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Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Mountain Farm Museum, Mingus Mill in Great Smoky Mountains

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Mountain Farm Museum, Great Smoky Mountains

September 19, 2015, Mountain Life Festival
This annual event at the Mountain Farm Museum in Great Smoky Mountains National Park preserves the legacy of Appalachian folkways, and serves as a tribute to the many families who lived on lands that would later become the Park. See the traditional fall activities that were an important part of rural life in the southern mountains as well as the spirit of cooperation that existed among families and neighbors. Activities during the day will include hearth cooking, apple butter and apple cider making, blacksmithing, lye soap making, food preservation, broom making, quilting, and chair bottoming. Artifacts and historic photographs from the Park's collection will be on display, and music will be provided by local musicians. The centerpiece of the event will be the sorghum syrup demonstration, which the national park has provided each fall for over 30 years. The syrup is made much the same way it was produced a hundred or more years ago, using a horse-powered cane mill and wood-fired cooker. All activities are free and open to the public. 10 AM-4 PM

December 19, 2015: Holiday Homecoming
See old time crafts being demonstrated. Learn by observing the practical arts of quilting, weaving, and basket and doll making, apple cider and apple butter. Live music. Free. 10 AM- 3 PM

The Mountain Farm Museum and Oconaluftee Visitor Center and located at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on U.S. Highway 441 near Cherokee, North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Parkway ends nearby. Stop by the Oconaluftee Visitor Center for plenty of maps, guides, exhibits and helpful park rangers and programs.

The Mountain Farm Museum includes farm buildings, most dating around 1900, that were moved from their original locations throughout the Great Smoky Mountain National Park to create an open-air museum. Visitors can explore a log farmhouse, barn, apple house, springhouse, and a working blacksmith shop to get a sense of how families may have lived 100 years ago.

Most of the structures were built in the late 19th century and were moved here in the 1950s. The Davis House is a rare chance to view a log house built from chestnut wood before the chestnut blight decimated the American Chestnut in our forests during the 1930s and early 1940s.

Pet & Bike Friendly Trail
The Oconaluftee River Trail is one of two walking paths in the Smokies on which visitors can walk dogs and bicycle. Pets and bicycles are prohibited on all other park trails. The trail travels 1.5 miles one-way from the Oconaluftee Visitor Center to the outskirts of the city of Cherokee, NC. It is relatively flat, but does have a few small hills. The trail runs through the forest along side the Oconaluftee River and offers beautiful views of the river.

The Farm Museum is free. Open All Year: October 8:00-6:00, November - March 8:00-4:30, April 8:00-5:00. See other farms to visit.

Mountain Farm Museum

Mountain Farm Museum

Oconaluftee River Trail

Oconaluftee Visitor Center
The Oconaluftee Visitor Center for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a state-of-the-art center was constructed by the Great Smoky Mountains Association (GSMA) and donated to the Park. See orientation and cultural themed exhibits and informational media. Pick up brochures and shop in the well-stocked gift shop. Park rangers will answer questions and give you a free map! The center is open daily 8 AM until 6 PM. The fully-accessible restroom building and orientation kiosk are open 24 hours a day.
Oconaluftee Visitor Center

Mingus Mill, Great Smoky Mountains

Mingus Mill
A half-mile north of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Mingus Mill. Built in 1886, this mill uses a water-powered turbine instead of a water wheel to power all of the machinery in the building. Located at its original site, Mingus Mill stands as a tribute to the test of time. A miller demonstrates the process of grinding corn into cornmeal. Cornmeal and other mill-related items are available for purchase at the mill. Open 9:00-5:00 daily mid-March through mid-November. Also, open Thanksgiving weekend.

Directions: About 52 miles from downtown, allow 1.5-2 hours to travel. Take I-40 West to Exit 27. Follow Highway 19/23/74 for about 4 miles and exit onto Highway 19 toward Maggie Valley. About 3 miles past Maggie Valley, watch for the Blue Ridge Parkway entrance, and go south. The Parkway ends at Highway 441. Turn right to find the Visitor Center. The Parkway is closed much of the winter. If the Parkway is closed, continue on Highway 19 to Cherokee and follow Highway 441 North.

Download a Great Smoky Mountains Park Map (1mb PDF).

Just five miles away is Mingo Falls.

Mingus Mill

Mingus Mill



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Writing & Photography By Mark File - ©2003-2015 File Investments, Inc - All Rights Reserved