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Homecoming 2019

Drums Of Autumn Fraser's Ridge Outlander North Carolina The Homecoming Uncategorized

Memories of Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming, Part 3: The Homecoming Quilt

November 10, 2019
Dawn Woo tells us of her weekend at the Homecoming, and likens the event to the color blocks on a quilt. Be warned: you might get the warm fuzzies after reading this!

While driving back into the foothills of western North Carolina towards Ferguson, I noticed nature acknowledging the changing seasons with trees of red and gold, much like a patchwork quilt. I can almost imagine this would be much like the picture Jamie and Claire would have seen as they and others made their way to Mount Helicon in October of 1770 for The Gathering seen in The Fiery Cross. The “family” that accompanied Jamie and Claire to Mount Helicon was also much like a patchwork quilt. Some were blood family. Some were adopted family. Some were old friends, and some were simply new friends brought into their clan on the ridge by faith and trust.

As I got nearer my destination, I began to feel a great sense of coming home–a connection to these mountains as I passed the Brushy Mountains that were once home to my ancestors in the mid-to-late 1700s. You see, much like Jamie and Claire and their patchwork quilt family at Mount Helicon, I have anxiously awaited the patchwork quilt family of Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming that Beth Pittman and her team have brought together since October 2018. I’d like to share with you just a few of the patches in the quilt of Homecoming 2019 that have been faithfully and lovingly sewn together.

Kerry Masarik would be an earthy, natural, and warm multi-colored piece of fabric in our quilt. This gifted woman taught several classes: medicinal plants, basket weaving and drop-spinning. Once again, I had to take a walk to look at plants under her tutelage since I have not been able to stop looking at the ground since last year! She opened a whole new world to the wonders of plants and their benefits. I also chose to try to learn to spin wool with a drop spindle under Kerry’s careful eye and engaging personality. We were taught a method called “between the knees” drop spinning that allowed us to get a feel for drafting out the fibers of the wool. By the end of the class, we all had a sizeable amount of yard wound around our spindle.

Now that I had learned to spin my yarn, I needed to learn how to “clickit like Jamie.” Wanda Noble, the fresh and harmonious-colored patch in our quilt, armed a class of beginning knitters with circular knitting needles and yarn. Much to our amazement and Wanda’s gentle encouragement, she had us casting on in the first few minutes of class!

Imagine the colors of the trees, the sky, rocks stained with burning reds and blues, and you will find the next patch in our quilt: Joe Candillo, our Native American educator and craftsman. After a short ride in the cool, misty weather conditions up the mountain in a hay-filled trailer, we met our majestically clad educator. Joe took us on an exploratory hike and showed us the way he was taught to respect and appreciate what nature had to offer. Joe gave us another reason to pay attention when we wander outside.

By this time, we needed some very practical and sensible patches in our quilt, and Jane Pyatt, aka The Backcountry Peddler, was the one who taught us how to dress “sensibly” for 18th-century backcountry living. Layer by layer, Jane explained why and how each article of clothing was worn. By the end of the hour, a volunteer from the class was dressed and ready for work on their North Carolina mountain settlement.

Chris Grimes’ presentation of an 18th-century physician was the patch in our quilt that is majestic and full-toned. The hour was tightly woven with all sorts of 18th-century medical practices, medicines and tinctures, and surgical/medical instruments and their uses. Healthcare in the 18th century was not for the faint of heart!

What colors do you think of when you think of music? Our quilt would have quite a few of these patches-some soothing and some quite animated. With mountains as a backdrop, the sounds of bagpipes, banjos, guitars, mandolins, fiddles, and even a harp filled our souls. While music filled our souls, the loving hands of the Thankful Goat and Snowbird Mountain Coffee filled our hungry bellies. Food is a language that brings people together. I can only imagine that this patch in the quilt would look unified and complement the patches around it.

Oh, friends, our quilt is far from being finished here! This is only a small section, for it takes many hands and many patches to lovingly complete a patchwork quilt. Many more wonderful patches fit into this quilt because there are many more wonderful people sewn into the fabric of Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming–our quilt would cover the mountain! Most importantly, this quilt is framed by the patches that are each of you. It’s the friendships that have been brought together by Beth and her team that bind this quilt–memories stitched with love.

