Summer Times 2012
Summer tourist guide for the High Country of North Carolina.
PAGE 2 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide 2012 2012 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide PAGE 3 PAGE 4 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 TABLE OF CONTENTS Advertising Index .............................105 All About Women Expo .....................99 An Appalachian Summer Festival .....79 Appalachian Skate Park ....................52 Ashe Arts Council ............................104 Ashe County Shopping .....................36 Avery Arts Council ...........................103 Banner Elk Sightseeing .....................48 Blowing Rock Shopping ....................30 Blue Ridge Parkway ..........................58 Boone Shopping ................................24 Camping .............................................27 Chambers of Commerce .....................7 Climbing .............................................26 Concerts ............................................81 Cone Manor .......................................62 Cycling ...............................................46 Daniel Boone Native Gardens ...........76 Disc Golf ............................................44 Downtown Boone Art Crawl .............88 Equestrian Activities ..........................64 Farmersâ€™ Markets ..............................75 Fishing ................................................38 Grandfather Mountain .......................57 Gem-mining .......................................51 High Country Host ...............................6 Highland Games ................................86 Hiking .................................................22 Linville Caverns .................................66 Mt. Jefferson ......................................53 Music Festivals ..................................84 Numbers of Note .................................5 Pet Page ............................................87 Restaurant Listing .............................90 Road Races .......................................68 Ski Resorts in Summer ......................49 Theater .............................................102 Towns of the High Country ..................8 Tweetsie Railroad ..............................72 Valle Crucis Sightseeing ....................33 Virginia Creeper .................................45 Walking ..............................................32 Watersports .......................................40 Wineries ...........................................100 Ziplines ...............................................34 PHOTO BY ROB MOORE | MTNSNAPSHOTS.COM THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 High Country PAGE 5 HOST The High Country Host Visitor Center is located on Blowing Rock Road in Boone, across from Burger King. PHOTO BY KELLEN MOORE BY KELLEN MOORE W hether it’s your ﬁrst visit to the High Country or just your ﬁrst this year, the High Country Host Visitor Center is an excellent ﬁrst stop for anyone seeking tips and information. The friendly and knowledgeable staff is prepared to tackle any question, from the more common ones, such as, “Where can I ﬁnd a choose-and-cut Christmas tree?” to less typical ones such as, “Where can I ﬁnd a wedding chapel — for a ceremony today?” The visitor center, located at 1700 Blowing Rock Road in Boone, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. The center was started in 1980, when local businesses and area tourism ofﬁcials met during an economic downtown to combine forces and pool economic resources to market the area. The nonproﬁt center now serves those visiting Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga and Wilkes counties. It also promotes its member businesses through advertising projects. The visitor center is chock-full of brochures, pamphlets and coupon books for local attractions. Whether you’re looking for a fun-ﬁlled family vacation or a romantic mountain getaway for two, the visitor center can help point you to the right accommodations, dining and activities to suit your fancy. The High Country Host also produces the “North Carolina’s High Country Mountain Vacation Planner.” The planner has a list of all members and is distributed Staff and friends of the High Country Host Visitor Center are poised to help visitors in any way they can. PHOTO BY KELLEN MOORE across the U.S. and Canada, with some international mailings. In fact, in 2010-11, the organization printed and distributed 125,000 of the guides, which include local arts and entertainment, lodging, sports and family fun. You guessed it: Among the most common requests taken at the visitor center is for directions. “People come to the area, and they want a map,” High Country Host’s Loraine Tyrie said. “They have GPS, but they don’t always work up here.” The center can offer maps, as well as plenty of staff members who can help show the way, including J.P. Greene of Bethel. “I’ve gotten where I can’t read this map right side up,” Greene joked from behind the counter at the visitor center. For those who prefer the technological approach, oodles of information can be found online at highcountryhost.com. The website has lists of accommodations, attractions, dining, recreational opportunities, shopping and more. For more information, stop by the High Country Host Visitor Center at 1700 Blowing Rock Road in Boone (next to KFC) or call (828) 264-1299. High Country Host Visitor Center 1700 Blowing Rock Road Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 264-1299 www.highcountryhost.com THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 6 It’is Summer time S ongsters Mungo Jerry gleefully sang, “In the summertime, when the weather is high, you can stretch right up and touch the sky.” They also sang “Somebody Stole My Wife,” but that’s beside the point. The High Country is literally a place to stretch right up and touch the sky. It’s a place we’re happy to call home, and summertime is a season we welcome with open arms and open windows. Whether its hiking, camping, ﬁshing, rafting or simply strolling about downtown, High Country summers are, put simply, perfect. Cool weather, warm welcomes and smiling faces greet you on the way up, and memories of a lifetime join you on the way home. Making those memories is the fun part, and Summer Times can help. For fact-ﬁlled rundowns of area attractions, activities, events and general goingson, look no further. Since new events and things-to-do are cropping up all the time, also pick up a copy of the latest The Mountain Times for up-to-date information on what’s happening in the High Country. Till then, welcome to your summer in the mountains. Sincerely, Frank Ruggiero Editor The Mountain Times NUMBERS OF NOTE LAW ENFORCEMENT WATAUGA COUNTY Watauga County Sheriff’s Office (828) 264-3761 Boone Police Department (828) 268-6900 Blowing Rock Police Department (828) 295-5210 Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Police (828) 262-4168 Appalachian State University Police Department (828) 262-8000 ASHE COUNTY Ashe County Sheriff’s Office (336) 846-5600 Jefferson Police Department (336) 846-5529 West Jefferson Police Department (336) 246-9410 AVERY COUNTY Avery County Sheriff’s Office (828) 733-2071 Banner Elk Police Department (828) 898-4300 Elk Park Police Department (828) 733-9573 Newland Police Department (828) 733-2023 Seven Devils Police Department (828) 963-6760 Sugar Mountain Police Department (828) 898-4349 Beech Mountain Police Department (828) 387-2342 HEALTH CARE Watauga Medical Center (Boone) (828) 262-4100 Blowing Rock Hospital (Blowing Rock) (828) 295-3136 Cannon Memorial Hospital (Linville) (828) 737-7000 Ashe Memorial Hospital (Jefferson) (336) 846-7101 FastMed Urgent Care (Boone) (828) 265-7146 ANIMAL CONTROL Watauga County Animal Control (828) 262-1672 Watauga Humane Society (828) 264-7865 Ashe County Animal Control (336) 982-4060 2012 2012 Summer Times Staff Gene Fowler Jr. Publisher Frank Ruggiero Editor Charlie Price Advertising Director Rob Moore Layout and Design Editor Jennifer Canosa Graphics Manager Andy Gainey Circulation Manager Michael Bragg, Sam Calhoun, Jesse Campbell, Heather Canter, Jeff Eason, Matthew Hundley, Kellen Moore, Anna Oakes, Karen Sabo, Jamie Shell and Sandy Shook Writers Rex Goss, Mark Mitchell and Radd Nesbit Sales Sarah Becky Hutchins, Meleah Petty and Kelsey Stellar Graphics 474 Industrial Park Drive Boone, North Carolina 28607 828-264-6397 • email@example.com www.mountaintimes.com A publication of Mountain Times Publications & Jones Media, Inc., Greeneville, Tenn. Avery County Humane Society (828) 733-6312 Animal Emergency & Pet Care Clinic of the High Country (828) 268-2833 On the front: Grandfather Mountain’s Mile-High Swinging Bridge ORIGINAL PHOTO BY ROB MOORE, ILLUSTRATION BY JENNIFER CANOSA THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 High Country Chambers of Commerce ASHE COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Ashe County, home to the Jeffersons (West Jefferson and Jefferson, that is), is just about as far as you can go in the High Country before entering Southwestern Virginia. The county is considered, in many respects, “a step back in time” to the way the Appalachian Mountains used to be. The chamber can direct travelers through the scenic and sparsely populated area of Christmas tree farms and rugged mountain landscapes, while offering a wide selection of brochures and maps. 1 N. Jefferson Ave., Suite C, P.O. Box 31 West Jefferson, N.C. 28694 (336) 846-9550 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ashechamber.com AVERY COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The Avery County Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center is conveniently located in the Shoppes at Tynecastle at the intersection of N.C. 105 and 184. The center offers information on lodging, dining, attractions, shopping and other businesses in Avery County. The friendly, knowledgeable staff is on duty Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 4501 Tynecastle Highway, No. 2 Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 (828) 898-5605 email@example.com www.averycounty.com BANNER ELK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Located in the heart of town, the Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce promotes the area as a unique place to live in, work and visit. Information on area lodging, dining, shopping and more is available Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and all the time by clicking to www.bannerelk.org. 100 W. Main St. Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 (828) 898-8395 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bannerelk.org BEECH MOUNTAIN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Whether you’re looking for a North Carolina mountain vacation full of adventure, or just a few days to relax and breathe the fresh mountain air, Beech Mountain – at an elevation of 5,506 – will give your soul something to smile about. The area offers plenty of activities and attractions for the whole family to enjoy, but also plenty of peace and quiet for a relaxing and rejuvenating time. The Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce is here to help. 403-A Beech Mountain Parkway, Beech Mountain, N.C. 28604 (828) 387-9283 or (800) 468-5506 email@example.com www.beechmountainchamber.com BLOWING ROCK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Blowing Rock is considered one of the crown jewels of the Blue Ridge. Its chamber of commerce knows this tight-knit PAGE 7 community as no one else, and its representatives are always willing to share this knowledge with visitors. Aside from general information, lists of camping and ﬁshing sites, and brochures, the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce also has a generous stock of menus from the town’s many eateries. 132 Park Ave., Blowing Rock, N.C. 28605 (800) 295-7851 firstname.lastname@example.org www.blowingrockncchamber.com BOONE AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce is one of the High Country’s most active, with both a dedicated membership and an overall commitment to the betterment of the area as both a vacation destination and business hub. Now at a new location in downtown Boone on King Street, the chamber is an ideal place to stop for information on area activities, brochures and maps of the community. 870 W. King St., Suite A, Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 264-2225 email@example.com www.boonechamber.com r u O PAGE 8 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE TOWNS Pageantry of summer season captured in High Country towns FROM STAFF REPORTS T he towns that make up this area are diverse and quaint, offering visitors a wide variety of activities, including dining, lodging, shopping, entertainment and more. WATAUGA COUNTY jewelry to furniture. Departing from downtown, big-box stores and other shopping areas ensure that residents and visitors lack nothing in the way of modern conveniences. But Boone has an eye on its past, too. Named for the pioneer and explorer Daniel Boone, the town dates back to about 1800, when Jordan Councill opened a store on what is now King Street. In 1820, he opened a post ofﬁce, and other homes and stores began to spring up nearby. When Watauga County was created in 1849, Boone was picked as the county seat. It remained a typical small town until the university began to grow in the 1960s. A relic of Boone’s storied past, the historic Jones House Community Center, is located right on King Street. The house was built in 1908 and was given to the town in the early 1980s. Today, the home is a go-to source for art and community functions. Boone is a town where old and new mix, and visitors are made to feel like part of the family. For more information, visit www.townofboone.net. 2012 For another dose of history, visit the renovated and restored Green Park Inn, a site on the National Register of Historic Places that has been a hotel since 1882. After closing due to age and the recession in May 2009, the building was purchased a year later by Irace Realty Associates and immediately underwent a complete overhaul. While clinging to the small-town charm and Southern graciousness of its past, Blowing Rock also includes nearly 20 hotels and inns and more than 100 shops. Find a place to park early in the morning and spend the rest of the day on foot, exploring the shops and parks of downtown. Clothing, antiques, home furnishings, mementos and delicious treats will ﬁll your shopping bags and your stomach as you examine the town’s treasures. Make sure to visit Tanger Shoppes on the Parkway on U.S. 321 to ﬁnd name-brand items at outlet prices. The benches in Memorial Park at the center of Main Street make the perfect spot to settle down with coffee or hot chocolate and watch the world go by. The lesstraveled Broyhill Park down Laurel Lane paints the perfect summer scene, complete with a shady gazebo and glistening pond. The trails surrounding Moses Cone Memorial Park and Bass Lake offer another scenic stroll. The picturesque town of Blowing Rock is the perfect place to have an active winter vacation – or to relax and do nothing at all. For more information, visit www.blowingrock.com. Area resident Pete Washburn sits by the Doc Watson statue in downtown Boone. PHOTO BY ROB MOORE Boone No matter which activity draws you to the High Country, it’s likely that you’ll end up in Boone at some point during your visit. Boone is the hub of Watauga County, the gathering place for people of all walks of life, whether resident or visitor, student or retiree, socialite or seeker of peace and quiet. The town is home to Appalachian State University, one of the 16 colleges and universities that make up the University of North Carolina system and home to about 17,000 students. Interest in the school boomed after the Mountaineers’ football team won three consecutive NCAA Division I national championships in 2005, 2006 and 2007. The university’s presence helps create a young and friendly vibe throughout the town. Just make sure not to cross anyone by mispronouncing the name: It’s “App-uh-latch-un.” Adjacent to the university is King Street and the surrounding area, one of the town’s best shopping destinations. One-of-a-kind stores and eclectic boutiques dot the landscape, interspersed with legal ofﬁces and delicious restaurants. Be sure to check out The Shoppes at Farmers Hardware for everything from art to handmade Valle Crucis Park, located behind the Mast Store Annex, offers river access, which, in turn, offers fun for the entire family. PHOTO BY FRANK RUGGIERO Art in the Park is a Blowing Rock tradition that celebrates its golden anniversary this year. PHOTO BY JEFF EASON Blowing Rock Blowing Rock manages to cram a ton of beauty and fun into just three square miles. The town’s name comes from an immense cliff overlooking Johns River Gorge where the winds whip in such a way that light objects thrown over the rock ﬂoat back to their owners. Anyone wishing to experience the phenomenon ﬁrsthand can visit The Blowing Rock attraction, which is open certain dates in winter, weather permitting, to showcase the town’s namesake and the Native American legend that surrounds it. Valle Crucis Just off N.C. 105 south of Boone, Valle Crucis offers simplicity and serenity in a pastoral riverside community. The valley contains the site of the only known Native American village in the immediate area. The ﬁrst European settler of Watauga County, Samuel Hicks, also built a fort in the area during the American Revolution. Today, the community offers several historic inns, art galleries, farms and churches that provide service and comfort to all who enter. The Episcopal church has played a role throughout the community’s history. An Episcopal bishop entered the community in 1842 and provided its name, which is CONTINUED ON PAGE 10 2012 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide PAGE 9 PAGE 10 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE Our Towns colorful parades and environmentally conscious puppet shows, offers summer workshops and programs for those with a ﬂair for creativity. The river itself provides plenty to do, from canoeing and kayaking to excellent ﬁshing. Several companies, including RiverGirl Fishing Company and Wahoo’s Adventures, have outposts near Todd to provide gear and instruction for anyone interested in hitting the river. For more information, visit www.toddnc.org. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8 Latin for the “Vale of the Cross.” The Valle Crucis Conference Center, on the National Register of Historic Places, stays busy with retreats for numerous groups, and Crab Orchard Falls is a short hike from the conference center. The original Mast General Store provides a central gathering space in the community, as it has since 1883. Residents appreciate the store for its post ofﬁce, morning news and coffee, while visitors can also ﬁnd gifts, apparel and souvenirs. Just down the road is the Mast Store Annex, which opened about 25 years later. Behind the annex is a gravel road to the Valle Crucis Park, a recreational area with walking paths, riverfront, picnic areas and sports ﬁelds. Dining highlights include the 1861 Farmhouse & Winery, along with the 1861 Farmhouse Market, formerly the Ham Shoppe, which boasts some of the best sandwiches in the High Country. For more information, visit www.vallecrucis.com. Todd Todd is a town so nice it’s claimed by both Watauga and Ashe counties. The community’s main drag, Railroad Grade Road, is popular with bicyclists and walking tours as it winds 2012 The community of Todd is home to Elkland Art Center’s annual Liberty Parade. PHOTO BY FRANK RUGGIERO along with the New River, one of the few in the world that ﬂow north. The Todd General Store is an old-fashioned mercantile that dates back to 1914 and was built in anticipation of the Norfolk and Western “Virginia Creeper” railroad. Todd was the last stop of the route and got much of its supplies from the train. Today, the store offers dinner, bluegrass, book signings and demonstrations. The Todd Mercantile features the work of local artists and crafters, as well as mountain honey and other local goods. The “Todd Mahal Bakery” serves fresh delights to satisfy the sweet tooth, and the mercantile also hosts monthly square and contra dances, with traditional mountain music by local performers. The ever-crafty Elkland Art Center, known for its Seven Devils is home to Hawksnest, which features a celebrated zipline course. PHOTO BY MELANIE MARSHALL Seven Devils From elevations of some 5,200 feet, the town of Seven Devils straddles both Watauga and Avery counties. From many areas in the town, one has views of CONTINUED ON PAGE 11 2012 Our Towns CONTINUED FROM PAGE 10 Grandfather Mountain, as well as Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain, Rich Mountain and Mount Rogers in Virginia. Seven Devils is just a few minutes from Boone, Blowing Rock, Banner Elk and Valle Crucis and can be found off N.C. 105. One of the smaller towns in the region, Seven Devils began life in the 1960s as Seven Devils Resort, and, in 1979, the resort became incorporated as the town. How did it get its name? According to the Seven Devils website,“The L.A. Reynolds Industrial District of Winston-Salem, N.C., formed the resort in 1965 and the founders were met with the challenge of naming the resort. At this time there was a rumor about an old man on the mountain who had seven sons ‘as mean as the devil.’ People were heard commenting that in the winter the mountain was ‘as cold as the devils’ or ‘as windy as the devil.’ “The founders wanted a catchy, unique name that would bring attention to the mountain. They noticed the repeated appearance of the number seven, including the seven predominant rocky peaks surrounding Valley Creek, as well as the many coincidental references to ‘devils.’ ‘Seven Devils’ seemed to suggest a frivolous, mischievous resort where people could ‘experience the temptation of Seven Devils.” In the 1960s, the town grew with a golf course, ski THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE slope, lake, riding ground and camping area. After the resort venture experienced ﬁnancial trouble, the town was incorporated. While the golf course and ski slope have been closed for a number of years, Hawksnest has become one of the town’s centerpieces. Among the attractions at Hawksnest (www.hawksnest-resort.com), a private entity, is snow tubing in the winter and ziplines year round. Hawksnest is recognized as the largest snow tubing park on the East Coast, and the company boasts the longest zipline tour, as well, featuring 10 cables, two of which are known in the zipline industry as super- or mega-zips. For more information and events at Seven Devils, visit www.townofsevendevils.org. The Avery County Courthouse sits in Newland. FILE PHOTO PAGE 11 AVERY COUNTY Banner Elk The mountain valley town of Banner Elk has grown from a tiny hamlet to a town offering year-round amenities and memorable vacations for the entire family. Banner Elk is home to Lees-McRae College, a small, private, four-year coeducational liberal arts college afﬁliated with Presbyterian Church U.S.A. with more than 900 students from more than 20 states and countries. Old stone buildings across campus make for a photographer’s delight. The town hosts numerous shops and restaurants, and stays abuzz with activities and events. Visitors can picnic or walk in the town park, hear live music, enjoy exquisite shopping or simply relax by the mill pond and stay in one of the inns after dinner in a ﬁne restaurant. Banner Elk is in the heart of the High Country’s many attractions and just a short drive will take you to numerous natural settings where you can relax and revel in nature’s beauty. Banner Elk also offers many cultural happenings, with an excellent summer theatre program by Lees-McRae and art festivals by some of the area’s many galleries and artisans. Visitors are encouraged to return to Banner Elk each autumn for its annual Woolly Worm Festival, attracting close to 20,000 people each year. Cutting between the peaks of Sugar Mountain, Beech Mountain and Grandfather Mountain, the topography CONTINUED ON PAGE 12 PAGE 12 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 Our Towns CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11 of the town provides natural deﬁnition and gentle undulation through the town’s boundaries. For more information or a calendar of events, call Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce at (828) 898-5605, or click to www.bannerelk.org. Beech Mountain At 5,506 feet, Beech Mountain is the highest town in eastern North America. That means two things: When winter comes, it’s a great place to ski, and, of importance right now, is that even on the hottest day of the summer, it’s cool on top of Beech Mountain. Even when it’s steamy in the “lowlands” of 3,000-plus feet, the temperature stays comfortable atop Beech. The rest of the world seems distant when you settle down on the front porch of a rental condominium and survey the magniﬁcent view that is one of Beech Mountain’s trademarks. As the cool summer night air sends you looking for a sweater, you’ll probably smile at the thought of how hot it is in the lower elevations. Beech Mountain is a four-season resort. There are more than 5,000 beds available on top of the mountain. These range from rustic cabins to mountain chalets to luxury condominiums. Crossnore is home to The Crossnore School, which operates the Miracle Grounds Coffee Cafe & Creamery as a working vocational classroom. PHOTO SUBMITTED When it’s time to eat, you can enjoy anything from a deli sandwich to pizza to a gourmet meal by candlelight. During the days, there are many specialty stores for shopping, a golf course, horseback riding, tennis, swimming and hiking. There are nearby canoe and raft runs that are among the best offered in the eastern United States. Nightlife is alive and well on the mountain. Whatever your musical taste, you can ﬁnd a spot to enjoy an afterhours scene. There’s