A Blog about Finding Inspiration

"We have a wonderful world to be inspired by and each new day is like an adventure into the unknown, where things that require a second glance can be captured in time on a canvas for anyone to enjoy forever." (Louise Corke)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mountain Home Farm 6 '09

One of the more interesting places we stopped in the Blue Ridge Mountains was

The Mountain Home Farm.
I got  some great photo references  of this gem.
Set up and maintained by the US National Parks Service,
The Mountain Home  Demonstration Farm has authentic original  farm buildings that were purchased when the Blue Ridge Parkway was being constructed and moved to this location to demonstrate what life was like on a  pioneer farm in the Blue Ridge mountains.
All of the buildings on the farm have  signs explaining the use of the building , and  Forestry Service  personnel are there to answer questions more detailed questions about the exhibits.
Of course most farms shared their services with their neighboring farms rather than attempting to be completely self sufficient.  So rather than representing a typical farm, the buildings on the Mountain Home Farm shoe  complete  collection of buildings dedicated to every aspect of farming that would be represented in the community.
Most did have pigs, or some form of livestock, and those that did not relied on hunting.
and most had a kitchen garden with herbs for medicinal and culinary use.
But some were wealthier and had really large  barns and farm plots on very fertile soil
When one considers that all of this building and planting ,( including the clearing of the land and the cutting of trees for the buildings), was generally done by hand and by hand tools, it is truly an impressive accomplishment.

Great Smokey Mountain National Park 6 '09

The main objective of our trip was to visit the Great Smokey Mountain National Park while the weather permitted was warm enough to allow us to get some reference photos without having to wear snow shoes
Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Asheville is the most visited national park with 10 million visitors each year. There are 520,976 acres to explore. When I think of the park the first thing that comes to mind is hiking  majestic mountain top with  awesome views. While it is true that this International Biosphere Reserve is home to rugged mountains (with many of its  peaks in excess of 6,000 feet),  it also has historic homesteads, 100,000 different types of plants and animals, and lots and lots of water.. 
Since the park is so large,  how does one go about exploring it  in a three day  weekend? There are four entrances to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park within 60 miles from downtown Asheville.  We tried to see  and do all the  top listed things from each of these entrances to the Great Smoky Mountains. I have created posts which  highlight the best of our experiences in these areas.
 The Deep creak area of the Great Smokies is popular for its streams and waterfalls.
Hikers can choose from several loop hikes leading to several small waterfalls We took several of these short hikes.
The sound  of the water gurgling through these ancient  rocks is  musical.
But there is running water everywhere in the Smoky Mountains.
Dribbles out of the mountain side along the road ways
like these trickles along Highway 144
 or chatters noisily through small narrow creeks
 Joining with other creeks, picking up speed andc cascading down hillsides in every larger volumes as it does here in Juney Wank falls
As it reaches the lower elevations  it spreads out
  in large reflecting ponds
 and spreads into  gentle streams safe enough for children to play in (as it does here in a stream near Cherokee).
Of course, there was much more to see and do in The Great Smokey Mountains, but those activities are topics for future posts.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Toe River and Penland Art Center 6/11/09

 The Toe River runs through one of those beautiful valleys  just north of Asheville NC   in the Blue Ridge Mountains .
It is filled with picturesque buildings,  interesting small towns , and a never ending list of artist studios.   We had been drawn to the area by a flyer about open artist studio tours.  Unfortunately, by the time we arrived in the area, it was already late in the day, and the studios are very widespread,  and often located in small out of the way locations.  We decided our time would be better spent visiting Penland School of Crafts.
Penland is a national center for craft education dedicated to helping people live creative lives. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Penland offers one-, two-, and eight-week workshops in books & paper, clay, 
  drawing, glass, iron, 
 metals, photography, printmaking and letterpress, textiles, and wood. 
 The school also offers artists' residencies, community collaboration programs, and a gallery and information center.
The Penland Gallery and Visitors Center is one of the finest showcases for contemporary craft in the Southeast. Just being there made CC happy. 

 It is a stop worth adding to your trip through Western North Carolina.
Penland School of Crafts, Post Office Box 37, Penland NC 28765-0037 | 828.765.2359 

Asheville 6/1/09

Our main objective for this trip was to visit the Great Smokey Mountain  National Park when the   Blue Ridge Parkway was open to visitors, and the weather would allow out of door activities.   Still ... NO VISIT visit to the Blue Ridge Mountains would be complete  for us without a visit to  Asheville, NC.  First of all it is a major art community/center in the Untied States.  Secondly, it is a truly beautiful and vibrant  city.  By allocating our Asheville activities to the hours too  late in the day for  mountain activities we managed to get in a visit  to some of the more interesting attractions for us e.g. 

 The Blue Spiral Gallery  (above) has some of the best Fine Art Crafts in the US and a good collection of less well know American artists (who( who should be better appreciated).  We highly recommend a visit to  - 38 Biltmore Avenue 
Part performing Artist/showman, Full-time extrovert.. Jonas Gerard's studion / gallery in the river district  is just plain fun 
Jonas Gerard Fine Art River Arts District at 240 Clingman Ave.