Author: Kandyce Downs

Southern Appalachian Culture: The Stompin’ Ground

The Stompin’ Ground is a term usually applied to a person’s home area or place where they feel especially secure and safe. It’s no surprise then, why this particular phrase was used as the name for this local music and dance venue. The style of music and dance reflected here is unlike anything you could experience elsewhere. I’ve called the Appalachian Mountains home for many years. It’s the place where I was born and raised and the Stompin’ Ground of Maggie Valley is one of the few places left where I could be fully immersed in the Appalachian culture....

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It’s that Time of the Year: The Mountain State Fair is Here!

It’s finally here! With the start of fall right around the corner, it would mean nothing if it weren’t for those pumpkin spiced lattes, crisp morning air, and the Mountain State Fair. Yet another local favorite, people home to the mountain area spend months looking forward to this event. It’s one of the good things that come with the start of a new school year and the changing of the leaves. With rides, entertainment, crowds of people, good food, and a family friendly environment it’s easy to see why. One of my favorite things to enjoy at the Mountain...

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Historical Beauty: The Carl Sandburg Home

The tall white pillars and picturesque backdrop nestled in between the fields of farmland and the Appalachian Mountains is the home of one of America’s great poets, writers, and editors, Carl Sandburg. Born in 1878, Carl Sandburg became known as a major figure in contemporary literature. He won three Pulitzer Prizes throughout his life and was highly regarded as the voice of America and at his death in 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson observed that, “Carl Sandburg was more than the voice of America, more than the poet of its strength and genius. He was America.” The Carl Sandburg...

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Asheville Outlets

The closing of the Biltmore Mall provided the city of Asheville a new opportunity and in 2015 the Asheville Outlets opened with a new design and a new variety of national retailers. Located at the intersection of I-26 at Brevard Road approximately 7 miles from downtown Asheville and 6 miles from Biltmore, Asheville Outlets is an open-air shopping village with over 75 name brand outlet stores and many more additional stores that are local to the Asheville are. This shopping center is truly one of a kind and an experience that is unique to anything that I have personally experienced...

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Local Favorites: More Breweries of Western North Carolina

Local Favorites is back again and this time I’m talking about two of my favorite breweries. One thing that’s really grown in the past decade has been the increase in beer enthusiasts to the area and it’s no surprise really. Western North Carolina has been perfecting beverages of varying alcohol consistencies for well over a hundred years. While some people might know the mountains as being a large producer of moonshine before, during, and after the Prohibition era, western North Carolina is rapidly becoming as equally famous for it’s local breweries and unique beer offered no where else in...

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Local Favorites: The Drum Circle of Asheville

For an Asheville native, everyone knows of the drum circle happenings that occur every Friday night during the warm weather months in Pritchard Park. It’s an experience to be remembered, but one that isn’t highly promoted for tourists to the area unless they happen upon it while taking a stroll through the streets. I remember the first time I went down to Pritchard Park to participate in the beating drums and hum of people gathered around dancing. Even though the drum circle officially began in 2001, it is an event that has become synonymous with my thoughts of Asheville....

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Savory, Sweet, Tangy: BBQ from the Mountains

Hands down North Carolina is one of my favorite states for BBQ and side fixin’s. It’s easy to see why if you’ve ever had the pleasure of sinking your teeth into some handmade BBQ sauce rubbed onto some slow cooked smoked ribs, but for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing some good North Carolina BBQ or good BBQ in general, I have an excellent recommendation. Here in Asheville is a little place infamous for it’s food. Most days the place is packed as people gather for the deliciousness that is 12 Bones. Started in a...

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Local Favorites: Places to Dine in Western North Carolina

After moving away to the big city and coming back to my hometown located in the heart of the mountains of Western North Carolina, I’ve come to realize that there are many things I took for granted growing up in such a beautiful and remote place. I had assumed everyone’s experience of the world was the same as mine. But it was only when I came back home that I realized just how different the outside world could be. I have discovered a newfound appreciation for the simple ways and learned to enjoy the slower pace that comes with...

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Ooh La La – Local Artists Supporting Local Animals

The Ooh La La Curiosity Market and Holiday Bazaar is a place for the people of Asheville to gather, socialize, and celebrate the local culture that Asheville, NC is known for. It’s an open market place that is in its fifth season of operation and takes applications for venders each year, allowing new and old artists alike a place to get together and show off their items to perusing customers. It’s Saturday morning at Pritchard Park. The hustle and bustle of local artists and musicians can be seen setting up their booths, preparing for the day. As the sun rises,...

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Eat, Drink, and Paint!

What could be better than an afternoon filled with good friends, good food, good drinks, and good art? As someone who is always looking for new ways to engage the family, Paint-Bug provides me with the opportunity to get my kids away from the video games and involved in a hands on, immersive experience. Paint-Bug offers a kids eat and paint for free event that makes this not only engaging but affordable. They use non-toxic acrylic paint making it safe for the little ones and a worry free environment for the parents. For those seeking a more adult friendly...

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Smoke It Up — Asheville Head Shops

Asheville is known for its eclectic group of people and unique shopping ventures. It is an area filled with diverse artisans and a place that has a little something for all wanders. It comes as no surprise that among those venues are places filled with handcrafted, one of a kind items for the avid smoker, if you know where to find them. Starting with a local favorite, The Circle is one head shop that embraces the truly unique and artful approach that goes into making quality smoke products and smoking accessories. Local glass, art, and fashion accessories are on...

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Budget Friendly Destinations: Deep Creek

The beauty of the Smoky Mountains is something that can only be experienced. New comers and natives alike are always looking for more ways to enjoy the outdoors, especially in the warmer weather. Within the heart of the mountains, the possibilities are endless and one place in particular provides fun for people of all ages. Deep Creek is located just off the Bryson City exit. The small town charm and preservation of much of the local heritage has maximized the beauty of the mountain region without the clutter of city life. It’s a great place for a weekend getaway...

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