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Fraser's Ridge Outlander North Carolina Pre-Revolutionary War Period Season 5 The Fiery Cross Uncategorized

ONC Admin Choice Awards–Episode 3, “Free Will”

March 5, 2020

Welcome back to the season five ONC Administrators’ Choice Awards!  Now until the end of this season, (we refuse to think about it), some of the ONC administrators and myself will be voting on our “Bests” from the latest Outlander episode.  We enjoyed this fun way to briefly recap each episode last season, and hope you enjoy it as we do! This week’s voting contributors are Susan Jackson, Carolyn Baker, Tara Heller, Dawn Woo, Mitzie Munroe, Cameron Hogg and Nancy Roach. So, without further ado, the winners for episode 3, Free Will are…

Susan: When Fanny’s face was suddenly in the window. Just about had an accident when Jamie turned around–kinda like that scene from The Shining, but without the “Here’s Johnny!”

Dawn W: Maybe not a best moment, but I do like it a lot and the scene has been repeated with Jamie throughout the series. When he sees “home”, he stops and looks at it from a distance. We saw it with Lallybroch….we saw it with Helwater (although not what he particularly wished for)….I think we saw a far off shot with Leoch. (And when he’s walking into the house at the first, is that a dog trot he’s walking through??)

Tara: I agree with Dawn. I loved seeing the silhouette of Jamie standing on top of the hill overlooking the Big House. It reminded me of George Washington or a statue or something. Then going in and standing over Claire and then her waking up. I love moments with those two.

Carolyn: Piggybacking on Dawn and Tara, when Jamie stands over Claire after he comes home, crosses himself and thanks the Lord for her.

Mitzie: When Jamie comes home and stands over Claire, crossing himself and thanking God, with such a look of adoration on his face. (Swoon)!!!!

Cameron: I’m with Susan… there was something really cool about finally seeing Fanny Beardsley after envisioning the scene play out while reading the book. I did miss the more pronounced lisp, though. I found that kind of made Fanny a little more endearing.

Nancy: The opening scene between Claire and Jamie that lets us know the romance is still there and love is on a deeper level. By having this scene at the beginning of the episode, we are reminded of that love and are ready for them to go forward together and face whatever calamity lies ahead.

Susan: When Fanny screams at Beardsley “You hear that? You old bastard! She isn’t yours!” I can feel all of the revenge this abused woman is enjoying while announcing her secret to her now-helpless abuser. 

Dawn W.: Claire’s reply to Jamie’s request to give him the same mercy that he gave Beardsley…”I’ll do what must be done”. There was an added line in the book. But I think it’s an interesting statement and a careful statement because coming from her as a doctor, it means something totally different. 

Tara: Claire- “I’m coming with you…then you’ll need a physician. Murtagh, Knox, Tryon they’ve all made decisions, and I’ve made mine. You’ll need my help” Jamie- “I always have and always will.”They are still a team.

Carolyn:  Jamie to Mr. Beardsley “Will you pray for forgiveness?”

Mitzie:  Jamie: “Deo Gratias”. Claire: “What are you thanking the Lord for”? Jamie: “For the sight of you, Sassenach”. Me…. (Still Swooning)!

Cameron: It was a sad line, but memorable- Fanny saying that having a baby didn’t make her a mother anymore than sleeping in a barn would make you a horse. It seemed to really give some insight into Fanny’s state of mind.

Nancy: I have to agree with Mitzie on this one – Claire: “What are you praying for?” Jaime: “For the sight of you, Sassenach.”

Susan: Paul Gorman, for playing the parts of the Beardsley twins–he’s going to do a fine job, I think. He’s gonna be busy, to say the least.

Dawn W.: I have to give it to the man with no lines…Mr. Beardsley. He looked awful…acted like he was in pain….and just looked wicked.

Tara: Definitely the man playing Mr Beardsley.

Carolyn: I’ll give this one to the actress playing Mrs. Beardsley. I didn’t like her at all to begin with but ended up loving and really feeling for her in the end.

Mitzie: Bronwyn James, who plays Fanny Beardsley. I like seeing new faces in a breakout role and I think she did a wonderful job.

Cameron: Mr. Beardsley. So expressive with absolutely no words.

