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Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


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2 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Publisher’s Note

When I need to catch my breath, evaluate, contemplate, or just get away ­—I head for the woods. It is a particularly effective way to re-group—especially in autumn. Adjectives to describe the breathtaking qualities of this season of transition will never do it justice, whether in a vain attempt to describe the warm colors of the leaves, or the sudden arrival of dark skies so plainly burdened by the inevitability of winter. Early this fall, while out hiking one of my favorite networks of mountain trails, I could see the ravages that remained from last winter’s fury in the form of downed limbs and trees that still rendered a few sections of these trails impassable. But here and there along my trek were signs of reclamation—where some solitary soul had cleared the trail of debris. Now the downed timbers added to the mosaic of the forest carpet. New moss appeared from tree trunks and new life had emerged from winter’s devastation. Then as the forest opened up before me, Grandfather Mountain stood majestic beneath a blue sky illuminated by a dewy mist, framed by the trees. It’s such an enduring image and one from which I can always draw strength and re-assurance. In tumultuous times like these, we can learn from nature’s trails that life goes on. In spite of the economic upheaval of the past two years, and the domestic and international challenges America faces, it is reassuring to me to see all the visitors descending on the High Country this fall—people seeking the spiritual uplift, the recreational opportunities, and the chance to recharge their souls in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This summer I think I saw more cars and visitors to this area than I have in a long time. With so much to look forward to this fall from Blowing Rock to Beech Mountain, Banner Elk to Newland, Boone to Grandfather, you could say the best is yet to come. Not even the prospect of Old Man Winter can suppress the spirit of autumn—the season when even the longest string of adjectives and superlatives fall short of the author’s mark. Read on and find some of the great places to explore this fall in the High Country—from hiking trails to horseback riding, wonderful shops and restaurants to all the great arts and entertainment. The variety of fairs and festivals will also offer their own Rockwell feel, fun and sense of harvest.

Mountain Life Carolina

The Heart & Soul of the High Country

A publication of Carolina Mountain Life, Inc. Publisher & Editor, Babette McAuliffe CML is published 5 times a year / 828-737-0771 Entire contents Copyright 2010 by Carolina Mountain Life.

Share us with a friend! Available by subscription for $20.00 a year (five issues, continental US) Send check or money order to: Carolina Mountain Life, PO Box 976, Linville, NC 28646

Contributors: Deborah Mayhall-Bradshaw, Dianna Conway, Andrew Corpening, Vicki Dameron, Julie Farthing, Naomi Faw, Adele Forbes, Meagan Ford, Morgan Ford, Kathryn Gatewood, Jean Gellin, Judah Goheen, Kathy Griewisch, Michael Hardy, Koren Huskins, Randy Johnson, Linda Kramer, schuyler Kaufman, Val Maiewskij-Hay, Ren Manning, Tom McAuliffe, Katherine Newton, Rusty Page, Jane Richardson, Nicole Robinson, Jerry Shinn, Curtis Smalling, Samantha Stephens, Steve York

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Inside . . .


Front Cover: Graveyard Fields, one of the most visited parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway. © Vicki Gordon Dameron, a professional nature photographer and teacher. She is a native of West Palm Beach, Florida and moved to the mountains 21 years ago. Vicki is married to Penn Dameron, Executive Director of The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. They have four children who live in Illinois and North Carolina.

Mind Heist: The Zany World of Two Artists 24 By Linda Kramer The Civil Air Patrol in the High Country 21 By Jane Richardson Appalachian Voices Calls for Stop to Madness 75 By Linda Kramer Boone’s Rivers Park 32 By Val Maiewskij-Hay A Bridge to Yesterday: Linville’s Ruffin Street 66 By Steve York Exceeding Expectations 70 High Country Developments Weathering Storm In Profile: John Blackburn of Linville Resorts 28 By Rusty Page Coal, Cabernet, and Kilimanjaro 94 By Julie Farthing On the Trail of Daniel Boone 34 By Michael C. Hardy Treasure on the Toe: Mount Mitchell Golf Club 78 By Tom McAuliffe Love Letters Part 2 31 By Adele Forbes Essential Autumn Hiking 10 By Randy Johnson Lees-McRae’s New President 49 By Jerry Shinn

Birding Book Reviews Fishing For Your Health Recipes Wine Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Linville’s Ruffin Street

A Bridge To Yesterday By Steve York

6 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life


icture this: You just turned off NC 105 and started down the Linville Hwy towards Newland. On a whim, you turn right at an obscure Old Hampton’s store Barbeque sign. Within seconds you cross a quaint one lane bridge and suddenly, you find yourself...back in time. Before you took that right turn, you were racing through the busy chores of Today, rushing to meet some deadline or just lost in mindless driving to and from errands. Before you followed that whim to venture off the main drag, Time was the boss. But, in a blink, all that faded behind you and you were facing a fascinating little pocket of Yesterday. Got that picture? Now go find it! The Linville Ruffin Street experience is totally unexpected and amazingly rich. Just beyond the Linville Animal Hospital you’ll find yourself within footsteps of the Old Hampton Store. Like classic farm houses of old, the front is faced with a large, raised porch framed with rails that span its full length. The structure dates back to 1921 when it was originally called Hampton & Perkins Co. Like many mercantile stores from that by-gone era, it served its patrons with shelves and floors full of food, clothing, farm tools, hardware and general merchandise necessary for supporting life in a small, rural mountain community. In its founding years, the store and its surrounds were touched by the old Eastern Tennessee Western North Carolina railroad line which officially opened its local connection in 1882. The railroad tracks ran across the property just behind the Hampton Store and the line had a stopping point right there in Linville. The train, which later became known as Tweetsie, transported iron ore from the Cranberry mines and timber from local forests between Elizabethton/Johnson City, Tennessee and Boone. It also brought goods and tourists to the original Linville Resort community. In those days, a horse-drawn buggy would carry

both tourists and locals to and from the greater Linville area to shop at the store. Local artist and Linville historical buff, Peggy Hamlin, grew up in a house just above the store. Originally of Linville’s Coffey family roots, Peggy moved away for several years before returning and moving to the Linville Falls community. To honor the Hampton landmark tradition, she even did a painting of the old establishment; prints of which are available upon request. The impact of the Hampton store and the railroad line on the future development of Linville, and much of this part of the High Country, can’t be over-stated. This early 20th Century crossroads of culture and commerce helped mold our area forever more. Many decades and generations passed until the Old Hampton Store was purchased in the 1970’s by Jeff McManus, who saved and restored it. Were it not for him, it’s hard to say what fate it and the adjoining buildings would have suffered. The trend to tear down the old and modernize was strong in that era, and the current village might have become either a contemporary shopping strip or nothing more than vacant land. But McManus saw the value of preserving its footprint on the local landscape and helped recapture its place in history. Eight years ago Abigail and Steve Sheets purchased the Old Hampton Village from Jim Warren. With a keen interest for restoration of historical buildings, the Sheets poured their sweat and talents into the store, and have maintained its rich heritage, including their famous Barbeque restaurant where they continue to smoke their meats in the original 1921 smokehouse and serve their sandwiches on freshly baked breads. An artist of considerable merit herself, Abigail had initially leased the building next door to Hampton’s to use as her own art studio and gallery. But, almost from the beginning, other artists wanted to be a part of the scene and brought their art to Abigail’s place. So, once the

Sheets purchased the properties, Abigail decided to expand the venue and bring in even more artists and art forms. Today, 87 Ruffin Street Gallery is overflowing with a rich array of paintings, crafts, collectibles, pottery, antiques, one-of-a-kind jewelry and…well, wallto-wall artistic ambiance. From stained glass to fine paintings to a rustic antique stool, the art literally cascades from walls to stairways to windows to the front porch. And that doesn’t even include all the pottery and other artistic creations in the adjoining building. It’s a family business that operates from Spring until Fall, with Abigail driving her share of the vision for this quaint and thriving little destination village. Although she avoids the limelight, Abigail’s energy and influence are painted all over the place. While working to preserve the early 1900 period character of the village and its buildings, her driving ambition is to continue creating an exciting showplace for authentic Southern Folk Art by local and regional artists from many creative disciplines. Her deepest passion is to provide an inspirational setting to promote a rich lineup of “demonstrating artists”. Abigail foresees an ongoing calendar of inresidence artists who can be seen actually creating their art on site. Painters, potters, weavers, craftspeople and even writers will be busy at work, practicing their art, meeting visitors and sharing their creative process in real time. Beth Myers Glass has recently rounded out the offerings in the village with her unique handmade glass beads call “lampwork”. Myers also demonstrates and teaches classes. With the recent addition of the Avery County Arts Council headquarters in the restored building just behind the 87 Ruffin Street Gallery, this fascinating little village has further evolved into a thriving arts colony and visitor destination. Together with Arts Council leaders, Abigail looks forward to the addition of

Abigail Sheets, proprietor of 87 Ruffin Street

an actual covered pavilion within the property to host a variety of live music and other performing artists. Together with the Old Hampton Store, Abigail’s galleries and the Avery Arts Council, this dynamic little Linville village offers visitors and art lovers a total experience that soothes the soul, satisfies the senses, stirs the heart, stimulates the imagination, and engages the creative spark in everyone who crosses that little bridge…stops to visit…and lingers. Missing this adventure could be way too easy IF you didn’t know to take that turn onto Ruffin Street. The traffic light at the intersections of highways 105, 221 and 181 bypass is marked by the Linville Post Office, a Grandfather Mountain

sign, the Tartan Restaurant, Everything’s Scottish, the Grandfather Highland Games offices, the Pixie Motel and a few other businesses. But all these look more typical of an average commercial intersection than the beginnings of an actual community. So you have to make that turn and cross the little bridge to make the leap into Linville’s Ruffin Street time warp. It is-at once-a bridge to Yesterday and a path to the promises of tomorrow.

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Fall Festival Season Highlights

“It’s Off to See the Wizard...” Beech Mountain’s Autumn at Oz Get the feeling you’re not in Carolina anymore when the old Land of Oz theme park springs to life this fall for the annual Autumn at Oz celebration. The 17th edition of Autumn at Oz takes place Oct. 2-3 atop Beech Mountain in the High Country of North Carolina. Over the years, visitors from near and far have made pilgrimages to see the wizard and take a leisurely stroll with their favorite characters along the park’s iconic yellow brick road. Autumn at Oz begins with a hayride or shuttle from the Town of Beech Mountain up to the enchanted forest. Once there, attendees are treated to live music, a tour of Dorothy’s House, a mini Oz museum, dance troupes, souvenir vendors and face painting. A highlight for many is the panoramic view from the

8 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

Judy Garland Memorial Overlook Gazebo, from which they follow, follow, follow the 44,000 yellow bricks that wind around the mountaintop. Along the way, there are visits with the Tin Man, Dorothy, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Professor Marvel, Auntie Em, Uncle Henry, Glinda the Good Witch and the Wizard. The Wicked Witch of the West is also on hand with her Winkie guards and flying monkeys. “We encourage fans of all ages to come dressed as their favorite Oz character and enjoy a nostalgic stroll through this unique place in time,” says event coordinator Cindy Keller. The top of Beech Mountain, at 5,506 feet, is an ideal place to venture over the rainbow. Its rock outcroppings and gnarly, windswept trees inspired the creation of the Land of Oz theme park, which operated from 1970-1980. “The elevation and elements have

provided us an environment unlike any other,” Keller says. “We have huge boulders, ancient trees and giant ferns. It really is an enchanted forest.” Autumn at Oz has three sessions daily. The sessions are at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Tickets are $16.50 in advance and $20 at the event, if not sold out. Advance tickets are available online, and total ticket sales will be limited this year for the first time ever. Children age 2 and under are admitted free, and the property is not wheelchair accessible or accommodating to large strollers. Discount tickets are available to nearby Grandfather Mountain, and folks are encouraged to stay on Beech Mountain and make a weekend of it. For info, call (800) 468-5506, or visit Oktoberfest at Sugar Mountain Brings Bavaria to the Blue Ridge Gunther Jochl, longtime leader of the Sugar Mountain Ski Resort, likes to share a little of his heritage every autumn with visitors and residents of the High Country. A native of the Austrian Alps, his adopted home in the North Carolina Mountains has proven a worthy surrogate for winter sports and summer hiking. And as another winter looms over the landscape of a brilliant mantle of autumn leaves, Sugar Mountain provides the perfect stage for an Oktoberfest celebration. The two-day festival returns October 9th and 10th and admission is free. The ski lodge will be humming to the beat of the always outstanding 15- piece Harbour Towne Fest ‘Oom Pah’ Band, filling the air with the authentic music of the Alps. The food service opens at 11 am each day serving up Bratwurst, Knockwurst, sauerkraut and pretzels. Beer from the world’s oldest brewery, Spaten, shares center stage with the revelry. Spaten introduced the first Oktoberfest brew in 1872, and Jochl imports an ample supply of the seasonal production. Hot dogs, hamburgers, funnel cakes and other festival foods and beverages provide alternatives if the Bavarian menu isn’t your cup of tea. Youngsters will have their own playground in the Children’s Activity Center with bounce and play stations, hay rides and appearances by Sugar Bear and

Sweetie Bear. Cotton Candy, popcorn, candy apples and homemade cookies will help keep the kids smiling. The ski lift will be open for lift rides to the summit of the Flying Mile ski run and exhibitors of arts and crafts. Objects for sale include local pottery, folk art in glass and wood, books by local and regional authors, stained glass, handmade children’s toys, quilt work, baked goods, jams, jellies, and more. And for ski and snowboard enthusiasts, you can get a little fix of winter at the resort’s ski shop where prices are slashed up to 50% on close-out items. Activities at Oktoberfest begin each day at 10 am and conclude at 5pm. This is an event for every one of all ages. The celebration goes on rain or shine and lederhosen is the dress of the day. For more information call 828-8984521 or visit Woolly Worm Festival Returns for 33rd Year October 16 and 17 Children of all ages return to downtown Banner Elk yet again to race their worms and be crowned the fastest Woolly Worm in the High Country—and the worm that’s asked to forecast the nature of the upcoming winter in accordance to mountain lore. And while the race that pays cash prizes to the top finishers is the signature event of the two day festival, there’s plenty more going on. This year local dance teams will perform along with local musicians. Food vendors will be busy feeding thousands of visitors who come to race and cheer their favorite Woolly Worms. Enjoy an excellent crafts show attended by local and regional artists and craftsman. In an event that is growing in popularity, Saturday morning’s 5-mile Woolly Worm Woad Wace is expected to attract a talented field of runners. The race begins at nine am at the Track at Lees McRae College on Hickory Nut Gap Road. You can register the day of the race or pre-register on line at www. or by calling the Avery County Chamber at 828-898-5605. The fee is $20 in advance or $25 on race day. Groups of ten or more receive a 10% discount. The race course covers stunningly beautiful terrain through the country side of Avery County, particularly the

Valle Country Fair

stretch through the Holsten Presbytery Camp Retreat along the shores of Wildcat Lake. The fastest man and woman will be crowned on the stage of the Woolly Worm Festival. All proceeds in the event, a joint effort of the Banner Elk Kiwanis and the Avery Chamber, are used to enhance the public school program, promote local businesses, and support tourism development in the county. You can call 1-800972-2183 for more information. Valle Country Fair in Valle Crucis Returns October 16 More than 12 thousand visitors will visit this vibrant, juried arts and crafts show in one of the loveliest pastoral settings in Western Carolina. Sponsored by the Church of the Holy Cross, the fair committee carefully selects participants and to this day there is a waiting list of hopeful vendors wanting in on this event. While artisans and craftsmen display their finest in local and regional work, the food at the Valle Country Fair is exceptional—whether it’s the variety of hot food to go, or the carefully prepared preserves, jams and jellies that are out of this world. A show stage has been improved where you’ll enjoy a steady stream of talented young entertainers performing for an enthusiastic crowd. Thirty two years ago, the church faithful, centered the fair around its fresh pressed

apple cider at the historic Apple Barn on the property, handcrafted mountain items on sale, followed by a square dance at the end of the day. The square dance has been replaced with the traditional Chicken Dinner at the Valle Crucis Elementary School, where volunteers, vendors and friends rest after what is a dynamic day of activity. And while the show has grown exponentially in popularity over the years, organizers cling fast to the simple foundation of old time mountain ways. Unassuming men of the church will spend days before the fair producing their signature apple butter— over 200 gallons of it. Proceeds help the church maintain the grounds of the historic Episcopal Mission, but like the United Way, local charities are welcome to apply for grants from the proceeds to assist them in their own missions of mercy as well. The Valle Country Fair is indeed a throwback to a simpler time and while sharing the date with the opening day of the Woolly Worm Festival, both attractions have worked hand in hand to create a unique opportunity at the peak of the fall season in the North Carolina High Country. Parking is $5 per car and organizers ask that you leave your pets at home for safety.

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Essential Autumn Photography & Story By Randy Johnson


ow many people have said, “Autumn is my favorite season?” Too many to count, no doubt. If you share the above sentiment, here’s your notice—carpe diem. On at least a handful of those seized days, the dictate is to get outside. That’s not just an option for me. Autumn is essential. Deep immersion in this pensive, pivotal season is mandatory. The best, perhaps only way to really do that is to wander down a leaf-strewn trail. That’s easier said than done, given the often busy lives mountain locals lead and the often fortuitous comings and goings of visitors. To make the most of this precious season, it’s essential to have a broad strategy, a wide range of options that are not just aimed at diverse destinations. Those locations have to be places in time, trails chosen for when the autumn experience can be best savored at that place. The idea here is to be able to enjoy bright fall foliage in early, middle, and late autumn. If you have more options, you could turn a taste of the season into a banquet.

10 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

Late September: Black Rock Nature Trail, Grandfather Mountain The eastern knobs of Grandfather Mountain are among the first parts of the High Country to flame brilliantly with fall colors. Low-growing heath vegetation makes the area appear alpine. Some folks take in the view on the Tanawha Trail, with a walk under the Linn Cove Viaduct (Milepost 304.4). The first part is handicapped accessible. Rough Ridge is another great vista, this time from boardwalks amid multi-hued shrubs, from Rough Ridge Parking Area at Milepost 302.8. Both trails are pretty busy. If you want downright quiet, take one of Grandfather Mountain’s best-kept-secret trails. The Black Rock Nature Trail is a 1.0-mile path reached through the attraction’s gate. The path starts in the uppermost parking lot below the Swinging Bridge, (right after the “5000 feet” elevation sign). At that lofty location, the forest is a New England–like mix of birches, spruce, blueberry bushes, maples and other deciduous plants that pop with fall color. Best of all, this is a nature trail; thirty-five stops interpret this inviting, alpine-like ecosystem. The trail is rocky but level. You’ll marvel at a wonderful formation called Arch Rock. The end loop of the trail offers awesome views of the summits above, the Parkway and Piedmont far below. The entire side of the mountain spreads around you—especially from the top of a rocky view.

Mid-October: Sims Pond Sims Pond is a sleeper too. It just looks like an overlook to most people, but it’s really the start of the Green Knob Trail where peak autumn color hides in brilliant clusters. Start at Sims Pond Overlook, Milepost 295.9, and this hike brings the scenic gamut of Julian Price and Moses Cone Parks together in one 2.1-mile walk. Cross the pond’s dam and follow the rhododendron-lined shoreline through towering, now deteriorating hemlocks, past A+ scenery as the fern-lined path passes under the Parkway bridge (below Sims Creek Viaduct Overlook). The trail rises out of the bright foliage of Sims Creek and into a broad meadow with profuse September wildflowers. The trail arcs leftward across the first of many meadows big and small following concrete posts with blue directional arrows. Take a picnic—and pick a spot. From these fields, surrounding lower valleys below Grandfather Mountain shimmer with mesmerizing color. Dipping down into bright hardwoods, the trail levels off and goes left back to the Parkway. Your car is up the road a short distance.