another good thing about Beech Mountain. The mountain is so huge that much of it remains in a natural state, with rich forests dotted by rolling farmland. And it’s only a short drive from the “downtown” to the country or resorts. Take your pick. CONTINUED ON PAGE 13 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 PAGE 13 Our Towns CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12 Our guess is if you spend some time in Beech Mountain, you’ll want to come back to do some real estate shopping. Or at least book a slopeside condo for the ski season. For more information,visit www. beechmtn.com. Crossnore Crossnore is a town steeped in educational history. The town is home to Crossnore Academy, founded by Drs. Eustace and Mary Martin Sloop. The Sloops traveled the steep dirt trails in isolated mountain valleys to bring medicine to the people and convince farmers to let their children come to school. Because of poverty and distance, the Sloop school in Crossnore eventually took in boarders and built dormitories to accommodate them. It gained a national reputation for effectiveness in changing lives and in breaking the cycle of poverty, moonshine and child marriages of mountain families. Mrs. Sloop eventually put these tales to paper in her autobiography “Miracle in the Hills,” which has since been used as the basis for a drama of the same name that takes place each summer in presentday Crossnore. The Sloops built a school, hospital, dental clinic and eventually, a boarding school to give children the basis for an improved life. They brought to Avery County the ﬁrst electricity, telephone, paved road and boarding school. Through the Sloops’ advocacy, public schools ﬂourished in Avery County. Today, Crossnore Academy carries on the work of the original school and has reclaimed the educational foundation beneath its commitment to give hurting children a chance for a better life. The school’s teachers enable it to meet not only the special needs of Crossnore residents, but also the needs of area students that live at home and whose educational needs are best met at Crossnore. The school is also home to Miracle Grounds Coffee Cafe & Creamery, a working vocational classroom, featuring specialty coffee drinks, homemade snacks, sandwiches, milkshakes, ice cream, WiFi and more. Crossnore is famous for its Independence Day parade and celebration, and Linville is home to one of the most majestic falls in the area, which is fed by the Linville River. There is plenty of fishing along the banks of this river, which is popular among anglers. PHOTO BY ROB MOORE | MTNSNAPSHOTS.COM the town’s Meeting House is home to the Crossnore Jam, a series of gatherings and concerts by local musicians on the ﬁrst and third Friday night through the summer and fall months. For more information, visit www. crossnorenc.com. Elk Park The town of Elk Park borders the state of Tennessee and offers a unique visiting experience. From the old-time feel of Brinkley’s Hardware Store to the additional Lower Street antique shops and classic barbershop, Elk Park takes visitors back to a simpler time. The town’s original thoroughfare, Lower Street, and many businesses originated when Elk Park hosted a train depot for the old East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad and Tweetsie Railroad. Elk Park thrived due to the industry and remained vibrant after the trains stopped running through town. Elk Park is home to several Choose and Cut Christmas tree farms and hosts an annual Christmas home decoration contest for its residents. For more information, call Elk Park Town Hall at (828) 733-9573. Linville The community of Linville is located just south of the intersection of U.S. 221 and N.C. 105 in Avery County. The community was founded in 1883, designed by Samuel T. Kelsey of Kansas and named for William and John Linville, who were killed by Cherokees in 1766. East Tennessee and Western North CONTINUED ON PAGE 14 2012 Our Towns CONTINUED FROM PAGE 14 Glendale Springs Home of the breath-taking and awe-aspiring fresco painting by Ben Long at Holy Trinity Episcopalian Church, Glendale Springs has become revered for its budding arts scene and is home to the Florence Thomas Art School. The community has become a must for anyone visiting Ashe County this summer. Proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway is an added bonus as summer sets in and fall colors begin to explode. Grassy Creek Just south of the North Carolina-Virginia border, Grassy Creek is a tightly knit community that is dotted with smiling faces and countless rows of Fraser ﬁr Christmas trees. Check out the sights around the nationally renowned New River where you will also ﬁnd the River House Country Inn and Restaurant for exquisite dinners. THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE Jefferson A rich history, dating from 1799, lies in the picturesque town of Jefferson. Jefferson was founded prior to its counterpart, West Jefferson, and stood at the base of Mount Jefferson. The town was ﬁrst known as Jeffersonton but then became Jefferson, and was one of the ﬁrst towns in the nation to bear the name of U.S. founding father Thomas Jefferson. The town is the county seat of Ashe and is home to the new courthouse, as well as the historic 1904 Courthouse. The Museum of Ashe County History is located in Jefferson and can be found in the 1904 Courthouse. The museum, through items collected and on display, offers a look at who the citizens of the county are, where they came from, how they got to the town, what did they do on the way and where do they go next? Some of the museum’s exhibits include the story of the 1904 Courthouse, Intro to Ashe County and a Virginia Creeper train display, as well as a veterans exhibit. There is no admission fee to the museum. For more information about the event and times, call the museum at (336) 846-1904. Ashe County Park and Foster Tyson Park are also located in Jefferson. Ashe County Park has a disc golf course and hosts an annual polar plunge. CONTINUED ON PAGE 18 The town of Jefferson can be seen from Mount Jefferson, which is named after the town. PHOTO SUBMITTED PAGE 15 PAGE 14 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 Our Towns CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13 Carolina Railroad (ET&WNC) passed through the community from 1916 through 1940, when a major ﬂood washed away the tracks. The old rail route later became N.C. 105 in 1956. Linville has three country clubs in the area: Linville Golf Course, Grandfather Golf and Country Club and Linville Ridge; all open late spring to early fall. Eseeola Lodge is also a popular destination for golf and lodging during the summer months. A number of local tourist areas within a short drive share the Linville name, including the Linville River and majestic Linville Falls, Linville Caverns on N.C. 221 and Linville Gorge wilderness area. For visitors considering making Linville a part-time or full-time home, they can visit Linville Land Harbor, where units are available for sale or rent in a cozy community featuring its own golf course and amenities. A number of residents reside at Land Harbor part-time, while others stay year-round to enjoy the beauty of the area’s four seasons. During the winter months, Linville is only a short drive to nearby ski slopes at Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain, popular skiing and snow-tubing destinations. Perhaps the most popular tourist attraction housed in Linville is Grandfather Mountain. The newest among North Carolina’s state parks, Grandfather Mountain offers hiking trails, picturesque views during all four seasons, animal habitats and attractions and the famous Mile-High Swinging Bridge. Newland With the highest county seat east of the Mississippi River at 3,589 feet, the town of Newland was incorporated in 1913 as the county seat of the newly formed Avery County. Its original name was “Old Fields of Toe” because it is located in a broad ﬂat valley and is at the headwaters of the Toe River. Newland was a mustering place for Civil War troops. Toe is short for “Estatoe,” an Indian chief’s daughter who drowned herself in the river in despair because she could not marry a brave from another tribe. The town of around 700 residents, Newland succeeded over three other areas for the honor of county seat. The recently renovated courthouse, originally constructed in 1913, overlooks a classic town square, bordered by shops and churches and complete with a memorial to Avery County veterans. Adjacent to the courthouse building is the original jail, which has been converted into the Avery County Historical Museum. Exhibits in the museum, which is free of charge to visit, include the original jail cells, numerous artifacts and information about the history of Avery County. During the summer and fall months, visitors can picnic or hike at Waterfalls Park, a unique recreation spot sponsored by Newland Volunteer Fire Department. Although the slopes are dry, Sugar Mountain Resort still offers scenic lift rides during summer and autumn. PHOTO BY FRANK RUGGIERO Heritage Park hosts rodeo events on weekends during the summer and is the permanent home for the county’s annual Agriculture and Heritage Fair each September. Newland hosts an annual Christmas parade through downtown, with decorations adorning the town reﬂecting the area’s rich Christmas tree industry. With a number of restaurants and boutiques downtown, Newland is a prime destination for dining and shopping, or just to stop in on a visit to nearby Roan Mountain or Grandfather Mountain. For more information, visit www.newlandgov.com. Sugar Mountain If outdoor activity is your thing, look no further than the Village of Sugar Mountain. Offering more than just great skiing, Sugar Mountain also provides its visitors with an array of ways to get outside and enjoy the beauty of the High Country. One attraction in particular is the summer lift rides on Sugar Mountain. On weekends, weather permitting, visitors can ride the ski lift to the 5,300-foot peak of Sugar Mountain. The 40-minute roundtrip ride features a spectacular view of the High Country and runs from Independence Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. If heights aren’t what you’re looking for, Sugar Mountain can also be seen on foot. With numerous trails that wind throughout the village of Sugar Mountain, you can see both the brilliant greens of the summer as well as the vibrant reds and yellows of fall. The trails of Sugar Mountain are not just for those on foot. Many bikers choose the village of Sugar Mountain for its variety of challenging and picturesque terrain. The village of Sugar Mountain also gives tennis and golf lovers an opportunity to enjoy their favorite sports in the beautiful mountain setting. With Sugar Mountain’s golf course, six fast-dry clay courts and full service tennis pro shop, visitors will never be faced with the problem of ﬁnding something to do. Whether you come for a day or stay in one of the many comfortable lodgings the village has to offer, the village of Sugar Mountain will soon become your destination for great outdoor fun. For more information, visit www.seesugar.com. ASHE COUNTY Creston Located in the northwestern corner of Ashe County, Creston lies on the border of Tennessee. The curvy winding roads can offer travelers some of the most beautiful scenic byways in the area. The Riverview Community Center is located off of N.C. 88 West in Creston and is home to festivals and other events all year long. Worth’s Chapel at Creston United Methodist Church is located in Creston, and was listed as a National Historic Building in 2005. The chapel was built about 1902. The interior of the chapel is ﬁnished, in part, with American Chestnut wood, harvested before the blight reached the northwestern mountains of North Carolina. Fleetwood Located just off of Highway 221 between West Jefferson and Deep Gap, Fleetwood is home of great community gatherings at the Fleetwood Community Center and the local volunteer ﬁre department. On your way to and from the busy towns of Boone and West Jefferson, stop by to look at local crafts, antiques and civic pride in Fleetwood. CONTINUED ON PAGE 15 PAGE 16 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide 2012 2012 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide PAGE 17 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 18 2012 Our Towns CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15 Lansing Whether you’re looking for a town reminiscent of the past or a town that offers whispers of tomorrow, the small, friendly town of Lansing beckons to travelers from near and far to visit and relax while browsing its shops, trying some home cooking and tasting some locally made wine. The town, in the northwestern section of Ashe County, is 20 minutes from Jefferson and West Jefferson, and is only 45 minutes from Boone. Travelers can arrive in the town in less than an hour from Abingdon, Va., or Mountain City, Tenn. The town has one red light, and several businesses line the street. Home-cooked meals can be found at Country House Restaurant, while pizza, sandwiches and salad, along with specialty teas and fresh roasted coffee, are available at Pie on the Mountain. The ﬁrst post ofﬁce in the town was established in 1882 and served a rural community, made up of a village and outlying farms until the railroad made its appearance, according to www.lansingnc.com. The economy and population begin to take off by 1914 as the Norfolk and Western Railroad, better known as the Virginia Creeper, came to town. A big commodity for area residents was iron ore mined from the mountains. The railroad served as an avenue to transport the ore to markets in Richmond, Va., and Pittsburgh, Pa. During its history, Lansing had a cheese plant, clothing store, cofﬁn shop, doctor’s ofﬁce, bank and a restaurant, according to the town’s website. The cheese plant allowed area farmers to bring their goods to sale instead of having to travel into West Jefferson. The town was chartered and incorporated in 1928. Lansing faced two devastating ﬁres in the 1930s and ’40s and faced Hurricane Hugo later that century. Despite these setbacks, the town continued to ﬂourish and expand. The Works and Progress Administration built the Lansing High School in 1941, using local granite stone. The school still stands today and is home to New River Winery. The scenic Virginia Creeper biking trail is available to visitors as is the town’s park. For more information about Lansing, visit www. lansingnc.com. Laurel Springs Another border community, Laurel Springs prides itself with small town charm and beauty that entices motorists from the Blue Ridge Parkway for a quick bite to eat before continuing their adventure on the scenic byway. Although it is located at the top mountain and touches Wilkes, Alleghany and Ashe counties, Laurel CONTINUED ON PAGE 19 Downtown West Jefferson is home to many murals that line the main thoroughfare. FILE PHOTO THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 PAGE 19 Our Towns CONTINUED FROM PAGE 18 is never more than a 30-minute drive from the listed county seats. Also, be sure to stop by Thistle Meadow Winery for individualized tours of a family owned wine business. West Jefferson With a thriving arts district and Christmas trees galore, West Jefferson makes its mark on the High Country as a destination for locals, as well as visitors. The town was built around the Virginia-Carolina Railroad depot during the early 1900s. According to the town’s history, the ﬁrst ownership of the valley now known as West Jefferson began in 1779 when N.C. Gov. Richard Caswell granted 320 acres to Col. Ben Cleveland, who battled the British at King’s Mountain. More than a century later, the West Jefferson Land Company surveyed the new town and ﬁxed its limits as a square one-half mile north, south, east and west of the Virginia-Carolina Depot. The town was chartered in 1915. The town’s initial growth came through the railroad, but early development was also spurred by the opening of the First National Bank of West Jefferson in 1915. CONTINUED ON PAGE 20 Laurel Springs is a beautiful community worthy of a photographer’s lens and is just a 30-minute drive from the local towns in Ashe County. PHOTO BY ROB MOORE | MTNSNAPSHOTS.COM PAGE 20 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 The landscape in Ashe County is covered with designs created by the local tree farmers. The summer is preperation time for the next season of Christmas trees, and they can be seen around almost every bend from Jefferson, Lansing and Glendale Springs. PHOTO BY ROB MOORE | MTNSNAPSHOTS.COM Our Towns CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 The bank’s branch ofﬁce, built in 1962, is now home to West Jefferson Town Hall. The town continues to thrive today and has a little something for everyone. Those visiting the town can browse one of the many art galleries, gift shops and retail stores. West Jefferson is home to many varieties of artwork, from paintings and photographs to sculptures and quilted items. More information about the area’s art district can be found at the Ashe Arts Center, located at 303 School Ave., just off East Main Street. The center is home to the Ashe County Arts Council which sponsors a variety of community programming and exhibits throughout the year. A popular spot in the town is the Ashe County Cheese Plant where visitors can see cheese made and go across the street to the Ashe County Cheese Store to purchase a variety of cheeses, from cheddar to pepper jack and the celebrated cheese curds. Old-fashioned snacks and candies and locally made wines can also be purchased at the store. The cheese plant is open year round and located at 106 E. Main St. in West Jefferson. Just outside West Jefferson, in the Beaver Creek community, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church can be found. The church is the location for a fresco of Jesus on the cross by renowned artist Ben Long. A painting of Madonna with child also hangs on the sanctuary wall. Local eateries and cafes offer all sorts of tasty treats, coffee, spirits and more, from one end of the town to the other. For more information, visit www.visitwestjefferson. org. The Hike Country 2012 BY KELLEN MOORE Y ou can’t say you’ve been to the High Country until you’ve put boots on the ground. Whether you’re looking for an easy, breezy jaunt or a challenging, technical climb, the High Country is guaranteed to provide. Few know that as well as Dave Johnson, president of the Chargers and Rechargers Hiking Club, an informal group of hiking enthusiasts from Boone and the surrounding area. Johnson said the group got its start about 30 years ago with a wildﬂower class taught at Mayland Community College and today includes about 180 households. The group has traversed many of the High Country’s most notable trails. “I really do not know where in the world one would ﬁnd such an extensive set of foot trails nearby,” Johnson said. “Most all the trails are well-marked, well-maintained, not too demanding, sublime in natural beauty — from rocky overlooks to mountain meadows, wildﬂowers, mountain streams, lakes, waterfalls and cascades — and are accessible in all four seasons.” Johnson said the great thing about hiking is that it’s ultimately just walking — an act our ancestors did for THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE thousands of years without the help of books, specialized shoes or equipment. Those who are not experienced hikers should plan to start small with short distances on frequently traveled trails, Johnson said. Consider packing lots of water, a snack, rain jacket, sunscreen, a ﬂashlight, cell phone, map and a ﬁrst aid kit. “Whether experienced or not, tell someone responsible exactly where you are going, exactly when you plan to return and instructions of who to call if you do not return on time,” Johnson said. Visitors are also welcome to join the Chargers and Rechargers Hiking Club, which sets out each Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. More information about dues and schedules is available at http://boonenc.org/hiking. While the trails of the High Country are too numerous to name them all, we’ve compiled a few of the favorites to suit your hiking needs. PAGE 21 Easy Trails MOSES H. CONE MEMORIAL PARK The carriage trails off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Blowing Rock offer an easy climb with smooth, wide paths. The loop from Bass Lake to the Flat Top Manor is well traversed, but be prepared to share the space with runners and horses. PRICE LAKE Located off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Milepost 296 outside Blowing Rock, this trail is a loop of about 2.4 miles. With little elevation change, Price Lake offers many opportunities to pause and view the pristine lake. Local Favorites ROUGH RIDGE CONTINUED ON PAGE 22 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide PAGE 22 2012 rough ridge is a popular trail for day hikers. Start at either Wilson Creek overlook (milepost 303.6) or rough ridge overlook (milepost 302.8) and venture up to the top for some beautiful views. this hike is relatively easy, but be prepared for some bouldering. Photo by Rob MooRE | MtNSNAPShotS.CoM The Hike Country ContinuEd From PAGE 21 The ideal mountain hike is at Rough Ridge, a trail with glorious views just a short walk from the Blue Ridge Parkway near Milepost 302. The trail leads to a set of boulders where the long-range views are unmatched. The trail can get busy during the height of summer. Elk knob StatE Park One of the stateâ€™s newest parks, Elk Knob State Park offers a single short but steep trail that also ends with tremendous views. The trail was finished last fall with the help of dozens of volunteers. The park is located off Meat Camp Road outside Boone. GrandfathEr Mountain The network of trails at Grandfather Mountain offers both day hikes and light backpacking. Accessible from both the tourist attraction and from N.C. 105 South, the Profile Trail allows visitors to see the rock face that acContinuEd on PAGE 23 Elk Knob has a wonderful three-state view once you trek the 1.9 miles to the top. this is a perfect day hike and is easy to moderate for those hikers looking for a nice day in the High Country. Photo by Rob MooRE | MtNSNAPShotS.CoM 2012 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 23 The Hike Country CONTINUED FROM PAGE 22 tually inspired the name “Grandfather Mountain” — and it may not be the one you think. The Big Daddies MOUNTAINS TO SEA TRAIL The Mountains to Sea Trail, when complete, will stretch from the Tennessee border to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The portion that crosses through the High Country is marked with white blazes and can be accessed easily from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Look for posts with white arrows and “MST.” Because this is part of a much longer trail, out-and-back will likely be the best route. THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL Grandfather Mountain has a trail system that is challenging, but worth the views. The Grandfather Trail travels the ridgeline from the Mile-High Swinging Bridge to Calloway Peak and has plenty of ropes and ladders. PHOTO BY ROB MOORE | MTNSNAPSHOTS.COM One of the nation’s most proliﬁc trails stretches from Georgia in the South to Maine in the North, passing through the High Country in several places. Roan Mountain in Tennessee and Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia offer some of the best access points for visitors who have a day to spare in the High Country. PAGE 24 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide 2012 2012 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide PAGE 25 PAGE 26 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE s n i a t n u o M 2012 You’re in the Try rock climbing BY ANNA OAKES T he Blue Ridge Mountains have a few features that you may not see at home, including rocks – big rocks. And leave it to mountaineers to want to conquer them. You too can become a mountaineer during your visit to the High Country, overcoming boulders and rock faces with only your ﬁngers, toes and mental fortitude. And thanks to modern equipment and experienced guide services, families — from children to grandparents — can climb very safely. If you’d like to try rock climbing for the ﬁrst time or improve your climbing skills, stop by Rock Dimensions, located in downtown Boone. Just look for the 40-foot climbing tower on Depot Street, which features varying climbing terrain and opportunities for beginners or seasoned veterans. With guides certiﬁed by the Professional Climbing Instructors Association, Rock Dimensions provides half-day or full-day guided climbing trips for beginning or intermediatelevel climbers. “We offer guided rock climbing trips to places in the immediate area right around Boone,” said Jenny Allen, co-owner of Rock Dimensions. Destinations include the Linville Gorge Wilderness and the Wilson Creek area. “There’s hard stuff for really dedicated, experienced climbing, but then there’s stuff that’s really aesthetic,” Allen said. Group sizes are limited to protect the environment and allow for maximum participation. “For the most part, people get really private experiences,” Allen said. “They’re not kind of lost in the crowd.” Allen said Rock Dimensions has worked with couples, parents with kids, bachelor parties and other groups. In the summer, Rock Dimensions offers multiple camps for kids and teens. “The half-day trip by far is the most popular,” she noted. Rock Dimensions provides all equipment needed, including harnesses, helmets, ropes, belay and rappel devices, anchoring equipment and climbing shoes. In addition to climbing, Rock Dimensions offers a ropes course, teambuilding activities and caving expeditions to Worley’s Cave in Tennessee and Robert’s Cave in Virginia. For more information, call (828) 265-3544 or visit www.rockdimensions.com. Climbers in the High Country enjoy fantastic scenery, while overcoming mental and physical challenges. PHOTOS COURTESY ROCK DIMENSIONS CLIMBING GUIDES ROCK DIMENSIONS 131-B S. Depot St. Boone, NC 28607 (828) 265-3544 firstname.lastname@example.org www.rockdimensions.com EDGE OF THE WORLD 394 Shawneehaw Ave. Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 (828) 898-9550 www.edgeoworld.com 2012 CAMPING in the High Country THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 27 BY ANNA OAKES N othing beats a night under the stars in the cool mountain air. If a camping adventure is part of your High Country itinerary, the information about backcountry camping and vehicular camping below will help guide you to the perfect camping spot. Backcountry Camping Backcountry camping is permitted in national forests; you must be at least 1,000 feet from vehicular roads and parking and recreation areas. Pack light and use maps and a compass to avoid getting lost. Fires are prohibited in many areas, and using a camp stove is recommended. Note that backcountry camping is prohibited on the Blue Ridge Parkway. LINVILLE GORGE Camping is permitted in the Linville Gorge Wilderness, but permits are required on weekends and holidays May 1 to Oct. 31. Permits are available at the CONTINUED ON PAGE 28 Pitch your tent and let nature take care of the rest during your camping trip in the High Country. PHOTO SUBMITTED THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 28 Camping CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27 Linville Gorge Information Cabin on Kistler Memorial Highway from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week April through October. GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN Thirteen backcountry campsites are available. No fee is required, but campers are asked to self-register at trailheads either at the Proﬁle Trail or Blue Ridge Parkway parking areas. Campgrounds For those who prefer the convenience of vehicular access but still crave the thrill of camping outdoors, the High Country offers numerous campgrounds. Several are listed below. Rates vary; call for more information. KOA 123 Harmony Mountain Lane Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 264-7250 Located just outside of the Boone town limits off of N.C. 194, the Boone KOA 2012 Campground has tent sites, cabins and full RV hookups, as well as a pool, mini golf, arcade games and a farm animal mini zoo. JULIAN PRICE PARK CAMPGROUND Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 297 (828) 963-5911 Located a few minutes south of Blowing Rock on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Julian Price Memorial Park features a campground with non-electric RV and tent sites, as well as bathroom and drinking water facilities. Campers have convenient access to hiking trails, ﬁshing and boat rentals on Price Lake and picnic facilities. Park rangers offer regular interpretative programs at the campground’s amphitheater. The campground is open from early May through the fall leaf season. GRANDFATHER CAMPGROUND 125 Proﬁle View Road Banner Elk, N.C. (828) 355-4535 Located just off of N.C. 105 about 10 miles south of Boone, Grandfather Campground offers full RV hookups, primitive tent sites and fully furnished cabin rentals. Features and amenities include three bathhouses with hot showers; a camp store with ﬁrewood, ice and laundry machines; free WiFi access; and a hiking trail and playground. The campground borders the Watauga River. Pets are allowed on a leash in the campground but not in the cabins. HONEY BEAR CAMPGROUND 229 Honey Bear Campground Road Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 963-4586 Honey Bear Campground features wooded camping sites, a small pond and a hiking trail. Pets are allowed, and a guest laundry service is available. FLINTLOCK CAMPGROUND 171 Flintlock Campground Drive Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 963-5325 Conveniently located off of N.C. 105 between Boone and Linville, Flintlock Campground offers tent sites, cabin rentals and full RV hookups. Also featured are hot showers, free WiFi, picnic tables, laundry services, a camp store and a covered pavilion. BLUE BEAR MOUNTAIN CAMP 196 Blue Bear Mountain Road Todd, N.C. 28684 (828) 406-4226 Blue Bear Mountain Campground is lo- cated eight miles from Boone in the beautiful community of Todd. The number of campsites is limited to provide spacious, private, low-density camping for RVs and tents. The new campground offers full hookups, hot showers, a laundry room, camping supplies and trout ﬁshing. VANDERPOOL CAMPGROUND 120 Campground Road Vilas, N.C. 28692 (828) 297-3486 Vanderpool Campground in Vilas offers RV and tent camping. No alcohol, ﬁrearms or foul language is allowed. The campground features a camp store that sells ice, ﬁrewood, snacks and RV supplies. The facility also offers WiFi access and outdoor games. HELTON CREEK CAMPGROUND 2047 Helton Road Grassy Creek, N.C. 28631 (336) 384-2320 Helton Creek Campground is nestled in the banks of Helton Creek in Ashe County. The campground is minutes away from the New River, Virginia Creeper Trail, Shatley Springs and Mount Rogers. Shady and peaceful sites are available for tents and RV hookups. RIVERCAMP USA/RV PARK AND CAMPGROUND 2221 Kings Creek Road Piney Creek, N.C. 28663 (336) 982-2267 CONTINUED ON PAGE 29 2012 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 29 Camping CONTINUED FROM PAGE 28 Located on the New River, RiverCamp USA provides sites for tents, pop-ups and RVs with full hookups. Enjoy many outdoor activities, including ﬁshing, hiking and biking. Canoes, kayaks and tubes are available for rent. The country store has snacks, beverages, beer and wine, ice, ﬁrewood, ﬁshing supplies, bait and limited groceries. Picnic tables, ﬁre rings, playground, laundry and hot showers are also available to all campers. RACCOON HOLLER CAMPGROUND 493 Raccoon Holler Road Glendale Springs, N.C. 28629 (336) 982-2706 Raccoon Holler is located just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway between mileposts 257 and 258. The campground offers 150 sites with full hookups and 35 sites with water and electricity. Modern bathhouses, laundry facilities and cable access are available. The site features a recreation building, playground and activity ﬁeld. DOWN BY THE RIVER CAMPGROUND 292 River Campground Road Pineola, N.C. 28662 (828) 733-5057 Down by the River Campground offers RV and tent sites, an indoor activity center, a small outdoor pavilion and laundry services. Pets are allowed. BUCK HILL CAMPGROUND 6401 South U.S. 19E Plumtree, N.C. 28664 (828) 766-6162 Located along 1,600 feet of the North Toe River, Buck Hill Campground offers 60 large shady RV sites, each equipped with picnic tables, ﬁre pits and full hookups. Enjoy a lazy ride down the river on your inner tube or spend the day ﬁshing from our trout ﬁlled waters. Camping Tips • Bring warm clothes and linens. High Country summers bring delightful weather during the day, but the mercury can dip into cool temperatures at night. Be prepared. • Lather on sunscreen and bug spray. Contrary to some beliefs, mosquitos and other bugs do thrive in the moun- tains. And while it may not be as muggy here as in the lower elevations, you’ll get sunburned just as easily. • Leave the ﬁrewood at home. Firewood from locations outside of the High Country can transfer nonnative, invasive species that can disturb the local ecosystem. Many camping facilities sell ﬁrewood on site. PAGE 30 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide 2012 2012 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide PAGE 31 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 32 Going Strolling 2012 Walking Trails of the High Country FROM STAFF REPORTS I f you don’t feel like spending the afternoon indoors or taking on a strenuous peak in the numerous hiking trails around Western North Carolina, consider these walking trails that offer a less strenuous, but just as beautiful view of local scenery. BANNER ELK GREENWAY This walk involves 1.1 miles of trail and begins in the park and goes through different paths to the Art Cellar Gallery, boasting a nice view. LEE AND VIVIAN REYNOLDS GREENWAY TRAIL The greenway is located behind State Farm Road in Boone, with an entrance by the Watauga County Parks and Recreation complex and the National Guard Armory. The paved trail is 3 miles long, but relatively ﬂat, winding back and forth past a creek. Some other hiking trails go off the main path. More information is available at (828) 264-9511. MOSES H. CONE MEMORIAL PARK Whether you are looking for a strenuous hike up a mountain or a light walk on the paved paths, Cone Memorial Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway has more than 25 miles of trails to suit the level of walking difﬁculty of your choice. Ask at the Manor House during operating hours for a recommendation of the best trail for your plan — some trails also allow horseback riding. JULIAN PRICE MEMORIAL PARK The Price Lake Loop Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway is a 2.7-mile trail around the ﬁshing-and-canoeing hot spot Price Lake; the relatively ﬂat trail is ideal for trail runners and walkers alike. The park also has six other trails that range from moderate to strenuous (including the famed 13.5-mile Tanawha Trail). Area greenway trails, like Boone’s, are ideal for casual and scenic strolls. PHOTO SUBMITTED GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN Although Grandfather has some of the most strenuous hikes in the High Country along the face-silhouette peaks, it also boasts some lower difﬁculty trails. The gentler paths can be reached via the summit road, creating a low-impact chance to view the area’s natural landscapes. GLEN BURNEY TRAIL Within Blowing Rock, this trail is relatively steep, but only 1.5 miles with a turn-around, which goes past three waterfalls. More information is available at the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce. Tips for Trekkers • • • • Never hike alone; while walking may seem low-impact, if you get hurt far from help, the situation can quickly become dangerous and painful. Bring plenty of energy-ﬁlled snacks and lots of water to keep you hydrated on the trail; you will feel better while you walk and will be less tired after the trip. Wear appropriate shoes, and plan for the weather. Often trails in the mountains will still be muddy or full of puddles two or three days after a big rainstorm, so make sure you have waterproof shoes for the journey. Avoid touching unfamiliar plants, and speciﬁcally know the look of poisonous plants like poison ivy; staying on the blazed trails is the best way to avoid rashes from plants. 2012 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide PAGE 33 Zip, PAGE 34 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 zip and away High Country Ziplines BY KELLEN MOORE A nyone who comes to the mountains seeking adventure shouldn’t return home without a ride on the zipline. Soaring through the air at tens or even hundreds of feet above the ground is an exhilarating test of daring even for mom and dad. Just trust us: Try it once, and you’ll never want to stop. The High Country offers several zipline options on which to prove your courage, including Hawksnest Zipline at Seven Devils, Screaming Ziplines in Zionville and Sky Valley Zip Tours in Boone. SKY VALLEY ZIP TOURS Sky Valley Zip Tours is the area’s newest zipline experience, opening in May 2012. “Canopy rangers” guide guests on nine zips totaling more than one mile, and the two longest lines are about 300 feet off the ground, said William Young, general manager of Plumtree Canopy Tours in Avery County, which formed the new course. “It is quite thrilling,” Young said. “When you go off that ﬁrst long line, the ground’s right under you to start out with, and it very quickly disappears.” Sky Valley also offers two “skyjumps” in which guests jump from a 35-foot rock face and 55-foot platform, offering a few seconds of freefall before the belay feature kicks in, Young said. There’s a swinging bridge across a waterfall on the property, allowing kids and adults to play Indiana Jones. Call (855) 4-SKY-ZIP or visit skyvalleyziptours.com for more information. To get to Sky Valley, turn left off U.S. 321 in Boone onto Winkler’s Creek Road. Turn right shortly after the Boone Mall to continue on Winkler’s Creek Road. Travel about 2.5 miles until you see Camp Sky Ranch on left. SCREAMING ZIPLINES If Sky Valley is the new kid on the block, Screaming Ziplines is the classic gem. The High Country’s premier zipline experience, Screaming Ziplines is a bit different than the others in that it does not include any handbraking system. A zipline rider flies at an unbelievable height at Sky Valley Zip Tours outside Boone. PHOTOS COURTESY OF SKY VALLEY ZIP TOURS Visitors will ride a 6WD Swiss army vehicle to the top of the mountain to begin the series of eight zips totaling more than one mile of cable. The tour begins with the shortest zip at 450 feet long, and the cables get longer and longer from there, said owner Steve Gustafson. “The zipping experience itself zig-zags down that mountain ridge,” he said. Screaming Ziplines also offers a triple-wide zipline that allows three people to “race” to the end, he said. Call (828) 898-5404 or visit screamingziplines.com for more information. To get to Screaming Ziplines, take U.S. 421 North from downtown Boone about 13 miles until you reach 9250 U.S. 421 North in Zionville. HAWKSNEST ZIPLINES Last but not least, Hawksnest Ziplines is also not for the faint of heart. CONTINUED ON PAGE 35 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 Emily Johnson rides the zipline at Sky Valley Zip Tours near Boone. Zip, zip and away CONTINUED FROM PAGE 34 The site offers a whopping 19 zip lines totaling more than four miles. Four of the cables are “super” or “mega-zips” more than 1,500 feet long. Hawksnest is remarkable for its panoramic views, and riders can coast over trees, ponds, creeks and hills as they continue on the tour. Owner Lenny Cottom said Hawksnest is an excellent setting for families, and children as young as 5 can participate. “It’s a conﬁdence-building thing because it’s something outside their small box,” Cottom said. “It takes courage to step off the platform.” Return in winter to soar over the snow tubing area at Hawksnest. Call (828) 963-6561 or visit hawksnestzipline.com for more information. From Boone or Banner Elk, take N.C. 105 until you see signs for Seven Devils. Follow the signs up the mountain to the park. PAGE 35 PAGE 36 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide 2012 2012 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide PAGE 37 PAGE 38 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 e h T REEL W O R L D Fishing in the High Country BY KELLEN MOORE T here’s a reason so many songs have been written about ﬁshing. A lazy day on the water is like poetry in motion, and the High Country provides the perfect arrangement for ﬁshermen old and new. Northwestern North Carolina is home to hundreds of miles of ﬁshable waters, chock full of several types of trout, as well as smallmouth bass and other ﬁsh. “Anywhere you see a stream, if it is more than about three-feet wide, it’s got trout in it,” said Kelly McCoy, owner of RiverGirl Fishing Company in Todd. The primary ﬁshing spots locally are along the Watauga and New Rivers, some portions of which are stocked. The local ﬁshing shops offer a great way for newcomers to the area to get their feet wet, so to speak. “Probably half of the people we take ﬁshing have deﬁnitely not ﬂy ﬁshed before, and a lot of them have not ﬁshed at all,” said Slate Lacy, owner of Foscoe Fishing Company. Lacy said his company leads most of its operation at the Watauga River, where an 8- to 10-inch ﬁsh is a great catch. But it’s not out of the question to ﬁnd a ﬁsh as big as 16 or 18 inches, he said. McCoy noted that at any given time, you might catch the brook trout, which has thrived in the area for centuries, or its cousins, the rainbow trout and brown trout. The New River, however, is better known for its smallmouth bass. “The smallmouth bass may not have the colors of the trout, but they pull on your line like it’s nobody’s business,” she said. While the thrill of the hunt is what attracts some ﬁshermen, others are more interested in a guaranteed catch. Grandfather Trout Farm, located in Banner Elk, is geared toward families with children or folks looking for fresh ﬁsh for dinner. The pond offers free equipment, tackle and bait for use in three ponds stocked with rainbow trout. “Everyone goes away with a smile,” CONTINUED ON PAGE 39 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 The Reel World CONTINUED FROM PAGE 38 PAGE 39 LOCAL FISHING OUTFITTERS APPALACHIAN ANGLER owner Bill Wilkinson said. “You’re guaranteed to catch a ﬁsh at our place.” Whether you’re ﬁshing beside a still lake or traipsing through the woods to a secluded ﬁshing hole, keep in mind these tips from locals: • • Consider visiting a ﬁshing shop before you head out. They can provide your ﬁshing license and give you a primer on the complex rules and regulations. Take pants and closed-toe shoes. Some of the best ﬁshing holes involve a bit of bushwhacking. • Don’t forget the sunscreen. • Be mindful of snakes and ticks. • Plan your “ﬁshing tale” ahead of time. The story of your 30-pound catch will sound more believable if you’ve practiced it a time or two. 174 Old Shulls Mill Road, Boone (828) 963-5050 www.appangler.com ELK CREEK OUTFITTERS 1560 N.C. 105, Boone (828) 264-6497 www.ecoﬂyﬁshing.com FOSCOE FISHING COMPANY & OUTFITTERS 8857 N.C. 105, Boone (828) 963-6556 www.foscoeﬁshing.com GRANDFATHER TROUT FARM 10767 N.C. 105, Banner Elk (828) 963-5098 www.grandfathertroutfarm.com Norman and Anita Herold of Lenoir prowl for fish at Price Lake off the Blue Ridge Parkway. PHOTOS BY KELLEN MOORE RICK’S SMALLMOUTH ADVENTURES RIVERGIRL FISHING CO. WATAUGA RIVER ANGLERS 1757 Pleasant Home Road, Sparta (336) 372-8321 www.ﬁshthenew.com 4041 Todd Railroad Grade Road, Todd (336) 877-3099 www.rivergirlﬁshing.com 5712 N.C. 105, Vilas (828) 963-5463 www.wataugariveranglers.com Paddle Up THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 40 2012 SUMMER ON THE WATER BY ANNA OAKES F rom swimming holes and kayaking to rafting and boating, the High Country offers tons of ways to enjoy a day on the water. If you’d like to spend a full day or a half day whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking or tubing, seek out the two-time Professional Paddlesports Association’s “Outﬁtter of the Year.” Wahoo’s Adventures, headquartered in Boone, is celebrating its 34th year of operation in 2012, so your family can bet on an exhilarating, safe and professional experience. Whether it’s the fast-paced, churning rapids of the Watauga River, Nolichucky or Wilson Creek or the gentle, relaxing waters of the New River, Wahoo’s can get you there with all of the equipment you’ll need. “We offer anything from the mildest adventure for the smallest of children and seniors up to extreme whitewater,” said Jeff Stanley, owner of Wahoo’s. For customers’ convenience, Wahoo’s has riverfront stores on the New River and Watauga River, with hot showers, picnic facilities, changing rooms, photo booths and supplies. For those taking a trip down the Nolichucky River, a store is located along the shuttle route. “All are designed to offer our guests the best of the best,” Stanley said. The outﬁtter even partners with local restaurants, including The Gamekeeper, Crippen’s and Casa Rustica, to provide catered trips down the river — that’s right, you can eat while you ﬂoat. Stanley emphasized the capable crews on hand for Wahoo’s Adventures, including professional guides with degrees in outdoor recreation. “We have guides who have been with us almost 20 years,” he said. If you’re spending time in the Ashe County area, consider spending a day (or weekend) with RiverCamp USA in Piney Creek, only miles away from the Virginia state border. Located along the peaceful and historic New River, RiverCamp USA offers canoe, kayak and tube rentals for a leisurely ﬂoat. River tube rentals are available for a two-hour ﬂoat with a shuttle back up the river, as well as four-hour and all-day ﬂoats. Canoes and kayaks are available for two- to 10-hour trips, and even overnight. And if you have such a great time on the river that you want to do it again the next day, plan to stay a while — RiverCamp USA has riverside camping sites for tents, Wahoo’s is the oldest whitewater outfitter in the High Country. PHOTO SUBMITTED pop-ups and RVs, with full hookups, picnic tables, ﬁre rings, a playground, laundry services and hot showers available to all campers. Back in Boone, River & Earth Adventures is your launching pad for whitewater rafting on the Watauga and French Broad rivers or canoeing in Todd. If you need to dry off for a bit, take advantage of the other adventures River & Earth has to offer, including rock climbing, caving and gem mining. If a day on the lake is more up your alley, you won’t have to travel far. In Banner Elk, Wildcat Lake, located on Hickory Nut Gap Road, offers a sandy beach, playground, picnic area and cool waters for swimming and trout ﬁshing. Lifeguards are on duty during summer hours. Just across the state line in Tennessee, Watauga Lake has opportunities for swimming, boating, sailing, ﬁshing and picnicking. Several marinas offer rentals of pontoon boats, speedboats and jet skis. CONTINUED TO PAGE 41 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 Paddle Up CONTINUED FROM PAGE 40 River Outfitters EDGE OF THE WORLD 394 Shawneehaw Ave. Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 (828) 898-9550 www.edgeoworld.com HIGH MOUNTAIN EXPEDITIONS 1380 N.C. 105 Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 264-7368 www.highmountainexpeditions.com RIVER & EARTH ADVENTURES 1655 N.C. 105 South Boone, N.C. 28692 (828) 963-5491 www.raftcavehike.com RIVERCAMP USA 2221 Kings Creek Road Piney Creek, N.C. 28663 (336) 359-2267 www.rivercampusa.com WAHOO’S ADVENTURES 3385 South U.S. 321 Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 262-5774 or (800) 444-RAFT www.wahoosadventures.com ZALOO’S CANOES 3874 N.C. 16 South Jefferson, N.C. 28640 (800) 535-4027 email@example.com www.zaloos.com WATAUGA KAYAK 1409 Broad St. Elizabethton, Tenn. 37643 (423) 542-6777 www.wataugakayak.com Watauga Lake Marinas COVE RIDGE MARINA 947 Piercetown Road Butler, Tenn. 37640 (423) 768-3741 firstname.lastname@example.org www.coveridgemarina.com FISH SPRINGS MARINA 191 Fish Springs Road Hampton, Tenn. 37658 (423) 768-2336 www.