Nancy: I have to agree with others, my vote goes to the actor playing Mr. Beardsley. To emote with just your eyes and pain filled moans and gurgles had to be challenging. I think the make up artists did an excellent job of making his body grotesque and that blackened foot nauseating.

Susan: When nasty old man Beardsley made enough noise to show he was alive. I was thinking that maybe they were going to portray him as dead for time’s sake. But, nope.

Tara: Not sure there were any surprising moments for me since this episode was pretty much right out of the book. But I guess for me it was when Fanny’s water broke and I thought to myself- guess we aren’t going into the woods with this party of the story.

Dawn W.: I think I’m most surprised at how well they pulled off 2 characters with one actor….in the same scenes!

Carolyn: When Mrs. Beardsley’s face suddenly appeared in the window of the house. I jumped!

Mitzie: How well the special effects team merged the actor playing both roles of Josiah and Keziah Beardsley together in that one scene. That was really well done.

Cameron: I agree with Tara. I wasn’t expecting her to deliver in the cabin. But the whole scuffle with Jamie, and his pushing her off, that led to her water breaking was a bit of a surprise.

Nancy: When Fanny’s water suddenly broke,( at first I thought she had peed out of fright), and she gives birth. In the book she her goats are everything to her. She continues to cradle a kid in her arms.

Susan: The men being boys around the campfire was kind of funny, but there was something that made me lol but I can’t remember what it is. Guess I need to rewatch…

Dawn W.: The men around the campfire talking about how cold it was.

Tara: I agree with Dawn, the campfire. My husband laughed at that. He never laughs during Outlander.

Carolyn: Ditto on the campfire scene!

Mitzie: Jamie, Myers, Roger, Claire, et al sitting around the fire, just cracking some jokes. It was a light moment in such a dark episode.

Mitzie – Jamie, Myers, Roger, Claire, et al sitting around the fire, just cracking some jokes. It was a light moment in such a dark episode.

Cameron: I liked the offhand comment from Bree, about feeling like Scarlett O’Hara, when all the men left the plantations. I love some of the inside jokes between Claire, Roger, and Bree about the future and later pop culture references.

Nancy: I liked the scene with the pounding on the locked door. Jaime and Claire approach the door with dreaded anticipation that Mr. Beardsley is behind the door only to reveal an errant Billy goat.

Susan: Can I have four? No? Well, I’m taking them anyway: (1)When Jamie stops at the crest of that hill and sees home–then (2) walks in and does the sign of the cross and gives thanks. sigh I SO miss this Jamie in the show–it’s not the religiousness of it, it’s just part of what makes Jamie Fraser Jamie Fraser. We haven’t seen that in the show since season 1, I think. (3) The gloominess of the Beardsley home, all of the suspense–I found it much more suspenseful and spooky than the book scene. (4) The exchanges between J&C seemed so natural–S&C come across so well onscreen. It’s like watching the old friends I know from the books. I’ve missed the “every day” between them. #TeamFraser is the hashtag for this episode.

Dawn W.: Jamie And Claire….their exchanges have a maturity….Claire is not fighting to be só headstrong but working with her husband. They just have a “oneness” about them.

Tara: I just give this whole episode an award. It was pretty much straight from the book. Bravo writers!

Carolyn: How Jamie and Claire worked together in this episode. He was definitely the strong, leader we all know and love, but she was also the physician who handled things at the Beardsley home. I loved it when she delivered the baby and handed her off to Jamie, who was more than willing to take her and help get her cleaned.

Mitzie: I liked the special effect touches and dark staging throughout this episode. From the time-lapsed molding bread to the passenger pigeons darkening the sky, I felt like they did a good job taking the direction of this episode to a more creepier level than previous episodes.

Cameron: Having the Beardsley twins side by side in the scene in the woods was really well done. Sometimes when they try to have “twins” in the same scene, they always have one in silhouette from the back or the effects look weird, but this was pretty seamless

Nancy: My best overall award goes to the writers for sticking with the storyline in the book. Kudos to you!

Susan: I still dislike all of the accessories Claire has in her “lab.” All of the cloches, and equipment–it’s too modern, if that makes any sense. Oh, and Captain Mackenzie telling that mother that he’d bring her sons back to her. I mean, looking at her face, she knew he was full of it, because you just can’t promise someone’s going to come back from any battle safe and sound, but to make that promise as a ruse to get someone to let their sons go–just kind of silly to me.

