Stina's picks

A point in the right direction
By Stina Sieg | Aug 12, 2012
Photo by: Vicki Hyatt This Saturday, cyclists from across the region will get to see Haywood County from the best vantage point possible: two wheels. Yup, the third annual Blue Ridge Breakaway is coming to Lake Junaluska yet again, with rides for just about every skill level.

My room is a mess, and my car is no better. I’ve got a headache and a thousand questions doing laps in my brain. I’ve even got laundry to fold, but still I’m smiling. I can’t help it. When the weather gets good, I get happy. Over the weekend, it was in the 50s, and this week is scheduled for more of the same. I know that’s too cold for some folks, but it’s just the way I like it. I was raised in spitting distance of the Pacific Ocean, after all. As I look toward this week, which will supposedly just barely puncture 80 degrees, I can't wait for all those little things it’s simply been too hot to do. After a long absence, it’s time to knit and bake and paint, not to mention run at a decent hour. Honestly, I’d probably do just fine entertaining myself, even if I didn’t leave the house. But since it’s probably better to not play hermit, here’s what might be on the agenda.

Breaking away

I still ride the same bike I got when I was 12 (and about as well), so it should come as no surprise that unless it’s a casual jaunt, biking is not really my bag. But it’s still fun to watch, even for a novice like me. The third annual Blue Ridge Breakaway is coming to Lake Junaluska this Saturday morning, which means tons of dedicated cyclists will be whooshing through Haywood County on four courses that range from 24 to 105 miles long. These are rides, not races, and from the looks of the courses are all fabulous two-wheel tours of the area. There’s still time to sign up to ride or volunteer. Just visit or call 456-3021.

Get ‘Lost’

I once saw a bumper sticker touting Leadville, Colorado, that read “We’re all here because we’re not all there.” As I talked with the cast of HART’s “Lost in Yonkers” the other night, I couldn’t help but think of that oh-so-appropriate saying. The play, which starts this Friday night, takes place in what can sometimes feel like the craziest spot in the world: a family living room. But like any good examination of familial life, the production doesn’t just focus on the zaniness of being a family, but also on the sweetness, strength and love. In this world of mean-spirited comedies and gross-out humor, I appreciate something like this, that is a little less off-the-wall and a little more kind. The show runs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (and one Thursday), Aug. 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25, and at 3 p.m. Sundays, Aug. 19 and 26. For tickets, call 456-6322 or visit

A one-Ballew band

I’ve never hears multi-instrumentalist Marshall Ballew, but his resume knocks me over. His list of stringed instruments — guitar, banjo, dobro, fiddle, bouzouki and tiple — includes a few I haven’t even heard of, let alone heard in concert. The fact that he’s a WNCW DJ (“Frank on Friday,” anyone?) just makes me like him more. If you’re as curious about him as I, you can meet and hear him at 3 p.m. this Sunday at the Haywood County Public Library, when he gives a free sampling of some of the best traditional music of the 20th century. Expect old-time, blues, reggae, bluegrass and more. I have a feeling he might even tell a few tales, and I’m kind of hoping so. The show, which is part of the Sunday Concert Series, is sponsored by the Haywood County Arts Council and the Chef’s Table. Learn more about Ballew by visiting or even calling up the man himself at 508-2146.

Banding together

I can’t believe how quickly the months have been flying by this summer, as it’s already time for free concert from the Haywood Community Band. I don’t know much about the specifics of the show, slated for 6:30 p.m. this Sunday at the pavilion next to Maggie Valley Town Hall, except that it will have a historical theme and plenty of familiar, big-band tunes. What I do know for sure is that these band members are some of my favorite musicians in Haywood County, not just for the music they give us all. Every member I’ve met is professional, passionate and downright friendly. It's almost enough to make me wish I could join the band myself, but as I’ve never played anything, I think joining the circus is about as likely. However, if you’re a lapsed musician who’s looking to return to music, the band is more than ready to embrace you. The group has weekly practice sessions every Thursday, starting at 7 p.m. at Grace in the Mountains Church in Waynesville. Call 456-4880 to learn more.