Backyard trails: Local mountain bike trails surge to popularity

In 2013, Western Carolina University cut the ribbon on 7-mile trail system zig-zagging an otherwise unbuildable piece of university property. 

Over the five years since, the trails have become an indispensible resource for mountain bikers — as well as trail runners and hikers — in the Cullowhee area, and last fall a trio of WCU employees set out to back up those observations with hard numbers. 

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.”

Blue Collar Dreams: A decade in, Balsam Range looks ahead

Ten years into his tenure with Balsam Range, Tim Surrett can only shake his head.

“The most amazing factor is that somebody hasn’t gotten killed in 10 years,” he chuckled. “It’s amazing because every band in the world is one bad weekend from nonexistence. We’ve been through a lot, ups and downs, frustrations and traveling distances, and it’s still relevant after 10 years. I don’t know how long that will last, but it’s cool to me that it’s still top-shelf relevant.”

Aw, shucks: Haywood County crafter keeps heritage craft alive, vibrant

You’ve probably driven by the Red Barn Greenhouse & Garden Center on Dellwood Road between Maggie Valley and Waynesville. But, have you ever stopped in?

Tucked between rows of beautiful flowers on one end and the Mountain Museum filled with Appalachian artifacts on the other are several shelves of corn shuck dolls. The intricate doll designs and scenes they’re set in come straight out of the creative mind and nimble fingers of Karen Collis, a highly-sought after artist in this centuries-old craft medium.

Brewing success: Two WNC craft breweries win national medals

With sunshine spilling into the taproom of Currahee Brewing Company in Franklin one recent afternoon, brewmaster Taylor Yates is all smiles. A hearty beverage raised high, the sun’s rays are a cherry on top of the news currently floating around the facility.

On your plate, on the plateau: Chef Ken Naron of Canyon Kitchen

Though the culinary and agricultural history of Southern Appalachia is as vast and robust as the tall and rigorous mountains that make up this region, the intense worldwide focus and adoration for the ingredients, recipes and folks who stir it all together is more of a 21st century phenomenon. 

Making it awesome — Cherokee unveils 10-mile mountain biking system

When Ed Sutton first came to Cherokee in November to break ground on a new trail system, his directive was clear.

“We told him his marching orders were just make it great. Make it awesome,” said Jeremy Hyatt, natural resources and construction director for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

The American Museum of The House Cat

It took over 30 years, but Harold Sims can now show the world.

“It’s been very rewarding,” he said. “I wanted to have a cat shelter, I made that come true. I wanted to have a cat museum, and I made that come true. It’s like the movie ‘Field of Dreams’ — ‘if you build it, they will come.’”

Under the Bright Lights: Smoky Mountain Community Theatre

It’s the heartbeat of a town.

Coming into its 37th year, the Smoky Mountain Community Theatre has become a beacon of culture, education and creativity within Bryson City.

Creating a community: Haywood Arts celebrates 40 years

In her short tenure, Executive Director Lindsey Solomon has righted the unknown direction of the ship that is the Haywood County Arts Council. But, Solomon — who came into the fold a year and half ago — will be the first to point to the countless volunteers and artisan members who have made the HCAC a viable and valuable entity within the Waynesville and greater Haywood County communities.

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