Dawn W.: I have two…..Claire checking out Keziah’s ears with a mirror and diagnosing his burst eardrums. Can you really see your eardrums like that?? And…since Fanny brought up Mary Ann, I kind of wish they had gone into more of Mary Ann and the whole ghost thing. Mary Ann, supposedly, caused Beardsley to have the stroke bc he saw her.

Carolyn: I know it was necessary, but the Beardsley man was definitely the epitome of “a scary old man!”

Mitzie: Some of the gruesome sights during the Beardsley cabin segment. I pretty much watched the whole thing with RBF on my face.

Cameron: I didn’t really get the need to have the few moments of seeing the scene from Mr. Beardsley’s point of view. There weren’t enough of it to make it seem logical with the rest of the episode. If that had been more cohesive, it could have been more impactful.

So, now that we’ve voted, it’s your turn! Agree? Disagree? Tell us in the comments who or what gets your vote for “Best” Awards for Episode 503, Free Will. Leave it in the comments!

Fraser's Ridge Outlander North Carolina Pre-Revolutionary War Period Season 5 The Fiery Cross Uncategorized

ONC Admin Choice Awards–“Between Two Fires”

February 28, 2020

Welcome back to the ONC Administrators’ Choice Awards for season five!  Now until the end of Season 5, (we refuse to think about it), some of the ONC administrators and myself will be voting on our “Bests” from the latest Outlander episode.  We enjoyed this fun way to briefly recap each episode last season, and hope you enjoy it as we do! This week’s voting contributors are Dawn Woo, Mitzie Munroe, Harmony Tersanschi, Traci Thompson, Stephanie Bryant and Nancy Roach. So, without further ado, the winners for episode 2, Between Two Fires are…

Mitzie – Bree teaching Roger how to shoot by adjusting his stance, leaning in close and laying her head on his shoulder, breathlessly telling him to breathe.

Stephanie– How happy Bree is when she’s with Jemmy. Glad to see that she still can have some happiness even after she heard Bonnet was alive. I was afraid the terror we saw on her face and in her drawings would linger throughout the episode.

Harmony – I really enjoyed the interaction between Claire & Marsali when she was speaking to her about becoming her apprentice.

Dawn W.- I really liked the moment when Claire And Marsali looked at each other when Marsali was processing/butchering  the goat. It was a moment where you knew that they were comfortable in their relationship with each other. 

Nancy– I have to agree with Marsali’s reaction to Claire’ corpse and invitation to assist her. 

Mitzie – Marsali “Don’t make me say it, Claire. Don’t make me say it. Was she right, my mom, was she?” And Claire’s response, “I’m not a witch”! I laughed out loud during that exchange!

Stephanie– Mr. Fanning “It’s getting worse and worse, this country is going to the dogs”
Scary to hear a line like that, very apropos to modern day, in my opinion.

Harmony – I’m with Mitzie on this one, “Don’t make me say it Claire. Don’t make me say it”. That had me cracking up!

Dawn W.– I think I liked what Murtagh said toward the end when they were back in the Regulator camp. He corrected one of the men who said that Jamie was fighting for the Redcoats. Murtagh said that Jamie was fighting with his his men just like he was fighting the Regulators. (They were both standing with their men.)

Traci – both Marsali’s “Don’t make me say it” and Fanning’s “this country is going to the dogs.” One was funny & hilariously acted, and the other puts things in perspective – someone’s always thought the country was going to the dogs in one way or another!

Nancy– All Marsali’s lines when she walked in on Claire and the corpse.

Mitzie – Lauren Lyle has my vote this week. I am really liking her character development these last couple seasons. She was so funny acting all shocked and affronted when Claire showed her the body still in her surgery, but then she looked excited about jumping in and learning all she can from Claire.

Stephanie– Have to agree with Mitzie, Lauren is so good as Marsali! I like the way the she responded to Claire’s offer to help… from outraged,to suspicious to the beginnings of acceptance.

Harmony – Yup, Lauren Lyle for me as well. I love that we’re seeing more of her this season!

Dawn W.– Lauren Lyle

Traci – Yes, Lauren shone in this episode! I find myself liking her more and more.

