Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas at Sugarlands

Did y'all miss me? I'm always very busy at the end of the semester, and we spent several days in the Smokies last week.

The Sugarlands Visitor Center at the entrance to the Smoky Mountain National Park at Gatlinburg had their Festival of Christmas Past last Saturday. Hub and I spent the day with them. There was so much to do, and all of it was good.

There was a whole building with staff and volunteers teaching how to make traditional Christmas ornaments. Here, I'm learning to make an angel from rags.

This table was full of natural greenery to make wreaths from. There was holly, pine cones, cedar, sumac seed heads, nandina seeds and foliage, ivy, and much, much more. I tied mine together with ivy vines, so everything on my wreath was natural. I plan to go on a scavenger hunt next week to make some fresh ones for Christmas day.

This fellow liked his so much, he decided to wear it for all of us to see!

Isn't this beautiful? I had never thought of using ivy in my Christmas wreath. They showed us how to make those dried apples on the wreath, too.

Outside, there were tools that we don't see anymore, including this apple press. The fellow using it gave recipes and talked about making apple cider, hard cider, and apple cider vinegar.

This blacksmith worked all day showing how to make farm implements and small tools. It was warm around this area on a very cold day.

Smoke from this pot of apple butter was the first thing we saw when we drove into the parking lot. They cooked Winesap apples, sugar, and cinnamon for several hours until the apple butter was done. We had generous samples that were delicious.

Inside the visitor center, there were demonstrations of spinning, quilting, and dyeing yarns. Mountain music and storytelling (yes!) were offered in the theater all day, but I'll blog about that another time.

Between activities, we hiked a trail to an old cabin (Wordless Wednesday yesterday and more later). Both of us were exhausted when we left, but it was a day we will long remember.