ELIZABETHTON – Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park, 1651 W. Elk Ave., always has plenty to do besides telling the story of the area. This is especially true at the start of the holiday season.
The Watauga Valley Art League has just opened its annual Winterfest art exhibition, which runs from November 21 to December 5. Other events include a post-Thanksgiving hike through the park on Friday, November 26, to help walk some of the extra calories from the holiday feast. There are also a few Christmas snacks in store, including Christmastide Tours of the Carter Mansion from December 3-5.
The Christmas Art Show offers the opportunity to find a truly unique gift for someone special. The Art League was founded in 1969 and has over 100 members in six counties in northeastern Tennessee. The league’s mission is to encourage artists and promote public interest in the fine arts through education, networking and camaraderie among artists. The members of the League include art teachers, professionals, amateurs, amateurs and some who love art.
Most of the items in the Christmas Art Show are for sale, and the wide variety of subjects from the many artists whose works are on display make it likely to find a truly memorable gift. The art is on display in the assembly hall of the park’s visitor center from November 21 to December 31. 5. The Visitor Center is open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.
The calorie burner will start at 9 a.m. on Friday. Ranger Jason Davis will lead the interpretive walk through the park grounds and along portions of the walking trail. He will show some of the sites of historic events that took place around Sycamore Shoals and discuss the significance these events had on the formation of Tennessee and the United States.
Participants are requested to dress appropriately for a relaxed walk in November weather. The sole is a bit uneven in places. The group will meet in the picnic area next to the visitor center. Pre-registration is mandatory and can be done online at: www.tnstateparks.com/parks/events/sycamore-shoals. The event is free.
Music will be the order of the day on Sunday, November 28, as Art Lang and his friends host an Old Time Music Jam from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Old-fashioned musicians of all skill levels are welcome, and those who don’t play are welcome to sit and listen to the tunes.
The Carter Mansion Christmas Tours will be on Friday, December 3 at 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Saturday December 4 at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. and Sunday December 5 at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
One of the park’s historical interpreters will guide groups through the festively decorated halls of Tennessee’s oldest frame house, as it would have been decorated with natural greenery on Christmas 1780. Participants will learn about Christmas customs , border traditions and historical significance The Carter Family and the role the family played in the settlement of Tennessee.
The Carter Mansion is located at 1031 Broad St. Admission costs $ 10 for adults and $ 6 for children 17 and under. Pre-registration is mandatory and can be done online at www.tnstateparks.com/parks/events/sycamore-shoals.
Overmountain Christmas Open House will take place on Saturday, December 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will be held at the visitor’s center, with historically dressed singers, Christmas stories, the art exhibit and more. There will be a special activity or project that the whole family can participate in. It will also be possible to get a gift at the park’s gift shop and bookstore.