Nancy– I have to agree Lauren Lyle stole the show in this one. I think her acting talent has inspired the writers to write more lines for her this season and make her part bigger.

Mitzie – Bonnet not yielding mercy and instead going in and cutting the bridge of the nose/eyes of that man. Not that I expected anything less from him, but he had no qualms to do that in front of a crowd and so it shocked me that he felt safe enough in that company to not suffer any repercussions from his actions. He feels like he can do absolutely anything and get away with it. It’s going to make psychopathic Bonnet even more dangerous and unpredictable.

Stephanie– Bonnet mentioning he was a father. Who would think he cared? I’m not sure he’d really say that but I guess it’s a set-up for the future plot line.

Harmony – Bonnet being so close & mentioning being a father.

Dawn W.– Bonnet “….after all, I’m a father now.”

Traci – Murtagh still hanging around (wasn’t he supposed to “be hard to find?”) and Marsali becoming the surgery sidekick – but I like it, it works!

Nancy– The realistic tar and feathering scene. I have seen this portrayed in movies, but don’t think they showed the aftermath of burnt flesh. My dog even barked during the act of tar and feathering. Also Claire hiding a corpse in the surgery and deceiving a family by burying a coffin full of rocks. (See more info on this in my answer to least liked overall award.)

Mitzie – Roger and Bree’s exchange during target shooting practice about Tufty Fluffytail. Brought back memories from when I was a kid, obsessively reading Ranger Rick.

Stephanie– Marsali asking in a roundabout way if Claire was really a witch. I mean I’m sure Laoghaire pounded it into her head growing up so she was bound to think it at some point, with Claire practicing her 20th century medicine.

Harmony – Marsali and Claire’s whole dialogue when they were there with the body. That was such a great & well acted scene!

Dawn W.– The whole autopsy scene with Marsali And Claire. Marsali’s facial expressions…her dialogue…her body language. Don’t make me say it Claire!

Traci – Far and away the Claire & Marsali scene!

Nancy– Again Marsali, Claire and the corpse.

Mitzie – Overall I liked seeing Roger and Bree trying to still adjust to their new life here in the past. Bree is having an easier time with finding her niches but Roger is struggling. He’s always bringing in modern references; Tufty, Nancy Drew, Jeremiah was a Bullfrog. It’s as if he is desperate to not forget or it helps to ground him in such an unfamiliar circumstance.

Stephanie-Jamie…trying to keep his emotions in check. I really felt his dilemma being caught “between two fires”. His expressions said it all, no words necessary!

Harmony – I really loved the candle making and seeing more of the day to day activities on the Ridge.

Dawn W.– So many different scenes with Roger and with everyone he stood out. His delivery is so natural…..his singing added so much to the episode…his facial expressions.

Traci – the overall harmony of everyone being “caught between two fires” – Claire with her medicine, Bree/Roger between two time periods, Jamie between two political groups & all that goes along with that, even Murtagh between Jamie and the Regulators and Marsali torn between what to think of Claire.

Nancy-Again Marsali, Claire and the corpse. I’m always partial to humor in the show.

Mitzie – Jamie being forced to hunt down Murtagh, and in turn he is crossing paths with people he knows. Good people who are fighting for what they know is right and seeing Jamie longing to stand by their side, but can’t because of his oath. It worked out this time that he could secretly save the two caught regulators, but I don’t think he will be so lucky again.

Stephanie– I didn’t like all that gore in one episode. Claire and the autopsy,the tar and feather scene,the killing of the Regulator and Bonnet in the brutal fight scene was just too much to handle in one hour.

Harmony – Murtagh and the whole tarring and feathering. I had to close my eyes for half of it, and I’m usually not that squeamish.

Dawn W.– I can’t put a finger on anything that I did not like.

Traci – Roger finding the pictures of Bonnet and then trying to pretend everything is okay instead of saying something. I could have done without some of the gore, too – while tar & feathering was appropriate for the time period in general, I would have been happier had the Hillsborough riots been depicted closer to reality.

