Appalachian Mountains

Image of folklorist Joseph Hall
Courtesy of Ted Olson, ETSU

More than 4,000 people surrendered their homes and land to create the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park covers more than 500,000 acres and straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee.

Courtesy Michael McFee

Poet Michael McFee is known for creating rich images of his native Appalachia that are grounded in the simplicity of everyday life and in the unique language used by his family over generations.

In his new collection, "We Were Once Here" (Carnegie Mellon/2017), the cast-iron skillet, chewing tobacco spit, and linguistic peculiarities of the mountains become anchors for stories woven from memories.

Abandoned farmhouse western North Carolina
Julia Franks

Eight years ago, Julia Franks and her husband bought a farm in western North Carolina. At the time, the 1800s farmhouse on the land was still standing and when they walked in the doors, they were greeted by dozens of odd artifacts, including animal bones, locks of hair, insect hives, and even a jar with a fingernail in it. Franks is a high school literature teacher and lover of writing, so it was hard for her to not let her imagination run wild.

Algonquin Books

In the years leading up the Civil War, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

It was meant to be a compromise between Southern slave owners and Northern anti-slavery movements.

Instead, it ripped the country further apart and placed a bounty on people who had otherwise earned their freedom.

This is the context in which North Carolina author Robert Morgan wrote his newest novel. 

David Holt and Rhiannon Giddens during the filming of "David Holt's State of Music."
davidholt.com

  

Grammy Award winning musician David Holt moved to western North Carolina to learn "mountain music" in the early 1970s.

christmas trees
Dave DeWitt

Christmas trees begin here, clinging to five-by-five foot patches of ground on the side of a soil-covered hunk of granite in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The slope dips down several hundred feet below where we’re standing. Fraser Firs of all shapes and sizes surrounded by Dutch white clover covers the landscape.

“Do you see why they call it Smokey Holler?” asks Della Deal.  “It’s a beautiful place up here.”

Sharon Smith is taking two months to walk North Carolina's Mountain to the Sea Trail, which is more than 1,000 miles long and crosses the entire state.

Smith served as an Air Force combat medic during the Gulf War - and she is helping to prep the trail for a larger contingent of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who will cross the state next year as a part of the Warrior Hike: Walk off the War program. 

Map of fall colors
Dr. Howard Neufeld, Michael Denslow / Appalachian State

What weekend should you go to Grandfather Mountain in western North Carolina to see the fall colors at the peak of perfection? There's a map that was created by scientists at Appalachian State that attempts to answer that very question.

    

The Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina are the center of a rich history of music and dance, from musicians like Doc Watson and Earl Scruggs, to traditions like ballad singing and square dancing. 

VanderVeen Photographers

Beowulf is a classic tale that has been told and retold in many ways. But in 2006, a team in Greensboro designed a surprising twist on the age-old tale: a music-filled play set in Appalachia.