Thank you so very much, Dawn, for capturing the warmth that most of us left the mountain with–we can’t say enough how happy we are you spent the weekend with us! A special thank you goes to our many attendees who have allowed us to use their photos for blog posts and other social media, as well as our photographer, Brooke Horn. That’s the best thing about the Homecoming—working together to make it great!

If you find yourself wanting to be a part of one of our quilt blocks, stay tuned! Tentative dates for ticket sales for Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming 2020 are set for February 2020, and their price will be announced in upcoming weeks. Until then, fill your Droughtlander days with re-reading the Outlander book series, stream the show, or check out our blog archives for more reading!

Outlander North Carolina

Memories of Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming, Part 2

November 2, 2019

Part 2 of our great weekend for Return to the Ridge at Leatherwood Mountain Resort–two more attendees share what impressed them the most over the long weekend. Enjoy!

Lane Moore, along with so many others who witnessed Robert K. Rambo’s portrayal of Attakullakulla, Peace Chief of the Cherokee Nation, felt transported back in time:

“I was spellbound. I had gone from enjoying a scotch egg, a cup of coffee and some light conversation with newfound friends to being captivated in a matter of moments. Standing before us in all his glory was the great Peace Chief of the Cherokee, Attakullakulla. Without even needing to close my eyes I was taken back to another time, another culture, another sense of being. The place was the same to be sure, for we all were in the land of his people. We were all instantly aware that we were guests, his guests.

Robert Rambo’s stunning portrayal of Attakullakulla is just one of the unforgettable moments I had while at the Homecoming this year. To have been in such an immersive yet comfortable setting was a blessing and I cannot thank everyone involved enough for the experience.”

Harmony Tersanschi is one of the organizers, but even after “working,” she came away with a sense of family:

Thursday morning: a picturesque sunrise crept over the mountaintop. There was a blanket of fresh dew on the ground, a slight chill in the air, birds chirping, the horses grazing. I could’ve stayed there all day enjoying the sights & sounds. Alas, duty called and our admin team was excited and ready to get the day going! Okay, okay, we might’ve been rubbing our eyes, yawning, and slinging back the coffee, but we were all still super excited! The next few hours we spent finishing up the remaining decorations & readying the Hendrix Cabin for Registration.  Stephanie Bryant and I were manning the Fraser’s Ridge photo booth, so we, of course, had to take a test shot with Jamie & Claire while we anxiously awaited the first attendees to arrive.

The rest of the afternoon was a whirlwind of pictures, props, (“I’m only here for the whisky”, and “To bed or to sleep” being some of the favorite word clouds), new-but-familiar faces, moonshine tasting from Copper Barrel Distillery, bagpipes played by Bruce Wright, the Overmountain Men, treasure hunting, fresh roasted North Carolina peanuts from Aunt Ruby’s Peanuts, and tons of smiles. I’m not sure what I was originally expecting, but this surpassed any hope I might’ve had about what that day was going to be like. I’ve never quite experienced being surrounded by a ton of people I’ve never actually met, yet having this sense of being with long-time friends and family. With each new hug and “I’m so happy to finally meet you,” it became apparent that this weekend was going to be like one big ol’ family reunion & I was thrilled to be a part of it!

Rather than talk about each day separately, I’m going to break it down into my different experiences throughout the weekend. Anyone who knows me, knows that the way to my heart is on a plate, preferably filled with yummy fattening food, so I’m starting where it counts……the food! Thursday night was filled with wings, fries, meatballs, chips, veggies and dip, signature Outlander themed cocktails from the bar, and a plethora of desserts and treats. All eaten outside on the picnic tables, with string lights overhead, while the band Celtic Sessions played. It was a hungry gal’s dream & I was definitely hungry but thankfully not dreaming. The rest of the weekend brought North Carolina barbecue from JD’s Smokehouse, jalapeño cheese grits that were to die for, a turkey avocado sub from Saddlebrook Bar & Grill, little tea cakes and cookies, a charcuterie spread that had you wiping the drool from the corner of your mouth with one glance at the table, beef stew with dumplings, chicken stew, roasted venison, mashed potatoes, kale salad lovingly prepared by Dawn Matthews. Last but most certainly not least, we all had a nip of Mary Helen’s Cherry Bounce. This bounce was unlike any cherry bounce I have tried, not that I’ve tried many, but it was delicious! So much so that it might’ve sent a couple of us admin’s scouring the barn for the reserves. (That was supposed to be a secret though, so the story shall be that I thoroughly enjoyed my ONE little glass of Cherry Bounce and called it a night, *wink wink.*)

