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2013

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

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THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Advertising Index .................................................................................................82 Appalachian Ski Mountain ...................................................................................36 Appalachian State University Performing Arts Series ........................................60 Ashe County .........................................................................................................22 Banner Elk.............................................................................................................65 Beech Mountain Resort .......................................................................................40 Blowing Rock........................................................................................................17 Blowing Rock Art and History Museum ..............................................................58 Blowing Rock WinterFest.....................................................................................16 Blowing Rock, The ...............................................................................................28 Blue Ridge Parkway .............................................................................................20 Calendar................................................................................................................74 Caving ...................................................................................................................50 Chambers of Commerce ........................................................................................6 Choose-and-Cut Christmas Trees .......................................................................52 Coffee Shops ........................................................................................................71 Downtown Boone .................................................................................................27 Emergency Numbers .............................................................................................5 Fishing ..................................................................................................................44 Frescoes ...............................................................................................................63

Galleries ................................................................................................................66 General Stores ......................................................................................................24 Grandfather Mountain ..........................................................................................56 Hawksnest Snow-Tubing and Zipline ..................................................................41 High Country Host ..................................................................................................6 Hiking ....................................................................................................................46 Holiday Activities ..................................................................................................18 Mystery Hill ...........................................................................................................54 Restaurants ..........................................................................................................75 Skiing ....................................................................................................................28 Snow Gear ............................................................................................................37 Snow-Tubing .........................................................................................................34 Snowshoeing ........................................................................................................26 Spas ......................................................................................................................70 Sugar Mountain Resort ........................................................................................38 Theater .................................................................................................................61 Towns ......................................................................................................................7 Valle Crucis ...........................................................................................................14 Wineries ................................................................................................................73 Winter Driving .......................................................................................................15

Blowing Rock TDA Director Tracy Brown takes a dive at Blowing Rock’s annual Polar Plunge. PHOTO BY ROB MOORE

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2013 Winter Times Staff Gene Fowler Jr. Publisher

SEASONS GREETINGS

W

hat do snowsports, chili, frescoes and ziplines have in common? For starters, they all can be found in this year’s Winter Times, your winter guide to North Carolina’s High Country. If you can find another correlation, please let us know. In the meantime, flip through the following pages, where you’ll find valuable information on practically everything to do during a High Country winter.

And since new events are always cropping up, just like conflicting weather forecasts, visit a local newsstand and pick up a copy of The Mountain Times, the area’s “what’s happening” newspaper. There you’ll find up-to-date information on all goings-on for your High Country winter. Till next time, enjoy, and happy winter!

# NUMBERS Law Enforcement Watauga County Watauga County Sheriff’s Office (828) 264-3761 Boone Police Department (828) 268-6900 Blowing Rock Police (828) 295-5210 Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Police (828) 262-4168 Appalachian State Police (828) 262-2150

Ashe County Ashe County Sheriff’s Office (336) 846-5633 Jefferson Police (336) 846-5529 West Jefferson Police (336) 246-9410

Sincerely, Your friends at The Mountain Times

OF NOTE

Avery County Avery County Sheriff’s Office (828) 733-2071 Banner Elk Police (828) 898-4300 Elk Park Police Department (828) 733-9573 Newland Police Department (828) 733-2024 Seven Devils Police Department (828) 963-6760 Sugar Mountain Police (828) 898-4349 Beech Mountain Police (828) 387-2342

Health Care Watauga Medical Center (Boone) (828) 262-4100 Blowing Rock Hospital (828) 295-3136

Charlie Price Advertising Director Rob Moore Layout Editor Johnny Hayes, Sandy Shook Layout Artists Jennifer Canosa Graphics Manager

#

Cannon Memorial Hospital (Linville) (828) 737-7000 Ashe Memorial Hospital (Jefferson) (336) 846-7101 FastMed Urgent Care (Boone) (828) 265-7146 AppUrgent Care (Boone) (828) 265-5505

Animal Control Watauga County Animal Control (828) 262-1672 Watauga Humane Society (Boone) (828) 264-7865 Animal Emergency & Pet Care Clinic of the High Country (Boone) (828) 268-2833

Frank Ruggiero Editor

Andy Gainey Circulation Manager Sam Calhoun, Jesse Campbell, Jeff Eason, Caroline Harris, Anna Oakes, Adam Orr, Heather Samudio, Jamie Shell, Sandy Shook and Kellen Short Writers Rex Goss, Mark Mitchell, Leigh Ann Moody and Rick Tobin Sales Meleah Bryan and Kristin Powers Graphics 474 Industrial Park Drive Boone, North Carolina 28607 (828) 264-6397 • mtfrontdesk@mountaintimes.com

www.mountaintimes.com A publication of Mountain Times Publications & Jones Media, Inc., Greeneville, Tenn.

On the Front

A couple of girls take to tubing at Sugar Mountain Resort. PHOTO BY TODD BUSH (828) 898-8088 WWW.BUSHPHOTO.COM

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High Country Chambers of Commerce ASHE COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 1 N. Jefferson Ave., Suite C P.O. Box 31 West Jefferson, N.C. 28694 (336) 846-9550 ashechamber@skybest.com www.ashechamber.com

AVERY COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 4501 Tynecastle Highway, No. 2 Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 (828) 898-5605 chamber@averycounty.com www.averycounty.com

Travel consultant J.P. Greene welcomes visitors to the High Country Host Visitor Center.

R

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FILE PHOTO

First Stop: High Country Host BY ANNA OAKES

epresenting destinations in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Watauga and Wilkes counties, High Country Host is well equipped to serve as the one-stop shop for your visit to the North Carolina mountains. Formed in 1980, the visitor center and its knowledgeable staff offer experienced advice and insider info that can make a significant difference for travelers. “We work with the five counties, and so we can give people a good idea of how much they could do in a particular day — how far attractions are from one another and that sort of thing,” said Candice Cook, High Country Host marketing director. “(That is) a huge advantage, especially in the winter.” Visit the center’s easy-to-navigate website for a comprehensive listing

of lodging accommodations, things to do, dining locales, shopping opportunities, services, weather and road conditions, maps and directions and deals and special packages. Request a free vacation planner via the website or by calling (800) 438-7500. For the best hands-on attention to your travel needs, however, stop by the High Country Host Visitor Information Center at 1700 Blowing Rock Road, which is open Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Skiing and snowboarding are among the popular activities for High Country tourists, but for those who prefer something other than gliding over the snow, High Country Host recommends trips to year-round destinations, such as the Ashe County Cheese factory,

area art galleries, Linville Caverns and Grandfather Mountain, among many others. High Country Host’s website or its Visitor Information Center are the best places to go to find current packages and specials, including packages for choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms and area ski resorts. Cook’s key piece of advice? Plan ahead. As of mid-November, lodging facilities were already beginning to fill for the New Year’s holiday. Get personal assistance, maps and weather reports at the Visitor Information Center, located at 1700 Blowing Rock Road in Boone. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. Visit High Country Host online at highcountryhost.com, or call (800) 438-7500.

BANNER ELK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 100 W. Main St. Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 (828) 898-8395 bechamber@skybest.com www.bannerelk.org

BEECH MOUNTAIN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 403-A Beech Mountain Parkway, Beech Mountain, N.C. 28604 828) 387-9283 or (800) 468-5506 chamber@beechmtn.com www.beechmountainchamber.com

BLOWING ROCK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 132 Park Ave. Blowing Rock, N.C. 28605 (828) 295-7851 info@blowingrock.com www.blowingrockncchamber.com

BOONE AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 870 W. King St., Suite A, Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 264-2225 info@boonechamber.com www.boonechamber.com

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THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

Our Towns Pageantry of winter season captured in High Country towns

Throughout the High Country, the flavor of the winter season is accented and celebrated by the municipalities that make the area the wonderful and unique treasure it is. The towns that make up this area are diverse and quaint, offering visitors a wide variety of options, including dining, lodging, shopping, entertainment, outdoor activities and more.

Students take a snow day and build a snowman on the Appalachian State campus in Boone. PHOTO BY ANNA OAKES

eclectic boutiques dot the landscape, interspersed with enticing restaurants and colorful galleries. A life-size sculpture of the late Doc Watson, the legendary bluegrass performer, sits at the corner of King and Depot streets. The sculpture honors one of Boone’s prized gems, who, despite nearly lifelong blindness, became one of the most talented and prolific musicians in the genre. Watson died May 29, 2012. Take a stroll to the front steps of the Jones House Community Center, built in 1908. The house was donated to the town in the early 1980s and today houses art galleries and community functions. Departing from downtown, popular restaurant franchises, retail chains 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. Boone is a town where old and new mix, and visitors are made to feel like part of the family.

Watauga County 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 17 colleges and universities that make up the University of North Carolina system. The unversity draws about 17,000 students, with interest in the school having 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 pronounced “App-uh-latch-un.” Adjacent to the university is King Street and the surrounding downtown area, one of the High Country’s most popular shopping destinations. One-of-a-kind stores and

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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. 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 and promptly underwent a complete overhaul. The inn has since been restored to its former glory, offering lodging, a full bar and fine dining. 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, bundle up and spend the rest of the day on foot, exploring the shops and parks of downtown. Clothing, antiques, home furnishings, mementos and savory treats will fill your shopping bags — and your stomach. Make sure to visit Tanger Shoppes on the Parkway on U.S. 321 to find name-brand items at outlet prices. If they’re not buried in piles of snow, 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 less-traveled Broyhill Park down Laurel Lane paints the perfect winter scene, complete with snow-topped gazebo and ice-covered pond. The trails surrounding Moses Cone Memorial Park and Bass Lake provide another excellent winter wonderland, as well as a recreation opportunity for those trying out cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. If you visit during the holidays, take a cruise down the length of Main Street and past Chetola Resort to take in the displays of lights, wreaths and beauty of the season. The picturesque town of Blowing Rock is the perfect place to have an active winter vacation — or to relax and do nothing at all.

Valle Crucis

Downtown Blowing Rock. DBliRk PHOTO BY FRANK RUGGIERO

Blowing Rock

Blowing Rock manages to pack 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

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, 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 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

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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.

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 along with the New River, one of the few rivers in the world that flows 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 railroad. 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 mercantile regularly hosts square and contra dances, with traditional mountain music by local performers. The river itself provides plenty to do, from canoeing and kayaking in the summer to excellent fishing in the winter.

Seven Devils

From elevations of some 5,200 feet, the town of Seven Devils straddles both Watauga and Avery counties. Seven Devils is just a few minutes from Boone, Blowing Rock, Banner Elk and Valle Crucis and can be found off N.C. 105. From many areas in the town, one has views of Grandfather Mountain, Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain, Rich Mountain and Mount Rogers in Virginia. Seven Devils began life in the 1960s as the 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

A snow-covered Valle Crucis offers some of the most picturesque views in the High Country. FILE PHOTO

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 slope, lake, riding ground and camping area, eventually becoming incorporated. While the golf course and ski slopes have been closed for a number of years, Hawksnest, the former ski resort, has become one of the town’s centerpieces with a host of other outdoor activities. Among its wintertime attractions at Hawksnest are snow-tubing and ziplines. In fact, Hawksnest (www.hawksnesttubing.com) is recognized as the largest snow-tubing park on the East Coast, and the company boasts the longest zipline tour, as well. For more information and events at Seven Devils, visit www.townofsevendevils.org.

Avery County Banner Elk

The mountain valley town of Banner Elk has grown from a tiny hamlet to a town offering year-round ameni-

ties 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. Snow-covered 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 stroll through the town park, enjoy ample shopping or simply relax by the mill pond. Later, they can check in to one of Banner Elk’s inns and enjoy a gourmet dinner at one of the town’s fine restaurants. 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 ponder nature’s beauty. Banner Elk also offers many cultural happenings, with a highly acclaimed summer theater program at 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, which attracts close to 20,000 people each year. Cutting between the peaks of Sugar Mountain, Beech Mountain and Grandfather Mountain, the topography of the town provides natural definition and gentle undulation through the town’s boundaries.

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Chestnut Grille The sledding hill in Beech Mountain is a popular destination for wintertime fun. PHOTO SUBMITTED

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For more information or a calendar of events, call the Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce at (828) 898-5605, or visit www.bannerelk.org.

Beech Mountain

Regarded as the highest elevated town

Real Food for Real People Casual Mountain Dining

in the Eastern United States, Beech Mountain is a haven for winter sports enthusiasts. The slopes at Beech Mountain Resort open in November and offer both beginner and advanced skiers a pristine location to enjoy a winter’s day. Snowboarders can utilize the freestyle terrain park, with manmade terrain, including half-pipes, grind rails and a host of jumps with landing areas. CONTINUED ON PAGE 10

Join us for Winterfest as we host the Grand Wine Tasting & Wine Auction

9239 Valley Blvd Blowing Rock, NC 28605 | 828.414.9230

www.greenparkinn.com

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Sledders can enjoy the town of Beech Mountain’s free sledding hill, while skaters can go to Beech Mountain Resort’s Alpine Village and enjoy the 7,000-square-foot ice skating rink. The rink is located in the middle of Beech Tree Village, making it a unique and memorable experience. For those wishing to spend an extended stay on the mountain, there are more than 5,000 beds available on top of the mountain for rental, ranging from picturesque cabins to chalets and condominiums. For those not on the slopes or seeking a change of pace, there are numerous shops and restaurants to visit, in addition to an active nightlife with live music and a fun atmosphere. Or visitors can curl up by a fireplace and enjoy a good book. For more information and a full calendar of winter events, call the Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce at (828) 387-9283, or visit www.beechmtnchamber. com.

Sugar Mountain is home to the annual SugarFest at Sugar Mountain Resort. FILE PHOTO

Sugar Mountain

The village of Sugar Mountain is an ideal destination for the individual or family looking to enjoy outdoor winter sports, in addition to activities year-round. Sugar Mountain is home to Sugar Mountain Resort, one of the South’s premier winter destination playgrounds. Since 1969, Sugar Mountain Resort has specialized in outdoor recreational fun. The resort is hailed for its challenging trails for the advanced skier and beginner slopes for those snapping ski bindings on for the very first time. Sugar features the longest vertical drop in the High Country at 1,200 feet; 20 total slopes, with 15 lit for night skiing; 11 lifts; 115 skiable acres; 700-foot long tubing lanes; a 10,000-square-foot refrigerated ice skating rink; trails for snowshoeing; the latest in rental equipment for every snowsport; and breathtaking views from its rime-ice covered peaks. Topping out at 5,300 feet above sea level, Sugar

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Mountain Resort’s chances of receiving natural snow are good. Seasonal snowfall can reach as high as 130 inches. A highlight of the winter season at Sugar Mountain is SugarFest, an annual weekend of winter fun, returning Dec. 13 to 15. For more information, call the village of Sugar Mountain at (828) 898-9292, or visit www.seesugar.com.

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 Shop, a working vocational classroom, featuring specialty coffee drinks, homemade snacks, sandwiches, milkshakes, ice cream, WiFi and more.

Newland

Linville

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 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, according to legend, drowned herself in the river in despair because she could not marry a brave from another tribe. A 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 include the original jail cells, numerous artifacts and information about the history of Avery County. 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.

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 reportedly killed by Cherokees in 1766. East Tennessee and Western North 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. 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 U.S. 221 and Linville Gorge wilderness area. 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. One of 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.

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 Sloops’ school in Crossnore eventually took in boarders and built dormitories to accommodate them. The Sloops also built a 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.

Mt. Jefferson looms over the communities of Jefferson and West Jefferson in Ashe County. FILE PHOTO

Ashe County Jefferson & West Jefferson

Jefferson and West Jefferson can be found in Ashe County, both of them classic small towns with warm,

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Beech Mountain Resort’s annual Winterfest is packed with winter activities, including the ever-popular Cardboard Box Derby.

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friendly people. Jefferson was the first to be founded and is the oldest incorporated town in the High Country. It started in 1800 as the county seat for Ashe, which the N.C. General Assembly established the year before. The new town stood near the base of Mount Jefferson, both bearing the name of U.S. founding father Thomas Jefferson. Even as the population of Ashe County grew, Jefferson remained a quiet place, with relatively few homes and a courthouse. Then the railroad came. Overnight, boom towns like Lansing and Todd blossomed. Logging meant work, and money was relatively plentiful. All that, however, bypassed the town of Jefferson. In 1917, a group of investors founded West Jefferson, located southwest of Jefferson, and attracted the railroad. West Jefferson became the economic center of the county, although Todd, a major railroad hub, was larger.

FILE PHOTO

Eventually, the railroad left, and Lansing, Todd and all other rail towns shrank considerably. Fortunately, roads came to the Jeffersons, allowing both towns to prosper. Today, the towns have differences and similarities. The old courthouse and surrounding buildings in Jefferson are the center of county government, and a shopping center is located there, offering retail stories and services. The idyllic Ashe County Park and Foster-Tyson Park are perfect for an intown stroll. West Jefferson’s downtown district is busy and active, with old stores still standing and packed with unique and dynamic shopping, offering everything from real estate to art to coffee to clothing. The visitor center, operated by the Ashe Chamber of Commerce, offers answers and a wide selection of literature. West Jefferson is home to the Ashe County Cheese factory and store, where visitors can see cheese made and purchase butter, a variety of cheeses and other goodies. The Jeffersons are also the gateway to two state parks. Mount Jefferson State CONTINUED ON PAGE 12

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The Ashe County Cheese factory is a popular destination in downtown West Jefferson. Two words: squeaky cheese. PHOTO BY LINDSEY HAMBY

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Park is located just off U.S. 221. To the north of Jefferson are access areas for New River State Park. Just south of West Jefferson, near the Beaver Creek community, is St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. This is the home of the famous fresco of Jesus on the cross by renowned artist Ben Long. A painting of the Madonna with child hangs on the sanctuary wall.

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 circa 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.

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. For more information, visit www. ashechamber.com.

Lansing

Whether you’re looking for a town reminiscent of the past or one 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 taking in the mountain scenery. Lansing, 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 there in less than an hour from Abingdon, Va., or Mountain City, Tenn. The town has one red light, and several businesses line the street. 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. 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 the course of its history, Lansing had a cheese plant, clothing store, coffin shop, doctor’s office, bank and a restaurant. 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

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Wilkes is best known for drawing people to see musical artists at MerleFest every year. The late Doc Watson founded the festival. PHOTO BY FRANK RUGGIERO

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’40s and faced Hurricane Hugo later that century. Despite these setbacks, Lansing continued to flourish and expand. The Works Progress Administration built the Lansing High School in 1941, using local granite stone. The school still stands today. The scenic Virginia Creeper biking trail is available to visitors, as is the town’s park. For more information about Lansing, visit www.explorelansingnc.com, or call Lansing Town Hall at (336) 384-3938.

