Huntsville to the Smokeys

OK, so, I've been out of touch. That's what happens when you enter the Great Smokeys. I left Decatur, AL and spent a night in Huntsville. You see, I am a nerdy, Baby Boomer rocket geek. I can name all seven Mercury astronauts and many more in the NASA program. So when the time came to stop and see the US Space and Rocket Center at the true center of the Space program, well, I was first on live that Thursday AM. Major gawking at the Redstone project and the Von Braun exhibit.

Then I headed through Chattanooga and into the mountains of North Carolina. I tell everyone it's the Great Smokeys but technically it is Nantahala National Forest: west of Asheville and just south of Cherokee...tucked in that little piece of NC that is bordered by Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia. In short, heaven.


My objective was the Mountain High Music and BBQ Festival in Franklin, NC on Aug 10 & 11. So in loooking for a hotel,  I saw some vacation homes up in the mountains within striking distance and just a little more than the cost of a hotel near the population (like where I have been staying all week.) The Cabins at Long Branch were a welcomed respite from the over-franchised world of the interstate exit. In fact, after I found the little dirt road up the final hill in Topton, NC, I had neither cel coverage nor internet wifi, and the Dish was down, so no TV. As it turned out, this was actually the spiritual center of my travels. I was able to recenter and even write a song on the back porch rockers. (Spoiler alert: I was able to get wifi, at a hot dog stand-cum-Airstream trailer half-way down the mountain.) Check out my back porch:

Then I spent the next two days at Franklin's Mountain High Music and BBQ Festival, which was a combination of carnival (with no rides), battle of the bands (with country and bluegrass) and BBQ RV's and trailers as far as the eye could see, all cooking and a smoking. I have incredible footage that I am having trouble importing at the moment but, trust me, you will see folks from all over the south competing for the cash prizes and serving up their secret recipes for pork butt, ribs and everything else. 

A nice (long) video of last year's event:


Saturday afternoon I was back on the highway and heading across NC to Clayton, just south east of Raleigh and Charlie's BBQ and Grille.

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Reader Comments (1)

Great video from the back porch of the Dogwood Breeze Cabin at The Cabins at Long Branch. Even though I couldn't hear the birds singing or the rushing mountain stream I know how peaceful and relaxing it is. I'll be there next week!

"A Day in the Mountains is worth a Week in town"

August 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJim the Cabinman

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