Bryson City, N.C.

There has never been a sizeable African-American population in the Smokies, and anecdotal evidence suggests that it may actually have decreased in the last half century. Certainly that’s the case in Swain County, North Carolina. Read more


Sam Hunnicutt introduces his book by stating, “I claim to be a perfect hunter and fisherman for game fish; I know the best kinds of hunting outfit to use, I know the best kind of gun to use for killing game and also the best dogs to use for hunting.” Read more

Stories 1 Comments

In terms of literary prominence, Olive Tilford Dargan ranks second only to Horace Kephart among outlanders who adopted the Smokies as home. Read more


Queens Creek Lake

Greg Passmore

Queens Creek Lake is part of a lot of stories in my family. My great grandmother, Cora McMahan, sold land to the old Nantahala Power Company to build the dam for the lake. My father grew up there camping and fishing when he was a boy. Read more


Tsali Recreation Area

Max Cooper photo

I pulled into my parking spot at Tsali Recreation Area with a fair number of nerves in tow. The lot churned with vehicles bearing out-of-state plates, their owners tuning up the bikes they’d brought with them or filling small backpacks. Read more


Husband-and-wife team Tim Osment and Dawn Gilchrist explored Bryson City, North Carolina, in search of their favorite hallmarks of small-town living in Southern Appalachia—fresh coffee, smart books, and good eating. Read more


Before “buy local” or “grow your own,” gardens at the home place were a necessary way of life. Folks bent over the earth as beads of sweat dripped from their brow into the dirt. They walked the garden rows, fretting about the harvest. Read more


Destination: Bryson City, N.C.

Wildwater photo

Bryson City, N.C., is tucked deep within the mountains of Swain County, a county comprised mostly of federal park lands. The large amount of protected land gives the area its rugged beauty. Read more

The Freight Hoppers

Donated photo

There’s something about a train that ignites a flurry of imagery, conjuring spirits of days gone by, a moving story, methodically chugging across this great land of ours with the intent of delivering people and goods to their expected destinations. Read more


Reno and Red

Donated photo

Don Reno and Red Smiley, like most bands burdened with talent weighing too heavily, blazed with fury before breaking up too soon. Between 1952 and 1964, they redefined the repertoire of bluegrass and cut the competition with their stage shows. Read more

Art+Music 2 Comments

Drive on in

Jon D. Bowman photo

Homemade barbecue, peanut butter milkshakes, and cherry-lemon Mountain Dew are only part of what makes Bryson City’s vintage drive-in restaurant a local favorite. Read more


Since its creation, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has loomed over Swain County. Its massive peaks flank life itself: as an engine for tourism, a stomping ground for locals, and a refuge for wild things. Read more



Jim Casada photo

On one occasion my good wife, in a moment of exasperation, said, “You like to wander alone so much, your epitaph will probably read—‘Jim Casada hated people.’” That’s not the case, but there are times when I prefer people in mighty small doses. Read more