Storyteller, musician among special guests in Chimney Rock

May. 25, 2013 @ 05:03 AM

Memorial Day weekend in Chimney Rock features national storyteller and award-winning old-time musician John Fowler. He will perform authentic Appalachian storytelling and music at 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 25-26 at the park’s Meadows area. 

Also park musician John Mason is playing music from old time to ragtime on a stringed instrument dating back 3,000 years called the hammered dulcimer, Friday through Monday by Cliff Dwellers Gift Shop.

The climbing tower on the Meadows will be open to guests for a free climb 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and Sunday with paid Park admission, weather permitting. Park admission is $12 adults, $6 youth (ages 6-15) and children under five are admitted free.

With family ties to the Southern Appalachians, 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. 

A Taste of Rock Climbing. 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 per person, no experience necessary. Two-hour climbing clinics and half- and full-day climbs with Fox Mountain are available by appointment. Get more information at (888) 284-8433 or

Live Critters & Family Fun. Chimney Rock’s Memorial Day weekend offers great hiking and activities for kids. While in the Meadows, families can visit Grady’s Animal Discovery Den, where children can meet Grady the Groundhog, the Park’s animal ambassador, 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. Larger-than-life wood and metal sculptures bring to life one of the nation’s first TRACK Trails. Chimney Rock was named one of the top five “best summer activities for families” in North Carolina by GeoParent in 2011.