Late October: Stone Mountain Just “off the mountain” to the East, there’s mountains of fall color into early November. I often head down into the Globe area of Pisgah National Forest, but I like more distant spots. If you can’t get off your mountain bike, try the spectacular mountain biking trail system at W. Kerr Scott Reservoir in Wilkesboro—just 30 minutes from Boone via US 421. For hikers, head to the towering landmark of Stone Mountain. If you’ve only looked down on it from the Parkway, it’s a must-see mountain. It’s only an hour and a half drive, via 421 to downtown Wilkesboro, a turn on NC 18 north. A right onto scenic Traphill Road (a great fall drive) leads to the park’s entrance. At the end of the day, go north from the park on NC 21 and motor the Parkway back to the High Country. The bald domes of rock on Stone Mountain’s summit offer vistas in all directions, across the still colorful Piedmont, and up to the leaves still clinging to the Blue Ridge. There’s a major waterfall on the loop hike that circles the summit. The once dangerous trail to the top from the main parking area has been rebuilt. It’s an easier walk to the top and back from the picnic area.

The above three trails are always on my option list for fall. Here’s to having the time to savor them all! If you’ve read this far and are not sure you’re even interested in taking an autumn trail, let me end where I could have started–on why. For me, autumn is the perfect end to the humid, buggy, often rainy realm of summer. The lack of any of these factors makes any hike better. Factor in a rushing breeze through hissing, multicolored trees and autumn offers exhilaration that’s just better when you’re actually in the woods instead of just watching the forest fly by. Autumn isn’t all sunny and bright. I love the smell of pungent wood smoke settling in valleys under pearl gray skies. Nature’s spirit seems to wane—with flashes of color left to delight the eyes. I find majesty in this world anticipating winter. To me that means getting out into the forests and up to the peaks. With summer’s haze departed, views reach a hundred miles. Up here, the philosophical can pause—like nature in the fall—and cast an eye on life’s horizons. Randy Johnson finds as many beginnings as ends in autumn. Check out his bestselling trail guides, among them “Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway” and “Hiking North Carolina,” at

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


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A Horse with a View By Julie Farthing


utumn is hands down my favorite time of year. After this summer’s record breaking heat, cooler temperatures have arrived; and the haze, once shrouding vistas, is now replaced with clear skies, revealing mountain foliage of crimson and gold. On the heels of “Old Man Winter,” the months of September and October beckon us outdoors to enjoy the show. This year why not take advantage of the best seat in the house—on a horse. While enjoyed all year, horseback riding in autumn is a special treat. The days are comfortable; the breeze is cool; and the scenery, spectacular. The Riding Company just off Hwy 194 in Avery County offers breathtaking views of fall foliage, with over 10 miles of trails on 1500 acres. “We have some of the best trained horses and fantastic scenery,” said Peri Pardo, owner and operator of the Riding Company. Peri, along with her husband Ricardo, have created an atmosphere of being at one with nature during trail rides. “We have tons of turkeys on the property, and even saw a mama bear with her 3 cubs,” Pardo revealed of what you might see along the trails. The Riding Company boasts over 20 gentle horses and a dedicated staff that accompany riders of all ages and experience. “Even previously challenged riders are transformed into real cowgirls and cowboys,” said Pardo.

16 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

And since a day on the trail can produce a hearty appetite, The Riding Company can provide a catered lunch for your day of adventure.  You may choose to dine at the barn upon your return, or halfway through your ride. An on-site facility is available to rent for parties and special events with catering options as well. Within eyesight of Grandfather Mountain, in Watauga County is The Saddle Club Equestrian Center at Yonahlossee. This full-service year-round equestrian facility, purchased by Diana and Richard Militana in the summer of 2009, specializes in boarding, training, riding lessons, and horse sales. “We completely took out all the dirt in the arena and replaced it with sand,” said Militana of the renovations. “There is a viewing room above the arena that looks more like someone’s living room. It’s a club atmosphere.” Militana stressed that the club is not just for people who have horses or are experienced riders. “It’s a place for everyone. We have a happy hour the first and third Wednesday of each month; we had a Kentucky Derby Party with over 200 in attendance.” The club caters to an array of people from the horse enthusiast just learning to ride to the advanced competitive rider. “We have many people in their 50s and 60s riding for the first time,” said Militana. “We are consumed with safety and always place first timers with instructors for a mini lesson before they hit the trails.” In addition to large outdoor and in-

door arenas, the club offers miles of trails with views of Grandfather and Sugar Mountains. Nestled at the foot of the beautiful Blue Ridge is Leatherwood Mountains, home to a unique vacation resort and premier equestrian center. “Leatherwood Mountains is a wonderful well-kept secret in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina,” said Abbie Hanchey, Marketing and Event Planning Coordinator at Leatherwood. “We have something for every type of rider here at Leatherwood There is no other place like it.” Nearly 100-miles of easy, wide forest paths to rugged mountain trails afford both the beginner and advanced rider breathtaking trails. Guided one- and two-hour trail rides are available, the latter being more challenging and offering a taste of beautiful mountain terrain. Trainers are also available for Western and English riding lessons. At Leatherwood, you can bring your own horse, or rent one of the many horses available, and choose lodging ranging from camping to a luxurious cabin. All homeowners enjoy free membership to the equine facility along with use of the tennis courts, pristine swimming pool, two fully stocked fishing ponds, and horse or hiking trails. Homeowners not living year round have the option of participating in the rental program facilitated by the resort. Visitors wishing to rent a luxurious cabin enjoy the same access to these wonderful amenities. For those with hungry appetites after a day of activities, the Saddlebrook Inn and Saddlebrook Cantina are also located at the resort. The following websites offer directions and further information on the above facilities, and check out local visitor’s centers for other horseback riding opportunities in the High Country. Happy Trails!

“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”  ~Winston Churchill


n August of 2011, the Watauga County Arts Council will mark 30 years of promoting the Art’s for artists and art lovers living in and visiting the High Country. The organization was formed in 1981 by locals wishing to preserve Appalachian culture and provide a formal platform for driving the growth of High Country artists and their works. Their vision was to sustain and encourage the creative and performing arts in Watauga County via a broad base of financial and promotional support. Given the stimulating environment offered by ASU along with the residential and commercial growth taking place in Boone and Watauga County, a strong, viable Arts Council was an obvious step forward. Today the influence of this organization is felt throughout the community and is one of the key factors which helps nurture a rich cultural life for locals, seasonal residents and tourists. In the early 90’s the Arts Council entered into an inspired partnership arrangement with the Town of Boone to manage and operate the Jones House Community Center as a community and cultural center. With the Jones House as its new home, the Arts Council had finally been able to establish permanent gallery space, to have a reliable location for many of their events and programs, and create a place for staff offices. Thanks to its success, the operation now employs three full-time people and one part-timer. The facility features three galleries in the Jones House, with two of them changing artists every month. It showcases local artists and celebrates their exhibit with a gallery reception on the first Friday of every month. The receptions also coincide with the monthly art crawls in downtown Boone. The Arts Council provides public art on the lawn of the Jones House and places visual art for sale in area businesses through its award winning Arts Placement Program. In partnership with three nearby counties we help artists with their careers through Regional Artist Project Grants. According to Teena Cone, office Manager and Visual Arts Coordinator, one of their staff members is a Community Arts Education Coordinator whose goal it is to put artistic opportunities into the lives of children throughout the com-

Jones House by Kyle Keeter

Watauga Arts Council

Nearing 30 Celebrating the Arts munity. The Arts in Education program ensures that every school child experiences at least two wonderful professional performances each year. They place artists in residence within area schools in order to introduce children to art forms they may otherwise not likely encounter. In addition, they introduce approximately sixty children to theater, music, visual arts, and storytelling in their annual summer arts camp. These programs are jointly supported by a partnership with Watauga County Schools and ASU’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs. Another staff member is a traditional folklorist who focuses on the rich traditional and cultural heritage of our region including music, dance, and storytelling. On Thursday evenings, the Jones House is filled with children taking lessons in fiddle, banjo, guitar, dulcimer, and mandolin. As the children finish with their lessons the house begins to fill up with adults who come for the weekly jam sessions with others who just love to hear and play music. From June to September the Arts Council and the Jones House hosts their

weekly Friday afternoon Concerts on the Lawn at 5:00pm. These concerts are sponsored by local businesses and are free to the public. The music ranges from swing to bluegrass, Celtic fiddling, oldtime and more. People from ages 1 to 100 bring blankets or lawn chairs. These concerts reaffirm that music has a way of bringing people together of all ages! With a 30 year birthday coming up next year, the Watauga County Arts Council looks forward to a growing relationship with all segments of the High Country; arts, education, social and business. Teena acknowledges that it is thanks to that small group of people in 1981 who first shared a love and vision for the arts that there is such a thriving art community today. “We have seen many changes since the Arts Council started all those years ago and are pleased to think that we had a part in making this a growing, artistic, and unique community!” she concluded. Learn more about the WCAC at their website, Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —



Ground Breaking Ceremony For Avery Shelter ...and a $1million Matching Gift

Rivercross Market Celebrates Creativity The rural community of Valle Crucis is home to a new business celebrating regional creativity, as well as talent across the nation. Located right next door to the Original Mast General Store, Rivercross Market features the handiwork of several artists not more than a stone’s throw from its front door, as well as regional artists that make the Blue Ridge Mountains such a vibrant and special place to live and to visit. The creative economy is truly a driving force in the area, but oftentimes artists lack a viable link to potential buyers. Rivercross Market hopes to provide the link both for budding artists and those who have practiced their craft for many years. The selection of items offered will be ever changing and a good source for mementos of a trip to the mountains or a meaningful and functional wedding gift. Right now, you will find local artists including John Dean of Apple Creek Trading. His bark baskets have a history stretching back to early Cherokee practices. Made of Poplar bark, these baskets were traditionally used for gathering berries, but now are also adept at displaying dried flowers or even mail and stationery supplies. Mike Kyler from the Stool Shed lets reclaimed lumber and locallyharvested wood speak to him to help in establishing its final form. What started out as a hobby lead to formal study at the Bauhaus Academy under the tutelage of master craftsman and artist Berthold Schwaiger. Using the basics of fine furniture making, his style has evolved to encompass a more organic form that hearkens back to our frontier forefathers. His coffee tables, stools, and benches are uncomplicated and warm, much like his “conversation” during their creation. Where else but through artistic endeavor can love and frustration be combined in a wonderfully exquisite way? Metalsmith John Peters, from Dog Skin Studio in Vilas, does just that and achieves lasting beauty in durable works of art displayed as earrings and necklaces. The artists’ stories are just as captivating as the end result of their ventures. With over 90 craftpersons filling the space, many conversations may be experienced in one visit. Rivercross Market hopes to have artists demonstrate their work on site from time to time to invite more inspiration and appreciation. Visit the Rivercross Market website at for more information, or call 828-963-8623.

• Personal Injury • Wills & Trusts • Divorce & Family Law • Support Payments • Adoptions • Real Estate Closings & Contracts

• Insurance Claims • General Civil Litigation • Custody & Visitation • Separation Agreements • Debt Collection • Estate Planning

On August 26 the Avery Humane Society held a ground breaking ceremony for the new Adoption and Humane Education Center located at 279 New Vale Road in Newland. The prep work of clearing the land and moving a stream was completed last fall. Construction should move quickly when the carpenters get onto the site in early September. The Board of Directors of the Humane Society and the David E. Looper Construction Company have set a goal to have the facility ready for a dedication ceremony on 11/11/11. The Avery Friends of the Shelter have been working tirelessly over the past few summers hosting a bevy of fun events to raise the funds we need to build this shelter. David Patrick Moses Architects did exhaustive research to design a building that incorporates the highest standards for shelter facilities, while respecting our need to balance up-front costs with long-term durability and cost of operation. Catherine Morton, Chair of the Avery Humane Society Board, also announced that a local benefactor (who wishes to remain anonymous) has made a $1million Matching Gift toward the construction of the new shelter. “This can be a truly transformational gift for our Humane Society, ” said Ms. Morton, “but only if $1 million of matching funds can be raised. By starting construction, our Board is demonstrating faith in the people of our community and their willingness to reach into their pockets and come up with the funding we need to match this grant and see this shelter through to completion.” Located near the county seat, the new facility will make it easier for more citizens to take advantage of the Humane Society’s services. The open floor plan and bright, welcoming atmosphere should encourage more people to visit, volunteer and learn about humane treatment of animals. “The entire community is grateful to all of the people who worked so hard to get this project to this point,” Ms. Morton told the crowd. “I am honored to be here to see this shelter bless the lives of the animals and people of Avery County far into the future.” For additional information, visit or call the Humane Society office at 828-733-9265.

• Social Security Disability • Elder Law • Construction Law • Workers Compensation • Foreclosures

Jeffrey J. Walker, Esq. and Tamara C. DiVenere, Esq.

783 West King Street, Boone, NC 28607 / / 828-268-9640 / Toll Free: 800-451-4299

18 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

FALL CONCERTS Saturday Nights at 8 p.m., Blowing Rock Auditorium: October 9 Country Music Classics / David Johnson & His Studio Friends October 16 Heartwarming Elegance & Hard-time-Honky-tonk Little Window & the Cave Dwellers October 23 The Mountain Dulcimer / Anne Lough & Friends November 27 Celtic & Classical / Puddingstone 8 p.m., Meadowbrook Inn in Blowing Rock December 4 An Appalachian Christmas 8 p.m., Grace Lutheran Church in Boone

2010 RedTail Mountain Rates Monday – Thursday $45 Friday – $50 Saturday – Sunday $55 Monday – Ladies Day $38 Tuesday – Senior Day $38 Wednesday – Men’s Day $38 Twilight 7 days a week - $38 after 1PM Mon–Fri & Sun - $38 w/ College ID (one day in advance) 10 Round Pass – 7 Days a Week $400 Plan your next group event in our newly remodeled clubhouse.

Tickets sold at: Mast Stores, Fred’s Mercantile, Rydell Music Center Pandora’s Mailbox, Blue Moon Guitars For more information: 828-964-3392 /

Call for details and tee times (423) 727-7931

These PeoPle are ostInk. uTsTanding It doesn’t in Their Field

VisiTors’ inFormaTion Channel 7:00am - 11:00am the Visitors’ 9:00 Pm - 1:00 am

daily and

Information Channel (Trained Professionals in a Closed Field) for more information call 828.387.2102

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7/17/08 4:15:43 PM

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Enduring Art of Classic Stone

What Your United Way Gifts Are Supporting “Live United, Be Part of the Change.” That’s the message Linda Slade, executive director of High Country United Way, wants to communicate to everyone in Avery and Watauga counties. “Underneath everything we are, underneath everything we do, we are all people,” she says. “Connected, interdependent, united. And when we reach out a hand to one, we influence the condition of all. That’s what it means to Live United.” High Country United Way is creating the opportunities for a good life for all by focusing on education, income and health. The goal is to create long-lasting changes by addressing not just the symptoms of problems, but the underlying causes. Slade says it takes everyone in the community working together to create a brighter future. “Together, we can accomplish more than any single group can on its own,” she says. This year, $230,000 is going to 34 programs in 24 Watauga and Avery non-profits to support children/youth, health/well-being, individuals/families, and caring for those in crisis. “The High Country United Way is more than just fundraising,” says Slade. “We are a community partner. We are moving to community impact funding in the future. “It’s not just about the money, it’s about bringing our community together. We’ve embraced the United Way World Wide focus on Live United, because we know there are many pieces to the puzzle of helping a community be the best it can be. “Yes, we need monetary solutions, but we also need advocates and volunteers to get the real work done. That’s what it means to Live United, to give, advocate and volunteer.” If you need to get help for yourself or find a community service for yourself or someone in need, the first step is knowing who to call. By simply dialing 211 from your phone, you can speak to a referral specialist who will help you find services such as food, housing, counseling, health care, child care, senior services and volunteer opportunities. The service is free, available 24 hours, 7 days a week. “We are currently updating the information in our database,” says Slade, “and feel this is a vital service to everyone who is trying to find resources or volunteer opportunities.” High Country United Way has two other initiatives under its umbrella. The High Country Women’s Fund harnesses the power and support of more than 700 women to uplift and empower more than 300 families and children in Watauga and Avery Counties. More than $61,000 was distributed in grants through the Women’s Fund. Watauga 4 Youth is working to make sure all youth in Watauga County feel valued and are able to reach their full potential. This initiative functions as a connector among youth service providers, funders and the general community, and serves as an advocate to ensure our youth receive equitable representation and access to support. “And this year,” says Slade, “we’re doing something really fun to continue to build awareness for the United Way, with the Big Pig Kiss Off Challenge. Stay tuned for that one, and pucker up!”

20 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

You may not automatically think of kitchen or bathroom counter tops and sinks as being “art”. But look again. In fact, everywhere you look around the High Country you’ll see exquisite interior and exterior features fashioned in exotic stone, marble, and concrete designs. You might guess that this artistry comes from outside our community, but the largest dealer and installer of these products is Classic Stone in Linville. For 15 years owners Eric and Debbie Guinn and partner Cliff Hughes, have grown the business into the dominant supplier of imported and domestic stone design in our area. They’ve evolved from a small, 2-person shop in Banner Elk to a 15,000 square foot showroom and fabrication operation with 30 employees and the largest slab yard around. This kind of steady growth is both impressive and ideal for the High Country. Impressive, because the building industry in our area has certainly seen some of the same downturn as everywhere else. Growth in these times is good news. Classic Stone is exactly the kind of small business our area needs and can support. It’s large enough to generate revenues and jobs for our communities yet has proven sustainable during downturns in the economy. It’s also the perfect complement to other development, building, and remodeling industries. The products from Classic Stone grace many commercial and residential sites in our own backyard. United Community, Mountain Community and Highlands Union Banks feature work from Classic Stone, as do Banner Elk’s Art Cellar and Grandfather Mountain’s Top Shop, the newly completed structure at the foot of the Mile High Swinging Bridge. And the next time you dine out, look for the enduring counter work at Artisinal, Louisiana Purchase, Storie Street Grill, or the Riverdog Café. Although most of their basic counter and structural products are of granite, marble, porcelain and mosaic tiles, recent trends towards hand-pressed concrete countertops offer both creative and cost-saving features. In some cases, LED accent lighting, colored glass and other decorative touches can be added to the concrete to give traditional countertops a distinctive and exotic look. Both Artisanal and the Art Cellar have incorporated concrete into their designs. Speaking of granite, Classic Stone has embraced the move to “green” energy conservation. Even though certain products must be imported from their country or origin, they have found a nearby source for granite in Andy Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy. By shopping regionally, they reduce travel time, saving fuel used to bring in this high quality product to the High Country. In addition, handcrafted and hand-painted tiles help keep local artisans busy and save on shipping costs. Beside elegant marbles, a favorite choice for many homes and businesses is the use of Travertine marble. It works in both antique or rustic settings as well as contemporary environments. And its patterns vary and provide a unique look. Besides kitchen countertops, fireplace mantels, bar counters and sinks, Classic Stone’s products are commonly used on walls, bathrooms, edging surfaces and other functional surrounds. From traditional interiors to patios, outdoor grill areas, pool sides and furniture, there’s a grand variety of decorative and functional applications for the products and services that come from this local enterprise. All you have to do is look around and you’ll find beautiful examples of real stone art throughout the High Country. And much of it the product of Classic Stone. Visit them at 1710 Linville Falls Hwy in Linville, call 828-7370040 or visit

