Monthly Archives: July 2014

Traditional Arts Workshops in August

To join one or more classes, you must register in advance

by calling 423-543-5808 and pre-pay.

Workshop: Vegetable Garden Q and A… what went wrong, what went right.

Instructor: Ben Hunter

Saturday August 2                                                            10 am – 1 pm

Cost: No Charge – Registration is NOT necessary for this session

Gardener extraordinaire, Ben Hunter, will be joining us to share his experiences & techniques for growing the garden of your dreams!  Sponsored by the Northeast Tennessee Master Gardeners.


Introduction to Blacksmithing                                                       

Instructor: Scott Walling

Saturday, August 9                                                                                          10 am – 3 pm

Cost: $30 (includes supplies)                                                                        Min: 1                    Max: 6

Learn basic blacksmithing skills and techniques. Students will have the opportunity to learn how to tapper, draw, upset and shape metal to make useful objects. Simple items that may be made during this workshop include nails, hooks, etc. Please bring your own safety/ eye glasses, and close toe shoes. No polyester clothing. Dress appropriately for the weather.


Scottish Heavy Athletics Demonstration and Workshop

with the Upper East Tennessee Celtic Society

Saturday, August 9                                                                                          2 pm – 4 pm

This will be a chance to see a number of our athletic events and ask any questions you may have. This is also a great opportunity for those who may be interested in participating in Scottish Heavy Athletics at the Celtic Festival in September to obtain more information about doing so and to get hands-on experience. Be prepared for physical activity. Spectators also welcome.


Natural Dyeing                                                                               

Instructor: Carolyn DeWitt

Saturday, August 23                                     10 am – 4 pm

Cost: $25                                                         Min: 2        Max: 10

Make beautiful color with all the bounty of nature. Learn to dye thread as colonial settlers might have during the 18th century. Create stunning colors with the herbs and flowers of the field. Wear old clothes and bring your lunch.


Basketry – “The Shoals Shopper” – part 1                                   

Instructor: Candy Alexander

Saturday, August 23                                               9 am – 3 pm

Cost: $35 (includes both classes)           Min: 4           Max: 12

Do you wish you could avoid getting plastic bags when you shop for just a few things?  Come make this basket that has a solid woven bottom and Shaker Tape handles.  The sides will be accented with a band of smoked reed and braided seagrass.  Novice basket makers will need two classes to finish, therefore; we have scheduled back-to-back Saturdays for this class.  Come weave on the 23rd until your hands get tired, then finish on the 30th. Size:  8″w x 12″l x 10″h. Bring garden or kitchen shears, a kitchen towel, pencil spray bottle of water, and 12 small spring clips or clothespins.


Basketry – “The Shoals Shopper” – part 2                                   

Instructor: Candy Alexander

Saturday, August 30                                                     9 am – 3 pm

Cost: $35 (no charge if attended first class)     Min: 4      Max: 12



For more information or to register, contact:

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area

1651 West Elk Avenue       Elizabethton, TN 37643

(423) 543-5808

Civil War Camp at the Carter Mansion



Friday, August 1st      10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Saturday, August 2nd      9:00 am – 4:00 pm


           In the spring of 1861, the “powder keg” known as states rights finally exploded! Southern states quickly seceded from the Union, but there was much controversy in Tennessee on which side to take. Conflict soon became bloody. Father would fight son, neighbor would fight neighbor, and the close bond that held the early settlements together on the frontier was now put to the test! Would the county bearing the namesake of Landon Carter, who fought so hard to earn the flag of stars and stripes during the Revolution, continue to fight for it? 

           IMG_2346Come join Civil War soldiers at the Carter Mansion for this 5th annual, two-day event! The highlight of the event will include demonstrations of a Civil War cannon! Kids are invited to participate on Saturday for a good old-fashioned rubber-band musket shoot and receive a special prize for attending! Experience both local and regional history in an educational setting where visitors can see different uniforms worn and a variety of equipment used by both Union and Confederate interpreters. Witness daily aspects of camp life such as recruit training, military medicine, and traditional camp music. Tours of the Carter Mansion will also be given highlighting the Civil War history associated with the house and the surrounding community. 

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area and the Historic John and Landon Carter Mansion are proud to be able to expand the historic programs offered at both locations. By extending the usual portrayals of the 18th century and Revolutionary War era to the 19th century and Civil War era a broader view of local history can be achieved and draw in visitors with interests in different time periods. The Civil War Camp at the Carter Mansion is a great opportunity to spend a day with the family in a beautiful historic setting and discover the history surrounding Tennessee’s oldest frame house during the War Between the States! 

FRIDAY, AUG. 1st  

10:00 – Camp Opens

11:00 – Cannon & Musket Demonstration: See the weapons of the Civil War in action!

12:00 – Open Camp: Visit with the historic interpreters and learn more about camp life!

1:00 – Cannon & Musket Demonstration

2:00 – Carter Mansion Tour: Join our staff for a guided tour of Tennessee’s oldest frame house. Hear about the last generation of Carters to live there and about the Civil War history surrounding the house.

3:00 – Civil War Medicine: Discover the medical practices of a military camp & mountain remedies used during the War Between the States.

