Unicoi Heritage Days a 200-year look back in time

Sue Guinn Legg • Oct 17, 2019 at 9:53 PM

UNICOI — The town of Unicoi is inviting guests young and old to take a step back in time this weekend at its annual Harvest Days celebration at the historic Bogart-Bowman Cabin.

Organized by the Unicoi History Group, the event brings together Southern Appalachian artisans to demonstrate the day-to-day labors and leisurely pursuits of the region’s earliest European settlers, with a focus on the life here in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

“This is a special event for us,” History Group President Pat Lynch said. “We dress in period clothing and love showing the children and parents the real roots of where we come from here in the valley.”

Hearth and open-fire cooking, brick-oven baking, butter churning, apple butter-making and other early American cooking techniques give Heritage Days guests a genuine taste of life on America’s first frontier.

Blacksmithing, bee tending, sheep herding, corn husking, corn hulling, basket weaving and quilting and other labors of the day demonstrate the hard work that went into settling the region. And for fun and entertainment as it was some 200 years ago, there is corn husk doll-making and early American games for children, woodcarving, music and storytelling.

“There is so much to learn in Unicoi,” History Group member Lesia Willis said. “We work hard to share our heritage and make sure younger generations hear the stories and see the ways in which things were done before technology took over.”

Friday’s Heritage Days activities are reserved for classes of area schoolchildren who register weeks in advance for morning or afternoon visits to the restored two-story, dog-trot cabin built along Buffalo Creek in the late 1700s or early 1800s.

The celebration will be open to the public on Saturday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Admission is free. The cabin is located at 5012 Unicoi Drive.

In addition to a wide variety of traditional Appalachian food samples, a hearty pioneering meal of soup beans, collard greens, cornbread, cake, cider, coffee or soft drinks will be available for purchase.

For more information about Heritage Days, contact Patricia Bennett at 423-735-0517 or recreationaide@unicoitn.