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January 2020

Edenton Fraser's Ridge NC Historic Sites Outlander North Carolina Season 5 The Fiery Cross The Homecoming Uncategorized

About the Big House…

January 18, 2020

guest post by Susan H. Jackson

Well, Outlander friends, we’re less than a month away from the end of Droughtlander–yay! All of the press releases, photos, interviews and sneak peeks have me even more impatient for the beginning of season five! From what I’ve seen, saying it looks like it’s going to be exciting is an understatement! I’ve tried to fill my time with re-watches, re-reads and reading about the history associated with the upcoming season. While the subject I’ve written about for this blog post isn’t historically significant–well, it is to a point–it was something that is important to our favorite show and questions about historical accuracy.

Photo by David A. Stewart on Instagram

A few months back, social media lit up when one of the Outlander crew shared a last-day-of-filming-Outlander-season-five photo.  Most of the cast and crew posed with smiling faces on the set of Fraser’s Ridge, with the Big House in the background. Opinions emerged, and some looked at that gorgeous two-story structure, and said “It’s just like I imagined it would be,” while others said, “No way–how could they build a house like that in such a remote area? Where did that come up with that paint color?!” Jon Gary Steele did share that the paint color was historically accurate, and the house, too, for that matter.

Whether it’s just as you imagined or not, I feel like our assumptions about mountain living are that it’s poor, dirty, and houses were unpainted and without adornment. We almost automatically think that a house such as the structure on set wouldn’t be sitting on a mountain ridge in the wild backcountry of Colonial North Carolina. Granted, the 18th century certainly lacked the construction technology we have today, but, just like today, if someone is well-off financially, they could afford all that modern life offered. There are several homes from the time period of the Fraser’s North Carolina that are still standing, and I’m going to share a bit of history about each one with you! (Disclaimer: I am not an architectural historian by any means–heck, I’m not even a historian, period! I love houses, and I especially love Colonial homes. I don’t claim to know all of the technical stuff, but hope you can enjoy reading my ramblings about these great finds in North Carolina!)

The town of Edenton boasts several homes of original architecture from Colonial times, including the Lane House, the oldest house in North Carolina, the Cupola House, and the 1767 Courthouse.

The two houses of interest that would’ve been standing in the Frasers’ time are the Lane House, and the Cupola House. Now, the Lane House is not a big fancy place, but it is important to North Carolina. The Lane House was discovered to have been built around 1719, making it the oldest house in the state! Recently, new owners were having it renovated for renting. A carpenter saw some of the wood under the layers of modern materials, and alerted the owners. Experts were called in, and after performing dendrochronological research, they estimated the age of the structure. (More about the discovery of this architecural treasure from NC Department of Natural Resources.)

The Cupola House, also located in Edenton, was built in 1758 for Robert Carteret, Earl of Granville, one of the Lords Proprietors. This gorgeous structure is a testament to building a house that is anything but a log structure in a remote area. A home in the northeast coastal region of North Carolina would have had to be built of local materials, as the swamps and large bodies of water surrounding the area would have made transport of imported materials difficult and very expensive. (Many census records show that “shinglemaker” was not an uncommon occupation, so if they were making shingles for homes, they were making pretty much everything else, too!) The house began to decline, even though one family owned it for 141 years, but thanks to the efforts of local citizens who organized the Cupola House Association, the house is refurbished and ready for visitors to come and tour the gardens and home. More recent discoveries about the original siding and other architectural details about the cupola can be read at the Cupola House Association website.

EDIT: I discovered these images of the Georgian woodwork from the Cupola House at the Brooklyn Museum website. In financial need, one of the family members sold the woodwork to the Museum in 1918. It is still on display.

Another house in the northeastern part of the state in Perquimans County is the Newbold-White House, the oldest brick house in the state, built by Quaker Abraham Sanders about 1730. I cannot be sure if bricks were made on-site, but I have a feeling that they were, as John Lawson noted in his expeditions that the coastal area had perfect brick-making materials. The house has been restored to its original appearance, and can be toured during the months of April-October.

The House in the Horseshoe, Sanford, NC. Photo from Facebook

In the Piedmont region of the Old North State, you can find the House in the Horseshoe near Sanford. The house was built by Phillip Alston (a Whig Colonel), in 1772. It was the site of a fight in 1781 between the Tories and Alston’s soldiers. Note the two porches are open underneath, and at one time, it’s very likely that none of the crawlspace was closed in, as it provided shelter for the roaming farm animals people kept for food during that time. You can find more about the architectural details, including a remodel done by a subsequent owner at the NC Historic Site webpage.

