Recommended diversions

Ski season

Count me among those who continue to be like a kid at Christmas when it’s the beginning of ski season. It’s a freeing feeling, strapping on skis and just flying down a hill with gravity as your motor.

Cataloochee in Haywood County has once again opened early (see story page 30) as the resort continues to invest in snowmaking capability. Whether it’s the smell of snow and chapstick, the warmth of a lodge fire and the taste of a frosty beer, or a cold sandwich at a picnic table, everything about the skiing experience draws me in. Watching my kids makes it even more enjoyable, and coming off a broken ankle (which I hurt skiing last December) makes me look forward to this season with even more anticipation. I know our North Carolina mountains aren’t Colorado or Canada, but it’s still all about good fun in the outdoors.


Square dancing

OK, I didn’t dance but I was taking pictures at last week’s Folkmoot Fiddlin’ Fall Fling. Whitewater Bluegrass was playing at the Folkmoot Center at the old Hazelwood Elementary School. Joe Sam Queen called the first dance and then that role when to Teddy White, the group’s bass player. About 150 people attended, and almost all of them were up and dancing. Several commented that large square dance gatherings with quality bands in a nice facility are all-too-rare these days. The crowd was mostly in the 50- to 60-year age group. Here’s a call for more get-togethers like these, which unfortunately are becoming a vanishing aspect of mountain culture.


Backyard football

Forget wasting time inside watching the Panthers or the Catamounts in this dismal season and rough it up yourself. With leaf litter all around, my son and I spent 30 minutes Sunday throwing, punting, running and tackling until we were falling down giggling.

— By Scott McLeod

Reading Room

  • A strange mix of books crosses my desk
    A strange mix of books crosses my desk The first weeks of 2018 have seen some offbeat books shamble across my desk and into my fingers. First up is John Buchan’s Mr. Standfast, also known as Mr. Steadfast. Buchan, a Scottish novelist and politician who served as Governor General of Canada from 1935…
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