Wilkes County Wilkes County was founded in 1777, effective Feb. 12, 1778, and its history dates from pre-revolutionary times. It was named in honor of John Wilkes, who was a member of the British Parliament and, at one time, lord mayor of London. The first man to settle in Wilkes County was Christopher Gist, who settled in the Yadkin Valley in 1750. Daniel Boone also made his home in Wilkes for many years. Col. Benjamin Cleveland and other Revolutionary War heroes also lived in Wilkes. It was the “mountain men” of Wilkes who arrived at the

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Battle of Kings Mountain and, in doing so, helped turn the tide of the Revolutionary War, according to the Wilkes County Historical Association. Also of historical note, Wilkes was once known as the “Moonshine Capital of the World” and was a leading producer of illegal homemade liquor. The county also claims to be the birthplace of NASCAR, as many would make a living delivering, or running, moonshine, thus producing some racing legends. One such driver of note is Junior Johnson, and Benny Parsons also had his start in Wilkes before gaining notoriety on the circuit. The county is also the site of the North Wilkesboro Speedway, built in 1946. It was among the first tracks recognized by NASCAR during its inaugural year in 1949. The short track closed in 1996, but has since has briefly reopened for special events. Today, Wilkes draws those who love the outdoors, with such sites as the W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir, and those who love music, with such festivals as the world-renowned MerleFest held on the campus of Wilkes Community College each April. MerleFest has been the stage for artists, such as Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, The Avett Brothers and the founder of the festival, the late Doc Watson. Today, Wilkes has a projected population of 69,340, according to the U.S. Census. Its county seat is Wilkesboro, and its largest town is North Wilkesboro.

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www.ValleCrucis.com

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The 1861 Farmhouse Restaurant & Winery 828-963-6301

Taylor House Inn Bed & Breakfast ca. 1911 800-963-5581

Valle Crucis Community Web Directory 1861 Farmhouse - 1861farmhouse.com Apple Hill Farm - applehillfarmnc.com Baird House - bairdhouse.com Blue Ridge Vacation Cabins - blueridgevacationcabins.com Dutch Creek Trails - dutchcreektrails.com Lazy Bear Lodge - lazy-bear-lodge.com Mast Farm Inn - themastfarminn.com Mast General Store - mastgeneralstore.com Mountainside Lodge B&B - mountainsidelodgebb.com Rivercross Made in USA - rivercrossmadeinusa.com Taylor House Inn - taylorhouseinn.com Valle Crucis Bed & Breakfast - vallecrucisbandb.com Valle Crucis Log Cabin Rentals & Sales - logcabinrentals.com

Blue Ridge Vacation Cabins Ashemore Luxury Rentals 855-NC MOUNTAINS

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

2013

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On the Road Again Winter driving in the High Country

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BY KELLEN SHORT

othing can ruin a trip to the mountains quicker than slipping and sliding in ice or snow. Driving in the High Country is not like driving elsewhere. Roads feature numerous hills and declines, conditions can change rapidly, and many roads may not be heavily traveled. While the N.C. Department of Transportation and town crews work hard to maintain clear roads throughout the winter months, there’s plenty you can do as drivers to stay safe. If in doubt of your abilities, consider whether you really need to make that trip. Keep in mind that you could put others at risk if they must respond to assist you in ice and snow. AAA offers these and other tips for safe winter driving:

BEFORE YOU DRIVE: — Check your battery, lights and wipers, which become especially critical during the winter months. Consider visiting your mechanic for a vehicle “check-up” during fall, before the winter weather hits. — Inspect the brakes and tires. The key to stopping in ice and snow literally starts where the rubber meets the road. Consider purchasing snow tires or chains for extra traction. — Avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy or snowy weather, and don’t use cruise control. — Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to arrive. — Pack a supply of extra clothes, water, snacks, blankets and a flashlight in your car. Also consider a window scraper, snow shovel and bag of salt or kitty litter. Being prepared will help you to avoid crisis if you become stranded. — Never allow your vehicle to warm up inside a garage or enclosed space. This could expose you to deadly carbon monoxide. — Avoid driving while fatigued. You need to be at your best to respond to

When on the road, maintain a safe speed. Sudden acceleration or braking on wet roads can lead to a loss of traction. PHOTOS BY KELLEN SHORT

quickly changing conditions. — Avoid distractions while driving, including the radio, other passengers, cell phones or eating. — Write down these need-to-know numbers, aside from 911 for emergencies. Watauga County Sheriff’s Office: (828) 264-3761; Boone Police Department: (828) 268-6900; N.C. Highway Patrol: 1-800-445-1779 or *HP; Blue Ridge Parkway: 1-800-PARK-WATCH. — Buckle up!

WHILE ON THE ROAD: — Maintain a safe speed. Sudden acceleration or braking on wet roads can lead to a loss of traction. — Allow a greater following distance than usual and more time to stop. You can only react so quickly if the car in

front of you starts to veer. — Don’t stop if you can avoid it. It can be difficult to get moving again once you stop. — Don’t power up hills to avoid spinning wheels. Try to get a little momentum before you reach a hill, and allow it to carry you to the top. — On a multi-lane highway, use the more “popular” lane. Avoid changing lanes because of snow buildup between the travel lanes. — Gentle, slow braking is recommended to avoid losing control. — Be aware of shady spots, bridges, overpasses and intersections where ice often forms first. Focus your attention as far ahead as possible.

Be aware of shady spots, bridges, overpasses and intersections where ice often forms first. Focus your attention as far ahead as possible.

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Don’t Hibernate… Celebrate! WinterFest 2014 brings big-time fun to Blowing Rock

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BY JEFF EASON

very year in late January, folks in the mountains have to fight off an epidemic of cabin fever. It is exactly at that point of the winter when Blowing Rock presents the cure: WinterFest! This year’s WinterFest celebration is scheduled from Thursday, Jan. 23, through Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. It includes a variety of fun events for the entire family, including ice-carving demonstrations, the Chilly Chili Challenge cook-off, “shop ’til you drop” merchants specials, hayrides and bonfires, wine auction and silent auction, WinterPaws dog show, the Polar Plunge at Chetola Lake and much more. Presented by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, WinterFest has become one of the most popular events of its kind in the Southeast.

If you’ve ever wanted to sample all of the fine dining establishments in Blowing Rock in one fell swoop, WinterFeast is for you. PHOTO BY JEFF EASON

WINTERFEAST If you’ve ever wanted to sample all of the fine dining establishments in Blowing Rock in one fell swoop, WinterFeast is for you. This year’s event will take place at Timberlake’s Restaurant at Chetola Resort on Thursday, Jan. 23, with seatings at 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Participating restaurants include Timberlake’s, Blowing Rock Ale House, Rowland’s at Westglow, Chestnut Grille at Green Park Inn, Foggy Rock Eatery and Pub and many more. This is one of those WinterFest events that sells out quickly, so be sure to order your tickets today by calling (828) 295-7851.

POLAR PLUNGE

You don’t have to be crazy to participate in the annual WinterFest Polar Plunge at Chetola Lake — but it helps. Each year, approximately 100 brave souls take the leap to raise money for a variety of causes. Some years, the water is a balmy 50 degrees or so. Other years, crews have to fire up the power tools to cut a hole in the ice. You just never know what the weather will do. Plungers are dressed in various costumes, and some travel from all over the Southeast for their few seconds of fame. Polar Plunge emcee Tracy Brown keeps the humor going and line of leapers moving along. This year, proceeds from the Polar Plunge will benefit the Watauga Humane Society, Samaritan’s Purse and the Western Youth Network. Registration for the Polar Plunge begins at Chetola

Resort at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25. The plunge begins at 10 a.m.

CHILLY CHILI CHALLENGE WinterFest’s annual Chilly Chili Challenge is a cookoff where every contestant prepares the same dish: chili! Of course, it is those variations on the chili theme that make this one of the more interesting cook-offs around. Each year, professional and amateur chili chefs present everything from vegetarian chili to chicken chili to “uptown” chili, featuring steak instead of ground beef. The Chili Challenge features three classes of competition: “Freestyle” for the amateur cooks, “Professional” for restaurant and catering cooks, and “CASI” for members of the Chili Appreciation Society International. Freestyle cooks compete for cash prizes of $350, $200 and $100; professionals compete for the coveted Traveling Chili Trophy (handmade by Blowing Rock artist Alex Hallmark), and CASI cooks take home chili points needed for an invitation to the International Chili Cookoff in Terlingua, Texas. A panel of local celebrities will judge all of the entries. The public will also vote for a “People’s Choice” winner and best-decorated booth. The best part, of course, is walking around meeting the cooks and tasting dozens of different chili recipes. This year’s event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (or until the chili runs out) Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Blowing Rock School gymnasium on Morris Street. Tickets to the Chili Challenge are $7 for adults and

$5 for children 12 and younger. Tickets are available in advance or at the door. This year, for the first time, the event is being organized by the Blowing Rock School PTO, and proceeds from the challenge will be used for the school’s playground renovation project. For more information, or to secure an entry form to compete in this year’s Chilly Chili Challenge, call (828) 295-7851 or (828) 295-3204, or visit www.blowingrockwinterfest.com/chilicookoff.php.

WINE TASTING The annual WinterFest Wine Tasting and Charity Auction will take place at the historic Green Park Inn in Blowing Rock. The event begins with the tasting at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, with the charity auction beginning at 4 p.m. During the tasting, wineries and wine distributors will be on hand to answer your questions about your favorite reds, whites and varietals, as well as place orders at discounted prices. The charity wine auction will feature dozens of different wines and related items, including a Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival basket with lodging, tickets and more. Attendees at the tasting and auction must be 21 or older with ID. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. To order advance tickets, call (828) 295-7851. For more information about WineterFest, call the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce at (828) 295-7851, or visit www.blowingrockwinterfest.com.

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BLOWING ROCK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

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Items and much more.

WINTER ’13-’14 CALENDAR Nov 29

Nov 29-30

thru Jan 26

Christmas in the Park & Lighting of the Town (828) 295-5222 Horse & Carriage Rides, Santa, Cookie Decorating, Buffet (828) 295-5535 Chetola’s Festival of Lights (828) 295-5500

Nov 30

Bolick Pottery Kiln Opening (828) 295-5099

Nov 30

Blowing Rock Christmas Parade, 2pm (828) 295-5222

Nov 30

Mountain Home Music: A Celtic Christmas (828) 964-3392

Nov 30

Dec 7

Dec 13-15

Dec 31

It's A Wonderful Life Staged Radio Drama • Blowing Rock School Auditorium (828) 414-1844 Mountain Home Music: An Appalachian Christmas (828) 964-3392 Christmas in Blowing Rock 5 Variety Show • Blowing Rock School Auditorium (828) 414-1844 New Year's Eve Extravaganza Appalachian Ski Mountain (828) 295-7828

Jan 23-26

Winterfest (828) 295-7851

April 10-13

Blue Ridge Wine & Food Festival (828) 295-7851

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Local Specialty Food Store More than 70 local food and craft producers. Meats, Breads, Cheese, Produce, Sauces, Jams,

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Specializing in: Craft and North Carolina Microbrews, Fine Wines from Around the World, Wine and Smoothie Bar, Free WiFi

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2013

Holidays in the High Country BY KELLEN SHORT

Winter marks the return of two important calendar notations: Christmas and Hanukkah. Those who seek the comfort of religious holiday services will not be disappointed in the High Country. Visitors are invited to find their religious and spiritual “home away from home” in the mountains during this special time of year. Local communities also mark the holidays with parades, concerts and special entertainment. Pick up a copy of The Mountain Times or Watauga Democrat for the most up-to-date listing of holiday events.

Christmas

As Christians gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus, hundreds of churches across the High Country become aflutter with activity. During Advent, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, visitors are welcomed into churches of numerous denominations throughout the region. Aside from Christian services, here are a few of the events planned for 2013:

lodging in Blowing Rock

Choose from well-appointed rooms, suites or cottages, and enjoy complimentary breakfast, wine & cheese tasting, central locations and pet-friendly rooms. Ridgeway Inn • The Village Inn • Hillwinds Inn

Not to be combined with other offers.

From left, community members Joan and Dick Hearn march in Blowing Rock’s annual Christmas parade. PHOTO BY KELLEN SHORT

NOV. 25-DEC. 27

NOV. 30

Tree Fest – West Jefferson Decorated trees, ornaments, holiday crafts and gifts and miniature paintings will be on display from Nov. 25 to Dec. 27 at the Ashe Arts Center in West Jefferson. Don’t miss the artist reception Dec. 6, from 5 to 8 p.m., as part of downtown West Jefferson’s “Christmas Crawl.” Call (336) 846-ARTS, or visit ashecountyarts. org for more information.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” staged radio drama – Blowing Rock Ensemble Stage presents the beloved holiday film in the style of classic 1940s radio dramas. The production is set for 7 p.m. at Blowing Rock School Auditorium on Sunset Drive. Tickets are $12 for adults or $8 for children 16 and younger. Call (828) 414-1844, or visit ensemblestage.com for more information.

NOV. 29

NOV. 30

Christmas in the Park – Blowing Rock Residents and guests join in Blowing Rock’s Memorial Park to view the ceremonial Lighting of the Town, drink hot chocolate and visit with Santa. The events begin at 2 p.m. with Santa’s arrival. Other highlights include music from The Vagabonds and Diana and Sarvis Ridge and the Lighting of the Town with Mayor J.B. Lawrence at 5:30 p.m. Call (828) 295-5222, or visit BlowingRock. com for more information.

“A Celtic Christmas” concert – Boone Grammy Award-winner Al Petteway and composer and singer Amy White combine their skills for Mountain Home Music’s “A Celtic Christmas.” The duo draws from an array of Old English, Celtic and traditional carols for this concert, which takes place at 7:30 p.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Boone. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and $5 for children in advance, or $18, $10 and $5 at the door. Call (828) 964-3392, or visit mountainhomemusic.com for more information.

NOV. 30 Blowing Rock Christmas Parade The annual holiday celebration treks through Main Street at 2 p.m., featuring local high school bands and floats from various organizations. Call (828) 295-5222, or visit BlowingRock.com for more information.

DEC. 7 Boone Christmas Parade The annual Christmas parade starts at 11 a.m. on King Street in downtown Boone, offering holiday cheer in the

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Holidays in the High Country CONTINUED FROM PAGE 18

form of music, floats and special appearances. Call (828) 262-4532 for more information.

Christmas in the Park – Banner Elk A full day of events awaits visitors to Banner Elk’s Christmas in the Park, which begins at 8:30 a.m. with breakfast with Santa at Dunn’s Deli. The day continues with a screening of “The Polar Express,” cookie decorating, horse and carriage rides, ice carving and parade. Visit BannerElk.org, or call (828) 898-8395 for more information.

“An Appalachian Christmas” concert – Boone Mountain Home Music presents the Mountain Home Bluegrass Boys — Scott Freeman, Steve Lewis, Josh Scott and David Johnson — plus Lisa Baldwin, Dave Haney and others for a free Christmas concert. In place of admission, donations are accepted, with all proceeds going to Santa’s Toy Box and the Hospitality House. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church in Boone. Call (828) 964-3392, or visit mountainhomemusic.com for more information.

DEC. 13-15 “Christmas in Blowing Rock 5” Variety Show –

Blowing Rock The “Christmas in Blowing Rock” tradition continues, patterned after the Andy Williams and Bing Crosby TV specials of the 1960s and 1970s. Singing, comedy skits and dancing will combine for a “greatest hits” of former “Christmas in Blowing Rock” productions. Call (828) 4141844, or visit ensemblestage.com for more information.

Hanukkah

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah makes an early appearance in 2013, running from the evening of Nov. 27 through the evening of Dec. 5. Experts say this is the first time in 125 years that Hanukkah has corresponded with the Thanksgiving holiday. The Festival of Lights signifies the triumph of ancient Jews over their oppressors who attempted to outlaw their religion. In the second century B.C., Antiochus desecrated Jerusalem’s Second Temple. A rebellion broke out, and the Jews drove out the Syrians. As the Jews began to cleanse and rededicate the temple, they found a small quantity of oil, only enough to last for one day. But the menorah miraculously burned for eight days. Today, families gather to celebrate the lighting of the menorah with traditional foods — including many fried in oil — games and gifts. Despite its relative prominence in American culture, Hanukkah is not considered the most important Jewish holiday, said Skip Rackmill, president of the board of directors for the Temple of the High Country in Boone.

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“Hanukkah is a very small, almost insignificant holiday,” he said. “It coincides typically near Christmas, so because of that, it sort of has been elevated in status, rightfully or wrongfully so.” While Hanukkah is primarily celebrated among families at home, visitors to the High Country also may join in a Hanukkah service Dec. 6 at the Temple of the High Country in Boone. The event, which will incorporate the ASU Hillel group, will begin at 6 p.m. and will include a potluck dinner and a service conducted by Rabbi Stephen Roberts, Rackmill said. Opened in June 2012, the temple serves residents from across the region. The temple has adopted special winter hours for its services. No Shabbat service will be held Nov. The Temple of the 29. From Dec. 20 until the end of High Country will April, night services will be held host a Hanukkah at 7 p.m. only on the first Friday service Dec. 6. PHOTO SUBMITTED of each month. On all other weeks, starting Dec. 28, Saturday morning services will be held at 10:30 a.m. and will include a short Torah service. The Temple of the High Country is located at 1043 W. King St. in Boone. More information is available at templeofthehighcountry.org or by calling (828) 2648364.

BREWERY

RESTAURANT

brewery artisanal pub food craft beers growlers Our newly opened brewery is located in downtown Blowing Rock walking distance from Main Street. The brewery consists of a 5 BBL brew kettle and 5 BBL mash/lautertun and a 10 BBL hot liquor tank. Our fermentation occurs in the brewery area with the use of 2 x 5 BBL fermenters and 2 x 10 BBL fermenters. Our cooler area includes both a gauged 5 BBL and 10 BBL bright.

The Ale House Restaurant offers a freshly prepared, seasonally changing menu using local and organic (when available) ingredients. Our doors are open and we invite you to dine on craft pub food and sample our ever-changing artisanal craft beers, brewed on site.

152 Sunset Drive • Downtown Blowing Rock, NC 28605 (828) 414-9600 • BRBrewingCo • BlowingRockBrewing.com

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Share the

Journey Experience winter splendor on the Blue Ridge Parkway

BY ANNA OAKES

Too many of us spend the winter months scurrying quickly from one warm enclosure to the other, but cabin fever is a preventable affliction. With the right attitude and correct number of layers, you’ll find that winter is a beautiful time to be outdoors in the mountains. And there’s no better place to experience the season’s vistas than from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The 469-mile scenic highway winds through Western North Carolina and into Virginia, passing through the High Country counties of Avery, Watauga and Ashe. Although most Parkway facilities close in winter, the road remains open as long as snow and ice do not create dangerous driving conditions. The road is less traveled in winter, and much of the fauna has migrated or gone into hibernation, resulting in a quiet, still environment for peaceful reflection and observation. Clear, crisp days present opportunities for

When High Country deciduous trees abandon their leaves for the winter, the rolling contours and crevices of the Blue Ridge Mountains are more discernible. PHOTO BY ANNA OAKES

long-range views, and, depending on the weather, you could see rolling hills of snow or dramatic icicle formations, so don’t leave home without your camera. Get some much-needed winter exercise by taking a

hike on one of the Parkway’s many trails. But be very careful — even though the road may be clear, the shaded trail areas could be covered in snow or ice. When the CONTINUED ON PAGE 21

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Flat Top Manor, located in Moses Cone Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway, was home to denim magnate Moses Cone.