Fort Defiance, Ferguson, NC photo from fortdefiancenc.org

As we get in the Highlands of North Carolina, in Ferguson (not far from the venue of Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming), you can visit the home of William Lenoir, Fort Defiance. Lenoir fought in the Battle of Kings Mountain, and when he found the old fort abandoned, he bought the property and finished the house in 1792. According to the Fort Defiance website, there were five outbuildings located around the house, as well, to serve the family’s needs for food storage and cooking.

Once again, I am far from being an architecture history expert, but after reading a bit about different Colonial homes that are still with us today here in North Carolina, I see that it is totally possible for the Frasers to build such a large “fancy” house in the rugged Highlands of North Carolina. The materials for posts, floors, walls and siding were all there in the forests. If you’ve ever watched The Woodwright’s Shop on PBS and seen Roy Underhill use all of those non-electric woodworking tools, you can imagine the back-breaking work involved for anyone building a structure during that time period. Materials for a chimney where most likely stones that lay anywhere and everywhere, found while clearing land, considering their location. Like the Newbold-White House, however, bricks could have been made as well, but I feel like most chimneys in the mountainous regions were made of stacked stone.

It’s funny what takes up our time during Droughtlander. Any little thing someone from the television series shares just grabs our attention–well, mine, anyway–and I find myself falling down the rabbit hole of history, or searching other fan sites or in the pages of my Outlandish Companion, hungry to learn more until season five begins and the yearning is over! I do enjoy houses, and have especially enjoyed learning more about some of these old homes that have such great historical meaning, and that they’re right here in my home state. Thank you for indulging me and one of my nerdy interests!

For more architectual information, (that I found pretty fascinating), download the pdf of the book Colonial Houses (written by John V. Alcott in 1963) from the NC Department of Cultural and Natural Resources. It describes every style of Colonial home, from the smallest one-room structure to the grand homes of wealthy landowners.

What’s getting you through Droughtlander? One thing that has me looking past the end of season 5 is Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming, taking place October 8-11 in Ferguson, NC! The historical reenactment groups, the interesting workshops and activities, and not to mention the fine entertainment that is scheduled to be there this year give me something to look forward to this Fall. Oh–by the way, there will be some bonus guests this year–stars from the television series:  Annette Badland (Mrs. Fitzgibbons), Gary Lewis, (Colum McKenzie), and Graham McTavish (Dougal McKenzie)! Please check out the webpage for more information, and consider investing in this experience of 18th century mountain life, and the history of the Fraser’s North Carolina. You won’t regret it!

Season 5 The Homecoming

Season 5, Happy Hour With Harmony & Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming 2020 Ticket Information

January 9, 2020

Hello From The Ridge!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and have started a Happy 2020. It’s always such a busy time of year and I had to put my blog, and most everything else, on hold until after the first of the year! I’m living pretty much full-time now in Ashe County, North Carolina, which is in the Blue Ridge Mountains, just north of “Fraser’s Ridge”.  I don’t care what season it is in these North Carolina mountains, it is simply beautiful. During the winter, the mountains are dark and you can see the ridges and hollows so much clearer. The profiles are distinct. It makes me think of what Jacosta told Jamie. When I’m out and about, I look at these mountains in winter and think this must be the way it looks in Scotland.

Season 5 And The Battle of Alamance

Well, I love that picture!!! Are you ready for Season 5?!?! After seeing the trailer and the promo picture above, I can hardly wait! It looks epic! 

As the season unfolds, you’ll see that much of Season 5’s story revolves around the Battle of Alamance which took place in Alamance County, North Carolina, on May 16, 1771.  Diana visited the Battleground in April of last year and you can too!  

During the course of the season, look for blog articles from us exploring the real history and characters of the Battle of Alamance. Diana did a great job of depicting the circumstances leading up to the battle, the battle itself and the aftermath in The Fiery Cross so we will be delving further into the real characters and history come February! 

Happy Hour With Harmony Returns

If you’ve been around for awhile, you probably know that during season 4, Harmony Tersanschi, one of my talented admins, did a round of FB Live videos called “Happy Hour with Harmony”. If you’re new to the group, she worked her way through the cocktail recipes in the Outlander Kitchen Cookbook & came up with Mocktail versions as well each Saturday evening, live on the Outlander North Carolina Facebook Page. Well, it’s that time again and Harmony will be doing things a little differently during Season 5 seeing that the next cookbook won’t be out in time for the new season. This time she’s asking you to send her your cocktail requests. She’ll make & taste, come up with a Mocktail alternative, and maybe review an appetizer or two from the Outlander Kitchen Cookbook. Harmony loved hanging out & chatting with every one each Saturday evening, and she can’t wait to do it again! Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite or not so favorite (if you want to get a good laugh) cocktail recipes, so Harmony can start making her list. Last year, during Season 4, we gathered around our various devices to watch Happy Hour with Harmony before the new episode came on. We’re looking forward to Harmony’s return to the “small” screen on February 16! Leave her a comment below with your cocktail suggestion!

