ASHEVILLE, NC October 2, 2013 – Many citizens look forward to the breathtaking beauty in autumn color and journey to the mountains for a leaf-peeping escape. While there or en route take a few free rest stops at State Historic Sites or the Mountain Gateway Museum to enhance the experience. The bucolic charm of rural sites or the small town intimacy found at these venues will produce a rewarding experience. North Carolina State Historic Sites are not affected by the federal government shutdown.
In Asheville, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial is an island of 1910s sensibility in the house that was the basis for “Dixieland” in the writings of Thomas Wolfe. Nestled in downtown Asheville, the house will show the influences that colored Wolfe’s writing of “Look Homeward, Angel” and other works.
The Zebulon Vance Birthplace in Weaverville, Fort Dobbs State Historic Site in Statesville and Horne Creek Historical Farm in Pinnacle offer park-like settings with trails and picnic tables. You can also learn about life lived in those settings by a Civil War era governor, a remote western outpost during the French and Indian War and a circa 1900s farm respectively. These rustic sites offer a glimpse of what life was life in past centuries along with fall color as beautiful as was beheld by settlers long ago. The historic sites are closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort captures small town sensibility and offers free bluegrass jam sessions on the front porch every Sunday afternoon. Sit in the amphitheater and eat a picnic lunch with the serenity of the stream gurgling through the property.
If your journey is to the foothills, Reed Gold Mine in Midland and the President James K. Polk Historic Site in Pineville also offer trails and picnic tables for your enjoyment. Learn about America’s first gold rush and the early life of America’s 11th president, respectively. The free sites also are closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Learn about other wonderful opportunities to experience local culture in a guidebook from the N.C. Arts Council, “Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina: A Guide to Music Sites, Artists, and Traditions of the Mountains and Foothills.” The guide is available from UNC Press. Learn more here. The guidebook also has a companion website at BlueRidgeMusicNC.com
For more information call (919) 807-7389. The Division of State Historic Sites and the Division of State History Museums are within the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.