ﬁshspringsmarina.com LAKESHORE MARINA 2285 U.S. 321 Hampton, TN 37658 (423) 725-2201 email@example.com PIONEER LANDING MARINA AND CAMPGROUND 105 Cowan Town Road Butler, TN 37640 (423) 768-3164 firstname.lastname@example.org www.pioneerlanding.com Rent a pontoon boat and float in the safety of the coves at Watauga Lake. PHOTO BY ANNA OAKES PAGE 41 PAGE 42 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide 2012 2012 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide PAGE 43 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 44 BY KELLEN MOORE 2012 Disc-tacular Golf F or anyone who enjoys tossing a Frisbee, the time has come to take it to the next level: disc golf. The deceivingly difﬁcult sport is a lot like traditional golf — except it’s cheaper, more family-friendly, and tee time is whenever you say it is. “You can play it at any level you wish, and it’s very addicting once you get involved with it,” said Todd Patoprsty, an avid disc golfer from Boone. Patoprsty was instrumental in the formation of the High Country’s only public disc golf course, located at Ashe County Park in Jefferson. Designed with the help of Harold Duvall of the Innova Disc Golf company, the Ashe County course draws upon the natural beauty of the landscape to create a challenging and fun experience. Disc golf is much like traditional golf, but instead of a ball and club, it uses the player’s arm and a disc. The discs come in numerous varieties but are typically smaller and heavier than a traditional Frisbee. Players stand at the tee and ﬂing the disc toward the “hole,” a metal structure that includes a basket and set of chains to catch the disc. Like ball golf, disc golf includes numerous trees, rocks and other hazards that must be avoided. An afternoon on the disc golf course literally ﬂies by. While avid disc golfers work hard to perfect their technique and rhythm, even novices can enjoy the thrill of the chase. “It literally is something that everybody can do at all ages,” Patoprsty said. “We’ve had senior citizens out there, and you have young kids out there, and it’s great to see.” Best of all, players can soak up the sun, enjoy a walk and improve their ﬂexibility and arm strength without even noticing. But don’t be surprised if you ﬁnd yourself longing for another chance on the course. “Once you become sort of a seasoned player and take it to the next level, then the mental aspect starts to get in your head,” Patoprsty said. Josh Lyalls putts toward Hole 2 at the disc golf course at Ashe County Park in Jefferson. PHOTO COURTESY OF TODD PATOPRSTY Matt Keatts of Charlotte, in yellow, approaches Hole 9 on the disc golf course at Ashe County Park. PHOTO COURTESY OF TODD PATOPRSTY TEE OFF: To get to the park, start from North Main Street in Jefferson and turn on Ashe Park Road. Ashe County Park is open from 8 a.m. to dusk every day. For more information, call Ashe County Parks and Recreation at (336) 982-6185. For a map of the course, visit http://bit.ly/AsheDiscGolf. Through a joint effort by Innova disc golf, local volunteers and Ashe County Parks and Recreation, the course is now home to two annual events, and players of all skill levels frequent the park throughout the year. FILE PHOTO 2012 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE Virginia Creeper Trail paves way to fun, adventure BY JAMIE SHELL T PAGE 45 he mountainous southwest corner of Virginia is home to likely the easiest mountain bike trail in the world. The Virginia Creeper Trail is a 33mile crushed limestone rail-trail, which descends gently for more than 17 miles at an elevation distance of 1,600 feet from Whitetop to Damascus, Va., then ﬂattens out for a 16-mile run to Abingdon, Va. The Virginia Creeper Trail is located roughly 53 miles from Boone and roughly 67 miles from Newland. For directions, call the Virginia Tourism Corporation at (800) 847-4882. The trail was named after the steam engine that once creeped up the rails into the Iron Mountains. It runs on a rail right-ofway dating to the 1880s that ﬁrst belonged to the Abingdon Coal and Iron Railroad. After investing sizable capital without actually opening, that company went out of business. In the early 1890s, the VirginiaCarolina and Southern Railway purchased the land and assets, but it too had ﬁnancial trouble, allowing the VirginiaCarolina Railway to purchase its assets. As the 20th century began, the VirginiaCarolina Railway began operating in Damascus, Va., and by 1912 the railroad extended to Whitetop and eventually in subsequent years to Elkland (now known as Todd) in North Carolina. The train ran to Todd until 1933, when the terminus moved to West Jefferson. In 1957, the last steam engine retired, replaced by diesel-powered engines. By 1974, the Norfolk and Western Railroad Company petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon the line, and in 1977 hard rains ﬂooded and damaged most of the line, which was left in disorder. In 1977, removal of the track began, and the United States Forest Service for a recreation trail secured the Virginia portion of the rail land, and in 1986, the Rails-toTrails Conservancy began converting old railroad beds into trail systems for hikers and bikers. The land in North Carolina was returned to its landowners, while in Virginia, the right-of-way is owned by the towns of Abingdon and Damascus, the National Park Service and the National Forest Service. The Creeper Trail winds through a number of towns, including Abingdon, Watauga, Alvarado, Damascus, Straight Branch, Taylors Valley, Creek Junction, Green Cove and Whitetop. The elevation of the trail drops approximately 300 feet (91 meters) from Alvarado to the South Holston River and then climbs nearly 2,000 feet (610 meters) to Whitetop. Abingdon at Mile 0 is one of the most popular places to enter the Virginia Creeper Trail. Bikes are available for rental on a half-day or full-day basis nearby for less than $25, with parking and shuttle service available. Other popular access points are at Alvarado (Mile 8.5), Damascus (Mile 15.5), Creek Junction (Mile 25) and Whitetop Station (Mile 32.3). Although no facilities are available on the trail itself, 11 access points lead hikers and bikers to towns, forest service cen- Abingdon at Mile 0 is one of the most popular places to enter the Virginia Creeper Trail. ters, water and toilets year-round. For those concerned about elevation difﬁculties while hiking or riding, the trail is a picturesque and easy path to plod. The trail from Abingdon to Damascus is quite level and is bordered by ﬁelds and pastures, leading visitors to a beaver pond, frogs, cottontail rabbits, gray squirrels and red and gray foxes. Approximately 40 species of birds can be seen while traveling along the trail. From the other end, at Whitetop, bikers love coasting downhill for 18 miles to Damascus. Bikers and hikers should be aware of weather conditions, however, as sudden changes can occur, especially at the higher elevations of Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and Whitetop Mountain. Other activities besides walking and biking await visitors to the Virginia Creeper Trail. Camping is permitted at Mount Rogers National Recreation Area at a distance of at least 100 feet away from the trail. Horseback riding is allowed all along the trail, while ﬁshing at South Holston Lake at Mile 8 and Mile 13 is permitted. East of Damascus, the trail also parallels Whitetop Laurel Creek. If you enjoy the trail in the summer, it can also provide entertainment in the winter, as cross-country skiing on the trail is great in the winter along a snowpacked route. For more information on the Virginia Creeper Trail and its vast outdoors opportunities, click to www.vacreepertrail.com, or contact the Virginia Tourism Corporation at (800) 847-4882. PAGE 46 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 The entrance to Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park’s lower trails. The upper trails can be accessed by riding deeper into the park. PHOTOS BY ROB MOORE | MTNSNAPSHOTS.COM Bicycling in the High Country FROM STAFF REPORTS T he High Country loves bicycles. Mountain bikers, road cyclists, commuters and leisure riders are the people behind the many bikes that dot the area. Whether they are used for transportation, recreation or sport, bicycles provide excellent exercise and are a great way to stay healthy. Mountain views, diverse terrain and mild weather make the High Country a magnetic locale for bike lovers. According to Jacob Florence, a sales associate at Boone Biking & Touring, the season’s climate is also attractive. “We have very low humidity and nice weather, especially during the peak hours of the day when one would want to be riding,” Florence said. While summer usually provides an ideal environment for cycling, the weather can be temperamental. Justin Harris, sales manager at Magic Cycles in Boone, said cyclists should always be prepared for a sudden change. “Have appropriate dress and provisions to be prepared for wet, cold and warm conditions,” he said. Cycling clothes are designed so that they can be removed as a cyclist’s body warms during an outing. Vests and arm warmers are among the items available to cyclists trying to counter varying temperatures. ROCKY KNOB MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK Cyclists who prefer the rougher terrains of off-road trails will ﬁnd pleasure at the new Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park in Watauga County. Many adventurous riders have ﬂocked to the 185-acre park since its opening in May 2011. Watauga County, the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority and Boone Area Cyclists facilitated the creation of the biking destination. Eric Woolridge, director of tourism planning at the Watauga TDA, said those who have visited the park are pleased. “It’s a unique biking experience,” Woolridge said. “The terrain is so diverse, and it’s on a beautiful property.” As the High Country’s only park solely devoted to mountain biking, Rocky Knob currently features more than three miles of trails. “One of the park’s promises was we’d have a place where nearly everybody could enjoy riding a mountain bike,” Rocky Knob trail boss and Boone Area Cyclists member Kristian Jackson said. “We’ve already hit that a little bit with the trails currently out there. They’re appealing to quite a range of folks, but (our newest) trails will allow people to develop and increase their skills in a very controlled and predictable way.” Jackson described the new trails as skill areas. One, aptly titled “Pump, Berm and Jump,” is a jump trail, using the park’s rolling terrain to accelerate the bike by pumping, followed by berms used to change the bike’s direction and then, obviously, the jumps. “They were constructed in a way that everybody who rides at Rocky Knob will be able to roll over them,” he said. “As CONTINUED ON PAGE 47 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 Bicycling CONTINUED FROM PAGE 46 people gain conﬁdence, they can jump them, do tricks, get that experience of ﬂying through the air on a bike – it’s a pretty incredible feeling.” The skill areas are progression based, he added, as the second kicks it up a notch with a couple larger jumps and a log ride that’s more than 80 feet long (but no more than a foot off the ground). “It’s enough that it’s intimidating and challenging to ride, but reasonably safe,” Jackson said. Other “wooden features,” he said, include various ladder bridges – basically wooden, slightly curved ladders fastened on the ground. The third area is where it gets tricky. “We call it the Pepper Patch,” Jackson said, referring to Rocky Knob’s trail rating system, which uses chili peppers to gauge difﬁculty – more peppers mean tougher terrain. “Things are kind of spicy, and the third area is really spicy.” And reasonably so. It features a ladder bridge onto a boulder, one off the boulder, and then a skinny log ride to another boulder. From there, riders roll down a sizable wooden ramp, sending them into a loop of various challenges, from rock gardens to log rides to drops. “These new areas are very modern, very progressive, and they look different than your typical mountain bike trail,” Jackson said. “They’re deﬁnitely causing some excitement and buzz in the local cycling community, because there aren’t many opportunities to ride the kinds of trails we’re getting ready to open up.” In addition to the new skill areas, Rocky Knob features an advanced beginner loop and an intermediate loop. More than four more miles of trails are currently in development, along with shelters and an adventure play area for kids. “By its very nature, the park is rocky,” Jackson said. “We’re trying to work the ﬁrst trail we built to make it even easier, so we can rate it more for beginners and brand new riders. But, with that being said, we do have 6- and 7-year-old riders who go out and enjoy themselves, all a manner of degree.” Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park is located on U.S. 421, just east of Boone. From downtown Boone, take U.S. 421 South toward Wilkesboro. The park is located on the right, seven-tenths of a mile past the Marathon Gas Station off the Bamboo Road/U.S. 421 intersection. For more information on Rocky Knob, visit www.rockyknob.wordpress.com. BOONE AREA CYCLISTS Boone Area Cyclists is a fantastic resource for anyone looking to learn the routes of the High Country and meet fellow cyclists. The club welcomes cyclists of all ages, abilities and styles of riding. BAC’s website offers extensive information and links for area group rides and routes. For more information, visit www. booneareacyclists.com. FULL SERVICE BICYCLE SHOPS IN THE HIGH COUNTRY Magic Cycles 140 S. Depot St. Boone, N.C. (828) 265-2211 www.magiccycles.com Boone Bike & Touring 899 Blowing Rock Road Boone, N.C. (828) 262-5750 www.boonebike.com Some of the small bridges on the Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park’s lower trail. PAGE 47 PAGE 48 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide 2012 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 USA Cycling’s Mountain Bike Gravity National Chamionships returns July 18 to 22. PHOTOS BY ROB MOORE | MTNSNAPSHOTS.COM Sugar and Beech in the Summer Local resorts offer year-round entertainment for outdoor enthusiasts BY JAMIE SHELL B oth Beech Mountain Resort and Sugar Mountain Resort are among the elite destinations for ski and snow enthusiasts in winter. But the resorts also offer excitement and activities for outdoor aﬁcionados through the summer months, as well. With bike and hiking trails, ﬁrst-class outdoor events and the natural beauty CONTINUED ON PAGE 50 PAGE 49 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 Sugar and Beech CONTINUED FROM PAGE 49 of the High County on center stage, both Sugar Mountain Resort and Beech Mountain Resort are a must-do for anyone who loves the great outdoors. Through the summer months, both Sugar and Beech open hiking and biking trails for the outdoor enthusiast. The trails boast a diversity of terrain, as miles of hiking and biking trails intertwine throughout both resort areas. “Sugar Mountain wants to share all of the activities that are available at the mountain year-round,” said Kim Jochl, marketing director at Sugar Mountain Resort. “It gives people who want to spend time in the mountains, in the woods and in nature the opportunity to experience the mountain. Every year we’ve done this, people have enjoyed and look forward to it. In the winter, our lift and trail services are dependent upon weather. We have a good, dry summer season, and we see a lot of activity. A lot of people use the trails, and a diverse group, from kids to seniors to downhill mountain bikers, use the trails.” Beech Mountain offers a number of great activities all year long. In fact, the resort offers something for everyone. Play a round of golf, take a hike, try one of the many mountain bike trails, play a round of tennis or just relax by the pool. Beech Mountain Resort has developed 11 rugged trails with more than 40 miles of adventure for riding enjoyment. Trails on Beech Mountain include Lake Coffey Course, Pond Creek Trail, Grassy Gap Creek Trail, Falls Creek Trail and Cherry Gap Trail, just to name a few. In a similar vein, Sugar appeals to many outdoor lovers, as its 5,300-foot peak may be viewed from lofty heights on scenic chairlift rides that begin during Independence Day weekend and conclude Labor Day weekend. Scenic chairlift rides operate each Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., weather permitting. The 45-minute roundtrip adventure carries viewers on a breathtaking panoramic adventure, offering scenic views of North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, nearby Grandfather Mountain, Roan Mountain and beyond, while families can take advantage of the chairlift for a group outing, picnic lunch and more. The chairs include hooks on the back, offering mountain biking enthusiasts the unique thrill of carrying their bike to the top of Sugar Mountain. Beech Mountain was home to USA Cycling’s Mountain Bike Gravity National Championships in 2011, and the event returns to the mountain Wednesday to Sunday, July 18 to 22. The success of the 2011 event spurred an interest in the cycling community, prompting resort management to further the progression of a lift-accessible mountain bike park. The resort plans to continue the expansion of a unique trail system with a strong focus on beginner terrain, making the thrill of bike racing a reality for a wide variety of cycling skill sets. “We felt a beginner trail was needed to expand the terrain to offer a downhill facility for all skill levels,” Beech Mountain Resort general manager Ryan Costin said. “We hope that with the construction phase this year, that will be accomplished.” Beech also plays host to the muchanticipated Summer Mountain Bike Race Series. The events will occur on select weekends through the summer. The two- Sugar Mountain Resort and Beech Mountain Resort are a must-do for anyone who loves the great outdoors. PAGE 50 Enjoy a ride to the top on one of the scenic chairlifts. day race weekends will offer dual slalom events on Saturday and downhill events on Sunday. For more information on Beech Mountain Resort, call (828) 387-2011, or click to www.beechmountainresort.com. For more information on Sugar Mountain Resort, click to www.skisugar.com, or call (828) 898-4521. THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 PAGE 51 Prospecting We Will Go Gem mining in the High Country FROM STAFF REPORTS E veryone needs a souvenir from their trip to the mountains. Visit one of the area’s gem mines, and you’ll take home both great memories and possibly precious stones. “It’s a unique experience,” said Grant Seldomridge, a junior geologist and raft guide at River and Earth Adventures. “When little kids ﬁnd stuff, their eyes get as big as grapefruits. The kids-at-heart also love it, as well.” Gem mining is one of those experiences where parents won’t mind tagging along. One of the perks is that a miner can spend as little or as much time — and money — searching as he or she would like. Each gem mine offers several different bucket sizes, but regardless of which mine you visit, ﬁnding gems is almost guaranteed. “Not long ago, I think it was this fall, a young girl found an emerald the size of a tennis ball,” Seldomridge said. “If it was cut and polished, it would be worth thousands of dollars.” For those who do ﬁnd keepers, several mines offer onsite cutting and polishing. Beyond the excitement of sifting for treasure, gem mining is also an educational experience in the High Country. Each ﬁnd offers a chance for kids and adults to learn a few things about geology and history. According to the folks at Foggy Mountain Gem Mine, gem-mining played a vital role in shaping the history and development of the mountains of North Carolina. The Native Americans mined mica and other minerals for decoration and trade, and Spanish explorers mined the area for silver and gold. Upon the discovery of a 10-pound gold nugget in Cabarrus County, North Carolina became the center of the ﬁrst American gold rush, enticing many settlers to test their luck in the area. Now, visitors and tourists can do the same. At Foggy Mountain, more than 40 different minerals may be found, with gemstone-quality ore guaranteed in every bucket, such as emeralds, sapphires, rubies, aquamarine, tourmaline, garnet, amethyst, citrine, smoky quartz, topax and more. Few other High Country experiences offer the same thrill and excitement brought on by the possibility of ﬁnding a giant ruby or emerald. “We guarantee folks are going to ﬁnd stuff,” Seldomridge said. “We’ve got buckets laden with minerals. … You name it, it’s in there.” Coraleigh Alveraz works carefully to catch any gems she can find. PHOTO BY KELLEN MOORE Let the Mining Begin! DOC’S ROCKS GEM MINE 129 Mystery Hill Lane, Blowing Rock (828) 264-4499 www.docsrocks.net FOGGY MOUNTAIN GEM MINE 4416 N.C. 105 South, Boone (828) 963-4367 www.foggymountaingems.com THE GREATER FOSCOE MINING CO. 8998 N.C. 105 South, Foscoe (828) 963-5928 www.foscoeminingco.com RIVER AND EARTH ADVENTURES 1655 N.C. 105 South, Boone (828) 963-5491 www.raftcavehike.com PAGE 52 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 Appalachian Skate Park in Jefferson FROM STAFF REPORTS A lthough it is slightly out of the way, dozens of skateboarders make their way to Ashe County Park in Jefferson to test their skills at the Appalachian Skate Park. Originally located in Boone, the Appalachian Skate Park (ASP) was purchased by Ashe County Parks and Recreation (ACPR) in July 2009 from the ASP Committee in Boone. The skate park ofﬁcially opened on Saturday, June 12, 2010, giving a place for anyone riding skateboards or in-line skates (no bicycles) a place to jump, ollie, grind and, generally, have a good time. “It’s a good feeling to know that folks are able to get out there, use the equipment versus it sitting there unused,” said Daniel Quin, athletic director for ACPR. He noted that it “took a while to get the concrete surface proper and correct” for the ramps to be set up on and to get the equipment reassembled, which required reconstructing a few pieces. Quin noted that ofﬁcials considered both concrete and asphalt for the surface, but decided to go with concrete. “It’s a pleasant surface to ride on,” he said. The relocation was welcomed for Buzz Berry, one of the original three ASP investors in Boone who helped design the skate park. “We really needed to provide a safe place for people to enjoy the sport,” Berry said of the ASP. “We wanted to get kids of all ages, whether they be college or adult — anyone who wanted to enjoy the sport of skateboarding — to be able to go to a safe place and enjoy it. We wanted to get them off the sidewalk, out of the streets or in front of businesses and give them a designated place to be.” Berry noted that the ASP was designed ASU student Mike Cutshall pays a visit for “the beginner and intermediate skat- to the Appalachian Skate Park. PHOTO BY MICHAEL BRAGG er, although an advanced skater can still was a happy thing that Ashe County enjoy it” and that it was also “designed for ﬂow, so you can get from one element decided they wanted to welcome it over there. to the other just by rolling across. You “What a beautiful location for it to just keep going from one place to the be, in Ashe Park,” he said. “It was great other non-stop.” news for it to wind up in such a positive Regarding the move, Berry said, “It environment.” Quin said he believes the ASP will bring “a better variety of activities for park users to enjoy” in Jefferson at the 75-acre park that already features two playgrounds, athletic ﬁelds, a disc golf course, a pond for ﬁshing and picnic shelters. ‘What a beautiful location for it to be, in Ashe Park. It was great news for it to wind up in such a positive environment.’ Park ofﬁcials are also stressing the importance of skaters following North Carolina laws that require all users to wear safety helmets along with kneepads and elbow pads. “We want to make sure everyone is safe and is enjoying themselves out there,” said Quin. “Part of that enjoyment is not having people get hurt. We understand that skateboarding is getting scrapes here and there is part of the sport, (because) it’s an inherently dangerous sport.” Quin said he understands the danger because he grew up playing with skateboards. “Again, there are proper measures to be taken to make sure nobody gets hurt really bad and make sure everyone is using the equipment the way it was meant to be used.” Berry noted the importance of safety helmets. “You hit your head the wrong way and that’s it,” he said. For Berry, skating is also an opportunity to help teach self-esteem and that “the only way to learn is to keep trying.” Quin said he encourages anyone who wants to “be a part of the skate park to give input and adopt the park” and to “make sure that vandalism doesn’t happen and rules are being followed so the skate park will be able to permanently stay here.” “There’s a lot of life lessons in skateboarding,” said Berry, “and it’s a great way to meet new friends, too.” For more information about the skate park or Ashe County Park, call Ashe County Parks and Recreation at (336) 982-6185. THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 Movin’ on Up: MOUNT JEFFERSON BY HEATHER CANTER R ising above West Jefferson and Jefferson is an Ashe County jewel known as Mount Jefferson. Known ofﬁcially as the Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, the mountain rises more than 1,600 feet above the area countryside and offers a beautiful destination for locals and visitors. Geographically rare species of plants and animals along with panoramic views draw in more than 90,000 visitors annually. Those traveling to the mountain can enjoy nature hikes, educational programs and picnicking, as well as special events throughout the year. Aside from the magniﬁcent views of the area, hiking on the mountain offers a closer look at park vegetation. The Summit Trail and Rhododendron Trails are both strenuous hikes, while the Lost Province Trail is a more moderate hike. The two overlooks found along the road to the top of Mount Jefferson have plenty of parking and views Overlooks, such as this one on Mount Jefferson, offer a panoramic view of Ashe County’s countryside and even glimpses of mountains as far away as Virginia and Tennessee. PHOTOS BY HEATHER CANTER that can’t be matched anywhere else in the area. The CONTINUED ON PAGE 56 PAGE 53 PAGE 54 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide 2012 2012 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide PAGE 55 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 56 2012 Movin’ on Up CONTINUED FROM PAGE 53 ﬁrst overlook generally includes 60 miles of mountain peaks, and the second overlook provides a view of North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The mountain has all brand new informational signs, which give visitors information about various plant and animal life on the mountain, as well as historical and factual information about Mount Jefferson. Park rangers and staffers have dubbed the mountain “Nature’s Classroom.” Education events held at the mountain give the opportunity to uncover fascinating natural surroundings and make discoveries about the habitat. Interpretive programs are held at the park each month. According to park ranger Tom Randolph, night hikes that take participants from the picnic shelter out to Luther Rock, as well as astronomy, archaeology and medicinal plant programs, are planned for the summer at Mount Jefferson. The programs can also be presented by requests for groups of six or more, and Randolph said homeschool groups are welcome to request a program presentation, as well. To request a special program, call (336) 2469653 or email Randolph at email@example.com. Thanks to a Youth Advocacy grant, a full-time intern will be working at Mount Jefferson this summer and will be planning and coordinating special kids’ activities and programs. Upcoming park programs are listed in the Ashe Mountain Times, on 580 WKSK AM radio and on www. ncparks.gov. A picnic area is open at the park in a wooded location near the summit of Mount Jefferson. The area includes 19 tables and eight grills. There is also an eight-table handicap accessible picnic shelter with a ﬁreplace, large grill and drinking fountain. Those wishing to use the shelter are encouraged to call ahead to reserve the spot or make sure it isn’t in use. Northern Reds and Chestnut Oaks provide a shady spot for a picnic, and area wildlife, such as chipmunks, squirrels and woodchucks, sometimes provides the entertainment. The park is open from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. May through August and 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. in September and October. Ofﬁce hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and closed on state holidays. The park is located at 1481 Mt. Jefferson State Park Road, off U.S. 221 Bypass between Jefferson and West Jefferson. Signs are posted. For more information, call (336) 246-9653, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ncparks. gov. MOUNTAIN OF HISTORY Mount Jefferson was ofﬁcially named in 1952, with the name being chosen in honor of Thomas Jefferson and his father, Peter, who owned land in the area and surveyed the nearby North Carolina–Virginia border in Mt. Jefferson Trails SUMMIT TRAIL Views from the Mount Jefferson overlook stretch for miles and miles. 