Jan Karon's "At Home in Mitford" Walking Tour

See the Jan Karon's "At Home in Mitford" Walking Tour map

Jan Karon

Jan Karon Biography

Janice Meredith Wilson grew up on a farm near Lenoir, North Carolina. Her literary aspirations started early in her life; she was only ten years-old when she wrote her very first novel. After a successful career in advertising, which allowed her to utilize her writing talents, she moved to Blowing Rock, North Carolina, to strengthen her writing skills and focus on a literary career.

Karon’s move to Blowing Rock was formative to her attainment of literary renown. It was in Blowing Rock that she started publishing weekly installments of a story about Father Tim, an Episcopal priest, in the town newspaper The Blowing Rocket. The popularity of these stories propelled Karon to develop Father Tim’s narrative even further. Eventually, the installments in The Blowing Rocket became her first novel in the Mitford series, At Home in Mitford, published in 1994. The last decades have seen Karon extend her stories of Father Tim and the people living in the fictional town of Mitford. As of 2017, there are 13 books in the Mitford Series and Karon has received critical acclaim for her work, most notably being designated as a New York Times Bestselling Author. While the town of Mitford is not actually Blowing Rock, readers have continually made connections between the towns. Karon has stated that she writes about an immense cast of characters because she wants to give her readers a large, extended family of their own.

Jan Karon Tour Description

Jan Karon’s At Home in Mitford Walking Tour involves specific sites in the proximity of Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Karon’s New York Times bestselling Mitford Series (beginning with the inaugural At Home in Mitford in 1994) pertain to small town life and the daily stories of Father Tim, an Episcopal priest. While Karon’s town of Mitford is fictional, it largely resembles Blowing Rock, North Carolina, which is located in the mountains off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This walking tour, in particular, identifies locations in Blowing Rock that likely inspired Karon in her creation of Mitford or have substantive similarities to certain sites within the book. Participants of the tour, regardless of whether they partake in it virtually or on foot, will learn of several Blowing Rock locations that might help them envision Mitford as a tangible reality. As participants walk through Blowing Rock and its adjacent parks, they will see sites similar to those seen by Father Tim, experience small town culture, and enrichen their own conceptualization of sites where key Mitford characters undergo transformations. Following the trail of places pinned on the walking tour map allows individuals to learn more about Blowing Rock, but also the Mitford Series in general. Overall, Jan Karon’s At Home in Mitford Walking Tour aspires to serve fans of her literature, avid visitors to Blowing Rock, and/or cultural tourists interested in learning more about the literary contributions of North Carolina writers.

Place Description

Blowing Rock is a mountain town in Watauga and Caldwell Counties, situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Before European settlement, the area was home to Cherokee and Catawba Indian Tribes. The town is named after The Blowing Rock, a geographic formation/cliff steeped in legend and folklore near the Johns River Gorge. The powerful winds blowing along the cliff have compelled individuals to claim that it is the only place in the world where the snow falls upside down. Blowing Rock is a popular tourist attraction for individuals looking for small town charm. Natural attractions, such as parks and trails, attract many tourists and avid hikers to Blowing Rock. The town boasts two waterfalls, Glen Burney Falls and Glen Marie Falls and the nearby Moses Cone Memorial Park invites nature lovers and horseback riders. The downtown area has locally-owned shops and art galleries, and initiatives have been established to preserve its historic buildings. Festivals and events frequently take place in the downtown park, including a monthly summertime Art in the Park Festival, a Fourth of July parade, Symphonies in the Park, the Christmas Parade, and the annual Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show. The Blowing Rocket is the town’s newspaper. Jan Karon’s At Home in Mitford was originally published as a serial in this publication. The newspaper is printed weekly and has served the people of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, since 1932. It covers topics such as local news, people, and cultural events.