Share the Journey CONTINUED FROM PAGE 20

highway is impassable by vehicle, some traverse its paths via cross-country skis or snowshoes. The Price Park Picnic Area at milepost 296.4 is open year round, as are the grounds of the Moses Cone Park at milepost 294. Another year-round Parkway destination in the area is the Museum of North Carolina Minerals in Spruce Pine, located at milepost 331. It features interactive exhibits about the minerals and gems located in the region. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, but hours are subject to change. The museum can be reached at (828) 765-2761. As with any winter driving, it’s smart when traveling the Parkway to pack emergency supplies, such as water and snacks, an extra jacket or blanket just in case. For more information about the Blue Ridge Parkway, call (828) 298-0398 or 1-800-PARK-WATCH, or visit www.blueridgeparkway.org.

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PHOTO BY KELLEN MOORE

PARKWAY SECTION

CLOSED A section of the Blue Ridge Parkway from milepost 270 to milepost 281 is closed for repairs to a bridge that crosses U.S. 421 in Boone. Critical repairs are being made to granite retaining walls and bridge abutments. Signage will be posted along a detour route from milepost 270 at Phillips Gap north of the bridge to milepost 281 at the Old U.S. 421/221 access. It is anticipated that the closure will be in place for approximately two months or until Jan. 1, 2014, weather depending.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is open for travel throughout the winter, except when snow and ice create dangerous driving conditions. PHOTO BY ANNA OAKES

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General stores

Community shops carry everything you need BY HEATHER SAMUDIO

W

hether you live in the High Country or are just passing through, general stores around the area offer most of what you’re looking for and some of what you didn’t know existed anymore. Some of the stores host jam sessions and offer a variety of food at their delis, as well.

Phipps Country Store in Lansing hosts Friday night jam sessions throughout the year and is located in the former Silas Creek Post Office. PHOTO BY ALLISON CANTER

PHIPPS GENERAL STORE Phipps General Store in Lansing can be found at 2425 Silas Creek Road. The store opens at 7 p.m. every Friday for a weekly jam session of old-time and traditional mountain music The store is in its sixth year of hosting the sessions, which feature mountain music from local and regional artists. Old-timey drinks and essential grocery items are also available. Phipps is located in the former Silas Creek Post Office. The décor includes antiques and items from days gone by, as well as artwork by area artists, including store owner and local folk artist James Woods. “It’s a real good mixing pot for locals and tourists to sit and chew the fat,” Wood said. “Visitors are not treated like they are foreigners, and the store gives visitors and those who’ve moved to the area a chance to talk to locals.”

The store can seat more than 60 individuals, but Wood said it has welcomed more than 100 at times. For more information, call (336) 3842382, visit porchpickin.com/Porchpick/ PhippsStore/PhippsStore.htm or look up Phipps General Store on Facebook.

Todd General Store has been in business since 1914 and features memorabilia from the early 1900s on display throughout the store. PHOTO BY HEATHER SAMUDIO

TODD GENERAL STORE AND TODD MERCANTILE Just 10 miles south of West Jefferson and 11 miles north of Boone, the little town of Todd can be found. The town is home to Todd General Store and Todd Mercantile. The store has been in operation since 1914, and visitors can enjoy vast displays of memorabilia from the early 1900s on the walls and around the store. Shoppers can get something to eat at the deli or shop for crafts, homemade jellies, antiques, collectibles and more. The store, located at 3866 Railroad Grade Road, overlooks the South Fork of the New River. It is closed from Jan. 1 to March 15. For more information, call (336) 8771067, or visit www.toddgeneralstore. com.

Visitors to Todd Mercantile will find baked goods, from breads, cookies and muffins to cakes, pies and cinnamon buns. Local eggs and goat cheese are also available to purchase. Other merchandise at the mercantile includes locally handcrafted items, pottery, puzzles, candles and the ever-popular moonshine T-shirts. The mercantile is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. The business’s Facebook page is updated regularly with the latest Todd news, and a newsletter is available for individuals seeking to keep up with what’s going on in Todd or at the mercantile. Some events held throughout the year include contra dances, dinners and musical performances. The mercantile is located just across the road from the Todd General Store at 3899 Railroad Grade Road. For more information, call (336) 8775401, visit www.toddmercantile.com, or search for Todd Mercantile on Facebook.

Billed as America’s highest general store, Fred’s General Mercantile in Beech Mountain is located at 5,049 feet above sea level. FILE PHOTO

From 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays, Cove Creek Store is open to tourists and residents. CCS is a discount country store with groceries, hardware and more and dates back to the late 1950s. The store offers many organic, gluten-free and healthy food and snacks. The store is located at 1182 U.S. 321 in Sugar Grove. For more information, call (828) 297-2111, or search for Cove Creek Store on Facebook.

gifts, ski fashions and accessories for sale and rentals, as well as Christmas items and locally grown in-season fruits and vegetables. Fresh meats, poultry, homemade breads, beer and wine are available at Fred’s, too. The mercantile features a deli, open from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with sandwiches, salads, beer, wine, homemade desserts and more. Breakfast is served until 11 a.m., and lunch runs until 3 p.m. Fred’s, located at 501 Beech Mountain Parkway, is open from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily For more information, call (828) 387-4838, or visit www.fredsgeneral.com.

FRED’S GENERAL MERCANTILE

GRANDFATHER COUNTRY STORE

Billed as America’s highest general store, Fred’s General Mercantile is located at 5,049 feet above sea level on Beech Mountain, which has been dubbed “Eastern America’s Highest Town” at an elevation of 5,506 feet. Shoppers can find canned goods, gourmet foods, hardware, sleds, toys, unusual

Grandfather Country Store offers clothing, convenience store items and more. The location is proud to be known as a place where people can shop or sit down and stay a while, as well as a great place

COVE CREEK STORE

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to ask for directions or about places to visit in the area. The store is located at 6371 U.S. 221 South in Blowing Rock. Its hours are 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday. For more information, call (828) 2956100, or visit www.grandfathercountrystore.com.

MAST GENERAL STORE AND ANNEX Mast General Store’s beginnings can be found in 1883, when the first location was opened. Today, the store has numerous locations on and off the mountain. Locally, Mast has a store on King Street in downtown Boone and two in Valle Crucis — the original store and the Mast Store Annex. The original store was named to the National Historic Register of Historic Places as one of the finest remaining examples of an old country general store. That was in the 1970s, and things have only gotten better. Mast has a reputation for a store that

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE has everything and boasts that the shelves are packed with all you might need for life years ago and now. The stores have old-timey mercantile items, including stone-ground corn meal and grits, bacon and country ham, signs, Amish and North Carolina-made rockers, collectibles, folk toys, Moravian cookies and old-fashioned candy. The candy selection is one of the best you can find, with old-fashioned treats, such as Zagnut bars, Pop Rocks, Orange Slices, giant Jawbreakers, Mary Janes, gummy bears and saltwater taffy. Clothing, outdoor and travel items and accessories can also be found at Mast. The downtown store hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. The original store in Valle Crucis is open from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. The annex is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (828) 9636511, (828) 262-0000 or (866) 367-6278. Mast’s can be found online at www.mastgeneralstore.com or www.facebook.com/ mastgeneralstore.com.

PAGE 25

Mast General Store has several locations, including King Street in downtown Boone. PHOTO BY HEATHER SAMUDIO

Mast General Store in the Valle Crucis community has served the area for decades. PHOTO COURTESY OF MAST GENERAL STORE

MOUNTAIN HOME AND HEARTH (828) 262-0051 | 4912 US HWY 421 S. | BOONE, NC

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THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

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An alternative to trudging knee-deep down a snowy trail, snowshoeing lets winter explorers travel on the surface of the snow, offering a relaxing, fun and family-friendly activity. PHOTO SUBMITTED

Best Foot Forward Snowshoeing in the High Country BY CAROLINE HARRIS

I

f you’re not one for extreme sports but want to participate in all the snowy fun, the High Country has two opportunities to try snowshoeing. Sugar Mountain Resort and the town of Beech Mountain offer gear and trails to try this kinder, gentler snowsport. An alternative to trudging knee-deep

down a snowy trail, walk through the forest on the surface of the snow using this ancient style of footwear. It’s a relaxing and fun, family-friendly activity. Sugar Mountain Resort is located within the village of Sugar Mountain and features 115 acres of ski and snowboard terrain in addition to ice skating and snowshoeing activities. CONTINUED ON PAGE 31

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

2013

PAGE 27

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THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

PAGE 28

2013

From atop Sugar Mountain Resort’s well-groomed ski slopes, skiers can enjoy postcard-quality vistas and downhill thrills. FILE PHOTO

Tracks of Our Years

Five decades of Southern skiing welcome you this winter

H

BY SAM CALHOUN

ave you ever been able to experience a dream while awake? Have you ever been an active participant in a vision so grand and unimaginable in scope that its beginnings are that of legend? If you have ever summited one of our High Country’s snow-capped winter ski slopes — or, rather, have a desire to do so this winter — then you are experiencing our “big dream,” our dream of skiing in the South. It’s a good dream — far from the nightmare that some out West would have imagined — and you’re invited. Welcome to winter in the High Country, when our

sleeping giants disrobe their Technicolor fall dreamcoats in exchange for cloud-white blankets of natural and manmade snow — a feat once thought impossible this far below the Mason-Dixon line. But not only have we debunked the skeptics, we have become a top national player, utilizing cutting-edge snowmaking equipment and methods, creating top-notch winter resort ambiance, offering myriad snowsport activities beyond the expected and pushing ourselves to improve every year. Leading this charge of excellence are the top three winter snowsports players of the High Country: Appalachian Ski Mountain, Beech Mountain Resort and

Sugar Mountain Resort, which are all currently open. Appalachian turns 51-years-old this year, Beech turns 46, and Sugar is 44. To get started partaking in a piece of our big dream, you’ve come to the right place: the pages of the Winter Times. Inside this issue, you will find features on Appalachian, Beech and Sugar (in addition to dozens of other features on equally amazing local winter activities) that will get you acquainted with the resorts and their plentiful offerings. Also inside, you will find information on quality local ski shops and outfitters, which will help prepare you for the adventure ahead. In addition to this

CONTINUED ON PAGE 31

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

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THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

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2013

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THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

2013

Tracks of Our Years

are updated in live time), resort locators, safety tips and snowmaking information.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 28

• Don’t limit yourself — Most visitors come to our mountains to ski or snowboard, but that’s just the tip of our icebergs, if you will, in terms of snowsports’ offerings. After you’ve hit the slopes, why not gather the family for a snow-tubing adventure, a day (or night) out on the ice rink or a journey along one of the local trail systems in snowshoes? All are available locally, so start adding some options to your winter vacation.

information, here are some insider tips for making the most of your time on our mountains.

Parkway, strap on some skis and discover our lesser-known overlooks.

• First tracks — Hand in hand with the development of our local ski slopes some 50 years ago was the importance placed on snowmaking and grooming. Today, that tradition continues and is continually refined. Although snow grooming is a fulltime job, the result is most evident in the mornings when ski slopes first open. If you’ve ever wanted to carve fresh tracks through corduroygroomed new snow, wake the family up early and try to catch the first lift chairs up the mountain — you’ll have the mountain all to yourself.

• Stay hydrated — Most people understand the importance of staying hydrated during warm weather sports, but when we layer up with jackets, hoodies, scarves and hats, we tend to forget that we’re sweating and pushing our bodies aerobically. Remember to drink plenty of fluids and to eat well while enjoying a High Country ski vacation. Both Beech and Sugar feature extensive food and drink options, so you’ll never be far from a refuel.

Skiing was once thought impossible this far below the MasonDixon line. But in the High Country, everything’s possible. PHOTO SUBMITTED

• Layer up — The High Country is in the top 5 percent in the nation in terms of wind production, meaning it may feel a bit brisk when you first arrive at the mountain, not to mention when you disembark the chairlift at the top of the slope. Conversely, as you get into your day on the mountain and begin exerting yourself, all those layers you threw on in the morning may not be needed. Dress in layers so you can adapt your gear to changing air and body temperatures.

• Helmets — If you wouldn’t get on a bicycle or on a motorcycle without a helmet, then the same thinking should hold for skiing or snowboarding — especially for youth. Part of the fun of skiing and snowboarding is also what makes the activities dangerous: shooting down a snowcovered mountain at high speeds. From beginners to experts, helmets are a smart idea — and they provide extra warmth, to boot!

• Vistas — Sure, the High Country is full of locations to experience breathtaking vistas of all kinds, but most visitors miss some of the best views we have to offer. Only those who ski and snowboard know of the viewsheds available when disembarking the lifts at the top of Appalachian, Sugar and Beech, so get off the Blue Ridge

Forward CONTINUED FROM PAGE 26

The resort offers multiple tours each week throughout the winter season. At the resort, one-hour snowshoe sessions will take place at 3 p.m. each Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with an additional session at 9 a.m. on Saturdays. A snowshoe rental is included in the price of each session. Snowshoe sessions can be tailored to fit the needs and age of a group. Adult tours are for snowshoers age 12 or older. Tours for children are designed for kids ages 8 to 11 years old. Groups are welcome anytime. Sugar Mountain Resort recommends that anyone interested in participating in a snowshoeing session sign

PAGE 31

• Know before you go — Beyond this issue of the Winter Times, it’s smart to check slope and weather conditions online prior to your ski adventure. In addition to www.appskimtn. com, www.beechmountainresort.com and www.skisugar. com, an indispensable resource is www.goskinc.com, the official website of the North Carolina Ski Areas Association, which contains all the current information for all area ski slopes, including snow reports (which

up at least 15 minutes in advance at the Ski/Snowboard School. The town of Beech Mountain will offer snowshoe rentals to be used on 30 miles of town-maintained trails around the mountain, including the famous Emerald Outback trail. The Emerald Outback trail features 10 miles of intermediate to advanced trail and 100-mile vistas, all winding through gnarled beech trees and small streams. It’s an emerald forest that once housed the old Land of Oz theme park. Another snowshoeing option is the 1/3-mile walking track surrounding the Buckeye Recreation Center. Snowshoes are available for rent from the Beech Mountain Parks and Recreation Department and can be rented by the hour, half-day or full day. There is also the option of booking a guided snowshoe

• Beyond the border — The High Country isn’t like out West or up North where, once you leave the border of the ski slope, it’s no man’s land. Here, in Avery and Watauga counties, the ski slopes are surrounded by unique eateries (from fine dining to fast and fresh), quaint bed and breakfasts, upscale vacation properties, venues for live music, arts and theater, sightseeing options galore, picturesque downtown areas, colorful locals and opportunities for the historical enthusiast — all within a few minutes’ drive. Go play in the snow.

excursion with a member of the recreation department staff. Rental rates for snowshoes are: $5 an hour, $15 for a half day and $25 for a full day. Guided excursions range from $30 to $70, depending on length and the number of people. All trails available for snowshoeing will also be available for cross-country skiing throughout the winter. Mother Nature does not always provide snow, so check with either facility before setting out for a snowshoeing expedition. For more information on Sugar Mountain Resort’s snowshoeing programs, call (800) SUGARMT or (828) 898-4521, or visit www.skisugar.com/skischool/. For more information on Beech Mountain snowshoeing, call (828) 387-3003, or visit www.beechrecreation. org.

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2013

You Tube: Snow-Tubing in the High Country BY CAROLINE HARRIS

I

f gracefully making your way down a snowy slope on skis just isn’t your speed, the High Country offers a fun and easy alternative: sliding down feet first and hanging on for dear life. Snow-tubing is a no-skills-required snowsport. If you can sit, you can snowtube down a mountain. There are several venues around the area that seasonally offer snow-tubing. If this sounds more your pace or if you are looking for a great group or family activity, check out one of the snow-tubing venues in the High Country.

HAWKSNEST Located atop the town of Seven Devils, Hawksnest is the largest local snowtubing park on the East Coast. The 20-lane tubing park offers lanes from 400- to 1,000-feet long. Two conveyer lifts take riders back to the top. Even when Mother Nature doesn’t

Snow-tubing is a no-skills-required snowsport. If you can sit, you can snow-tube. PHOTO SUBMITTED

provide, the resort makes its own snow and provides lighting on all lanes. This season, Hawksnest has brought in a $200,000 lane-grooming machine as

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part of its mission to make your snowtubing experience one to remember. Children must be at least 3 years old to snow-tube at Hawksnest, and anyone younger than 18 must bring have a parent or guardian fill out the liability form. Each session lasts approximately one hour and 45 minutes. For the 2013-14 season, a single snow-tubing session costs $25 Monday through Thursday or $32 for two sessions. The sessions begin at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The rates remain the same on Friday, but an additional session is also offered at 6 p.m. On Saturdays and near holidays, snow tubing is $30 and is offered at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Holidays are considered to be Dec. 23 through Jan. 4. On Sunday, sessions are $30 and start at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. For more information, visit www. hawksnest-resort.com, or call (828) 963-6561.

JONAS RIDGE SNOW TUBING In the community of Jonas Ridge, the Jonas Ridge Snow Tubing site is family owned and operated and offers six snowtube lanes. The slopes range from mild and manageable to very steep and fast. The Jonas Ridge Snow Tubing park is

equipped with snow-making equipment and lighting for nighttime rides. After your snow-tubing adventure, warm up by the fire in the lodge or watch other tubers from the observation deck. All children 6 or younger must be accompanied by an adult at all times. For the 2013-14 season snow-tubing rates are $20 per person Monday through Thursday and $25 per person Friday and Saturday. Holiday rates are also $25 per person and apply Dec. 22 through Jan. 3. Group rates are also available for $20 per person and must be booked in advance. There is a $3 discount for military personnel. Each snow-tubing session lasts two hours, and the park’s hours are listed online. Jonas Ridge does not accept credit or debit cards, so come prepared. For more information, visit www. jonasridgesnowtube.com, or call (828) 733-4155.

SUGAR MOUNTAIN RESORT Sugar Mountain Resort features 700-foot-long tubing lanes. In addition to several 10- to 12-foot wide tubing chutes, the park offers a lift system, snowmaking equipment, lighting for night tubing and regularly groomed lanes. At Sugar Mountain, tubing sessions are one hour and 45 minutes long and start at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Ticket prices are $25 per ride on weekdays and $30 per rider on weekends and during the holiday season. Upon approval, children ages 4 and younger may qualify for a complimentary tubing ticket when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Children must be at least 3 years old to ride, and those who are age 6 and younger must share a tube with an adult. A limited number of tickets are offered for each session and go on sale approximately one hour before each session. Tickets are sold at the tubing park and not at the regular ticket windows. For more information, visit www. skisugar.com/tubing/, or call (828) 898-4521. Sugar Mountain Resort’s holiday season is Dec. 19 through Jan. 1.

