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Visit McDowell



McDowell…No Boundaries!

 

September starts off with a free Labor Day Concert at the Historic Marion Depot beginning at 6:00 pm.  Bring your chairs or blankets for music and fun!  The depot is located at the end of Depot Street.  From Main Street, turn onto West Henderson Street then left onto Depot Street.   

 

Angela Moore is a spiritual psychic from Marion and a frequent guest on radio talk shows across the nation including WNCW’s  acclaimed, “Metaphysical Matters.”  She is also featured in several newspapers in the southeast.  Angela speaks publicly entertaining and amazing her audiences as she “reads” members at random throughout each presentation.  Join her at the Switzerland Café in downtown Little Switzerland September 3rd at 7:00 p.m.  Tickets are $20.  For additional information call 828-765-5289 or visit www.switzerlandcafe.com. 

 

September always includes a re-enactment with members of the Overmountain Victory Trail Association.  This dedicated group of historical volunteers works tirelessly to attract new interest in their interpretation of the events surrounding the Revolutionary War-era.  Our own Joseph McDowell contributed significantly to the Battle at Kings Mountain and lived to be influential during the formative years of our nation.  You can be part of history during stops at the Orchard at Altapass, the Joseph McDowell House in Marion and at Cane Creek in Dysartsville.  McDowell County’s name honors Joseph McDowell.  Today, the house is partially open to the public when you visit Violet’s Herbs and Tea House.  Renovation plans are in place and a local committee is working to identify funding sources.  Want to follow the Overmountain Men?  Click here, www.ovta.org

 

Each year, the North Carolina Sports Association sponsors a “Mountain to the Sea” ride across the state.  This year, the group leaves Asheville Sunday morning, September 26th and will stop overnight in Marion.  Riders take their time stopping at places of interest along the way.  Sunday night, they will be invited to join local residents during a free concert on the courthouse lawn.  The local YMCA is the staging area.  To register for the ride, visit http://www.ncsports.org/nccyclemain.php.

 

 

Where’s the music you ask?  EVERYWHERE and it’s FREE!  The historic Orchard at Altapass is well known for their weekly performances Wednesday through Sunday located on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 328.3.  Each Thursday at 7:00 pm, the Marion Depot hosts the Thursday Night Bluegrass Jam.   Bring your friends and instruments, sign up and join the fun!  Friday includes free performances at Old Fort Mountain Music, Woody’s Original, JaVin Jammin’ Fridays followed by Saturday afternoon with GrassRoots Old Fort at Catawba Vale Café, JaVin in Old Fort hosts a variety of regional musicians and Sundays on the porch at Mountain Gateway Museum for the Sunday Muse Program.  The calendar has details!

 

Make plans for October!  This year’s events include the first Saturday celebration in Old Fort with Oktoberfest on the grounds of Mountain Gateway Museum.  Just across the street is the 2nd annual Mountain Thunder Car Show!  Cars and motorcycles of all makes and models line up on Commerce Street and at the Old Fort Depot.  Both are free events.  The second Saturday in October Marion hosts their 27th Mountain Glory Festival in downtown Marion. 

 

A complete list of attractions and unique lodging options are described on our website at www.visitmyblueridge.com or call our office for details, maps and printed information.  888-233-6111.  The McDowell Tourism Authority and Visitor Center is located in the historic Old Fort Train Depot and Railroad Museum at 25 West Main Street in beautiful downtown Old Fort.  Take I-40 to exit 73, North on Catawba Avenue to intersection of Main Street/Highway 70.  Depot is on the left.  Come see us!  

 

 ___________________________



McDowell…No Boundaries!

 

Beat the heat with Blue Ridge breezes and cool mountain streams in our spectacular region of the Blue Ridge mountains and foothills!  Let the breezes blow through your hair when you delight at the hundreds of curves and stunning views from the DiamondbackNC and the Lake James Route.  With the 12-mile Diamondback route (Highway 226-A) just north of Marion, the almost 360-degree loops and S curves meander through lush, green forest taking you to the celebrated community of Little Switzerland.  (www.blueridgedrives.com or www.diamondbacknc.com)  Take the Lake James Route and cool off with the lake breezes at Bear Creek Marina.  You’ll find it on the Black Bear “side” of the lake.  From the intersection close to Hankins Road at the intersection of Business 70 and the By-Pass Hwy. 221/226 stoplight, turn immediately to the left onto Hankins Road, driving to the end of the road.  Turn left onto Lake James Road, it’s a beautiful drive taking you past the Black Forest Community, past the Black Bear Landing to the right and the next right is Marina Drive.  Look for the signs!  The marina has musical entertainment on the weekends and the grill is open.  www.blackbearmarina.com.  

