The city is more than the stage for Clemson Tigers games.
Bordering Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest, Clemson, South Carolina, sits between Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. It’s truly a hub of the Southern Appalachian region. The city’s beauty, history, sports, and friendly character have charmed visitors for over a century. But be warned: some of those visitors never returned home.
They belong prominently on a Southern Appalachian dinner plate.
Nothing hits the spot on a brisk fall evening like a sweet potato that’s fresh out of the oven and bursting at the seams with its unmistakable rich, hearty flavor. The sweet potato, while not native to Appalachia, has been grown in these mountains for centuries. The plant thrives in the rocky soil and holds up well even in times of blazing heat and little rain. The leafy vines can yield a large crop in a relatively small area, making them a favorite on the farms of early Appalachia.
As Appalachian as the banjo and as ancient as civilization
Few artists embody the Appalachian culture, the autumnal colors and the handcrafted heritage of the Appalachian Mountains like Matt Tommey. He produces “sculptural basketry for luxury mountain homes that include wall hangings, tabletop pieces, fireplace mantel installations and collections for the pedestal or shelf.” In other words, he creates woven baskets as ornamental art.
Seven autumn activities to do with your crafty kids
It wouldn’t be a real Appalachian autumn without watching children dive into a huge pile of fallen leaves. It’s a rite of passage, a way to tell time — you see who jumps right in, who wasn’t quite ready last year but now goes full-speed ahead, and who were master leaf-jumpers last year but might be a little too cool for it this year. But when the kids get tired of jumping, how do you keep them busy, and what do you do with all those leaves?
Fallen leaves provide natural fertilizer for your lawn and gardens.
One day, they’re brightening the horizon with their brilliant yellow, orange and red hues. The next day, they are covering your lawn in a crunchy brown carpet. Perhaps that’s why it’s called the “fall.” By mid-November, the leaves are mostly all on the ground, leaving the landscape barren, sleeping until its spring revival.
Seldom practiced today, it was an annual rite.
Back in the heritage days of yore, when family homesteaders worked the land in small, tight-knit communities, they held community hog-killing days. These Appalachian events were held between Thanksgiving and Christmas when the weather turned cold. Hog killing provided meat for the winter and served to bring the community together once more before snow made travel difficult, even to the next holler.
As the sport gained popularity, it inspired families to celebrate.
Part of the U.S. landscape for more than 100 years, football has gained more than a toehold in American culture at large and in Appalachian cities and towns. Appalachians cheer for teams from youth leagues, like the Tri-State Football League based in West Virginia, to the professional level, like the Carolina Panthers, Tennessee Titans or Atlanta Falcons.
If you think Appalachian bears are big animals, you haven’t seen anything yet. The grandest of all the mountains, the majestic elk, is the master of the mountains. Though their numbers have dwindled over the years, you still have a good chance of spotting an elk in the fall, when many leaf lookers take to the hills.