2013

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

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Snow Much Fun Snow-tubing is a growing attraction in the High Country in winter and the family-oriented activity can be found at several area resorts. FILE PHOTO

Winter Camping Available Ask about our Christmas Trees

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THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

2013

Appalachian Ski Mountain explores new terrain BY CAROLINE HARRIS

O

f the many slopes in the High Country, Appalachian Ski Mountain is one that’s definitely worth a try this season. With updated snowmaking abilities, expanded hours and special event weekends, this is one ski park that can keep you coming back week after week. Now in its 51st season, the park features 12 slopes at difficulty ranging from easy to challenging. There are also three terrain park areas with features that change weekly. Equipment and clothing rentals, as well as ski instruction for all ages and levels are available on-site. The alpine-style lodge overlooks the slopes and offers amenities, such as a 200-foot observation deck, fireplace, ski shop, game room, gift shop, WiFi and a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Owner Brad Moretz has made several changes to the park this season for a better skiing and snowboarding experience. “The things that will matter most to the skier or snowboarder is that we’ve expanded snowmaking on two of our slopes,” marketing director Drew Stanley said. “We already have state-of-the-art snowmaking systems, but now we’ve made it that much

Appalachian Ski Mountain open terrain areas offer a change of pace while skiing or snowboarding. PHOTOS SUBMITTED

quicker so that we can either make snow and open several slopes right off the bat, or if we get into a spell that the weather’s not ideal, we are able to make snow at night and turn conditions around in a night, pro-

Now in its 51st season, Appalachian Ski Mountain features 12 slopes at difficulty ranging from easy to challenging.

viding the best, most consistent conditions possible.” The open terrain areas offer a change of pace while skiing or snowboarding. “We’ve got three designated areas on our slopes where we put up jumps, boxes and rails to offer an added variety and bigger challenge for more fun,” Stanley said. “We have over 70 features. With this idea of dynamic terrain parks, every week we’ll completely rebuild a park. “We also offer the only flex ticket in the region. Our slopes are open continuously from 9 a.m. until close. The flex ticket starts when you do. It’s eight consecutive hours from when you purchase your ticket, so it’s convenient for people on vacation because there’s no set schedule. You can come when you can and still get the full value.” In addition to regular hours of 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, Appalachian Ski Mountain is known for its Midnight Blast, when late-night skiing lasts until midnight, the only one of its kind in the region. Midnight Blast’s expanded days are every Friday and Saturday from Jan. 3 through March 1, Nov. 29 and 30, Dec. 26 through 30, Martin Luther King Sunday, Jan. 20 and President’s Day Sunday, Feb. 17. New Year’s Day and President’s Day

will feature a fireworks display. If you need a change of pace from skiing, take advantage of the park’s skating rink, the only Zamboni-maintained rink in the region. Special event weekends include Dec. 7 and 8, the park’s anniversary weekend. Enjoy ticket prices from 1962: $5 for the 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. day session. Special event weekends also include brand-sponsored events, skiing with Santa on Christmas Eve, ice-skating on Christmas Day and a New Year’s Eve Extravaganza with fireworks and more. Ticket prices range from $22 to $57 for adults, $16 to $40 for juniors and seniors and $19 to $57 for students during the regular season, depending on the day. For more information, visit www.appskimtn.com, or call (828) 295-7828.

WANT TO GO? Appalachian Ski Mountain 940 Ski Mountain Road Blowing Rock, N.C. 28605 (828) 295-7828 www.appskimtn.com

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

2013

When it comes to skis, snowboards, apparel and all things in between, the High Country has you covered. PHOTO SUBMITTED

Gear Up! Locate the latest (and rental) equipment for the slopes

A

BY JAMIE SHELL

s popular as winter sports are in the High Country and due to the myriad locations for individuals and families to ski, snowboard or tube, it is paramount for the avid snowsports enthusiast to know where to find the best and latest in gear or the hot spots to rent quality equipment to enjoy time on the powder. Fortunately, the High Countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s many ski shops and outdoor adventure suppliers are able to meet most every need of skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers and those who just love to be outdoors during the coldest months of the year. With the sometimes bitter cold and blustery weather conditions that snowsports practitioners face each winter, equipment manufacturers often adapt

from year to year, releasing cutting edge performance and safety equipment. To keep the whole family warm and safe and to make sure you have the gear to keep up with the crowds, it is important to know where to go to get outfitted for the 2013-14 winter season. From winter wear basics like coats and gloves to the high-performance equipment for competition skiing and snowboarding, a number of local shops can outfit thrillseekers in whatever they need to keep their adventures exciting, fun and safe. Whether heading from Boone to Blowing Rock to Banner Elk, the shops listed here are easy to find in the High Countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most sought-after locales for winter sports. If new equipment is perhaps too tight CONTINUED ON PAGE 39

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THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

2013

Sweet at Sugar: Resort offers diverse options for all ages, skill levels BY JAMIE SHELL

A

pproaching its 45th year of operation, Sugar Mountain Resort has been one of the South’s most progressive and popular ski, snowboard and tubing destinations. Sugar Mountain Resort president Gunther Jochl and his veteran team of snowsport professionals work tirelessly to make the winter snowsports experience the best possible for anyone testing their skills on the slope. “We strive to provide the best ski, snowboard and tubing experiences that we possibly can,” Jochl said. “We are constantly updating and improving our infrastructure and product.” Locals and visitors seeking an allencompassing winter getaway find what they are looking for at Sugar Mountain Resort. Nestled high above Avery County near Banner Elk, Sugar offers skiing, snowboarding, snow-tubing, ice-skating, snowshoeing, dining, unique events and races and a dedication to deliver the longest season possible.

Sugar Mountain Resort marketing director Kim Jochl makes fresh tracks on the slopes. With 40-percent novice, 40-percent intermediate and 20-percent expert, Sugar has terrain for all abilities. PHOTO SUBMITTED

Sugar features the longest vertical drop in the High Country at 1,200 feet; 20

total slopes, with 15 lit for night skiing; 11 lifts; 115 skiable acres; 700-foot long tubing lanes; a 10,000-square-foot refrigerated ice skating rink; trails for snowshoeing; the latest in rental equipment for every snowsport; and breathtaking views from its rime-ice covered peaks. Topping out at 5,300 feet above sea level, Sugar Mountain Resort’s chances of receiving natural snow are good. Seasonal snowfall can reach as high as 130 inches. “Our team is dedicated and works hard to prepare and execute the best season possible, no matter what the forecast predicts,” Sugar Mountain Resort marketing director Kim Jochl said. Throughout the summer and fall months, Sugar Mountain Resort added snowmaking hydrants and replaced all existing snowmaking pipes on the Big Red slope. “The overhaul of the snowmaking infrastructure on Big Red provides the opportunity to cover the slope quicker and more efficiently than in years past,” Gunther Jochl said. Sugar Mountain is known for its snow-

making and grooming, and, this season, skiers and boarders can expect an even better product because of a recent $250,000 investment. Eight fully automated, hi-tech, SMI and Techno Alpine snow machines have been recently added to the current snowmaking system. Many of the new guns are placed on the Flying Mile, Sugar’s longest slope at 1.5 miles. “Snow matters!” Gunther Jochl said. “As weather varies throughout the season, upgrades every year, including the addition of snowmaking machines, allow for higher-energy efficiency and provide better and more consistent slope conditions. The quality of our product is critical.” With 40-percent novice, 40-percent intermediate and 20-percent expert, Sugar has terrain for all abilities. Beginners should appreciate that Sugar has, in addition to its Ski School Play Yard and Magic Carpet training areas, one of the ski industry’s longest and most gentle slopes, Easy Street. The green slope is serviced by its own chairlift and

CONTINUED ON PAGE 39

A perfect place to get away from the everyday grind, Blue Ridge Village is set in the woods of Banner Elk where you can unwind, relax and breathe in the clean mountain air. Whether you are a hiker, sightseer or shopper, you will have plenty to do around the resort. One and Two Bedroom Condominiums ~ Indoor Pool and Hot Tub ~ Free Wifi

BLUE RIDGE VILLAGE RESORT 3781 TYNECASTLE HWY BANNER ELK, NC 28607 828-898-9737 WWW.GOPLACES.COM

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Gear Up! CONTINUED FROM PAGE 37

on the individual or family budget, fun can still be had, as many of these retailers also provide high-end equipment rentals, making them essential stops on any adventure-seeker’s way to the slopes, trails or tubing lanes. Snowsports enthusiasts aren’t the only people who need equipment to stay warm.

Banner Elk ALPINE SKI CENTER 3150 Tynecastle Highway Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 (828) 898-9701 www.alpineskicenter.com

EDGE OF THE WORLD 394 Shawneehaw Ave. Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 (828) 898-9550 www.edgeoworld.com

EXTREME SNOWBOARD AND SKI 3071 Tynecastle Highway Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 (828) 898-3665 On Facebook

SNOW TOYS 1757 Tynecastle Highway Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 (828) 898-4199 www.snowtoysnc.com

HIGHLAND HOUSE SKI RENTALS

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE Clothing, coats, gloves, hats and other items sold at local shops do not just function well on the slopes, but also look good for everyday winter living. Whatever the need may be, the shops listed below have the solution when it comes to winter wear and gear. Not sure what you are looking for? Click to each shop’s website to learn what they offer. Have a specific need or question? Call any of these shops using the phone numbers listed below.

(828) 262-5111 www.footsloggers.com

MAST GENERAL STORE 630 W. King St. Boone, N.C. (828) 262-0000 www.mastgeneralstore.com

RECESS SKATE 1158 N.C. 105 Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 355-9013 www.recessrideshop.com

SAGESPORT Boone Mall, 1180 Blowing Rock Road, Suite 5 Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 262-1112 www.sagesport.com

Beech Mountain ALPINE SKI CENTER

4516 Tynecastle Highway Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 (828) 898-9581 www.highlandhouseskishop.com

C-3 Beech Towers, Beech Mountain Parkway Beech Mountain, N.C. 28604 (828) 387-9291 www.alpineskicenter.com

Boone

Blowing Rock

1ST TRACKS

FOOTSLOGGERS

1380 N.C. 105 Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 264-4565 www.1sttracks.com

921 Main St. Blowing Rock, N.C. 28605 (828) 295-4453 www.footsloggers.com

FARMER’S SKI SHOP 140 S. Depot St. Boone, N.C. (828) 264-4565 On Facebook and Google+

FOOTSLOGGERS 139 St. Depot St. Boone, N.C.

Pineola PINEOLA INN 3085 Linville Falls Highway Pineola, N.C. 28662 (828) 733-4979 www.pineolainn.com

Sweet CONTINUED FROM PAGE 38

is protected from the advanced and intermediate slope traffic, providing an un-intimidating learning environment for beginning skiers and snowboarders or those wishing to take it easy, warm up and work on drills. For those who just want to cruise the open slopes, try Big Red; experts can challenge Tom Terrific, Boulder Dash and Whoopdedoo. Sugar’s lift network — a mix of double chairlifts, a triple chairlift, surface lifts and a handle tow — can transport almost 9,000 people up the mountain per hour, assuring an expedited return trip for every customer. Sugar’s base lodge has everything a snowsports patron needs under one roof: ticket sales, equipment rentals, cafeterias, The Last Run Lounge, the sports shop, group sales, locker rooms and, of course, the Candy Shop. When the weather makes driving difficult but the snow conditions great, Sugar is one of the easiest ski areas to reach in the Southeast, having its base lodge and parking on the same level as

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the main highway. Sugar Mountain Resort is also looking to the future with its newest ski slope, which drops off the dogleg of Northridge and Switchback. The blue square, intermediate-level rated slope features a variety of changing terrain. Just off Switchback is a short steep section that gently transitions to a flat cruiser. From there, the slope rolls to a challenging but pleasant steep pitch, which eventually levels out to the left and finally merges with Easy Street. The new slope is expected to be 2,000 feet long, 150 feet wide and ready for skiing and riding at the start of the 2014-15 winter season. Snowmaking facilities, as well as lights for night skiing and riding, will be installed. Sugar seeks to sweeten the winter sports experience every season. For more information, call Sugar Mountain Resort at (800) SUGAR MT, or visit www.skisugar.com.

WANT TO GO?

Sugar Mountain Resort 1009 Sugar Mountain Drive Sugar Mountain, N.C. 28604 (828) 898-4521 www.skisugar.com

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Up in the South Beech Mountain Resort in its 46th season BY CAROLINE HARRIS

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CHAIRLIFT R U O F F O STEP A S KYB A R INTO 5506. C AN ENJOY WHERE YOUINKS AND FOOD DR OMFORT. C SNACKS IN

SKIING, SNOWBOARDING & ICE SKATING

(800) 438-2093 Insta

BEECHMOUNTAINRESORT.COM

he High Country may be southern in latitude, but in elevation, it is host to the highest peak in the eastern United States. Beech Mountain Resort, eastern North America’s highest ski resort, sits atop 5,506-foot Beech Mountain and offers a unique skiing experience, with slopes for the casual skier to the professional. Beech was established in 1967, when building a ski resort in the South was an ambitious undertaking. That dream of Southern skiing continues today, with 95 skiable acres at a resort that has continually improved on all it has to offer. The resort has added 12 new SMI Super PoleCat snow guns for a total system of 40 SMI guns. “This gives Beech Mountain the most sophisticated snowmaking system on the market,” Beech Mountain Resort marketing director Talia Freeman said. “This is part of ongoing efforts to expand and upgrade our snowmaking capabilities. We now have the capability to produce more snow than ever before and also to produce it more efficiently. The end result is a more enjoyable experience for skiers and snowboarders.” Beech Mountain Resort’s 95 skiable acres feature a vertical rise of more than 800 feet and a capacity of 9,300 skiers per hour. The resort also offers two terrain parks, a 7,000-square-foot outdoor ice-skating rink, four restaurants, three sport shops, clothing and ski rentals. Skiers and snowboarders enjoy 15 total trails serviced by seven lifts. New to this season, skiers and snowboarders can enjoy the slopes on a continuous basis from daytime to nighttime without session breaks. Sunday through Thursday, the resort’s operating hours will be 9

A skier catches air during the annual Big Air Competition at Beech Mountain’s annual Winterfest. PHOTO BY DAWN SHUMATE

At the heart of the resort is Beech Tree Village, featuring restaurants, such as View Haus Cafeteria, Beech Tree Bar and Grill and Beech Mountain Bakery. Retail shops include Ski Beech Sports, Roots Rideshop, Beech Mountain Gifts and Clothing Rentals and a game room, Munchies. Adult rates for the 2013-14 season are $25 for a half-day and $35 for a full-day or twilight session Monday through Friday (junior and senior lift tickets are $5 cheaper), with night sessions offered at $25 Sunday through Thursday. For weekends and holidays, adult rates are $48 ($35 for juniors/seniors) for a half day and $63 ($43 for juniors/seniors) for full day or twilight session. Night sessions for Friday and Saturday nights and holidays cost $30 for adults and $25 for juniors (ages 5 to 12) and seniors (ages 65 to 69). Adults 70 and older and kids four and younger ski free, with a ticketed adult. Beech Mountain Resort is located at 1007 Beech Mountain Parkway in Beech Mountain. For more information, visit www.beechmountainresort.com, or call (828) 387-2011.

a.m. to 9 p.m. with no session break. Fridays, Saturdays and holidays, the resort will operate from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. with no session break. “The streamlined hours allow us to provide a longer and more enjoyable experience for our customers,” FreeBeech Mountain Resort man said. 1007 Beech Mountain Parkway Also new this season, Beech MounBeech Mountain, N.C. 28604 tain has added a new amenity for (828) 387-2011 guests. The 5506, a sky bar at the top www.beechmountainresort.com of the mountain, will offer food and beverages in a cozy, glass roundhouse, where skiers can relax in comfort, while taking in the panoramic view of the Beech Mountain Resort’s newly minted 5506 sky bar Blue Ridge features panoramic views at the top of the lift. Mountains. PHOTO SUBMITTED

WANT TO GO?

2013

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

Fast-Paced Fun

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Hawksnest Resort offers tubing, zipline options from novice to expert BY JAMIE SHELL

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hether it’s the frenetic pace of an inner tube skirting down a snow-covered lane or the rush of air on the face while sailing on a zipline, Hawksnest Resort, nestled at 2058 Skyland Drive in Seven Devils, offers unique action adventure activities for thrill seekers of all ages. Generally opening in mid-November, weather permitting, Hawksnest boasts the largest snow-tubing facility on the East Coast, with 20 lanes varying in distances from 400 to 1,000 feet. Conveyor lifts make it convenient for tubers to catch a ride back to the top of the mountain for another downhill run. Snow-tubing is available seven days a week, at a cost of $25 for one session and $32 for two sessions (non-holiday) Monday through Thursday, $25 per session on Friday and $30 per session on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Hawksnest also offers a discount of $3 for military personnel. Snow-tubing sessions last one hour and 45 minutes, with sessions at twohour intervals from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and holidays; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Holiday rates apply from Dec. 22 to Jan. 3, 2014, as well as Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, and Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. Children must be at least 3 years old to snow tube, and purchasing tickets online in advance is recommended to avoid long lines. Online snow-tubing ticket purchases must be made at least one day in advance. In addition to the wide range of tubing possibilities, Hawksnest offers the largest ziplining facility on the East Coast, with 20 cables, including “super-” or “megazips” to accommodate multiple tours for individuals and groups. Hawksnest offers a 1.5-mile, 10-cable Hawk Tour, at a cost of $75, as well as the Eagle Tour, a nine-cable zipline tour that encompasses more than 2.5 miles, at a cost of $85. Eagle Tour is a more extreme tour, with greater speeds and heights than the

People of all ages can enjoy the snow-tubing lanes at Hawksnest Resort in Seven Devils. FILE PHOTO

Hawk Tour. Children must be at least 8 years old to take the Eagle Tour and at least 5 years old to take the Hawk Tour. Tours start at 10 a.m. daily at twohour intervals through the 4 p.m. tour. Reservations are required, and participants need to arrive 30 minutes before a scheduled tour start. Tours take approximately 1.5 to two hours to complete, with no single-person tours. Early morning tours are available upon request. Visitors participating in the zipline tours are asked to wear closed-toes shoes, long shorts or long pants, rain gear (in wet weather), long hair tied back

and no dangling jewelry. Hawksnest ziplining tours are available year round. Ziplining tours are available weather permitting. “We have so many snow tubing areas and choices, which are all a little different,” said Lenny Cottom, general manager of Hawksnest. “We have areas for kids and options that other local resorts can’t offer.” A snow-tubing or zipline release must be signed by all adults 18 years or older before riding. Parents or guardians must sign for children younger than 18. All snow-tubing or zipline participants must

have a signed waiver before receiving tickets or being allowed to tube or start the zipline tour. For more information about Hawksnest Resort, including group reservations, call (828) 963-6561, or visit www. hawksnesttubing.com or www.hawksnestzipline.com.

WANT TO GO?

