Roan Mountain State Park’s Miller Farmstead home place for annual Old Time Yule
Published 9:23 am Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Snowball fights, hot cocoa and sweet Christmas carols were some of the things enjoyed by visitors who traveled to Roan Mountain State Park over the weekend to enjoy an Old Time Yule.
Those who attended the event had the opportunity to step back in time as the state park presented the special holiday program at the historic Miller Farmstead.
Wreaths, garlands and red ribbons adorned the outside of the house, which was built in 1908.
Inside, visitors warmed themselves by a fire while drinking hot cocoa or hot apple cider. Christmas music drifted through the home as local group Thistle Dew played traditional instruments around the hearth.
A light snowfall covered the ground around the house, adding to the festive spirit of the day. Outside, children played and threw snowballs at each other as their parents and grandparents looked on.
“This is something we’ve been doing annually ever year since I’ve been here,” Park Manager Jacob Young said.
“We’ve been doing it about 17 years,” said Beth Jarrett, who works with the state park doing interpretive programs at the historic farmstead throughout the summer months and on weekends in October.
For Jarrett, working at the farm provides a family connection. “My mother-in-law was born and raised here,” she said.
Throughout the day, many people journeyed to the highest point in the state park to enjoy the festivities.
“We were wondering how it would do with the cold weather, but a lot of people have come out,” Young said.
Among those visiting the farm on Saturday was Kathy Miller Deloach, a descendent of the Miller family who originally settled the farmstead in 1870.
“I can remember well Granny living here,” Deloach said. She then pointed to a corner of the kitchen and said, “She always kept a pie safe over there, and she kept cornbread in it.”
Deloach said she can also recall spending the night with her grandmother in the home, which had neither electricity nor running water, and being afraid the fire would jump out of the fireplace during the night.
Though the house now belongs to the state park, Deloach said it still holds a special place in the hearts of the family.
“I come up two or three times a year usually,” she said. “My parents are buried in the cemetery here.”
“My daughter got married here, and my brothers did as well,” she added. The family also meets at the farm every year in August for the Miller family reunion.
The farmstead was named to the National Registry of Historic Places earlier this year. During the summer months the farm comes alive with the activities of traditional farm life.
Jarrett keeps cows and chickens at the farm during the summer and the park provides a variety of programs featuring local artisans and crafters demonstrating skills such as flint knapping, blacksmithing, basket weaving, carpentry, farrier work and a variety of other skills and trades that were necessary for life around the turn of the century but are no longer commonplace.