December 8, 2012: Experience an 1830s era Christmas as it may have been celebrated in the mountains of North Carolina with a Christmas Candlelight Tour. The log house will be decorated and costumed guides will relate the symbolism of each of the decorations. Live music. Free! 4-7 PM
This pioneer farmstead, tucked in the Reems Creek Valley near Weaverville (about 12 miles north of downtown Asheville), features the birthplace of Zebulon Baird Vance. It's located five miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 376.6. The five-room log house--reconstructed around original chimneys--and its outbuildings are furnished to evoke the period from 1795-1840. Vance's political career as Civil War officer, North Carolina governor, and U.S. senator is traced at the homestead. Also included is the history of Vance's famous mountain family. (See our
Top 10 Civil War Sites.)
The homestead, a large two-story structure of hewn yellow pine logs, has been reconstructed around the original chimney with its two enormous fireplaces. The furnishings and household items on display are representative of the period from 1790 to 1840 and include a few pieces original to the home. Clustered about the grounds are six log outbuildings: the corn crib, springhouse, smokehouse, loom house, slave house, and toolhouse. Nearby, the visitor center houses exhibits portraying the life of Vance.
Special events throughout the year highlight seasonal activities of the Vance family's life. The old place comes alive with history as costumed interpreters demonstrate the skills and cherished occupations settlers practiced in the western mountain region during the time when Zebulon Vance was living.
Their Candlelight Tour in December lets you experience an 1830s era Christmas as it may have been celebrated in the mountains of North Carolina. Throughout the house decorations, made of native greenery such as holly, boxwood, pine boughs, galax, and rhododendron, welcome the arrival of Christmas. Costumed interpretive staff relate the symbolism of each of the decorations throughout the house and provide insights into traditions and customs of the time.
About Zebulon Vance
One of the dominant personalities of the South for nearly half a century, Zeb Vance served in public office for thirty years. Though he was a lawyer whose keen humor, intellect, and eloquent manner of speaking won him success, his real interest was always politics. Possessed of a quality that tied him to the common people of the mountain coves, Zeb Vance was elected to his first public office at the age of 24. He served in the N.C. House of Commons and the U.S. House of Representatives and was elected governor three times.
Under the old Union, in the Confederacy, and in Congress after Reconstruction, Vance was an outstanding champion of local self-government and individual liberty. Though he had been a staunch unionist, when he finally adopted the Confederate cause, Vance became an ardent supporter, serving as colonel in command of the Twenty-sixth North Carolina Regiment.Resolute and highly principled, Vance shielded the citizens of his state in the possession of their basic rights. He was the only governor in any state, North or South, to uphold vigorously the writ of habeas corpus. He enlisted only the voluntary cooperation of North Carolinians in implementing his plans, and he motivated North Carolina to make the greatest contribution in men and spirit to the Southern cause. For that leadership he was known as the "War Governor of the South." The untiring efforts Governor Vance made on behalf of the soldiers and their families to provide every possible comfort to them during the famine and sadness of war ensured his place in the minds and hearts of the people he served.
In 1879 Vance began the first of three full terms as United States senator; his death in 1894 interrupted a fourth term. Rugged, dynamic, and controversial, the senator was a powerful debater, packing the Senate galleries during every speech he delivered. In his long quest for accomplishment, Zebulon Vance had worked his way to the top by reading and studying until he mastered the pressing issues before the country.
From Asheville take I-26 West (US 19-23 North) to Exit 21(New Stock Road). Follow the brown directional signs to the site on Reems Creek Road.
From the Blue Ridge Parkway: At Milepost 376.6, turn onto Ox Creek Road and wind down into the valley. At the end of Ox Creek Road (four miles), take a right on Reems Creek Road and go about a mile.
Tuesday - Saturday 9 AM-5 PM, Closed Sundays, Mondays and most major holidays.
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