Hawksnest Resort 2058 Skyland Drive Seven Devils, N.C. 28604 (828) 963-6561 www.hawksnesttubing.com

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

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ASHE COUNTY

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THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

2013

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THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

2013

Winter offers anglers fun, fish BY ADAM ORR

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orthwestern North Carolina is home to miles of rivers and streams and three species of elusive trout, and winter offers better odds than you might think to have a productive day on the water. Though the chill of winter slows fishes’ metabolisms — the colder the water the slower the bite — bright winter days offer plenty of opportunities to land feeding trout. And while anglers may have to be a little more patient this

winter, the cold mountain air will invariably mean fewer anglers on the water and reduced fishing pressure. Winter also means fewer food options for feeding trout, so they sometimes become a little braver than at other times of the year, so targeting larger, deeper pools where trout tend to congregate during the winter months with subsurface nymphs can pay off in a big way. Despite colder temperatures, the tailwaters of the South Holston River also offer local anglers a chance to fish a CONTINUED ON PAGE 45

Scott F S Farfone f and dd daughter h B Brooke k enjoy j some quality li time i on the h river. i PHOTO SUBMITTED

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

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Anglers CONTINUED FROM PAGE 44

productive tailwater fishery — created by outflow from large dams, which are cold and silt free, which are ideal conditions for trout. But there is one other special feature of tailwater rivers — they’re warmer in the winter than other fisheries, and trout are usually more active than on freestone streams. Since they’re created by discharging water from the same depth, tailwaters are the same temperature year round, and that usually means more active, aggressive trout even in the dead of winter. Smaller, slower moving streams also have a tendency for ice buildup on their shores, which can make fishing difficult, so larger bodies of water, including the Watauga River, the New River, the Linville River, the Toe River and the larger sections of the Elk River and the lower sections of Wilson Creek, can be productive winter choices. Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties all offer anglers miles of state-hatchery supported waters to try their luck, though anglers should be respectful, as many streams open for public trout fishing are located on private lands. According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, “Fishing is allowed on these streams because landowners have generously provided access to the public for fishing. Show your appreciation to

these landowners by removing your trash and being respectful of their property.” For a different challenge, Alleghany, Watauga and especially Avery offer miles of colder, higherelevation, wild trout waters that native brook trout call home. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission offers fishermen information on where to fish and what’s available to catch, as well as state laws and regulations, seasons and limits and hatchery stocking schedules, as well as state fishing records for the truly ambitious, at www.ncwildlife.org/fishing.aspx. In order to fish North Carolina waters, you need a state fishing license, which you can purchase at any of the local fishing outfitters. A 10-day license costs $5 for North Carolina residents and $10 for out-of-state visitors. For an additional $10, you can add a trout stamp to the license. Before you head to the river, be sure to pick up a copy of the state regulations concerning trout streams. Pay close attention before hitting the water, as trout regulations can be complex and can vary from stream to stream and can result in hefty fines of more than $200.

While anglers may have to be a little more patient this winter, the cold mountain air will invariably mean fewer anglers on the water and reduced fishing pressure. PHOTO SUBMITTED

Catch and Release Tips • Use barbless hooks, and if you use a net, choose one made of rubber that is less harmful to fish scales, eyes and gills. • Before handling fish, wet your hands to protect their mucous coating, which protects them from waterborne bacteria. • If at all possible, leave the fish in the water but, if you have to remove the fish

from the stream, be quick and gentle, and don’t squeeze the fish. • When releasing a fish, hold it under the belly and point the fish facing the current. • Be patient and give the fish the time it needs to recover and swim away on its own.

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Outfitters at a Glance Local fishing shops and outfitters offer area newcomers a chance to find out the best fishing spots and what the fish are hitting.

APPALACHIAN ANGLER 174 Old Shull’s Mill Road Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 963-5050 www.appangler.com

ELK CREEK OUTFITTERS 1560 N.C. 105 Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 264-6497 www.ecoflyfishing.com

FOSCOE FISHING CO. & OUTFITTERS 8857 N.C. 105 Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 963-6556 www.foscoefishing.com

GRANDFATHER TROUT FARM 10767 N.C. 105 Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 (828) 963-5098 www.grandfathertroutfarm.com

RICK’S SMALLMOUTH ADVENTURES 1757 Pleasant Home Road Sparta, N.C. 28675 (336) 372-8321

RIVERGIRL FISHING CO. 4041 Railroad Grade Road Todd, N.C. 28684 (336) 877-3099 www.rivergirlfishing.com

WATAUGA RIVER ANGLERS 5712 N.C. 105 South Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 963-5463 www.wataugariveranglers.com

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THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

Unparalleled Views

2013

Beat cabin fever with wonderful winter hikes BY ADAM ORR adam.orr@mountaintimes.com

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hough fall’s awesome color show has faded from the peaks and ridges of the High Country, the onset of winter still offers premier hiking opportunities — along with unique views that are only available this time of year. Northwest North Carolina offers outdoor enthusiasts a little something for everyone, including easy hikes that can be completed in less than an hour and day-trips and overnight excursions along portions of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Mount Jefferson State Natural Area in West Jefferson is home to numerous well-maintained trails that circle the mountain’s peak, offering hikers crystal clear views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. Be aware of adverse weather conditions, however, which can be a stark contrast from what is going on in the nearby

valleys and can affect the park’s hours of operation, so call ahead of time to see if the park is open. The mountain is easily accessible from the town of Jefferson, just off of U.S. 221, by following the brown colored signs to the park’s entrance. The .75-mile Lost Province Trail meanders along the mountain’s southeastern slope, which is covered in oak and chestnut trees, while the .3-mile Summit Trail begins at the upper parking area and ascends to the peak of the mountain, offering panoramic views 1,600 feet above the surrounding countryside. Rhododendron Trail is a more strenuous 1.1-mile hike near the terminus of the summit trail, so named because of the purple-flowered rhododendron visible along the trail in early June. New River State Park, located in Laurel Springs, offers hikers easy to moderate trails along one of the world’s oldest rivers, the New River, including Fern Nature Trail, a moderate, one-mile self

Portions of the MST pass through this heritage apple orchard, which may be as old as 100 years, near Parkway School in Watauga County. PHOTO BY SHELTON WILDER, FRIENDS OF THE MOUNTAINS-TO-SEA TRAIL

Three backcountry skiers descend Mount Mitchell on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail on a clear winter day. PHOTO BY MATTHEW BROWNING, FRIENDS OF THE MOUNTAINS-TO-SEA TRAIL

guided tour along parts of the river and forested ridge above the river. Running Cedar Trail follows along the boundary of Wagoner Access and joins Fern Nature Trail, adding another mile to your hike. Hickory Trail, a moderate one-mile trail that begins on the east side of New River State Park’s U.S. 221 access, traverses a ridge above the river and offers views of the land below. The Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs in the southern section of Ashe County, harnesses the natural beauty of the Appalachian Mountains with miles upon miles of fall scenery and a trail system with varying levels of difficulty at numerous overlooks and entrances. From the cascades to the Mountainsto-Sea Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers off road excursions to quench the adventurous thirst of any hiker. For a full list of trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway, as well as maps, visit www.blueridgeparkway.org. As the parkway is often closed in the

event of wintry weather, call the park service ahead of time to plan the best time to take a day excursion. Like many trails in the region, constant supervision is not always available, so it’s important to exercise caution wherever you may choose to explore. Several sections of the Mountains-toSea Trail, a long-distance trail that runs from Clingman’s Dome in the west to Pamlico Sound in the east, wind along portions of the Blue Ridge Parkway and offer hikers of all skill levels easy access to perfect day trips. Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail recommends a nearly eight-mile section of trail from Beacon Heights to Boone Fork Parking Area. The day-trip offers rugged, rocky terrain on the southeastern flank of Grandfather Mountain, and portions of the trail travel through a fragile alpine environment in the Rough Ridge area that offer 360-degree views. The FMST also recommends a 3.7-mile jaunt through mountain meadows that

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THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

A trail stile and N.C. trail system arrow marker show the snowy way through the High Country near Grandfather Mountain. PHOTO BY RANDY JOHNSON, FRIENDS OF THE MOUNTAINS-TO-SEA TRAIL

Unparalleled Views CONTINUED FROM PAGE 46

stretches from Boone Fork Parking Area to Holloway Mountain Road. Somewhat less strenuous than the section of trail that precedes it, the route isn’t always immediately obvious through these meadows, according to the group, so keep a sharp eye out for the MST’s white circle blaze markers. Green Knob Trail, located at BRP milepost 295.9, is a vigorous 3.3-mile trail that follows a ridgeline to Green Knob Lookout tower, perched at an elevation of more than 5,000 feet. If you’re looking for a less strenuous hike, checkout the Bass Lake Carriage, Horse and Hiking Trail, part of Moses Cone Park and located just a short distance away at BRP milepost 294. In Watauga County, Snake Mountain towers to 5,580 feet and offers magnificent views of prominent mountaintops,

while giving hiking enthusiasts a blood pumping, sweat breaking expedition through some of the area’s more challenging venues. Motorists can reach the mountain from Rich Mountain Gap Road, which can be accessed from U.S. 421. If coming from Boone, take N.C. 194 toward Todd before turning onto Meat Camp Road. After Meat Camp Church, fork left onto Rich Mountain Gap Road. Elk Knob State Park is one of the newest additions to the N.C. State Parks System, featuring picnic areas, a 1.9-mile summit trail and backcountry camping areas. The park’s public access is located at 5564 Meat Camp Road (take N.C. 194 North, and then turn left on Meat Camp Road). For more information on Elk Knob, call (828) 297-7261, or email elk. knob@ncparks.gov.

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THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

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Legend of The Blowing Rock

Visitors frequent The Blowing Rock to observe the phenomenal wind that blows upward from the valley, occasionally causing snow to fall upside down. SUBMITTED PHOTO

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The Blowing Rock offers access to the legendary rock, as well as an overlook and observation tower. PHOTO COURTESY OF TODD BUSH PHOTOGRAPHY, WWW.BUSHPHOTO.COM

North Carolina’s oldest travel attraction BY KELLEN SHORT

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ou haven’t really seen Blowing Rock until you’ve seen THE Blowing Rock. The Blowing Rock, a scenic attraction located off U.S. 321 near the Green Park Inn, is the namesake of this quiet town, a place with views that scream mountain splendor. From the rock cliffs about 4,000 feet above sea level, visitors can overlook Johns River Gorge and take in some of the mountain range’s most beautiful peaks: Hawksbill Mountain and Table Rock to the southwest and Grandfather Mountain and Mount Mitchell to the west. Established in 1933, The Blowing Rock is notable for being North Carolina’s oldest travel attraction. But its true claim to fame came generations earlier. According to legend, The Blowing Rock

was the site of a heartbreak-turnedmiracle for two young Native American lovers. A Chickasaw chief, according to lore, journeyed from the plains with his daughter to leave her in the care of a squaw mother, away from the watchful eyes of a white male admirer. Daydreaming on the cliff one day, the maiden saw a Cherokee brave wandering in the wilderness below and playfully shot an arrow toward him. From there, their affection grew, and the two became lovers, as they courted among the woods and streams. The pair was drawn one day to The Blowing Rock by a strange reddening of the sky, the legend continues. He believed it was a sign of trouble, beckoning him to return to his tribe, but the maiden begged him to stay. Conflicted by duty and love, he leapt from

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Legend of the Blowing Rock CONTINUED FROM PAGE 48

The Blowing Rock attracts thousands of visitors each year. PHOTO SUBMITTED

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the rock. Legend has it that the grief-stricken maiden prayed daily to the Great Spirit until a gust of wind blew her partner back onto the rock. Since then, visitors have returned to The Blowing Rock to observe the phenomenal wind that blows upward from the valley, occasionally causing snow to fall upside down. Today, visitors enjoy tossing light objects over the peak to see them returned by the wind. The Blowing Rock offers access to the legendary rock, as well as an overlook and observation tower. Self-guided walks along the short trail offer a glimpse at a trout pond and miniature waterfall, as well as gardens and picnic spots. With the leaves off the trees and the presence of cool, clean air, the long-range views from The Blowing Rock in winter may appear even sharper than usual. Visitors also can enjoy a snack bar and gift shop. The Blowing Rock is handicapped-

accessible, and leashed pets are welcome. The Blowing Rock is one of the High Country’s most affordable attractions at $6 for adults and $1 for children ages 4 to 11. Children 3 and younger may enter free. The attraction has reduced hours in winter, and guests are urged to call ahead in times of harsh weather. Hours: November, December and first week of January: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, weather permitting January through February: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting

WANT TO GO?

The Blowing Rock 432 The Rock Road Blowing Rock, N.C. 28645 (828) 295-7111 www.theblowingrock.com

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THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

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Rock Dimensions and other area outfitters offer spelunking tours of High Country caves. FILE PHOTO

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Journey Inside a Mountain BY JESSE CAMPBELL

W

hile most of the wintertime excursions in the High Country take place on freshly packed ski slopes or cold running streams — for the braver anglers — there is also a subterranean playground that is almost as limitless as the echoing cavernous walls suggest. Exploring the High Country’s caves and other underground areas is a behind-the-scenes look at how natural forces inside the earth shaped the mountains above it. Linville Caverns, located at 19929 U.S. 221 North in Marion, has quenched the average tourist’s thirst for adventure since 1937.

Henry E. Colton explored the caves in the early 1800s, following a fishing expedition. He was astounded to see fish swimming in and out of what appeared to be solid rock. Since officially opening to the public, the caverns have seen many upgrades to pathways and lighting systems to enhance the experience. The caverns feature guided tours that treat guests to a history of the caves, along with neat and interesting information. Those who are brave enough to enter the depths of the caves should dress in comfortable attire, although the mild average of 52 degrees will likely surpass more blustery conditions above ground. Closed toe shoes with new tread are

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Journey CONTINUED FROM PAGE 50

recommended inside the caves, as the floors of the caves can be slippery after heavy rains. Caverns staff also recommends that you leave strollers and backpacks behind, due to confined space. Linville Caverns is also one of the few caves partially wheelchair accessible. Other important notes: Flash photography is allowed, but if you use a video camera, please refrain from using an external light source. Visitors may also carry a pet on the 35-minute tour. Touching the rocks inside the cave, along with cave life, is prohibited. Food, drink, candy and gum are not allowed

inside the caverns. No more than 15 people are allowed in the same group on the tour, and the final tour of the day takes place at closing time. For hours more information, call (800) 419-0540, or visit www.linvillecaverns.com.

WANT TO GO?

Linville Caverns 19929 U.S. 221 Marion, N.C. 28752 (828) 756-4171 www.linvillecaverns.com

of the high country Your Pet’s Home Away from Home!

SERVICES OFFERED: · Boarding · Grooming by appointment

Licensed by the NC Department of Agriculture (License #10874) 271 Pounding Mill Rd Warrensville, NC Rick, Dawn & Rusty Zachary Owner’s/Operators www.rdrkennels.com

$

5

Exploring the High Country’s caves and other underground areas is a behindElithHihCt’dthddibhid the-scenes look at how natural forces inside the earth shaped the mountains above it. FILE PHOTO

Caving Adventures For those seeking a caving experience more off the beaten path, numerous area outfitters offer more literal downand-dirty tours of the Earth’s interior. For more information, inquire with the adventure companies listed below:

(828) 963-5491 www.raftcavehike.com

WAHOO’S ADVENTURES 3385 U.S. 321 South Boone, N.C. 28607

HIGH MOUNTAIN EXPEDITIONS

ROCK DIMENSIONS

1380 N.C. 105 Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 264-7368 www.highmountainexpeditions.com

139 S. Depot Street Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 265-3544

RIVER AND EARTH ADVENTURES

worleyscaveinfo@gmail.com www.worleyscave.com

1655 N.C. 105 South Boone, N.C. 28692

WORLEY’S CAVE ADVENTURE TRIPS

OFF your

purchase of $25 or more.

Avery County Adoption and Humane Education Center volunteers are always on hand to greet you and give you a tour of how this state-of-the-art facility operates. Also be sure to visit Paws and Claws animals in our care.

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Can be used for Spay/Neuter, Adoption Fees, Pet Boutique or at Paws and Claws resale store.

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176 Shawneehaw Ave. Downtown Banner Elk

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Choose & Cut While many families opt to pick out their annual Christmas tree at a nearby lot or convenience center, many choose the more traditional path. PHOTO SUBMITTED

The search for the perfect Christmas tree offers family fun

T

BY ADAM ORR

oday, High Country slopes are covered in rolling fields of Fraser firs and spruce pines, and the area has become the Eastern United States’ Christmas tree central. But it wasn’t always that way. More than five decades ago, state and national organizations, including the Civilian Conservation Corps, partnered with High Country growers to experiment with cash crops suitable for the area. As it turned out, the steep slopes and mountain soil of Western North Carolina are uniquely suited to producing some of the nation’s finest Christmas trees, and the region has become the largest producer of Christmas trees east of the Mississippi River, according to the Ashe County Christmas Tree Association. North Carolina growers have produced more White House Christmas trees, 12, than any other state, most recently in 2012. While many families opt to pick out their annual Christmas tree at a nearby lot or convenience center, many choose the more traditional path during the “choose and cut” season. Scattered throughout the High Country, several of these choose-and-cut locales also offer a smattering of

family-geared activities. The following is a list of some of this region’s more prominent and accessible choose and cut locations.

Ashe County LEE’S TREES 567 Inspiration Way West Jefferson, N.C. 28694 (336) 846-1288 leestrees@skybest.com

LYN-LYNN TREES, WREATHS AND CHRISTMAS CRAFTS 104 Shumate Drive Warrensville, N.C. 28693 (336) 384-2451

MISTLETOE MEADOWS CHRISTMAS TREES 583 Burnt Hill Road Laurel Springs, N.C. 28644 (336) 982-9754 www.mistletoemeadows.com

PEAK FARMS 1011 Low Gap Road Jefferson, N.C. 28640 (336) 982-6082 www.peakfarms.com

REINDEER CROSSING CHOOSE-AND-CUT 497 Don Walters Road Jefferson, N.C. 28640 (336) 846-5249 www.reindeercrossingtrees.com

SHADY REST TREE FARM 287 Trading Post Road Glendale Springs, N.C. 28629 (336) 982-2031 www.shadyresttreefarm.com

TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS TREES 516 West Reno Road West Jefferson, N.C. 28694 (336) 982-9754 www.topofthemtnchristmastrees.com

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Choose & Cut CONTINUED FROM PAGE 52

WEST END WREATHS 2152 Beaver Creek School Road West Jefferson, N.C. 28694 (336) 846-7300 www.westendwreaths.com

WINDY RIDGE TREE FARM 1250 Old County Line Road Laurel Springs, N.C. 28644 (336) 977-9782 www.bestchristmasfundraising.com

Watauga County APPALACHIAN EVERGREENS 1371 N.C. 194 Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 264-1609 www.appevergreens.com

BIG RIDGE TREE FARM 762 George Eggers Road Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 963-5151 www.bigridgetreefarm.com

BROWN’S CHOOSE AND CUT 2648 N.C. 194 North Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 264-2800

CIRCLE C TREE FARMS 313 Will Cook Road Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 265-7504 www.circlectreefarms.com

CLAWSON’S CHOOSE AND CUT 4944 N.C. 194 North Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 264-3162

CORNETT DEAL CHRISTMAS TREE FARM 142 Tannenbaum Lane Vilas, N.C. 28692 (828) 964-6322 www.cdtreefarm.com

EWING’S FRASER FIR FARM 175 Navidad Lane Vilas, N.C. 28692 (828) 297-2856 www.ewingsfraserfirfarm.com

An ice storm makes the fence at Greene Tree Farm on Junaluska Road a picturesque scene. PHOTO BY ROB MOORE

GOOD SHEPHERD TREES

WHAT FIR! TREE FARM

COOL SPRINGS NURSERY

2155 Blackberry Road Boone, N.C. 28607 704-607-2300 www.goodshepherdtrees.com

330 Wolf Ridge Trail Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 297-4646 www.whatfirtreefarm.com

162 Hanging Rock Estates Lane Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 (828) 387-6139 www.coolspringsnursery.com

GREENE TREE FARM 6989 Junaluska Road Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 773-1451 www.greenetreefarm.com

J&D TREE FARM 576 Bryan Hollow Road Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 262-1845 www.jdtreefarm.com

PANORAMIC VIEW CHRISTMAS TREE FARM 368 Panoramic Lane Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 719-6395 www.panoramictreefarm.com

RRR LAUREL KNOB TREE FARM 1029 Rainbow Trail Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 264-6488 www.rrrtreefarm.com

Avery County BOBBY D’S CHRISTMAS TREES P.O. Box 263 Newland, N.C. 28657 (828) 733-6463 hcls1956@yahoo.com

JONAS RIDGE TREE FARM  8050 Joe Poore Road (828) 733-4654 shelltrio@att.net

LICKLOG FARMS

C&G NURSERY

897 Licklog Road Newland, N.C. 28657 (828) 387-6816 www.licklogfarms.com

204 White Pine Road Newland, N.C. 28657 (828) 733-1130

REECE’S FARM AND NURSERY

CARTNER CHRISTMAS TREES 1 Balsam Drive Newland, N.C. 28657 (828) 733-1641 www.carolinafraserfir.com

CHRISTMAS GREENS 1775 Schultz Circle Newland, N.C. 28657 (828) 733-9021

241 John Jones Road Elk Park, N.C. 28622 (828) 898-5642 reeceb@interlink-cafe.com

SAM’S NURSERY 376 Logan’s Lane Newland, N.C. 28657 (828) 733-3353 www.samsnursery.com

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Mystery and History at Mystery Hill BY ANNA OAKES

I

f you’re looking for an activity that’s a little out of the ordinary, or if rain or snow has dampened your plans, look no further than Mystery Hill. Located at 129 Mystery Hill Lane, directly off of U.S. 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock, Mystery Hill challenges the notions of gravity and popular physics with a number of puzzling phenomena, including balls that roll uphill and water that flows up instead of down. Around for more than 60 years, the current facility includes the original Mystery Platform, the Mystery House, Hall of Mystery, a Native American Artifacts Museum and an Appalachian Heritage Museum. The Mystery House is where gravity doesn’t quite work the way it should, and the Hall of Mystery gives children the opportunity to try hands-on puzzles and experiments. The Appalachian Heritage Museum is located in a historic 1898 home

WANT TO GO?

