Felix Mendelsshn’s Wedding March written in 1842 is heard throughout churches especially in June, the month of weddings. Most of us carry out traditional wedding customs without much thought as to their origins. Here Comes the Bride Customs concerning the bride are steeped in both ancient and Victorian times. Pope Innocent III in 1214 promulgated…

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The people of the Appalachians have a storied past full of great “spirits.” The Scotch-Irish brought their whisky-making skills from the Old World to the Blue Ridge Mountains. The love of freedom and a rebellions spirit seem to be part of our DNA and is at the heart of the distilling of home brew, especially…

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With our eyes we see the beauty of the mountains, coves, and valleys of our Black Mountain and the meandering Swannanoa River. We hear cold rustling winds in the winter and refreshing cool breezes in the summer. We smell the crispness of the mountain snows and sweet clean air after a summer rain. Indeed, Black…

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“Erin go Bragh” in the Irish language means Ireland “until the end of time” or Ireland “forever.” On March 17 each year, Irish heritage and culture is celebrated in Ireland and, to a greater extent, by Irish descendants in the United States. On that day, Irish lovers don the traditional Kelly green so as to…

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When inches of snowfall turn our peaceful Black Mountain into a glistening white fairyland, many of us don our coats, gloves, and toboggans and venture outside to get our creative juices flowing. It’s time to build a snowman! The typical American snowman is constructed of three large snowballs in graduating sizes. Additional accouterments vary for…

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In the British Isles and Western Europe in the Middle Ages, well-to-do families had the luxury of slate floors that would get slippery when wet; therefore, they would spread “thresh” (straw) on the floors to help folks keep their footing. As winter progressed, the “thresh” would start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed…

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Oft times remnants of our past loom all around us, and we ignore it, dismiss it, or deem it insignificant. For example, did you know Elizabeth “Betsy” Patton Crockett, wife of Davy Crockett of Alamo fame, was from Swannanoa? A memorial to Elizabeth Patton Crockett is erected in the Swannanoa Valley near her home site.…

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A 1784 English nursery rhyme goes, “The rose is red, the violet’s blue/ The honey’s sweet/ and so are you./ There art my love and I am thine/ I drew thee to be my Valentine.” These sentiments echo the verses on 150 million Valentine cards sent annually in the United States. As with many modern…

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  “Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!” is an old song whose lyrics echo in the hearts and minds of many Black Mountain youngsters as they press their noses against the frosty window panes and sigh at the cloudless sky. But be not dismayed! Black Mountain averages seven inches of snowfall per…

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At this time of year, the deciduous oaks, maples, elms, poplars, beeches, and sourwoods have shed their leaves allowing the evergreens to take center stage in our mountains. A plethora of cedars, balsams, Carolina hemlocks, spruces, and volumes of white, Virginia, and Scottish pines provide stability and beauty during our winter months. It is little…

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