Orchard at Altapass opens May 3

The Orchard at Altapass opens May 3 and invites you to take a journey back to simpler times and discover what makes the red barn on the Blue Ridge Parkway, mile marker 328.3, a destination. You start with the live traditional mountain music that is hard to beat. Kick up your heels and take to the dance floor. Can’t dance? No problem. Along with the music, free dance lessons are offered every weekend. Jump on a hayride and listen to tales of the Revolutionary War Overmountain Men as they trekked through the Orchard. Walk all or part of the over six miles of trails; bird watch from the deck; observe Monarch butterfly growth. (Pick up some milkweed seeds—a Monarch favorite.) Enjoy a burger or veggie wrap from the Apple Core Grill opening in June. Then try some lip-smacking homemade fudge or caramel-drizzled apples for dessert. Take a twirl around the General Store, with a surprise on every shelf—from jams and jellies to honey and syrup, games to toys to books, clothing and accessories to accessorizing your pet. And from start to finish, don’t forget the views that breathtakingly surround the Orchard, and apples, apples, apples beginning late June. Pick your own (poles provided) or buy at the store. Heirlooms in all colors and varieties.
This year, in addition to all the free music during the week, the Orchard will host four evening performances beginning in June with Terry Hammond’s Tribute to Johnny Cash and including a special Gospel and Bluegrass concert in August. Add to that, two heritage plays, and picnics on Memorial, Independence, and Labor Days with all day food and entertainment. And mark your calendars for the fabulous furry fashion show, Dogs on the Runway, on August 17.
Events continue on Super Saturdays with fun experiences for children that begin after schools let out for summer; collaborative school programs; once a month Heritage Thursdays with presentations by local historians, musicians, and storytellers; dance demonstrations/lessons. The list of happenings seems endless.
 “This year’s Orchard’s season is going to be spectacular, bringing communities together with live traditional music and dancing, picnics, plays, history and hayrides,” said Donna Stafford, the Orchard’s executive director. “Something for everyone—‘kids’ of all ages.”
2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the Orchard. For the past quarter century, Altapass Orchard’s co-founder, Bill Carson with his wife, Judy, have focused on Saving the Good Stuff—preserving the area’s history and culture through entertaining and educational activities for all. The Orchard has grown with the apple trees—ripening and yielding more and more goodness. We invite you to come celebrate the 2019 anniversary with Bill, who is still out flatfooting and telling stories every weekend. 
The Altapass Orchard is open in May, Friday-Sunday and June through October, Wednesday-Sunday, from 10 to 5. Spend the day. There’s not a rotten apple in the bunch. Come prepared to enjoy the people, music, art, and natural beauty of the Blue Ridge mountains in North Carolina. Call 828-765-9531 or visit www.altapassorchard.org. 
People friendly. Pet friendly. Easy to get to, hard to leave.

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