Nancy– Claire hiding a corpse in the surgery. I know the writers put it in this episode because they couldn’t put in later, but how could Claire hide a smelly bloody corpse from people? I worked in a hospital before I retired. We had a situation where a corpse in the morgue created a stinch throughout the main floor of the hospital where my office was located. Maintenance brought in fans to help blow the smell out the nearest door to the outside, but it didn’t help. I know people in the 18th century stank, but even they would cover their noses at that smell. I also find it hard to believe Claire would deceive someone by burying a coffin full of rocks. It just seemed out of character for her.

So, now that we’ve voted, it’s your turn! Agree? Disagree? Tell us in the comments who or what gets your vote for “Best” Awards for Episode 502, Between Two Fires. Leave it in the comments!

Fraser's Ridge Outlander North Carolina Season 5 The Fiery Cross Uncategorized

ONC Admin Choice Awards–The Best of Outlander Episode 501, The Fiery Cross

February 21, 2020

Welcome back to the ONC Administrators’ Choice Awards for season five!  Now until the end of Season 5, (we refuse to think about it), some of the ONC administrators and myself will be voting on our “Bests” from the latest Outlander episode.  We enjoyed this fun way to briefly recap each episode last season, and hope you enjoy it as we do! This week’s voting contributors are Tara Heller, Cameron Hogg, Carolyn Baker, Dawn Woo, Mitzie Munroe, Dawn Matthews, and Nancy Roach. So, without further ado, the winners are…

Tara– When Jamie put on his kilt and marched out to round up the Ridge residents.

Cameron- The scene when Roger and Jocasta talk about her plans for who will inherit her estate.

Carolyn – When Jamie prepares and then presents the wedding gifts to Bree.  

Traci – Roger pledging his loyalty to Jamie (and of course Jamie in kilt regalia) 

Dawn W.- Roger claiming Jeremiah as his own….cutting his hand and putting the blood on Wee Jimmie’s forehead and claiming him Blood of my blood and bone of my bone. 

Mitzie – Watching Jamie put his mother’s pearls around Brianna’s neck. Such a touching father, daughter moment.

Nancy– Two moments 1–the flashback to Jamie and Claire’s wedding and the look they gave one another; 2–Jamie’s address to fellow Scott’s to stand by his side.

Dawn M.- Claire and Bree’s time together before the wedding. 

Tara– ‘If Governor Tryon wants a Scot, I will give him a Scot.’ (Traci too, along with background music.) 

Cameron– Jocasta’s response when Ulysses asks if the conversation with Roger went as planned, “even better than I had hoped.”

Carolyn – When Jamie and Bree go outside to begin the wedding ceremony and Jamie exclaims “The Fraser’s of the Ridge are here!”

Dawn W.-Jamie’s speech when he was basically asking his “clan” to pledge fealty. He asked them to stand by his side and he would do the same. Loved it! He molded it to fit their new surroundings…their new way of life.

Mitzie – It’s a toss-up between “The Frasers Are Here”! and “Tryon wants a Scot, I’ll give him a Scot”!

Nancy– I have to agree with Mitzie.

Dawn M.- “If Tryon wants a Scot, I’ll give him a Scot!”

Cameron– I thought Sam and Duncan saying goodbye in the woods was great. Both playing it tough together, but Sam breaking down once Duncan left was poignant without being melodramatic, and seemed very much in character for Jamie. I also thought his pre-wedding rituals and time with Bree were fabulous, so Sam was my pick.

Carolyn – Sam was my pick as well. He did a great job with showing his emotions both with giving his daughter away and in parting with Duncan. Also, with the way he lovingly looked at his wife at the wedding, remembering their own and his love for her.

Traci – Brianna overhearing the Bonnet discussion.

Dawn W. – Sam when Jamie told Murtagh to please be hard to find.

Tara– Sam and his eye acting

Mitzie – I’m going to have to give this one to Sam. Once again we got to see a gauntlet of emotions from him; suspicion, excitement, awe, joyful tears and sorrowful tears, pride, nervous apprehension (did you catch Jamie’s finger tapping), anger, loving admiration, strong confidence and also soul crushing grief.

Nancy– Sam – He became the leader we all have been longing to see!

Dawn M.- Sam. As usual his facial expressions get me every time.

Tara– Seeing Governor Tryon at the wedding.

Carolyn – I loved the look of surprise on both Fergus’ and Marsali’s faces when Jamie called him to pledge his allegiance.

