When the Parkway Came

A book about the Blue Ridge Parkway for young readers

At Waterrock Knob, August 6, 2011

(Original post date: July 28, 2011)

We’ll be up at Waterrock Knob at milepost 451 on the Parkway west of Waynesville from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on August 6, 2011 signing copies of When the Parkway Came and Super-Scenic Motorway.  Come on up and see us and the rest of the folks there for the “Blue Ridge Parkway: Celebrating Heritage and Communities” event.

Here are the details:

Join us for a day of family fun celebrating the heritage and communities found along the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Entertainment:

10:00 Appalachian Music:The Ross Brothers & Co.
11:00 The J. Creek Cloggers
11:30 Cherokee Friends Dancers
12:00 Ammon Sisters Mountain Storytelling
1:00 Cherokee Friends Dancers
2:00 Appalachian Music: The Boys from Tuckaseegee
*NPS Rangers will be giving short Interpretive talks between performances

Demonstrators: Mud Dabbers Pottery, Cherokee Friends, Ron Yount-woodcarver, Woven memories-David Ammons-chair caning, Pyrwood Dairy-goat cheese, Fiddlehead Farms-spinning, Nannie the Plott Hound accompanied by David Brewin, Susan Roper & Mandy Haughn-quilting, The Appalachian Women’s Museum, Sweet Pea Knitters-knitting, Fellowfeel Farms-fiber arts, Great Smoky Mountains Audubon Society, and NPS Ranger Interactive Tent.

Authors: Bob Plott-Strike and Stay, David and Anne M. Whisnant-When the Parkway Came & Super Scenic Motorway, The Ammon Sister will have books and prints from their performance.

Food will be available for purchase from Big Mountain BBQ.

Book reviewed in Asheville’s Mountain Xpress

(Original post date: September 8, 2010)

We were delighted this morning to learn of Cassandra Frear’s lovely review of the book in Asheville’s weekly news/entertainment paper, the Mountain Xpress.  We appreciate the time that Cassandra took to speak with us about the book and to write a thoughtful review that really conveys the complex emotions we tried to express through the story.   And thanks to the Mountain Xpress for running this at the perfect time — just before the Parkway’s 75th Anniversary celebrations this weekend near the NC-VA line!

Cassandra also blogged about the book at her Moonboat Cafe site.  Visit her there for more insightful posts.

Book signings and events galore — Parkway 75th Festival weekend, Sept. 11

(Original post date: August 30, 2010)

We’re going to be spending a lot of time on September 11, 2010 in and around the area where Parkway construction began 75 years ago doing several book signings and events related to the Blue Ridge Parkway 75th Anniversary Festival weekend.  In the morning, we’ll be selling books and talking to people at the Fancy Gap Apple Festival, and in the afternoon we’ll be out at the Blue Ridge Music Center signing books.  At 3:30, it’s off to the Galax-Carroll Regional Library in Galax, where we’ll do a reading from When the Parkway Came and discuss the process of writing about the Parkway for young audiences.

The full schedule of our events is on Anne’s Super-Scenic Motorway website events page.

Come out and see us and celebrate the Parkway!

Incredible afternoon at the Orchard at Altapass

(Original post date: July 13, 2010)

We had a fantastic time last Saturday signing books and meeting people at the wonderful Orchard at Altapass on at Parkway milepost 328.3.  Bill and Judy Carson and Kit Carson Trubey were such gracious hosts, and what they are doing at the Orchard is pretty incredible.  It was a gorgeous day, and they were swamped with people.  Two musical groups played, and people listened, danced, and ate at a leisurely pace all afternoon.  Yummy ice cream, fudge, delicious muscadine cider . . . clogging, waltzes, adults, kids.  A historical hayride that our boys really enjoyed.  And people interested in talking about (and buying) books!

For those of you who don’t know the history of the Orchard, you should definitely check out the Carsons’ historical summary, as well as a 2009 article in Blue Ridge Country.

We are so inspired to learn of this place, which intelligently combines crowd-pleasing fun, a reverence for history (with just the right amount — not too much! — of nostalgia), a willingness to experiment and evolve, a realistic and clear-eyed understanding of the realities of the region (past and present), and a warm and welcoming spirit to all.

One highlight of the visit was Anne’s opportunity to speak to members of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina who were there to inspect and celebrate recent agreements that protect lands near the Orchard from development that would impair views from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The whole afternoon educated us on ways that people are acting NOW to address the historical challenges facing the Parkway in our time.  We look forward to more opportunities to collaborate with both the Orchard folks and CTNC.

More real-life “When the Parkway Came” memories

(Original post date: June 30, 2010)

We keep reading and hearing people recount real-life Blue Ridge Parkway memories that echo the story that unfolds in “When the Parkway Came.”

We first wrote about this last December upon reading about Virginia musician Whit Sizemore’s memories of his family’s encounter with the Parkway.

Last night, WRAL’s wonderful new Parkway documentary, “America’s Favorite Journey,”featured Jerry Wolfe, of Cherokee, recalling that his birthplace home stood where the Parkway now lies.  And this morning’s Asheville Citizen-Times carried Nanci Bompey’s good piece on Haywood County’s Joe Arrington, who has recently sold and donated some of his family’s lands to the Parkway to preserve views.  A little section from Bompey’s article reads almost like a page from our book:

“We lived on the property (bordering the parkway) until I was about 12 years old, and I remember very early on in my life my mother and father telling me that they were going to build a highway on the mountain behind us,” the Haywood County native said. “It seemed impossible, but they did it.”

As a teenager, Arrington would ride on horseback to look at construction of the scenic road running through land his father and grandfather owned before it became part of the new national park.

Even though When the Parkway Came’s central story is fictional, it’s gratifying to know that — in the spirit of other works of fiction that we admire, like Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain and Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward Angel — we’ve captured something true about the hundreds of personal histories that crisscross the landscape of our beautiful national park.

We hope our book will spur other people to unpack their own memories and share their own stories.

At Orchard at Altapass, July 10, 2010

(Original post date: June 28, 2010)

Thanks to a lovely invitation from Bill and Judy Carson, we will be signing When the Parkway CameSuper-Scenic Motorway, and David’s All That Is Native and Fine: The Politics of Culture in an American Region at the Orchard at Altapass (Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 328 near Little Switzerland) on Saturday, July 10th, 2010, from 1-3 p.m.  Come and see us!


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