The Swag

June 28, 2011

NC Arboretum Celebrates 25 years!

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Swag @ 10:35 pm

The North Carolina Arboretum, located in Asheville, will kick off it’s 25th Anniversary celebration this Friday, July 1st.  The festivities at the Arboretum, located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway(mile post 393) and NC Hwy. 191, will begin at 9:00 a.m. and continue throughout the day ending at 9:00 p.m.

Activities and entertainment for all ages are scheduled throughout the day, including a free evening concert. In addition, parking fees will be waived the day of the event – good enough reason to come out!   Some activities include geocaching, heritage hike and 5K time trials where runners will enjoy a scenic route through the Arboretum property.  More information is located at the Arboretum’s website or by calling 828.665.2492.

With the Arboretum only 35 miles from The Swag, a day trip for this celebration would be a fun filled day for any Swagger.

June 15, 2011

Black Bear Sightings @ The Swag

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Swag @ 8:20 pm

Both the National Park Service in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as well as the U.S. Forest Service, have recently reported black bear encounters in both the Smokies, Pisgah National Forest, and along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  These reports always get The Swag team, as well as our guests, excited with the posibility of seeing bears here at 5,000 feet.  Several Swaggers, have already spotted a variety of wildlife here on the mountain with almost weekly sightings of a momma black bear and cubs.  Black bear cubs usually come in pairs and at least four have been seen at one time on the driveway.  Other wildlife already spotted this season include wild turkey, grouse, a variety of song birds, humming birds, chipmunks and even the illusive bobcat.

Swaggers should be reminded that approaching within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces bear or elk is prohibited. In addition, feeding, touching, teasing, frightening, or intentionally disturbing wildlife is prohibited anywhere inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to prevent bear interactions by taking the following steps:

  • Clean up food or garbage around fire rings, grills or other areas of your campsite.
  • Keep food in secure containers and do not leave food unattended.
  • If bear-proof containers are not available, store food and garbage inside a hard-top vehicle or trailer.
  • Never store food inside of a tent.
  • Wipe tabletops clean before vacating a camp or picnic site.
  • If a bear is observed nearby, pack up your food and trash immediately and vacate the area ASAP. If you encounter a bear – never run. Back up slowly and make noise so the bear knows you’re there.

This Black Bear Was Spotted Near The Swag Garden In 2010.

Speaking of black bears, don’t forget that coming up later this season, Dr’s. Michael Pelton & Tamra Willis return for another week of  “Black Bears & Unhuggables”, October 30th through November 6th.  Dr. Pelton is the foremost authority on the North American black bear and his talks and hikes are not to be missed.  For more information on this, or any other Swag events, be sure to visit our Special Event Calendar at

June 8, 2011

Synchronous Fireflies in the Smokies

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Swag @ 1:53 pm

We all remember growing up watching fireflies, catching them, maybe evening putting them in a jar to make your own natural lantern.  Well, this is the time of year here in the Smokies when one has the opportunity to see the synchronous fireflies, or Photinus carolinus, one of the 14 species of fireflies in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  This is the only species in America that can synchronize their flashing light pattern; the only other place in the world is southeast Asia.

Swag guests have the opportunity to enjoy this rare phenomenon while visiting the Smokies this week in at least two locations, Cataloochee and Elkmont.  Cataloochee Valley Tours has confirmed synchronous sightings down in the valley, while the City of Gatlinburg has partnered with the national park to provide shuttle service between Sugarlands Visitor Center and Elkmont nightly through June 12th for viewing.

Light Show Viewing Tips
Flashlights disrupt the fireflies and impair people’s night vision. The light show is best when you:

  • Cover your flashlight with red or blue cellophane.
  • Use your flashlight only when walking to your viewing spot.
  • Point your flashlight at the ground.
  • Turn off your flashlight when you find your viewing spot.

So whether you have the opportunity to view the synchronous variety here in the Smokies or just get out and watch lightning bugs in your own back yard, be sure to get out and enjoy the cool spring evenings as the summer heat will be here before you know it.