Image supplied by Four Mile Photography

The Orchard offers something for everyone, almost every day of the week during the season (May through October). Our programs include free live music and dance performances as well as many free or low cost educational and recreational activities for the whole family!
We had a great time at this orchard last year and plan to go back again this year. Be prepared for a big crowd though. This place is popular Meg Standridge

Mountain Music

As part of the Altapass Foundation’s mission to preserve local culture, we offer free live music programs to the public Wednesday through Sunday in May through September, and weekends in October. These programs serve to educate the public about mountain music and dance, and to encourage people to participate in traditional dance. They also provide an important basis of support for local musicians because every performer and group is paid for each performance. We are only able to provide this service because of financial support from our members and donors. We hope you’ll join us for a lively afternoon of music and dance. While you’re there, please remember to tip the musicians, and consider providing support for the programs by becoming a member of the Altapass Foundation.

Live bands play at the Orchard from May through October. We also offer special performances by professional clogging groups, yodelers, and even a world-champion whistler. Check out our Events Calendar for the latest schedule.

Open Mic & JAM Sessions

Calling all musicians and lovers of music! Come listen or bring your instruments, homemade or not, and join us on Wednesday afternoons of pure fun! We have a great sound system. There is NO COVER to attend these events. They are strictly there for fun and time in the spotlight. Each musical act at Open Mic can perform 20 mins. The Orchard at Altapass Open Mic and JAM Sessions are at 1:45 pm every Wednesday. We look forward to seeing you!

Hayrides

Welcome aboard our ever-popular Storytelling Hayride, a 45-minute journey through time, which begins on the old path of the Revolutionary War soldiers called the Overmountain Men. The hayride continues through the orchard, past old and young trees, with spectacular scenery for the entire route. As you sit back and breathe the fresh mountain air, our storytellers, Bill Carson and Skip Carson, share the exciting history of our part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which state historian Harley Jolley described as “the most historic two miles of the entire Blue Ridge Parkway.”

Hayrides are offered every Saturday and Sunday (on a first come, first served basis, weather permitting), in May through October: 1:00, 2:30 and 4:00pm. Group hayrides are also available at other times or on weekdays with advance reservations.

Stories cover subjects such as the early settlers, the coming of the railroad, the March of the Overmountain Men in the Revolutionary War, the catastrophic Flood of 1916, and some delightful tales passed along to Bill and Skip by people whose families date back hundreds of years in these parts.

The cost of hayrides and walks is $5/person, including tax; there is no charge for children 3 and under. Altapass Foundation members may use their free passes for Hayrides or Storytelling Walks. In September and October free hayrides are limited to weekdays only.

Everyone is invited, though children 6 and under must be accompanied by an adult. The hayride is suitable for all ages but some stories may exceed the attention span of very young children. Children 3 and under will certainly enjoy the ride, but may become impatient during the stops for storytelling.

Super Saturdays!

The Orchard at Altapass has been awarded a grant from the Duke Energy Foundation for support of our children’s programs! Duke Energy is the official Season Sponsor and the exclusive sponsor of Super Saturdays and School Field Trips.

Super Saturdays were a great success and will be back in 2017! This program of Appalachian Heritage Activities for children ages 6 to 12 provides kids with opportunities to learn a variety of heritage skills over the course of the summer.

We’d like to extend our deepest appreciation to all the generous volunteers who are leading this year’s sessions. Without their willingness to share their time and talent we would not be able to offer this low-cost heritage program to the community.

Check out the schedule for this year’s summer sessions and please plan to join us for these unique (and very fun) sessions!

The Orchard will provide all materials and children will take their projects home with them. Parents are invited to help or observe.
Contact us to make your reservation.

Heritage Thursdays

In response to many requests from members and patrons, the Orchard is offering a monthly Heritage program from May through October. Dubbed Heritage Thursdays, the program features presentations by local historians, musicians and storytellers.

The programs are offered on the last Thursday of each month, from 5:00 to 6:00pm May through August and 6:00 to 7:00 pm September through October. The programs are free to the public. A donation bucket will be passed and the proceeds will be divided evenly between the performer and the Altapass Foundation.

Check out the schedule for Heritage Thursdays and we hope you will join us for this fun and educational series!

Orchard Book Club

The Altapass Foundation at the Orchard at Altapass is pleased to host a free book club focused on novels depicting life in the Appalachian Mountains. The group, dubbed The Orchard Book Club, is organized by Elaine Percival, of Little Switzerland, and meets once a month, on Wednesdays during the season.

Family Fun

The Orchard offers lots of fun activities for families! You can hike our trails year round and there are four different activity brochures for kids available at the trailhead kiosk. And from May through October you can go on a storytelling hayride, play checkers, dance, and in the fall, pick apples.

This is one of our favorite field trips to take each year. I like that one trip can bring out so many different goals from the Standard Course of Study, from butterfly life cycles to historical facts to dancing and folk music! We enjoy every minute of the experience! Mrs. Julie Miller

Educator

Educational Programs

In 2012 we redesigned our school programs to make them consistent with the new North Carolina essential standards for social studies, science, and music for elementary and middle school learners. We offer three program segments in the spring and four in the fall. The fall program includes:

  • A storytelling hayride detailing the history of the Altapass region. True stories are told of the Overmountain Men and the Battle of Kings Mountain, the coming of the Clinchfield Railroad, the first settlers, and more;
  • An inquiry lesson on pollinators (bees or Monarch Butterflies) and their importance to the Orchard, to other animals and plants, and to humans.
  • A traditional song and dance segment.
  • An apple segment in which students will select, peel and eat an apple. They will learn about the apple varieties during the Hayride. (Apple segment is not included in the spring program.)

Download to learn more about our programs for school groups , find guidelines/reservation form and see how our programs correlate with the North Carolina curriculum .

Quotes from students who participated in our school programs
I really liked the hay ride. I enjoyed seeing the orchard and hearing the stories. Vaughn Smoker

I really liked the dancing. It was fun to dance with my friends. Harper Hockaday

The dancing was fun. I liked that kind of music! Rebecca Ryder

I liked the butterfly race. It was cool running through the different stages of the butterfly’s life cycle. Riley Bennett