Cork and Bean expansion boosts downtown Bryson dining scene

fr corkandbeanWhen a building on a town’s main street sits empty, either because a business closed down or moved away, it’s usually a bad omen.

Looking out on a busy day in Bryson City

mtn voicesFor some, graveyards are morbid places. When I was a boy, I never liked to pass by or walk through one … especially in the dark. These days I rather enjoy visiting them ... for awhile. They are generally quiet. And unlike most modern cemeteries, which don’t have any trees at all, graveyards usually have a variety of old sometimes ancient trees.

Bryson City radio station fine tunes programming for local AM airwaves

Two years after being saved from imminent death in the nick of time, WBHN began broadcasting regularly in Bryson City last week.

Lloyd Brown, pastor of Spruce Grove Baptist Church, bought the Swain County radio station in 2010 and has been slowly working to revive the AM frequency.

Most Bryson City business owners OK with county financing train improvements

fr brysontrainMost Everett Street business owners support Swain County’s pending investment in the privately owned Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, but some have questions about the mechanics of exactly how the deal will work.

Committee wants to start fundraising for Swain library

Bryson City town leaders have given a verbal OK to the idea of building a new library — but the when, where and how are all still unknown.

“The library is an essential service for the community,” said Chester Bartlett, chairman of Marianna Black Library’s Board of Trustees and leader of a committee charged with taking the lead on the new library. “We feel there is a huge need for this.”

Spicing up Southern Appalachia

art frThough the weather is getting colder and winter is emerging on the horizon, Doug Weaver is all smiles.

It’s open season for chili.

“Chili itself is not just a dish, it’s a state of mind,” he said. “There’s no better spicy food than chili. It’s an institution.”

Swain seals deal to bring steam engine to Great Smoky Mountain Railroad lines

fr steamengineSwain County leaders have pledged $700,000 to help the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad expand its already bustling operations in Bryson City.

No shortage of critics as Kephart play comes home

art frFor a man who has just won the North Carolina Literature Award, writer Gary Carden is quite somber.

At his home in Sylva last week, he rocked in a chair on the front porch, his trusty dog Jack lying nearby. He was recently informed of the award, but it seems bittersweet. His latest creation — and a catalyst for the achievement — is the play “Outlander,” a historical drama about famed writer Horace Kephart who chronicled the lives of hardscrabble Appalachian settlers in the early 1900s.

Setting the stage: Wave plus water equals ideal freestyle paddling venue

coverThe steep-walled gorge of Nantahala River may be one of the best spots to host a world class, extreme kayak competition — at least that’s what the organizers of the upcoming 2012 International Canoe Federation Freestyle World Cup final are hoping.

The competition, slated for Sep. 7-9 in front of the Nantahala Outdoor Center, will feature over more than freestyle kayaking, squirt-boating and canoeing athletes from more than a dozen countries, including Australia, Costa Rica, Slovakia, Japan and Russia. But the secret to making the river a churning pool of boat acrobatics and assorted water moves is hidden beneath the surface.

Business boost from paddling World Cup hasn’t materialized yet

Economic development and tourism leaders in Swain County are treating the Freestyle Kayaking World Cup two weeks away as a dry run for the far more highly anticipated World Freestyle Kayaking Championship coming in 2013.

“This will start the ball rolling with the exposure,” said Ken Mills, the economic development director for Swain County. “For us, this is kind of a dress rehearsal.”

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