1749. In the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration constructed a road more than two miles to the summit. When local ofﬁcials could not get road improvements made, two local citizens donated 26 acres of land for a public park, and the improvements were received. After years of support, including donations of land and some purchases of land for the park, Mount Jefferson ﬁnally received the “state park” status in 1956. The mountain lies along the drainage divide between the north and south forks of the New River. With game being plentiful in the region, the area was once a hunting ground for the Cherokee and Shawnee peoples. A local legend says that the caves beneath Mount Jefferson’s ledges served as hideouts for escaped slaves traveling to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Today, the mountain is designated as a national landmark, due to the geographically rare species of plants and animals. The designation was also received due to a recent major study that determined that there are more than 700 different kinds of plants on the mountain, according to Randolph. Mount Jefferson State Park is now home to a Kids in Parks program, Track Trails, which is designed to get kids of all ages outdoors, active and healthy. A grand opening for the program was held in late May at the park, and it will be open all summer. Kids keep track For Your Safety • • Do not feed or approach wildlife. North Carolina is experiencing a rise in incidents of rabies. Report sick or aggressive animals to park staff. When hiking, stay on designated trails and away from cliff faces. Beginning at the parking lot, this strenuous trail ascends 0.3 miles to the highest point on Mount Jefferson at 4,683 feet. RHODODENDRON TRAIL Traversing the ridge top of Mount Jefferson, this strenuous 1.1-mile loop trail is known for its beautiful views and spring ﬂowers of the Catawba rhododendrons. The self-guided Rhododendron Trail follows a ridge southeast, along the crest of the mountain from the summit to Luther Rock, an outcrop of metamorphosed amphibolites. LOST PROVINCE TRAIL The trail branches off the Rhododendron Trail near Luther Rock. Traveling 0.75 miles along the southeast-facing slope of Mount Jefferson, this moderate trail explores a virgin oak/ chestnut forest, providing views of the False Solomon’s seal and other understory species. of the trails they’ve hiked and adventures they’ve taken at the park and then earn Trail Tracker Gear. For more information about the program, visit www.kidsinparks. com. • • • Be alert to approaching storms and leave the mountaintop immediately. Venomous snakes, ticks and poison ivy may be found along park trails. Exercise caution. Remember daylight hours are shorter in the fall and winter. Allow plenty of time for a hike to avoid being caught by darkness. Safety tips provided by N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation, a division of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. 2012 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 57 Grandfather Mountain Create mile-high memories tain, guests can enter one of Grandfather Mountain’s most famous attractions, its wildlife habitats. ummertime is the season when the The wildlife habitats at Grandfather rugged terrain of the High Country Mountain give guests the opportunity to invites all comers to peruse its rollcome face to face with some of the High ing hills, quiet glens and towering peaks. Country’s most fascinating, endangered In a treasure trove of natural wonders and beautiful animals. Bears, river otters, that includes endless vistas, deep forests and roaring waterfalls, the crown jewel is cougars, eagles and white-tailed deer all inhabit their own Grandfather Mounnatural areas. With tain. a little forward The realized planning, guests can dream of one of even get a behindthe High Country’s the-scenes tour greatest advocates, of the habitats, or Hugh Morton, even participate in Grandfather Grandfather MounMountain welcomes tain’s “Keeper for a more than 250,000 Day” program. guests from around A map of the 11 the world each year, trails that crisscross educates hundreds Grandfather Mounof local school tain is available by children about clicking to www. the mountains in grandfathermounwhich they live and tain.com. From serves as a venue for gentle to grueling, various events that Visitors of Grandfather Mountain celebrate the music gravitate toward the animal habitats to the trails on Grandand culture of the see the bears, otters, eagles and deer. father Mountain region. PHOTO BY ROB MOORE | MTNSNAPSHOTS.COM give hikers of all ability levels the opOne of the ﬁrst portunity to get up stops a guest at close and personal with some of the most Grandfather Mountain will encounter is distinctive landscapes in all of the ApGrandfather Mountain Nature Museum, palachian Mountains and top peaks that which houses more than 20 exhibits provide 360-degree views that stretch for designed to provide a wealth of informamiles. tion to shed light on guests’ experiences Backcountry trails, some of which around the rest of the mountain. require the use of ladders and cables, will The exhibits cover topics from local take hikers through forest environments geology to wildlife to history. With the that can usually only be found in Canada. knowledge from the museum informing Access to all trails is included as part of the rest of their trip around the mounBY MATTHEW HUNDLEY S park admission. Grandfather Mountain’s naturalists and interpreters provide a broad range of naturalist programs to improve guests’ experiences of the mountain’s trails, habitats and museum. Habitat visits are improved with behind-the-scene habitat tours, in which naturalists provide indepth information on the day-to-day lives of the mountains’ most illustrious residents. Trips along Grandfather Mountain’s miles of trails are even more enlightening when they are part of a guided hike, with a naturalist to illuminate the natural wonders that line the trails. Grandfather Mountain also serves as a destination for amateur naturalists dedicated to birdwatching, geology and wildﬂowers. Information on everything Grandfather Mountain has to offer, CONTINUED ON PAGE 61 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 58 2012 The Blue Ridge Parkway BY KELLEN MOORE Take Photos, Not Plants S top-and-go travel isn’t usually a positive thing. But when it comes to the Blue Ridge Parkway, the phrase takes on a new meaning. Traveling any portion of the 469-mile ribbon of highway offers peace and tranquility, but it’s the stops along the way that truly display the parkway’s unparalleled natural beauty. The Blue Ridge Parkway, which began to be constructed in 1935, helped provide jobs to the unemployed during the Great Depression. Today, it offers just the opposite: a way to escape, rather than provide, the stresses of work. No two sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway are alike. Starting in Ashe County, near the Virginia line, thick meadows and rolling hills intermingle with rock cliffs and breathtaking overlooks. A short half-mile trail at Jumpinoff Rock (milepost 260) ends at a rock patio where visitors can actually look down at soaring birds. Rarely are waterfalls as accessible as the Cascades, just a few miles farther at milepost 279. A moderate 1.5mile loop shows the way to the picturesque falls. As the road gains elevation, the Parkway weaves by Boone and Blowing Rock. The Thunder Hill Overlook at milepost 290 is among the most popular stops, and for good reason. Visitors could stay all day and still not examine every nook and cranny of the 360-degree views. Return at night to take in the pure, unspoiled night sky from this spot. Further still at milepost 296, Price Lake is a place the entire family can enjoy. A 2.3-mile trail winds CONTINUED ON PAGE 59 Trilliums are located in areas along the Parkway. There are several varieties of the wild flower and usually bloom in late spring and early summer. This is a Red Trillium. PHOTO BY ROB MOORE | MTNSNAPSHOTS.COM The Cascades are located at Milepost 271 PHOTO BY KELLEN MOORE An Incredible Journey The Blue Ridge Parkway includes about 100 varieties of trees, 1,600 plant species, 54 mammals and 159 species of birds, according the Blue Ridge Parkway Association. While it can be tempting to claim a part of that natural beauty to take home, it’s important to leave the plants and animals of the Blue Ridge Parkway exactly as you found them. Even casual flower-picking can have a disastrous effect on an ecosystem, so remember to take pictures, not plants. Being a good steward of the Blue Ridge Parkway also means refraining from feeding wild animals and staying on marked trails. At a length of 469 miles, the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the nation’s most visited national parks. PHOTO BY KELLEN MOORE The Linn Cove Viaduct is a feat of modern engineering. PHOTO BY KELLEN MOORE 2012 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 59 The Blue Ridge Parkway CONTINUED FROM PAGE 58 around the lake, providing access to dozens of ﬁshing spots to test your skill. Canoes also can be rented for a pleasure cruise on this lake. After Price Lake, the Blue Ridge Parkway scenery starts to change. The lush overlooks turn to sharp, rocky peaks as the road climbs onto Grandfather Mountain. Take particular care this year to stop at milepost 304 to visit the Linn Cove Viaduct, which celebrates its 25th birthday this fall. The engineering marvel was completed in 1987, exactly 52 years after construction began. The bridge’s late arrival on the parkway scene gave it the nickname “the missing link.” The viaduct was a complex solution to an equally complex problem: how to complete the road without destroying the delicate and ancient ecosystem at Grandfather Mountain. The bridge over land includes 153 segments, each weighing 50 tons. As spectacular as the viaduct is from the top, it’s just as fascinating from below. The Linn Cove Visitor Center includes a short, easy trail below the bridge and an opportunity to examine the structure from a new angle. A few miles farther gets visitors to Linville Falls near milepost 316. The falls drop 90 feet into the Linville Gorge, and viewing the rushing water is easy from several trails at the visitor center. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder that the Price Lake offers opportunities for fishing, boating, canoeing and more, including a 2.3-mile trail around the lake. PHOTO BY FRANK RUGGIERO Blue Ridge Parkway is among the most visited national parks. Try these stops, or make your own. On the Blue Ridge Parkway, there’s nothing wrong with a little stop-and- go trafﬁc. For more information, visit www.blueridgeparkway. org. PAGE 60 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide 2012 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 PAGE 61 Grandfather Mountain CONTINUED FROM PAGE 57 including naturalist programs to improve the park’s various offerings, is available by clicking to www.grandfathermountain.com. But a trip to Grandfather isn’t complete with visiting the famous Mile-High Swinging Bridge, a 228-foot long suspension footbridge that connects two peaks at one mile above sea level. Visitors say that the only thing that compares to the rush of crossing the bridge itself is the spectacular 360-degree view from the other side. Following the link to “Planning Your Visit” will provide information on hours and events throughout the summer. All-day admission is $18 for adults aged 13 to 59, $15 for seniors ages 60 and up, $8 for children ages four to 12 and free for children under 4 years of age. Grandfather Mountain at 2050 Blowing Rock Highway (U.S. 221) in Linville. For more information, call (800) 468-7325 or visit www.grandfather.com. Mountain-Laurel is an evergreen large shrub or small tree that is common on Grandfather Mountain. River otters are one of many residents of Grandfather Mountain’s wildlife habitats. PHOTOS BY FRANK RUGGIERO PAGE 62 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 The Cone Manor is one of the most popular destinations along the Blue Ridge Parkway. PHOTOS BY JEFF EASON Hiking, Horseback Riding and Crafts Cone Manor among Blue Ridge Parkway’s most popular destinations BY JEFF EASON T he Blue Ridge Parkway is visited by more than 16 million people every year, making it the most visited of all of our country’s National Park destinations. And among parkway destinations, Moses Cone Memorial Park in Blowing Rock is one the most popular of the entire 469-mile stretch of scenic highway. When the weather is nice, and even when it’s not, you’ll ﬁnd hikers and horseback riders ﬂocking to the park’s more than 25 miles of hiking and carriage trails. The hiking trails range from “stroll in the park” easy to fairly strenuous. From the front of the Cone Manor, visitors can easily access Rich Mountain Carriage, Horse and Hiking Trail (4.3 miles, moderate); Flat Top Mountain Carriage, Horse and Hiking Trail (3 miles, moderate); Watkins Carriage, Horse and Hiking Trail (3.3 miles, moderate/easy); Black Bottom Carriage, Horse and Hiking Trail (0.5 miles, easy); Bass Lake Horse and Hiking Trail (1.7 miles, easy); Deer Park Carriage, Horse and Hiking Trail (0.8 miles, moderate); Maze Carriage, Horse and Hiking Trail (2.3 miles, moderate); Duncan Carriage, Horse and Hiking Trail (2.5 miles, moderate); Rock Creek Bridge Carriage, Horse and Hiking Trail (1 mile, easy); and Figure 8 Trail (0.7, easy). For more information on the trails, call (828) 295-3782. Maps of the trails are available at the National Park Service information desk inside the Moses Cone Manor. CONTINUED ON PAGE 63 2012 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 63 Hiking, Horseback Riding CONTINUED FROM PAGE 62 A century ago, the Moses Cone Manor was once home to Moses (“The Denim King”) and Bertha Cone. After it was deeded to the National Park Service in the 1940s, it has become a popular destination for folks touring the parkway, and tours of the upstairs portion of the manor are given every Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Cone Manor Estate is also home to the Southern Highland Craft Guild’s Parkway Craft Center. The center features thousands of handmade items from Christmas tree ornaments to sock monkeys, no two alike. Hand-blown glass items, ﬁber works, paintings, sculpture, toys and ceramics are but a few of the types of crafts found in the center. You could literally spend the entire day there and not see all of the items that are for sale. On the front porch of the Moses Cone Manor, the Parkway Craft Center hosts artist demonstrations all summer long. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (with a undetermined break for lunch) artists and craftspeople create unique items on the porch and talk to the public about their creative passions. The year, the artist demonstrators include woodworker Jeff Neil (June 1-3), clay artist Mary Mikkelsen (June 4-7), raku ceramicist Lynn Jenkins (June 8-14), woodworker and dovetail box maker David Crandall (June Raku pottery artist Lynn Jenkins will return to the front porch of the Cone Manor this summer to give demonstrations to the public. 15-17), etcher, engraver and paper artist Jay Pfeil (June 19-21), ﬁber artist and doll-maker Charlie Patricolo (June 22-24), mixed media artist and drum-maker Judi Harwood (June 25-29), wood-turner Allen Davis (June 30-July 5), jeweler and metalsmith Ruthie Cohen (July 6-8), natural materials artist and cornhusk doll-maker Beth Zorbanos (July 9-12), jewelers Kathleen Doyle and Thomas Reardon (July 13-15), wood carver Dan Abernathy (July 19-21), wood block printer and book designer Ellie Kirby (July 22-24), Lynn Jenkins (July 25-29), Native American ﬂute-maker Lee Entrekin (July 30-Aug. 1), ﬁber artist and tatter Donata Jones (Aug. 2), ﬁber artist and tapestry maker Sandy Adair (Aug. 3-5), bookmaker Mary Carol Koester (Aug. 6-9), polymer clay box-maker Harriet Smith (Aug. 10-12), potter Bob Meier (Aug. 13-16), glass jewelry and bead-maker Kim Adams (Aug. 17-19), Judi Harwood (Aug. 20-23), Lynn Jenkins (Aug. 24-30), David Crandall (Aug. 31-Sept. 3), Sandy Adair (Sept. 4-5), woodworkers Bill and Tina Collison (Sept. 6-9), Kim Anderson (Sept. 14-16), Lynn Jenkins (Sept. 17-23), Lee Entrekin (Sept. 24-27) and woodworker Warren Carpenter (Sept. 28-30). For more information, call the craft center at (828) 295-3782. THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 64 2012 Tally Ho! High Country offers a range of possibilities for horse lovers BY JEFF EASON F or more than a century, horse lovers have been bringing their steeds to the mountains of North Carolina during the summer for trail riding, competitions and a chance to socialize with other equestrian enthusiasts. Our relatively cool summers and plentiful streams and rivers ensure that a full day of horseback riding won’t be spoiled by an overheated horse or rider. Eighty-nine years ago, the ﬁrst Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show was held on the grounds of the Green Park Inn. Today, it is the longest continually held annual horse show in the eastern half of the United States. This year, the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show will be held in three stages. The Saddlebred portion of the show will be held Thursday through Saturday, June 7 to 10, and the Hunter/Jumper portion of the show will be held Tuesday through Sunday, June 24 to 29, and Tuesday through Sunday, July 31 to Aug. 5. All stages of the 89th annual Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show will be held at the Blowing Equestrian Preserve, located just west of downtown Blowing Rock off of U.S. 221. CONE MANOR AND BASS LAKE Blowing Rock is also home to the Moses Cone Memorial Park and Bass Lake, both parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Both feature well-maintained riding trails for horse lovers. For access to the Cone Park trails, drive your trailer to Milepost 294 of the Blue Ridge Parkway and pull off at the Cone Manor and Parkway Craft Center. Just past the manor lies the stables where riders can saddle up and access the trails. For access to Bass Lake trails, pull off of U.S. 221 just west of Blowing Rock into a large parking area next to the Bass Lake vehicle entrance. For more infor- mation, call the National Park Service information desk at the Cone Manor at (828) 295-3782. YONAHLOSSEE SADDLE CLUB The Yonahlossee Saddle Club, located between Boone, Blowing Rock and Hound Ears, is a breath of fresh air for the discriminating rider. It features a large indoor arena, outdoor arena, a cross-country course and miles of beautiful trails with views of Grandfather Mountain and Sugar Mountain. Services at the Yonahlossee Saddle Club include boarding, grooming and exercise for horses with owners who are out of town. They also sell high-end horses and currently have quarter horses, quarter ponies, thoroughbreds and Dutch warmbloods for sale. The Yonahlossee Saddle Club is located at 223 Pine Hill Road. For more information, call (828) 387-0390. DUTCH CREEK TRAILS The trail rides, which are open year-round for everyone ages 6 and older, cost $50 each and last for a little more than an hour. There are both wooded trails and ﬁelds on the trail, and scenery abounds. Dutch Creek Trails also boasts its own in-house cowboy poet, Keith Ward, who will keep those campﬁre tales coming. Dutch Creek Trails, located in Vilas, takes cash and checks, and rides step off at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. during the summer. The trails are closed on Sunday. To call ahead for reservations, call (828) 297-7117. For more information, visit www.dutchcreektrails.com. LEATHERWOOD MOUNTAINS Leatherwood Mountains promises a horselover’s paradise, featuring full-service When it comes to horseback riding in the mountains, the High Country is hot to trot. PHOTO BY ROB MOORE | MTNSNAPSHOTS.COM boarding accommodations for horseback riding trips and miles upon miles of trails for riders of all skill levels. Facilities include 75 stalls, show arena and a round pen. Leatherwood also offers horseback riding lessons (reservations required), as well as horseback riding birthday parties. Leatherwood Mountains is located at 512 Meadow Road in Ferguson, just a short drive from Boone. For more information, call (336) 973-5044 or visit www.leatherwoodmountains.com. BANNER ELK STABLES Banner Elk Stables of- fers year-round horseback riding experiences for the entire family. Tours follow a high-mountain trail through the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering scenic vistas of Beech Mountain. With a sizable stable of horses to choose from, Banner Elk Stables also boasts a connection to Hollywood, with some of its horses having in feature ﬁlms, such as “Cinderella” and “National Treasure.” Banner Elk Stables is located at 796 Shoemaker Road in Banner Elk. For more information, call (828) 898-5424 or visit www.bannerelkstables.com. CONTINUED ON PAGE 65 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 PAGE 65 Tally Ho! CONTINUED FROM PAGE 64 BURNT HILL STABLES Nestled in Laurel Springs in picturesque Ashe County, Burnt Hill Stables offers miles of trails that explore the Blue Ridge Mountains and their abundant scenery, all from atop horses ideal for any skill level. Burnt Hill also offers riding lessons, carriage wedding services and horse boarding. Burnt Hill Stables is located at 1102 Burnt Hill Road in Laurel Springs. For more information, call (336) 9822008 or visit www.burnthillstables.com. The 89th annual Blowing Rock Horse Show returns to the High Country for three big weeks this summer. PHOTOS BY JEFF EASON THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 66 2012 Linville Caverns Journey inside a mountain BY MATTHEW HUNDLEY W hen Linville Caverns ﬁrst opened to the public in 1937, visitors slogged their way upstream through 42-degree water in a waterway that helped carve the caverns from the mountain. In the 75 years since, the caverns have been made highly accessible with the inclusion of wheelchair-ready paths that keep visitors well clear of the frigid stream water, freeing them to enjoy a unique example of nature’s artistry. A cavern system like Linville Caverns marks the location where a broad vein of soft limestone encounters the ﬂow of mildly acidic mountain spring water. Given hundreds of thousands of years, the slight acidity in the water will slowly break down the limestone before depositing it, in microscopic increments, in the water’s current, creating elaborate formations called ﬂowstone. While the intricate ﬂowstone formations are a highlight of the tour and of great interest to geologists, guests will also get the opportunity to encounter many other strange and fascinating features of the world beneath the mountain. The caverns’ history as a hideout for Civil War deserters will intrigue history buffs. The wildlife, including blind trout and bats, will delight animal lovers. The seemingly bottomless pools and arching ceilings will spark visitors’ imaginations and leave them with a sense of wonder. Finally, when visitors reach the deepest point on the tour, tour guides often extinguish the lights, drenching explorers in the inky, perfect darkness that can usually only be experienced within caverns or on the ﬂoor of the ocean. While 75 years of improvements have made Linville Caverns much more inviting than they were in 1937, it is still a good idea to come prepared before delving inside of a mountain. Below are a few suggestions to help keep your visit as comfortable as possible. CLOTHING Regardless of the outside weather, the caverns stay a cool 52 degrees all year round. As an active, growing cavern, a good deal of water will be dripping from overhead and over the stones. After a strong summer rainfall, the caverns can become damp. Guests should bring a sweater or light coat on normal days. If it has CONTINUED ON PAGE 69 The Linville Caverns are accessible via a system of walkways. PHOTOS SUBMITTED 2012 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide PAGE 67 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 68 2012 Two Legs or Two Wheels Road Sports on a Higher Level BY SAM CALHOUN D uring winters in the High Country, it’s all four-wheel drive, layers of coats and mittens, but when the sun takes over and spring awakens in these mountains, we shed the vehicles and layers and take to the roads, running, walking and biking among the lush, cascading landscape that is the envy of ﬂatlanders. Featuring some of the coolest summer temperatures and strongest breezes in the South, the High Country serves as an ideal location for a host of foot and bike races and events. Whether you’re a family looking for a fun run, a road biker hoping for a challenge, a professional runner determined to conquer a mountain or a mountain biker itching for national-level competition, Watauga, Avery and Ashe counties supply multiple entry points for the outdoor sport enthusiast. So, ditch the car and the coats, lace up your shoes, take a deep breath, and experience our mountain-carved roads on foot or by bike – you’ll never want to run or bike in the ﬂatlands ever again. On Foot BEECH MOUNTAIN A COOL 5 RACE WEEKEND Date: Friday and Saturday, June 8 and 9 (9 a.m. ﬁve mile, 9:30 a.m. 1.5 mile) Location: Beech Mountain Distance: ﬁve-mile race, 1.5-mile fun run and walk Cost: $30 through June 7; $35 race weekend; $20 kids age 13 and under More information: www.acool5race.com THE CUB RUN Date: Saturday, June 16 (8 a.m.) Location: starts and ﬁnishes at Valle Crucis School Distance: seven miles Cost: $25 advance, $35 race day More information: www.triplecrown.appstate.edu/cub THE BEAR FIVE-MILE RUN Date: Thursday, July 12 (7 p.m.) Location: Linville to Grandfather Mountain Distance: ﬁve-mile run to summit of Grandfather Mountain Cost: $35 per runner More information: www.hopeformarrow.org GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN MARATHON Date: Saturday, July 14 (6:30 a.m.) Location: Kidd Brewer Stadium to Grandfather Mountain Distance: 26.2 miles