Live nativity scenes in Appalachia

Past and present views of living Christmas displays

There’s an old joke about a couple driving through Appalachia. They stopped in a quaint mountain town, with a central green plaza. In the green, the couple noticed a life-sized nativity scene. Along with the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the three kings and all the animals, the couple spotted a modern fireman.

Appalachian horse-drawn carriage rides

You can’t get much more romantic, especially around the holidays, than a horse-drawn carriage ride. When the weather’s nice, you can enjoy clip-clopping through your favorite Appalachian historic town. And even if the temperature drops, you can snuggle together under a blanket, sipping hot chocolate, while enjoying the pace of life from another era. After an outdoor wedding ceremony, a carriage ride is perhaps the most romantic outdoor activity.

Appalachian salt bread

Ahhh, bread. It’s the comfort food of the gods, considered the most delightful carbs you can eat. It pairs well with wine or water and even better with butter. Packed with nutrition, it’s been a staple in Appalachian homes since before it was ever sliced for sandwiches. Breaking bread is synonymous with sharing a meal… with family, friends, even strangers.

David West with Trout Cruisers

With more than 4,000 miles of regulated trout waters in Western North Carolina, you can find numerous options for fly-fishing in the area. In the small streams and branches to rivers like the French Broad, David West is an expert in the field.

West is the owner of Trout Cruisers. He customizes rods, ties flies and guides fishing trips in the Appalachians. Trout Cruisers can help you get the most out of your fly-fishing experience. To get you started, Simply Appalachian (SA) spent some time with David, who generously shared some of his experience for our readers:

For Filling:

1 lb Strawberries

3 Tbsp water

1/3 c sugar

1 Tsp cornstarch

For Crust:

12 Tbsp cold unsalted butter

3 c All Purpose Flour

1 Tsp Salt

1 Tbsp Sugar

1 1/3 c Cold Shortening

6-8 Tbsp Ice Water


1 Egg White

1 Tbsp Water

Raw Sugar

Filling Instructions:

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.