Yesterday, I attended a board meeting for the Great Smoky Mountains Association. GSMA is the nonprofit that runs the bookstores in the visitor centers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In addition, it also publishes many of the books, maps, pamphlets and calendars that it sells.
The organization is now building the new Oconaluftee Visitor Center, just inside the park from Cherokee. I had the privilege of getting an insider’s tour before our meeting. I put on a hard hat and walked past yellow tape, half-installed exhibits and smiling construction workers.
The building is awesome and bigger than the current one. The exhibits will emphasize the cultural history of the settlers. and will feature subjects like food, crafts, farming and, yes, moonshine.
The visitor center doesn’t look quite ready for visitors now. But if all goes well, there will be a grand opening for the public on Friday April 15. The time has not yet been announced. But watch this spot in the next few weeks.
Put it on your calendar.