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Special Events Calendar

Selected weeks throughout the season at our The Swag Country Inn provide unique things to do during your stay, featuring guest speakers and events of special interest.

Each program is optional and, unless noted, there is no additional charge for participation. Lightweight hiking shoes and binoculars are recommended for outdoor activities. These events are a memorable addition to any vacation in western North Carolina.

For more information regarding any special event, please call (800) 789-7672 during Eastern Time Zone. Our business hours are 9 to 4pm or you can email us.

Read About Our Special Events:

Songs from the Hearth (Doug Peters)  May 4-10, October 13-19, November 9-15, 2014

Join singer/songwriter Doug Peters and his hiking partner and wife, Kathy, for an unforgettable experience at The Swag Country Inn. Doug has authored and recorded "Songs of the Swag: Part Fact/Part Fiction" in CD and Song Book, and since 1986, has delighted guests at The Swag Country Inn with his original songs about life, love, and adventure. According to Deener and Dan Matthews, "Doug's unique lyrics capture the history, beauty, and special character of The Swag and the Smoky Mountains in ways that will both tickle your funny bone and tug at your heart strings." Doug and Kathy are both passionate outdoor enthusiasts and have traveled extensively in pursuit of their love of backpacking, hiking, biking, and camping. Join them on the trails by day and by the fire at night.

Birding & Wildflowers (Bob Collier) May 18-23, August 24-29, September 21-26, October 19-24,2014

Dr. Bob Collier - an avid birder for more than 25 years and nature columnist for his local weekly newspaper - will offer before-breakfast birding on the lawn, and either half or full-day nature hikes that feature birds and wildflowers, and interesting facts of local natural history of the Great Smokies. Bob and his wife, Louise, have traveled extensively and have an outstanding series of slide presentations to share with us each afternoon at five. They have been with The Swag Country Inn since 2002.

Black Bears & "Unhuggables" (Michael R. Pelton & Tamra L. Willis) May 11-17, October 26-November 1,November 23-29,2014

Since 1999, this popular husband and wife team has led daily hikes.  Dr. Pelton is the foremost authority on the North American black bear.  Dr. Willis has a Ph.D. in Science and Environmental Education, and she has a special love for the “unhuggables” (snakes, bats, and insects).  At day’s end, they will present a PowerPoint presentation featuring Southern Appalachian mammals such as black bear and bats, natural history and ecology.

Walk and Talk (Donald Davis) April 27-May 4, August 9-18, October 6-13, 2014

Renowned storyteller Donald Davis hails from Western North Carolina. He is deeply knowledgeable of flora, fauna, and mountain folklore. Featured at festivals throughout the U.S. and the world, Davis is also known as a prolific author, producer of books and CDs, and as a guest host for NPR’s Good Evening. He will take hikes and tell stories about the uniqueness of the place and the people who have lived in these mountains. Folks love their Dutch Oven cooking during the hors d'oeuvres time in the Dogtrot. Donald and his wife, Merle, have been a part of The Swag Country Inn family since 2006.

Smoky Mountain Nature (Charles Maynard) June 11-15, 2014

Outdoorsman, author and storyteller Charles Maynard returns to The Swag Country Inn for more fun than seems possible. Charles will lead hikes in the day and regale us with his fabulous storytelling each night. His newest book Blue Ridge - Ancient and Majestic, is a must for mountain lovers. This is a wonderful event for those who seek to expand their knowledge of the Smokies.

Storytelling (Bill Harley) June 17-22, 2014

Bill Harley's imagination is as big as his talent for drawing lessons from commonplace events. One of the finest performers for families in the country, Harley has presented his original works throughout the U.S. He has authored several children's books. A Storytelling Circle of Excellence Award recipient, his 25 recordings have garnered numerous national awards, including his most recent, a Grammy. Bill and his wife, Deb, have been with us since 2007. After dinner, Bill will share one of his treasured bedtime stories.

Walks in the Woods (Esther Blakely) July 13-18, August 3-8, 2014

Esther has a thing about birds.. and wildlife...and wildflowers...and her enthusiasm is contagious. Her walks in the woods will have you laughing, then crying, then pondering. Esther is a master naturalist, elk expert and certified interpretative presenter for the National Park. Most of the year, you can find her leading hikes and eco-tours in Cataloochee Valley, representing her business, Cataloochee Valley Tours.

Bears We've Met (Joel and Kathy Zachry) May 25-30, June 22-26, November 16-21, 2014

With more than 50 combined years of hiking experience, Joel and Kathy Zachry, authors of "Bears We've Met," are joining The Swag as Special Event Leaders. The two have completed the 2,175 mile Appalachian Trail and lead trips through the cooperative University of Tennessee/National Park Service Smoky Mountain Field School, Alaska and the Outer Banks. This energetic husband and wife team will lead Swag guests on daily hikes, while sharing their knowledge and experiences of hiking. They will also offer afternoon presentations on the wildlife and vegetation of Western North Carolina and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.


Walks and Watercolors (Gay Bryant) September 7-13, November 2-6, 2014

Artist and hiker, Gay Bryant, will lead Swag guests for walks on various trails. She will also offer beginning level lessons in watercolor and relief printmaking to produce original paintings and take-home art that will document the guest's stay at The Swag. Gay's experience includes having been a studio painter, printmaker, hiker and art instructor for the last 25 years. Her work is reperesented in regional galleries and international collections. Gay has hiked all 900 miles of trails in the Smokies. She enjoys creating work to focus on the unique, natural beauty of the forests and mountains of the Smoky Mountains. The Swag is proud to annouce Gay as the newest member of our esteemed Trail Leaders!

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***Scheduled for 2014***

April 27-May 4: Walk and Talk (Donald David)

May 4-10: Songs from the Hearth (Doug Peters)

May 11-17: Black Bears and "Unhuggables" (Michael R. Pelton and Tamra L. Willis)

May 18-23: Birding and Wildflowers (Bob Collier)

May 25-30: Bears We've Met (Joel and Kathy Zachry)

June 11-15: Smoky Mountains Nature (Charles Maynard)

June 17-22: Storytelling (Bill Harley)

June 22-26: Bears We've Met (Joel and Kathy Zachry)

July 13-18: Walks in the Woods (Esther Blakely)

August 3-8: Walks in the Woods (Esther Blakely)

August 9-18: Walk and Talk (Donald Davis)

August 24-29: Birding and Wildflowers (Bob Collier)

September 7-13: Walks and Watercolors (Gay Bryant)

September 21-26: Birding and Wildflowers (Bob Collier)

October 6-13: Walk and Talk (Donald Davis)

October 13-19: Songs from the Hearth (Doug Peters)

October 19-24: Birding and Wildflowers (Bob Collier)

October 26-November 1: Black Bears and "Unhuggables" (Michael R. Pelton and Tamra L. Willis)

November 2-6: Walks and Watercolors (Gay Bryant)

November 9-15: Songs from the Hearth (Doug Peters)

November 16-21: Bears We've Met (Joel and Kathy Zachry)

November 23-29: Black Bears and "Unhuggables"  (Michael R. Pelton and Tamra L. Willis)