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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Weekend Whirlwind

Posted July 14, 2008 9:40 a.m. EDT
Updated July 14, 2008 9:51 p.m. EDT

It was a weekend whirlwind. As soon as I got off the air Friday I zipped up to Linville for the 53rd annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. I emceed the games with James K. Flynn out of Charlotte. During the games I stay with my sister Stephanie and her husband John Scott. They have a home in Blowing Rock. Friday night we went to a fund raising and informational event for the UNC Lineberger Cancer Center where we learned about the alarming rise of melanoma across North Carolina. It was a sobering reminder to avoid the dangerous rays of the sun especially between 10:00A.M. and 2:00P.M. and to always lather up with sun screen.

Early Saturday morning I made the wonderfully peaceful 30 minute drive from Blowing Rock to Grandfather Mountain via the Blue Ridge Parkway. That gorgeous stretch of blacktop takes you by Moses Cone Manor and Julian Price Park with one of the most inviting little lakes in North Carolina.

The Scottish games at Grandfather Mountain were terrific. Marathon runners began trickling onto the track at MacRae Meadows at 9:40A.M. after running 26 miles from Boone. Some of the participants had already made a five mile run straight up Grandfather Mountain Thursday and a 65 mile bicycle race on Friday. Maybe I’ll try that next year!

The Highland Games offer an incredible blend of pageantry, brute strength, musicianship, dancing grace, and border collie corralling skills. Crowds were outstanding throughout the games.

Saturday night I dined with Stephanie and John at Bistro Roca & Antlers Bar in Blowing Rock. It was an excellent choice. The NC Mountain Trout and salmon entrees were both superb. We capped the evening with apple pie and ice cream on the Scott’s back porch.

Sunday morning I draped myself in a Leslie kilt and made the gentle journey to Grandfather again. While driving I had a chance to critique my new CD “Blue Ridge Reunion” coming out this fall. I feel really good about the music.

Later at the Highland Games I had a nice chat with the Voice of the Duke Blue Devils Bob Harris about his new book coming out soon. Bob was sporting a handsome kilt this year. The Parade of Tartans was the highlight of the day featuring Scottish clans from Anderson to Young. Bob marched as part of the Campbell clan. Sunday’s activities were cut a little short by an afternoon downpour. With wet wool and drenched hair I made my way down the mountain via Highway 181 to Morganton. It was another rich and full weekend. By the time I got home it was bedtime. 2:35 comes awfully early in the morning. From Celtic warrior to mild mannered newsman – the transformation was complete.

What did you do this weekend? Please share! By the way, we will announce the winner of the Make Mike Maze Laugh Contest tomorrow.