Wednesday, September 16, 2015

GSMNP Celebrates Fall Harvest with Annual Mountain Life Festival in the Smokies

Every year at mid September the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) hosts the annual Mountain Life Festival at the Mountain Farm Museum adjacent to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee North Carolina This year this popular program will be taking place on Saturday, September 19th, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

This Mountain Life Festival helps preserve the legacy of Appalachian folkways and is meant to be a tribute to the people of European heritage who moved after their land was purchased in order to create the Great Smoky Mountains national park. The event is suitable for all ages and the activities are free.

Besides there being artifacts and historic photographs from the national park’s collection on display, this living history event will include demonstrations on old fashioned life skills such as blacksmithing, lye soap making, food preservation, hearth cooking, apple butter making, and chair bottoming. There will be a music jam session too from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.

One of the highlights of the Mountain Life Festival has been taking place for more than 30 years. The sorghum syrup demonstration, shows how with the use of a horse powered cane mill and a wood-fired cooker syrup is made much the same way it was produced a hundred or more years ago.

For the first time ever the Great Smoky Mountains Association (GSMA) which helps support the park is launching the new Mountain Farm Museum audio tour with free handsets available to visitors and members. There audio tour devices will be distributed for use on a first come first serve basis.

The location where the event take place right of Newfound Gap Road US411 has pretty vistas, a small working farm area with numerous historical structures and a hiking trail along the river which si one of the few places in the GSMNP where you can hike with your dog.

The farm area also contains one of the satellite herds of North American Elk in the Smokies introduced into the area in 2001. Since this is Rut season, male elk are especially active and aggressive so you must keep your distance from them for their safety as well as your own.

Enjoy a Star Gazing Event Saturday Night in Cades Cove GSMNP

You know fall is just around the corner when it is time for the annual Great Smoky Mountains national park (GSMNP) star gazing event in Cades Cove.

One of the great things about our beloved national park besides the beautiful scenery, numerous cultural resources and peace and quiet is the fact that there are spots in the park with virtually no light pollution so you can see fainter celestial objects possible better than you have ever seen them before.

Because of their bowl like geography which blocks out light pollution from nearby towns and roads, 2 areas of the Great Smoky Mountains national park, Cades Cove in Tennessee and the Cataloochee Valley in North Carolina give stargazers to chance to see faint objects like the Milky Way very clearly on a clear night.

This Saturday, September 19th 2015 beginning at 7:30 pm there will be a 2-1/2 hour stargazing event taking place in Cades Cove presented by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with help from the Smoky Mountains Astronomical Society.

As long as the weather is good for viewing, this program will take place on the first field on the right hand side as you enter the Cades Cove Loop. You will park your car near the orientation shelter at the start of the loop, or in the overflow parking area by the Cades Cove Riding stables.

You should come to the star gazing event in Cades Cove with warm clothes, a flashlight, a blanket or lawn chair along with any drinks or snacks you may want. Whatever you bring you will need to be able to carry it at least 1/3rd of a mile. Since parking is limited, carpooling is strongly advised.

When you arrive in the field, there will be numerous telescopes set up which you are allowed to use after a demonstration and lecture that is fun for all ages about the night sky. According to GSMNP Park Ranger Mike Maslona "People will be amazed at the vast depths of this planetary world and all that they can see in the complete darkness. This program mixes astronomy, legends, and the beauty of the stars to create a worthwhile exploration into the wonders of the heavens."

If the weather is such that there is a heavy cloud cover or possible rain the star gazing event is subject to postponement. To confirm that the program will take place, call (865)448-4104 on Saturday.