Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Heavy Spring Rain Brings High Water Adventures

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If April showers bring May flowers, what do May showers bring? High water raft trips!

The Southeast has been doused with rain this Spring creating optimal water levels for big whitewater rafting trips.  Most dam-fed rivers are releasing extra water to keep lakes at target levels, and all of our free-flowing rivers are running at or near five-year highs.

All of this rain gives high adventure fans the chance to experience the Southeast's most popular whitewater rivers at their very best. The Nantahala, Chattooga, French Broad, Nolichucky, Pigeon and Ocoee rivers are all at exciting high-water flows.

Kayakers run Nantahala Falls at high water in January 2013.

With rainfall expected this weekend and in the days to come, most of the high water will hold in the Southeast.  Outdoor enthusiasts who aren't exactly thrilled about the prospect of another rainy weekend should consider going on a paddling trip where the extra rain won't make any difference (except for adding additional excitement).

NOC recommends high water trips for those with previous whitewater experience or for paddlers looking for a new challenge in the the company of a trained guide.

Also, don't forget about the 2013 Cheoah River whitewater releases.  This exciting river is one of the most thrilling and difficult commercially-rafted rivers in the world.

The Insider: Big Wesser BBQ & Brew

NOC welcomes a new dining venue to the Nantahala River Campus: Big Wesser BBQ & Brew.  Formerly known as Slow Joe's Cafe, Big Wesser BBQ & Brew brings delicious home-style entrees with a wide selection of traditional southern sides to the Nantahala Gorge.

Smoked Chicken with Cornbread, Slaw and Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Executive Chef, Charlie McAlexander, spoke highly about the new venue and food selection available to guests.  Here are the top five reasons you should try the new food at Big Wesser BBQ & Brew:
  1. Southern-Style Entrees - Who doesn't love a great barbeque sandwich paired with mac & cheese and green beans or delicious smoked chicken with greens and potato salad? At Big Wesser BBQ & Brew the menu is packed with traditional southern favorites to make you feel at home after a long day of adventure or travel. 
  2. Made from Scratch Recipes - All the sauces and meals are made from scratch with simple ingredients to highlight the natural flavors of the food presented.  "Granted, we don't roll our own pasta, but we try to make as much of the food as possible in house and from scratch," explains McAlexander.
  3. "Simple is Delicious" - At Big Wesser BBQ & Brew, the recipes are not over-complicated.  McAlexander is trying to focus more on "clean, feel good food" to try to make the southern home-style meals a bit healthier while still tasting delicious.
  4. Quick and Friendly Service - With a new venue comes a new crew. Big Wesser BBQ & Brew is focusing on speedy service while presenting the food in a friendly manner.  With a whole new menu, the staff and cook crew are open to feedback from guests and want to present you with the best food and service they can. 
  5. Array of Adult Brews - Big Wesser BBQ & Brew will serve a wide selection of adult beverages from local brews to top-shelf liquor to appease your palate this season.  Different from years passed, the venue will have a stock of liquor options as well as frozen cocktails to enjoy while you dance to live music and mingle with friends and family.
Big Wesser BBQ & Brew will host live music every weekend during the summer season to provide a family-friendly atmosphere while you unwind by the River. So there you have it, come on down to Big Wesser BBQ & Brew to taste the new food and beverages! To view the menu and event schedule click here or come visit us at NOC's Nantahala Campus.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Five Reasons to Plan Your Adventure Now

Weather is warming up, school is finishing, and adventure is waiting for you in the Southeast!  Spring is one of the best times to get outside and enjoy new adventures.  Here are five reasons to plan now:

NOC's Mountaintop Zip Line Tour features the exciting half-mile Mega-Zip.
  1. New Adventures to Try - NOC's newest adventure, NOC's Mountaintop Zip Line Tour, is now open for the 2013 season. Over the course of the tour guests enjoy 360-degree views of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Nantahala National Forest. The new tour features one of the longest zip lines in the country, the half-mile Mega Zip. With zips over 350' above the forest floor, guests soar to new heights on NOC's Mountaintop Zip Line Tour!
  2. New Food - The former Slow Joe's Cafe has a new name and new menu! We just opened Big Wesser BBQ & Brew on the Nantahala Campus. Here, diners choose from delicious pulled pork, ribs, chicken and home-style sides like gouda mac & cheese, potato salad and green beans. Big Wesser has all of the fixin's to create a hearty meal to enjoy a hearty riverside meal.  Try out the new menu and enjoy live music every Friday and Saturday this summer at Big Wesser!
  3. Warm Weather - The winter chill is gone and replaced by beautiful spring weather.  While the nights are still cool, the days are ideal for active outdoor adventures, whether it's mountain biking, zip lining, rafting or paddling, everyone should be comfortable and happy outside.
  4. Mountain Flowers - The mountains are known for their foliage in the Fall and wild flowers in the Spring. If you haven't spent much time along the rivers and trails in the spring, you will be impressed by the Smokies fresh and vibrant spring flowers.  The popular Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel will be blooming along our Southeastern rivers from late May to early June.
  5. More Water - Some of our rivers depend on rainfall, and the spring months offer ideal water levels, thanks to spring showers. It's been a wet spring, so remember that now's a great time to enjoy the excitement of a high-water trip on these classic southeastern rivers
A high water run earlier in the year on the Nantahala River.

So join us on area rivers or trails and enjoy springtime in the mountain South!

For more information about NOC and activities, click here.