 

Call for tickets to the 36th Annual Bluegrass Festival held this year at Tom Johnson’s Camping Center.  New location at Tom Johnson's Camping Center Rally Park at 1885 US 70 West in Marion.  Featuring Dailey & Vincent, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, J.D. Crowe & The New South, Bobby Osborne & the New Express, Cedar Hill, The Little Roy & Lizzy Show, The Grascals, Larry Sparks & The Lonesome Ramblers, Goldwing Express, The Inspirations, The Bluegrass Brothers, David Peterson & 1946, Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers, The Crowe Brothers, Next Best Thing, Raymond Fairchild & The Maggie Valley Boys and Gloria Belle & Tennessee Sunshine!  Tickets at the gate or available in advance by calling 706-864-7203.  Event is "rain or shine" with performances under covered pavillion.  Cafe serving breakfast and lunch, hot food and other concessions available.  Bring your lawn chairs, no alcohol, smoking or pets in the performance area, and enjoy the new venue!  www.aandabluegrass.com

 

August 7th notes the last performance for Mountain Gateway Museum’s Blue Ridge Traditions program with performances by Laura Boosinger and Josh Goforth.  Enjoy this free performance at 7:00 pm inside the Old Fort Elementary School auditorium. 

 

Enjoy Farm Day at Mountain Gateway Museum August 1th with produce and natural products such as cheese, jam, soaps and soy candles will be offered at this event along with traditional folk arts including woodcarving, pottery, basket weaving and more. 2nd Saturdays combine arts, heritage, food and fun at 37 state historic sities and museums More info is online at www.ncculture.com

 

 

 

Car buffs…every third Sunday in downtown Old Fort bring by your classic car or motorcycle and join members of the Route 70 Cruisers as they display their treasures across the street from the Old Fort Train Depot & Arrowhead.  Hang out, enjoy the music, the company and if you’re hungry Catawba Vale Café is always open each 3rd Sunday to satisfy those cravings or quench your thirst.  Details on the car club are online at www.route70cruisers.com. 

 

 

More music you say?  Yes!  We have it every week, FREE, at different locations!  Check out our online calendar for details at www.mcdowellnc.org.  Look for Old Fort Mountain Music every Friday night, or the Marion Bluegrass Jam inside the Marion Historic Depot, EVERY Thursday – Sunday the Historic Orchard at Altapass hosts a variety of regional musicians heard from the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 328.3.  Enjoy Sundays on the Porch of Mountain Gateway Museum beginning at 2:00 pm or Saturdays between noon and 2pm at Old Fort’s Catawba Vale Cafe, they’re all FREE!

 

 

While you’re here, pick up fresh produce, flowers, herbs, organic products, goat cheese and more at the Historic Marion Tailgate Market!  Open Tuesdays between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm or stop by Saturdays  beginning June 26th 9:00 am until noon.  I-40 to exit 85/Hwy. 221 North, at stoplight intersecting By-Pass 221/226 drive straight continuing on Business 221/Rutherford Road approximately 2 miles.  Road becomes Main Street, turn left onto Henderson Street, market is to the left at corner of Henderson and Logan Streets.

 

A complete list of attractions and unique lodging options are described on our website at www.visitmyblueridge.com or call our office for details, maps and printed information.  888-233-6111.  The McDowell Tourism Authority and Visitor Center is located in the historic Old Fort Train Depot and Railroad Museum at 25 West Main Street in beautiful downtown Old Fort.  Take I-40 to exit 73, North on Catawba Avenue to intersection of Main Street/Highway 70.  Depot is on the left.  Come see us!  

__________________________

 

 



McDowell…No Boundaries!

 

Beat the heat with Blue Ridge breezes and cool mountain streams in our spectacular region of the Blue Ridge mountains and foothills!  Let the breezes blow through your hair when you delight at the hundreds of curves and stunning views from the DiamondbackNC and the Lake James Route.  With the 12-mile Diamondback route (Highway 226-A) just north of Marion, the almost 360-degree loops and S curves meander through lush, green forest taking you to the celebrated community of Little Switzerland.  (www.blueridgedrives.com or www.diamondbacknc.com)  Take the Lake James Route and cool off with the lake breezes at Bear Creek Marina.  You’ll find it on the Black Bear “side” of the lake.  From the intersection close to Hankins Road at the intersection of Business 70 and the By-Pass Hwy. 221/226 stoplight, turn immediately to the left onto Hankins Road, driving to the end of the road.  Turn left onto Lake James Road, it’s a beautiful drive taking you past the Black Forest Community, past the Black Bear Landing to the right and the next right is Marina Drive.  Look for the signs!  The marina has musical entertainment on the weekends and the grill is open.  www.blackbearmarina.com.  