Civil Air Patrol

Then and There, Here and Now By Jane Richardson


n December 1, 1941, the Civil Air Patrol was signed into law as an all-volunteer civilian organization to help the military protect our borders against the threat of European aggression. Six days later Japanese airplanes darkened the skies over Pearl Harbor, and the first pilots of the Civil Air Patrol launched their aircraft and their legacy. During World War II, the surge of patriotism caused CAP ranks to swell as volunteers performed search and rescue operations, kept watch for German submarines, and flew coastal patrols and convoy missions for the Navy. CAP missions covered 24 million over-water miles, spotted 173 subs, located survivors of 363 ships, and found 17 floating mines. CAP pilots were the first to receive air medals from the President, even before Army or Navy fliers. Fast forward to September 11, 2001. All civilian aircraft were grounded indefinitely after the attacks on the World Trade Center. Civil Air Patrol pilots flew the first non-military aircraft over the smoking wreckage of the twin towers looking for debris on adjacent buildings, a hazard which caused the collapse of many nearby structures. After Hurri-

canes Katrina and Rita ripped across the Louisiana coast in 2005, CAP ground teams played a critical role in the enormous emergency search and rescue effort. CAP volunteers also hauled in relief workers and critical supplies, helped with evacuation efforts, and flew aerial imagery operations over the flood-ravaged areas. CAP was credited with saving more than 73 lives there. Today, the CAP has over 58,000 members, with Wings in every state. Its mission is three-pronged: emergency services, aerospace education, and cadet programs. In addition, it has a role in both non-combat homeland security and the war on drugs. In the High Country, the CAP Wing has 13 senior leaders and is training 25 cadets – young men and women ages 12 through 18 – in military customs and protocol, drill and ceremony, physical fitness, and first aid. Members receive extensive training in search and rescue and other emergency procedures, including locating downed aircraft using satellite technology. Through group field trips called encampments, cadets get to work alongside active-duty military personnel in training exercises on military installations. At one recent encampment, cadets got to handle weaponry simulators and explore tanks at a North Carolina Marine base. Although orientation flights are available, aviation is just one facet of the Civil Air Patrol. “It’s so much broader than aeronautics,” says John Haynes, father of cadet Scott Haynes. Some cadets do go on to become pilots, but that’s not a requirement. The local Wing delivers classes in aerospace subjects such as satellite communications and tracking, navigation, weather, survival procedures, and propulsion. Cadets may become eligible for national and international competitions and events, and compete for academic scholarships. Cadets wear the regulation Air Force uniform, including battle dress uniforms, flight suits and dress blues, but with the unique Civil Air Patrol emblems and in-

signia. As their training progresses, they earn increased rank, awards, and certificates, and may qualify to enter advanced programs such as the Blue Berets. As a Blue Beret, cadets can participate handson in such events as the annual Experimental Aircraft Association’s “Airventure” at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, one of the world’s largest fly-in conventions. The CAP is committed not only to aviation, security and emergency services, but also to community service. The Boone Wing assists with parking for local events such as the Cove Creek Music Festival and the Shag on Sugar. It provides impressive color guard services for ceremonies and directs traffic and helps with vendor setup at the Woolly Worm Festival. Cadets also walk dogs at the Animal Shelter and present the colors at Appalachian State University basketball games, always a hit with the spectators. All of these events are choreographed and conducted almost entirely by the cadets, with input from the senior leadership only when needed. Last year, one of the Wing’s cadets, Max Robertson from the Wilkes County community of Purlear, won an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy, and he recently visited his Wing as a role model, sharing his experiences with the younger cadets. According to Lieutenant Elizabeth Bullock, Cadet Commander of the Boone Wing, the leadership opportunities are one of the most valuable aspects of the program. But it’s not all drill and study. Since the cadets plan and conduct all the meetings, schedules, and events, they make sure to incorporate a lot of fun into the mix. One example is the “Mud and Grub” night: after a vigorous militarystyle physical workout on the Greenway -- including some work in the water -the cadets return to the meeting room to enjoy pizza and just hang out. Each week’s meeting has different activities and the cadets keep everyone involved. They even do model rocketry. “It’s really cool,” says one cadet. The Wing meets each Thursday evening at 6:30pm in the basement of the First Baptist Church, 375 W. King Street in Boone. For more information or to see how you can get involved, check out, visit the Facebook page, or contact Squadron Commander Jim Fitzpatrick at 828-898-3257. Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Beech Mountain Beekeeping Supplies & Honey  

Quality woodenware, equipment & tools for all your beekeeping needs Available for Order: Italian Queens & Bee Packages Sam Storey, Owner 2775 Beech Mtn. Rd., Elk Park, NC 28622 Store: 828-733-4525 / Cell: 828-387-0667

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22 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

personality. You need professional advice and assistance to help you create the “Heart of your Home”. Call 828.963.9633 today to schedule a visit and we’ll buy you dinner! autumn exhibition Oct. 10 - Nov. 10 Opening Reception: Oct. 10, 2-5pm

“Newland Is Open for Business”

Participant in Avery Tour de Art 4th Saturdays, June-Oct

The Newland Business Association invites everyone to SHOP LOCAL.

WINTER exhibition Nov. 26 - Mar. 15 HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE Nov. 26 & 27

We’re working hard to make Newland a destination! Economic growth is our goal. Come down, see our progress, meet some wonderful folks, and even enjoy the beer and wine now available in Newland area locations. 828-260-3205

10 miles south of Boone, Grandfather Community 10360 Hwy 105 S., Banner Elk, NC 28604 828.963.4288 Tues-Sat 10-5, Sun 11-5


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828.963.6800 / Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Mind Heist

The Zany World of John Richards & Claudia Dunaway By Linda Kramer


n a bumpy dirt road outside Burnsville, a yellow rubber duckie marks the way to Yummy Mud Puddle studio and the home of artist John Richards and his wife, potter Claudia Dunaway, where they live, as John describes it, “creatively unemployed.” John had a creative upbringing with a writer father and artist mother. “I started out as a child, attached to my mother, an artist, who constantly encouraged me. She told me, ‘you’ll do well, John, get out.’ I responded, ‘But mom, I’m only twelve!’ There’s probably more humor than truth to that story, but John did succeed. He earned a BA in English and taught Spanish, English and Art for years before starting his career as an artist in 1963. While living in New York City he created window displays for Tiffany & Company, Bonwit Teller, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales. His works have been shown in the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York City and the Museum of Modern Art in Jacksonville, Florida. Various publications have also featured his works, including House and Garden, American Home, Playboy, Southern Living, the New York Times and the London Times. A self-described trash artist, John is committed to creating sustainable art from seemingly limitless resources. “As a child of the Depression, I used to make stuff from junk,” he recalls. All his life he has collected trash to make art;

24 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

door knobs, plastic parts, bottle caps, wire, yarn, action figures, pipe cleaners, computer chip boards, ribbon, tin lids and thousands of other bits and pieces. Today, in a climate when reuse, reclaim and sustainable are buzzwords of the environmental movement, and art institutions are embracing the medium, John’s work is finding a broad audience as he reinvents the narrative of trash while honoring the remnant stories from its past. John is influenced by Dada and surrealism, utilizing a sense of fun and form and seeing new relationships in everyday objects. His colorful and intricately textured mixed media pieces range from whimsical wire-knotted sculptures to kitschy home décor items such as silkscreened, three-dimensional sculptural lamps, mirrors and loosely functional ornaments. There are plaster castings of wizards, fish, mermaids, angels, junkyard dogs, little robot people and re-cycled alien women, all made with a generous dollop of wit. His ambitious, large-scale creatures made with layers of colored tissue paper and galvanized wire are popular; and because John has a liking for machinery and electrical things, toasters, washing machines and TV sets recur in his works. Picasso said that by the time he was 16 he could paint like the masters, and that he then spent the rest of his life learning to draw like a five-year old. For John, the child-like approach to art comes naturally. “I do this because I have to,” he says. “It’s a calling. Art is a reflection of the way we look at life. Mine is silliness. You can’t tell where trash ends and art begins, but what’s the difference?” Inspired by Frederick Nietzsche’s philosophy, to decide is to accomplish, John goes on, “Don’t let distractions get in your way. Quit the job you don’t like. Life is about choices. Walk the walk. I don’t understand why some people think

my work is bizarre. It’s staid compared to the nutty world we live in. You have to have a sense of humor just to live here.” Claudia Dunaway has been a potter for 30 years. She and John met in 1990 at a craft show in Florida. They moved to Burnsville in 2003 and established the Yummy Mud Puddle studio. Her stoneware and porcelain pottery is versatile; some decorative and elegant, some casual and functional. Both are expressed in warm and cool palettes with glazes that are food safe, durable, and safe in the dishwasher and microwave. Claudia’s work is constantly evolving as she searches for new dimensions and glazing techniques that show off the expressive qualities of clay in never-ending variations. Currently she is experimenting with a black and white look and with circular motifs as they relate to nature. “We are fortunate to live in this region because of the wealth of educational opportunities in the arts through the Penland School of Crafts, the Toe River Arts Council, many and varied workshops,” she says, “and just being in the presence of other like-minded artists who are always open to sharing information that will make us the best we can be.” Claudia is inspired by nature and the philosophy that we are all connected. She finds the world amazing and says, “To live on this physical plane, to have all these things to play with and be able to manipulate them is seductive.” She and John share a silly sense of humor and a similar perspective on their world, in which, she says, “You need to do this kind of work for a living.” She is now integrating some of John’s images into her own work, which will appear in the fall of 2011 at the Toe River Arts Council as part of a collaborative showing of their combined works. John’s imagination and passion for the reclaimed and quirky and Claudia’s pottery, expressed with consummate grace, represent an intricate mind heist

into a world we all should visit. As John says, “Life is good. I’m astounded to be walking around. Enjoy the madness.” Indeed! Note: Both John and Claudia are members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild in Asheville. You can find John’s work at 87 Ruffin in Linville, Parkway Craft Center in Blowing Rock, Art Walk in Boone, Black Mountain Iron Works in Black Mountain, the Toe River Arts Council Gallery in Burnsville and the Grovewood Gallery at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, or visit their Yummy Mud Puddle studio in Burnsville. Claudia’s work can be seen at the SHCG’s shops at the Folk Art Center in Asheville and the Guild Shop on Tunnel Road, the Parkway Craft Center in Blowing Rock and the Toe River Arts Council Gallery in Burnsville. Yummy Mud Puddle 264 Clear View Lane, Burnsville, NC 28714 828-6826567, email:

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —



TRUNK SHOW: Thurs, Oct 7: 1-5 / Fri, Oct 8: 10-5 / Sat, Oct 9: 10-5

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26 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life



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Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Linville Resort’s John Blackburn The Heart of the High Country By Rusty Page


rom the most humble of beginnings, to a man of achievement and selflessness who remains as humble today as a man can be, John Blackburn is an indigenous gift to the High Country. Born in Wilkes County in 1951, John Blackburn entered a world still reeling from financial depression, world war and lacking in direction. His mother was a maid, his father a plumber and both endured the Great Depression. Yet two decades after the stock market collapse triggered years of soup lines and relocation, there remained very little opportunity to earn a living in the harsh Avery County winters. And since there was no highway 105 to Boone from Linville at that time, the Blackburns were relegated to what could be had at The Carolina Inn and the old Cannon Hospital. His childhood was spent helping his parents in any way he could. He excelled in high school, where he was the editor of the first yearbook while graduating with the first senior class of Avery County High School in 1969. He was a finalist for a Morehead Scholarship at the University of North Carolina, but wasn’t selected. He did however, receive a full scholarship from King College in Bristol, Tennessee. He was elected student body president and graduated in 1973

28 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

with a degree in Business and Economics. His quest to learn didn’t end there. Two of his professors agreed he should continue his education and helped him gain his Masters of Business Administration from Virginia Tech University in 1975. His business career began that year when he joined Merrill Lynch as a trainee in New York where he stayed for a year before going to Asheville as a young stock broker. His father passed away shortly after and John returned home. “It became clear to me that I had to come home and be there for my mother,” Blackburn remembered. It was a time his life began to take shape and it would unfold where his roots had always been. The matriarch of Avery County, Martha Guy, who owned and ran Avery County Bank, had known John for years in the Linville Presbyterian Church and knew how capable he was. When her brother and co-executive in the bank passed away, she convinced Blackburn to come back and help her run the bank. “It was a very conservative bank. We only made loans to our best customers and at one time had the highest return on assets of any bank in the country,” Blackburn explained. “It was Martha who taught me a good work ethic, and we consulted with each

other on everything we did . I ran the bank’s bond portfolio, which is where we made most of our money, but my major contribution was to computerize the bank and bring it into the modern banking world,” he said. “The most important gift Martha gave me was how she instilled in me the need to give back,” Blackburn offered. Martha Guy had served on numerous civic and charitable boards in the state including; Board of Trustees of Montreat College, Sloop Hospital, Crossnore School, Lees McRae College, and the Board of Visitors at University of North Carolina. “If there was a community project in this area, Martha was engaged in it. She didn’t seek recognition, she did it to better mankind,” Blackburn said. “She taught me to give make time to give back. So often today, some will say they just don’t have time to help.” Blackburn added. “ I observed what she was doing, but I had no idea that her concept of giving back would become a driving force in my life and that I would be compelled to follow a similar path,” he said. Blackburn worked for Martha Guy for 6 years while living at home caring for his mother. At the bank, Blackburn had become Vice President and Cashier, continuing to run the bond portfolio.

But the winds of change were blowing for Blackburn and the new heading set a course towards a new, lifelong career. John had worked summers during his college years as a night clerk on the reception desk at the nationally renown Eseeola Lodge in Linville. The Linville Corp. was formed in 1944 to buy the assets of the Linville Development Corp. which was owned by the MacRae and Morton families. The Tufts family from Pinehurst was offered the option to buy the Lodge in 1950 but declined. John Pottle was hired in 1951 to make Linville Resorts profitable and turn the ailing resort around. In one year Pottle accomplished his goals and remained as General Manager until December 1982. That year, Pottle approached Blackburn to see if he might be interested in becoming his successor at Linville Resorts. “They interviewed all over the south but couldn’t find anyone qualified who wanted to live in Linville year round. Pottle told me I should apply for the job and I did,” Blackburn said. Four men who had summer homes in Linville Resort and were the ad hoc board of directors--Scotty Cramer, Albert Myers, Walter Morgan and Alan Dickson-interviewed Blackburn for four hours. “They asked me if I played golf. I said no and that was the answer they wanted since Pottle was a scratch golfer and played every day. They wanted somebody who wouldn’t be on the golf course,” Blackburn quipped. Blackburn got the job and next January will mark 28 years at the Blue Ridge Mountain landmark resort and private club. Under his guidance, Linville Resorts has grown to about 230 homes and over 3,000 acres along the banks of the Linville River and Grandmother Creek, a verdant Eden in the bosom of Grandfather Mountain. Known across the country, the Eseeola Lodge preserves a quality of service and hospitality of a bygone era. The golf course, a vintage design by Donald Ross, is among the best in the south. In the last decade, Blackburn has overseen the multi-million dollar restoration of the course, tennis and golf clubs, and the main lodge and its splendid guest rooms, dining and kitchen facilities. Blackburn has the additional responsibilities for the Linville village facilities, Camp Yonahnoka, a fishing club, and a shooting club.

Under his leadership, the membership’s desire to modernize the physical facilities while maintaining the easy paced, luxurious lifestyle of a century ago, has proven an unqualified success. Linville Resorts has never been better. “Fortuitously, it quickly became obvious to me that the leadership of Linville Resorts not only shared, but encouraged the philosophy of caring for and supporting the people and preserving the beauty of the area,” Blackburn observed. “Mr. Cramer and Mr. Dickson believed that as summer residents here, we owe it to the community to help preserve it and make it better. I asked them if that attitude was to be encouraged and they overwhelmingly said yes. It was that prevailing philosophy that has allowed me to pursue my passion of giving to, and serving the High Country.” Blackburn’s impressive record of community service and benevolence stretches almost 30 years beginning in 1984 when he joined the Board of Sloop Hospital and has served through the evolution to the current Cannon Hospital and ultimately chaired the Board of the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. In 1986 he was asked to serve on the Board of the Crossnore School and continues to serve there. He served for 4 years on the Board of Hospice of Avery County. Blackburn co-chaired the committee to develop the YMCA in Avery County. “We were aware that there was nowhere for parents to interact with their children and nowhere for kids to learn to swim and enjoy an indoor pool,” Blackburn said. He still serves as Vice Chairman of the YMCA Board today. “My passions have always been healthcare and education and I have been fortunate to serve 11 years on the Gordon and Mary Cain foundation which has provided $1.6 million to over 500 kids that have graduated from Avery County High School,” Blackburn said proudly. “In 1969 the Linville Foundation gave me $100 that paid for my books at King College, so I got to personally experience what even a small grant can mean.”

Blackburn administers The Linville Foundation, that same fund that as a summer employee in 1969 helped him go to King College. Today the foundation provides 50 scholarships a year to young employees of Linville Resorts. Several of the members here and other friends gave $1 million to endow a professorship at ASU in theatre and dance in my honor. “Being elected to the Board of Trustees of Appalachian State University in 2005 was one of my most gratifying experiences,” Blackburn allowed. “I served on the Appalachian Board until 2009, as Vice Chairman for 2 years before being elected Chairman on January 1st, 2009. That year Blackburn realized that ASU wasn’t going to be represented on the UNC Board of Governors. He began working to be appointed to the UNC System Board and worked to be appointed through the N.C. Senate. “I spent at least a year trying to convince the Senate that I would be a good steward of the higher education system and I think we made them aware of the fact that western North Carolina had not had historical representation,” he explained. “They understood we encouraged a comprehensive statewide university system. I did it because it is my passion to see higher education being the future for the state of North Carolina.” He won one of the 3 board seats pursued by 8 candidates. After his appointment to the UNC Board of Governors, Appalachian State University made him an Honorary Alumnus. If higher education is John Blackburn’s passion, it appears that his years of service to The High Country and North Carolina, particularly in the fields of healthcare and education, now resonate through all those people committed to making our state a better place to live, work, and play. The citizens of the region owe John Blackburn the respect and gratitude due after three decades of his unselfish leadership.

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


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Love Letters- Part 2

October 23rd, 1918, Guntersville, Alabama...

Big Paul & Little Joe

“Dear friend, I received your letter something like a week ago and it was two days before I could read it. Paul we have all had that dreadful disease, “Influenza.” There were eight of us children in bed at one time and dad not able to sit up. I was the last one to get sick. Today is my first day to stay up. Just been sick five days over a week. Paul there is over five hundred people sick in town and some dying every day. Four of our leading Doctors died in town last Friday. There is forty seven cases within one mile of us and some not expecting to live any length of time. Paul I will close, I haven’t any news atol, I am almost ashamed to send this. Your friend, Little Joe”

By Adele Forbes

Oct 1, 1920 Sewell, West Virginia...

“If you want to be with somebody you love, aren’t you already there?”


~Richard Bach

eading my grandparents love letters takes me on a journey through space and time like no other I have ever been on. I can be in Pyatte, NC in 1914 one minute and in Orange, Texas, 1922 the next. I have laughed and I have cried as I am doing now. Their love for one another can be compared to the likes of Romeo and Juliet, or Ronald and Nancy Reagan. I was raised in their home and that is where my love of cooking was nurtured. My grandfather Paul had large gardens on each side of the house and in the good old summer and fall, Mama Joe’s Formica topped kitchen table always groaned with the load of fruits and vegetables that always graced it. They canned everything they grew in one form or another. Cucumbers became pickles which were prized possessions amongst the town people of Newland, NC. Tomatoes might become relish or spaghetti sauce, cabbage turned into sauerkraut magically inside of an old-timey crock. Apples and peaches showed their pretty colors in preserves, butters, and sauces. Pickled beans and corn permeated every nook and cranny of the old house with their sour smell. The coral red beets looked especially lovely lined up in jars on every counter. Peppers of every color and heat were turned into sweet relish. Plum jam, squash pickles, rhubarb chutney, and green tomato jam all looked especially lovely on the shelves in the cellar which was under the house. The grandchildren’s job was to carry the finished product to this damp and musty space which always gave me a sense of wonderment. The love letters have given me a deeper appreciation, not only of their love for each other, but for the amazing people that they were both before and after they were married. The journey still continues because of these amazing letters. Their story deserves to be told.

