Sycamore Shoals' History at Home programs about to start for this summer

John Thompson • Updated May 26, 2020 at 5:29 PM

ELIZABETHTON — With many annual summer events canceled because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park has announced that its annual History at Home summer programming series is scheduled and is about to begin.

History at Home provides the opportunity for park guests to participate in educational programs geared to both history and nature study.

The opening has been planned this year with considerations that have never been needed before — the requirement to comply with the social distancing guidelines of the Center for Disease Control to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That means the programs will be presented to groups of 10 or fewer.

For that reason, all guests must register in advance to attend the programs of their choice. Registration can be accomplished online at https://bit.ly/2LXWbtC. On the page, choose Upcoming Events in the left-hand menu. From there, you will see all the upcoming programs. Most programs are offered free of charge except for historic house tours of the Carter Mansion and Sabine Hill, that will begin in mid-June. There is also the opportunity to donate to Sycamore Shoals when you register for your free program.

Attendees are also encouraged to bring masks and keep 6 feet apart from other guests

The park’s seasonal interpretive rangers for 2020 are Laura Ellis and Taylor Moorefield.

Ellis returns to Sycamore Shoals as a second-year seasonal interpretive ranger. Prior to her work at the park, she was a summer camp staff member. This fall, Ellis will be a senior in college working toward a degree in history. Throughout the year, she presents historic programs in period attire with the Washington County Regiment of the North Carolina Militia and is on track to become a militia member.

Ellis’ area of expertise is early American culture (from settlement to 1860). Her goal for this summer is to “delve further into my knowledge of colonial life, especially in Southern Appalachia, and share the knowledge with the public in hopes of preserving our local history for decades to come.”

Moorefield is also no stranger to Sycamore Shoals. He enjoys reenacting and living history, and has participated in “Liberty: The Saga of Sycamore Shoals” for 12 seasons, as well as being a founding member of Watauga Valley Fife and Drum Corps.

As a graduate of ETSU, he holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. An Eagle Scout and Woods Counselor at Land of the Sky Wilderness School, Moorefield is passionate about the outdoors, wilderness education and primitive skills, and inspiring the public to connect with the natural world in meaningful ways.

As an avid musician, Moorefield has sung in many choirs, local and national; plays fiddle with friend Spencer Bolejack; and leads a Christian rock band. Moorefield is passionate about the mission of the Tennessee State Parks and is very excited to offer programs this summer that will inspire, educate, and entertain visitors to the park.

In addition to the park’s on-site programs this summer, patrons should also watch the Sycamore Shoals Facebook page for added online talks and tours.