See the stars like never before in the Smoky Mountains
A combination of fresh mountain air, high altitude and remote location make the Great Smoky Mountain National Park a prime place for viewing the heavens above us.
The Astronomy Club of Asheville
invites stargazers to join them to observe nature’s brilliant display at 8 p.m. on May 31
in the Purchase Knob region of the park. This special stargaze event
is presented in partnership with the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center.
Not only will gazers be treated to breathtaking views of their favorite spring and summer constellations, but they’ll also be able to see the year’s most significant triple planetary conjunction. Mercury, Venus and Jupiter will hover above the horizon right after dusk.
Reservations are required for the upcoming star gaze event. To reserve a spot for this family-friendly event, call (828) 926-6251 or e-mail Susan Sachs at email@example.com
If you’d like to do some stargazing on your own in the park or even at home, here are a few tips that can help make the experience more enjoyable.
Use a red light. According to Discovery News, it can take up to 45 minutes for your eyes to adjust to seeing in the dark. Turning on a bright flashlight to consult a map or sky chart can ruin all that acclimation. But, a red light won’t impact your ability to see in the dark.
Don’t forget bug spray. Mosquitos and other pests might see you and your star-watching friends as a tasty evening snack. Give exposed skin a coat of insect repellent to keep the bugs at bay.
Download an app. Check out the app store on your smartphone or tablet for unique stargazing apps. A favorite for iPhone and iPad is StarWalk.
It might be more American than apple pie: Bluegrass music
is a homespun tradition, especially here in Pigeon Forge
. Make your Smoky Mountain wedding
music to your guests’ ears with a Bluegrass playlist that celebrates Appalachian heritage.
Bluegrass music has deep roots in the Smoky Mountains
. Though the genre takes influence from everything from old ballads to gospel and rhythm and blues, Bluegrass music was born right here in Southern Appalachia, inspired by music imported by immigrants from Ireland, Scotland and England and tweaked with influence from African-American music.
Most folks agree Bill Monroe
is the father of modern Bluegrass. He rose to fame in the 1940s with his band The Bluegrass Boys, named after his home state’s famed feature. At that time, though, his style of acoustic music played on stringed instruments was known as Mountain Music or Hillbilly music. As a genre, Bluegrass eventually borrowed the name from Monroe’s band.
Classic Bluegrass songs about love and marriage will make your ceremony a memorable mountain experience. Consider asking your DJ to add the songs below to your Smoky Mountain wedding playlist!
"My Heart's Bouquet" by Hylo Brown
"Walk Through This World With Me" by The Seldom Scene (also recorded by George Jones)
"Your Worries and Troubles are Mine" by Ralph Stanley
"Please Be My Love " by Jim and Jesse
"That's How I Can Count on You" by Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys
"How Mountain Girls Can Love": by The Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys
No matter whether you love her or hate her, you might spot her if you’re in our neck of the woods this week.
Alana Thompson, also known as TLC reality star Honey Boo Boo
, is vacationing in Pigeon Forge
this week! So far, we know she checked out the Comedy Barn’s show
last night and Pigeon Forge tipsters have reported seeing the precocious pint-sized beauty queen and her crew at Dollywood, too.
Honey Boo Boo and her rural-living family have become a media sensation since their initial appearance on the show “Toddlers and Tiaras” and her namesake spin-off series. And most folks are clearly on one side of the fence when it comes to their thoughts on Honey Boo Boo. Millions of fans have encouraged TLC to renew the show for a second season, but Honey Boo Boo has been parodied in an episode of “South Park” and pundits including Dr. Drew and Anderson Cooper have spoken about their disgust of the show and the Thompson family lifestyle.
The Thompson family does give critics a lot of fodder.Honey Boo Boo’s mother, June, is known for giving her pageant-competing daughter a special concoction for energy before she takes the stage: what she calls “Go Go Juice” is a mix of Mountain Dew and Red Bull. Additionally, Honey Boo Boo’s sister Anna “Chickadee” Thompson became a teen mom during the show’s first season.
On the other hand, the Thompson family is known for their love of togetherness, confidence and just plain silly lifestyle. I, for one, “red-neck-ognize” as one of Honey Boo Boo’s legions of fans.
New episodes of her show, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” will start airing later this summer, according to info from TLC. No word yet on whether or not footage of her Pigeon Forge trip will be included, but we’ll be watching just in case.