“My dearest Little Joe, By heck Joe I have had the blues for several days because I had no mail when I would come in from work at night. I was beginning to want to see Xmas come so I could leave this hollow, but I don’t care now if it don’t come for two months, if I can get some letters from Little Joe and I ‘spect I will for she is going to town where Uncle Sam (Clark) pays someone to pack the mail around on the streets and not take it to a D. little old box stuck up on a stick ten miles from anywhere. I don’t care if you ever go back to the old farm for it causes a fellow to think things sometime that are not true over time. Well Joe, what do you think I could do and who could I be with that I could have more pleasure and enjoy myself more than to take a horse back ride with you any where or anytime! I would not care if I had to ride two old Gentlemen cows, it would be Pleasure to Paul M. just the fun and lots of it would be a good idea to try me out if you have any doubts about it. No Joe, I don’t think there is any one who would enjoy your little ohl Presence more than your big friend would even if we have to take the top rail off of some ohl farmers fence and Poke it through the fence crook and one get on each end of it and take an ohl childhood ride. Your big boy, Paul M.” Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Rivers Park: The Best Kept Secret In Boone Val Maiewskij-Hay


ears after their passing, Rachel Rivers-Coffey and Armfield Coffey continue to enhance the quality of life in Boone. Their legacy at Rivers Park, a ten-acre tract of land downtown is a gift in perpetuity to residents and visitors alike. Rachel Rivers-Coffey was a third generation publisher. Her grandfather R.C. Rivers, Sr. bought the Watauga Democrat in 1889 with D.B. Dougherty and within the year was the sole owner. Rivers Publishing Company was one of the first businesses to buy land and to build a business in town. After R.C. Rivers, Sr. died in 1933, his son R.C. Rivers, Jr. took over as publisher of the newspaper and in 1975, upon his death, Rachel Rivers-Coffey became the publisher. Rachel Rivers-Coffey was born May 4, 1943 and grew up in the rock house on Clay House Lane above the Daniel Boone Monument in Rivers Park on Rivers Street. She attended the old Appalachian High School in what is today Chapell Wilson Hall at ASU. She loved writing and published her first essay in the Watauga Democrat when she was eleven. After high school, she attended the University of Missouri at Columbia where she received a BA in journalism. In 1963 she returned to Boone and worked as a photographer at the Watauga Democrat. Gradually taking on other responsibilities such as writing articles and col-

32 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

umns, selling ads and subscriptions, she learned all aspects of the business. On the first day of May in 1965, Rachel married Armfield Coffey, who also worked at the Democrat. He started as a press operator before working as a photographer, reporter, and eventually editor, earning the nickname of “Mr. Newspaperman”. Even after Rachel took over publishing the newspaper, she continued to write fiction, winning an award for a short story in 1975 and writing a children’s novel, A Horse like Mr. Ragman (Scribner, 1977), and a novel, The City Man (Harper & Row, 1978). After operating the newspaper for almost twenty years, they sold it in 1994, ending over 100 years of family ownership. They continued to live in Boone and supported many causes in the area. She loved animals, especially horses, and as a child rode her pony Patsy in downtown Boone. In 1969, Rachel with Velma Burnley and others formed the Watauga Humane Society, a cause which Rachel supported throughout her life. Rachel was also instrumental in the establishment of the Doc and Merle Watson Folk Art Museum in Cove Creek. She was a member of the Watauga Medical Center Board of Trustees, its foundation board, and the boards of Historic Boone and the Watauga County Foundation. Perhaps the most significant of their good works was the gift of the wooded hillside,

Rivers Park, to the Town of Boone. It is one of Boone’s remaining tree canopies and will remain an undisturbed natural area forever. The largest sugar maple tree in this area and the only “Champion Big Tree” in Boone—designated as such by the North Carolina Forest Service in 2005—is located in Rivers Park. It is estimated to be over 100 years old and has a circumference of 170 inches, height of 99 feet, and crown spread of 81 feet. In 1998, Rachel contacted Brad Vines, Town of Boone Landscape Specialist, for advice about protecting the tree. Because the tree was a boundary marker for three properties and was on the fence line, it had been spared from logging. But it did not belong to anyone and Rachel feared this could endanger it. When Rachel showed Brad the tree, she called it “Baby”. She explained that as a child, she and her father, Robert Rivers, Jr., fed livestock on the hillside. He told her this tree was a “baby” compared to the massive trees which had existed on the hill before intensive logging resulted in the cleared pasture land. Rachel feared that “Baby”, the last tree remaining from a time when large trees were everywhere, would be destroyed. When she discovered that lots on the hillside were for sale and might be developed, she took action. She purchased the lots adjacent to her property and began the process to ensure the tree

and the hillside would not be destroyed. Rachel’s efforts to save this tree and the hillside resulted in the establishment of Rivers Park. Rachel contacted then Mayor Velma Burnley and discussed the possibility of creating a town park on the property. Velma was enthusiastic about the prospect. “Rachel wanted to preserve her childhood home--the tree, hillside, and the house,” Burnley remembered. “She loved nature and wanted this property protected as green space. She also wanted her family’s heritage to be remembered. Giving the property to the town was a perfect way of accomplishing this.” In October 1998, Rachel deeded the hillside, over seven acres, to the Town of Boone with the conditions that it only be used for recreational or historical purposes, as a green space and a wildlife sanctuary, or for flood mitigation. It was also stipulated that utility lines must be installed underground and with a “minimum disturbance to the natural environment.” Rachel tragically died in a horse riding accident August 24, 1999. Armfield, knowing her wishes, gave an additional three-plus acres to the Town of Boone to be part of the park in January, 2000. He passed away in 2007 at the age of seventy-two. Rachel’s childhood home, the rock house on Clay House Lane, above Rivers Street was built in the late 1930s for R.L. Clay (hence Clay House Lane). The one and a half story house featuring artistic exterior stonework was purchased by Rachel’s father Robert Rivers, Jr. in the mid-1940s. This house, and the property on which it sits, were granted to the Town of Boone with a life estate to Jim Butler, Rachel’s cousin. The same stipulations applied to this property as to the hillside. On September 16, 2005 the Town of Boone dedicated the new Daniel Boone Monument located on the corner of Moretz and Rivers Street. The original monument--built in 1912 by William Lewis Bryan, a direct descendent of Daniel Boone’s sister and the first mayor of Boone--was on the ASU campus near Duncan Hall and Varsity Gymnasium along Rivers Street. According to local legend this was the site of a cabin which Daniel Boone used in the 1760s during

his time in the area. In 1968, the monument was taken apart and a new one, using some of the material from the original one, was constructed in front of Justice Residence Hall the following year. In 1994, ASU demolished the monument replacing it in 1999 with a sculpture of Daniel Boone and his famous plott hounds, state dog of North Carolina, near the Duck Pond on Rivers Street. Many in Boone objected to the destruction of the monument. Dr. Gene Reese (1927-2001), founder of Historic Boone, led the effort to build yet another Daniel Boone Monument and gathered stones and material from the old monument for use in construction of the next one. A larger version of the original monument, built with some original materials and two marble plaques from the first one, was dedicated September 16, 2005. The monument found a permanent location in Rivers Park, an effort supported by Armfield Coffey. Rivers Park, although undeveloped, is open to the public. ASU student Phillip Baldwin frequents the hillside park. “It’s awesome having a spot like this where you can connect with nature right in town,” Baldwin said. “The wooded hillside is so peaceful and the big tree is magnificent and deserves to be protected. I love that the park is here—it’s the best kept secret in Boone.” The Town of Boone currently maintains Rivers Park and the Daniel Boone Monument. It plans to put in a few trails of minimally intrusive material (perhaps mulch), but because of the conditions of the deed, the hillside will remain forever undisturbed. There is no parking at the park, but parking is available in downtown Boone. “This wonderful gift to the town provides us with a green space in downtown Boone forever,” Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson observed. “The hillside will always remain wooded and there will always be a tree canopy there. Our future generations will be able to enjoy this beautiful natural area.” Present trees on the hillside, that are just babies compared to the “Champion Big Tree”, will now have the opportunity to become “Big Trees” themselves in the future.

briefly... The Inn at Elk River A Unique Mountain Getaway Originally built in 1989, the Inn at Elk River looks centuries older and all by design. Its architecture is traditional Colonial, reminiscent of Williamsburg, right down to the colors, woodwork, and interior décor. The inn recently celebrated its grand reopening after undergoing a top to bottom renovation. The Williamsburg yellow exterior and woodcarved “Welcome” sign by the front door are warm and inviting. The inn’s smoke-free interior spaces are relaxed and comfortable, but all the musthave details are there, including flatscreen televisions, Wi-Fi, fireplaces in the gathering areas, and furniture that invites guests to sit a while. Eight guest rooms - each of which is unique in its Williamsburg design and décor – are available and all have private baths. New bedding, linens and furnishings give a fresh look to the inside. Four rooms have oversized working fireplaces with rich wood mantels and trim, and all rooms open onto a spacious deck with sitting areas and long-range sunset views. The layout of the inn lets guests be as social or as private as they wish, making it ideal for family groups and honeymooners alike. Meeting rooms are available for corporate retreats. The complimentary breakfast features a changing variety of treats, such as French toast, quiches, muffins, fresh fruit and more, served individually plated each morning. The inn also offers catering for special events yearround. Check out and call Innkeeper Carol Rutherford at 828-898-9669 for reservations. The inn is located at 875 Main Street West in Banner Elk.

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


On the Trail of Daniel Boone By Michael C. Hardy


aniel Boone could be called the original High Country tourist. He came up over the crest of the Blue Ridge to hunt and fish and explore the creeks and the hollows of the area that we call home today. While Boone himself left no visible mark on our area, we have sought to commemorate the Boone family by naming towns, streets, and creeks after the famed explorer. Boone came through the area in the mid 1700s. Over 150 years later, a native North Carolinian started what would have become a nationwide effort to draw attention to the famed trekker and to show potential visitors the benefits of the area. J. Hampton Rich was born in Davie County in 1874. “Hamp” Rich, as his friends called him, was a graduate of Wake Forrest College and attended Southern Baptist Seminary in Kentucky. Rich was a Renaissance man of his time: he taught school, preached, worked as a journalist and then published his own newspaper, and was a librarian for the North Carolina Senate. Rich always seemed to be interested in improving roads. In the early 1910s, he advocated the maintenance of rural roads by school students in their own communities. This

34 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

led to the organization of the Boys Road Project in 1915, created by the North Carolina Legislature. Two years prior to those events, Rich founded The Boone Trail Highway and Memorial Association. To build “an anterial highway to reclaim the counties of the northwestern part of the state” was the original goal of the association. All across America, people were realizing the importance of having good means of transportation in their communities. Good roads meant people could get their goods to market, and good roads could get tourists to the area. Even before Avery County was formed local people took interest in local roads. The Yonahlossee Road eased travel between the existing resort community of Blowing Rock and the new community of Linville. The “Crest of the Blue Ridge Highway, ” to run from Marion, Virginia to Tallulah, Georgia was begun in 1912, but the Great War brought a stop to the project. Yet another project was undertaken in 1924, “The Black Bear Trail,” a scenic road that ran from Quebec, Canada, all the way into Miami, Florida, passing through Blowing Rock, Boone, Linville, Altamont, and Linville Falls. So Hamp Rich was not alone in his desire to bring more recognition to the area. However, Rich went even further in commemorating American History. In 1916 he went to Washington, D.C., to meet with a sculptor for the plaque of Daniel Boone that would appear on the monuments. When certain national leaders, including then Vice-Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt, heard of Rich’s plans, they ordered that 400 pounds of metal taken from the sunken battleship Maine, be sent to Rich. The metal was smelted and added to other metals to make up the plaques. Underneath each picture of Boone are the words “Metal From Battleship Maine in Tablet.” It appears that the first marker in North Carolina was erected in Wilkesboro in 1917, and soon thereafter they were popping up all over the place. All of the money for the installation of the

monuments was made by donations from local citizens. In 1927, Rich was in the area, asking folks to help. Monuments were to be placed in Blowing Rock, Boone, and Linville. While the plaques bearing Boone’s likeness were pretty much the same (even though there are variations), the monument’s themselves can vary greatly. Many were in the shapes of arrowheads, while a few others were attached to boulders or obelisks. Eventually there were three Daniel Boone Trail Markers erected in Avery County. The first was in Linville, and according to descriptions, it sat in front of the sign to Grandfather Mountain at the intersection of US 221 and Hwy. 105. This monument was in the shape of an arrowhead and actually stood on site until the mid-1980s. The remnants of the marker are still in Linville, not far from the red light. The plaque is in private hands. The marker was apparently unveiled in September 1927. The other two markers in Avery County were located in Newland, in front of the courthouse, and in Banner Elk, in front of the old Grace Hospital. Information on either of these two is scarce and what became of them is unknown. In Watauga County, there was a monument erected in Sugar Grove in 1927, which is still standing, as is the one erected that same year in Blowing Rock. The marker erected in October 1927 on the campus of Appalachian State University has disappeared. These monuments in Watauga County should not be confused with another endeavor to mark the route of Daniel Boone through the High Country. In 1911, the Daughters of the American Revolution began their own project, marking what they believed was the trail used by Daniel Boone through Watauga County. There were markers in Boone, Zionville, Cook’s Gap, Three Forks Baptist Church, Hodges Gap, and Graveyard or Saddle Gap. Only the markers at the courthouse in Boone and in Zionville are still present, with the base of the marker at Cook’s Gap, on the Blue Ridge Parkway. At one time, there were a dozen markers to Daniel Boone in Watauga and Avery Counties. In 2010, there are none in Avery County, and only four in Watauga County.


ravelers in the eastern sections of our state are frequently reminded of our first president, George Washington. There are even markers that commemorate these sites in Caswell, Edgecombe, Halifax, and New Hanover County. While Washington never came to the High Country of western North Carolina, we do have our own eighteenth-century celebrity to commemorate in the legend of Daniel Boone. The early explorer definitely left his mark on the area. Boone explored, fished, and hunted in western North Carolina for the better part of three decades, from the 1750s and into the 1770s. There are some who debate the location of his base camp, that camp being in Meat Camp instead of Boone proper. Considering the amount of time Boone spent in the area, there are probably few places his feet did not touch. Quite a few spots in our area bear some type of connection to the famed traveler. There were undoubtedly many different paths that Boone took into present-day Watauga County. Many old trails crawled up the mountains into the region. Along the Blue Ridge Parkway is Cook’s Gap (Milemarker 285). The sign there calls the area Boone’s Trace and claims that Daniel used this mountain pass to access the land to the west. Similar signs would not be out of place at Deep Gap, Carroll Gap, and Sandy Flat Gap. The town of Boone was not always called Boone. On some early maps it appears as Councill’s Store, named for Jordan Councill who operated a store and a post office in the area. On an 1835 map, the crossroads was referred to as Howard, probably named for Benjamin Howard, a Wilkes County loyalist who, during the hostilities of the American Revolution, hid out in a cave on a mountain that overlooks the town. The mountain just happens to bear his name: Howard’s Knob. Jordan Councill and Ransom Hayes each donated twenty-five acres for the new county seat when Watauga County was created in 1849, and the name of the community changed from Councill’s Store to Boone. Daniel Boone is rumored to have spent some time in a hunter’s cabin which was owned by Howard and sat near, or in the middle of River Street. In 1912, William L. Bryant built a monument, reportedly from actual stones from the fireplace, on the spot where the cabin was located. The monument was moved sometime around 1970, and then disassembled in 1990. A new monument, a reproduction of the original, now stands in a park down the road from the original site. In 1997, a bronze statue of Boone and two of his hunting dogs, sitting by a campfire, was erected just a few feet from the original monument site. Some will claim that Boone Fork at Price Park along the Blue Ridge Parkway is named for Daniel Boone who had a cabin there from 1810 to 1817. Considering Boone was living (and hunting) west of the Mississippi River during those years, the story is just folklore. Most believe that Boone Fork is named for Daniel’s nephew, Jesse Boone, who did live in the area in the early nineteenth century. There are many other sites in the area that pertain to the great explorer. There used to be a spot on Grandfather Mountain that some said was a Boone campsite. Kentucky Creek in Avery County is thought to have been named by James Boone, a Boone relative who had traveled to Kentucky with Daniel, and later returned and settled in the area that is Newland today. Roan Mountain, on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, has among its storied folklore that the mountain was so named because the area was a favorite of Daniel’s and was named in honor of a roan-colored horse he owned. Daniel Boone died on September 26, 1820, was buried in Missouri, and was possibly later moved to Frankfort, Kentucky. While Daniel left us almost two centuries ago, his spirit still roams freely in the mountains, along the streams, and in the communities that many of us call home. The same spirit beckons us to be like Boone, to explore the world where we live.

Daniel Boone Slept Here

Looking for the famed explorer in the High Country. By Michael C. Hardy

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Shaping The Landscape Of

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Majestic Mountain Autumn By Linda Kramer Each fall, the mountains of western North Carolina surge with weary people seeking a breath of fresh air, wilderness and majesty and room to think and reflect. Visitors are attracted to the grandeur of nature and flock to the mountains to find a peace on earth. There are over 120 species of hardwoods that provide unmatchable color and so many elevations and microclimates, that the peak foliage season is the most extended in the U.S., changing weekly. Over 20 million people come to the NC mountains to hike, bike, swim, picnic, hunt, fish and sightsee the open and closed roads in the forests and wildernesses. The autumn season can generally be divided into three time frames. Early fall is late September to early October when the first hint of color can be seen at elevations over 5,000 feet and offers the best scenic drives at these heights. Mid-fall is early to late October and the most popular time for viewing and day trips as the color moves to new elevations. US Hwy 19 to Spruce Pine offers a spectacular vantage point to view the rich color of Black Mountain and Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in the eastern U.S. at 6,684 feet. The section from Maggie Valley to Cherokee also boasts several excellent leaf-viewing sites. Insiders know not to fight the crowds in mid-October and prefer the late fall which extends to the first week in November when the autumn hues intensify and creep down the mountain slopes into the gorges. A perfect time to enjoy the NC Arboretum, south of Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 393. Surrounded by the Pisgah National Forest, it’s one of the most beautiful settings in the U.S. to see nature’s fall finale. You’ll need a jacket along with your camera and binoculars, and con-

sider booking your accommodations Sunday through Thursday in late September or early November when the color is still great but room rates are more reasonable. Nothing compares to the slowpaced views right from your car on the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the state’s oldest travel attractions. The 470-mile scenic byway, connecting the great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC with the Shenandoah National Park near Waynesboro, VA is visited more than any other part of the U.S. National Park system. Grandfather Mountain, just south of Boone and Blowing Rock and 70 miles NE of Asheville, is not only one of the most popular attractions in the country, it’s the highest point in the Blue Ridge mountains at 5,280 feet with visibility for over 100 miles and offers access to some of the most beautiful scenery in America. If you want to experience fall with the wind in your hair, consider a hot air balloon ride in Asheville or rent a Harley for a scenic road cycling ride; and for something to write home about, catch the fall migration of the monarch butterflies through the Appalachians, one of the few altitudes where the migration can be witnessed by humans. Take the Blue Ridge Parkway south from Asheville to the Pisgah National Forest with views of Cold Mountain, made famous by the novel and movie by the same name; and Chimney Rock Park in Hickory Nut Gorge with expansive views of the Gorge and Lake Lure. Whenever you choose to visit the North Carolina Mountains, we are reminded that they are sacred; that they do not belong to us, we belong to them. This sense of belonging is never more evident than when the mountains show us the wonder of their changes.

