Karen's Blog

Let's take a walk through a brand new day.

Summer Porch Music

You just never know what can happen on the first day of summer… 

Back in October, I went to the Appalachian Trail Kickoff at Amicalola Falls State Park to participate in a book signing and share a presentation. I love book signing events because I get to meet some really cool people and hear lots of interesting stories. At this particular event, a lady walked up to my table with the biggest smile, radiating joy as she talked. Have you ever met an instant friend? It’s rare. But that’s how I felt about Anna. As it turns out, Anna is the founder of Trail Dames, a national hiking organization for women.


We talked about the trail as I signed her book and then she walked away. I thought that would be the last I saw of Anna. Thankfully, when I arrived home from Amicalola, I had a note from Anna and an invitation to speak at the Trail Dames Summit at Western Carolina University. I readily accepted. LIttle did I know that I had just met a fascinating lady!  Meet Anna Huthmaker: musician,  teacher, hiker,Trail Dame, and Podcast creator.

Anna is in the family violin business. Have you ever heard of Huthmaker Violins?  Anna is the daughter of the founder of the company and a partner in the business.  She just recently returned from France where she participated in an auction to buy high end violin bows. Fascinating!

Huthmaker Violins are in a restored 1800’s house in Suwanee, Georgia. Anna recently posted an invitation to come out and listen to Summer Porch Music. I love old houses and I love Bluegrass. I was in!

The old house was once the grand Rhodes Hotel in the 1880’s where a passenger train ran right in front of the hotel. The railroad tracks are still there. Passengers would exit the train and walk straight into the beautiful hotel. Later, it was restored again and became a stately home. Fireplaces adorn every room but Anna is quick to suggest that fireplaces and antique violins are not a good match. The fireplaces remain unlit as part of the old house history.

The house is a place of business but also a museum. These are tiny violins. They are about as big as my forearm and are made for 2-1/2 year old violinists. Amazing!

Can you see this rare antique rectangular violin? It was used by a clown in a circus act.

Look very closely at the carving on the violin below. It is a a famous church in Russia. Do you know which one?

A very rare and beautiful antique violin. The oldest instrument dates from the 1600’s!

There’s so much more I could share, but you just need to see it for yourself. And maybe… Anna will play a little music.

Thank you, Anna Huthmaker for the tour of the old home and for sharing the history of the musical instruments. Most of all, thank you for introducing yourself and offering the invitation to Summer Porch Jam.  Keep on smiling and making friends around the world. You make us all want to dance upon this earth!


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