Saturday, July 28, 2012

Wonderful Adventures of Art and Culture in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Today I thought I would write in a more personal style to let you feel the trip as if you were here yourself.  I am sitting on my deck now looking out at the woods and listening to the birds deep in the forest.  I hear local farmers far in the distant valley working away on their tractors.  It is growing season here, Tomatoes, corn, and all types of vegetables are ripe in the fields.   The tomatoes are so delicious they are like a ripe wonderful fruit.  There are tailgate markets everywhere to buy fresh vegetables.  The soil is so rich here and the vegetables are so much more flavorful than in my home state of Florida.

Clouds rolling across the Blue Ridge Farm Lands   photo Elizabeth Gordon

photo by Elizabeth Gordon

Yesterday we drove across the mountains to the Cherokee Reservation and went to the Cherokee Museum.  The last time I had been years ago.  It was a small museum and not a complete collection...the presentation was not professionally done.  Now it is stunning, with videos, holograms, wax figures, dioramas, timelines and interactive sections. It is much larger and so much information that  I could not take it in one trip.  So there will be another trip back, and for 10 dollars it is one of the last best bargains around.  Next door is the Qualla Indian Arts and Crafts Gallery which sell Cherokee make crafts from exquisite baskets, to smoke fired pottery, to carved wood masks.  I took photo's for you to have a virtual experience, but with the electric lighting there is a bit of a yellow organish cast to them.  The American Indian story is a rich one, if not sad, with the treatment from the Early British explorers, colonists, and American pilgrims overtaking their lands.  This is a part of the world you should not miss, its physical beauty is breath taking and its arts and crafts traditions is so rich.

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