Photograph courtesy of Nicole Robinson Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


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Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


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Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Recollections Of An Artist Of The Blue Ridge


ob Timberlake’s love for the mountains of North Carolina has served as great inspiration for much of his artwork since he began painting professionally in 1970. It has not just been the scenic vistas that have caught his interest, however; but the people of the Blue Ridge as well. On a recent afternoon visit, Timberlake, whose personality is as majestic and welcoming as the mountains themselves, mused over early childhood jaunts to the hill country and the lasting impressions these were to make on him. “I can remember the excitement of going to the mountains with my mom, dad and brother Tim. When we would first begin to head “up hill” from North Wilkesboro on Hwy 421, getting higher and higher until we were high enough to look out over the valleys below and see views that seemed to go forever—and all the time waiting to see whose ears would pop first from the changes in altitude! Finally we would crest the Continental Divide and onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and it was as if we were in another world. “I remember too there were roadside souvenir stands with rubber tomahawks, toy bows and arrows and Kentucky rifles. With these at my side, I would imagine that I was Daniel Boone with his friend Mingo and wonder what adventures they must have had up here so many years ago. Then there were the honey and cider stands, usually set up on a roadside curve

42 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

beside a winding mountain road, with some old timer relaxing in a slat-back chair. I recall the smell of apples and brilliantly colored leaves falling from a crisp October sky. It was just magnificent...and still is!” What Timberlake didn’t realize at the time was just how strong an influence these experiences would have in molding an enduring love for the mountains. The places he would one day translate into art. One of his earliest depictions, and still one of his best, is Near Boone, which is just a few miles east of Boone, NC on Highway 421. This is really a classic painting featuring a weathered old barn and silo perched on a snowy hillside with cows grazing nearby. Although the painting depicts a cold winter afternoon, it projects great warmth. The barn and silo are long gone, as are the cows, but the scene remains captured in time. There are other paintings, each with a story as interesting as their name: Jerry’s Place, Jason’s Hollow, Near Grandfather, Boone Winter, Kuralt at White’s Creek, Ray’s Place, Ray’s Moon, Ray’s Porch”. The “Ray” these paintings were named for was Ray Hicks, the wellknown storyteller of “Jack Tales”. A true mountaineer in every sense of the word, Ray and his wife Rosa lived just off of Highway 194 between Valle Crucis and Banner Elk. In the mid 1990’s they were gracious in allowing Bob to visit and paint their home and share a little bit of their lives with him. For Bob, Ray and

Rosa reflected the character of so many of the early mountain folk. They seemed to have strength and a peace and comfortableness about them that so many of us seem to miss nowadays. They were closer to the land. “Rosa could mix potions from herbs and plants found in the hills near their home that could cure just about anything. She said she learned this from her mother, who learned it from hers. Ray could spin tales with equal skill. They were a window to our past and a reminder of where we came from. I enjoyed spending many wonderful afternoons with them, gathered around a pot-bellied wood stove in their home and learning from them,” noted Bob. A great pastime of Bob’s while in the mountains is fly fishing and his favorite spot is just out of Blowing Rock with his good friends Terry and Renee Troy, who own The Reserve at Boone’s Fork Creek. Their beautiful home sits right above the banks of the creek and there you will find some of the best fishing the mountains have to offer. The trout are big and beautiful and wary. It takes a skillful angler to bring them in and Bob is certainly that. He is a strong advocate of the “catch and release” program and says the fish seem to enjoy it more that way as well! The mountains have continued to be a draw for Bob and in 2004, he partnered with Kent Tarbutton, owner of Chetola Lodge and Resort to open the Bob Timberlake Inn at Chetola. This charming eight room inn is part of Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock and was the estate of

the late J. Luther Snyder, known as the Coca Cola King of the Carolinas. The Inn provides guests with a wonderful mountain getaway and many activities including excellent dining just downstairs in the Manor House Restaurant. It offers visitors a glimpse into Bob’s World as well and each room is furnished with Timberlake furniture, accessories and artwork. He and his wife Kay also have a summer home at Chetola. In 2001, the artist opened his second Bob Timberlake Gallery at 946 Main Street in Blowing Rock (the flagship store is in Lexington, NC). During fall and summer week-ends especially, you can sometimes find Bob walking the streets of Blowing Rock or visiting with folks in his gallery. You might even catch him photographing ideas for a new painting along the Blue Ridge Parkway or on one of the surrounding byways. A favorite quote of Bob Timberlake’s goes something like this: “A love unexpressed is no love at all, it is only an illusion.” If anyone enjoys expressing his love it is Bob Timberlake. He does it through his paintings and sharing his love of life and of people and through who he is. 2010 marks the Fortieth Anniversary of Bob Timberlake’s career as a professional artist. To commemorate this very special occasion, he has created a beautiful painting entitled “Grandfather Mountain”. It is a fitting way to celebrate a place and an area he loves as well as to honor the memory of two of his very dear friends, Hugh Morton, Sr. whose family owned the mountain, and his son Hugh Morton, Jr. At 72, Bob Timberlake’s thoughts are far from retirement and he is constantly working on new paintings and exciting projects for collectors of his work to enjoy for many years to come! If you’re interested in “Grandfather Mountain”, it will be available as a time-limited reproduction this fall with orders being taken October 4 - Nov 27 (in plenty of time for Christmas!) To order, contact the Bob Timberlake Gallery in Lexington at (800)244-0095, Blowing Rock (828)295-4855 or an authorized Timberlake Art Dealership. Contact information available on line through

Facing Page: Grandfather Mountain is one of the most popular attractions of the Blue Ridge and subject for Bob Timberlake’s Fortieth Anniversary time-limited reproduction.

This page: Top: Near Boone: One of Bob’s first paintings from the Blue Ridge Mountains....just east of Boone, on US421. Middle: Ray’s Place: Was the home of famous “Jack Tale” storyteller Ray Hicks and his wife Rosa. Bottom: Jason’s Hollow: Tucked away in a mountain hollow is the home of Jason Clodfelter, whose mom Julia K. has worked with the Timberlake family for over fifty years.

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


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44 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

Sugar Cane & Valle Crucis

Youthful Recollections of the Mountain Autumn By: Naomi Faw

The Apple Barn, built in 1911 as the Dairy Barn. / Photograph courtesy of the Valle Crucis Conference Center archives.

Eldest Generation in 80th decade: 1930’s Fall Memory as told by Granny When I was young, I don’t have no idees how old I was, we went back to school the last of September and I do know that it wunten long after school started the warnets (walnuts) started getting ripe and falling. At lunch time the teachers would go to the spring and the kids that wanted to would go with them to get a drink of water. There was an apple tree and we could get an apple to eat. We liked the warnets better. During recess we would get a warnet, a rock, crack warnets and eat. That was our snack food. When school would turn out in the evening all the kids walked home. We would get to pick chick-apens (chinquipins) and soon molassesboiling would start. We always got to go and stay to midnight or when molasses came off. Behind the molasses-boiling was a big mountain covered in pines and you know how slick that was. We’d go at night with whatever we could find to sit on that would slide. Usually all it was was a plank. A rotten plank and pasteboard, but we could hardly ever find pasteboard. We were out in the mountains every free minute; I guess we made enough noise they (our parents) knew where we was at. We would play hide and seek in a garden that had growed up, the weeds were higher than your head. It was all you could do to get down and crawl under that mess. I don’t know why we didn’t get snake bit. We hollered and hooped, probably scared the snakes and they run and hid. September was a nice time, school started and food was getting ripe. We could get all the apples we wanted and

have baked sweet potatoes every day. Young’-uns don’t know anymore what living is all about. Next Generation in 60th decade: Memory from adulthood, as told by Mama I have slipped outside to a bench built on the deck around the Valle Crucis Apple Barn; sitting here is so near heavenly. It is almost quiet, just a few distant vehicles traveling. Inside this huge, old barn is a labyrinth on the floor that I walked this morning. In the background now, just inside the door others are walking and meeting in the center sitting, praying and meditating. I hear the sweet melodic sounds of a hymn as their feet silently walk the path of the labyrinth. Outside I hear the wind high in these old trees, I feel its soft touch on my neck and it cools me. It is a lovely fall day. I hear a cricket and I am glad and thankful there are places set aside to honor God and settle to a slower pace. Here is Valle Crucis, “the Vale of the Cross.” May this day be blessed with a seed sown for many blessings for my family. Third Generation approaching 40th decade: My fall memories One early October day I walked by the Apple barn at the Valle Crucis Conference Center and saw three men cooking sugar cane. The afternoon sun was shining on the open shed covering them and a hot fire pit. A kind man, with leathered skin, appeared in charge and he looked and sounded like my Daddy. I looked at the green frothy mixture cooking in the boiler and forgotten childhood memories raced to mind. Daddy grew sugar cane and I helped when I was small. It was ready to harvest

in late September or early October, always on a crisp fall day when I imagined I could smell the leaves changing colors. When I got off the school bus there would be a pick-up load of cane in the backyard. The air would be beginning to cool, with the warmth of the sun disappearing. The shade appeared extra deep and dark compared to the summer and I occasionally caught the aroma of damp woodsy soil. The cane gathered from the field, with the fodder or leaves removed, needed the seed head removed before being sent to the molasses-boiling site. Mama would actually let me use a knife and help. The next afternoon I would ride up in the mountains to a man’s house who cooked the molasses in exchange for a few jars. He was the same man who cooked molasses when Granny was little. The cane juice cooked for hours and the froth was skimmed off, the green turned into a velvety brown. My favorite part was when the molasses came off the fire. I would scrape the boiler with a utensil made from a whittled stick. I thought the tastiest molasses came from the bottom of a hot boiler. The syrup had a golden hue and was especially sticky, warm and sweet to taste. I never enjoyed the molasses out of the jar as much as the first warm taste from the boiler. At Valle Crucis, as I sat immersed in memories and emotions, the men invited me back around supper time. The molasses would be coming off and I could scrape the bottom. I suddenly felt enveloped by a feeling of all the fall seasons there have been and all the ones to come, sitting in the present, experiencing my past heritage and appreciating Valle Crucis. Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Appalachian’s New College of Health Sciences By Koren Huskins


ig News at Appalachian is winning a national championship, building a new library, growing the student body, and most recently opening the university’s first new college in 40 years – the College of Health Sciences. Not since the College of Business was formed in 1970 has Appalachian begun such an academic venture. With the Office of the Dean tucked away on the bottom floor of D.D. Dougherty Hall, the College of Health Sciences begins this fall to connect existing departments, create new programs, and train students to meet the healthcare needs of the community, region, and beyond. Within the next few years (with the help of a successful brick and mortar campaign), the college eventually hopes to move to a state-of-the-art facility near to Watauga Medical Center on property donated by Appalachian Regional Health System (ARHS). Under the leadership of founding dean Dr. Fred Whitt, the potential for the new college is exciting. The founding dean came on board to unite existing programs and to build new ones, lead faculty and staff as they train generations of graduates, and create an overall culture as a leading institution for individuals who seek knowledge and skills within the healthcare and human services industry. After years of planning, Appalachian was thrilled to welcome Dr. Whitt back to Boone this past January, which was the best time to return as the town reveled in nearly seven feet of snow last winter. Fortunately, Dr. Whitt was no stranger to Appalachian winters. The North Carolina native earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Appalachian, and was happy to return to his alma mater in spite of the record snowfall. After graduating from ASU, he spent over 34 years in various faculty and leadership positions at five universities throughout South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. But he was destined to return to Boone where he seems a perfect fit for this new leadership role. With

46 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

a kind and humble manner, Dr. Whitt has a true passion to meet the challenges and goals of the new college. In the following interview he shared his views with Carolina Mountain Life in his new role. CML: What has been your biggest challenge, thus far? Dr. Whitt: Well, the first thing I had to do was re-learn how to negotiate the weather! I had not seen snow in over 15 years, so that was quite an interesting challenge, but I really enjoyed the snow. Seriously, I think managing change and being patient are the two biggest challenges. We have a new college, and we are bringing faculty and programs together from four different colleges. They are all use to doing things four different ways, so it is important we create and establish a new culture for our college – a fifth way of doing things. While faculty voted to move their programs into the new college, and all have been very supportive, change is stressful and keeping that in perspective is important. I think being patient is equally important. Several faculty and administrators have been waiting for this new College many years… it is important for me to be patient and understand this is a process and we simply will not be able to turn a switch and have everything fall into place. CML: Why did you choose to return to Appalachian as the founding dean of the new Health Sciences College? Dr. Whitt: There are several reasons. This is the only Dean position I would have considered anywhere in the country. First of all, Appalachian State is a wonderful university with an impeccable reputation. My degrees are worth more today than when I graduated, which is a real tribute to the leadership of Appalachian. The chance to be a founding dean is rare, and to have this opportunity to do so at one’s alma mater and region whose culture I love and respect is a challenge I enthusiastically embrace. Chancellor Peacock is a gem, and he shares in the excitement for the new college and is tremendously supportive.

CML: What have your experiences been like so far? Dr. Whitt: I have found it to be very exhilarating and exciting, but also very humbling. Starting from the very beginning is not easy. I did not have an office the first month, and for the first six months my only staff was Shelli (Shelli McGinnis, Executive Assistant). While we have both been working long hours, it has also been very refreshing. We have been embraced by the campus and community, and I feel like I am 20 years younger. CML: What is your own vision for the new college? Dr. Whitt: We aspire to develop a college that will be a national model for developing health and human sciences programs of distinction that will enhance the health and quality of life for individuals and communities in our region. We want to be very collaborative across disciplines within the new college as well as with disciplines across campus. It is important for us to be trusted partners within the university community and beyond. I embrace a quote by Mahatma Ghandi. He says, ‘be the change in the world you want to see,’ I want our college to educate students who will have the skills to ‘be the change in the communities in which they serve.’ CML: What does this new college mean to the community and the people here. Dr. Whitt: It will be a college of the people and the region. This is not just my college or Appalachian’s college, but it is our college. Almost 500,000 North Carolinians (about 14 percent of our citizens) now work in the health and human services industries. There is a critical shortage of workers in many of these areas. There have been more jobs created in this industry in the past eight years than were lost in themanufacturing industry. In an economy where job loss has been high, this industry actually creates jobs because the need is so great, and our college will produce highly trained and well qualified graduates to meet them – they will uplift

and serve, improving the quality of life in our area. CML: What are a few public and private partnerships that will be connected with the college? Dr. Whitt: A major partnership is with the, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. Their commitment to donate the land for our new building is huge and speaks volumes to their support of the new college. CEO Richard Sparks has become a good friend, professionally and personally. He and his staff are very committed to this new venture. We will be working very closely with the Institute for Health and Human Services, the Northwest Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Caldwell 20/20, the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, as well as the local schools and public health agencies. CML: What is a highlight of the new college right now? Dr. Whitt: There are so many positives…i t is so hard to identify one or two. Receiving recent Board of Governors approval for our new BSN four year Nursing Degree and admitting our first class or 20 students this Fall has to be one of our current highlights. We have been offering the off campus RN-BSN program, but we now have our full-time, four-year BSN Program on the main campus, and it is has received full accreditation. We will plan to accept additional students next year and continue to grow admissions to 40 per year. Another exciting highlight is our partnership with the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis where our faculty are participating in cutting-edge national research along with researchers form UNC, Duke, NC State, and others. Our Human Performance Lab under the direction of Dr. David Neiman is a steeple of excellence for our college and Appalachian. CML: What will be the first areas of growth within the new college? Dr. Whitt: We want this college and programs to be embraced by all and meet

regional needs. Areas we are discussing include, but are not limited to, a graduate nursing program (MSN), occupational therapy, health informatics, physical therapy, physicians assistant, a Masters in Public Health (MPH), and certainly a PhD in the Exercise Science and Health Promotion areas. CML: Of all the schools in North Carolina that offer healthcare-related degrees, what makes the new College of Health Sciences unique? Dr. Whitt: The development of our college was strategic and well planned, and parallels the strategic plan for the University of North Carolina System (UNC Tomorrow) and Appalachian’s new strategic plan, (Reach Greater Heights). Not everyone has their college organized exactly alike. In fact, we are one of the few that houses Nursing, Social Work, Communication Disorders, Nutrition and Dietetics, Healthcare Management, Exercise Science and Health Promotion, Recreation Management and Physical Education, and Athletic Training all in one college. Our partnerships throughout the community and state – particularly with ARHS – makes us unique. We have a strong outreach component and mission to serve the community. Our goal is to be the premier health college in Western North Carolina and beyond. Our college will take a hands-on approach to be involved in the community by offering educational experiences beyond a traditional classroom setting. We will put our students in touch with practicing professionals, cutting-edge technologies, and overall regional needs, as well as present them with opportunities to learn through advanced research, study abroad experiences, internships, and much more. CML: What has been the community’s reaction to the new college? Dr. Whitt: The entire community is very excited and extremely supportive. I have enjoyed the opportunity to speak at many civic clubs and other events, and they are encouraged by having a college

that will be intimately involved through enhancing the health and quality of life for the region. Not only will we be educating students in areas of need, but will also enhance the economic development of the region. In the Fall 2010, this united front will prepare approximately 1600 undergraduate and graduate students in 16 majors to meet the healthcare needs within their communities, while filling the shortage of jobs within this industry. Initial programs include: • Nursing (BSN, RN to BSN) • Communication Sciences and Disorders (BS, MS) • Food Systems Management (BS) • Nutrition and Dietetics (BS, MS) • Social Work (BSW, MSW) • Health Promotion (BS) • Exercise Science (BS, MS) • Athletic Training (BS) • Recreation Management (BS) • Physical Education K-12 (BS) When people think of Appalachian State University, they think of strong roots in education, the business school, and of course championship football and cold, snowy winters. Now you can add the new College of Health Sciences as it grows to meet the needs of a promising future. For more information about the College of Health Sciences, visit, or call (828) 262-8145.

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Wildflowers • Ferns Native Trees & Shrubs

Gardens of the Blue Ridge is a family run business that has been growing Native Plants since 1892. We ship to all parts of the U.S. through our website & catalog. Come Visit! Located 6 miles south of Linville on Pittman’s Gap Rd. off Hwy 181. – Open Mon-Fri 9-5 – (Also open Sat 10-2 April-June) 828-733-2417

48 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

Buxton Bringing Change For Better At Lees-McRae


f its new president has his way, Lees-McRae College will soon be going to the dogs. At least part of it. Making the 110-year-old Banner Elk institution a pet-friendly campus is just one of a long list of innovations, changes and strategies Dr. Barry M. Buxton has drafted since moving into his new office in the historic Rock House in June. At a college that boasts nine national cycling championships, Buxton wants to establish an academic minor in cycling, encompassing history, recreation, physical fitness, transportation, environmental issues and urban planning. On a campus set in a mountain resort and year-round outdoor recreational area, he envisions courses in tourism development and hospitality management. At the highest elevation of any college or university east of the Mississippi (3,720 feet), where cool summers attract tourists and seasonal residents, Buxton is planning more “dynamic summer programs,” including teacher recertification, adult non-degree studies, sports and outdoor adventure camps, music and the performing arts.

By Jerry Shinn Noting that the health-care industry continues to thrive despite a general economic recession, creating a continuing demand for qualified personnel, Buxton wants to establish a school of nursing and allied health by 2012. With a Presbyterian tradition, he wants to build a stronger affiliation with the region’s Scots-Irish heritage, making greater use of the college’s tartan in graphics, signage and uniforms. A pet-friendly campus would mean a designated dormitory for students with pets, and working with the Avery County Humane Society and the state Department of Corrections to encourage adoption of rescue dogs and dogs trained by inmates. Several other colleges have established pet-friendly dorms. Students and their pets would have to pass muster through an interview process and remain on their best behavior in order to continue the arrangement. Buxton admits there will be “bumps in the road,” but he believes students with pets will do better academically and emotionally. Like many other small, private, liberal arts colleges, Lees-McRae has financial problems. Buxton thinks these

ideas and many more can help transform the small, debt-burdened college into a somewhat larger, debt-free, financially stable and academically and culturally dynamic institution – a magnet for students from around the world, and a more vital educational and economic asset to the region. It would be a formidable challenge in the best of times, and these times are not the best. But Buxton says he plans to roll up his sleeves and “just make it happen.” He has undergraduate and master’s degrees from Appalachian State University and a doctorate focused on education administration from the University of Nebraska. He has taught at the college level, written several books and published numerous historic studies, has helped found and operate museums and other institutions. But the part of that impressive resume that may have been most influential with Lees-McRae trustees was his success in institutional fundraising, most recently as vice president for special projects at Savannah College of Art and Design. Buxton has met tough challenges becontinued on page 56

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


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50 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

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Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


THE CROSSNORE SCHOOL “A Place of Miracles” Located on campus: Blair Fraley Sales Store Crossnore Fine Arts Gallery Crossnore Weavers: A Working Museum Fresco: Suffer the Little Children, 2006 Miracle Grounds Café & Creamery Miracle on the Mountain Outdoor Drama Fresco Open Mon-Sat 8:30am-5pm, and Sun 1-5pm The Crossnore School: PO Box 249, Crossnore, NC 28616 828-733-4305 /

52 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

Benjamin F. Long, IV Fresco: Suffer the Little Children, 2006

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Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


BUXTON continued from page 49

When was the last time you jumped into a big pile of leaves?