Fraser's Ridge Homecoming 2020
There's No Place Like Home

We are deep into the final stages of planning for Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming 2020 and this year our theme is “There’s No Place Like Home”. If you’ve ever been to the NC mountains, you’ll know that no truer words could be spoken about Jamie & Claire’s home on The Ridge.

We are excited to announce that tickets for Homecoming 2020 will go on sale at 6:00 PM EST on January 13, 2020.  I am so looking forward to meeting some of you in October!

In case you don’t know, Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming is a celebration of the history of Jamie & Claire’s North Carolina backcountry wilderness. The Homecoming is Outlander inspired but history focused making it a truly unique event for the history-loving Outlander fan. Drawing from the places the Frasers lived and visited, the events that shaped their lives and the people who crossed their paths, the Homecoming takes us back in time via workshops, living history, music, performances, food, drink and so much more. Combine that with a fun dose of Outlander and you have the perfect combination. 

And as if it could get any better, for the first time, we will be welcoming home to The Ridge some very special cast members from the TV series….the MacKenzies of Castle Leoch! Mrs. Fitz, Colum MacKenzie & Dougal MacKenzie will be joining us this coming October!

We are thrilled to be able to share North Carolina’s 18th-century history with our special guests!!

Please click HERE to see ALL the amazing things we have lined up for this wonderful weekend…and we’re not done yet! By clicking on that link, you will also find all the current information on ticket price, deposit, what the ticket price includes plus information on installment payments optionsTickets are limited to 200 attendees!

Homecoming Venue & Lodging Options

Our venue for The Homecoming is the beautiful Leatherwood Mountains Resort in historic Ferguson, North Carolina. Within the ten mile radius of where The Ridge is likely located, you will feel as though you have truly stepped back in time when you arrive at Leatherwood. Relax in a luxury vacation home hidden in the trees in Leatherwood’s Blue Ridge Mountains and wilderness horse country. If you are the more the rustic type, Leatherwood offers camping options on site. Either way, you will know you have come home to The Ridge. 

Because of the popularity of the Homecoming, most cabins at Leatherwood have already been rented.  So, we have some alternative options if you are unable to reserve a cabin because of unavailabilty or because of financial restrictions.  Check these alternative lodging options below:

  • Other Local Accommodations. In addition, The Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express in Wilkesboro (30 minutes from our venue) have also blocked off rooms for us and you can get a special rate by contacting either of the hotels directly. Just be sure to mention that you are coming for the Outlander event at Leatherwood.
  • Cabin or Hotel Room Sharing.  Many life-long friendships have been forged by folks who shared their cabins with complete strangers while at the Homecoming the last two years. Besides, in the Outlander community, are there really any strangers?  If you’re interested in sharing a cabin or a hotel room with others, please complete the form at this link. We will do our best to connect you with other folks who are wanting to share.  
  • You might also consider looking at VRBO’s and AirBNB’s in Ferguson, North Carolina.
  • NOTE: If you rent outside of Leatherwood, please check with the owner for the distance from your rental to Leatherwood and keep in mind that you need to at least double the amount of time you think it would take to drive to and from. The roads are extremely narrow and curvy – it is the Ridge, you know! Which bring me to this point…Ubers and Lyfts are unavailable in the area!

Get Your Tickets Here!

So, Sassenach, are you ready to go home? Click the button below to purchase your tickets. If you click it before 1/13 at 6PM, you won’t see any tickets to purchase yet BUT it will give you the opportunity to read through and review the important preliminary information. That way you’ll be ready to purchase when the time comes. 

I look forward to meeting many of you and welcoming you “home” in October! It’s going to be the BEST Homecoming yet!!

Homecoming Questions?

Click this link and complete the form. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible. 

Best Wishes For A Happy New Year!

In closing, I’d like to wish each one of you a very Happy New Year! Thank you for subscribing to the blog and taking time out of your day to read it. As I said earlier, you can expect more blog articles as Season 5 gets started. Only 38 days to go!!  Which begs the question… what are you most looking forward to in Season 5?   Put it in the comments below!

Your Forever Outlander Friend,

Beth