Décor Updates, Synchronous Firefly Nights and New Special Event Leaders Announced
Waynesville, NC (3/07/2019) — The Swag, a 14-room mountaintop hideaway bordering Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, will open for the season on April 19th. New owners Annie and David Colquitt of Knoxville, Tennessee are pleased to unveil some new interiors and introduce new programs and special event leaders. In 2018, The Swag was named one of the top Southern Resorts in both Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Survey and Travel +Leisure’s World’s Best, along with being named “most Romantic” in the 2018 Grand Awards special edition of The Hideaway Report, Andrew Harper’s member-exclusive monthly publication.
New in 2019:
Refreshed Swag Interiors
- The main living room, chestnut-paneled dining room and several guest rooms are being redecorated by Interior Designer Kathleen Rivers of Charleston, SC and Cashiers, NC. Known for her distinctive mountain style, Rivers has kept The Swag’s rustic, laid back elegance in check while updating the rooms with new window treatments, upholstery, furniture and fixtures. The result is a mélange of old and new that showcases The Swag’s log cabin style in a new, sophisticated manner.
Synchronous Firefly Nights
- The Swag will offer two “Synchronous Firefly Nights” on June 3 and 6. Guests who sign up for the program will spend the evening in a secret spot watching the elusive fireflies light up the dark skies in a magical procession. Esther Blakely, owner of Catalooche Valley Tours and also one of The Swag’s special event leaders, will guide guests to witness one of nature’s great spectacles in the Great Smoky Mountains. In addition to seeing these wonderful creatures in a private setting, participants will receive treats for the late night excursions, a firefly-themed gift, and a copy of Fireflies, Glow-worms, and Lighting Bugs by Lynn Frierson Faust. The cost for this is the standard room rate + $200 per person. Limited availability.
New Special Event Leaders
- Joining The Swag’s roster of special event leaders, who are recognized experts in Great Smoky Mountain wildlife and Appalachian lore, are Stephen Reinhold and Steven Yocum. Reinhold, born in Waynesville is a hiker and mountain climber, who grew up exploring North Carolina’s mountains and hills. He founded the Appalachian Adventure company with Steven Yocum and looks forward to introducing guests to the special wonders of the Great Smoky Mountains. Yocum is a recognized North Carolina photographer, whose work has been featured in Backpacker, Explore North Carolina and Blue Ridge Outdoors. He teaches guests about lighting, composition and the importance of patience.
2019 Featured Programs and Special Event Guides:
- Bear Hikes – The Great Smoky Mountains is home to a steadily growing black bear population, according to noted bear expert Dr. Michael Pelton who has been studying and compiling research on the area’s black bears for more than 30 years. A professor emeritus at the University of Tennessee, Pelton leads guests on bear hikes from August 27-31 and November 24-30. He will be joined by his wife Tamra Willis who specializes in “unhuggables” and will speak about the area’s bats, snakes and insects.
- Birding Hikes– Spotting and identifying birds in the wild has long been a passion for Bob Collier, an expert birder and nature columnist who hails from Tennessee. Collier presents a before-breakfast birding on the lawn program and leads afternoon birding and wildlife hikes. He will be at The Swag from June 30-July 5, September 1-6 and October 13-18.
- Cooking School – Led by The Swag’s Executive Chef Jake Schmidt, The Swag offers a two-day “hands-on” seasonal cooking school. Two morning and two afternoon classes highlighting a select food course take place on Monday and Tuesday. All equipment is provided, including a complimentary Swag Chef Apron. Guests are encouraged to check in on Sunday and depart on Wednesday following the noon time picnic extravaganza on Goose Berry Knob. The Cooking School is included in The Swag’s all-inclusive price and takes place from June 4-5; August 6-7, September 30-October 1.
