December 7, 2012
It doesn’t feel a whole lot like a white Christmas is imminent for us here in the Great Smoky Mountains. In fact, right now, it’s sunny and 50 degrees, with a forecast for the 70’s this weekend for the 37th Annual Festival of Christmas Past at Sugarlands Visitors Center (Read more on the National Parks Traveler blog).
But we’re counting our blessings, if not snowflakes. In fact, we’re almost up to 15,000 blessings that our friends at Sugarland Cellars and Robert A. Tino have bestowed on us this year. Robert Tino created three striking images for three limited edition, custom-label wines that were bottled and sold at Sugarland Cellars this year. 1,000 bottles each of Dance of the Firefly, Autumn Path, and Winter’s Blessings were paired with matching art tiles featuring Robert Tino’s label images. A donation of $5 from each bottle or tile sold benefits Friends of the Smokies. We’ll be at Sugarland Cellars next Monday, December 10th, for the Gatlinburg Chamber Business After Hours to celebrate this profitable partnership.
Next Saturday, December 15th, join our hike leader (and author) Danny Bernstein, our North Carolina Director Holly Demuth, and Friends of the Smokies’ AmeriCorps Outreach Associate Keith Hoffman for a hike to Mingus Mill and shopping at Oconaluftee Visitors’ Center- complete details on our website. Call Keith to sign up (828-452-0720). This fun-filled excursion coincides with the Park’s Holiday Homecoming there at the Oconaluftee Visitors Center where you can tap your toes to some old-time music on the back porch.
And of course, we invite you to consider a gift membership in Friends of the Smokies for that guy or gal on your Christmas list who loves the outdoors, and is really hard to buy for. You know, that gear guru with the $300 hiking boots, $30 socks,and $75 headlamp who’ll spend all Christmas Day chomping at the bit to get outdoors, or head down in the latest issue of Backpacker Magazine salivating over the next sweat-inducing, adrenaline-charged, high-altitude destination. Show that you know that they care about the Smokies, and help them take care of it. You could even donate to the Trails Forever program in their name.