Traci – either Jocasta & Ulysses smugly agreeing that all had gone as planned, or the mention of Duncan Innes’ proposal – wasn’t sure if he would be mentioned or appear at all.

Dawn W. -Jamie calling Fergus…son of my name and of my heart.

Mitzie – When Roger told Jocasta to take her money and “cram it up your hole, aye?”! And she laughs! Those are some Mackenzie’s for you, sizing each up; dishing it and taking it.

Nancy– Roger’s rebuff to Jocasta about her money, “Cram it up your hole!”

Dawn M.- That Roger had taken some time to manscape his back and he and Bree weren’t hard to watch in the bed scene?!

Tara– I cracked up when Germaine said, “Grand-Pere says all Presbyterians have hair ticks.”

Carolyn – I loved Ulysses’ reaction and laughter when he turned to Jocasta to ask if she was pleased with her conversation with Roger, as Roger stomped off.

Traci – “Hair-ticks” too, but Roger’s face as he is being shaved by Jamie gets honorable mention!

Dawn W.-The tongue twister contest….Marsali’s pheasant plucking twister and then LJG and his Shakespeare

Mitzie – During the tongue twister game, poor LJG just couldn’t relate: “Some Shakespeare, anyone”?

Nancy– John Quincy Myers falling down drunk. I was so glad they represented his comical antics.

Dawn M.- “Cram it up yer hole, aye?”

Tara– I enjoyed the whole wedding/wedding after party. Marsali during the drinking game cracked me up. I want to sit at her table.

Carolyn – The feel of the entire episode was heart-warming. The “Big House” and surroundings felt just like home.

Traci – The gathering: seeing the Scottish community coming together, celebrating, and making their new homes in NC.
Dawn W.-the gathering as a whole…the dancing and “community” after the wedding

Mitzie – When Jamie dons his kilt and sets the cross ablaze, setting the stage for a rallying speech to draw loyalty from the Ridge residents. The musical accompaniment was perfect as it brought memories back from when Jamie was rallying and training his troops during the Jacobite rebellion.

Nancy– This episode. When we start ranking them, this will be my favorite.

Dawn M.– The fact that Jaime and Claire have their groove back.

Tara– Governor Tryon and his wedding crashers

Carolyn – That Murtagh had to part ways with Jocasta and she let go of his hand, and with Jamie, and how it pained him to do both.

Traci – the “bigger-than-big” big house, the Spanish moss, and redcoats that have to ruin everything.

Dawn W. -when Jamie came out dressed in his kilt and he nodded to Claire and she nodded….I thought that was hokey. There should’ve been some dialogue. I just don’t think Claire would not have had something to say.

Mitzie – Watching Murtagh’s fate unfold more and more with each episode. I hated seeing Jamie release him from his vow. With that bond verbally broken, I’m scared to see if their emotional bond will withstand.

Nancy– I have to speak for the Outlanimals. Where were they? I expected to at least hear Clarence welcoming the visitors to the Ridge. Lol! However, I’m sure that would have been too noisy and distracting. I do hope we eventually hear the White Sow making unholy sounds underneath the big house.

Dawn M.– I loved the episode that Starz made, but it strayed so far from the book. Since the opening of book 5 is my favorite of all the scenes, I was really disappointed that it was just a wedding, and not a true gathering. Sigh

So, now that we’ve voted, it’s your turn? Agree? Disagree? Tell us in the comments who or what gets your vote for “Best” Awards for Episode 501, The Fiery Cross. Leave it in the comments!

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!

Fraser's Ridge Grandfather Mtn Highland Games Outlander North Carolina Scottish Immigration The Fiery Cross Uncategorized

My Trip Down the Rabbit Hole of the 2018 Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

June 26, 2019

guest post from Mitzie Munroe

The world of Outlander can be sourced as the inspiration for a number of newly-acquired Scottish-related interests, especially amongst fans. In my family’s case, most particularly, it would be our recent interest in learning more about our Scottish ancestry. We are most notably Munroes. Originally Munro, the “e” was added some time before my husband’s great-grandfather arrived in the US. His Scottish lineage has strong ties in that our first born son had to take the name Angus (either first or middle) to keep with family tradition that goes back hundreds of years. No pressure right? But how does one help their son who carries such a strong Scottish name understand why it was important that we give him that name?