56 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

fore. Growing up in Blowing Rock in the 1950s, he was the youngest of seven children, including two sets of twins, and he was only nine years old when his father died, leaving little or nothing in the way of resources to support the family. His mother worked at various places, including Blowing Rock School and a real estate office, and the older children took whatever jobs they could find to contribute to the family budget. When Barry was old enough he also went to work, caddying at Blowing Rock Country Club and taking on various tasks at nearby Tweetsie Railroad. “I was an Indian, I was a cowboy, I put bumper stickers on cars,” he recalls. “Tweetsie provided a lot of work for local kids.” But he also remembers a day in his childhood when his mother gave him a short grocery list and he took it and his red wagon to the local market. In those days it wasn’t unusual for a neighborhood grocer to let customers “run a tab,” but on this occasion the store manager told the boy he couldn’t extend Mrs. Buxton any more credit. Barry was too young to understand exactly what that meant. All he knew was that he had to return home with an empty wagon. Perhaps that memory is one reason one of Buxton’s priorities is to launch a campaign to eliminate Lees-McRae’s $14 million debt, which represents an annual debt service cost of $1.5 million. The new president’s other goals include: Increasing enrollment, now about 900 students, by 50 percent over the next five years, which would bring a significant increase in tuition revenues. Requiring scholarship students to live on campus and participate in the campus meal plan. Again, that would improve college revenues, but Buxton believes it also would improve “the overall quality of the student experience at Lees-McRae….” Making the campus tobacco-free by the fall of 2011. Finding a more visible location for the campus bookstore and increasing its inventory to attract non-students as well as students. Improving the food service program and buying from local growers and organic farmers. Evaluating wind, solar and hydroelectric power for the campus. Increasing volunteer involvement. Toward that goal, the college held its first volunteer work day July 29, and Buxton called it a “huge success.” More than 150 volunteers – including alumni, staff, community residents, students from the American Jewish League and 17 painters from Webb Painting -painted residence halls, cleaned classrooms and worked in flower beds and landscaping on the campus. Although the campus occupies a large chunk of the town of Banner Elk, Buxton believes it needs a “sense of arrival,” or a more visible gateway. The school is converting the old Cheese House, which formerly housed the Avery County Arts Council, into a Welcome Center for tourists, prospective students and their parents. The center will provide information and a base for tours of the campus. After a career that has taken him to various parts of the country, Buxton’s latest move represents a welcome homecoming for him and his wife, artist Deboarah Keyes Buxton. They have two grown sons. Loren is a technology executive in Nebraska. Peter is in television and commercial production in Nebraska. And he apparently plans for it to be his final career move. He is the 15th president in the school’s history, meaning the average tenure of his predecessors has been less than eight years. He believes one key to building a foundation for a better future for Lees-McRae is more continuity of leadership. When he took this job, at age 61, he pledged to stay 10 years. Long enough, perhaps, to put all the goals on his list into his little red wagon before he leaves.

The Art of the Needle By Jane Richardson


hen Cleopatra wrapped herself in a luxurious rug to be smuggled in to meet Caesar, chances are that rug was embroidered. As early as the 6th century AD, embroidery and other forms of needleart can be traced to centers in ancient Persia, Babylon, Israel, Phoenicia and Syria. Samples have been found in Egyptian tombs, on ancient Maori costumes from New Zealand, and on medieval church vestments. European needleart reached its peak in the 15th and 16th centuries in Italy. Although Western culture associates needleart with women, the work was originally done exclusively by men, and often in monasteries. The skill was closely guarded and handed down from father to son, supported by the guild structure. It could take as long as eight years of apprenticeship to attain master status. Needleart came to America from England with the original settlers. The colonial woman had no time for decorative sewing, but rather had to create all of her household’s necessities, such as clothing, linens, etc. As soon as they could hold a needle, girls were taught to do plain work, and later they made “samplers” – needlework pieces containing letters, numbers, and pictorials. Their mistakes were often left in place, there being no time to rip them out and correct the stitch. Samplers were also used as a means to teach girls their letters, numbers, and even Bible verses; these works were carefully preserved to record stitches and patterns. The earliest discovered sampler was done by an English girl in 1598 and contained floral and animal motifs. In the 1850’s the invention of the embroidery machine decimated the handwork industry in most areas of the

world. But in the late 19th century, William Morris, a British designer, included embroidery in his arts and crafts movement. This, and the founding of the Royal School of Needlework in England in 1872, provided a stimulus to all types of needleart, both in England and America. For the most part, however, needleart had become a hobby. The mid 20th century saw the first breakdown in the family tradition of handing down this skill. The American Needlepoint Guild was formed in 1970 to promote all aspects of needlepoint. Because of this Guild’s efforts, there was a revival of interest in this craft. In the 1970s and 1980s, needleart became hand-painted directly on the sewing medium as compared to forming stitches from a chart. The inclusion of silks, velvets, metallics, brocades, ribbon, rayon, patent leather, chenille, and even alpaca made the 1980’s the heyday of cross-stitch in particular. Today the materials and patterns are limited only by the imagination of the stitcher. The therapeutic value of stitchery has long been recognized as a means of calming and slowing the hands and mind, which results in a slower heart rate. In the 1980’s, Hollywood stars such as Sally Field and Julia Roberts did needleart between takes on the set to keep them calm, focused and “in character.” Professionals ranging from athletes (remember Rosie Greer?) to surgeons have used needleart to increase hand/eye coordination and concentration. Peg Edwards of Blue Ridge Needleart in Blowing Rock considers needleart as any sort of work done with a needle to decorate a fabric, or almost any other medium, with thread or yarn. Peg is a “designer,” one who creates needleart patterns for publication and copyright.

Peg learned stitching at her grandmother’s knee and has devoted 40 years to designing and teaching the execution of just about every form of needlework. Customers enter her shop looking for a special thread, a particular color, a certain pattern or perhaps just seeking ideas for a stitchery project. They soon find their way to Peg’s table where advice, instruction, inspiration and stimulating conversation flow. Peg estimates that 65% of all needleart works are given as gifts, and since the work is so easily personalized and entirely hand-done, these gifts often become family heirlooms. This shop’s array of patterns includes tabletops, trays, pillows, doorstops, ornaments, picture frames, Christmas stockings, footstool covers, checkbook/cell phone cases to name a few. The selection ranges from everyday and holiday motifs to specialty designs such as Celtic poetry and prayers. The kaleidoscope of color choices in threads and fabrics and other embellishments such as charms, beads, pins and braid, range from delightfully functional to over-the-top whimsical. Peg enjoys creating A to Z kits for her customers, containing everything they need to complete their special project. And being a native of New Orleans, she always includes lagniappe in each kit – “that little something extra.” Peg taught television classes from Charlotte for a number of years, and continues to offer summer classes at the Blowing Rock shop. “Needleart is my love,” says Peg. “I really love working with my customers, and being able to pass on my joy.” Visit her shop at 133 Morris Street in downtown Blowing Rock and see the website at You are sure to come away with something beautiful. Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Peggy Coscia Retires

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58 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

A second retirement is on the horizon for Peggy Coscia, one of the friendliest and most familiar faces on Beech Mountain over the last dozen years. Coscia exits her post as office manager of the Beech Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 23, having decided it’s time to move to be closer to family and to focus on a few health concerns. She first came to Beech Mountain in the spring of 1998 after a successful career as a registered nurse. The plan was to take it easy in retirement and enjoy the mountain’s changing seasons. That lasted about six months. “I came up here to read books and work in the garden, but it was not enough to occupy me. I needed to do something,” she says with a smile. “I heard they were looking for a part-time employee at the Chamber of Commerce and I got the job.” During her tenure, Coscia outlasted four chamber directors until they finally eliminated that position several years ago and made her office manager, while hiring a financial manager as well. Coscia says she has greatly enjoyed the work, and her impending departing is bittersweet. “I can’t name all the people who have been so thoughtful, generous and helpful in every way,” Coscia says. “This is just a special, special place and I will miss it. “I’m going to wear caps in Florida that say ‘Beech Mountain’ and ‘Fred’s General Mercantile’ because I want to advertise Beech Mountain and still be an ambassador for the town.” Looking back at her tenure, she is most proud of the two events she helped create – the annual dog show and annual barn dance. “I love the events. I added two that were my babies – the barn dance and the dog show. And we’ve seen the Mile High Kite Festival grow tremendously,” she says. “I love preparing events and seeing them come off as a success. The day of an event, I sit back and watch how it goes and how people are having fun and enjoying it.” Coscia, who grew up in Pittsburgh, never thought she would become a chamber executive, especially after spending more than a quarter century in healthcare in southern Florida. However, she nurtured and cared for the chamber’s programs just like she nurtured and cared for her patients in nursing. “I’ve enjoyed the variety of things this job brings. It’s a lot of work for two people, but John Troxler and I have a tremendous team of volunteers, and we have built a good working relationship with Sue Freeman of the Avery County Chamber. We really promote each other’s events and happenings,” Coscia says. “This position has opened me up to meeting different people at the state level, county level and local level that I would probably not have met. That has been a real joy.” Coscia knows she will enjoy the warmer temperatures this winter in Wellington, Fla., and the chance to see her grandchildren more often. However, she’ll always have a soft spot in her heart for Beech Mountain, and plans to visit next summer and spend some time volunteering for the chamber during her stay. “As much as I am torn about leaving North Carolina, I know it will be a new adventure and a new experience in Florida,” says the 74-year-old dynamo. “And it’s time for someone fresh to come in here and work with John. It’s always good to refresh a place.”

Arts Autumn & Events 2010

As the following events may change, please confirm all details with the event organizer.

Appalachian State University

Following listings are sponsored by ASU and for more information visit, www.pas., September 17 The Red Clay Ramblers, 8pm Farthing September 25 Annual Fall Open House 9am George M. Holmes Convocation Center October 5 United States Marine Corp Band Concert 8pm Farthing October 8 Steely Pan Band Show 8pm Farthing October 15 SOM Orchestra Concert 8pm Farthing October 29 The Del McCoury Band & Preservation Jazz Band, 8pm Farthing November 11 NC Symphony, 8pm Farthing Visiting Artists Series September 21: Don Davis, Ceramicist 7:30pm Turchin Center Lecture Hall September 30: Michael Frassinelli, Sculptor 7pm Turchin Center Lecture Hall October 26 Stephen Nachmanovitch, Improvisational Violinist 8pmTurchin Center October 28 Stephen Nachmanovitch, Recital 8pm Rosen Concert Hall Visiting Writers Series September 16 Hillary Jordan, Blue Ridge Ballroom, 7:30pm September 30 Poet Chris Green, Table Rock Room, 7:30pm

October 7 Writer in Residence Kelly Cherry Table Rock Room, 7:30pm October 28 Literary Journalist Adrian Nicole LeBlanc Table Rock Room, 7:30pm November 18 Fiction Writer/Poet Brenda Flanagan Table Rock Room, 7:30pm Hayes School of Music Hayes School of Music 2010 performance calendar is available online or by contacting 828-262-3020 or visit Appalachian State Wind Energy The Southern Appalachian region contains abundant and readily available wind, solar and microhydro resources for producing home-grown, clean and renewable energy. The Western North Carolina Renewable Energy Initiative (WNCREI) is an Appalachian State University Energy Center (ASUEC) project dedicated to helping create a sustainable energy future. Workshops The WNCREI is proud to host the 2010 workshop series to empower groups and individuals with the tools and resources to pursue wind, solar, microhydro and alternative fuel technologies for energy independence. All workshops are located at the Appalachian State University Campus, Kerr Scott/ Harper Hall Room 178. Call 828-262-7333 or visit Turchin Center for Visual Arts The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts (TCVA) supports regionally significant exhibition, education and collection programs. Through its programs and partnerships, the center supports the university’s role as a key regional educational and cultural resource, and offers a dynamic space where participants experience and incorporate the power and excitement

of the visual arts into their lives. For more information, please call 828-262-3017 or visit November 5 Exhibition Celebration Reception 7-9pm

Mountainhome Music

A non-profit organization founded by Joe Shannon, Mountainhome Music began in 1994 with the purpose of celebrating Appalachian culture through music. For more information, please visit www. or call 828-964-3392. September 19 Mountain Home Music Breakfast 9am, Meadowbrook Inn October 9 Country Music Classics: David Johnson and His Studio Friends, 8pm, Blowing Rock School Auditorium October 16 Heartwarming Elegance and Hard-time Honky-tonk – Little Window and the Cave Dwellers 8pm, Blowing Rock School Auditorium October 23 The Mountain Dulcimer: Anne Lough and Friends, 8pm, Blowing Rock School Auditorium November 27 Celtic and Classical: Puddingstone 8pm, Meadowbrook Inn, Blowing Rock December 4 An Appalachian Christmas 8pm, Grace Lutheran Church in Boone

continued . . .

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Arts & Events Autumn 2010 Boone

For information visit,, October 1, November 5 Downtown Boone Art Crawl, 5pm-2am

Watauga County Arts Council

Parkway Crafts Center

The Watauga County Arts Council was founded in 1981 with a mission to sponsor and encourage the cultural arts in Watauga County, with an emphasis on arts in education and the traditional art. The galleries and concerts will be held at the Jones House Community Center in downtown Boone, home of the offices and galleries of the Watauga County Arts Council.  For more information, please call 828-2641789 visit

The Southern Highland Craft Guild is a nonprofit, educational organization established in 1930 to bring together the crafts and craftspeople of the Southern Highlands for the benefit of shared resources, education, marketing and conservation. For more information, call 828-295-7938 or visit

Watauga County Farmers Market

The historic village of Blowing Rock will provide ample cultural opportunities. For more information, please call 828-295-7851 or visit, Thru October 14 Blowing Rock Farmers Market www.blowingrock. com/farmersmarket.htm September 10, October 1 Sunset Stroll, 5:30-8pm Sunset Drive 828-295-6991 September 11, October 2 Art in the Park, 10-5pm American Legion Grounds September 12, October 3 Concert in the Park, 4-5pm Memorial Park October 1-30 Tweetsie Ghost Train Halloween Festival at Tweetsie Railroad, 7:30pm October 2 High Country Hospice Fall Ball, 7-11pm, Blowing Rock Country Club October 23 Fall Harvest Barn Dance, Blowing Rock Parkway October 30 Blowing Rock Halloween Festival November 26 Christmas in the Park & Lighting of the Town, Memorial Park November 27 Christmas Parade, Main Street

From May 1- October 30 fresh vegetables, fruits, canned goods, flowers, plants, handmade furniture, fresh milk, cheese and good conversation can be found at the Farmers’ Market at the Horn in the West Grounds. The market is open on Saturdays through October and on Wednesdays from mid June through mid September. Hours are 8am until noon on Sat and 3-6:30 on Wed.

Boone Mall

Shop locally! 828-264-7286 November 19,20 Christmas Show in Boone, 10-9pm & 12:30-5pm, 828-898-5605

Horn in the West

For more information, call 828-264-2120 or visit

Daniel Boone Native Gardens & Hickory Ridge Homestead

828-264-6390 October 9 The 30th Annual Apple Festival October 21-30 Haunted Horn Ghost Trail

60 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

Blowing Rock

Avery County

For more information, call 800-972-218/ 828-8985605 or visit them at September 17,October 15 Main Street Cruz-In 6-10pm Downtown Newland 828-733-8833 October 16 Awesome Autumn Oyster Bash 4-9pm Plumtree 828-765-9696 October 16 Woolly Worm Woad Wace, 9am October 16-17 33rd Annual Woolly Worm Festival, 10-5pm October 31 Trunk or Treat, 5-8pm. Face Painting 1-7pm Banner Elk Town Park

Grandfather Mountain 2010

For more info call 800-468-7325 or visit www.

Orchard at Altapass

The Historic Orchard at Altapass is a 102-year-old apple orchard turned Appalachian Cultural Center celebrating the people, music, art and natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. The Orchard sits right on the Parkway providing some of the most amazing scenery thru October 31. Visit www. or call 828-765-9531.

Avery County Arts Council

The Avery County Arts Council is a non-profit organization working to enrich the people of Avery County through meaningful arts and cultural experiences. For more than 30 years, the council has helped to support school arts programs and served as a resource for artists and the community. Call 828898-4292 or September 25, October 23 The Greater Avery Tour de Art 10am-5pm, 11 Galleries Thru October Winding Roads Tour Small group tours of the Avery Quilt Trail

Arts & Events Autumn 2010 Banner House Museum

Experience 19th century history in the home of Samuel Henry Banner. Wander back in time till October 23rd this season. Visit or call 828-898-3634.

Beech Mountain

For more info, go to or call 828-387-9283. Also,, and October 2-3 Autumn at Oz, 4pm October 10 Woolly Worm Fall Ball, Buckeye Recreation Center October 10 Big Truck Day, Family Fire and Safety Day, 10:30-12:30,Buckeye Rec. Ctr. October 30 Halloween Party & Haunted House, 5pm at Town Hall November 28 Beech Mountain Holiday Market 10am-3pm, 828-387-3003 Weekly Hayrides thru the Countryside

Fred’s General Mercantile

For more information call 828-387-4838 or visit

Lees McRae College

Located in downtown Banner Elk. or call 828-898-8721 October 1-3: Annual Homecoming

Banner Elk

For more information call 828-898-8395 or visit October 16-17 33rd Annual Woolly Worm Festival, 10-5pm October 31 Trunk or Treat, 5-8pm. Face Painting 1-7pm Banner Elk Town Park Every Wednesday Courtyard Parties at 5pm Shops at the Village on Main Street .

Mayland Community College

For more info, call 828-765-7351 or visit October 1,2,4-6 Treasures from the Past Yard Sale Extravaganza, Spruce Pine October 15-16 Yancey County Dream Home Tour 6 sites including Mudville November 7 Dream Day Celebration

The Crossnore School

For more info, call 828-733-4305, 800-557-4305 or visit September 20 Ladies Golf Invitational, Linville Ridge Golf Club October 10 National DAR Bus Tour

Valle Crucis

Visit October 16 32nd Annual Valle Country Fair, 9-4pm October 23 5th Annual Punkin Festival, 11-4pm till mid October Apple Hill Farm Saturday tours at 2pm (reservations suggested). Located off 194 between Valle Crucis and Banner Elk, the farm offers a walking tour and stops at 3 different animal barns to meet alpacas ,llamas, horses, donkeys, goats and chickens. The store offers a variety of items made from alpaca yarn, fresh produce and eggs, plants, gifts and local craft items. For more info call 828.963.1662 or visit

Cove Creek

Cove Creek Preservation and Development, Inc. is dedicated to serving the Cove Creek Community through preservation and restoration. For more info, visit September 24 Monthly BBQ, 4-7pm

Wilkes Heritage Museum

For info, please call 336-667-3171 or visit September 11,22 Candle Light Ghost Tours Old Wilkes Jail, 336-667-3171 September 25 Book Signing, 2-4pm October 23 Haunted Wilkes: Tricks and Tools of the Trade, 9-4pm

Sugar Mountain

For more information call 828-898-4521 or visit October 9-10 Oktoberfest, 10-5pm October 30 Job Fair, 10-12pm November 25-28 Thanksgiving Turkey Treat

Mast General Store

When you visit the “store that has everything”, you might also stumble on some good ole country music being played around the potbelly stove. For more information and details of other store locations, please call 828-963-6511 or visit www.mastgeneralstore. com.

continued . . .

