The Blue Ridge Book Fest began today and will run through Saturday, June 5, at the Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock, NC. The free event opens its doors at 8:15 Saturday morning and the programs run strong until the end of the fest at 4 p.m. More than thirty authors will be in attendance, representing genres from adventure and Appalachia to trivia and military history.
If you’re in the area, we highly recommend this indoor activity on a weekend with high temperatures and speckles of thunderstorms in the forecast. While in the area, we have some recommendations for things to do.
Once part of the Cherokee Nation, Henderson County has a rich history accompanied by a beautiful mountainous backdrop. Hendersonville, once called “the little Charleston of the mountains,” has a downtown with well-preserved buildings that highlight Neoclassical and Italianate architecture. The Historic Henderson County Courthouse, erected in 1905 and adjoined with a brick jail in 1926, is one of the highlighted buildings, as well as the Hendersonville City Hall, built between 1926 and 1928.
The historic buildings and homes are described in detail in A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Western North Carolina. The authors provide geographical locations to significant places of interest in this series of books, including places to stay if visiting overnight. Parks, lakes and campgrounds are also featured; Lake Summit, in historic Tuxedo, is a great destination to take a dip on a hot summer day.
South of Hendersonville is Flat Rock, a small village that was once home to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Carl Sandburg. Literary Trails of the North Carolina Mountains is a guide to novelists and poets from the past and in the present who have lived in and written about the western part of the state. Sandburg’s home is open daily for a guided tour, and the grounds are open for exploring and hiking.
The Literary Trails guidebook mentions other authors who have graced the area, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, who spent time writing essays in Hendersonville at the Skyland Hotel. The book suggests visiting the Mountain Lore Books & More, a downtown favorite of local novelist Ann Ross, the author of The Miss Julia Novels.
Should weather permit, going for a hike is a great group activity. Walking the Blue Ridge: A Guide to the Trails of the Blue Ridge Parkway details the trails down to the tenth of a mile, rating the difficulty and giving a background on the trail. Home to many of these trails is Pisgah National Forest, just west of Hendersonville. The trails are both fun and challenging, and with the greenery in full bloom, the scenery will surely impress. This book is essential for both casual and experienced hikers seeking an adventure along the Blue Ridge.
The summer is just getting started, and the opportunities for fun this weekend don’t stop at the Blue Ridge Book Fest!
Walking the Blue Ridge by Leonard M. Adkins is in its third edition.
Catherine W. Bishir, joined by Michael T. Southern and Jennifer F. Martin, has written about architecture in all of North Carolina’s regions.
Georgann Eubanks has also written The Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont, coming out in October 2010 but available for pre-order now.