 

Looking for a summer adventure?  Sign up for the 1st Annual Lake James Triathlon scheduled for July 24th!  The venue is Lake James State Park beginning with a 750 meter swim in the lake, followed by a 22 mile bicycle race before finishing with a 3.1 mile foot race to the finish line.  Applications are online at www.mcdowelltrails.com!

 

Lots of music going on in July beginning with holiday celebrations!  Downtown Marion celebrates July 3rd with music, food and fun.  Begin your day with a visit to their tailgate market Saturday morning between 9am and noon at the corner of Henderson and Logan Streets under the shade shelter.   

Also on Saturday, join in their holiday parade July 3rd happening “downtown” Little Switzerland at 4pm beginning at the Church of the Resurrection!  Winding up their centennial celebration, new books and more are still on sale with historic photographs and stories!  Maybe you’d like to celebrate on the 4th itself?  On July 4th, $8 buys a day of food, BBQ, and fun plus evening fireworks at the Lucky Strike Gold and Gem Mine, locates south of Marion.  Details are online at www.luckystrikegoldandgem.com 

 

July 10th brings with it the next “2nd Saturdays” event at Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort.  The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources launched this state-wide program in June to promote our state’s heritage and traditions.  Big Bear artisans John and Helen Sullivan, photographer/painter Alice Greko, landscape artist Chrys Riviere-Blalock and woodburning artist Laura Whitley round out the demonstrations participating in the program.  These are FREE events!  More info is online at www.ncculture.com.  

 

 

 

Car buffs…every third Sunday in downtown Old Fort bring by your classic car or motorcycle and join members of the Route 70 Cruisers as they display their treasures across the street from the Old Fort Train Depot & Arrowhead.  Hang out, enjoy the music, the company and if you’re hungry Catawba Vale Café is always open each 3rd Sunday to satisfy those cravings or quench your thirst.  Details on the car club are online at www.route70cruisers.com.  

 

FREE concert July 24th hosted by Mountain Gateway Museum!  If you haven’t heard the Kruger Brothers, you should!  These talented musicians are “nothing short of magnificent,” according to Dan Tackett of the Bluegrass Journal.  Tackett goes on to say, “… intense and tranquil, it’s classic, classy and classical, and it’s jazzy and grassy – all at the same time.”  The performance will be held in the auditorium of the Old Fort Elementary School.  I-40 to exit 73, north on Catawba Avenue and follow the signs to the school.  Need more?  Call 828-668-9259.

 

Then…there’s Folkmoot USA with an annual performance in Marion.  This is an annual celebration of the world’s cultural heritage through music and dance.  The July 26th performance is hosted by the McDowell Arts Council and will be performed in the auditorium of East Jr. High School.  Details?  Call 828-652-8610.  Directions:  I-40 to exit 85/Highway 221 North.  Drive north and at intersection/stoplight at By-Pass Hwy. 221/226, drive straight through stoplight, passing Countryside BBQ on left into a residential area where the road becomes Rutherford Road.  Road will curve to the left becoming Main Street.  At stoplight intersecting State Street, turn right.  Drive through light at Garden Street, look for East Jr. High School on the right.

 

More music you say?  Yes!  We have it every week, FREE, at different locations!  Check out our online calendar for details at www.mcdowellnc.org.  Look for Old Fort Mountain Music every Friday night, or the Marion Bluegrass Jam inside the Marion Historic Depot, EVERY Thursday – Sunday the Historic Orchard at Altapass hosts a variety of regional musicians heard from the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 328.3.  Enjoy Sundays on the Porch of Mountain Gateway Museum beginning at 2:00 pm or Saturdays between noon and 2pm at Old Fort’s Catawba Vale Cafe, they’re all FREE!

 

Thinking of what to do in August?  We’re the new location for the 36th annual North Carolina State Bluegrass Festival!  Details are in our online calendar!  Look for August 19, 20 and 21st!  Tickets are on sale now to hear Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and many more well-known bluegrass artists!

 

While you’re here, pick up fresh produce, flowers, herbs, organic products, goat cheese and more at the Historic Marion Tailgate Market!  Open Tuesdays between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm or stop by Saturdays  beginning June 26th 9:00 am until noon.  I-40 to exit 85/Hwy. 221 North, at stoplight intersecting By-Pass 221/226 drive straight continuing on Business 221/Rutherford Road approximately 2 miles.  Road becomes Main Street, turn left onto Henderson Street, market is to the left at corner of Henderson and Logan Streets.

