Details from Deener

A late April cold snap hit the apple trees hard, but McRae (our resident horticulturalist) and Bob Collier (our birder) think they will yield apples in the fall. The Swag is the highest inn east of the Mississippi. Spring can be fickle.

Gourmet Picnics at Gooseberry Knob
We kicked off our first Wednesday gourmet picnic on May 2 with bison and fine beef burgers, macaroni and cheese, slaw, potato salad and the ever-popular old-fashioned root beer float. The staff joined us for their monthly inclusion at the picnic. It is always a treat to have them share The Swag experience with our guests.

Exploring Nature at The Swag


Rhododendron and trillium are blooming, and down by the pond, bluettes have turned the ground a light shade of blue (some might even say Carolina Blue). It is a beautiful time to be at The Swag.

Doug and Kathy Peters were joined recently by guests from Denmark for a hike to Little Cataloochee where they visited historic log cabins and enjoyed their Swag backpack lunch in the church.In the cemetery they found tombstones dating to the early 20th century documenting young lives lost to cholera, pneumonia and inaccessibility to medicine.┬áThese are reminders of the trials and tribulations faced by early settlers who made what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park their home.By the way, Doug, who is a criminal defense attorney in Atlanta, received quite a bit of attention recently. He represented a man who murdered his lover’s husband in a case that generated considerable media attention in Atlanta and nationally. We are told we will see more about this towards the end of the year.

Malcolm the Cat
Malcolm is hard at work greeting guests and waddling across the yard in search of a welcoming lap or a chipmunk.┬áHe doesn’t hesitate to offer a few choice words to anyone who shows him the least bit of attention. Don’t be surprised when you see him. He gained a few pounds over the winter. The vet has him on a diet.

The Art of Conversation is Alive and Well at The Swag
A departing guest recently described the Inn as “a salon,” because of the exchange of ideas, thoughts and experiences that happen daily during meals. Dan and I were thrilled with this compliment because, for us, stimulating conversation with guests is an essential part of The Swag experience.

A good example happened during Sunday brunch when one guest, a philosophy professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, shared details of an upcoming speaking engagement in China. He said that China has grown more rapidly in culture and economy than any country in the history of civilization.

I was intrigued by a recent opinion column in the April 22 Sunday New York Times on the disappearance of conversation by Andrew F. March, associate professor of political science at Yale, entitled “The Flight of Conversation.”

Rest assured that the art of conversation is alive and well at The Swag, and the only things in flight are the birds.