Appalachia Oconaluftee/Smokemont

Land Of The Sky 1920


Photo provided by Don Casada

Excerpt from: Land Of The Sky written by Frank Presbrey 1920

Europe may have her Switzerland, the West its The Mountain Roads in Colorado, the Pacific coast may glory in her Sierra Nevada, and British Columbia in her Cascade range, but nowhere on the face of the earth is there a region more picturesquely, more charmingly beautiful than the mountain country of western North Carolina, poetically known as “The Land of the Sky.”

It is true there are mountains of greater elevation in each of the localities named, but the greatest canvases in the gallery of art are not the choicest gems, or is the beauty of nature to be measured in geodetic lines. Where the mountain ranges of the West are rugged, barren, and forbidding, those in western North Carolina are robed in deep-hued forests to their highest summits. Where the greater peaks of the Sierra Nevada frown, those of ‘The Land of the Sky” smile through banks of rhododendrons and azaleas. Where the valleys of the one are rocky and impassable gorges, in the other they are fern-carpeted forest labyrinths, through which crystal streams tumble merrily along over moss-grown rocks in their race to the open.

Picture in your mind a region where range after range of heavily forested mountains parallel each other like waves of the sea, where interlacing valleys are rich with verdure and flowers, and where silver streams murmur unceasingly.


*Source: Excerpt from The Land Of The Sky written by Frank Presbrey 1920 (D. H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville)


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  • Reply
    February 22, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    One of Bro Tom’s favorite places on earth is the Uwharrie Mountain Range, specifically near Biscoe, NC, reputed to be formed approximately 500 million years ago by accretion along the Gondwanan tectonic plate, they are said to have once peaked at some 20,000 feet, before eroding to a maximum of just over 1,100 feet. Some of the oldest, most beautiful mountains are on the east coast of the United States, and are amazing, in my humble opinion.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    February 19, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    There’s no place like home!

  • Reply
    Sallie Covolo aka Granny Sal
    February 18, 2013 at 10:32 am

    I remember moving away from the mountains when I was 16. I thought “Where are the mountains?” I guess I always expected to see them there,protective and majestic. Thank you for posting this Tipper,

  • Reply
    February 18, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    From the picture above, you can see why they call it the Smokey
    Mountains. I was raised here, and
    although I was away for a few years for higher learning, the call of home made me return. Just
    like the Blackwood Brothers song
    “I wouldn’t Take Nothing for my
    Journey Now”, is a rewarding

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    February 18, 2013 at 11:38 am

    love mountain majesty! Looking forward to a trip to see spring flowers!

  • Reply
    Brian Blake
    February 18, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Thanks for this further description of the Great Smoky Mountains! Mr. Presbrey’s colorful impressions now illuminate “Under Brilliant Stars.”

  • Reply
    February 18, 2013 at 8:47 am

    I look forward to the continued history lesson of the area. The picture tells a lot of the beauty of the area. Our Earth has developed through so many changes.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    February 18, 2013 at 8:21 am

    No doubt about it. Mr. Frank Presbrey has surely described these mountains we call home in a most appropriate manner! Love ’em.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    February 18, 2013 at 8:14 am

    I enjoyed Frank’s excerpt. I have been to Rockies, Cascades, Tetons, as well as the Bavarian Alps, but while undeniably majestic, their beauty does not compare with southern Appalachia.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    February 18, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Tipper: You could not have chosen a more beautiful subject as we begin to see the Spring flowers put on a brave and beautiful show! Thanks for starting my morning on a pleasant note. NOW IT IS BACK TO “Fiddler of the Mountains” But just like we can see Spring coming, I can see the end in sight for the “Fiddler”
    Can’t wait for your ‘time on stage’ at the Court House in Blairsville!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 18, 2013 at 7:57 am

    If you take away the vegetation in the foreground, the mountains in the picture above do assume the image of a storm tossed sea. But after all mountains are merely undulations in the earth’s crust. Perhaps if we are to be blessed with God’s measurement of time, we will get to see them crash onshore.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 18, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Don’s picture is beautiful! We don’t call this God’s country for nothing.
    The oldest mountain range on earth, time has worn off her rough edges to leave her gentle and welcoming. I love the feeling of being cradled in her welcoming arms.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    February 18, 2013 at 7:29 am

    I so enjoyed “Land of the Sky” by Frank Presbrey (1920). I agree that the mountains where we grew up, although not as tall as many ranges within the U. S. and elsewhere, have an unsurpassed beauty and majesty. They ever have that call and hold on those who for various reasons have moved away, but are forever longing to return and behold the beauty, feel the “welcome arms of home” that being surrounded by mountains brings.

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