Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Quick hits: Reflecting on 'Oz' in Beech Mountain, and Brevard is super cool

Old Land of Oz park gears up for annual festival

"When you drive up the steep, winding roads of this small town, past its ski slopes and under a bright green bridge, you'll see an old white farmhouse and a massive pair of ruby slippers. Suddenly, you know you're not in Kansas anymore," writes the News & Observer.

"At its debut in 1970, this was a cutting-edge theme park built in part to keep ski workers employed from June through October. The Land of Oz has been closed 30 years and is a desolate remnant of the magical retreat it was.

"But the park makes an annual comeback during the first weekend of October, when several thousand flock to the Autumn at Oz party. The two-day event started 17 years ago as a small reunion for former park employees such as Andy Harkins, 57, who was a Tin Man in 1971. It grew to more than 8,500 last year. ..."

Brevard a 'cool' small town
"If the notion of town-wide square dances with an old-time caller sounds appealing, then Brevard is your kind of place," says Budget Travel.

"Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains 45 minutes south of Asheville, the redbrick town is an outpost of authentic Appalachia. Every Tuesday night in summer, locals block off Main Street, a bluegrass band strikes up, and everyone lets loose. Longtime Atlanta resident Ginger Lipscomb, 64, is one of many who were drawn by Brevard's history. She first came in 2005 to visit friends. 'Then I started annoying them because I wanted to come every weekend.' Lipscomb now runs Stones Jewelry Store out of a century-old storefront.

"Across town, patrons head to 68-year-old Rocky's Soda Shop for chocolate malts or to the 1934 Co-Ed Cinema, complete with a gleaming marquee and ornate ticket booth, for first-run films. At day's end, there's no better spot to relax in the cool mountain air than the porch of 149-year-old Red House Inn, just one more historic—and homey—side of Brevard. ..."

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