitman. We think of Henry Miller drifting in Paris in the 1930s and of writers from the 1950s and 1960s like James Jones and James Baldwin.

Keats’ Roman home honors one of our great poets

bookIt is not yet ten o’clock on this Saturday morning in late June, and already Rome’s Spanish Steps and the Piazza di Spagna below the steps are crowded with tourists, hucksters, and shopkeepers. After nearly a week of visiting ruins, marble-decked churches, and museums crammed full of antiquities and art, I am taking a vacation from my vacation and have walked this piazza to visit the house where John Keats died in February of 1821.

Scotland pays homage to its writers

bookWith literary tours, literary pub crawls, monuments, plaques, and museums, Scotland honors her writers.

Bronte sisters part and parcel of the magic of Haworth

bookHaworth, West Riding of Yorkshire, England. 

It’s 4:30 in the morning, Sunday June 18, and I stood a few moments ago on the cobbled street outside the Old White Line Inn. I slept poorly; the gentleman in Room 12 across the hall wakened me with ursine snoring, and “nature’s soft nurse” left the room. Grabbing my computer bag, I headed to the hotel lobby, where only the ticking of the clock in the hall interrupts the stillness.

Stratford-on-Avon: in search of ‘The Bard’

book shakespereIt is mid-June in England, and the skies are a brilliant blue. Sunshine spills on the street and the clipped green lawns of homes and parks. A breeze stirs the leaves of the trees, and when you are in the sun you are very warm but with the breeze the shade of the trees is cool and refreshing. Flowers flourish in window boxes and tiny gardens, and around some of the homes are enormous tangles of wisteria with roots as thick as a man’s calf.

The literary signposts will point the way

bookIn the opening pages of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, we meet Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who treasures his snug home and the routine of his days. All is well with Bilbo until the wizard Gandalf arrives and nominates him as the ideal candidate for a dangerous quest. Despite his protests, off the trembling Bilbo goes, out into the great, dark world surrounding his shire, with dwarves as his companions and all manner of monsters as his enemies.

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