Mystery Hill 129 Mystery Hill Lane Blowing Rock, N.C. 28605 (828) 264-2792 www.mysteryhill-nc.com

and provides insights into 19thcentury life in the mountains. A gift shop, picnic area and cabin rentals are also available on site. Winter hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Mystery Hill is open year-round, except on Christmas Day. Admission is $9 for visitors ages 13 to 59, $8 for ages 60 and older, $7 for ages 5 to 12 and free for ages 4 and younger. Group rates are available for groups of 12 or more. Parking is free, and tour buses are welcome. For more information, call (828) 264-2792, or visit www.mysteryhill-nc.com.

Mystery awaits at Mystery Hill, located off U.S. 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock. PHOTO BY ANNA OAKES

Grocery • Deli • Ski and Snowbard Rentals • Hardware Wild Bird Supply • Outdoor Clothing & Winter Footwear Open Everyday from 7:30am to 10:00pm (828) 387-4838 501 Beech Mountain Parkway • Beech Mountain, NC • www.fredsgeneral.com

Come visit us at Eastern America’s Highest Town

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

2013

HUGE SAVINGS OFF OF MSRP. Green grows the holidays in the High Country. PHOTO BY ROB MOORE

Choose & Cut CONTINUED FROM PAGE 53

SNOWY MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS TREE FARM 217 Arlan Franklin Road Crossnore, N.C. 28616 (828) 733-9589 www.snowymountainchristmastreefarm.com

SOUTH VALLEY NURSERY 271 Benfield Hill Drive

Newland, NC 28657 (828) 387-0277 southvalley@hughes.net

SUGAR PLUM FARM 1263 Isaac Branch Road Plumtree NC 28664 (828) 765-0019 www.sugarplumfarm.com

TWO D’S NURSERY P.O. Box 217 Crossnore, N.C. 28616 (828) 733-6686 www.twodsnursery.com

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Grandfather Mountain, open year-round, offers unparalleled views from high above the High Country. PHOTO BY ROB MOORE

The Grandfather

of all High Country attractions

BY CAROLINE HARRIS

A

trip to the High Country is not complete without braving the Mile-High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain. Grandfather Mountain is so named because the unmistakable profile of an elderly man, looking like a sleeping giant, can be seen on its ridgeline. Originally built in 1952, Grandfather Mountain’s 228-foot suspension bridge spans an 80-foot chasm. It’s a bit daunting to take that first step, but once you

reach the middle of the bridge, it’s like being suspended mid-air, 5,280 feet above sea level. At the entrance to the mountain, there is a drive-through admission booth. The price of admission includes a trail guide and audio CD guide to the various attractions. Famously, the steep road’s hairpin curves were featured in a scene from the movie, “Forrest Gump.” As you drive up to the peak, overlooks include Half Moon Overlook, Cliffside Overlook and Sheer Bluff. These overlooks provide an opportunity to stop and

take in the view as you make your way up the mountain. Rime ice, or ice that forms when fog freezes, covers Grandfather Mountain in the winter and adds a beautiful, sugarcoated look to the trees, rocks and other natural scenery. Grandfather Mountain also features interesting rock formations accessible on foot, including the Sphinx and Split rocks. The Sphinx rock formation weighs more than 2 million pounds. See animals native to Grandfather Mountain in the wildlife habitats. The

seven environmental habitats are home to cougars, white-tailed deer, black bears and river otters. A new eagle habitat houses bald eagles. All eagles in the habitat have some type of injury that prevents them from surviving in the wild. The park also features the Top Shop gift shop and gallery, where you can purchase local and seasonal souvenirs. Stop for lunch at Mildred’s Grill in the Nature Museum for some elevated eating. November hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30

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Furniture. Well Crafted. 1,000 Premier Furniture Lines 100 Galleries, Stores and Outlets Countless Collections One Stop

U.S. 221 offers a view of the viaduct and Grandfather Mountain. PHOTO BY ROB MOORE

Grandfather Mountain CONTINUED FROM PAGE 56

p.m. Ticket sales end at 4:30 p.m. Winter hours begin on Dec. 2, when the park will close at 5 p.m. Adult admission is $18, senior admission is $15, and child admission is $8. Children younger than 4 are admitted for free. From Nov. 1 through April 30, Grandfather Mountain offers Secret Season passes, which are good anytime between those dates to experience the wonder of the mountain all winter. Passes are $32 for an adult, which means the pass holder can visit every day for six months at a price less than the cost of two adult tickets. An individual childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pass, for

those ages 4 to 12 years old, is $18. The group pass, good for up to six people traveling in the same vehicle, sells for $90 and pays for itself on the first visit. For those who live and work in the surrounding area, the Secret Season pass offers many unique opportunities to enjoy Grandfather Mountain. Some chose to stop by for a warm cup of soup from Mildredâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Grill at lunchtime. Others enjoy trips up to the Swinging Bridge to experience endless vistas of snowdusted evergreens. The park is fully wheelchair accessible. It is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas days. Grandfather Mountain is located at 2050 Blowing Rock Highway in Linville. For more information, call (800) 4687325 or (828) 733-2013, or visit www. grandfather.com.

2220 Hwy 70 SE (I-40, exit 126), Hickory, NC Mon-Sat, 9am-6pm www.hickoryfurniture.com 1-800-462-MART (6278)

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In its first two years of operation, the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum has become a ‘must-see’ destination for any visit to the village.

Art and History

PHOTO BY JEFF EASON

Blowing Rock museum has something for everyone BY JEFF EASON

O

pened in October 2011, the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum (BRAHM) has quickly become one of the High Country’s premiere destinations for both visitors and residents alike. While it has many of the amenities of similar museums, such as art galleries and a gift shop, BRAHM goes one step further with community outreach programs for both children and adults. BRAHM’s permanent collection features the work of

patron artist Elliot Daingerfield, plus ceramics and glass works from the Penland School of Crafts. Located in the heart of downtown Blowing Rock, BRAHM is a 23,000-square-foot facility that includes six galleries, an education center, orientation theater and community meeting room. The building also houses the offices of the Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority, including its hundreds of brochures and maps of High Country destinations. Admission to the museum is $8 for adults, $5 for children, students and military personnel, free for children 4 and younger and $6 per person for groups of 10 or

more (reservation required). BRAHM is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. It is closed on Mondays and major holidays. For more information, visit www.blowingrockmuseum.org, or call (828) 295-9099.

‘THE PAINTED SONG’ William Holiday Armstrong, aka Wiili, was an artist, poet and naturalist best known for his colorful paintings

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Art and History

‘THE CHILD BEFORE US’

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 58

and sculptures made from “found” objects. He was an untrained, yet prolific painter who sold many of his works on the sidewalks of downtown Boone. Wiili struggled with many physical and mental demons, including bipolar disorder, agoraphobia and alcohol and prescription drug abuse and misuse. But he still managed to create hundreds, if not thousands, of artistic works during his decade living in the High Country. Since his death in December 2003, many galleries and art collectors have taken a renewed interest in Wiili’s art. And many critics have compared his style to Van Gogh, Chagall and Gauguin. The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum’s new exhibit, “The Painted Song: The Art of Wiili Armstrong,” celebrates his work with five galleries worth of paintings, sculptures and other pieces on loan from area collections. The exhibit is augmented with sound recordings of Wiili reading his poetry. The exhibit will be on display at BRAHM through February 2014.

BRAHM’s historic artifact room currently houses an exhibit, titled “The Child Before Us: Grandfather Home of Children.” Celebrating the centennial of the High Country’s historic orphanage, the exhibit includes dozens of photographs, toys, quilts and documents from the home. The exhibit will be on display through January.

COLORFUL FRIDAY SALE While most folks consider the day after Thanksgiving “Black Friday,” BRAHM is treating everyone to a “Colorful Friday” Gift Shop Sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29. Find some unique items for your holiday shopping list, and save some money doing so!

FALL FILM SERIES The Fall Film Series at BRAHM brings a different documentary film related to the Appalachian Mountains each month. The films are shown in the Community Meeting Room upstairs at the museum, and drinks and refreshments are available. The films are followed by a facilitated discussion. The next film scheduled will be shown at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6. For more information, visit www.blowingrockmuseum.org, or call (828) 295-9099, ext. 3006.

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PAGE 59

HATEVER your reason, our talented team of professionals can help

create your perfect log home getaway with our superior quality products, flexible designs and affordable luxury. Logs America has been building log home dreams in the High Country since 1994. Our log and timber products are exclusively supplied by Log Homes of America. A local, family owned company manufacturing quality log and timber components supported with integrity for more than 22 years. Come visit our new log showroom Monday – Friday 9-5 and Saturday 10-2 or by appointment.

‘Juggling My Palette’ by Wiili Armstrong, on display at BRAHM.

Celebrating 31Years

Winter Group & Small Works Exhibition November 29-April 30

Holiday Open House November 29 & 30, 10-5 CARLTON GALLERY Located 10 Miles South of Boone on Highway 105 in Grandfather Community 828-963-4288 | www.carltongallery.com | carltongallery@carltongallery.com

PAINTINGS • CLAY • GLASS • WOOD • FIBER ART • JEWELRY

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Performing Arts at ASU A

ppalachian State University’s 2013-14 Performing Arts Series season is underway, and all the events will take place in the newly renovated Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts (formerly Farthing Auditorium). Events continue through April 2014 and include a mixture of music, dance, theater and film. The series schedule is below, and more information can be found at http://pas.appstate.edu.

2013-14 PERFORMING ARTS SERIES SCHEDULE For videos, images and detailed information about each performance, visit http://pas.appstate.edu. River North Dance Chicago Friday, Jan. 31, 2014

Montana Repertory Theatre’s ‘The Miracle Worker’ Thursday, April 3, 2014

ASU Theatre’s ‘Kiss Me, Kate’ Friday to Sunday, April 11 to 13, 2014

TICKETS Tickets are available at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts box office and online at http://pas.appstate.edu. Ticket prices range from $8 to $38. The series will also be offering a “Pick 5” ticket discount, which offers a break on the ticket price for various series events when the tickets are purchased in multiples of five. To purchase tickets, call or visit the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts box office at (828) 262-4046 or http://pas.appstate.edu.

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014

ABOUT THE PERFORMING ARTS SERIES

STOMP! Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Performing Arts Series supports the teaching mission of Appalachian State University by presenting a diverse

array of music, dance and theater events designed to enrich the cultural landscape of the campus and surrounding region.

River North Dance Chicago will perform Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 at ASU. PHOTO BY CHERYL MANN

2013

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

Winter on Stage Theater in the High Country

W

BY JESSE CAMPBELL

ith winter winds raging outside, the coming months are the perfect opportunity to check out theater offerings around the High Country. Appalachian State University and Lees-McRae College, along with community art organizations in Ashe, Watauga and Avery counties, have a wealth of shows and performances to keep you entertained and snug as a bug this winter.

APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY The Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts at ASU is ground zero for exhilarating live performances and musicals. Formerly Farthing Auditorium, the recently renovated performing arts center consists of a 1,684-seat auditorium, revamped acoustics, a proscenium stage and orchestra pit. The university is also home to the state-of-the-art Valborg Theatre, located on the north side of Chapell Wilson Hall on Howard Street. The door faces the back of the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts on King Street. Parking is available in faculty lots after 5 p.m. and in the College Street parking deck near Belk Library and Information Commons after 5:30 p.m. Parking is also available in the Rivers Street parking deck and the Howard Street parking area adjacent to the Miles Annas Student Services building. For a schedule of performances at Appalachian State University, visit http://theatre.appstate.edu and http://pas.appstate.edu.

Student Bethany Gillett performs in a dance production at Appalachian State University. PHOTO BY GREG WILLIAMS, COURTESY OF APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY

ing to Ensemble, this year’s show will be a “greatest hits” version of all previous holiday productions. The show will run on stage at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 and 14 and at 3 p.m. Dec. 15. For ticket information, call (828) 414-1844. When looking for shows to feature during the upcoming seasons, artistic director Gary Smith said he has to take much into consideration before deciding on a finalized lineup. “First, the shows must be a fit for the logistics of space,” he said. “We can’t do giant musicals. The stage is not big enough. The play has to also fit in the budget we have, and then we can start doing play readings in the fall and winter and even into the early spring.” For more information on Ensemble Stage, visit www. ensemblestage.com.

ENSEMBLE STAGE

LEES-MCRAE COLLEGE

Ensemble Stage in Blowing Rock is preparing for a winter season of shows to rival its standout summer selection. On Sunday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m., the stage company will perform a staged radio drama adaptation of the yuletide classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $8 for kids younger than 16. Ensemble’s popular staged radio dramas see actors reading their parts on stage, while also creating sound effects to complement the action. Patterned after the Bing Crosby TV specials, “(The Best of) Christmas in Blowing Rock (5)” will feature comedy skits and lots of singing and dancing. Accord-

Although hailed for its popular Summer Theatre, Lees-McRae College keeps its stage active year-round. This winter, the college presents “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” based on the final novel by Charles Dickens and directed by LMC’s Dr. Michael Hannah. Shows take place at Hayes Auditorium on Main Street in Banner Elk Feb. 27 through March 2. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27 and 28, 7:30 p.m. March 1 and 2 p.m. March 2. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $5 for students and children and are only available at the door before each performance. For more information, call (828) 8988709, or visit www.lmc.edu.

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THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter

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2013

2013

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The Ben Long fresco, ‘The Last Supper,’ covers the entire wall of the sanctuary at Holy Trinity in Glendale Springs.

Frescoes

draw thousands each year

T

BY HEATHER SAMUDIO

he arts play a major role in Ashe County and the surrounding High Country, with galleries dotting the landscapes in the downtown areas. The frescoes found at two local churches are among the area’s art gems. Frescoes can be found at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in West Jefferson and at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Glendale Springs. The two churches are part of the Parish of the Holy Communion and are referred to as the churches of the frescoes. The fresco paintings came to be when Ben Long, an Italian-trained artist, painted three frescoes at St. Mary’s, beginning in 1974. “Mary Great with Child” was done in 1974, with “John the Baptist” and “Mystery of Life” following in 1975 and 1977,

WANT TO GO? Find a map, directions and more at www.benlongfrescotrail.org.

respectively. Long returned to the county in 1980 and painted “The Last Supper” fresco at Holy Trinity, as the church was undergoing renovations. The artwork is now permanently enshrined at the church and receives thousands of visitors each year to view the masterpiece. “The Last Supper” covers the entire sanctuary wall at St. Mary’s. Some visitors like to see the frescoes because of their religious significance, while others just enjoy viewing the art. The Ashe County Frescoes Foundation was formed in 2009 to protect and CONTINUED ON PAGE 64

PHOTO SUBMITTED

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Gluten-free products Exclusive distributor for L’Arrigo Olive Oil Gift baskets & party trays, wine & dining accessories Custom wine ordering

Grandfather Center NC105 & NC 184, next to the ABC store Banner Elk, NC / 828.898.9424 erickscheeseandwine.com

Saturday Wine Tastings 1:00 - 5:00 pm

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Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Glendale Springs is home to the fresco, ‘The Last Supper,’ and features a scenic view that allows visitors to see beauty inside and out. PHOTO SUBMITTED

Frescoes

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 63

preserve the precious frescoes. The foundation’s wish is to assure that the thousands of visitors will have access to the paintings for years to come. The foundation and the Festival of the Frescoes, held every October, work to bring attention to the frescoes and their value to the region. Donations made to the foundation are used only for expenses related to the unique works of art at the two churches.

ABOUT BEN LONG Benjamin Franklin Long IV is a contemporary artist. He was born in Texas and grew up in Statesville. Some of his art is on display at the Smithsonian Institute. Much of that art is from his time as commander of the combat art team

during a tour of duty in Vietnam. Long has received numerous awards during his career. For more information about the artist, visit benlongfineart.com. The artworks done by Long in Ashe County, known as fresco painting, are unique in nature. The artist presses pigment into wet plaster. The pigment then bonds with the plaster and hardens to create a surface that is very durable, attested to by some fresco paintings dating back 3,000 years. Some of the most well known frescoes are those found on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, done by artist Michelangelo. A fresco trail travels throughout 25 counties in Western North Carolina and features the local frescoes on the way. For more information about the trail, visit www.benlongfrescotrail.org. For more information about the frescoes, visit www.ashefrescoes.org.

Frescoes of the High Country • • • • • • • •

St. Mary's Episcopal Church in West Jefferson (Ashe County) Includes "Mary Great with Child," "John the Baptist" and "The Mystery of Faith" Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Glendale Springs (Ashe County) Includes "The Last Supper" The Crossnore School in Crossnore (Avery County) Includes "Suffer the Little Children to Come Unto Me" St. Paul's Episcopal Church Two frescoes depicting the story of St. Paul

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Celebrating

BannerElk Banner Elk Christmas

Sugar Mountain

Our People. Our Beauty. Our Spirit. Beech Mountain Cars

Downtown Banner Elk

townofbannerelk.com

Tel 828 898 8395

In the magnificent Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina

Winter in Banner Elk

Sugar Mountain

Banner Elk is in the center of The High Country and is the ski capitol of the South. Sugar Mountain

Sugar Mountain

Beech Mountain

Banner Elk Lake

Sugar Mountain

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The High Country’s Art Galleries rt buyers and enthusiasts will find that the High Country’s art galleries have much to offer. Home to almost countless venues that host a variety of styles and mediums, there’s a gallery for just about every artistic disposition.

