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The Orchard's Programs for Everyone

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!
Image supplied by Four Mile Photography

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, June through September, and weekends in May. 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 are paid for performances. 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.

In addition to the always live music at the Orchard, we offer special performances and events by tribute concerts, diverse music concerts, and clogging groups. Check out all of our Events for the latest schedule.

Open Mic & JAM Sessions

Calling all musicians and lovers of music! Come listen or bring your instruments, Blue Ridge Music Trails on North Carolinahomemade 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 at the Orchard at Altapass are always fun!


Welcome aboard our ever-popular Storytelling "Heyride", a 45-minute journey through time, which begins on the old path of the Revolutionary War soldiers called the Overmountain Men. The ride 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 Sherry Lovett, 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.”

"Heyrides" are offered every Saturday and Sunday (on a first come, first served basis, weather permitting), June 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 Sherry 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 Heyrides 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. Heyrides are 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.

* The name "Heyrides" was changed a few years ago, when we replaced the hay bales with more comfortable, less barn cat friendly bench seats. Now, it's a "Hey there ride."


Super Saturdays at The Orchard at Altapass are AWESOME!
Super Saturdays!

Super Saturdays! at The Orchard at Altapass were begun through a grant from the Duke Energy Foundation in 2016. 

Super Saturdays! have been a great success. This program of Appalachian heritage and creative 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 our events 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 offers a monthly Heritage program from June through October. Dubbed Heritage Thursdays, the program features presentations by local historians, musicians, and storytellers.

The programs are generally offered on the last Thursday of each month, from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. June through August and 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. September through October. There is a suggested donation of $5 for each evening presentation; the proceeds are 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! Hike our ten trails year-round (bring your pets on a leash), and four activity brochures for kids are available at the trailhead kiosk. And from June through October, Go on a storytelling hayride, play checkers, dance, watch birds from the deck, butterflies in the garden, and beginning in July, pick your own apples.

More Family Activities

High Peaks Trail Association
NC Environmental Education
NC Parks & Recreation

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!

Educational Programs

We offer three school program segments in the spring and four in the fall that are consistnet with the North Carolina essential standards for social studies, science, and music for elementary and middle school learners. The fall program includes:

• A storytelling heyride 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–students select, peel and eat an apple, learning about the varieties during the heyride. (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 .

Educational Links

All About Insects

Monarch Watch

All About Birds

Plant Identification

NC History Project

Overmountain Victory Trail Association

Over Mountain Trail Association

Quotes from students who participated in our school programs:


1025 Orchard Road
Spruce Pine, NC 28777

MAILING: P.O. Box 245
Little Switzerland, NC 28749



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