As 2009 comes to a close, we like to take stock of all we’ve been through this year. Certainly, with all the troubling news about unemployment and businesses going bankrupt, it’s been a tough year for many, to say the least. But we at Smoky Mountain Living have managed to weather the storm, and while we acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead, we are optimistic about our future.
This past year, we helped celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with an extensive special issue, which was very well received by many readers from across the nation. In our upcoming spring issue in 2010, we plan to produce a special edition for the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Moving forward also means changes. This fall, our long-time managing editor, Susan Lefler, decided to step down from her duties to devote more time to family and personal writing endeavors. Susan will continue to contribute stories and help edit the magazine, but I will be taking over as the new managing editor. As a dear friend of Susan’s, a journalist for 15 years, and a contributing writer for the very first issue of Smoky Mountain Living, I have long held a vested interest in this magazine. I’m grateful for Susan’s enthusiasm and encouragement. I’m also grateful for the opportunity to work with SML publisher and editor-in-chief Scott McLeod. I’ve worked for Scott for more than 13 years at three different publications, so I’m fortunate to have his guidance once again as we make this transition.
In the coming year, we at Smoky Mountain Living look forward to bringing you the very best of western North Carolina, east Tennessee and the High Country, as we provide our readers with short, engaging stories about the arts, entertainment and travel in the mountains, as well as intriguing features, dazzling photo essays, and literature from leading writers of the region. We also hope the stories and images in our magazine provide comfort to those who live and work in this region or visit for a vacation. In this issue, we feature old-time family recipes from Karen Dill, an inside look at the national Gingerbread House Competition at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C., a beautiful essay from David Joy about winter fishing, and plenty of reasons to shop and dine in the mountains.
We also want to share success stories about communities in this region. Such is the case of the historic S&W Cafeteria in downtown Knoxville. Once abandoned as an eyesore, local leaders met, raised money and restored the building to its 1930s elegance. It’s become a shining example of historic preservation and community pride. Writer Wayne Waters captures the legacy of this marvelous building with memories of past customers and photographs of what this Art Deco-styled restaurant once looked like.
Also in this issue, we’re excited to present an excerpt of a novel-in-progress from nationally acclaimed writer Lee Smith. She graciously allowed us to publish the first chapter of her manuscript about a girl who is sent to Highland Hospital, an Asheville, N.C. sanatorium that once included as a patient Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Enjoy the holidays and enjoy this winter issue of Smoky Mountain Living. If you have comments, story suggestions or ideas about anything you see or read in these pages, feel free to contact us by phone (828.452.4251), by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or regular mail.