 

A complete list of attractions and unique lodging options are described on our website at www.visitmyblueridge.com or call our office for details, maps and printed information.  888-233-6111.  The McDowell Tourism Authority and Visitor Center is located in the historic Old Fort Train Depot and Railroad Museum at 25 West Main Street in beautiful downtown Old Fort.  Take I-40 to exit 73, North on Catawba Avenue to intersection of Main Street/Highway 70.  Depot is on the left.  Come see us!

 

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McDowell…No Boundaries!

 

Little Switzerland and the Switzerland Inn celebrate 100 years!  “This is the place,” said Charlotte attorney Herriot Clarkson when in the spring of 1909 he rode on mule-back escorted by Marion real estate developers Reid Queen and Floyd Gardner to the top of Grassy Mountain. He is said to have stopped in amazement to take in the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  “For on all sides, as far as the eye could see, he was surrounded by an incredible dream of misty blue mountains and green valleys made unbearably beautiful by the play of sunlight and cloud shadows falling gently upon the Blue Ridge.  It was hardly necessary for Mr. Clarkson to articulate what was in his mind: ‘This is the place.’” (Louisa Duls, The Story of Little Switzerland.)  Clarkson was so impressed that he returned to Charlotte and invited a small group of business associates to join him in creating an exclusive mountain community known today as Little Switzerland. The town was formally organized in 1910.

 

Reid Queen later built the Little Switzerland General Store and post office in 1927 at the junction of the Bearwallow and Marion Roads.  Today, the general store is adjacent to the Switzerland Café and is the site for many of the anniversary activities scheduled this summer in “downtown” Little Switzerland.  The celebration of 100 years of mountain tradition and culture begins June 4th and 5th with the Little Switzerland centennial photography exhibit and its opening reception.  The exhibit includes images of the first tourists at the Switzerland Inn, also commemorating their 100 years of inn-keeping excellence.  Special events, historic home tours, storytelling campfires and a new play titled, “A Story of Place” to be performed at Wildacres Retreat, are scheduled as the anniversary celebration continues from June through September. 

 

Recently, local and summer residents shared their memories of Little Switzerland at the Switzerland Café.  Eavesdrop on their conversation at www.mcdowellhistory.com by clicking on “Little Switzerland, Beauty Spot of the Blue Ridge.”  And accept the invitation to help celebrate this charming mountain colony’s 100th anniversary. For more information see www.littleswitzerlandnc.com and www.visitmyblueridge.com. 

 

Sports car and motorcycle fans will delight with the hundreds of curves and stunning views from the DiamondbackNC and the Lake James Route.  With the 12-mile Diamondback route (Highway 226-A) just north of Marion, the almost 360-degree loops and S curves meander through lush, green forest taking you to the celebrated community of Little Switzerland.  This year join them for events throughout June to acknowledge their 100th birthday, coinciding with the Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th celebration!  Details are also on our website calendar of events!  (www.blueridgedrives.com or www.diamondbacknc.com)

 

 

 

History buffs will enjoy the new exhibits and barn restoration recently completed at Historic Carson House.  Built by Scots-Irish immigrant Colonel John Carson in 1793, his home still stands today owned and operated as a museum by a non-profit organization.  Situated on the banks of Buck Creek, this home hosted many nationally recognized visitors including Sam Houston and Davey Crockett. It is also included on the N.C. Civil War Trail interpreting Emma Rankin’s Story. 

 

A replica of Hannah Greenlee’s “crazy quilt” is displayed on the barn as part of the McDowell Quilt Trail, included on the Western North Carolina Quilt Trail.  (www.mcdowellquilttrail.org)  Inside, learn more about the creator of this quilt and see the original to discover why it was included in the National Endowment for the Humanities’ “Picturing America” educational program.  Carson House is located at 1805 Highway 70 in Marion or go to www.historiccarsonhouse.com for information. 


 

Mountain Gateway Museum’s summer programs include “2nd Saturdays” with demonstrations of local arts and crafts on the grounds at 102 Water Street in historic downtown Old Fort.  Events are free and will continue through August.  Call them at 828-668-9259 for information and details.

