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Fraser's Ridge: A Homecoming Part 2

Second part in a two part series.

The third day at Fraser’s Ridge: A Homecoming was a different then the day prior at Whippoorwill Academy and Village.

It started with attendees meeting under the Covered Pavilion for a day full of exciting activities, demonstrations, storytelling, music and dancing.

Also need to mention, at the beginning of the event everyone had the opportunity to sign up to meet with a genealogist, to learn about how to research our ancestors and to go on a medicinal plant walk with an herbalist.

As we walked in, we were able to bid on several wonderful items in a silent auction to benefit Sky Diamond Rescue. They rescue, rehab and re-home horses and dogs as well as provide therapeutic programs for people who have experienced trauma.

The first activity was a costumed interpretation of 18th century mountaineers and how their story is echoed in Outlander. This was given by Carson Sailor, director of Hickory Ridge Living History Museum in Boone.

Next, we heard from the very interesting Dawn Taylor Mathews, The Thankful Goat who gave us a demonstration of 18th century spindle weaving and soap making. Her tales and stories about the goats she has owned were funny and entertaining.

We were very excited for the next event planned, a pre-recorded Q&A with Outlander’s own Gaelic consultant, and the Bard of Àdhamh Ó Broin, Gillebride MacMillian. There were some technical difficulties with this unfortunately, so we all were promised a DVD of this when we returned home. You can see this video here.

At this point we were hungry, luckily it was lunchtime. We were able to pre-purchase a boxed lunch. As we ate we listened to music by StrathSpan, a duo who specialize in traditional Scottish music using a fiddle and a cello.

After our stomachs were full we were excited to see a demonstration of Scottish country dancing by the Greensboro Scottish country dancers. They were a lively group and we all thoroughly entertained and mesmerized at the agility of these elder dancers. Participants were invited to join in in a special dance at the end of the performance.

Next up was something Outlander attendees may see something of in season 4, Cherokee Indian storytelling, dance and music. Matthew Tooni performed for us. He is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians at Qualla Boundry, Cherokee, North Carolina. He told some very interesting tales and then asked participants to join him in a special dance.

Last on the day’s agenda was the presentation of The Overmountain Men, which relived the moments from the Overmountain men’s march in 1780 through North Carolina to the Battle of king’s Mountain. This was performed by The Overmountain Victory Trail Association, who were costumed and individually spoke and told their tales. This piece of history will figure in a later book, as part of the American Revolutionary war.

While others took a break, to get ready for the evening’s activities, I went off to meet up with the others for the medicinal plant walk I signed up for earlier.

I was especially excited to participate in this activity as we would be guided by Kerry Masarick, a real live “Claire”. She is an accomplished herbalist, spinner, weaver and environmental educator.

She started off by showing us herbs, that I assumed were weeds, right under our feet. I took notes as quick as I could as we walked along the mountain road, stopping along the way as she pointed out the different plants and trees, and educated us with the name and

medicinal use of each. This was a real hands-on learning experience. I will never look at “weeds” the same way again. This became one of my favorite memories of this event.

I returned to my cabin hot and sweaty but smiling with the thoughts of the day’s wonderful performances and activities.

It was time to get ready for the last evening of the 4-day event, Jamie and Claire’s Celebration at the Ridge. 18th century period costumes were optional.

Dinner began at 6:30, with appetizers and music by Dogwood, a Celtic band from Western North Carolina. The music makes a connection between its Scottish roots and the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

A delicious dinner was served, and we all enjoyed chatting with our friends and seeing all the great costumes people were wearing.

We were surprised as a cameraman and interviewer showed up chatting individually with the attendees. Apparently, this event was being recognized by the show “Life in the Carolinas”, hosted by Carl White. How exciting!!

As the evening wore on, there was storytelling by Bobbie Pell, “The

Moonstone Minstrel” who kept us entertained with stories of Celtic folklore, ballads and myths. The evening ended with the winners of the silent auction announced, that benefitted Sky Diamond Rescue.

Then it was back to our cabin to sleep off an exhausting but fabulous day.

The next morning, we met back at the covered pavilion for another story by Bobbie Pell, about Ireland’s revered St. Brighid of Kildare, told through blessings, songs and poems.

Finally, it was time to say goodbye to the friends we made. Peaker’s who attended, gathered to take a picture with the My Peak Challenge Flag. We hugged goodbye and hoped we’d see each other soon. Some of us were driving home others were flying, as 20 states were represented here this week. Even Jamie and Claire paid us a visit!

Luckily a few weeks after, it was announced by Outlander North Carolina that there will be another gathering for the 2nd Annual Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming, October 3-6th, 2019, once again at the Leatherwood Mountain Resort in historic Ferguson, North Carolina. Next year’s slogan will be “Return to the Ridge”. And that’s exactly what many of us, who had a memorable time this year, will do!

Hope to see some new faces, at next year's event along with the friends we've already met! if you are wondering where the standing stones are in North Carolina.....well you'll need to attend next year, as they are on the

property of Scott and Mary Ellis, who turned their cabin into an Outlander fan's dream house and named it Craig Na Dun. If you attend next year, hopefully they will open up their home again for attendees to visit!

*As of last week I’m thrilled to announce that I have joined Outlander North Carolina as a moderator*

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