A

General admission costs $8, although admission is free to members. Special discounts are also available. For hours and a current list of exhibits, workshops and classes, visit www.blowingrockmuseum.org, or call (828) 295-9099.

Fit for a Museum

Seeking Council

When the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum opened its doors to the public on Oct. 1, 2011, it was the culmination of more than a decade of effort put forth by a dedicated group of supporters determined to make the project a success. The museum was organized in 1999 in response to a local art collector’s desire to find a permanent home for his collection of work by North Carolina native and seasonal Blowing Rock resident Elliot Daingerfield, who was a significant figure in the American art scene at the turn of the 20th century. Boasting three levels with approximately 21,000 square feet, the museum includes five galleries, a large multi-purpose community meeting room, a conference room, educational and workshop space, a gift shop and a garden.

The Watauga County Arts Council has big plans this winter, including the Second Saturday Gallery Hop series. Held the second Saturday of every month, the hop sees participants travel to different galleries throughout the county, and then return to the arts council’s home at the Blue Ridge ArtSpace for the chance to win artful prizes. During Second Saturdays, the ArtSpace, located at 377 Shadowline Drive in Boone, also hosts live music, gallery exhibitions and workshops. Founded in 1981 to improve the presence of art in Watauga County, the Watauga County Arts Council is a diverse and growing organization heavily involved in economic development and cultural tourism planning in the community.

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‘Daylight at the Orchard’s Edge’ by Andrew Braitman is on display at Carlton Gallery near Banner Elk.

For more information, including a schedule of winter events, call (828) 264-1789, or visit www.wataugaarts.org. The Ashe County Arts Council is a private, nonprofit, community-based cultural organization that has diligently worked toward bringing the arts to Ashe since 1977. Ongoing community concerts, art exhibits, school assembly programs, the Mountain Arts Program, residencies, murals and special events for all ages have given Ashe County residents countless opportunities in which to experience the arts. Partnerships with various local groups and businesses create situations in which the arts are integrated into the community in a myriad of ways. The continuing goal of the Ashe Arts Council is to enrich the cultural life of Ashe, believing that this will go far in making it a first-class community, which is good for families, the economy, businesses and visitors. The Ashe County Arts Council, including its gallery space, is located at 303 School Ave. in West Jefferson. For more information, including a schedule of events, call (336) 846-2787, or visit www.ashecountyarts.org.

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Blowing Rock

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ART & ARTIFACTS 159 Sunset Dr. (828) 414-9402 www.artandartifactsbr.com

Continuing Education

BLOWING ROCK FRAMEWORKS & GALLERY

Appalachian State University’s Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, the largest educational arts facility in the region, presents exhibitions, workshops and visual arts activities. With a focus on new and historically important artwork, the Turchin Center displays nationally and internationally renowned artists, as well as regional artists. The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts is located at 423 W. King St. in Boone. For more information, call (828) 2623170, or visit www.tcva.org.

7935 Valley Blvd. (828) 295-0041 www.blowingrockgalleries.com

MORNING STAR GALLERY 257 Sunset Dr. (828) 295-6991 www.morningstargalleryusa.com

ROCK GALLERIES OF FINE ART 1153 Main St. (828) 295-9752 www.thomaskinkadeasheville.com/ blowingrock.htm

Something for Everyone ArtWalk, Boone’s largest arts emporium, may have the most eclectic mix of art in the High Country. Earrings made from guitar picks, picture frames constructed from twigs and junkyard materials transformed into animals liven up a downtown hotspot that also features paintings, photography and pottery. Three floors of space are covered with the works of local and regional artists. ArtWalk is located at 611 W. King St. in Boone. For more information, call (828) 264-9998, or visit www.artwalkboone. com.

Fine Art

Carlton Gallery in Banner Elk is one of the most established fine art galleries in North Carolina. It is known for its spirited collections and diversity of artwork. Representing more than 200 local, regional and national artisans, the gallery is filled with art in all mediums, including paintings, glass, sculpture, wood, clay, wearable art and jewelry. Artist and Boone native Toni Carlton is celebrating 30 years as owner of the gallery, which now hosts artist-led workshops. The gallery is located 10 miles south of Boone and seven miles north of Linville on N.C. 105 in the Grandfather Mountain community. For more information, call (828) 963-4288, or visit www.carltongallery.com.

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TRADITIONS POTTERY/ BOLICK POTTERY The Martin House 1116 Main St. (828) 295-6128 www.traditionspottery.com

Boone Paintings by Sherri Peterson are one of many colorful creations available at ArtWalk in downtown Boone.

Pottery

Doe Ridge Pottery is the High Country’s premier local pottery dealer. Bob Meier opened the gallery and store in 1988 and remains a resident potter with numerous other artisans. With a freshly designed showroom and new displays, Doe Ridge’s collection of fine pottery includes functional, specialty and home décor pieces. Doe Ridge Pottery is located at 585 W. King St., Suite D, in downtown Boone. For more information, call (828) 264-1127, or visit www.doeridgepottery.com.

Gallery Listings Banner Elk

ART PURVEYORS WORLD HQ 112 Aldridge Park (828) 963-7246 www.artpurveyors.com

CARLTON GALLERY 10360 N.C. 105 South (828) 963-4288 www.carltongallery.com

CLARK GALLERY 393 Shaneehaw Ave. (828) 898-2095 www.clarkgallerync.com

MAGGIE BLACK POTTERY 1225 N.C. 105 (828) 773-2459 www.maggieblackpottery.com

THE ART CELLAR

SALLY NOONEY GALLERY

920 Shawneehaw Ave. (828) 898-5175 www.artcellaronline.com

7137 N.C.194 South (828) 963-7347 www.sallynooney.com

ARTWALK 611 W. King St. (828) 264-9998 www.artwalkboone.com

DOE RIDGE POTTERY 585-D W. King St. (828) 264-1127 www.doeridgepottery.com

HANDS GALLERY 543 W. King St. (828) 262-1970 www.handsgallery.org

JONES HOUSE COMMUNITY CENTER 604 W. King St. (828) 262-4576 www.joneshousecommunitycenter.org

KEVIN BECK STUDIO 1590 Shull’s Mill Road (828) 963-1181 www.kevinbeck.com

MODERN RUSTIC 182 Howard St.

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SHED STUDIOS 555 W. King St.

Linville & Newland 87 RUFFIN STREET GALLERY 87 Ruffin St., Linville (828) 733-6449

PAM BREWER STUDIO 41 Redbird Lane, Newland (828) 733-5755 www.pambrewer.com

Pineola, Crossnore & Linville Falls LINVILLE RIVER POTTERY 2180 Goose Hollow Road, Pineola (828) 387-1944 www.linvilleriverpottery.com

CROSSNORE FINE ARTS GALLERY

Pottery by Bob Meier is available at his downtown Boone studio, Doe Ridge Pottery. PHOTO SUBMITTED

ACORN GALLERY 103 Long St. (336) 246-3388 www.acorngallery.com

BOHEMIA 106 N. Jefferson Ave. (336) 846-1498

www.bohemianc.com

The Crossnore School 205 Johnson Lane (828) 733-3144 www.crossnoregallery.org

BROOMFIELDS GALLERY

ANVIL ARTS STUDIO

RIPPLES GALLERY

9600 Linville Highway, Linville Falls (828) 765-6226 www.studiosculpture.com

101 N. Jefferson Ave. (336) 219-0089 www.claytonproctor.com

Valle Crucis ALTA VISTA 2839 Broadstone Road (828) 963-5247 www.altavistagallery.com

RIVERCROSS MARKET 3595 N.C. 194 (828) 963-8623 www.rivercrossmarket.com

West Jefferson ASHE ARTS CENTER GALLERY 303 School Ave. (336) 846-2787 www.ashecountyarts.org

414 E. 2nd St. (336) 846-4141 www.broomfieldsgallery.com

R.T. MORGAN ART GALLERY & GLASS BY CAMILLE 120 N. Jefferson Ave. (336) 246-3328 www.rtmorganartgallery.com

THE ARTISTS’ THEATRE 8 E. Main St. (336) 846-3355 www.theartiststheatre.com

ASHE CUSTOM FRAMING & GALLERY 105 S. Jefferson Ave. (336) 846-2218 www.ashecustomframing.com

ORIGINALS ONLY 3-B N. Jefferson Ave. (336) 846-1636 www.originalsonlygallery.com

‘8 Billion Gallons’ by Carl Galie is part of a larger exhibition, ‘Lost on the Road to Oblivion: The Vanishing Beauty of Coal Country,’ currently on display at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE TURCHIN CENTER

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SPAS

soothe mind, body and soul The Spa at Chetola Resort opened in 2009, offering five treatment rooms (one for couples), a relaxation room, nail treatment area, a complimentary Swan Bar and women’s and men’s locker rooms. Adjoining the spa is a heated indoor pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and fitness room. Wellness programs include fitness and cooking classes. The spa features a wide variety of services, including massage therapies, facials, nail treatments, teeth-whitening treatments and cosmetic applications. For more information, call (800) 2438652, email spa@chetola.com, or visit www.chetola.com/spa.html.

I

COMPILED BY ANNA OAKES

t’s wintertime — and you need that steaming sauna, relaxing massage or skin treatment now more than ever. Make sure you make time for you at one of the High Country’s finest spas.

SERENITY DAY SPA 72 Arnett Road Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 Serenity Day Spa in Banner Elk offers massage, facials, microdermabrasion, body treatments, manicures, pedicures and waxing. Its location — across from the entrance to Sugar Mountain and directly behind Extreme Snowboard & Ski in Banner Elk — offers a charming cottage atmosphere with four treatment rooms, a couples room and fireplace. Relax in the sunroom between appointments, and enjoy a cup of hot apple cider. Owner and operator Cari Ashbaugh has worked as a licensed massage therapist for 25 years and a skin care specialist for 15 years.

HEAVENLY TOUCH DAY SPA 246-D Wilson Drive Boone, N.C. 28607 Beat the winter blues with a trip to one of the High Country’s many spas. PHOTO SUBMITTED

For more information, call (828) 8983550, email cashbaugh@charter.net, or visit relaxatserenity.com.

GROUP RATES SEASON PASSES Tour multiple museums & view ancient artifacts!

HALL OF MYSTERY MYSTERY HOUSE GIFT SHOP Crazy

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Fun!

129 Mystery Ln. on Hwy. 321 Located between Boone & Blowing Rock Beside Tweetsie Railroad OPEN every day YEAR ROUND (except Christmas Day)

THE SPA AT CHETOLA RESORT 500 N. Main St. Blowing Rock, N.C. 28605

Heavenly Touch in Boone offers a variety of spa services, including facials, waxing, massages, body treatments, sunless tanning, manicures and pedicures,

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Wintertime is Coffee Time U.S. 221 and Main Street, Blowing Rock (inside Footsloggers) (828) 406-1153 Mon-Thurs: 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Fri-Sat: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sun: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

BY KELLEN SHORT

Call it coffee, java, a cup o’ joe or that know-you-wantit-gotta-have-it-sweet-nectar-of-the-gods. Whatever you call it, the High Country has it. The Boone area offers an array of inviting coffee shops sure to beat back the cold winter winds. Several provide fair trade, organic or seasonal varieties made from highquality beans with a variety of flavors. Hot teas, cocoa, lattes, frappes and cappuccinos round out the menus. Savor the brews as you curl up with a good book or in the company of family and friends. Now is your chance to get to know the area’s literal hot spots:

CONRAD’S COFFEE COMPANY Conrad’s is a favorite local chain, established in 2000 by Conrad Poe after he brought coffee as souvenirs from his worldwide travels as a personal security professional. The company has two locations: 240 Shadowline Drive, Boone (828) 265-0079 Mon-Sat: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

ALCHEMY COFFEE Formerly known as Grateful Grounds, Alchemy Coffee is tucked inside The Bead Box in downtown Boone. The shop offers local Bald Guy Brew varieties in a relaxed atmosphere with local art and free WiFi. 585 W. King St., downtown Boone (828) 265-2315 Mon-Fri: 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat-Sun: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

BALD GUY BREW Bald Guy Brew promises “the best stinking cup of

Sanford Commons, Appalachian State University Hours vary with university schedule Numerous High Country coffee shops provide fair trade, organic or seasonal varieties made from highquality beans with a variety of flavors. PHOTO SUBMITTED

fresh roasted coffee you ever tasted,” and it’s served throughout the High Country. Make sure to look for the “bald guy” himself, Don Cox.

CROSSROADS COFFEE HOUSE Expect a younger vibe at the Crossroads Coffee House on the ASU campus, where jazz, poetry and open mic nights often entertain the crowds.

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shops in the area, with plenty of parking in the New Market Shopping Center. Grab a quick cup or browse the chalkboard for the full menu. If it’s not too chilly, try the whipped-cream topped smoothies.

Plemmons Student Union, ASU campus (828) 263-9555 Mon-Thurs: 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat: 1 to 5 p.m., Sun: 4 to 10 p.m. Hours vary with university schedule

201 New Market Center, Boone (828) 265-1114 Mon-Thurs: 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Fri: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sat: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m, Sun: 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

ESPRESSO NEWS

KOJAY’S

Espresso News is a cozy and popular shop wedged between the ASU campus and downtown Boone. Parking is limited, but it’s a quick walk from anywhere in downtown Boone. In the evenings, step upstairs to visit Low, a beer and wine bar. The Low bar is open from 5 p.m. to midnight, Monday through Saturday.

Kojay’s is a downtown Blowing Rock favorite. The shop offers various types of coffee drinks, along with sweet and savory breakfast and lunch treats, including croissants, wraps and salads.

267 Howard St., downtown Boone (828) 264-8850 Mon-Fri: 7:30 a.m. to midnight, Sat-Sun: 8 a.m. to midnight

HIGHER GROUNDS Higher Grounds is among the most accessible coffee

High Country Spas CONTINUED FROM PAGE 70

GloMinerals makeup and more. Gift cards and packages are available. For more information, call (828) 264-4335, or visit www.heavenlytouchmassage.com.

WESTGLOW RESORT & SPA 224 Westglow Circle Blowing Rock, N.C. 28605

Listed as No. 4 on Travel & Leisure magazine’s World’s Best List, Westglow Resort & Spa is an allinclusive resort in Blowing Rock, offering customized spa experiences for a spa vacation, weekend getaway or day retreat. Westglow Spa offers Vichy rain therapies and body services, including a firming seaweed and mud wrap, eucalyptus salt glow, detoxification body wrap, deep tissue body massage, Thai massage, raindrop therapy and more. Medical treatments include CoolSculpting and Botox. Multiple facial, hair, nail and wax services are also available. For more information, call (828) 295-4463 or (800) 562-0807, email info@westglow.com, or visit westglowresortandspa.com.

BLUE HEAVEN RESORT & SPA 911 Rock Cliff Road Boone, N.C. 28607

1132 Main St., Blowing Rock (828) 295-0015 Sun-Thurs: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fri-Sat: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

STARBUCKS Those who insist on Starbucks now have two options in the High Country to get the iconic green-logoed cups.

The menu of services at Blue Heaven was created to offer guests life-enhancing treatments, based on the principles of Ayurveda. A variety of massages, facials and holistic treatments are available, as well as a hotel with incredible views, balanced vegetarian meals, yoga and meditation. For more information, visit www.blueheavenresortandspa.com, or call (800) 368-5168.

7TH HEAVEN DAY SPA 4457 N.C. 105 South Boone, N.C. 28607 Swedish massage, sports massage, lymphatic massage, prenatal massage, hot stone massage, wraps, stress management counseling, facials and hair removal are among the services offered by 7th Heaven Day Spa. Multiple discounts and specials are available. For more information, call (828) 963-2355, or visit 7thheaven.vpweb.com.

SPA AT CRESTWOOD 3236 Shulls Mill Road Boone, N.C. 28607 Therapeutic services and treatments at the Spa at Crestwood include the highest grade of professional massage and skin therapy services available. In addition, each spa guest is also invited to enjoy access to Crestwood’s lap pool, steam bath, sauna and cardio fitness center. For more information, call (877) 836-5046, or visit www.crestwoodnc.com/spa.

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Starbucks made its Boone debut recently within two businesses. Harris Teeter 240 Shadowline Drive, Boone (828) 262-3319 Every day: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Courtyard by Marriott hotel 1050 N.C. 105, Boone (828) 265-7676 Open 24 hours a day

WIRED SCHOLAR For the scholarly type, Wired Scholar offers quality coffee with quick access to ASU’s Belk Library’s thousands of volumes. As with the other shops on campus, hours may vary near holiday breaks. Belk Library, ASU campus (828) 262-3551 Mon-Thurs: 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat: Noon to 5 p.m., Sun: 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Hours vary with university schedule

LAVENDER FIELDS SKIN CARE AND LASER SPA 820-C State Farm Road Boone, N.C. 28607 Laser hair removal, permanent makeup, corrective facials, electrolysis, massages, nail care and more are among the services provided at Lavender Fields. Free consultations are available. For more information, call (828) 265-1029, or visit www.lavenderfieldssalon.com.

THE WISDOM TREE 240 Shadowline Drive, Unit 6A Boone, N.C. 28607 The Wisdom Tree provides therapeutic massage, body and energy work, reiki, hot stones and wraps, as well as exercise and movement classes and gifts. For more information, visit www.thewisdomtreenc. com, or call (828) 964-7600.

NATURAL HEALING DAY SPA 2960 Tynecastle Highway Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 Natural Healing Day Spa is a practice that has been in Banner Elk for more than 20 years. The spa specializes in therapeutic and deep tissue massage, professional custom skin care and product recommendations. Walkins are always welcome. For more information, call (828) 898-8400, or visit www.naturalhealingdayspa.com.

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Wine Country in the High Country BY JESSE CAMPBELL

W

ith the harvest season becoming only a memory of the lush growing season that produced supple vines with ripened grapes, vineyards and wineries across the High Country remain at work, whether it’s readying a new cask or welcoming fresh faces. Wineries and vineyards in Watauga and Avery counties host both private and public events. Grandfather Vineyard and Winery in the Foscoe community is home to several award-winning varieties, including choice sauvignon blanc, pinot noir and chardonnay, as well as red and whites blends, a staple at any winery. Like many wineries, Grandfather also has a tasting room, where guests can sample a variety of wines. The price varies upon the number of wines in the flight. The vineyard’s status as a premier winery has been slowly building since the first grapes ripened. Since then, the vines have taken root and so has the winery’s reputation for handcrafted winemaking. “When we first started planting, no one else was growing grapes around here,” owner Steve Tatum said. “We are still trying to figure out what does the best. Some varieties haven’t been tried yet. The jury is still out.” Grandfather’s winter hours are noon to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The winery is closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. For more information on the vineyard or to purchase wine online, visit www. grandfathervineyard.com. Since 2005, Banner Elk Winery in Avery County has silenced the wine community skeptics by proving that grapes can be grown at higher elevations and, yes, can be cultivated for the purpose of producing award-winning wine. Most recently, the winery captured seven medals for its wines at the N.C. State Fair. Unlike larger and more prominent wineries down state and out West, vineyards in northwest North Carolina produce smaller yields, enabling owners to be more selective in the grapes they choose.

