The Swag

August 5, 2011

Smokey Bear Turns 67

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Swag @ 5:12 pm

Since 1944, Smokey Bear has been a symbol of safety and fire prevention.  Tomorrow, in celebration of Smokey’s 67 birthday, the Cradel of Forestry is hosting a birthday party from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. with a full schedule of activities including music, fire fighting equipment demonstrations, prize drawings and birthday cake.  At 1:30 the party moves indoors for a live animal program presented by Carolina Mountain Naturalists.  Meet native amphibians, reptiles, and birds and learn about their lives in Smokey’s woods.

The Cradel of Forestry is located in the Pisgah National Forest about an hours drive from The Swag, which would make it the perfect day trip for any Swagger looking to get out and explore western NC.

This photo is located upstairs in the Swag House photo gallery.

Did you know?..The concept of Smokey Bear was created by Dan’s uncle Richard Hammatt, how’s that for a little Swag history.

August 4, 2011

Another Pair of Swag Staffers Wed

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Swag @ 3:27 pm

On Saturday, July 31, two more Swag staffers were married.  Over the past 30 years, there have been several Swag employees who have met and married at The Swag. The first was Bobbie Jean Rathbone and Kenny Haney (Bobbie Jean was a waitress and Kenny a dishwasher).  They met when The Statler Brothers were @ The Swag for a week doing an hour-long television special.  Next, Bobbie Jean’s uncle, Roger Rathbone — our caretaker for 30 years — married Barbara, a Swag housekeeper.  The next Swag joining came when Dan officiated at the wedding of longtime assistant innkeeper, Mindy Cole to Terry Wood.  They were married in the Great Room of the Swag House.

The most recent wedding took place last Saturday.  Amy Farrington and Kevin Rowsey have been working at The Swag for three+ years — Kevin first in our front office, then as a waiter and houseman, and Amy as a housekeeper.  The word is that it all got started when they were seated together at the  Swag’s end of season dinner celebration at The Old Stone Inn last November! The wedding took place at 4:00 in the afternoon on a crystal-clear Swag day in the Gazebo on Gooseberry Knob.  It was a team affair.  Our new gardener, McRae, made the nosegay out of Swag garden flowers and Ginger, our executive housekeeper, made the boutonierre for Kevin.  The couple shared this special event with parents and Amy’s two children.  Mark Higdon and Angie Leatherwood made it all work smoothly, with drives up to the Knob in the Land Rover for both families.

Interested in having a Swag wedding of your own here at 5,000 feet?  Visit our website for all the details and wedding package information.

July 20, 2011

Hill Country Band to Join The Swag on Select Thursdays

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Swag @ 10:18 pm

Local musicians, and a Swag favorite, The Hill Country Band, will become a regular fixture here on the mountain beginning on July 28th and will return to The Swag on the first Thursday of each month the remainder of the 2011 season.   This bluegrass group which has performed at The Swag over the past several years, most noteably during our yearly Independence Day celebrations, seemed to be the perfect fit for our weekly Thursday night Chef’s BBQ.  Dates of all Hill Country appearances are listed below.

Thursday, July 28th

Thursday, August 4th

Thursday, September 1st

Sunday, September 4th (special Labor Day BBQ)

Thursday, October 6th

Thursday, November 3rd

While The Swag serves dinner seven nights a week, on Thursdays, guests are treated to our fabulous BBQ dinner buffet, including savory meats, fish, assorted salads, fresh baked breads, seasonal vegetables, sumptuous desserts, and your beverage of choice. This bountiful buffet is served on our porch, with magnificent mountain views as a backdrop.  As always, dinner is included for all overnight Swaggers with reservations being taken for other folks not staying up on the mountain.  We hope to welcome you up one Thursday evening this season for good food, great music, and high mountain hospitality here at 5,000 feet.

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

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