Cost: $70 per runner More information: www.hopeformarrow.org THE SCREAM! HALF MARATHON Date: Saturday, July 14 (8 a.m.) Location: Jonas Ridge Distance: 13.1 miles Cost: $50 advance, $60 race day More information: www.thescream. blueridgemultisports.com THE ASCENT 3.6-MILE HILL CLIMB Date: Sunday, Aug. 12 (12 p.m.) Location: Blue Ridge Mountain Club, Blowing Rock Distance: 3.6 miles Cost: $20 advance, $30 race day More information: www.bikehighcountry.com/run The Bear Five-mile run takes place July 12, 2012.. PHOTO BY ROB MOORE | MTNSNAPSHOTS.COM TRIPLE CROWN HALF MARATHON Date: Saturday, Aug. 25 (8 a.m.) Location: Kidd Brewer Stadium to Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve Distance: 13.1 miles Cost: $40 advance, $50 race day More information: www.triplecrown. appstate.edu/halfmarathon BLUE RIDGE RELAY Date: Friday and Saturday, Sept. 7 and 8 (7 a.m.) Location: Blue Ridge Mountains to Black Mountains, Virginia and North Carolina Distance: 208 miles Cost: $580 to $1,160 per team of four to 12 runners More information: www.blueridgerelay.com THE KNOB RUN Date: Friday, Oct. 5 (5:30 p.m.) Location: Watauga Public Library to Howard’s Knob Park Distance: two miles Cost: $20 advance, $30 race day More information: www.triplecrown.appstate.edu/knob THE MOUNT JEFFERSON CHALLENGE Date: Saturday, Oct. 13 (9 a.m.) Location: summit of Mount Jefferson and back Distance: 7.2 miles Cost: $25 through Sept. 26, $35 after Sept. 26 More information: www.newrivermarathon.com/?page_id=149 WOOLLY WORM WOAD WACE Date: Saturday, Oct. 20 (10 a.m.) Location: around Avery County Distance: ﬁve miles Cost: $20 advance, $25 race day More information: www.averycounty.com/upcomingevents/woolly-worm-woad-wace CONTINUED ON PAGE 69 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 Linville Caverns CONTINUED FROM PAGE 66 rained recently, then bringing a light raincoat is advisable. Flat, soft-soled footwear will prevent guests from slipping or damaging their shoes on wet ﬂoors and grating. STROLLERS AND BACKPACKS Strollers and child-carrying backpacks are not permitted inside the caverns due to conﬁned spaces and low-hanging rocks. Visitors are welcome to use strollers or child-carrying backpacks in the gift shop or while waiting to enter the caverns, but they must be left with an attendant at the door. Slings or harnesses that allow parents to carry children in front of them are permitted. WHEELCHAIRS Linville Caverns is one of the few caverns that are partially wheelchair accessible. While the majority of the caverns is wheelchair accessible, there are a few areas where the layout of the caverns makes wheelchair access impossible. The path of the tour, however, is arranged to return the group to the wheelchair-accessible path as quickly as possible. Wheelchair users should be able to navigate a 30-degree downward slope near the entrance to the cavern. Restrooms are also wheelchair accessible. RESTROOMS There are no restrooms inside the caverns. Restrooms are available near the gift shop. Linville Caverns staff members ask that visitors use the restroom before beginning a tour. PHOTOGRAPHY Flash photography is allowed inside the caverns. Visitors using a video camera should not use an external light source such as a spotlight. Tripods or similar pieces of equipment are not allowed into the caverns. Due to the dim light in the caverns, it is important to be mindful of others when using a ﬂash. HOURS AND ADMISSION Throughout the summer months, Linville Caverns is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission for the 30-minute tour is $7 for adults, $5.50 for seniors and $5 for children age ﬁve to 12. Children younger than 5 are admitted free of charge with an adult or senior admission. GROUP RATES Linville Caverns offers discounted rates for groups of 25 or more individuals. To avoid congestion, visitors who plan to bring a group should call ahead to reserve a time. The discounted rate varies for school groups depending on the age group attending. For more details on group or school rates, click to www. linvillecaverns.com/planyourvisit/ groupinformation.html. A FEW SIMPLE RULES Linville Caverns, located at 19929 U.S. 221 North near Linville Falls, is designated as a N.C. Natural Heritage Area, so, to keep visitors, animals and the cave formations safe, tour guides will remind guests of a few simple rules before entering the caverns. Guests’ cooperation will help ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone. For a complete list of the rules and regulations, click to www.linvillecaverns.com/planyourvisit/cavernsregulations.html. The Gilkey Room is named after J.Q. Gilkey, whose corporation opened the caverns for tourists. Two Legs or Two Wheels CONTINUED FROM PAGE 68 By Bike THE BLACK AND BLUE DOUBLE CENTURY, CENTURY AND RELAY Date: Saturday, June 9 (6 a.m. double, 6:30 a.m. century) Location: Northwest North Carolina and Southwest Virginia Distance: 200 mile, 110 mile Cost: $55 to $280, one to eight people per team More information: www.blackandbluerelay.com BEECH MOUNTAIN SUMMER MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE SERIES Date: Friday and Saturday, June 15 and 16 Location: Beech Mountain Resort Distance: varies by course Cost: TBA More information: www.beechmountainresort.com GRAVITY MTB NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS Date: Thursday to Monday, July 19 to 23 Location: Beech Mountain Resort Distance: varies by course Cost: TBA More information: www.usacycling. org/usa-cycling-unveils-2012national-championship-calendar.htm PAGE 69 BEECH MOUNTAIN SUMMER MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE SERIES Date: Friday and Saturday, Aug. 17 and 18 Location: Beech Mountain Resort Distance: varies by course Cost: TBA More information: www.beechmountainresort.com BLUE RIDGE BRUTAL 100 Date: Saturday, Aug. 18 (8 a.m.) Location: Ashe County Distance: 57 miles, 76 miles, 100 miles Cost: $50 per participant More information: www.ashecivic.com/2012-brb.html BEECH MOUNTAIN SUMMER MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE SERIES Date: Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14 and 15 Location: Beech Mountain Resort Distance: varies by course Cost: TBA More information: www.beechmountainresort.com 14TH ANNUAL BLOOD, SWEAT AND GEARS Date: Saturday, June 23 (7:30 a.m. 100-mile ride, 7:45 a.m. 50-mile ride) Location: Valle Crucis Elementary School Distance: 50-mile ride, 100-mile ride Cost: $65 per participant More information: www.bloodsweatandgears.org The annual Blood, Sweat and Gears rolls into the High Country June 23. PHOTO BY ROB MOORE | MTNSNAPSHOTS.COM THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 70 2012 It's Christmas in July! Ashe festival features music, Civil War re-enactors and more BY HEATHER CANTER A she County will once again offer up a taste of mountain heritage with the annual Christmas in July Festival. The 26th annual Christmas in July Festival will kick off at 6 p.m. Friday night, July 6, with food and music available until 10 p.m. The Buck Haggard Band will open the festival from 7 to 8:30 p.m. with the Wolf Creek Band following from 8:30 to 10 p.m. Admission to the event is free for both Friday night and all day Saturday. Beginning at 9 a.m., Saturday, July 7, the festival will line the Back Street with a variety of craft vendors, food galore and musical performances throughout the day. The music will range from bluegrass gospel and oldtime traditional to classic country and pop. Southern Accent will get things started at 9 a.m. on the main Schedule MAIN STAGE • • • • • • • • • • 9 a.m. - Southern Accent – bluegrass gospel 10 a.m. - Heritage – homegrown acoustic gospel 11 a.m. - Crooked Road Ramblers – old-time traditional Noon - Becca Eggers and Amantha Mill Band – modern bluegrass 1 p.m. - Wayne Henderson and Friends – Appalachian guitar stylist 2 p.m. - Jeff Little – Appalachian music on the piano 3 p.m. - Freeman and Williams – bluegrass 4 p.m. - Leona Williams – classic country Nashville singer/writer 5 p.m. - The Toneblazers – great mix of music styles and songs 6 p.m. - Carolina Crossing Band – solid bluegrass stage, and the Junior Appalachian Musicians will be the ﬁrst performers on the community stage at 9 a.m. The festival is set to close at 7 p.m., and both the main stage and community stage are scheduled to have entertainment throughout most of the day. Aside from area gospel groups, such as Heritage and Appalachian musicians Wayne Henderson and Jeff Little, dancers with Dancin’ Debbies, April’s School of Dance and Fleet Feet Cloggers will also entertain the crowds. Those attending the festival will be able to browse vendor booths, featuring an assortment of handmade and homemade crafts. The Civil War re-enactors will return again to the festival, setting up camp for the entire weekend. The group hosts demonstrations, talks and battles and will close with a period church service on Sunday morning. According to festival organizers, this year’s re-enactors will focus on events of 1862, including the local typhoid epidemic and the medical care during that time. Local judge Sam Wagg will be portrayed, and a battle between the North and South will be held Friday evening following the opening ceremonies. The festival is a family-friendly event and, in addition to the food, vendors and entertainment, several children’s activities are available from face-painting to a bounce house, arts and crafts and more. Festival organizers boast that it is “one of the best, old-fashioned summer festivals in the south, drawing Civil War re-enactors will be set up all weekend in West Jefferson, offering demonstrations, talks and battle performances. Members from the following groups are set to participate: 1st Virginia Cavalry, 29th Virginia Infantry, 50th Virginia Infantry, 43rd Tennessee Infantry, 28th North Carolina Infantry, 21st North Carolina Infantry and 30th North Carolina Infantry. PHOTO SUBMITTED more than 20,000 visitors in one day.” The Ashe County and North Carolina Christmas Tree Associations also feature exhibits at the festival of the Fraser ﬁr Christmas trees found throughout the High Country. For more information, call (336) 846-9196, visit www.christmasinjuly.info or email email@example.com. COMMUNITY STAGE • • • • • • 9-10 a.m. - JAM (Junior Appalachian Musicians) 10 a.m.-1 p.m. - Dancin’ Debbies 1-1:30 p.m. - Sons of Pitch – acappella quartet 1:30-3 p.m. - April’s School of Dance 3-4:30 p.m. - Fleet Feet Cloggers 4:30-7 p.m. - Tonya Halsey’s Voice Students Tis the season, as Christmas in July returns to West Jefferson for its 26th year July 6. 2012 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide PAGE 71 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 72 2012 That’s Enter-Train-Ment! Tweetsie Railroad offers plenty of fun in its 55th season BY JEFF EASON I n 1957, Tweetsie Railroad and Wild West Theme Park ﬁrst opened its doors as a unique way for families visiting western North Carolina to take a step into the past and relive the heyday of the locomotive. Now, 55 years later, generations of families have made returning to Tweetsie each summer a tradition passed down from the oldsters to the youngsters. If you are unfamiliar with that tradition, you might not know that the original Tweetsie Railroad carried passengers and freight as the Eastern Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad. Beginning in 1881, the ET&WNC line ran from Todd to Boone, down to Linville and over to Johnson City, Tenn. After the ﬂood of 1940 ripped up much of the ET&WNC’s railroad tracks, commercial rail line service came to an end in the High Country. The ET&WNC’s Locomotive No. 12, nicknamed “Tweetsie” for the sound of its whistle blasting through mountains and valleys, was sold and moved to Harrisonburg, Va. To serve as a tourist attraction called Shenandoah Central Railroad. In 1953, Hurricane Hazel washed away most of the Shenandoah Central’s tracks, and singing cowboy Gene Autry purchased the rights to buy locomotive No. 12 and a number of cars with plans to move the whole kit and caboose to sunny California. When that idea proved to be cost-prohibitive, Autry sold his option to Blowing Rock resident Grover C. Robbins for one dollar. On July 4, 1957, Tweetsie Railroad made its ﬁrst run, taking passengers from the depot to a picnic area in the woods and then backing down to the depot for disembarking. The next year, the CONTINUED ON PAGE 74 Tweetsie Railroad’s on track for Wild West summer fun. PHOTOS SUBMITTED 2012 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide PAGE 73 PAGE 74 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE That’s Enter-Train-Ment! DORA THE EXPLORER AND DIEGO — JUNE 22-24 Enjoy meet and greets throughout the weekend with Dora and her cousin Diego, popular characters from the hit Nickelodeon preschool series. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 72 ride was expanded and a wild west town added to the theme park. Today, Tweetsie features live shows, amusement rides, the Deer Park Zoo and much more family fun. Visitors experience an unforgettable three-mile Wild West adventure behind Tweetsie Railroad’s historic steam locomotives. Family fun is discovered throughout the streets of Tweesie Railroad’s very own Western town, where you can explore the long-ago era of cowboys and Indians. Guests can also take a scenic chair lift ride back in time and experience the gold rush while panning for gold at Miner’s Mountain. Be part of Tweetsie’s live entertainment including Diamond Lil’s Can-Can Revue, Hopper and Porter’s Musical Celebration and the Miner’s Mountain Magic Show. Tweetsie’s Country Clogging Jamboree is also sure to get your toes tappin’. Here’s a quick look at Tweetsie’s special events scheduled for the 2012 season: TWEETSIE’S FIREWORKS EXTRAVAGANZA — JULY 4 Celebrate July 4th with a day of familyfriendly fun. Watch as the night sky is illuminated with a dazzling ﬁreworks display. The park will remain open until 9 p.m. COOL SUMMER NIGHTS — JULY 7, 14, 21 AND 28 DAY OUT WITH THOMAS — JUNE 1-10 All aboard as Thomas the Tank Engine chugs through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Children will have the opportunity to meet and take pictures with Sir Topham Hatt, listen to Thomas and Friends storytelling and enjoy activities in the Imagination Station. Tweetsie’s special evening program is set for four straight Saturdays in July. On these days, the park will stay open late for more family fun. So, once you’ve ﬁlled your day with all the activities Tweetsie has to offer, ride the famed steam locomotive to your heart’s content and see the park in a whole new light: moonlight. MEET BOB THE BUILDER — JULY 13-15 Join the Can-Do Crew when Bob the Builder performs his interactive sing-along performance. The hard-hat 2012 wearing, hard-working builder will be singing, dancing and looking for aspiring builders. He will also be available to pose with children and families for photos. K-9S IN FLIGHT FRISBEE DOGS — JULY 21-29 This team of agile canines will amaze you as they jump, ﬂip and catch ﬂying discs in ways that defy gravity. Don’t miss out on the action-packed thrill of these incredible dogs as they perform live at Tweetsie each day. RIDERS IN THE SKY — AUG. 18-19 Come hear America’s favorite cowboys, Riders In The Sky, as they ﬁll the Blue Ridge Mountain air with sweet sounds. Known for their rich blend of Western harmony and comedy, the multi Grammy Award-winning quartet has captivated audiences of all ages since 1977. RAILROAD HERITAGE WEEKEND — SEPT. 8-9 Travel through the Blue Ridge Mountains on Tweetsie’s historic locomotives as the park hosts its annual Railroad Heritage Weekend. Celebrate the rich history of steam locomotives and tour CONTINUED ON PAGE 75 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 PAGE 75 Mingle with locals at area farmer’s markets BY ANNA OAKES T he High Country boasts a grand selection of local eateries and regionally acclaimed ﬁne dining establishments, but if you’re planning to spend an evening at the cabin or vacation home, stock up on local produces, meats and other goods at one of the area’s farmers’ markets. From spring to fall, the farmers’ markets of the region bring the best of their seasonal harvests to the weekly markets, from kohlrabi and kale to tomatoes and turnips. You’ll also ﬁnd locally raised, grass-fed beef, chicken and pork; pastas, pastries and bread; jams, jellies and cheeses; and arts and crafts from local artisans. WATAUGA COUNTY FARMERS’ MARKET 591 Horn in the West Drive Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 355-4918 Saturdays through Oct. 27, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wednesdays June 6 to Sept. 26, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. www.wataugacountyfarmersmarket.org ASHE COUNTY FARMERS’ MARKET Backstreet, West Jefferson, N.C. 28694 CONTINUED ON PAGE 77 That’s Enter-Train-Ment! CONTINUED FROM PAGE 72 the famous Tweetsie Railroad Train Shop, where steam locomotives from across the nation are repaired and restored. Cherokee dance and craft demonstrations will take place on Saturday in the Tweetsie Pavilion. GHOST TRAIN HALLOWEEN FESTIVAL — FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHTS SEPT. 28- OCT. 27 All aboard Tweetsie’s Ghost Train for a spooktacular ride with engineer Casey Bones. Don’t miss the haunted house, the Freaky Forest, trick-or-treating and other Halloween-themed attractions that provide a night of thrills and chills for the entire family. Tweetsie Railroad will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting April 13, including Memorial Day Monday, and seven days a week from June 1 through Aug. 19. The park returns to the weekend sched- The Watauga County Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday throughout the summer, rain or shine. PHOTO BY ANNA OAKES ule from Aug. 24 through Oct. 28, including Labor Day Monday. The 2012 season ends Sunday, Oct. 28. The park’s regular hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., but will be open until 9 p.m. on July 4 and July 7, 14, 21 and 28 for Cool Summer Nights. In addition, the park will be open at 8 a.m. both Saturdays, June 2 and 9, for the Day Out With Thomas event. The Ghost Train Halloween Festival will take place from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday nights Sept. 28 through Oct. 27, and the price of admission is $28 for adults and children, with children 2 and younger admitted free. Daily admission is $35 for adults and $22 for children ages 3 through 12. Children 2 and younger are admitted free. Print-at-home tickets and Golden Rail season passes are available at Tweetsie. com. Tweetsie Railroad is located on U.S. 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock. For more information about the 2012 season at Tweetsie Railroad, visit www. tweetsie.com or call 877-TWEETSIE (877-893-3874). PAGE 76 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 Daniel Boone Native Gardens an eBird ‘hot spot’ R ecord your sightings at eBird, a real-time, online checklist program. Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird provides rich data sources for basic information on birds. It is amassing one of the largest and fastest growing biodiversity data resources in existence. For example, in March 2012, participants reported more than 3.1 million bird observations across North America. How does it work? A birder simply enters when, where and how they went birding, then ﬁlls out a checklist of all the birds seen and heard during the outing. To learn more, visit www.eBird.org or www.highcountryaudubon.org. Hundreds of native species are featured in the Daniel Boone Native Gardens, nestled in the heart of Boone. PHOTOS BY KELLEN MOORE Boone in Bloom High Country Audubon leads a bird walk at the Daniel Boone Native Gardens during the second Tuesday of each month at 8:30 a.m. PHOTO SUBMITTED Daniel Boone Native Gardens offers activities for all ages COMPILED BY ANNA OAKES F rom the delicate trilliums to the towering canopy of oaks, hundreds of native species are represented from North Carolina at the Daniel Boone Native Gardens in Boone. Programs for seniors, children, birders and artists are just a few of events planned at the gardens this summer. “The gardens have been part of this community for almost 50 years, and many visitors asked about expanding programs,” said Daniel Boone Native Gardens chair- woman Rebecca Kaenzig. “This summer, we offer events for all age groups and skills. Thanks to partnering with local community groups, such as High Country Audubon, Karma Krew, the Master Gardeners of the Watauga County Extension and the High Country Watermedia Society, we plan something every week.” As part of “Early Bird Saturdays,” the gardens offer free admission from 9 to 11 a.m. during the Watauga County Farmers’ Market hours, which takes place next door. Seniors are admitted free every Friday from June CONTINUED ON PAGE 77 Additional Events • • • • • • June 17 - Father’s Day: Bring Dad to the gardens June 21 - Poetry in the Garden July 14 - Evening in the Garden gala open to public. Tickets required. July 26 - Boone Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours. Registration required. Sept. 9 - Grandparents Day: Bring your grandparents to the gardens Oct. 13 - Boone Heritage Day THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 Mingle with locals JOHNSON COUNTY FARMERS’ MARKET 110 Court St. Mountain City, Tenn. 37683 (423) 895-9980 Saturdays through Oct. 6, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 75 Saturdays through Oct. 27, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays July 10 to Sept. 23, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. firstname.lastname@example.org www.ashefarmersmarket.com VALLE CRUCIS FARMERS’ MARKET 2918 Broadstone Road Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 Wednesdays May 30 to Aug. 29, 2 to 6 p.m. (828) 963-6511 BANNER ELK FARMERS’ MARKET Tate Lawn, Main Street Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 (828) 898-8729 Thursdays, 5 to 7 p.m. Market Tips These tips will help make the most out of your farmers’ market shopping experience. • Arrive early for the best selection. • No pets, except service animals. • Carry small bills. It’s easier for vendors to make change. • Ask. Learn about unfamiliar varieties Ryan Higgs, right, of Blue Ridge Apiaries chats with a customer on opening day at the Watauga County Farmers’ Market. PHOTO BY ANNA OAKES and even how to prepare them. • Use large, reusable bags or baskets. Eliminate the need for plastic or paper bags. • Reuse egg cartons, ﬂowerpots, berry baskets and plant trays. • Plan a picnic. Stock up on desserts, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, bread and coffee from the market and enjoy a picnic nearby or at an area park. PAGE 77 Boone in Bloom CONTINUED FROM PAGE 76 to August. With a $2 admission fee to the gardens, participate in yoga every Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon. Every second Tuesday of the month, the High Country Audubon Society leads a free bird walk at 8:30 a.m. Artists can enter the garden for free on ﬁrst and third Tuesdays from 9 to 11:30 a.m. June through August. Learn something new about native species during a Lunch & Learn, held every second Thursday at noon June through August. And every Saturday this June, the Master Gardeners will offer a free program at 10 a.m. The antique one-room “Squire Boone Cabin” is a century old, with rough-hewn logs that are some 18 inches wide. Formerly located in the wilderness below Grandfather Mountain, the cabin was originally built by Jesse Boone Cragg, a great-great-grandson of Jesse Boone, youngest brother of Daniel. Sponsored by The Garden Club of North Carolina to protect native plants throughout the state, the gardens thrive due to community support and dedication of surrounding garden club members in Watauga County. The Daniel Boone Native Gardens are located at 651 Horn in the West Drive in Boone. Open from May to October, admission is $2 for adults and free for children younger than 16. The Daniel Boone Native Gardens are located at 651 Horn In the West Drive in Boone. For more information, visit www.danielboonenativegardens.org or call (828) 264-6390. PAGE 78 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide 2012 AppalachianFestival THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 PAGE 79 It’s An SUMMER Cosby, Chicago, Doobie Bros., Creedence Clearwater to headline FROM STAFF REPORTS 2012’s An Appalachian Summer Festival won’t start with a bang. It’ll start with a laugh. Actually, make that laughs. Renowned comedian and actor Bill Cosby will open this year’s festival with two performances June 30, bringing to a start one of the most anticipated celebrations of performing arts in the region. The festival runs June 30 to July 28, presenting what organizers call “a diverse mixture of music, dance, theater, visual arts and ﬁlm events,” which is said to attract more than 27,000 visitors to the High Country each sum- mer. “We’ve got a lot of impressive artists coming this summer,” said Megan Stage, manager of marketing and public relations for Appalachian State University’s Ofﬁce of Arts and Cultural Programs. Those artists include Creedence Clearwater Revisited with special guest Lee Brice, as well as Chicago and The Doobie Brothers. Featuring Stu Cook and Doug “Cosmo” Clifford, who composed the rhythm section of the original Creedence Clearwater Revival, Creedence Clearwater Revisited will host the festival’s popular outdoor ﬁreworks concert at Kidd Brewer Stadium July 7. Chicago and The Doobie Brothers will per- CONTINUED ON PAGE 80 Linda Eder PHOTO BY CAROLINA PALMGREN THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 80 Schedule • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • June 24 – Pre-festival trip to Greensboro for Triad Stage’s “The Illusion” June 30 – An Evening with Bill Cosby; Farthing Auditorium, 4 & 8 p.m. July 1 – Rosen-Schaffel Young Artist Competition; Rosen Concert Hall, 1-5 p.m. July 2 – Film: “The Hedgehog”; Farthing Auditorium, 8 p.m. July 5 – Broyhill Chamber Ensemble; Rosen Concert Hall, 8 p.m. July 6 – TCVA Summer Exhibition Celebration; TCVA, 7-9 p.m. July 7 – Outdoor Concert: Creedence Clearwater Revisited with Lee Brice; Kidd Brewer Stadium, 7:30 p.m. July 8 – Hayes School of Music Faculty Showcase Concert; Rosen Concert Hall, 8 p.m. July 10 – Film: “Women on the 6th Floor”; Farthing Auditorium, 8 p.m. July 11 – Lunch & Learn; Turchin Center Lecture Hall, Noon July 12 – Belk Distinguished Lecture with Clyde Edgerton; Plemmons Student Union, 3:30 p.m. July 12 – Broyhill Chamber Ensemble; Rosen Concert Hall, 8 p.m. July 13 – Carolina Ballet; Farthing Auditorium, 8 p.m. July 14 – Turchin Center Family Day; TCVA, 11 a.m.