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, credit gmhg.org

Being an avid Outlander reader and show viewer, I have not only started taking note of all the locations mentioned that are related to actual historical sites, but also the Scottish families that are woven into Diana’s world. Her storylines detail the true migration that some of these families made before and after Culloden and found their way to North Carolina.

These emigrated families are directly responsible for shaping our home state of North Carolina, and their influence can still be felt today. One of the most notable ways is the yearly gathering of Scottish-descended clans at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games (GMHG) in Linville, North Carolina. Every year, for over 60 years, on the second full weekend in July, people travel from all over to attend this four-day event that has everything from music concerts to cultural lectures, demonstrations like piping and Highland dancing to sporting competitions, specialty food vendors to Highland crafters. Attending this amazing event is on many people’s bucket lists, and last year it was time that I finally see for myself what all the buzz was about and hope that my sons learn a bit about their ancestry.

The first decision that needed to be made was whether or not we wanted to camp on the grounds. This, I have heard, is a major attraction for a number of returning attendees. The camaraderie that forms in the campgrounds during the games is what brings people back year after year. It’s like a mini festival within the Games itself! Seeing as we had teenage boys attending with us and none are accustomed to being without creature comforts for more than a day, we decided to stay in one of the many cabins available for rent all around the mountain and also just a short drive from the Games. Some of the nearby towns, Linville, Banner Elk, Seven Devils, Valle Crucis, Boone and Blowing Rock having ample accommodations available, and we decided on a cabin in Valle Crucis. Not only are the GMHG a huge draw to this area, but also the many other sites that are a must-see if you find yourself in the area. We wanted to drop in at the original and famous Mast General Store that is located in Valle Crucis.  Not to mention one of our favorite wineries, Grandfather Vineyard & Winery, was just a short drive from our cabin, either going to or driving back from the Games, but it is the Games that are the true draw for us.

Enjoying some vino from Grandfather Vineyard & Winery by the Watauga River.

The first day (Thursday) was opening day with a few highlights: Highland dance performances, sheepdog demonstrations, a leisurely picnic and the beginning of the 5K Bear Foot Race that has runners start at the base of Grandfather Mountain and end at the top! I had hopes of running this race as one of my My Peak Challenge goals, but soon found that this race was a bit “unbearable” for me at the time, so contented myself with cheering on those amazing athletes as they funneled through MacRae Meadows before continuing up the mountain.

The definitive highlight, though, is the Opening Ceremony and Calling of the Clans. Come twilight, a representative of each of the attending Clans muster together in preparation for the Torch Lighting Ceremony. It’s at this time too that a reverie of pipers take the track and starts the mountain singing. There’s nothing quite like hearing the sound of the pipes announcing the opening of these Games!

Friday is the first full day of the Games. The mountain comes alive with Highland dance competitions, piping competitions, musical performances in the groves, cultural lectures and exhibitions like the Scottish Cultural Village and much more.

photo credits: GMHG: Rob Randall, James Shaffer, Mike Lacey

Though droves of people come to the Games for the event itself,  we were excited about taking a stroll through Clan Row and getting acquainted with our new-found friends at the Munro tent. I had become acquainted with a few of our US chapter representatives via email and was excited to not only pop in to say hi, but to learn what it is to be a member of a sponsoring clan or society. Those that find they have connections to a particular Scottish clan can visit that clan’s tent and learn about membership opportunities, make genealogical connections, learn about their own events, or simply find interesting information.

While hanging with our fellow Munros, we learned that Clan Munro is one of a handful of clans that still provide scholarships to young men and women who want to learn and perpetuate the Scottish arts of Highland dancing and piping. Recent scholarship winners were stopping by the tent to accept their certificates and took the opportunity to thank the organization for the award. Another interesting fun fact about Clan Munro is that the family seat of Foulis Castle in the parish of Kiltearn, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland is still a working estate that grows barley that just happens to be used for making whisky by Glenmorangie distilleries. Needless to say, we came away with a new appreciation for that particular brand of whisky and I am proud that the Munros have that affiliation! 

Competitions and demonstrations draw to a close by late afternoon in preparation for the highly anticipated Celtic rock concert on the grounds that evening. Our day ended with a bit of exploration of the surrounding areas and just kicking back and relaxing at our cabin.