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Arts & Events Autumn 2010 Art Galleries 87 Ruffin Street Gallery Alta Vista Gallery

Other Happenings


September 25 Old Timey Festival,

Carlton Gallery

October 2 Brushy Mountain Apple Festival, Wilkesboro, 8-5pm October 9 Todd New River Festival, 9-5pm Todd 828-262-0277 October 25 25th Annual Music on the Mountain Folk Festival, 5-8pm Monday’s at 5pm thru Thanksgiving Shady Grove Garden’s Scenic Hay Rides 828-297-4098, November 24 Traditional Opening Day for Ski & Snow Sports Resorts in the High Country

Cheesehouse Gallery Crossnore Fine Arts Gallery Kevin Beck Studio Linville River Pottery Morning Star Gallery Sally Nooney Gallery The Art Cellar Gallery & Framemaker The Linville Gallery at Tynecastle Toe River Arts Council

62 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

Avery Arts Council

A New Home A New Vision By Steve York


elcome to Linville! That’s the resounding sentiment which came from businesses, residents and local leaders in the Linville/Newland communities when the Avery County Arts Council set up headquarters in their backyard. And it’s literally in the backyard of the Old Hampton Store and 87 Ruffin Street Gallery in Linville. In this tight economy, when so many arts organizations seem to be shrinking, the Avery County Arts Council is actually expanding. “We are very excited about our new home!” says Mary Ray, President of the 30-something year old community organization. “When we learned in July that we would have to relocate from the Cheese House in Banner Elk by August 1st, we immediately set course to find the best alternative location possible. We had many offers to consider and were very grateful for all of them. But this new spot is truly ideal. The Old Hampton Store, with its famous Barbeque café, mountain gifts, foods and collectibles, puts us in the middle of an already popular retail shopping setting with built-in people traffic. And with 87 Ruffin Street Gallery as our neighbor, we will be well on the way to creating a proper Arts District in Linville,” Ray added. Along with the usual Arts Council events, plans include co-hosting events with Hampton Store and Ruffin Gallery owner, Abigail Sheets, that include musical and arts programs on a regular basis. The new location is immediately behind the 87 Ruffin Street Gallery with access through the drive and walkway between the Old Hampton Store and the Gallery. The building itself had to be renovated to fit the Art Council’s operations. The property is canopied by apple trees and faces the quaint little chapel just behind the Gallery. It doesn’t take much imagination to envision how the Arts Council facility and the grounds will be a cozy and inviting atmosphere

for promoting a wide array of arts and entertainment events. “The building is set high up off the ground and has a large, covered front porch that beckons you to sit, rock and enjoy the setting,” noted LouAnn Morehouse, Avery Arts Council Executive Director. “The porch will double as a stage for live music performers and the lawn will host a variety of social and teaching activities. We envision artists with easels set up across the lawn during painting classes. We’re even planning to have a platform on the lawn for special dancing events,” Morehouse added. The Arts Council was in the process of planning their annual fund raising gala when the notice to move came down. The gala was relegated to the back burner while staff quickly focused on organizing the transition to greener pastures and sought to raise money to help defray renovation costs for their new facility. With the help of Boone Paint, New River Building Supply and Vonco Custom Homes’ construction crew, the renovations progressed rapidly and assured that the Arts Council would be open and ready for visitors during the first week of August. An Inaugural Exhibition featuring potter, Patti Connor-Greene, began on Sunday, August 15. The show, entitled “New Pots and Old Friends,” drew a strong crowd which continued throughout the exhibit. Patti’s exhibit was enriched further by a variety of art from other area artists. This was also part of the Council’s annual fund raiser with raffle tickets sold to win at 22” flat screen TV from Mountain Heritage Systems. An official Gallery “House Warming” slated for September, offers High Country arts enthusiasts a special opportunity to check out the new facility and get a taste of its expanded menu of activities. The festivities include live music, refreshments and lots of great art on display. “Our new home is now very centrally located in Avery County, providing easy access from anywhere in the greater High Country,” Ray concluded. “We have more gallery room for additional art exhibits and more overall space to include additional arts-related events and entertainment. This means that more art and more artists can be featured at any one time; giving our local communities a greater venue for promoting and showcasing our rich and creative art heritage.” For those not familiar with this thriving and fascinating little destination community, it’s just off the highway between Linville and Newland. From the Linville traffic light and Post Office on Highway 105, turn west

LouAnn Morehouse, Avery Arts Council Exec. Director

towards Newland and then right onto Ruffin Street just past the roadside vegetable and plant stands. After crossing the short bridge and passing the Linville Animal Hospital, you’ll see the Old Hampton Store and the 87 Ruffin Street Gallery on your left. From there, follow the signs to the new Arts Council headquarters located at 77 Ruffin Street, just behind these landmarks. If you’ve never visited the Avery County Art Council gallery, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. Hours of operation are now Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm to better fit with the peak traffic of its neighboring businesses. Looking forward, Arts Council

leaders and local artists are excited about their new showplace and predict that it will have a very positive influence on the cultural growth of Avery County. The Avery County Arts Council is a non-profit organization working to enrich the people of Avery County through meaningful arts and cultural experiences. For more than 30 years the council has helped to support school arts programs and served as a resource for artists and the community. Contact the Avery County Arts Council at 828-733-0054 or

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


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Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Beech Mountain Merchant Guide: Alpen Restaurant & Bar


Beech Mountain Chalet Rentals


Buckeye Recreation Center


Holland Realty & Construction




Chalet Rentals “Wide Variety of Vacation Rentals”

828-387-4231 405 Beech Mtn. Pkwy

Action Realty & Rentals

828-387-4246 500 Beech Mtn Pkwy

“Rentals for all seasons”

Book Now For Your Winter Get-Away In The Highest Resort East of the Rockies 828-387-2231 • 301 Pinnacle Inn Rd.

Fred’s General Mercantile 828-387-4838

Sherry Garris Properties


Superlative Realty Services


FREE GOLF Offer includes cart and 18 holes of golf Stay and play from $79 a person, per day, with a minimum of two nights on Beech Mountain Golf offer valid on Saturday and Sunday only through October 17, 2010 Additional rounds $50 including cart (pending availability) Beech Mountain Club course plays 6,225 yards Rental chalets, cabins and condos available on Beech Mountain. 1-800-468-5506 68 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life


Areas most competitive lift ticket prices Fastest lift in the southeast 100% snowmaking coverage Skiing / Snowboarding Ice Skating / Tubing

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Sept. 18 & 25: hay rides through Beech Mtn. Countryside Oct. 2 & 3: Autumn at Oz

November 21st: Ski Beech Opens (and who says so – mr. snowwoman?) November: Christmas Tree Month & Winter Hikes November 27th: Beech Mtn. Holiday Craft Market

Beechwood Realty “High Country’s Best Real Estate Values”

Come Play!

December 18th: Santa’s Visit & Decorating the littlest tree

Beech Mountain Rentals 828-387-4291 3455 S. Beech Mtn Pkwy

Dec. 29th: Beech Mtn. Bonfire & Hayride 828-387-9283 Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Exceeding Expectations How High Country Developments are Weathering Economic Storms By Steve York


etbacks are expected in the world of developers. Even the best plans and economic conditions don’t exclude them. But High Country developers were already feeling the symptoms of a disturbance in the force at least two years ago. Marketing strategies and dollars weren’t netting the same return as even a year earlier. The intoxication brought on by housing’s champagne bubbles was already wearing off and people felt the chill of more than just another typical autumn in the High Country. Locally, that reality swept across the offices and planning sessions of every developer in the area. Among the various strategies considered were those that would allow projects to move forward,

70 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

but at a much slower pace…and with adjustments in pricing for lot sales and amenities offered. The desirability of a second home in the High Country didn’t so much diminish as did the size and amenity demand levels of potential property buyers. Prior to 2008, many buyers had the capital and confidence to picture themselves in an expansive single family home or even an estate setting. For that they expected multiple luxury private residence amenities. Today, both buyers and developers are thinking a little leaner and more targeted. It’s not that an upscale mountain lifestyle isn’t still in demand. It is…but buyers have lowered their expectations and budgets. So developers are leveraging amenities along with adjusted prices to bring “added value” to the enticement for buying now rather than when the economy gets better. And, in some cases, that strategy is working. One reason is the remarkable drawing power of our Blue Ridge Mountain setting. No matter how tight things may get, there will always be thousands of people who still want to visit and spend part of their time in this natural wonderland. And that drives second home or mountain getaway sales. There are no less than a dozen relatively new upscale residential developments here in the High Country that have begun within the past five years. Some offer everything from

golf to horseback riding; while others feature the softer amenities. Although scattered around Ashe, Watauga, Avery and Mitchell Counties, many are clustered mostly around Avery County. The Banner Elk, Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain communities have long since become an oasis for wealthy second and third home buyers longing for our cool mountain summers and rich outdoor recreational activities. Eagles Nest, Headwaters, Wilderness Trail, and the Reserve are among those who have recently joined Linville Ridge, Grandfather Club, Elk River, Eseeola, Mountain Glen, Sugar and Beech Mountain developments to vie for those mountain retreat dollars. Hound Ears in Watauga, Jefferson Landing in Ashe County, Echota in Foscoe, Reynolds Blue Ridge and Sweetgrass in Blowing Rock and the Linville Falls Resort near Marion have also captured buyers and continue to hold their positions. But all have struggled with a weaker marketplace in the past three years, and none are immune to setbacks in some form. Reynolds Blue Ridge (formerly Laurelmore) has rebounded from its collapse under Ginn Resorts ownership. Reynolds’ general manager, Jim Pitt, and new owners have re-vitalized and rebranded their 6,200 acre project with new cottage and housing options and price points to fit the emerging mar-

ket. Like all smart developers, they have adapted their scope to more accurately reflect the new economy and its buyers. Jefferson Landing is also under a new ownership group and is re-energizing its profile. Even the Cliffs Communities further south, with their Tiger Woods brand golf endorsement, had to rely on extra support from their home owners and club members to help boost their viability. And, though the economy hints at a slow recovery, local developers are taking stock of what they have to offer, how much financial exposure they’re willing to risk and what strategies will actually work in this new market. According to John Haynes, of Headwaters off 194 in Banner Elk, six key elements to successful property and home sales in any development seem to be: the strength of its infrastructure, the degree to which amenities are in place, the sales track-record over the last 24 to 36 months, a strong builder program, the number of completed homes and facilities and…the financial stability of the developer. Developer of Headwaters, Paul Ashe, echos these sentiments and credits their influence towards Headwater’s success. Despite the sluggishness for many new projects in the Mountain South, Ashe notes that Headwaters has somehow managed to hold on to its turf and actually grow sales. In fact they are boasting to have closed on more properties by the fall of this year than in all of 2009. By their own count, they closed on 12 properties last year; yet already landed 14 as of this July. That brings their active lifestyle community to at least 90 property owners and over 42 roofs either completed or under construction. Paul Ashe, a 40 year veteran of highprofile property developments here in the High Country, in several other states and internationally, candidly offered that, “Headwaters is one of the strongest developments I’ve ever been involved with; and our growing list of property owners seems to confirm that. We’ve tried to combine many of the features and amenities buyers are looking for and package them with solid business management,” Ashe notes. Both he and John Haynes make the point that smart property development requires managing resources and growth on the basis of proven business and ethical principles, especially during a slowed economy.

Haynes adds one more factor to the equation: “We always try to give our property owners more than they expect”. Along with hiking trails, water sports and a busy clubhouse, Headwaters has added a Chef-In-Residence to their “menu” of social activities. DeWayne Sabisch wears the Chef hat and offers a new main entre to the community’s frequent private covered dish dinners. To assure a family flavor to these events, property owners are encouraged to bring their own favorite appetizers and desserts to share with the crowd. The open kitchen venue allows everyone to mingle, participate and celebrate their common mountain experience. Such gatherings add a warm sense of community to the Headwaters lifestyle. Mark Harrill of Echota has seen steady, if not impressive growth since starting this Adirondack designed community. With over 450 families and a range of condominiums and townhomes, this community continues to grow. In fact they’ve recently added their Chalakee section to the development. Location, views, value and choice are some of the factors working for them. You can find everything from a one-bedroom getaway to large single family home, plus a wide range in between. This answers customer demand for budget and lifestyle flexibility. “The factors that led to the second home market haven’t left us,” says Harrill; who planned Echota to answer that ever-present mountain retreat demand. Jim Fitzpatrick of the Reserve has also experienced growth on the ridges of Sugar Mountain. With both single family homes and clustered condominiums, they have sought to satisfy the desire for a range of second home options set at elevations that offer extraordinary mountain vistas and all the amenities of the Sugar Mountain community. “The selling strength at the Reserve is the Village of Sugar Mountain,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s a multi-season resort and has all the amenities that most people want—golf, tennis, skiing, ice skating, snow tubing, and hiking and cycling. From a recreational environment like that we offer a high quality second home at good value with spectacular views that’s appealing to a wide range of home buyers.” Of course, each development has its unique identity and marketing strengths.

While continuing to focus on providing a multi-amenity based community, an abundance of family activities, full concierge services and a distinctive equestrian theme, Eagles Nest has added a broader range of residential housing and pricing options to fulfill the new buyer demands. With a dramatic entrance off highway 194 and long-range views from its Beech Mountain setting, its artful architecture offers a rich warmth all its own. Depending on your lifestyle of choice, you can find everything from large outdoor gatherings, to spa services, golf tournaments and galloping horseback adventures. Or, you can simply take a hike up a quiet trail that meanders through thick forests, climbs up rocky ledges and ends up at a hidden lake where time and stress can be washed away. Looking forward…to the years ahead, a changing economy and a new vision of the ideal mountain property buyer, developers have to stay vigilant to new buyer demands and sensitive to new buyer budgets. For all the obvious reasons, shoppers want more and less. They want more value but are willing to accept a smaller home or a shared residence program. They want more amenity options, but are looking to cherry pick the amenities that fit their new budgets. They also want new lifestyle services like healthy dining, full family activities, more exercise facilities and actual health services. First and last, they want the intangible yet unmistakable inspiration and exhilaration that comes from those refreshing and breathtaking views only bestowed by these special Blue Ridge Mountains. As the economy changes and the High Country adapts, local developers are re-calibrating their altimeters to measure the levels of expectations which will attract and satisfy their changing marketplace. The challenges are everywhere and some will stumble. Setbacks are, after all, part of the deal. But the best strategy may be the one echoed by Paul Ashe and John Haynes of Headwaters, you first have to anticipate your customer’s wishes and then “exceed their expectations.”

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


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Securities and investment advisory services offered through Financial Network Investment Corporation, Member SIPC and FINRA. Waite Securities and investment services offered through Financial Financial and FNICadvisory are unaffiliated. Network Investment Corporation, Member SIPC and FINRA. Waite Financial and FNIC are unaffiliated.


for projects big & small 828-963-0237 Reach a staff of qualified professionals and tradesmen for every detail of home construction and repair. “Handyman” to remodels and additions. 1 CALL HOME & PROPERTY ENHANCEMENTS For more about our services, visit our website . . .

72 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life


andering through the Parisian quarter known as the Marais one day this summer, I came into the Place de La Republique, where revolutions, protests, rallies, and the like have occurred for centuries. There I happened on a huge demonstration and stopped to ask someone what the reason was for the hullabaloo. “La retraite à soixante!” was his response. Retirement at age 60! The idea or expectation that social security retirement might be lowered in this country would be preposterous enough. But in Europe, where governments including that of France are having a time of making ends meet, it is, like the character Vizzini in the movie “The Princess Bride” would have said, “Inconceivable!” But the French who love to strike and demonstrate are capable of getting government’s attention by bringing travel, garbage pick-up, or any number of other everyday activities to a halt. The French love revolution, and they are used to getting their way. These are exactly the kinds of behavior, expectations, and nonchalance on the part of constituents that are in part responsible for straining European governments sometimes to the brink of collapse. Things across the sea have not been looking good for European solvency, for political unity, or for cohesion for some time. Granted, there were no complaints from me as a traveler, since my US dollars went quite a bit further in the French marketplaces than they would have a year or two ago. But if currencies were teams to root for, you probably wouldn’t pick Europe’s to win the World Currency Cup just now. But as we all know European governments aren’t the only ones that are strained. Our own balance sheet as well as those of many other developed nations are challenged after bailouts on both sides of the sea. All of these phenomena have important implications for owning bonds, particularly sovereign (country specific) bonds. Particularly now, the health of the issuer and whether its health is in decline or is improving merit our attention. I am hiring good global bond managers to manage bond risk just like I would hire them to manage equity risk.

Retirement at 60? By Katherine S. Newton, CFP®, ChFC™

In fact some of the smartest bond managers in the world are looking in places like Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, and Sri Lanka for good solid bond returns. That’s because after the Asian monetary crisis in the late 90’s, many of those governments were required to participate in austerity measures which have benefited them fiscally, and they have not had to strain their balance sheets to the point of breaking to bail out their economies, economies which in many cases are going gangbusters. There are other reasons why owning bonds, oftentimes considered the safe haven of investing, is very tricky. Interest rates are at rock bottom lows after having been declining for over three decades. When rates do finally turn and go the other way, this could bode very poorly for bond owners. But currently 80% of all new investor mutual fund money is going into bond funds, not equity funds. This would get the attention of many a contrarian, someone who is brave enough to do what the herd isn’t doing and who turns in the other direction to invest. And with the ever-present threat of inflation on the horizon (more government intervention money chasing same goods and service), holding on to too much cash could be risky indeed. If your portfolio isn’t growing, then your purchasing power is, essentially, in decline. Cash, hardly to be considered an investment even in good times, may especially not be a good place for money now. And so that leaves equities. There are institutional investors, e.g., the managers of pension funds and the like, that believe there are many reasons to be buyers of equities. And, as Financial Advisor magazine recently noted, “Until retail investors have reason to feel safe about putting money back into the market, the constant flow of money into equity funds will not be there to smooth declines and

fuel a longer-term uptrend. That should keep short-term volatility high, which in turn would keep retail investors from feeling safe about stocks.” In other words, the big guys in the investment world already own stocks, but the man or woman on the street hasn’t begun to participate because he/she can’t be comfortable with volatility, those sleep-disturbing ups and downs in the market. Although things are uncertain and with a concession that we may be in a sideways market, owning equities in a balanced, and/or hedged, portfolio, where good stock pickers prevail and where strategies are employed to lower risk, may make sense. Now more than ever good personalized advice on how to manage your money is imperative, whether your goal is “la retraite à soixante” or your goal is to “protect my portfolio and grow my purchasing power over time.” If you want to know more about the kinds of portfolios I am currently designing for clients, give me a call and we’ll review your portfolio together. The views are those of Katherine Newton and should not be considered as investment advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representations as to its completeness or accuracy. Discuss all information with your individual advisor prior to implementation. Katherine Newton, a 28-year veteran of the financial services industry and Certified Financial Planner™, helps clients nationwide enrich their retirements by creating reliable streams of income, freeing them to do what’s most important in their lives.  You can reach Katherine at her company Waite Financial Group in Hickory at 828.322.9595 or by email at Her registered branch address is P.O. Box 1177, Hickory, NC 28603. Securities and Advisory Services are offered through Financial Network Investment Corporation. FNIC and Waite Financial are unaffiliated.

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Grandfather Mtn Named Attraction of the Year by NCTIA

Travel Association also honors Wilson, Distl and N.C. Amateur Sports.

Year-Round Organic Gardening & More! How would you like to be able to reach over your kitchen counter, grab some freshly grown organic veggies, fruits or herbs and prepare a delicious, healthy meal from your own indoor garden? While you’re at it, how would you like to grace your table or home décor with fresh flowers and indoor plants ALSO GROWN in your own home? And how would you like to be able to do that in November or February or ANYTIME year-round? You can! You can also incorporate leading edge solar, hydroelectric, wind turbine and other sustainable energy elements into your home to complete the “green” theme of your lifestyle. And what’s ever better? You can do all that with one visit to a brand new High Country business called 5th Element Supply. It’s the brainchild of local entrepreneurs, John Paul Cogdill and Jake Franz. Following a love for organic and indoor gardening plus a keen belief in eco-friendly living, these guys have taken their own money, sweat equity and creativity to bring a new, one-stop sustainable lifestyle supply store to our area. It opened Labor Day weekend with an official Grand Opening September 25th to get acquainted with the community, plus celebrate with prizes, refreshments and live entertainment. Along with all the ingredients needed to start and maintain your own indoor organic garden, they also offer free consultation and support services to help you do it right AND have a lot of fun while you’re at it. “From food to flowers, not only will what you grow be better and better for you, the simple process of creating your own indoor garden is both invigorating and life enriching,” notes John Paul. “Even if your gardening expertise is limited or your lifestyle doesn’t allow you do go all out, you will still reap many psychological, physical and spiritual benefits from this new hobby,” he continued. “We offer all the soils, growing mediums, seeds, seedlings, lights, hydroponics and instruction you would need to get started or expand your organic garden,” adds Jake Franz. “Whether a new hobbyist or serious alternative horticulturalist, you will be able to grow everything from exotic foods and florals to indoor ornamental mini-plantscapes. And, by the way, our organic gardening products and information works outside as well and indoors,” Franz added. Organics and alternative energy can be both healthy and costeffective. Live food is easier to digest, contains more nutrients and provides living elements that combat disease and promote health— without the need for harmful pesticides and residual toxins. Government incentives and tax rebates allow consumers to offset many of their green energy investments and eventually help realize an investment surplus. Together, these lifestyle choices are good for Life and good for household budgets. When asked why the business is called 5th Element, John Paul noted, “Successful organic farming and alternative energy systems only work when the four elements of earth, wind, water and sunlight are activated by a 5th element, the human element. Working with Nature can be a lot of fun and help harvest many long-term lifestyle rewards,” he concluded. Learn more at 5th Element Supply, 8763 Highway 105 South in Foscoe. .