–2 p.m, July 14 – “Solas”; Farthing Auditorium, 8 p.m. July 15 – Eastern Festival Orchestra with Alexander Toradze, piano; Farthing Auditorium, 8 p.m. July 16 – Film: “My Afternoons with Margueritte”; Farthing Auditorium, 8 p.m. July 18 – Lunch & Learn; Turchin Center Lecture Hall, Noon July 19 – Department of Theatre & Dance: “Shipwrecked”; Valborg Theatre, 8 p.m. July 20 – Linda Eder: Songbirds - A Tribute to the Ladies; Farthing Auditorium, 8 p.m. July 21 – The Travelin’ McCourys with Sierra Hull & Highway 111; Farthing Auditorium, 8 p.m. July 22 – Eastern Festival Orchestra: Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”; Farthing Auditorium, 4 p.m. July 23 – Film: “The Well Digger’s Daughter”; Farthing Auditorium, 8 p.m. July 25 – Lunch & Learn; Turchin Center Lecture Hall, Noon July 25 – Chicago and The Doobie Brothers; Holmes Convocation Center, 7:30 p.m. July 26 – Broyhill Chamber Ensemble; Rosen Concert Hall, 8 p.m. July 27 – Department of Theatre & Dance: “Fellow Traveler”; Valborg Theatre, 8 p.m. July 28 – 26th Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Walk; Farthing Auditorium, 10 a.m. July 28 – Family Classic Movie Night: “Swiss Family Robinson”; Farthing Auditorium, 7 p.m. An Appalachian Summer CONTINUED FROM PAGE 79 form July 25 at the Holmes Convocation Center, with each performing a separate set before jamming together for the grand ﬁnale. Other highlights include singer Linda Elder’s “Songbirds: A Tribute to the Ladies,” where she’ll celebrate the music of Lena Horn, Etta James, Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland and others July 20, and The Travelin’ McCourrys with Sierra Hull and Highway 1111. And, of course, there’s more, with return appearances from the Eastern Festival Orchestra and the Carolina Ballet, along with theater, ﬁlm screenings and visual arts workshops, to name a few. “We’ve also changed it up a little bit this year, offering more family opportunities, as well, for kids to take advantage of a live performance, get them more into the theater.” For instance, on July 22, the Eastern Festival Or- 2012 chestra will present “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra” and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” “There are just some great artists coming, and we’re really excited about it,” Stage said, adding that many fans feel the same. “Just in passing when we’re talking to people, we’ve gotten some great reactions.” Tickets to An Appalachian Summer Festival performances went on sale Wednesday, April 11. Prices range from $5 to $50 depending on the event. Most visual arts and educational events are free of charge. The festival offers a “Pick 5” pass, which discounts tickets purchased in multiples of ﬁve, and the ﬁlm pass offers a 10-percent discount when a ticket for all ﬁlms is purchased. No discounts are available online. For discounted tickets, call or visit the box ofﬁce. There will be no refunds. For tickets and more information, call (800) 841-2787 or (828) 262-4046 (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or visit www.appsummer.org. An Appalachian Summer Festival is presented by the ASU Ofﬁce of Arts and Cultural Programs. Trotman Double Portrait Bill Cosby. PHOTOS SUBMITTED Creedence Clearwater Sierra Hull PHOTO BY DELMAN 2012 Summer THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 81 SOUNDS Concerts abound in the High Country BY ANNA OAKES I f you’ve come to hear music, you’ve come to the right place. The mountain air comes alive with the tunes of folk, bluegrass, Americana, rock, soul and blues during the summer, as many venues transform into stages for weekly concert series. Many of them are free. Refer below for schedules of concerts and performers. CONCERTS ON THE LAWN Every Friday during the Concerts on the Lawn series, bring a chair or blanket to enjoy the concerts on the front lawn of the Jones House Community Center in downtown Boone, beginning at 5 p.m. For more information, call (828) 264-1789. • June 1 – Matthew Weaver & Trevor McKenzie and Swing Guitars and Major Sevens CONTINUED TO PAGE 82 Concertgoers enjoy a Friday evening listening to music at the Valle Crucis Community Park. PHOTO SUBMITTED THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 82 2012 Summer Sounds CONTINUED FROM PAGE 81 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • June 8 – Wayne Henderson and Elkville String Band June 15 – Doc Watson celebration with Kruger Brothers and Charles Welch June 22 – New River Boys and Roan Mountain Hilltoppers June 29 – 20th Season Celebration with Becca Eggers-Gryder & Amantha Mill, Diane Hackworth and Steve & Ruth Smith July 6 – Cowboy poet Keith Ward and Worthless Son-In-Laws and Possum Jenkins July 13 – Bag piper Fox Kinsman, Forget-MeNots and Todd Wright & Friends July 20 – Melissa Reaves and The Lazybirds July 27 – Bluegrass Showcase with Sureﬁre, The Dollar Brothers and Carolina Crossing Aug. 3 – Old-time Showcase with Steve Kruger, Crooked Road Ramblers and The Sheets Family Aug. 10 – Songwriters and Storytellers: Sound Traveler, Lisa Baldwin & Dave Haney, Charlotte Ross and Orville Hicks Aug. 17 – Boone Mennonite Brethren Choir and Soul Benefactor Aug. 24 – Buck Haggard Band and Strictly Clean & Decent Aug. 31 – Dashboard Hula Boys and Kirby, Welch & Stone Sept. 7 – Watauga Youth Showcase with Pizzicato Quartet, Burnett Family, Sarah McGuire and more Sept. 14 – Rhonda Gouge and King Bees Duo Sept. 21 – Echo Park SUMMER CONCERTS IN THE PARK Presented by the Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce, the Summer Concerts in the Park series takes place every Thursday from June 21 to Aug. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Tate-Evans Park off of N.C. 194. Food vendors will be on site, or bring your own picnic. Rafﬂe tickets are sold. For more information, call (828) 898-8395 or visit www.bannerelkchamber.com. • • • • • • • • • • • June 21 – Tone Blazers June 28 – Billy Scott and the Party Prophets July 5 – Buck Haggard Band July 12 – Dashboard Blue July 19 – Jeff Luckadoo & Southern Wave July 26 – Mad Dog Johnson with Don Vallarta Aug. 2 – Mountain Soul Aug. 9 – Wolf Creek Aug. 16 – Dallas Reese Aug. 23 – Deep River Aug. 30 – Whip Daddies MUSIC IN THE VALLE The Music in the Valle series takes place at Valle Cru- The Harris Brothers are regular performers at the Best Cellar’s Music on the Lawn. PHOTO BY FRANK RUGGIERO cis Community Park on Fridays at 7 p.m. through Aug. 31. For more information, call (828) 963-9239. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • May 25 – Ital Seeds June 1 – John Woodall Music June 8 – The Mountain Laurels June 15 – Sound Traveler June 22 – The Major Sevens June 29 – The Worthless Son-in-Laws July 6 – Creekside Grass July 13 – The Wild Rumpus July 20 – Kent Doobrow & Midnight Sun July 27 – High Standards Aug. 3 – Dashboard Hula Boys Aug. 10 – The Neighbors Aug. 17 – 8 Miles Apart Aug. 24 – Folk and Dagger Aug. 31 – Zephyr Lightning Bolts BACKSTREET PARK SUMMER CONCERTS The West Jefferson Community Partnership presents the BackStreet Park Summer Concerts series every third and fourth Friday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on the Backstreet in downtown West Jefferson. For more information, call (866) 607-0093 or visit www.visitwestjefferson.org. • May 25 – Appalachian Mountain Girls • • • • • • • June 15 – Zephyr Lightning Bolts June 22 – King Bees July 20 – Grayson Highlands Band July 27 – Elkville String Band Aug. 17 – Crooked Road Ramblers Aug. 24 – Wayne Henderson and Helen White Aug. 31 – Sheets Family Band BLUEGRASS AT TODD GENERAL STORE Every Friday through Thanksgiving at Todd General Store in Todd, enjoy free bluegrass music. Come early for good seating. Dinner is served at 6 p.m. followed by music at 7 p.m. For more information, call (336) 8771067. TODD SUMMER MUSIC SERIES Every summer, concerts take place at Cook Memorial Park in Todd as part of the Todd Summer Music Series. For more information, call (336) 877-5401 or click to www.toddnc.org. MUSIC ON THE LAWN The Best Cellar in Blowing Rock hosts Music on the Lawn on Fridays. Events begin at 5:30 p.m. and last CONTINUED TO PAGE 83 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide 2012 Summer Sounds ContinuEd From PAGE 82 until approximately 8:15 p.m. and are free to attend. For more information, call (828) 295-3466. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • May 25 – Harris Brothers June 1 – Harris Brothers June 8 – Soul Benefactor June 15 – Harris Brothers June 22 – Klee and Mike June 29 – Harris Brothers July 6 – Rama Jay July 13 – Smokey Breeze July 20 – Lucky Strikes Band July 27 – Drive South Aug. 3 – Harris Brothers Aug. 10 – Smokey Breeze Aug. 17 – Harris Brothers Aug. 24 – Supa-Tight Fred’s summer sunday ConCerts Fred’s General Mercantile on Beech Mountain will host Fred’s Summer Sunday Concerts on five Sundays, July 8 to Aug. 5, at 6:30 p.m. Some seats are provided, but bring a chair or blanket just in case. For more information, call (828) 387-4838. • • • • • • July 8 – Rebecca Eggers-Gryder w/ Amantha Mill July 15 – Cockman Family July 22 – Watauga Community Band July 29 – Mountain Home Bluegrass Boys with Joe Shannon Aug. 4 – Crafts on the Green featuring Diana & Sarvis Ridge and magician Rick Ramseur Aug. 5 – Strictly Clean & Decent Blowing roCk ConCerts in the Park Several free concerts take place at Memorial Park in Blowing Rock this summer as part of the Concerts in the Park series, presented by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce. Concerts begin at 4 p.m. For more information, call (828) 295-7851. • • • • June 17 - Pop Ferguson Blues July 15 - Zephyr Lightning Bolts Aug. 12 - Farmhouse Singers Reunion Sept. 9 - The Flying Saucers riverwalk ConCert series The Riverwalk Concert Series takes place Friday evenings at 6 p.m. this summer at Riverwalk Park in Newland, adjacent to Lowe’s Foods. For more information, call (828) 260-3205. PAGE 83 • • • • • • • • • • • June 22 – Lee Griffin Trio June 29 – Rod Horning Project July 6 – Silvio Martinat July 13 – Johnson Brothers July 20 - Night Eagle Band July 27 - The Mountain Laurels Celtic Band Aug. 3 - Tams Aug. 10 - Evergreen Aug. 17 - Part Time Blues Band Aug. 24 - The Legendary JCs Aug. 31 - Ruffin Street Band mountain home musiC Mountain Home Music presents the music and musicians of the Appalachian region. Most shows are on Saturdays at 8 p.m. at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium, but some exceptions are noted below. • • • • • • • • • May 19 – Steve Lewis, Edwin Lacey & Brandy Miller May 27 – David Johnson & the Studio Band June 2 – Dana & Susan Robinson June 9 – Red June June 16 – The Jeanne Jolly Band, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Boone, 7:30 p.m. June 23 – Joe Newberry & Mike Compton June 30 – Gentle Rings, Dulcimer Strings July 4 – Mountain Home Bluegrass Boys July 8 – April Verch Band THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 84 2012 Tune into Music Festivals BY MICHAEL BRAGG SINGING ON THE MOUNTAIN Grandfather Mountain’s free summertime gospel music festival, Singing on the Mountain, returns to the High Country Friday, June 24, for its 88th anniversary. “Singing on the Mountain has a big reach,” Grandfather Mountain director of communications Landis Wofford said about the festival that draws about 1,000 participants each year. This year’s lineup includes Tim Greene and the Greenes Trio, Cockman Family, Michael Combs, Amantha Mill and many others. In addition to the performers is a speaker – Appalachian State University’s head football coach, Jerry Moore. For more information, visit www.grandfather.com and search “Singing on the Mountain.” MUSICFEST ’N SUGAR GROVE Doc Watson, The Kruger Brothers and the Carolina CONTINUED TO PAGE 85 Grammy Award-winning flatpicker and Deep Gap resident Doc Watson returns to MusicFest ’n Sugar Grove, July 13 and 14. PHOTOS BY FRANK RUGGIERO THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 Tune into Music Festivals CONTINUED FROM PAGE 84 Chocolate Drops are the main attractions at this year’s MusicFest ’n Sugar Grove July 13 and 14. The traditional bluegrass festival kicks off Friday with performances by Watson and The Kruger Brothers, as well as Shannon Whitworth, The Major Sevens and The New River Boys. Saturday’s performance features all three main acts, as well as The Snyder Family Band and The Mountain Laurels. For more information, up-to-date scheduling, ticket prices and more, visit www.musicfestnsugargrove.org. THE FESTIVAL OF GNARNIA Beech Mountain Resort will serve as the festival site for The Festival of Gnarnia, the newest music and arts festival in the High Country, Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 9 to 11. “The festival is a three-day showcase of over 90 acts from around the country and even the world,” Gnarnia creator and executive producer Bowie van Ling said. Van Ling hails from Asheville with a music management and promotion record that precedes him, having worked at festivals like Bonnaroo and performing himself, earning the Best DJ in Western North Carolina award four years in a row. And that reputation has helped the rookie festival land a large lineup. “Typically, it would discourage most artists, but I’ve PAGE 85 had a working relationship with a good number of people in the music industry in the country, so it wasn’t a huge hurdle,” van Ling said. Some of the big names include 7 Walkers (Thursday), Afroman, Toubab Krewe (Friday), Midnite (Saturday) and Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band. Other events include mud wrestling, a costume ball, bicycle jousting and more. For more information and ticket prices, visit www. gnarniathefestival.com. RAILROAD EARTH’S MUSIC ON THE MOUNTAINTOP Music on the Mountaintop, the High Country’s popular music and arts festival, returns to Grandfather Campgrounds, joining forces with New Jersey-based group Railroad Earth to celebrate its ﬁfth anniversary Friday, Aug. 24, through Sunday, Aug. 26. With perennial favorite Railroad Earth’s collaboration, the festival has taken on a new title – Railroad Earth’s Music on the Mountaintop. “We’ve been wanting to expand the festival, we wanted to grow in a lot of different aspects, and when a band like Railroad Earth approaches you about partnering and cultivating the event, for us it was really a no brainer,” MOTM and Yellow Dog Entertainment founder Jimmy Hunt said. The lineup this year includes a few veterans, like festival hosts Railroad Earth, Grammy-winner Sam Bush and River Whyless (formerly known as Do it to Julia) Railroad Earth returns to the High Country this summer to host Railroad Earth’s Music on the Mountaintop Aug. 24-26. and a few newcomers, like Philly natives Dr. Dog, whose ﬁrst performance in Boone was at Appalachian State University’s nightclub, Legends, which sold out. The members of Railroad Earth are not strangers to MOTM, having played there last year and years prior. However, this is the ﬁrst year the band – or any band – has co-sponsored MOTM. “It all sort of happened very organically, to be honest with you,” Railroad Earth manager Brian Ross said. For more information and ticket pricing, visit www. musiconthemountaintop.com. THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 86 2012 Great Scot! Grandfather Mountain Highland Games BY JAMIE SHELL A n annual summer tradition around the High Country is the annual gathering of the Scottish clans atop Grandfather Mountain for Grandfather’s Highland Games. The gathering began in 1956, and, since that time, the games have become one of the most popular and colorful events in the entire country. Visitors near and far ﬂock yearly to Grandfather to reconnect with their heritage, participate in the wide variety of athletic competitions, enjoy the traditional music of pipes and drums or simply to reminisce with kith and kin. Grandfather Mountain Highland Games are held beside and within a 440-yard oval running track, as athletic running harkens back to the traditional Scottish games of yore. GMHG is one of the few games in the United States to have its own track. The site of GMHG is MacRae Meadows, high on the slopes of mile-high Grandfather Mountain. The setting closely resembles Kintail in Scotland’s Wester Ross. The rugged terrain, the wildﬂowers and even the weather are all similar. The games open with the running of The Bear, a running event added in 1995 that tests the endurance of participants. The event begins in nearby downtown Linville and extends ﬁve miles, climbing an elevation of more than 1,500-feet, ﬁnishing at the historic Mile-High Swinging Bridge atop the mountain. GMHG also features The Grizzly bike race and Grandfather Marathon. Events surrounding GMHG include the traditional torchlight ceremony, gathering of clans and parade of tartans to signal the ofﬁcial start of the games, with varied entertainment. Friday events feature a “Celtic Jam,” spotlighting the best in Scottish music in genres rang- Eric Frasure of Greenville took home first place in heavyweight athletics at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in 2011. PHOTO BY ROB MOORE | MTNSNAPSHOTS.COM ing from traditional pipe tunes to heavy metal. Throughout the weekend, events include Scottish country dancing, classical bagpipe music, sheepherding exhibitions and athletics. Grandfather Mountain Highland Games Inc. is a charitable organization with proceeds from each year’s event beneﬁting an annual scholarship fund, which at one time awarded scholarships to graduate students wishing to study in Scotland, but now helps local students further their education in this country. The 2012 version of GMHG takes place Thursday to Sunday, July 12 to 15. For more information, call (828) 733-1333 or click to www.gmhg.org. 2012 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide PAGE 87 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 88 2012 First Friday Art Crawl Monthly event showcases Boone’s talent, character BY MICHAEL BRAGG W hen it comes to art, downtown Boone is nothing less than thorough. The once-a-month First Friday Art Crawl tradition showcases all arts, including visual, performance and even culinary. “It’s actually expanded this year into a ‘First Friday’ concept to include not only the art, but to get people thinking about eating and dining options downtown on a Friday night, shopping and all kinds of activities we have going on downtown other than just the art galleries,” Downtown Boone Development Association director Pilar Fotta said. “We want to encourage them to bring their families downtown and stay longer.” Sponsored by DBDA, the group brings Art Crawl to the public and everyone passing through the business district of the town of Boone. Art Crawl displays artwork of local artists in different galleries and restaurants, a great way for artists to get exposure, and most of the work is for sale. “It’s wonderful to have the space where you can just sort of display your art, which usually you just see in studio so close around you, but now you have space and the light on it, so it’s wonderful having space,” Boone resident and artist Julia Rechenbach-Moomaw said. Rechnbach-Moomaw’s pottery work was on display and for sale in the Jones House Cultural and Community Center in May’s Art Crawl and she comes out every ﬁrst Friday of the month, even when her work isn’t on display. “I think it’s the best community event we have,” she said. CONTINUED TO PAGE 89 Every First Friday, downtown Boone galleries, businesses and restaurants stay open late for the Downtown Boone Art Crawl, featuring a variety of artwork, live music, beverages, snacks and more. PHOTOS BY FRANK RUGGIERO 2012 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 89 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 88 The Art of Oil welcomes art crawlers to sample its premium olive oil, vinegar and wine during the First Friday Art Crawl. First Friday CONTINUED FROM PAGE 88 Among the many restaurants joining in on Art Crawl is Espresso News and its newest addition, Low Bar. “Espresso News and the Low wine bar are relatively new to Art Crawl, especially since we extended our evening hours to midnight,” co-owner Lauren Gioscio said. “We’re open later now, so it’s easier for us to participate, since the wine bar has opened and we’ve got space for the people that work here to hang their artwork. Much of Espresso News’ artwork comes from it’s own employees, Gioscio said, and the bakers and drink specials have gotten into the spirit of First Friday. “I feel like our bakers are really getting artistic with their treats … so we try to do special things every First Friday, special treats to go along with wine and our beer specials – just something to go along with the season,” she said. Although there isn’t a set schedule, Fotta said DBDA plans to add an additional concert at the Jones House and eventually more activities for children. “We’re going to add some more chil- Musicians perform outside the Open Door Gallery during a summer Art Crawl. dren’s activities slowly, hoping to add some of the low-tech games they have at Mast General Store, kind of the old-timey games, so that if families come down they have something to do and they can enjoy,” Fotta said. Other venues that take part in the First Friday Art Crawl include the Turchin Center for Visual Arts, Glug Beer and Wine, 641 rpm, Boone Saloon, ArtWalk, Doe Ridge Pottery, Gladiola Girls, Lucky Penny, Hands Gallery, Char, Vidalia, the Nth Degree Gallery, Anna Banana’s, Open Door, Beadbox, Our Daily Bread, the Jones House Community Center and more. For more information on the DBDA and a complete list of businesses participating in the next Art Crawl, visit www. boone-nc.org or call (828) 262-4532. PAGE 90 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide RESTAURANTS 2012 2012 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide RESTAURANTS PAGE 91 PAGE 92 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide 2012 2012 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide RESTAURANTS PAGE 93 PAGE 94 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide RESTAURANTS 2012 2012 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide RESTAURANTS PAGE 95 PAGE 96 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide RESTAURANTS 2012 2012 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide RESTAURANTS PAGE 97 PAGE 98 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide 2012 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 All About Women Expo June 23 An Afternoon of Summer Fun for Women of All Ages FROM STAFF REPORTS T he second annual All About Women Expo, “Celebrating High Country Women,” will be held from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 23, at Watauga High School in Boone. Presented by Mountain Times Publications, the purpose of the event, according to Sherrie Norris, editor of All About Women magazine, is “to recognize and to celebrate the exceptional women of the High Country.” The plan, she said, “is to showcase the diverse talents, skills and abilities of local women, to promote healthy lifestyles and to encourage personal, professional and social growth through a variety of resources and opportunities that are available here in our mountain communities.” Among the area’s most talented women and young ladies who will be taking center stage during the expo are the multitalented Mary Greene, who keeps traditional mountain music alive through her varied instrumentals, ballads and folk songs; dancers representing High Country Dance Studio, owned by Vanessa Minton and Amber Hendley, with clogging and Zumba exhibitions and mini-dance lessons under he direction of Shauna Godwin Hamby; and the Mini Mountaineers, who will also be making a special appearance. Avery County’s own contemporary Christian music artist, Shane Guichard, wife, mother and special education teacher’s assistant, will lend her popular soprano voice to the event’s opening ceremonies. The Lost Jewels of the Ghawazee fusion belly dance troupe, which takes inspiration from the traditional and modern dances of a variety of cultures, will be in town, “ﬂavoring” their style with the spices of movements and costumes from India, Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Latin America and the Middle East. Returning just for the expo all the way from Disney World in Orlando, Fla., is Boone’s own teenage starlet, Jessica Presnell, whose childhood debut on the local stage led her to the historic Barter The multitalented Mary Greene keeps traditional mountain music alive through her varied instrumentals. PHOTO BY FRANK RUGGIERO Theatre for several seasons before she landed her dream job in one of America’s most fun family theme parks. Sherry Boone, local writer and storyteller, whose stories, “Letters from Myrtle,” from her book, “A Bloomin’ Bouquet,” have been aired on local radio and NPR, will be bringing “Myrtle” back to life one more time for the expo audience. Three local women — Margaret Moore, Regina DeLisse Hartley and Betsy Bolick — each with her personal story of sacriﬁce, strength and inspiration, are sure to motivate their listening audiences throughout the day. Four women whose selﬂess contributions have enhanced the lives of countless people in our mountain communities through a variety of service efforts will be introduced as the 2012 High Country Women of the Year, during a 4 p.m. awards ceremony in the high school auditorium. Attendees will also have many opportunities to explore various avenues through mini-breakout sessions, vendor booths representing local businesses and organizations with products and services geared toward the needs of women. Mark your calendars now for this delightful summer afternoon of celebration. See The Mountain Times, Watauga Democrat, Avery Journal-Times, Ashe Mountain Times and The Blowing Rocket, or visit any of the publications’ websites, for more information. PAGE 99 PAGE 100 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 The High Country’s climate is akin to that of the French wine country, meaning the higher elevations area ideal for French-American hybrid grapes. Wine Country BY FRANK RUGGIERO H igh Country Rosé, Proﬁle Red, Seyval Blanc and Terraced Gold – names that prove the High Country is wine country. About a decade ago, people scoffed at the idea of viably growing grapes in the higher elevations of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but the experts sought out to prove them wrong. In other words, they could put a cork in it. BANNER ELK WINERY Dr. Dick Wolfe is one of those experts. The noted chemist is vintner and coowner of Banner Elk Winery, home to acres of vineyards, a blueberry farm, a bed and breakfast inn and, most importantly, award-winning wines. And they have the medals to prove it. Since the vines took ground in 2005, the area winery has received more than 30 awards for its wines, crafted by Wolfe, with cold-hardy French-American hybrid grapes well suited for the High Country’s frosty winters. Visitors can see – and taste – for themselves at the winery, where seven to eight wines are available for tasting. Those include Seyval Blanc, Banner Elk White, High Country Rosé, Banner Elk Red, Marechel Foch, Cabernet Sauvignon (double-gold medal-winner), ice and blueberry wine, and Sweet Highland Wine, made from golden muskat grapes. Tastings are available year-round for $6 per person and are held Tuesdays through Sundays, from noon to 6 p.m. Private tastings and tours are also available. The winery’s “Farm to Table” dinners are particularly palate-pleasing, offering diners a unique opportunity to pair nature’s seasonal offerings with the vineyard’s ﬁnest, accompanied by lively discussion of food and wine, a tour of the barrel room and a trip to the vineyard kitchen. “We believe it is only through the interplay of food and wine that the subtleties of both are revealed,” the winery’s website reads. “To us, dining is more htan just the food and wine — it is the story of our culinary team, our family and how agriculture, when in balance with nature, complements everything at Banner Elk Winery.” Lunch and dinners are by reservation only, as daily lunch and dinners are not presently offered. For more information, or to make reservations, call (828) 2601790 or email email@example.com. Throughout the summer, Banner Elk CONTINUED ON PAGE 101 2012 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 101 Wine Country CONTINUED FROM PAGE 100 Winery offers a variety of activities, including the 2012 Movie Night Under the stars, with screenings June 15, July 20 and Aug. 17. “We’re growing,” Wolfe said. “We stepped it up signiﬁcantly.” That includes a recently added spa service at the winery’s villa, an ideal complement to weddings, which are also accommodated on site. Already married to your work? The winery and villa are also open for meetings and, of course, celebrations and parties. Banner Elk Winery is located at 60 Deer Run Lane in Banner Elk, just off N.C. 194. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, from noon to 6 p.m. For more information, call (828) 260-1790 or visit www.bannerelkwinery.com. GRANDFATHER VINEYARD In 2001, Steve, Sally and Dylan Tatum planted grapevines in their Foscoe backyard. “If you grow your own grapes, you’re supposed to make your own wine,” Steve said. It doesn’t only make sense; it makes outstanding wine. Freshly opened in May 2011, Grandfather Vineyard & Winery is the Tatums’ labor of love, and it has the distinction of being the only winery located within Watauga County limits. Though the winery is new, the Tatums’ methods are tried and true, and a goal of 2,000 plants no longer seems very lofty. Dylan studied viticulture and enology in college, while Steve conducted extensive research on high-elevation viticulture. He spoke with fellow growers, checked growing degrees and sunshine levels in relation to those in European growing regions, and then considered the thousands of possible grape varieties. “We picked 13 and can now start narrowing them down,” Steve said. “The idea is to have a few varieties that consistently do well,” Dylan said. That includes a Vidal Blanc ice wine, in which the grapes freeze on the vines – at a minimum of 16 degrees Fahrenheit – and the water content is frozen solid. “So, when you squeeze it, you get the sweet essence of that grape,” Steve said. The result is a sweet wine, ideal for dessert, with ﬂavors both unique and subtle. But that’s not all. Grandfather Vineyard, named such for its breathtaking view of the Grandfather Mountain proﬁle, features the aptly named Proﬁle Red, a meticulous blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, pinot noir, landot noir, St. Croix, Chambourcin, Frontenac and Foch. The Terraced Gold, a blend of chardonnay and pinot gris, is Sally’s personal favorite, featuring “tendencies of both grapes.” Steve and Sally Tatum prune the vines at Grandfather Vineyard. PHOTOS BY FRANK RUGGIERO Banner Elk Winery vintner Dick Wolfe, right, treats guests to a wine-tasting. “It’s a light wine that’s good on a summer day,” Steve said. Other varieties include the Big Boulder Red, Rosé of Pinot Noir and Symphony. Visitors can taste for themselves at Grandfather Vineyard & Winery’s tasting room. Tasting ﬂights cost $5 and include a keepsake glass, while visitors can also pair wines with premium cheese and food items. Hours are Thursday through Saturday, from noon to 6 p.m., and Sunday, from 1 to 5 p.m., or by appointment. As their operation grows, the Tatums plan to expand the winery’s offerings to include cheese and foods appropriate for pairings, while opening the grounds for events and functions. “It’s a really beautiful setting for things like that,” Sally said. And it’s a scenic and simple drive to get there. Grandfather Vineyard & Winery is located on Vineyard Lane, just off N.C. 105 in Foscoe and past Sleepy Hollow. For more information, call (828) 963-2400, visit www.grandfathervineyard.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Other Wineries 1861 FARMHOUSE 3608 N.C. 194 South Valle Crucis, N.C. (828) 963-6301 www.1861farmhouse.com THISTLE MEADOW WINERY 102 Thistle Meadow Laurel Springs, N.C. (800) 233-1505 www.thistlemeadowwinery.com NEW RIVER WINERY 165 Piney Creek Road Lansing (336) 384-1213 www.newriverwinery.com CHATEAU LAURINDA VINEYARD 690 Reeves Ridge Road Sparta, N.C. (336) 372-2562 www.chateaulaurindavineyards.com PAGE 102 Summer THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE Stages of 2012 Summer Theater in the High Country BY KAREN SABO F ans of live theater have plenty of choices in the High Country this summer. Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties host a wealth of local companies producing a wide variety of theatrical offerings, ranging from works based on Charles Dickens to stories about Elvis. For 61 years, Boone audiences have enjoyed “Horn in the West,” one of the oldest outdoor dramas in the country. While the show depicts the settling of the High Country during the Revolutionary War period, the theatrical production has itself become a part of local history. Kermit Hunter, a writer of dozens of other outdoor dramas, created the script especially for the town of Boone, which ﬁrst produced the show in 1952. The more than 1.4 million people who have seen a production of “Horn” learned about the early American settlers’ quest for freedom and their relations with the local Cherokees, as well as about the complex balance between loyalty to England and self-determination. But visitors can experience much more than a history lesson. Horn in the West, which involves a singing, ﬁre-dancing and stage-ﬁghting cast of 40, is supplemented by the Hickory Ridge Homestead, a living history museum that offers visitors the chance to observe volunteer re-enactors demonstrating common activities from the American Revolutionary era. Tickets to “Horn in the West” can be purchased by calling (828) 264-2120 or ordering through the website, www.horninthewest.com. General admission tickets are $9 for children and $18 adults. Hickory Ridge Homestead is open during the Saturday morning farmers’ market and at 5:30 p.m. before every “Horn” performance. The 2012 show opens June 15 and closes Aug. 11. The Ashe County Little Theater is made up of dedicated community members and is the oldest of local acting troupes, having originally formed in 1959. Located in West Jefferson, this community theater produces three to four productions this year and will present the musical, “Oliver,” June 21 to 25 at the Ashe Civic Center this summer. A cast of 30 will grace the stage in this classic musical based on the book by Charles Dickens, and audiences The British are coming — to ‘Horn in the West,’ the High Country’s popular outdoor drama. PHOTOS SUBMITTED may recognize familiar songs such, as “Who Will Buy?” “Consider Yourself” and “As Long as He Needs Me.” In late August, Ashe County Little Theater will also present the play, “The Silver Whistle,” a charming 1940s comedy about a con artist and a group of elderly friends, Aug. 23 to 26. The performances take place at the Ashe Civic Center in West Jefferson. All tickets are available on month in advance, and all seating is reserved. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call (336) 846-2787 Appalachian State University has a multitude of offerings, both entertaining and educational. A coproduction among the university’s theater and dance department, Blowing Rock’s Ensemble Stage and An Appalachian Summer Festival will culminate in a onenight-only performance of “Shipwrecked! An Entertainment: The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont” on July 19 at 8 p.m. in the Valborg Theatre on campus. This three-person professional show will include actors Derek Gagnier and Derek Davidson and will be directed by theater professor Teresa Lee. ASU will also present a staged reading of the new play, “Fellow Traveler” by Peter Petschauer, directed by Preston Lane, artistic director of Greensboro’s Triad Stage, on July 27 at 8 p.m. in the Valborg Theatre on campus. True to form, the University also has educational offerings, ranging from free theatre and dance classes, the Now & Next Dance Mentoring program for adolescent girls, and the Cre8tive Drama Day Camps, run by theater education professor Gordon Hensley. For tickets, call the An Appalachian Summer Festival box ofﬁce at (828) 262-4046 or (800) 841-2787. For more information, visit theatre.appstate.edu. Located in Blowing Rock, Ensemble Stage also manages to ﬁt in educational programming with its four-show summer season. The High Country’s only professional theater group offers one-week camps for kids, which focus this year on stories of the High Country. CONTINUED ON PAGE 103 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE 2012 Stages of Summer CONTINUED FROM PAGE 102 Ensemble’s audiences can watch stories from all over America, starting with the June 16 season opener, “Moon Over the Brewery,” by Bruce Graham. Artistic director Gary Smith said, “I’m insanely excited about this one,” and explained that the most difﬁcult part of the show was ﬁnding a young girl to play the 13-yearold lead. Valle Crucis resident Olivia Waters ﬁt the bill. Ensemble continues its season with the comedy, “The Complete History of America, Abridged,” which covers 600 years of history in 6,000 seconds, running July 7 to 1, and moves on to “Fit to Kill,” a thriller with guest director Mark Woodard, running July 28 to Aug. 5. Ensemble’s summer season concludes with “All the King’s Women,” the story of Elvis Presley as told by 17 different female fans, running Aug. 25 to Sept. 3. For tickets and more information, including summer camp dates, call (828) 414-1844 or visit www.ensemblestage.com. The Blue Ridge Community Theatre is partnering with the brandnew In/Visible Theatre in running an educational intensive. A cast of six local kids will be professionally directed in an interactive version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” performing for audiences in early June. This 45-minute adaptation explores the tricky line between white lies and too much truth, and will perform free of charge for audiences in local libraries. “The Emperor’s New Clothes” will perform on June 5 at the Watauga County Public Library and on June 7 at the Western Watauga Community Center. Call the libraries at (828) 264-8784 for more informa- Avery Arts Events BY MICHAEL BRAGG N estled behind the Old Hampton Store and Barbecue, the Avery County Arts Council in Linville has featured High Country artists’ work for 35 years, two of those years in its current location. “We can now really have a space to display local artists,” gallery director Caitlin Morehouse said. “We get wonderful foot trafﬁc based on being near Grandfather Mountain and the Old Hampton Store, so we actually get to see a lot of visitors and to sell artists work.” The arts council has events lined up for the upcoming summer months, including classes and specially themed exhibits. “Our exhibits change every four to six weeks, and the show we have in July is a group show called ‘Islands to Highlands,’ and it’s kind of remarking on how the people who live here have lived in Florida or tropical locals and kind of go back and forth,” Morehouse said. “It’s a really beautiful show we have planned, and it will have a reception.” Morehouse said that some evening events this summer will even include live bluegrass music and barbecue. The Avery Arts Council is located at 77 Rufﬁn St. in Linville. For more information, visit www.averycountyartscouncil.org or call (828) 773-0054. May MOUNTAINS, LEGENDS AND LORE EXHIBITION May 23-July 1 Reception Saturday, June 23 THE SCRAP PARTY Saturday, May 26 10 a.m.–3 p.m. A guided art project turning junk into art, led by John D. Richards of Yummy Mud Puddle Studio. Free June WORKSHOP: TRASH ART BY JOHN D. RICHARDS Saturday, June 16 Learn sculptural assemblage skills from discarded materials. $30/person, pre-register CLASS: KID’S POTTERY CLASSES June 25-29, 1-3 p.m. Taught by potter Joe Chorneau at Two Trees Pottery, next to the Avery Art Gallery. $15/student/day, pre-register July ISLANDS TO HIGHLANDS EXHIBITION July 4-Aug. 1 Reception Friday, July 13 CLASS: KID’S POTTER CLASSES July 9-13, 1-3 p.m. Taught by potter Joe Corneau at Two Trees Pottery, next to the Avery Art Gallery. $15/student/day, pre-register WORKSHOP: PAPER AND BOOKMAKING Saturday, July 14, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Former artist-in-residence for Avery County Schools PAGE 103 tion. “I love my work,” said Dr. Janet Speer, artistic director of Lees-McRae Summer Theatre in Banner Elk. Audiences show their love of her work by returning every summer for their three-show season. Lees-McRae Summer Theatre opens with the family-friendly “Suessical,” and afterward delivers the straight play, “See How They Run,” which Speer said is “…a laugh from beginning to end.” They end their season with the historical “Show Boat,” a 1927 musical that was the ﬁrst to successfully blend an engaging story with music and dance. “Seussical” runs June 27 to July 1; “See How They Run” runs July 13 to 14 and July 18 to 20; and “Showboat” runs Aug. 1 to 5. Each show features evening and matinee shows on certain dates, all at Hayes Auditorium on the Lees-McRae College campus in Banner Elk. For tickets, call the box ofﬁce at (828) 898-8709 or visit www.lmc.edu/SummerTheatre. Sigrid Hice will teach the class. $30/person, pre-register KNITTING FOR KIDS: SIMPLE SCARF PROJECT July 16-20, 1–3 p.m. Taught by professional knitwear teacher, designer and author Shirley MacNulty for rising grades 4-8. $30/person, pre-register WORKSHOP: INVENTIVE JEWELRY MAKING Saturday, July 28 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Learn to make jewelry from scraps, taught by John D. Richards of Yummy Puddle Studio. $30/person, pre-register August MUSINGS ON DUALITY EXHIBITION Aug. 2–31 Reception Saturday, Aug. 4 KNITTING FOR TEENS: SCARF PROJECT Aug. 6–10, 1–3 p.m. Taught by professional knitwear teacher, designer and author Shirley MacNulty for rising grades 9-12. $30/person, pre-register FOURTH ANNUAL BANNER ELK PAINT-OUT Saturday, Aug. 18, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Co-hosted by the Banner Elk Art Cellar, held along the Banner Elk Greenway with prizes for ﬁrst, second, third place, People’s Choice and Kid’s category (16 and under). $30/adults, $15/kids September AUTUMN LIGHT EXHIBITION Sept. 1–30 Reception Saturday, Sept. 1 THE MOUNTAIN TIMES SUMMER GUIDE PAGE 104 Ashe Arts Events BY MICHAEL BRAGG T he Ashe County Arts Council of West Jefferson has its schedule set and is geared up for summer. With art galleries and live music making up a portion of the list, executive director Jane Lonon said the council continues to offer a “variety, high quality, diverse offering of performances” in Ashe County. “What we’ve got scheduled is as appealing to the visitors or the part-time residents as it is to the full-time residents, and I think that’s one of the unique things about what happens here in Ashe County, as opposed to the rest of the High Country region,” Lonon said. “We do have a broad-based level of support for the arts here in Ashe County, with local residents, as well as visitors and seasonal residents.” The arts council is not only responsible for the Ashe County Arts Center that contains the council’s galleries and ofﬁce, but it also oversees the Ashe Civic Center, which seats 300 people and hosts the majority of the council’s programs. In addition to showcasing native talent, the arts council plays an important role to the county in even more ways. “I think the impact of the arts in Ashe County … has been very signiﬁcant in terms of revitalization,” Lonon said. “Downtown and community beautiﬁcation, economic development and education have been at the core of what this organization has done, and they’ve done that in a variety of ways. Just knowing the impact that the arts, no matter how you want to deﬁne that, have on all our lives makes this job the best one in the whole wide world.” For more information, visit www.ashecountyarts.org or call (336) 846-ARTS. June SHADOW OF THE HILLS EXHIBIT June 6-7 2012 August NEAL HELLMAN, DULCIMER CONCERT & WORKSHOP Sunday, Aug. 5 Ashe County Arts Center WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THE SOUTH Aug. 8–Sept. 8 Paintings, photography and crafts Ashe County Arts Center The arts are prevalent in downtown West Jefferson, home to numerous murals that colorfully depict Ashe County culture. FILE PHOTO EMILE PANDOLFI CONCERT Aug. 11-12, Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. Ashe Civic Center Ashe County Arts Center Annual exhibit by members of the Blue Ridge Art Clan COFFEE HOUSE LIVE COFFEE HOUSE LIVE ASHE COUNTY LITTLE THEATRE: ‘THE SILVER WHISTLE’ Monday, June 9, 7:30 p.m. West Jefferson Methodist Church ASHE COUNTY LITTLE THEATRE: ‘OLIVER’ June 21-25 Ashe Civic Center KEN KOLODNER DULCIMER CONCERT Sunday, June 29, 7:30 p.m. Ashe County Arts Center July Saturday, Aug. 18, 7:30 p.m. West Jefferson Methodist Church Aug. 23-26 Ashe Civic Center September TICKLING THE IVORIES CONCERT Saturday, Sept. 8, 7:30 p.m. Ashe Civic Center 7:30 p.m. TONGUES OF FIRE CHER SHAFFER EXHIBIT Sunday, Sept. 11, 7:30 p.m. Ashe Civic Center July 11–Aug. 4 Ashe County Arts Center ON THE SAME PAGE LITERARY FESTIVAL CAROLINA CHAMBER PLAYERS: MOON RIVER AND MERCER Saturday, July 21, 7:30 p.m. Ashe Civic Center Sept. 12-15 Multiple events over a four-day period, featuring nine authors and 21 events at 11 locations. This year’s theme is “Journeys,” and featured keynote author is Lee Smith. MORE THAN WORDS EXHIBIT Sept. 12–Oct. 6 Ashe County Arts Center Collaborative exhibit between artists of all mediums and writers ART ON THE MOUNTAIN ARTS & CRAFTS FESTIVAL Saturday, Sept. 22 Ashe County Arts Center 2012 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide PAGE 105 Advertising Index The 1861 Farmhouse Restaurant & Winery – 96 4 Seasons Vacation Rentals & Sales – 36 Addison Inn – 61 Alchemy Coffee & BeadBox – 24 All About Women Expo – 12 Alray Tire of Boone – 104 An Appalachian Summer Festival – 78 Animal Emergency & Pet Care Clinic – 87 Anna Banana’s – 24 Antiques on Howard – 25 App Urgent Care – 10 Appalachian Conference and Camp Services – 29 Appalachian Homebrewing Supply – 25 Appalachian Lifelong Learning – 29 Appalachian Regional Healthcare System – 23 The Art of Oil – 89 ArtWalk – 24 Ashe Arts – 37 Ashe County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center – 37 Ashe County Farmers’ Market – 83 Ashe County Little Theater – 39 Avery Animal Hospital – 87 Bandana’s Bar-B-Que & Grill – 91 Banner Elk – 48 Banner Elk Winery & Villa – 93 Banner House Museum – 50 The Barking Rock – 30 Barra Sushi Club – 93 The Blowing Rock – 77 Blowing Rock Art & History Museum – 27 Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce – 30 Bolick and Traditions Pottery – 30 Boone Bagelry – 24 BooneIndependentRestaurants.org – 88 Broyhill Home Collection – 30 Buffalo Creek General Store – 36 Buffalo Tavern - 36 Cabin Fever – 30 The Cabin Store – 85 Café Portofino – 91 Carlton Gallery – 27 Casa Bella - 36 Cha Da Thai – 25 Char – 25, 96 Chetola Resort – 11 Chick-fil-A – 93 Christmas in Blowing Rock – 3 Christmas in July – 39 Comfort – 97 The Country Gourmet – 15 Coyote Kitchen – 90 Dereka’s Sugar Mountain Accommodations Center & Realty Inc. – 67 DeWoolfson – 59 Dianne Davant & Associates – 54 Doe Ridge Pottery – 24 Doncaster Outlet – 30 Echota – 3 Edge of the World – 43 Erick’s Cheese & Wine – 19 ExploreBooneArea.com – 55 Festiva Hospitality Group – 98 Fine Art & Master Craft Festival – 81 Final Touches – 30 First Friday Art Crawl – 24 Foggy Mountain Gem Mine – 65 Foggy Rock Eatery & Pub – 91 Footsloggers – 71 Foscoe Fishing Company – 74 Frasers Restaurant and Pub – 36 Fred’s General Mercantile – 45 Gamekeeper Restaurant & Bar – 97 Gladiola Girls – 24 Gold Rush Sweepstakes – 77 Golden Corral – 91 Grandfather Campground & Cabins – 75 Grandfather Mountain – 66 Grandfather Mountain Nursery Garden Center & Landscaping – 83 Grandfather Trout Farm – 41 Grandfather Vineyard & Winery – 92 Green Park Inn – 99 Greenhouse Crafts – 37 Gregory Alan’s – 30 Hawksnest Zipline – 98 The Health Connection – 67 Heavenly Touch Massage – 26 Hemlock Inn – 73 Hickory Furniture Mart – 60 High Country Stone -28 Hill Top Drive-In – 25 Hob Nob Farm Café – 24 The Homestead Inn – 73 Honda of Wilkesboro – 61 Honey Bear Campground & Nature Center – 104 The Honey Hole of the Blue Ridge – 36 Hunan Chinese Restaurant – 95 In Your Home Furnishings – 9 Incredible Toy Company – 77 The Inn at Ragged Gardens – 31 J&J Chophouse – 96 Jefferson Landing – 107 Jim’s Corner Furniture – 37 Joe’s Jazzed Up – 94 Kawasaki of Wilkesboro – 53 Kincaid Factory Direct Outlet – 47 The Knoll Interior Design – 38 Kojay’s Café – 30 Lansing – 60 Lees-McRae Summer Theatre – 86 Libby’s – 37 Life Insurance Services – 21 Linville Caverns – 63 Linville Land Harbor – 10 Logs America – 88 Lucky Penny – 25 M.C. Adams Clothier – 25 Maggie Black Pottery – 81 Magic Cycles – 71 Makoto’s Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar – 93 Mast General Store – 2 Mayview Rod & Gun Club – 7 Melanie’s – 95 Miracle Grounds – 41 Modern Subaru of Boone – 16 Modern Toyota of Boone – 16 Mountain Aire Golf Club – 65 Mountain Bagels – 96 Mountain City Antiques & Collectibles – 51 Mountain Home & Hearth – 13 Mountain Mamma’s Bed & Biscuit – 87 Mountain Outfitters – 37 Mountain Run Properties & Rentals – 81 Mountainaire Inn & Log Cabins – 73 Mountaineer Garden Center – 83 The Mustard Seed Market – 51 My Best Friend’s Barkery – 87 Nancy Schleifer: Attorney-at-Law – 15 Nick’s Restaurant & Pub On the Same Page Literary Festival – 53 The Open Door Global Gifts – 25 Originals Only Gallery - 36 Our Daily Bread – 24 Paolucci’s Italian Bar & Grill - 25 Parker Tie Company Inc. – 37 Parkway Craft Center – 35 Peabody’s Wine & Beer Merchants – 11 Pepper’s Restaurant & Bar – 94 The Pet Place – 87 Pet Supplies Plus – 86 Primo’s – 90 Ram’s Rack Thrift Shop – 25 Red Onion Café – 90 RedTail Mountain – 19 RiverCamp USA – 94 Rivercross Market – 62 Rock Dimensions – 71 Sagebrush – 95 The Sanctuary – 57 Seven Devils – 23 Shear Shakti – 25 The Shoppes at Farmers Hardware – 25 Six Pence Pub – 95 Sky Valley Zip Tours – 35 SkyLine/SkyBest – 21 Sorrento’s World Famous Bistro Stonewall’s – 97 Sugar Mountain Café – 67 Sugar Mountain Lodging Inc. -67 Sugar Mountain Resort – 49 Sugar Ski & Country Club – 67 Sugar Top Resort Sales – 67 Sunalei Preserve – 17 The TAPP Room – 94 Tatum Galleries and Interiors Timberlake’s Restaurant at Chetola Resort – 108 Tis the Season – 36 Tucker’s Café – 94 Turchin Center for the Visual Arts – 24, 78 Tweetsie Railroad – 72 Vidalia Restaurant and Wine Bar – 89 The Village Inns of Blowing Rock – 73 Village of Sugar Mountain – 67 The Vistas at Banner Elk – 84 Wahoo’s Adventures – 42 Watauga County Farmers’ Market – 12 Watauga Kayak – 63 Watauga Lakeshore Resort and Marina – 79 West Jefferson Hampton Inn – 106 Wilkes County – 61 The Wilkes Playmakers – 53 Wolf Creek Traders – 100 The Woodlands Barbecue & Pickin’ Parlor – 90 Woof Pack Pet Services – 87 Yamaha of Wilkesboro – 51 Yonahlossee Raquet Club – 98 Yonahlossee Resort & Club – 98 Zaloo’s Canoes – 74 PAGE 106 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide 2012 2012 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide PAGE 107 PAGE 108 The MounTain TiMes suMMer Guide 2012