Thursday, January 23, 2014

Moonshine, music and more

Moonshine as tourist attraction
Cold weather, a fire in the fireplace, and January 2014 flying by all prompted a recent discussion about travel plans for 2014. The discussion quickly veered toward the Smoky Mountains and good memories.

Our most recent trip in fall of 2013 included a visit to the Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Every few years a new fad makes the scene among Gatlinburg tourist attractions. We have seen arcades, various renditions of miniature golf, laser tag and zipline operations come and go.

A younger generation of mountain musicmakers

The promise of bluegrass music prompted our visit to the Moonshine Holler. My new life as a stroke survivor often supplies me with extra excitement on our travels, and the moonshine distillery was one of those times. 

When we walked into the “holler” that evening, extremely happy patrons packed the seating and walkways The constant movement and noise created immediate sensory overload.

I don’t always do crowds well. Limited space for my wacky arm and leg movements and the effect of unintentional bumps and scrapes that come in a crowd heightened my anxiety about staying upright.

Every bench and rocking chair was filled, but Hubby found an unoccupied hay bale and helped me get seated. My stress level eased, and off he went to check out the moonshine tasting and to take pictures. But it didn’t take long before a strong alcoholic odor was singeing the inside of my nose. Whoo!

Fermenting mash was right behind the half wall that propped up me and my hay bale. But I wasn’t about to brave the crowd to change locations, and there was no empty spot available for me to move to anyway. 

I wondered if those moonshine fumes would eliminate the final shreds of balance I had left. At least I was seated. That made me close to the floor, a shorter distance to fall if I keeled over.

Down-home seating

Hubby eventually came to collect me for the bluegrass band’s next set. He found empty rocking chairs and defended them valiantly until I could take a seat.

The rest of the evening erased earlier uncomfortable moments. An unexpected treat was a conversation with a young physician’s assistant in practice with a geriatric doctor. She recognized that I was a stroke survivor and wanted to know about my progress. There was also a geriatric clogger who danced practically nonstop and made me ponder whether I could include clogging in my at-home physical rehab agenda.

This clogger’s arms and legs were just a blur as he danced to a fast tempo.

He was definitely an elder on the move.

The band’s bluegrass plus their smattering of traditional country were definitely worth waiting for, even though my waiting had been in a “moonshine smell zone.”


  1. I love bluegrass! Moonshine? Not so much. Glad you were able to finally get a good seat and enjoy the show :)

  2. Yeah, I can't stand the odor of alcohol, especially beer and whiskey. Champagne is odorless so I drink it only on special occasions.

  3. You will be happy to know that at least two of your grandchildren can readily identify bluegrass music, as it is about the only thing "safe" for them to listen to while they are in my truck.

  4. Oh, I do so understand. I'm heading out on the April cruise with a cane, just in case. Most of the time I wobble along just fine. Yes, love blue grass and toe tapping anything.

  5. That clogging is wonderful and hard on your calf muscles too. Fun times for all, however.

  6. Real moonshine huh? I am impressed with that senior clogger. That is really vigorous exercise.

  7. That sounds like a delightful trip and I'm glad you were able to get some decent seats so your stress level decreased.

    Is California in your 2014 plans?
    We would so love to meet you and have a Black Bear Diner meal together. Our home is always open too.
    Just a thought.

  8. What a wonderful description - I feel as if I was there with you. . . . right down to smelling the mash, hearing the music and feeling the floor bump up and down. You do such great things. Blessings from Dalamory.