Nutcracker Christmas Tea in Galax

Galax, Va.—Chestnut Creek School of the Arts is sponsoring a Nutcracker Christmas Tea in collaboration with the Conservatory of Dance and Theater of Galax on Saturday, December 3, 2011 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts in downtown Galax. The event will include a sumptuous light feast of tea, sandwiches and cookies in the English tradition along with short performances from the Nutcracker. Admission is $20 for adults or $15 for children under 12. For more information, call (276) 236-3500.


21st Annual Candlelight Christmas in Rockford

Surry County, NC—The Candlelight Christmas in Rockford will be held on December 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Old Rockford Methodist Church in historic Rockford. It features music and holiday snacks. Thursday features the men’s and jazz ensembles of Limestone College along with Gene Anderson and friends. Friday’s highlights include the Surry Community College chorus, flutist Miranda Owens, Ashley Godwin and Devin Matthews, as well as the Marshal Brothers and High Road.

Blue Ridge Parkway Closures

On Tuesday, November 29, 2011 the following weather related closures are in effect for the Blue Ridge Parkway.

  • MP 355, NC Rt. 128 at Mt Mitchell State Park to MP 375, NC Rt. 694 at Bull Gap (Ox Creek Road).
  • MP 423, NC 215 at Beech Gap to MP 443, US Rt. 74/23 at Balsam Gap
  • Additional weather related openings and closures are expected. For latest road closure information call 828.298.0398.
  • Most Parkway facilities are closed for the season and will re-open in May 2012. The Peaks of Otter Lodge & Restaurant is open year round. The Museum of North Carolina Minerals near Spruce Pine, NC (Milepost 331), and in Asheville, NC the Folk Art Center (Milepost 382) and the Parkway Visitor Center (Milepost 384) are year round facilities.
  • MILEPOST 232 – 237 – The Blue Ridge Parkway will be closed to all traffic from Milepost 232 at Stone Mountain Overlook to Milepost 237 at Air Bellows Gap beginning July 15, 2011 and continuing until the summer of 2012. This closure is due to the reconstruction of the Parkway’s 32,000 linear feet of historic rock masonry walls in that section. Detour traffic signage will direct Parkway visitors around the closed area via US Highway 21 and NC Route 18 through Laurel Springs and Sparta. Click here for a map of the detour.
  • MILEPOST 388 – 393 -Beginning on November 1, 2011, and until further notice, the Blue Ridge Parkway will be closed for all visitor use from Milepost 388.3 at US Route 25/Hendersonville Road to Milepost 393.6 at NC Route 191/Brevard Road. This Parkway closure is necessary for contractors to repair deteriorating conditions on the south approach of the bridge over Interstate 26. Repairs are expected to be complete no later than Monday, December 5, 2011. The detour will direct visitors off the Parkway north of the closure at Milepost 384.7 to US Route 74 north, then to I-40 west, then to NC Route 191 south and back to the Parkway at Milepost 393.6 where NC Route 191 passes under. The detour is approximately 11.5 miles long and expected to take approximately 25 minutes to drive. The Parkway will remain open between US Route 74 and US Route 25 for the duration of the project.

NC Christmas Tree Farms

nc christmas tree farm

Shop for NC Choose-and-Cut Christmas Tree Farm

As Thanksgiving approaches, so does the hunt for the perfect NC Christmas tree. For those families looking to stumble upon that lush, perfectly sized evergreen, Reeves Ridge Christmas Tree Farm in Sparta, NC opens for the Christmas season on Nov. 19. The farm is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. starting Nov. 19 through Dec. 18.

For more NC Christmas tree farms, visit the Evergreen Trail.

October Heritage Series at Blue Ridge Music Center – Banjos of the Blue Ridge

Brien Fain at Blue Ridge Music Center

Brien Fain will perform at the Blue Ridge Music Center

Galax, Va. – The Blue Ridge Music Center October Heritage Series begins October 9 with a performance-talk that will showcase different banjos styles in the Blue Ridge from clawhammer, to two and three finger picking styles. Four banjo players from the region: Trish Fore, Bobby Patterson, Jeff Michaels and Brien Fain will perform and talk about their music and style. Folklorist, Gregg Kimball will moderate. This event will take place indoors in the Blue Ridge Music Center small theater, an intimate setting with superb acoustics. Seating is limited so advance reservations are recommended.

