Welcome to another in a Simply Appalachian series designed to help you plan a complete family trip. Each month, we choose an Appalachian destination ideal for family fun. We’ll feature the things to see, share and savor, as well as the nearby places to shop and stay with your family. We hope our guidance will help you find new, exciting and perhaps out-of-the-way places to try. Happy Trails!

Dollywood and Pigeon Forge

At 8 years old, a young boy had finished his baseball practice when a friend invited him to his clogging dance class. It was at this class that his life was changed greatly. This was where Jeff Atkins, a now well-acclaimed clogger, national competitor, and Folk Heritage committee leader began his love and respect for clogging.


See, Share, Savor, Shop and Stay

Welcome to a new series at Simply Appalachian. Each month, we’ll choose a destination ideal for family fun. We hope that the guidance you find within each piece will help you plan an entire trip. Each month, we’ll feature a spot to see, share, savor, shop and stay with your family. Happy Trails!

Virginia Creeper Trail

An unforgettable stay at a premier destination When asked about “America’s Resort,” you may picture a luxurious, colonnaded resort with beautifully manicured grounds, a world-renowned spa, on-grounds entertainment, multiple golf courses, exceptional dining and a centuries-old history of serving travelers. However, you may not think that place would be in West Virginia.
A brief history of Gospel singing in Tennessee Southern Gospel music typically refers to the tunes that white Christians developed around the turn of the century. Growing in popularity beside the black Gospel music that urban dwellers created, Southern Gospel came into its own thanks to a pioneer in the genre, Tennessee-born James D. Vaughan.
Blockhouse Steeplechase in Tryon Ladies and gentlemen, grab your hats and get out your wallets. Tickets went on sale February 15 for the 69th Block House Steeplechase. The event, to be held on May 2, 2015, is a highly anticipated tradition every year as horse lovers, party-lovers and generally fanatical outdoor enthusiasts who love to dress up gather in the North Carolina Foothills for a big horse race.
She’s a mother and nature advocate, too. In 2011, Jennifer Pharr Davis became the fastest person (man or woman) to through-hike the Appalachian Trail (AT). By averaging 47 miles a day — which, at three miles an hour, is more than 15 hours a day — she completed the 2,180-mile journey in 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes. For that accomplishment, she was named a 2012 National Geographic Top Adventurer of the Year, one of 10 to be so named worldwide.
No matter how easy it may have become, its origins grew out of concern for the family’s health and well-being. Back in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Appalachian families kept their log cabins and brick abodes locked up tight during the winter to keep out the elements. Homes were heated primarily with wood stoves, fireplaces and potbelly ovens. Oil lamps and candles chased shadows from the corners of every room, providing light for the long nights of winter.
The Irish were among the first settlers of Central Appalachia; celebrate their culture! Rock City — just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee — is a fun place to visit any time of the year. It features natural rock formations, gardens, a waterfall, animal shows, exhibits, and panoramic views from on top of Lookout Mountain.

Easter activities are beginning to show up on area calendars as the snow in the higher elevations melts and the spring clothes come out of the attic. Easter is a special time of year for Christians who honor the resurrection of Jesus as a signal of new life.

Americans of all religious leanings enjoy the holiday as a sign of new growth, budding opportunities and renewal. Children like Easter for the mythical bunny who brings them baskets of chocolate and painted Easter eggs. In the Easter tradition, adults hide colored eggs for children to hunt down.