Christmas in Appalachia

art frAs the temperatures drop in Western North Carolina, the fun only heats up. The holiday season here is filled with events and activities aimed to celebrate the best way we know how — with friends, family and visitors alike.

Families can partake in wagon rides, iceless skating, craft sales and art demonstrations, all the while enjoying authentic mountain music, clogging and parades through several downtowns. These are just some of the innumerable activities to be had. Each and every date, time and place found within this section, each community around the region opening their arms to share in the winter festivities.

Back to the future: Historic movie marquee crowns Waynesville’s Main Street once more

fr strandAn iconic symbol of downtown Waynesville’s glory days is back. 

A quintessential movie marquee for The Strand theater was hoisted into place last Friday, reclaiming its rightful spot above the benches and lampposts of Main Street’s quaint-but-classy streetscape.

This must be the place

art theplaceIt’s Saturday morning. And as most folks are either sleeping in a couple extra hours or seizing the day by hitting the great outdoors, Kelsie Baker is working. But she isn’t behind an office desk or working the typical 9-to-5 gig — she’s brewing beer.

This must be the place

art theplaceWhy do you do it?

Sitting in a tiny coffee shop in downtown Knoxville last week, I was posed this question by a high school kid. I knew the answer, at least in my head I did. But, to be asked for a vocal response, it was a surreal experience to hear the words subconsciously come out of my mouth. 

This must be the place

art masonDave Mason has seen it all.

As co-founder/guitarist for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group Traffic, Mason, alongside band mate Steve Winwood, found himself at the forefront of the music industry in the 1960s. With iconic hits like “Dear Mr. Fantasy” and “Feelin’ Alright,” the ensemble was a vital sound amid the era’s spirit of political turmoil and societal freedoms.

This must be the place

art theplaceIt never ceases to amaze me the incredible people, places and things I cross paths with here in Western North Carolina. From craft artisans to world-class musicians, stealthy moonshiners to stoic veterans, backwoods folks and cosmopolitan socialites — they’re all here in Southern Appalachia.

This must be the place

art theplaceIt’s not only a time capsule, but also a window into the future.

With guitars in-hand, The DuPont Brothers are two men, two voices that become a singular melodic force. The Vermont-based siblings are quite possibly the finest acoustic duo out there today, nationally or internationally. Their mesmerizing sound and pure intent perpetuates a long line of powerhouse harmonic acts, bringing names like Simon & Garfunkel and Seals & Crofts to mind. 

This must be the place

art theplaceI’m alone, again.

As of last Tuesday, I am newly single. To be honest, I’m not happy about that fact. Not one bit. This was the relationship where I felt she was the “one,” a person I truly could see myself marrying and having a family with. That notion — a wife and kids — has been the furthest things from my mind for years.

The heartbeat of a community

travel strandIt never ceases to amaze Lorraine Conard.

“It’s a little bit magical,” she said. “You walk in and there’s this energy and excitement, a heartbeat within the community — I’m always so grateful and thankful for the people who come in.”

Fire on the mountain: Jam sessions attract eclectic group of musicians

travel sipeMonday is the new Saturday. 

Heading down Frazier Street in Waynesville to BearWaters Brewing Company, one can barely find a place to park on a typical Monday evening. For the last couple of months, the location has played host to a semi-weekly open mic event called the “Spontaneous CombustJam.” Bringing together local talents and acclaimed regional players, the sessions have gained a buzz around Western North Carolina in just a short time. 

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