 

Make plans to visit historic downtown Marion June 26th for the 2nd annual McDowell Honey Bee Festival sponsored by the McDowell Arts Council Association.  The party takes place on Main Street, in front of the courthouse, featuring local honey producers and their products along with handmade art, crafts and tasty treats.  Admission is Free!  www.mcdowellarts.org

 


Find fresh produce, flowers, herbs, organic products, goat cheese and more at the Historic Marion Tailgate Market this summer!  Open Tuesdays between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm or stop by Saturdays 9:00 am until noon.  I-40 to exit 85/Hwy. 221 North, at stoplight intersecting By-Pass 221/226 drive straight continuing on Business 221/Rutherford Road approximately 2 miles.  Road becomes Main Street, turn left onto Henderson Street, market is to the left at corner of Henderson and Logan Streets.

 

What Can We Do?

 

June 1st

Historic Marion Tailgate Market

 

June 4th

Bluegrass Jam at Historic Marion Depot

 

June 5th

Little Switzerland Centennial Photo Exhibit at the Switzerland Inn

Old Fort Mountain Music

Marion Livermush Festival

 

June 6th

Little Switzerland Centennial Photo Exhibit at the Switzerland Inn

 

June 8th

Historic Marion Tailgate Market

 

June 10th

Bluegrass Jam at Historic Marion Depot

 

June 11th

Old Fort Mountain Music

 

June 12th

Historic Home Tour in Little Switzerland

2nd Saturdays Summer Program at Mountain Gateway Museum

 

June 15th

Historic Marion Tailgate Market

 

June 17th

Bluegrass Jam at Historic Marion Depot

 

June 18th

Old Fort Mountain Music

“A Story of Place” a play depicting the history of Little Switzerland at Wildacres Retreat.

 

June 20th

Classic Car Show

 

June 22nd

Historic Marion Tailgate Market

 

June 24th

Bluegrass Jam at Historic Marion Depot

 

June 25th

Old Fort Mountain Music

 

June 26th

2nd Annual McDowell Honey Bee Festival

 

A complete list of attractions and unique lodging options are described on our website at www.visitmyblueridge.com or call our office for details, maps and printed information.  888-233-6111.  The McDowell Tourism Authority and Visitor Center is located in the historic Old Fort Train Depot and Railroad Museum at 25 West Main Street in beautiful downtown Old Fort.  Take I-40 to exit 73, North on Catawba Avenue to intersection of Main Street/Highway 70.  Depot is on the left.  Come see us!

 

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In our spectacular region of Blue Ridge Mountains, explore gorgeous hiking and waterfall trails this summer.  Recently, the U.S. Forest Service purchased access property to magnificent Catawba Falls located just outside the historic town of Old Fort.  This 340 foot, two-tier waterfall is now accessible to the public.  As funds are available, improved trails and a parking area will be installed.  Check our website for location and directions.  www.visitmyblueridge.com

 


Searching for driving trails?  Sports car and motorcycle fans will delight with the hundreds of curves and stunning views from the DiamondbackNC and the Lake James Route.  With the 12-mile Diamondback route (Highway 226-A) just north of Marion, the almost 360-degree loops and S curves meander through lush, green forest taking you to the celebrated community of Little Switzerland.  This year join them for events throughout June to acknowledge their 100th birthday, coinciding with the Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th celebration!  Details are also on our website calendar of events!  Click here for the Blue Ridge Drives Map

 

The Lake James Route takes you around a 6,510 acre lake located at the base of the Linville Gorge.  Stop by Bear Creek Marina for lunch or dinner served on one of the decks offering calming lake views.   Sign up for the first annual McDowell Trails Triathlon on July 24th at Lake James State Park.  You’ll begin with a 750 meter swim in Lake James followed by a 22 mile bicycle ride (4 miles on park property) then take the last leg with a 3.1 mile run through park trails to the finish line.  Start training now!  (Click here for McDowell Trails Triathlon brochure)

 


On May 22nd, visit the newly constructed Davidson’s Fort Historic Park.  An example of a successful grassroots effort, the fort was designed and built for the purpose of recreating Old Fort historical events of the mid to late 18th century.  Once the western-most outpost in North Carolina, local settlers, the Cherokee and Catawba Native American tribes faced challenging times.  A fort was built in 1776 with the help of General Griffith Rutherford’s troops.  Learn more about this era in local history while visiting with period crafts people and re-enactors at Davidson’s Fort.


 

A complete list of attractions and unique lodging options are described on our website at www.visitmyblueridge.com or call our office for details and printed information.  888-233-6111.  The McDowell Tourism Authority and Visitor Center is located in the historic Old Fort Train Depot and Railroad Museum at 25 West Main Street in beautiful downtown Old Fort.  Take I-40 to exit 73, North on Catawba Avenue to intersection of Main Street/Highway 70.  Depot is on the left.  Come see us!