Next up, let’s talk about classes and workshops. I, along with the rest of the organizer team, spent most of the next couple of days running from class to class, setting up and breaking down, hosting workshops and classes of our own, and taking any spare second we could to stop and chat with the attendees. It was a rush and it was the most fun I’ve had in a very long time! I didn’t sit in on any one full class, but I was able to score a couple of video interviews from two of the presenters. I got to meet the members of the 71st Highland Regiment and get a tour of their encampment as well as sit down with 18th Century Physician, portrayed by Chris Grimes, to hear about common medical practices from that time.

Lessons of an 18th c. Physician from Chris Grimes
71st Highlanders Encampment

Moving right along to the music and entertainment, which was, without a doubt, one of my favorite aspects of the weekend. The bands and musicians that we heard throughout the Homecoming, were phenomenal.  We were so lucky to have The Celtic Sessions, Dogwood, Thistle & Heather, Tom Eure, and Kathy Wallace performed for us throughout the weekend, and I really can’t say enough good things about the entertainment. The musicians, the Warriors of AniKituhwa, the Druid Dance, and Chief Attakullakulla, were all just so wonderful, and a great time was had by all!

Right now you’re thinking, how could it possibly get any better than this right? , well brace yourselves because I haven’t even gotten to the best part. The best and most memorable part of A Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming was by far, the attendees! This weekend, most of us met as strangers but we all left as family. We might be a slightly-crazy-mildly-Outlander-obsessed-cherry-bounce-drinking family, but we are now family nonetheless and I will cherish the new friendships made, along with experiences shared, from now until next year when I get to go back and do it all over again! Fraser’s Ridge 2020 or bust……who’s with me?

Thank you, Lane and Harmony, for sharing with us! We hope you’re enjoying our look back on Return to the Ridge: Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming 2019. There is so much to tell, it’s impossible to keep it in two posts, so, next week, part 3!


Diana Gabaldon Drums Of Autumn Fraser's Ridge Native Americans NC History Outlander North Carolina Pre-Revolutionary War Period Season 4 Uncategorized

Memories of Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming 2019

October 26, 2019

It’s only been three weeks since we left the Ridge after an amazing second Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming, but it seems like months! We have to apologize for a somewhat lengthy absence, but the second Homecoming event was worth all of our time and energy. We’d like to share some attendees experiences and photos with everyone, as well as our exciting news for Homecoming 2020!  Today’s experience is from Debbie Morelock!

“So, what was it like to go back in time for a few days and get in touch with my inner Sassenach and for my husband, his inner Highlander? Aye lass and lassie, it was awesome!  Getting to Leatherwood Resort wasn’t a bad drive from TN and GPS kept us on track. After a lot of curvy roads, some paved and others not so much, which helped make us feel like we were being transported back in time, pulling in to Leatherwood was a welcome sight. Let me tell you, it is an absolutely gorgeous place. Tucked neatly on the side of the mountain with a little creek and horse barns, it’s peaceful and beautiful!

Checking in was simple and quick. In no time, we had the keys and directions to our cabin. My husband and I resisted the urge to go on to the Fraser’s Homecoming check in and drove on to our cabin to unload and freshen up.  Then it was off to registration and begin our Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming 2019 weekend!

First impression of checking in for the weekend’s activities? I was in awe at how well it was streamlined! And the tote bag full of goodies that we each got was a nice surprise! From an Outlander 2020 calendar, to a zippered notepad with pen, to a book of short stories from a local author, to cute themed pins and a sticker, there was just so many things! The best part of all during check in was hearing the bagpipes being played! And seeing Highlanders dressed in their kilts marching up and down the field calling commands only added to the sights and sounds. Talk about having the hair on your arms and back of your neck stand up! Were we still in NC or did we really go back home to Scotland? You know the old saying “The devil is in the details.”? Well, I could tell after checking in, Beth and her crew were certainly going to beat that devil to death over this weekend or die trying. I knew we were in store for an amazing time! There is no way I can begin to name every little detail I noticed that went into everything, there were so many!