Saturday is typically the busiest and most popular day of the Games. Attendance reaches max capacity and unless you have a coveted patron pass that allows you to park on the Mountain, you will have an adventure taking one of the area shuttles that winds its way up the mountain to MacRae Meadow. We started our day early, for there was still so much to see and hear. With the majority of the piping competitions concluded (and I can attest that my ears were still ringing with piping music come morning!) the highlights were the field competitions, concerts in the grove, and I was anxious for a special guest to arrive; being an avid fan of the Outlander television series, I was very excited to have had the opportunity to meet David Berry, who was a guest at the Clan Outlander tent!

David Berry, Outlander’s Lord John Gray, and an ecstatic me!

But of course my day’s excitement didn’t stop there (though how do you top meeting David Berry?!). I had the opportunity to be fitted for authentic Highland attire at one of the vendor tents. I had long desired having an outfit that I can wear during one of my many planned events where period clothing is not only welcomed, but expected. I found myself at the Wolfstone Kilt Company tent and fell in love with all of the beautifully-made garments on display for both men and women. One of the wonderful ladies that creates these amazing pieces actually did the fitting, and I can’t recommend enough the importance of having this done. Starting from scratch, I was on the market for not only the basics, but for universal items as well. When I finally pulled myself out of there, (wallet lighter and me heavier), I was donning my new shift, lovely stays, bumroll, stomacher (I chose one with bees in anticipation for Diana’s next book Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone), full skirt in the Wolfstone tartan, jacket and a fishu. I spent the remainder of my day wearing my new Highland attire with pride, but boy, it was it a joy taking it all off when I got back to the cabin! I have such a new-found admiration for the women of the time who not only wore these items all day but while also performing their daily work. 

My wonderful period costume from Wolfstone Kilt Co. Don’t you just love my BEES stomacher?!

Sunday is the day Grandfather Mountain gives a long sigh as the Games draw to a close, but not before a few more field competitions are completed, the kids races commence and the Parade of Tartans. Any attendees that wish to walk with their representing clans gather around the outer ring of the track to take a stroll around the inner track, arrive in front of the announcer’s stage and have their clan announced to the crowd. 

Myself and my family dressed out in our Munro tartan for this occasion and I have to admit I found myself carrying a new sense of pride in being able to truly call myself a Munro while walking with my new “family” and friends!

As our week at the 2018 GMHG came to a close, we said our goodbyes to our friends and to the Mountain, and we decided then that we would come back again, and I have been eagerly counting down the months, weeks, and now days, until the 2019 event.

A year has gone by and in that time we have had another season of Outlander. It was in this season that we got to see Roger and Bree attend these very games set in 1970 in an episode entitled “The False Bride.” While the writers took certain liberties when creating their version of the games, many scenes did have a factual foundation. Bree and Roger traveled to North Carolina for a Scottish festival in the vicinity of Fraser’s Ridge which does coincide with the GMHG’s long standing location. Their festival was full of dancing, music and games; just like our games. Even the calling of the clans and burning of the stag fits right in with our modern games (substitute a the tower of torches for the show’s wicker stag). I have delusions of hoping to find Roger at this year’s Games singing his version of “I Once Loved a Lass.”

Not only do we have this comparison, but we also had Diana’s version of a Highland Gathering in The Fiery Cross. I will have to leave it to the history books to confirm any of the comparisons of this 1770 gathering to what may have transpired in the past, but a little birdie did tell me that in the coming season of Outlander we will see the Frasers attending The Gathering at Mount Helicon (aka Grandfather Mountain).

This year’s Games will no doubt be another memorable event for me and my family. We have decided to explore a new area around Grandfather and rented a cabin in Seven Devils this year. We also decided to purchase the Highlander Patron package to better experience this year’s Games with being able to attend the reception banquet, whisky tasting, secured parking and a few other perks.  I’m also looking forward to possibly seeing another Outlander cast member, Gary Lewis, who played the role of Colum MacKenzie. While he leads Clan Outlander around the track, I hope I have the opportunity to hear him shout “Tùlach Àrd”!

The mountains are calling and I must go–I hope to see you all there!

Thank you, Mitzie, for sharing your first GMHG experience with us!

Have you ever been to the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games? Are you planning on going this Summer?