4:00 – Cannon Demonstration – Camp Closes: Join us tomorrow at the Carter Mansion for another day of Civil War excitement!



9:00 – Camp Opens

10:00 – Kid’s Rubber Band Musket Shoot: Kids, join this friendly competition and see who’s the best shot in the South! Special prizes!

11:00 – Cannon & Musket Demonstration: See the weapons of the Civil War in action!

12:00 – Open Camp: Visit with the historic interpreters and learn more about camp life!

1:00 – Cannon & Musket Demonstration

2:00 – Carter Mansion Tour: Join our staff for a guided tour of Tennessee’s oldest frame house. Hear about the last generation of Carters to live there and about the Civil War history surrounding the house.

3:00 – Civil War Medicine: Discover the medical practices of a military camp & mountain remedies used during the War Between the States.

4:00 – Cannon Demonstration – Camp Closes


*Outdoor demonstrations and events may change or be canceled due to significantly inclement weather.


  Sycamore Shoals Visitors Center Hours:

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM Tuesday through Saturday            

1:00 PM – 4:30 PM Sunday

Closed Mondays

Our Visitors Center is closed on most State holidays.

Park grounds are open from dawn until dusk.


Liberty! prepares for final week of performances

Our 36th season closes this weekend, with final performances scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, July 24, 25, & 26

Two hundred and forty two years ago, strong and brilliant leaders, living in and around the Watauga settlement, came together under an old sycamore tree with the intent of providing a path for the future of the families living in the “Old Fields.”  

Their purpose – to create a government that would provide for law and order – and the right of every free man to vote.   Their fledgling democracy was a first for this continent, which came to fruition in 1772; four years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  

Tennessee’s Official Outdoor drama is presented each July by a cast that beams with pride as they portray some of our greatest early leaders and the people who made our country strong. The story evolves through the 1770’s as the people of the Watauga become a part of the largest private real estate transaction in our country’s history, the Transylvania Purchase; a negotiation which took place between the Cherokee and the settlers.    

A year after the 1775 land purchases, under the leadership of Dragging Canoe, Cherokee warriors, angered by the loss of their lands, attack the frontier settlements. At Sycamore Shoals, Fort Watauga was constructed at the farm of miller, Matthew Talbott, to provide protection to the families. 

Several years later, the settlements suddenly found themselves in the thick of the American Revolution, when British Major Patrick Ferguson sent a warning over the mountains to those “rebels” who were living outside of the thirteen English colonies. If they did not cease their opposition to the Crown, he threatened to “march his army over the mountains and hang the leaders and lay waste their country with fire and sword.” 

As the Saga of Sycamore Shoals comes to a close, the story of the historic muster of the Overmountain men, on September 25, 1780, highlights the evening’s production. You will experience those thrilling moments as Overmountain men take the fight to Ferguson and catch up with him at Kings Mountain, South Carolina. In just over an hour, with the death of Ferguson, they defeat the British forces.    

Years later, Thomas Jefferson called the event “that memorable victory, the joyful annunciation of that turn of the tide of success, which terminated the Revolutionary War with the seal of independence.”    

Liberty! – an intriguing, fast moving, theatrical production, is laced with special effects, music, horses, battle, and so much more. We invite you to spend an evening with us by the Watauga River and become a part of the lives of these remarkable individuals. 

While you are with us, plan to eat at Carter’s Store, which offers a menu of pulled pork BBQ, turkey legs, corn on the cob, apple fritters and more. Friday and Saturday evening, by reservation only, you might consider coming early and enjoying our dinner theater. An adult ticket of $22.00 will provide you with a great meal, entertainment, and admission to the drama. 

The 2014 season of Liberty! comes to a close this weekend. Our final three performances will be presented on Thursday through Saturday, July 24, 25 & 26. The ticket booth opens at 6 pm with the show starting at 7:30 pm. Adult tickets are $12.00 for ages 18 and up; Seniors, ages 55 and up are $10.00; Children, ages 6 – 17 are $5.00; 5 and under are free. Friends of Sycamore Shoals Members are $6.00.

For additional information or to reserve seats for Saturday night’s dinner theater, please call Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area at 423-543-5808. 


The 2014 season also marks the 5th exciting year for Carter’s Trading Post, a venue named in honor of the original store opened by pioneers John Carter and partner William Parker shortly after they arrived on the frontier in 1771. A fine menu of mouth watering treats will be offered each evening for Liberty! guests.  

During your visit to Sycamore Shoals, please plan to visit our new interpretive exhibit, shop in our Eastern National Gift Shop, and take in the sights and sounds of your Tennessee State Park.

Sponsored by Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area, A to Z Rentals, Appalachian Lighting & Production, Big John’s Closeouts, CH2M Hill Corporation, the City of Elizabethton, Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce, Elizabethton Electric, Holston Gas, LeBleu, Massengill-DeFriece Foundation, Inc, Northeast TN Valley Regional Industrial Development Association, the Tennessee National Guard, Tennessee Society Sons of the American Revolution, John & Susan Kubenka, Michael & Lynne Barnett, Dr. Samuel Powell (Burlington, NC), 11Connects – WJHL TV, and WCYB TV 5