- Nature Walks – Discover the culture, history, stories, wildlife and vegetation of Western North Carolina and Great Smoky Mountains National Park with Joel and Kathy Zachry. Authors of “Bears We’ve Met, they completed the 2,175 mile Appalachian Trail in 2015. The Zachrys are instructors and directors of the University of the University of Tennessee/National Park Service Smoky Mountain Field School. The Zachary’s will be at The Swag from June 9-14, September 8-13 and October 20-25. Waynesville native Steven Reinhold has hiked many mountains, but he always comes back to the Great Smoky Mountains. As the owner of Appalachian Outdoor Company, Steven will tell tales of the mountains while delighting guests with stories. Steven will be at The Swag from June 15-19, October 25-29 and November 1-3.
- Painting & Printmaking – Using nature as the subject, artist and hiker Gay Bryant invites guests to record their memories through an artistic medium. Bryant conducts morning hikes and afternoon instruction in beginning-level water color and relief printmaking. A painter, print maker, hiker and art instructor for more than 25 years, Gay’s work can be found in regional galleries and international collections. She will be at The Swag from May 19-26 and November 10-17.
- Photography – Outdoor adventure photographer, Steve Yocom, will lead Swag guests on guided hikes and share photography skills. Whether a guest brings a nice camera or is using their iPhone camera, Steve will share tips that will make anyone a better photographer and enable them to capture some of The Swag’s great moments: the Smoky Mountains, wildflowers, sunrises, autumn leaves, and more. Steve’s work has been featured in a number of publications and websites including the cover of BACKPACKER Magazine, Visit North Carolina, and Blue Ridge Outdoors. He will be at The Swag from May 28-June 2, September 16-20, October 1-7 and November 17-24.
- Songs & “Hikes & Hollers” – So enchanted is singer and songwriter Doug Peters with the Great Smoky Mountains and The Swag, he wrote songs depicting the place. Peters leads nature hikes and is known to break out in song on his “Hikes & Hollers” walk through the woods. He has authored and recorded “Song of The Swag: Part Fact/Part Fiction” and will at The Swag from April 19-28, June 20-23, September 22-29 and November 3-10.
- Storytelling – The art of storytelling has been handed down through generations. Guests delight in hearing local lore from two renowned storytellers. Born and raised just a few miles from The Swag, Donald Davis has received international acclaim as a master storyteller. Davis, who is featured at festivals throughout the U.S. and the world, is a guest host for NPR’s Good Evening and is a prolific author and producer of books and CDS. Davis will lead hikes and tell stories each evening. He will be at The Swag from October 7-13. Author of Blue Ridge – Ancient and Majestic, Charles Maynard leads hikes during the day and tell stories at night from May 7-11. Maynard who hails from the Chattanooga, Tennessee area has spent his lifetime hiking the Appalachian Range and loves to share stories of the area’s natural wonders.
- Wildflower Walks – Dainty and bold wildflowers come alive each spring and summer. Discover nature’s fragile beauties on hikes with Master Naturalist Esther Blakely. A certified interpretative presenter for the National Park, Blakely guides guest through the Park pointing out both hidden gems and other wonders of nature. She will be at The Swag from May 12-17 and July 14-19 and August 11-16.
Rates at The Swag start at $520 per night, with a two-night minimum, and are available through November 30th. All prices include a hearty breakfast, picnic lunch, and evening social hour on the front porch with hors d’oeuvres, four-course dinner and welcome gift. Suite and Cabin accommodations also available. Single rate, less $50 per night. For reservations or more information visit www.TheSwag.com or call 800-789-7672.
About The Swag
The Swag offers 14 luxurious accommodations, most with wood burning stone fireplaces, allowing guests a peaceful environment where they can rest, relax and rejuvenate. Located on a secluded mountaintop just outside Waynesville, North Carolina, the inn is an ideal destination for romantic getaways, weddings, corporate retreats and much more. The 2.5-mile private drive leading to the inn climbs more than 1,000 feet. For more information, visit The Swag online.
Media contact: Rebecca Werner, Tel: 917-370-5005, email: Rebecca@nullwernerpr.com