From left, Grandfather Vineyard and Winery’s Marissa Greene pours samples for Nancy and Rhett Abercrombie of Columbia, S.C. PHOTO BY FRANK RUGGIERO

“The whole objective of this area should be quality over quantity,” owner Dick Wolfe said. Banner Elk Winery’s winter hours are noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, call (828) 8989090, or visit www.bannerelkwinery. com. The 1861 Farmhouse is yet another award-winning winery in our own backyard. The restaurant and winery recently won its fair share of medals at the state fair. “The 1861 Farmhouse is exceptional in that it is the only restaurant in the High Country with its own organic garden and its own winery,” co-owner Alison Garrett said. The winery is also located in a 153-year-old restored, Civil War-era farmhouse, situated in one of the most beautiful, picturesque spots in all of Valle Crucis. In the more than two years that the 1861 has been open to the public as a restaurant and winery, it has attracted a lot of attention, Garrett said. For more information or a list of wines, visit www.1861farmhouse.com, or call

(828) 963-6301. Family owned and operated, Linville Falls Winery is the culmination of a life-long passion for wine by owner Jack Wiseman. Wiseman has dreamed of growing grapes and opening a winery for more than 25 years, and now he and his family are pioneering a new High Country wine in Linville. Nestled in the lower end of Avery County near the Blue Ridge Parkway is a state-of-the-art tasting room on a 40acre farm, with its staple grapes Riesling and cabernet sauvignon, blueberries and raspberries. The winery is perfectly situated at 3,200 feet above sea level, with warm days, cool nights and balanced soil. This magical combination of high elevation and microclimate terra produces a wine unique to the region with complex flavors, creating award-winning varieties. The winery is open daily from noon to 6 p.m. For more information call (828) 765-1400, or visit www.linvillefallswinery.com.

WANT TO GO? 1861 FARMHOUSE 3608 N.C. 194 South Valle Crucis, N.C. 28691 (828) 963-6301 www.1861farmhouse.com

BANNER ELK WINERY & VILLA 60 Deer Run Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 (828) 898-9090 www.bannerelkwinery.com

GRANDFATHER VINEYARD & WINERY Vineyard Lane Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 (828) 963-2400 www.grandfathervineyard.com

LINVILLE FALLS WINERY 9557 Linville Falls Highway Newland, N.C. 28657 (828) 765-1400 www.linvillefallswinery.com

THISTLE MEADOW WINERY 102 Thistle Meadow Laurel Springs, N.C. 28644 (800) 233-1505 www.thistlemeadowwinery.com

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Your Winter Times Calendar NOV. 29 HOMETOWN CHRISTMAS: West Jefferson’s Hometown Christmas celebration will be held beginning Nov. 29 in downtown West Jefferson. Admission is free. To kick off the holiday season, there will be the lighting of the community Christmas tree on Nov. 29 at the Backstreet Park when Santa and friends arrive in a an old-fashioned fire engine and hands out treats to all the children. Hot chocolate and carolers will also be on hand. For more information, visit www.visitwestjefferson.org.

CHRISTMAS EVENTS: Blowing Rock will hold its Christmas in the Park and Lighting of the Town beginning at 2 p.m. Nov. 29 at Memorial Park. Call (828) 295-5222 for more information. There will be visits with Santa, hayrides, air walks, free hot cider and hot chocolate, caroling, lighting of the town and bluegrass music.

LIGHT FESTIVAL: Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock begins its annual Festival of Lights Celebration on Nov. 29. The opening weekend will feature cookie decorating, carriage rides around Chetola Lake and a visit from Santa Claus. The Festival of Lights continues until the end of Winterfest weekend, Jan. 26, 2014. For more information, call Chetola at (828) 295-5500.

SKIING: Appalachian Ski Mountain will hold a Thanksgiving Midnight Blast Weekend Nov. 29 and 30. App Ski Mountain will be open until midnight Friday and Saturday.

NOV. 30 THEATER: “It’s a Wonderful Life” will be presented by Ensemble Stage at 7 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium. Admission is $8-$12. For more information, visit www.ensemblestage. com/Box-Offi ce.html.

HOLIDAY MARKET: The seventh annual Beech Mountain Holiday Market will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Buckeye Recreation Center at Beech Mountain. There will be a wide selection of one-of-a-kind gifts and hand-crafted items, including copper and steel artwork; pottery; woodwork; wire, glass and pearl jewelry; yarn art and accessories;

gourmet food, gift basket; and more. Free samples and craft demonstrations add to the fun, along with a cookie decorating station. Santa will be on hand for photos and to hear everyone’s wish list. Admission is free and there will be hourly door prizes. KILN OPENING: A Thanksgiving Kiln Opening will be held at 10 a.m. Nov. 30 at Traditions Pottery Studio, Blackberry Road, Blowing Rock. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.traditionspottery.com.   CHRISTMAS PARADE: The town of Blowing Rock invites everyone to attend its annual Christmas parade beginning at 2 p.m. on Nov. 30. The parade winds its way down Main Street and will feature floats, marching bands, local dignitaries, horses, cloggers and more. For more information, call Blowing Rock Parks and Recreation at (828) 295-5222.   CELTIC CONCERT: A Celtic Christmas with Amy White and Al Petteway will be held at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Boone. Admission is $5-$18. For more information, visit www. mountainhomemusic.com. DEC. 6 GALLERY CRAWL: A Downtown West Jefferson Christmas Gallery Crawl will be held at 5 p.m. Dec. 6 and at 8 p.m. Dec. 7 in downtown West Jefferson. Admission is free. Stroll the streets and shop local this holiday season by visiting numerous holiday-themed open houses in many of the Downtown West Jefferson art galleries, studios and shops. DEC. 7 HOLIDAY MARKET: An Ashe County Farmers’ Holiday Market will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 7 in downtown West Jefferson. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.AsheFarmersMarket.com. Among the items featured are locally grown and handcrafted Christmas wreaths, trees, roping, crafts, baked goods and more. CHRISTMAS: Christmas in the Park will be held Dec. 7 in Banner Elk with the lighting of the tree, a parade, Santa, Polar

Express, pet photos with Santa, seasonal beer tasting, horse and carriage rides and more. For more information, visit www. bannerelk.org/christmas for more details. CONCERT: An Appalachian Christmas concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at Grace Lutheran Church in downtown Boone. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.mountainhomemusic.com. SKI ANNIVERSARY: Appalachian Ski Mountain will celebrate its 52nd year Dec. 7 and 8 with an Anniversary Weekend Celebration. The resort will roll back tickets to 1962 prices. There will be $5 ski tickets for the day session from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (828) 295-7828. DEC. 8 CONCERT: The Ashe Choral Society will hold its annual holiday concert at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Ashe Civic Center, located at 962 Mount Jefferson Road, West Jefferson. For more information, visit www.ashecountyarts.org. DEC. 12 CONCERT: The Blowing Rock School’s Rocket Singers, comprised of students from grades 6 through 8, will perform a special holiday concert titled “A December to Remember” at the school’s auditorium. Performances are set for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12, and 1:45 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13. The concert is free and open to the public. DEC. 13 THEATER: “Christmas in Blowing Rock” will be presented by Ensemble Stage at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 and 14 and at 3 p.m. Dec. 15 at Blowing Rock School Auditorium. Admission is $15 for adults and $8 for children 15 and younger. For more information, visit www.ensemblestage.com/ Box-Offi ce.html.   SUGARFEST: SugarFest will be held Dec. 13-15 at Sugar Mountain Ski Resort. It will be a weekend of winter fun, including an adult ski clinic, ice skating and tubing, consumer demonstrations, rail jam, fireworks, ice skating clinic and a meet and greet with Olympians. For more information, visit www.skisugar.com/sugarfest/.

DEC. 31 NEW YEAR’S SKI: Appalachian Ski Mountain will hold a New Year’s Eve Extravaganza Dec. 31. There will be fireworks, torchlight skiing and more, as well as moonlight ice skating from 10 p.m. to midnight and restaurant specials from 9 p.m. to midnight. For more information, call (828) 295-7828. JAN. 11 RAIL JAM: Winter Fest Rail Jam will be held Jan. 11 at Beech Mountain Ski Resort. There will be Pro Am Women’s open divisions, skier and snowboarder events. JAN. 21 COMMEMORATION: The 30th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration: An Evening with Soledad O’Brien will be held at 7 p.m. Jan 21. at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts on the ASU campus. JAN. 23 WINTERFEST: The annual Blowing Rock Winterfest will be held Jan. 23-26 in downtown Blowing Rock. Join the Village of Blowing Rock as it celebrates the fun side of winter at the 16th annual event. From the wine auction to the chili cook-off and live bluegrass, children’s activities and the Polar Plunge in Chetola Lake, there’s something for everyone. For more information, call (877) 295-7801. FEB. 14 FIREWORKS: Valentine’s Day Fireworks will take place Feb. 14 at Appalachian Ski Mountain. Enjoy the region’s only latenight skiing and snowboarding resort, capped off with a fireworks display at midnight by Zambelli International. ASM will also host a special Valentine’s Ice Skating session from 7 to 9 p.m. For more information, call (828) 295-7828. FEB. 23 SLOPESTYLE FINALS: The Volcom/Electric Shred for the Cup Slopestyle Finals will be held Feb. 23 at Appalachian Ski Mountain. Now in its eighth season, the Shred for the Cup series highlights three events throughout the season: Big Air, Rail Jam, and Slopestyle. Free spectator tickets are offered at registration and in the main office the day of the event.

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10 OFF %

with current lift tickets.

4004 NC Highway 105 Banner Elk

828.898.7838 Monday - Saturday 10am to 8pm Sunday 11am to 6pm

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THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

The High Country’s Premiere Steak & Seafood House SINCE 1985

2013

Discover the scenic splendor of paradise on Beech Mountain

Nestled on the Banner Elk side of Beech Mountain Jackalope's View, located at Archers Mountain Lodge on Beech Mountain has new ownership. You will experience outstanding service and cuisine, with an Award Winning Wine list, and our après ski specials, just minutes from Ski Beech.

Cocktails, Beer & Wine Children’s Menu Available

HIGHWAY 184 ∙ DOWNTOWN BANNER ELK SERVING DAILY FROM 5PM ∙ 828-898-5550 WWW.STONEWALLSRESTAURANT.COM

Open for Dinner 5pm - 9pm 7 nights a week

Reservations are recommended. Book online or call.

2489 Beech Mountain Parkway, Banner Elk | 828-898-9004 www.jackalopeslodge.com

2013

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

“A Twist on the Ordinary” 15 Beers on Tap, including numerous N.C. Beers Hours are Sunday 11:00 A.M. - 9:30 P.M. Monday-Saturday 11:30 A.M. - 9:30 P.M.

Phone #: 828-295-7262 website: www.foggy-rock.com

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S IT R T RM EE EN PE B M C TY IN AB AVI RTA LL R TE FU GH G EN HI S & ND

DAILY BEST

BEER & FOOD SPECIALS DRAFT SELECTION IN BOONE

BA

B BBQ CH RIS AN IC KET D AG G O AND RIL HO L T RIB DO S GS

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OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK

ALL GAMES ALL WEEKEND

CATERING AVAILABLE visit

Famous Fast Eddie’s Mountain Market FIND US FOR SPECIALS! 421 Blowing Rock Road Across from Convocation Center 828-386-1216 • www.tapproom.com

BOAR’S HEAD MEAT BEER GIFTS SNACKS The Friendliest Market on the Mountain 1005 Beech Mountain Parkway Beech Mountain, NC FamousFastEddies.com 828-387-3647

®

2082 Blowing Rock Rd Boone, NC 28607 Phone: (828) 264-4660 Like us on at Chick-fil-A of Boone

www.chick-fil-a.com/boone

Serving the High Country for 32 Years! Catering of all sizes available.

Make reservations online at www.casarustica1981.com

828 262 5128 • Highway 105 South • Boone For Private Parties & Catering Call 828 406 7085

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES WINTER GUIDE

2013

Bienvenidos Amigos... We Welcome You and Hope You Will Enjoy Yourself!

• Children’s Menu • Free WiFi • All ABC Permits • • 10% Discount for Students with ID (excludes alcohol) •

OPEN 7 DAYS • VISIT OUR 2 LOCATIONS • BEECH MOUNTAIN

SUGAR MTN / BANNER ELK

608 Beech mtn. Pky 4501 Tynecastle Hwy #1 Beech Mtn, NC Banner Elk, NC (828) 387-4344 (828) 898-4949 www.valledebravomexicangrill.net

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Chinese and Japanese Cuisine 100% No M.S.G.

240 Shadowline Dr., AA3 + AA4 - Boone Inside Harris Teeter Shopping Center

OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK Mon-Thurs: 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. Fri-Sat: 11:00 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Sunday: 11:00 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

828-386-1170 • 828-386-1179

A Favorite of High Country Locals • Extensive Wine List • Large Selection of Craft Beers • All ABC Permits • Daily Culinary & Beverage Specials

• Homemade Soups & Desserts • Kids Eat FREE All Day Wed • Large Parties Welcome • Reservations Accepted • Adjacent Tap Room with Billiards & Games

Live Dining Music Every Thursday 6-9 p.m. OPEN ALL DAY TUESDAY-SUNDAY Closed on Mondays

970 Rivers Street, Boone, NC 828-264-7772 • www.CafePortofino.net Follow us on Facebook & stay up to date on special events and daily specials!

2013

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ADVERTISING INDEX 4 Seasons Vacation Rentals Real Estate Sales ........23 Alray Tire of Boone ................................................44 Anna Banana’s .......................................................27 Antiques on Howard ..............................................27 Antiques on Main...................................................23 Appalachian Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Center .....................................60 Appalachian Regional Healthcare System ...........70 Appalachian Ski Mountain ....................................30 AppUrgent Care .....................................................11 Ashe County ..........................................................22 Ashe County Arts Council .....................................22 Ashe County Chamber of Commerce...................23 Ashe County Cheese .............................................23 Avery County Adoption and Humane Education Center.............................51 Banner Elk TDA .....................................................65 Bear Creek Traders................................................26 Beech Mountain Resort ........................................40 Bill’s Garage ...........................................................44 Bistro Roca and Antlers Bar .................................77 Blowing Rock Art and History Museum ...............34 Blowing Rock Brewing Company .........................19 Blowing Rock Market .......................................42-43 Blowing Rock Produce & Provisions ....................17 Blue Ridge Realty/Sunalei Preserve .......................3 Boone Bagelry .......................................................27 Boone Tire Center .................................................44 Cabin Store, The ....................................................13 Café Portofino .......................................................80 Carlton Gallery .......................................................59 Carolina Country Wines ........................................22 Casa Rustica Restaurant ......................................78 CatchLight Gallery .................................................22 CBC National Bank................................................71 Cha Da Thai ...........................................................27 Char..................................................................27, 75 Chick-fil-A ..............................................................78 Classic Designers Inc. ...........................................22 Country Retreat Family Billiards ...........................79 Crossnore School, The ..........................................60 Dan’l Boone Inn .....................................................77 Dereka’s Sugar Mountain Accommodations Center & Realty Inc. ...........................................................29 Dos Amigos Restaurante Mexicano .....................76 Downtown Boone ..................................................27 Echota ....................................................................84 Edge of the World..................................................39 Erick’s Cheese & Wine ..........................................63 Everything Has a Story ..........................................22 ExploreBooneArea.com/Boone TDA ....................33 Famous Fast Eddie’s .............................................78 Festiva Hospitality Group/ Blue Ridge Village Resort .....................................38 Flat Top Brewing Company ...................................79 Foggy Rock Eatery & Pub .....................................77 Footsloggers ....................................................27, 47

PHOTO BY ROB MOORE

Foscoe Fishing Company .....................................45 Foscoe Realty ........................................................83 Fred’s General Mercantile .....................................54 Gilded Lily by Patra, The .......................................17 Golden Corral ........................................................81 Grandfather Mountain ...........................................47 Green Park Inn .........................................................9 Hawksnest Snow Tubing & Zipline .......................20 Hickory Furniture Mart ..........................................57 Honey Hole, The ....................................................22 Honeybear Campground .......................................35 Hotel of West Jefferson, The ................................62 Incredible Toy Company .......................................61 Jackalope’s Lodge and The View Restaurant ......76 Jenkins Rentals .....................................................17 Jim’s Corner Furniture ...........................................23 Kincaid Factory Direct Outlet................................55 Lees-McRae College .............................................64 Libby’s ....................................................................23 LifeStore Investments ...........................................26 Lil D’s Sugar Top Bakery Deli Coffee Shop ..........29 Linville Falls Winery ...............................................80 Logs America .........................................................59 Los Arcoiris ............................................................81 Lucky Penny ..........................................................27 Mast General Store .................................................2 Melanie’s ................................................................81 Modern Subaru of Boone......................................68 Modern Toyota of Boone ......................................68 Monkee’s..................................................................9 Mountain Dog and Friends ...................................50 Mountain Home and Hearth ..................................25 Mountain Outfitters ...............................................22 My Best Friend’s Barkery ......................................51 Mystery Hill ............................................................70 NC Ski Association/GoSkiNC ...............................38 New Public House & Hotel, The ............................77 Nick’s Restaurant & Pub .......................................75 Old World Galleries ...............................................27 Pam’s Unique Boutique.........................................22

Paolucci’s Italian Bar & Grill ..................................27 Parker Tie Company ..............................................23 Past & Present Antiques .......................................22 Pepper’s Restaurant and Bar................................79 Perry’s Gold Mine ..................................................71 Petal Pusher Designs & Gifts ................................22 Pineola Inn .............................................................69 Primo’s Pizza Pasta Subs .....................................75 Quiznos ..................................................................75 Ram’s Rack Thrift Shop ........................................27 RDR Kennels..........................................................51 Recess Ride Shop ................................................ 49 Red Onion Café .....................................................81 Restaurant at Gideon Ridge, The .........................77 Rivercross Market .................................................37 SageSport ..............................................................49 Serenity Day Spa ...................................................29 Seven Devils TDA ..................................................19 Six Pence Pub .......................................................80 SkyBest ..................................................................54 Snow Toys..............................................................64 Sobleski .................................................................48 Stonewalls .............................................................76 Sugar Mountain Lodging Inc. ...............................29 Sugar Mountain Resort .........................................32 Sugar Ski & Country Club .....................................29 Sugar Top Resort Condominium Association Inc. ................................29 TApp Room, The ....................................................78 Taste Grill ...............................................................80 Those Were the Days ............................................29 Tis the Season for All Seasons .............................23 Todd Bush Photography .......................................35 Valle Crucis ............................................................14 Valle de Bravo Mexican Grill .................................79 Village Inns of Blowing Rock, The ........................18 Village of Blowing Rock, The ................................17 Village of Sugar Mountain .....................................29 WingN’It .................................................................64 Woodlands Barbecue & Pickin’ Parlor, The .........76


Winter Times 2013