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Wednesday, 09 September 2009 15:04

Follow the yellow brick road

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• The Craft Heritage Trails of Western North Carolina are collected in a travel-size book that leads visitors on eight driving tours along scenic byways and back roads to more than 500 galleries, studios, heritage sites, historic inns, and restaurants serving local cuisine. www.handmadeinamerica.org.

• The Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook is a guide to Cherokee cultural sites, including living history demonstrations, Cherokee crafters and artisans, archaeological sites, sections of the Trail of Tears and museums. www.cherokeeheritagetrails.org.

• The Blue Ridge Music Trail uses a handy guidebook as an excellent resource for visitors aiming to sample the rich musical culture of the North Carolina mountains and foothills. Festivals, jamborees, local jam sessions, and other music venues are profiled. www.blueridgemusic.org.

• The Farms, Gardens and Countryside Trails of Western North Carolina is a handy guidebook for touring farms, orchards, gardens, nurseries, heritage sites, and historic inns across the region. Provides six auto loop trails off of the Blue Ridge Parkway through 21 counties in Western North Carolina.. www.handmadeinamerica.org.

• Discover North Carolina Farms contains 213 agritourism farms and vineyards where visitors can see what grows on a farm, take part in educational or recreational activities, and see up close North Carolina’s agricultural lifestyle. www.ncagr.gov/markets/agritourism.

• The WNC Fly Fishing Trail, situated in Jackson County, features some of the best trout waters in the Great Smoky Mountains. The trail leads to 15 excellent spots for catching brook, brown and rainbow trout. www.flyfishingtrail.com.

• The North Carolina Birding Trail consists of three trails and accompanying guides, one for each of the state’s major geographical areas: the coastal plain (east of I-95), the piedmont (between I-77 and I-95) and the mountains (west of I-77). Each trail contains more than 100 top regional birding sites. www.ncbirdingtrail.org.

• The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail retraces the route of patriot militia as they tracked down the British. Eventually the two forces clashed, ending in patriot victory at the battle of Kings Mountain. The trail is still under development through partnerships, but the public has many places to visit and walk today. www.nps.gov/ovvi/index.htm.

• The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail commemorates a tragic chapter of our nation’s history—the forced removal of the Cherokee from their mountain homelands to the plains of Oklahoma in 1838-1839. Interpretation and signage for the Trail is planned for sites in Western North Carolina, where the removal began. www.nps.gov/trte/index.htm.

• The North Carolina Civil War Trails are a collection of interpreted Civil War sites connected by suggested driving tours. Map features numerous sites in addition to the sites identified on the original Carolinas Campaign Trail map, a driving tour of the 1865 Carolinas Campaign following many of the roads the soldiers used. www.civilwartraveler.com/EAST/NC/index.html.

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