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Chimney Rock Park

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While Chimney Rock’s panoramic 75-mile views are well-known to visitors, some of the region’s stories remain untold. This Memorial Day weekend, national storyteller and award-winning old-time musician John Fowler will perform authentic Appalachian storytelling and music at 12:30pm & 2pm Saturday & Sunday, May 25-26 at the park’s Meadows area. Also park musician John Mason will be playing music from old time to ragtime on a stringed instrument dating back 3,000 years called the hammered dulcimer, Friday-Monday by Cliff Dwellers Gift Shop.

The climbing tower on the Meadows will be open to guests for a free climb 11am-3pm Saturday and Sunday with paid Park admission, weather permitting. Enjoy a family picnic at the park with a $6 special (+ tax) for a grilled hot dog, bag of chips and 20-oz. soft drink or bottled water near Cliff Dwellers Gifts from 11am-4pm Saturday and Sunday. Park admission: $12 adults, $6 youth (6-15) and kids under 5 free.

With family ties to the Southern Appalachians, John Fowler presents a rich anthology of Appalachian stories and songs collected from generations of Carolina old-timers, ballad singers and storytellers. He has shared his talents at festivals, classrooms and performance halls from coast-to-coast for 25 years. On stage, John’s performances for all ages are hilarious, creative, energetic and historically informative. He is a master harmonica player and has won awards at national banjo and guitar competitions like the prestigious Mountain Dance Folk Festival in Asheville. He co-produces a very popular old-time music show, “This Old Porch” on NC public radio WNCW 88.7. Info: www.hairytoeproductions.com.

Climbers who want a taste of real rock climbing can climb below the Chimney on Vista Rock with the expertise of Fox Mountain Guides, who offer the only AMGA-Certified program in the Southeast. The 15-minute “tasters” cost $20/person, no experience necessary. 2 hour climbing clinics and half- & full-day climbs with Fox Mountain are available. Info: 888-284-8433 or chimneyrockpark.com.

Chimney Rock’s Memorial Day weekend offers great hiking and activities for kids. Families will enjoy Grady’s Animal Discovery Den, where kids can meet Grady the Groundhog and have fun eyeing live critters like snakes and an opossum. The adjacent Great Woodland Adventure offers an easy 0.6-mile winding hike with 13 interactive discovery stations, where Grady illustrates how his forest friends live, including chipmunks, frogs, owls and butterflies. 

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park has been one of the Southeast’s most iconic and popular travel destinations for more than 100 years. It’s the only state park in the Southeast with an elevator inside a mountain. Info: 800-277-9611 or  chimneyrockpark.com.

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