Big things are happening around the Meadowlark these days! We’re thrilled to announce the addition of the new Meadowlark Smoky Mountain Heritage Center. Our historic motel has long embodied the legacy, customs and traditions of the Smokies, so it only makes sense to honor our Appalachian culture and heritage in a really meaningful and intentional way.

Our guests, as well as the larger Maggie Valley community, have always enjoyed the live music and local talent we showcase every week in our BackPorch Pavilion. Even during the pandemic, our motel’s management team has done a stellar job of continuing that tradition in safe and socially distanced ways.

It seemed the desire for local Smoky Mountain culture would not be deterred – not even by a pandemic. We quickly realized that this was something that guests and out-of-town tourists wanted more of. Not only did they enjoy the music or storytelling or whatever entertainment was on each night, but their curiosity was piqued. They asked questions and wanted to learn more, which we saw as a great opportunity to really engage with and educate people more deeply.

Meadowlark Motel owner, Joseph Franklyn McElroy says, “We wanted to add an entirely separate segment of our business –The Meadowlark Smoky Mountain Heritage Center, with Bob Plott as General Manager. We feel strongly that this will further enhance what our resort has to offer, while offering entertaining and educational heritage related programs, activities and events that will not only bring visitors to the region but will perpetuate the great legacy of Smoky Mountain history, music and folkways.”

Joseph first met Bob (a local Maggie Valley native and a third great grandson of George Plott, who first brought the Plott bear hounds to America in the mid-18th century) during an episode of the Gateway to the Smokies podcast that Joseph hosts each week. They both quickly realized that they had a passion for sharing their love and legacy of the Smokies. The partnership made perfect sense, and Bob joined the Meadowlark team.

Bob says, “As a lifelong native of North Carolina whose family has been in the region more than 200 years, I am beyond thrilled to be a part of this project. I see this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something I have wanted to do for decades, but had never found the right partner until now. Joseph and I share a common vision in honoring and preserving Appalachian heritage and culture by educating and entertaining both visitors and locals in offering them memorable entertaining and immersive program and event options. I can’t wait to get started and I thank Joseph for this great opportunity! We will have some big announcements that we will be sharing with you soon.”

Some of those big announcements are already starting to be released with a big one coming up soon – the Plottfest Reunion Weekend at the Meadowlark Motel, scheduled for July 9-11. Attendees will get to meet Bob Plott and dive into fascinating educational sessions about the Plott Hound; talk with Plott legends like Eugene Walker, Gary Beatty, and Gary Bowen; enjoy music like old-time Smoky Mountain hunting ballads; and so much more. All events are free to Meadowlark Motel guests, and non-guests will be charged admission. You can book your rooms on our website here, or call 828-926-1717.

Follow us on the Meadowlark Smoky Mountain Heritage Center’s Facebook page so you don’t miss out on more upcoming events like the Darren Nicholson Band camp and Concert with special guests on July 17 or the Horace Kephart Reunion hosted by Libby Kephart Hargrave on July 23-25. Stay tuned – there is SO much more to come!