Brien Fain is a seventh generation mountain musician from Patrick County who grew up steeped in music from both his mother and father’s sides of the family. While he mostly plays music at home and at informal music sessions he is well known for his traditional style and as a tough competitor. Brien has likely won more blue ribbons for his banjo playing at old-time contests across the country than any other player.

Trish Kilby Fore, born and raised in Ashe County, North Carolina, plays a hard-driving mountain style influenced by Emily Spencer, Harold B. Hausenfluck, Enoch Rutherford, Larry Pennington, and Ola Belle Reed. She has played in many bands including the Fox Creek Ramblers, the Blue Ridge Mountain Ramblers, and the Mount Rogers Ramblers. A regular at area fiddlers’ conventions, Trish won first place in the old-time banjo contest at the 2008 Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention

Jeff Michaels hails from Wilkes county and doesn’t consider himself an old-time or bluegrass banjo picker. He just likes to play the melody. Jeff is often heard playing or singing with Big Country Bluegrass and the Elkville Stringband. He plays drop-thumb, clawhammer, two and three finger banjo styles.

Bobby Patterson has played banjo for over fifty years. He learned to play from his uncle Tyra Cook, Charles Hawks and other musicians who lived in the Coal Creek area. Presently, Bobby plays banjo, guitar and sings with Willard Gayheart and Sugar Creek band. In 2009, Bobby received the Virginia Heritage Award for his lifetime playing, recording and preserving music from the Blue Ridge.

The Banjos of the Blue Ridge performance-talk will take place Sunday, October 9th at 2pm. Seating opens at 1:45pm. Free admission. Phone (276) 236-5309 x112 to reserve seating. Those with reserved seats must show up 15 minutes prior to the start of each event. At start-time remaining seats are given to drop-in visitors.

Upcoming October Heritage showcases in the BRMC indoor theater
(reserve in advance):

October 16 at 2pm. – Film: The Mountain Music Project (A film that compares old-time music from the southern US with the traditional music of Nepal). Free.

October 16 at 4pm – The Reed Island Rounders showcase. Free.

October 23 at 2 pm – Ballads and Songs of the Blue Ridge featuring: Sheila K. Adams, Bobby McMillon, Martha Spencer & Jackson Cunningham. Free.

All of the October Heritage Events are free thanks to support from Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the National Council for the Traditional Arts.

The Blue Ridge Music Center is located at milepost 213 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Blue Ridge Music Center is open 9-5 seven days a week through October 30. Come see the new Roots of American Music exhibition and sit awhile in our covered breezeway and listen to Mid-Day Mountain Music from 12-4pm daily. There is no fee for Visitor Center activities.

A few Halloween Treats…

Haunted Reeves Theatre – Come experience the scariest haunted theatre in the Yadkin Valley, located in historic downtown Elkin! This event occurs each Saturday between September 24th and October 22nd, as well four straight days from Friday, October 28th thru Monday, October 31st. For more information click here.

Ghost Tours in Historic Mount Airy – Dearly departing from Old North State Winery in downtown Mount Airy, take a lantern-lit walk through time and experience local ghost stories and legends. Occurs Friday and Saturday nights in October. Click here to learn more.

Hacker House – The Hacker House is a local legend that is only open during the month of October in Pilot Mountain. Thousands who hail from all over North Carolina and Virginia line up to tour “the best haunted house anywhere”. Annually rated as one of the top 25 Halloween attractions in the U.S., this event is held every Saturday and Sunday in October and Monday, October 31st. For more information click here.

Howl-o-Wine Party – On Saturday, October 29th, bring your favorite canine to an event that supports pet-focused local non-profits at beautiful Round Peak Vineyards near Mount Airy! Enjoy hay rides, ghost stories, costume contests (best costume, best dog costume, and best dog and owner themed costume), a bonfire, live music and karaoke. Click here to learn more.

Shelton Vineyard

Shelton Vineyards was founded in 1999 and is the largest family-owned estate winery in North Carolina. It is located in the Yadkin Valley near Dobson and Mt. Airy, North Carolina. The winery features a spacious visitor center with a tasting bar and gift shop. It also offers tours and tastings every day of the week. Picnicking is encouraged due to its beautiful landscape. It sponsors a summer concert series on its outdoor stage during the summer months. It also offers upscale dining with a bistro atmosphere in its Harvest Grill restaurant. Come entertain yourself in the Yadkin Valley with this vineyards fabulous wines.