My father once read John Gardner’s book October Light simply for its title. We both love the fall when the light shifts and the angles are softer, and a soft glow envelops everything. It is the time of year for cotton-knit sweaters and hiking boots, spiced cider and kicking up leaves.
While putting together this issue of Smoky Mountain Living, I ached for the cool crispness of fall in the mountains. Our readers had answered the call for seasonal photos with a stunning array of images from across the region, and in each photo I saw the unique beauty of this place in which I am so lucky to live. My favorite image from those submitted came from photographer Charlie Choc, who captured autumn’s light illuminating the mountain ridge and valley field of Cades Cove in Tennessee. The image is featured on the cover.
This issue also brings a feast for the senses with author Karl Rohr’s piece on musician Red Smiley, whose bluegrass guitar first echoed from the hills of Bryson City, N.C. And Michael Beadle tells the story of Ward Piano Company, which has been moving, repairing and selling the ubiquitous living room staples for generations. The company moved my own piano from my childhood home in Cullowhee, N.C to where I live now.
Beer lovers will find a guide to hops, barley and malt in Constance E. Richards’ exploration of the burgeoning Asheville, N.C. brewery scene. The city has become a microcosm of the micro-brew industry and is offering up some tasty and increasingly widely distributed beers that should become a part of any Oktoberfest celebration.
Those who enjoy taking the mountains by storm must read Cindy Ross’ story about biking the world-renowned trails at Tsali, while whitewater aficionados will whet their appetites for adventure with Giles Morris’ profile of the upcoming World Freestyle Kayaking Championships to be held in the Nantahala Gorge.
This issue brings readers a diverse selection of what the mountains have to offer. Even if our readers choose simply to live vicariously through Smoky Mountain Living’s pages, it will be a life well lived.
As always, we welcome your feedback. Drop us a line and let us know what you like most about this issue—or what you don’t like, though we hope to hear more of the former than the latter. Smoky Mountain Living aims to provide content that will help shape your view of the region as a culturally diverse melting pot for all those who call these mountains their own. Please visit us online at www.facebook.com/smliv for regular updates on happenings in this neck of the woods, or go to www.smliv.com where, if you aren’t already, you can become a subscriber or purchase a gift subscription for a friend or family member. Smoky Mountain Living is our kind of living, and we hope you make it your kind of living too.