We spent the rest of Thursday afternoon on the scavenger hunt looking for charms that depicted different parts of the Outlander series. The finale was getting up to Craigh na Dun cabin and the standing stones!  From where we were, we could also see Grandfather Mountain off in the distance. All I can say is WOW! Soon it was time for the Hello the House Welcome Party. There was lots of yummy hors d’ oeuvres, live music and what we had all been waiting for: The Calling of the Clans! It was so fun to hear all the different clans being represented as each flaming torch was placed in the fire. Sadly, we were too tired to stay for the ghost stories and headed back to the cabin.

Friday brought several different workshops that we had signed up for oh, and did I mention it was hot yesterday? It was in the mid 90’s and Friday turned out the same. We were sweating buckets, but we had so much fun! Probably my favorite workshop was listening to The Tale of the Regulators. Lunch was a wonderful beef stew and at dinner the barbecue and fixings was so good. During dinner we officially welcomed Shaun Alexander, world traveler and YouTube vlogger and his wife, Teka to the gathering. It’s so cool that they came across the pond to be here and share this weekend with us and with his fans around the world! When the costume contest took place, I was so impressed with everyone’s costumes. The contestants came dressed and ready to win. Then we watched the Druid Lantern Dance performed just like in the opening scenes of Outlander! AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL is all I can say.

Saturday brought a complete change in weather. It started to mist and temperatures dropped! I think somehow Beth planned it that way to give us a real feeling of being in the Scottish Highlands! The workshops Saturday were even better! I enjoyed having a one on one with the genealogist and gathered some tips on researching more of our family history. My husband had a great time with the hawk and knife throwing. Lunch was so good! I had shepherd’s pie and my husband had the smoked pork tacos. After lunch I went to hear the 18th century doctor. I could have stood there in the drizzling rain all day. It was so interesting! My husband participated in the flint fire building class and really liked it. I have a feeling he will be building his own hawk throwing target before too long and a place to practice his flint fire making skills.

Soon it was time to go warm up and change for dinner. This was the evening we’ve been waiting all year for! I dressed in my Scottish skirt and blouse and my husband looked so dashing in his kilt.  The tables were set and decorated in a rustic fall foliage and a mixture of different plaids. We enjoyed tender venison, chicken and mashed potatoes with roasted kale. Dinna fash, I’m getting to the dessert. Warm toffee sticky pudding and apple dumplings. Do I need to say more? The music by Celtic Connections was hauntingly beautiful. But the icing on the cake was the surprise Beth had for us all. A video giving us the dates for next year’s gathering as well as the guests who will be attending with us next year!!! Yes, I screamed along with everyone else when we saw who it was. Welcome to Fraser’s Ridge 2020!!!!  Annette Badland (Mrs. Fitz), Gary Lewis (Colum Mackenzie), and Graham McTavish (Dougal Mackenzie)!!!! How are we supposed to sleep after this? Much less wait for next October to hurry and get here?

Sunday, time to pack up and check out of our cabin. No, I did not want to. We closed out our time at the Homecoming listening to Capt. Robert K. Rambo (U.S. Military, Ret.) portraying Attakullakulla, Peace Chief and First Beloved Man of the Cherokee from 1761 to 1775. WOW, just WOW! I don’t know what else I could even say.

After all the goodbyes and see ya laters to our new found friends, it was time to head back to our time and to life off the Ridge. I can’t begin to thank Beth and her crew enough for all of the time they spent planning and getting everything together and ready for us. I was right though, the devil in all the details sure was beat up one side and down the other.  How will they possibly outdo this year? I have no clue, but I have no doubt they will!”

Debbie, thank you so much for recapping your weekend with us at Leatherwood Mountain Resort! We can’t wait to be with you and your husband again next year!

Dates for next year’s Homecoming are October 8-11, 2020.  The projected date for ticket sales to begin is February 1, 2020.  This date gives us plenty of time to be sure that plans are finalized, and the big stuff is in place!  We do know that the 71st NC Highlanders will be returning, as well as the Warriors of AniKituhwa. Our special guests next year include television series cast members Annette Badland, Graham McTavish, and Gary Lewis!  Saying we’re already looking forward to next year is an understatement!