74 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

Grandfather Mountain received the 2010 North Carolina Visitor Attraction of the Year award from the North Carolina Travel Industry Association this summer at Sea Trail Resort & Conference Center in Sunset Beach.  The award was presented during the annual Tourism Leadership Conference, co-hosted by NCTIA and the Destination Marketing Association of North Carolina. Grandfather Mountain was honored for its role as a beacon of tourism in the mountains. Since 1952, millions of visitors have flocked to Grandfather Mountain’s 5,946-foot peak. It is home to an animal habitat, nature museum, hiking trails and the famous Mile-High Swinging Bridge. For 2010, the attraction added a new visitor center/gift shop at the top of the mountain. Grandfather’s vice president Harris Prevost accepted the award, which honors attractions that provide excellence, innovation and sets the standard for an exceptional visitor experience. This year’s North Carolina Visitor Attraction of the Year Award, a relatively new distinction presented for only the fourth time, was a first for Grandfather Mountain. “Grandfather won the award because of their efforts to preserve the mountain forever,” Prevost said, “first by turning the property over to the state and converting from a ‘for profit’ enterprise to a non-profit to be held in perpetuity for the people. With all the great attractions in the state we’re very honored.”  NCTIA presented three other awards. The Tourism Excellence Award for an Individual went to Connie Wilson of Raleigh, an award first won by Grandfather Mountain’s Hugh Morton in 1965 and by Prevost in 1993. The Charles Kuralt Award went to Craig Distl of Charlotte, a public relations specialist who has worked with the High Country Host and the Town of Beech Mountain among his numerous client list. Distl’s communications career began in 1991 as a sports writer at the Watauga Democrat in Boone. Today he operates Distl Public Relations of Charlotte, hosts press tours of North Carolina, and works with travel media to develop stories about in-state destinations. He was honored for providing exceptional, positive public attention to the State of North Carolina. A third award, the Tourism Excellence Award for a Business went to N.C. Amateur Sports of Durham. North Carolina Amateur Sports hosts the State Games of North Carolina and the Cycle North Carolina “Mountains to the Coast” Bicycle Tour, among other events. NCAS president Chuck Hobgood accepted the award, which recognizes outstanding contributions that organizations have made to develop the state’s travel industry. Previous winners of this award from the northern mountains includes brothers Grover, Harry, and Spencer Robbins in 1968, the High Country Host in 1982, and the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in 1984.

Stop the Madness

Involvement Is The Key To Ending Mountain Destruction By Linda Kramer


ppalachian Voices is an award-winning, non-profit, grassroots environmental citizen’s organization founded in 1977. They are committed to protecting the land, air and water of the central and southern Appalachian regions. Their headquarters are in Boone and they also have offices in Charlottesville, VA and Washington, D.C. As facilitators, they are adept at creating public awareness and are a valuable community resource for bringing people together who share the desire to protect our mountain heritage and eliminate environmental destruction. The primary mission of Appalachian Voices is to empower people to help solve environmental problems in Appalachia using grass roots campaigns to affect public policy and is committed to reducing coal’s impact by advancing a vision for a cleaner energy future. The group, which advocates sustainable forestry, currently has a handbook for private landowners which provides positive practices for maintaining healthy forests. They also work to curb the negative pollution caused by coal-fired power plants, opposing the construction of new facilities in Virginia and North Carolina and promoting clean alternatives such as energy efficiency and renewables. A campaign against mountaintop removal, however, has been the organization’s signature program since 2002. This radical form of coal mining in which

entire mountains are literally blown up, is devastating Appalachia and polluting the headwaters of rivers that provide drinking water to millions of Americans. So far, more than 1.2 million acres and 500 mountains have been destroyed; and over 2,000 miles of Appalachian streams have been buried. The organization believes that saving what is left can be accomplished, to a large degree, by public awareness and has created to build a national campaign to end mountaintop removal focusing on the Clean Water Protection Act and the Appalachian Restoration Act. Visit the website to learn how you can help. The Appalachian Voice is the organization’s non-profit quarterly environmental news publication. It serves mainly as an outreach tool, committed to protecting and restoring the ecological integrity, economic vitality and cultural heritage of southern and central Appalachian communities covering the mountain regions of WV, KY, NC, GA and TN. Through its editorial content, Jamie Goodman, Communications Coordinator for Appalachian Voices and editor of The Appalachian Voice says, “Our goal is to provide the public with journalistic insight into environmental problems as well as to highlight individuals and organizations working on solutions that are often neglected by the mainstream media.” While there is no coal in NC, the

state is the #1 consumer of coal mined by mountaintop removal, and Willa Mays, Executive Director of Appalachian Voices says, “Pollution from coal—from mining to processing to burning and waste disposal is the largest single threat to the land, air and waters of our region. We have a responsibility to be aware of the devastation that is supplying our electricity and do something about it.” Willa, who expresses her involvement with passion, continues, “Not unlike big oil, the coal industry has tremendous power and political influence. The only sure counter to the massive pollution and destruction of our landscape is through a national effort, strong Congressional support and the loud voice of the people. We will win this battle!” The problem is urgent. The cry loud and clear. Readers interested in adding their voices can call 1-877-APPVOICE. Appalachian Voices and The Appalachian Voice 191 Howard Street. Boone, NC 28607 828-262-1500 / 1-877-APP-VOICE and

During the month of September, Appalachian Voices will receive $10 for every pair of Patagonia shoes purchased at The Mast General Store.

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Grandfather Trout Farm OPEN YEAR-ROUND


You may bring your own or use our equipment. All bait and tackle are furnished at no charge. We will supply you with a bucket, towel, net and the gear for all your fishing needs. Don't worry if you’ve never fished before, we'll be happy to help you get started.


For some, cleaning their catch is fun, and you may do so, or we will clean them for you. We can filet or clean your trout whole, then double bag and ice down your catch.


Hwy. 105, 10 Miles South of Boone

(across from entrance to Seven Devils)

76 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

Appalachian Named “Green College” By Princeton Review


ppalachian State University has been included in The Princeton Review’s first “Guide to Green Colleges.” In an effort to recognize the impressive environmental and sustainability programs at universities and colleges across the country, The Princeton Review, in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), has released “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges” – the first, free comprehensive guidebook solely focused on institutions of higher education who have demonstrated an above average commitment to sustainability in terms of campus infrastructure, activities and initiatives. The guide is based on a survey of hundreds of colleges nationwide. It profiles the nation’s most environmentally responsible campuses. From solar panel study rooms to the percentage of budget spent on local/organic food, “The Princeton Review” Guide to 286 Green Colleges” looks at an institution’s commitment to building certification using USGBC’s LEED green building certification program; environmental literacy programs; formal sustainability committees; use of renewable energy resources; recycling and conservation programs, and other factors. The guide lists the university’s Teaching and Research Farm and Agroecology Laboratory in Valle Crucis for its programs that teach students about agroecology, agroforestry, and sustainable farming practices and its outreach to “encourage sustainable agricultural practices in the region.” The guide also highlights the university’s ongoing research involving biofuels and biomass projects. Other highlights include Appala-

chian’s 2009 installation of the largest wind turbine in the state, a commitment to LEED certification for all new construction, and renovations or retrofitting of current buildings. Appalachian’s commitment to sustainability also includes projects funded through the student initiated Renewable Energy Imitative, a $5 a semester fee that has funded installation of photovoltaic and solar thermal panels on several campus buildings, and provided half the cost of installing the wind turbine located near the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center. The university is implementing several measures to reduce energy costs, including installation of energy efficient lighting, and replacement of inefficient heating and cooling systems across campus. A campus-wide recycling program reclaims more than 900 tons of paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum, composted material and other materials from the waste stream each year. Low flow showerheads and sink faucet aerators have been installed in campus residence halls and the student union. A newly established Office of Sustainability works with university administration, staff and students to improve the campus’s sustainable practices. The “Guide to Green Colleges” is online at and Other North Carolina schools named to the list are: Duke University, Elon University, Guilford College, N.C. State University, Wake Forest University, UNC-Asheville and UNC-Chapel Hill. “Our research has shown that students and their parents are becoming more and more interested in learning about and attending universities and col-

leges that practice, teach and support environmental responsibility,” said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher of The Princeton Review. “In fact, 64 percent of the nearly 12,000 college applicants and parents who participated in our recent College Hopes & Worries Survey said having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would impact their decision to apply to or attend it. We created this guide to help them evaluate how institutions focus on environmental responsibility so they can make informed decisions as they move through the college assessment and application process.” “Beyond the cost savings to an institution, even the simplest aspects of a green campus, such as increased use of natural light, have been found to improve student learning and quality of life,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of USGBC. “Green facilities make colleges more attractive to students and can dramatically reduce energy costs. Higher education is a top priority market segment for USGBC because graduates of green colleges become incredible drivers of change when they call for similar surroundings in their jobs and communities.” The Princeton Review noted that another aspect of the guide is that it provides important information on schools that have dedicated environmental studies curriculums. “By many accounts, there are going to be a lot of job opportunities related to the environment and sustainability,” commented Franek. “For those who are interested in working in this growing sector, the Guide highlights the schools that are doing an especially good job in preparing and placing the next generation of green professionals.” Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Mount Mitchell Golf Club

Treasure on the Toe River Still Sparkles By Tom McAuliffe


or golfers, any trip to the golf course is a special occasion. But there are some particularly spectacular drives to some of America’s greatest venues that feed the anticipation of a truly memorable encounter. The road to Pebble Beach comes to mind—Highway 1 along the Pacific Ocean that carries players to the iconic layout which hosted this year’s U.S. Open and decades of Bing Crosby clambakes. But there’s another scenic by-way in our own backyard that delivers the golfing goods that can’t be ignored— the Blue Ridge Parkway’s path to the Mount Mitchell Golf Club just outside of Burnsville in Yancey County. With all of the great golfing options in Ashe, Avery and Watauga Counties, it may be easy to overlook Mount Mitchell Golf Club, an hour’s drive south of Linville but a distance tempered by the sublime beauty of America’s most scenic mountain road. Thirty five years ago,

78 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

Mount Mitchell opened to rave reviews, a public course sporting bent-grass fairways, tees and greens, striped by tri-plex mowers—something only seen previously in the mountains at its northern neighbor at Grandfather Mountain Golf and Country Club. Back in 1972 Lee King and Jim Floyd were just 26-years old back from Viet Nam and selling mountain property on the promise a new golf course would soon grace the 420-acre parcel of pristine mountain ground. Located just two miles from the parkway on Hwy. 80, the verdant river basin was the first privately owned property to greet the headwaters of the South Fork of the Toe River as it flowed from the 60 thousand acres of the Pisgah National Forest. English Architect Fred Hawtree was entrusted with the property to create the Mount Mitchell layout. “The land was just so right,” Floyd would say of the property where the

trout waters of the Toe River would impact strategy on 12 holes of the mountain masterpiece. “It was an easy course to build from that standpoint.” Now midway through its fourth decade of operation, the layout that measures just under 6,500 yards at its maximum length, has withstood the test of time. “It’s encouraging to see so many people play here year-in and year-out,” Floyd observed. “We’re surrounded by National Forest which makes us a little remote, but most people love the fact that they’re out of cell phone coverage when they get here. They ‘unplug’ from everyday life.” For the late English course designer Hawtree, Mount Mitchell stands as his only work in the U.S. among credits in Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and Holland. He was entrusted with the 1964 revisions of Portmarnock G.C, perhaps Ireland’s most revered links course. As the designer at Mount Mitchell, he let the South Toe River Basin do the talking for him, keeping ground moving to a minimum, and bringing the river into play at every possible turn. While High Country golfers in the know make day visits to Mount Mitchell, the typical group includes one or two foursomes spending a few days at the club utilizing a convenient network of condominiums and lodges. Trout fishing and horseback riding are popular ancillary activities readily available, and the Hawtree Pub and full-service restaurant make for a complete golfing getaway. “Looking back at how we struggled at first is very rewarding,” Floyd said. “Our customers have been very loyal as we’ve become more of a destination resort. Today, a typical group staying with us is two foursomes and on weekends constitutes the bulk of our play.” Mount Mitchell, at an elevation of 3,000 feet above sea level usually remains open until mid-November weather permitting. And once aboard the Blue Ridge Parkway for a tee-time here, you’ll wonder what took you so long to feel the anticipation. For more information go online at or call 828-675-5454

Grover Robbins Memorial Golf Tournament at Elk River Club Oct. 18th

1 0 0 years of h ospitality

Winery, Park, Quilt Trail Banner House Museum, B & Bs Historic Greenway, Wildcat Lake Lees McRae College Summer Concerts, Art Festivals, Fine Restaurants, Unique Shopping

RESORT REAL ESTATE & RENTALS All Rental Properties are on Sugar Mountain

The 38th annual Grover Robbins Memorial Golf Tournament will be held at the Elk River Club on Monday, Oct. 18. The fund-raising event benefits the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center at Watauga Medical Center where the Imaging Center is named for the late High Country entrepreneur. Twenty-six four-person teams are expected for the 9:00am Scramble event. A banquet will be held at the Elk River Club the night before the charity tournament. The entry fee is $300 per person for golf and dinner and $75. for dinner only. Since the tournament was established in 1972, more than $1.3 million has been raised for the Imaging Center and the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center on the Watauga Medical Center campus. Robbins and his brothers, Harry and Spencer , developed a number of prominent projects in the High Country, including Tweetsie Railroad, the Hound Ears Club, Beech Mountain, and Linville Land Harbors. Robbins died of cancer in 1970 at the age of 50. After his death, his brothers founded the Elk River Club in Banner Elk. Harry Robbins died in 2006. Spencer Robbins remains an active member of the High Country community. For further information about the tournament, contact Megan Lynch Ellis at 828/262-9564 or And for more information on the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center just visit


Enjoy our online booking 24/7 • All Properties are on Sugar Mountain! 3390 Tynecastle Hwy, Sugar Mountain, at the Time/Temperature Sign!

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Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Tom’s Custom Golf at Sugar Mountain Golf Club

Before you decide—swing our demo clubs Before you buy—shop our prices The more you know the better we look! Economy to premium balls and gloves in stock All club repairs done on site: Grips • Shafts • Loft and Lie service Custom clubs / 828-898-6464

Service is our best seller . . . 80 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

Explore Your Vertical World

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Ridge Log Homes By   Paul Stonecipher

Featuring Honest Abe Log Homes Great Incentives throughout the Fall Season . . . Will Not Last Long! Call for details: 828-963-6943 / Cell: 828-260-0289 Or visit us online at

Free Wireless - Outdoor seating Specialty coffees - Smoothies - frappe - pastries - Great selection of loose tea 7-7 Mon-Sat, 7-5 Sunday 828-898-5878 / At Grandfather Center, Junction Hwy. 105 & 184

Open to the Public!

It’s Just Better On Sugar Mountain

Fast Greens / Clay Courts / Great Value

Low Fall Rates . . . Remember Oktoberfest Oct. 9th & 10th on the grounds of Sugar Mountain Resort 828-898-6464 for Golf  / 828-898-6746 for Tennis 82 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

a’s Derek

Sugar Mountain

Accommodation Center & Realty, Inc



A GOLFER’S PARADISE AT MOUNTAIN GLEN Watch putts break on #7 and tee shots on #8 and #18 from this completely renovated and remodeled 5000 sq. foot home. Offering long-range, northwestern mountain views, a massive great room with 26’X17’ stone fireplace, pecky cypress walls, T & G with exposed beams, 5 Bedrooms, 3 Baths, sunroom & so much more, this home is Mountain Glen’s most unique! Offered at $699,000. Call for all the details. (Broker Interest)

Walk-Ins Welcome! Mon-Fri 9-5 Sat 9-12

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828-898-9475 / 800-545-9475 / Fax: 828-898-8620 106 Sugar Mtn Dr or PO Box 382, Sugar Mtn, NC 28604 • 800-545-9475 •

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For more information contact the Avery County Cha mber of Commerce (828) 898-5605 • (800) 972-2183 •

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —



ARHS Opens New Wound Care Center By Koren Huskins


hronic wounds—the kind that take a seemingly endless amount of time to heal—have a nasty habit of hanging around and require specialized, professional assistance for recovery.  Especially common with the elderly and diabetics, as well as people who are obese, have vascular insufficiencies, or experience repeated trauma to the same area, chronic wounds must be treated to prevent infection, amputation, or even death. This fall, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) is now able to help locals who suffer from chronic wounds by opening The Wound Care Center in Boone.   With the potential to serve one to two thousand patients per year or about 15-20 per day, the new center will fulfill a great service for High Country residents who are currently driving 60 minutes or longer for treatment.  The new center will open its doors as an outpatient facility, but wound care services for inpatients will also be offered. Staff includes a team of three RNs—Chris Moffett, June Smith, and Susan Stafford—all certified WOCN (Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses), and local physician, Dr. Harold Frazier, serving as the Medical Director. “We are extremely fortunate to have this team of highly specialized and skilled RNs who love what they do as we open our new Wound Care Center. It is a rare and wonderful situation to have all three nurses with WOCN certification, which attests to their level of expertise and skill, as well as a local physician on board to serve in a collaborative role,” says Vice President of System Service Lines, Kim Bianca. The center will also include a team of Occupational and Physical Therapists, and it will have access to all health services available within the ARHS system such as a Certified Diabetes Educator, nutritionists, social workers, and other healthcare professionals. The Wound Care Center has been in the planning stage for over a year to develop resources, recruit staff, and establish a space. Bianca added, “The Wound Care Center is an exciting component of our overall comprehensive continuum of care. Area physicians have been very supportive of this endeavor, and it will restore the health and mobility of those we serve.” Located on the first floor of Watauga Medical Center, The Wound Care Center will be open for outpatient services from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Thus far, the center has three treatment rooms and anticipates a rapid period of growth over the next year.  For more information, call (828) 262-9520.

84 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

Chronic Wound Treatment & Education   The Wound Care Center staff will work one-on-one with patients to treat existing wounds and educate against chronic wound reoccurrence.  If necessary, staff will consult multidisciplinary resources available within ARHS to treat the full spectrum of a patient’s needs. The overall goal is to treat and heal chronic wounds in a timely manner and prevent hospitalization for chronic wound patients.      The new center will treat patients using the following methods: • Compression treatment • Negative pressure wound therapy • Wound irrigation & debridement • Therapeutic wound care modalities Additional therapeutic treatment and prevention will include: • Diabetic education • Pain management • Radiology tests • Ostomy clinic • Nutrition counseling • Vascular studies • Laboratory services

Avery County’s Williams’ Ymca Still Growing

Hugh Chapman Family Center Breaks Ground By Kathryn Gatewood


t’s been five years since the citizens of Avery County gathered behind Dr. Phyllis Crane of the Crossnore School for Children to bring the YMCA to their mountain community. Together they succeeded in bringing recreation and a new focus on health to families of all backgrounds. The dream became a reality two years later when the YMCA’s Wellness Center opened featuring a walking track, weight machines, treadmills and the latest in Nautilus fitness equipment. A year later, the indoor aquatic center with swimming lanes and free form pool with slides opened to great fanfare. Today the Williams YMCA of Avery County prides itself in offering state-of-the art equipment and top notch programs in a world class facility. In this setting a dedicated staff provides year-round and seasonal residents with abundant opportunities to improve their health and quality of life. Programs like ‘SPLASH’, a free month long swim lesson program for every pre-K and second grader in Avery County schools, demonstrates the Y’s focus upon the children in our county. As local physician Dr. Charles Baker observed, “The YMCA has done more for the health of this

county than anything I’ve seen in the last thirty years.” Dr. Jim Richardson, the new executive director of the Williams Y, recognizes that the Y’s impact on this community has only just begun. He acknowledges the need for more and more people in the county to discover that the Y is for everyone. “This Y is here for the community. We are not a country club,” Dr. Richardson said. “Avery YMCA is an open facility for all walks of life, regardless of income.” Annual and monthly memberships are available, but scholarships to families and individuals who cannot afford regular user fees. Currently over 130 people receive full or partial scholarships for their membership to the Williams YMCA. Dr. Richardson notes that the Y’s vision is three-fold--youth development, promote healthy lifestyles in the community, and partner with others to address the social issues facing this community. Along these lines, the Avery County Y looks to partner with area businesses, schools, county commissioners, and health councils, to combat the growing problem of obesity and sedentary youth lifestyles. Plans are in

the works as well for a “Healthy Hearts” Bereavement Program offered to area families who have suffered the loss of a loved one. This vision of tying into the local community compels the Avery County Y forward as they seek to complete their third construction project, The Hugh Chapman Family Center. The Chapman Center will serve as a year-round sports and community pavilion. Its field house design includes configurations for multiple sports, including classrooms and areas that can be converted for many uses. The facility also includes a catering kitchen, walking areas, space for day camps and community gatherings. Areas around the Chapman Family Center will incorporate athletic fields and exercise trails. The Williams YMCA of Avery County continues to grow under the YMCA’s Mission: to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. It’s your YMCA. See what it can do for you and your family today.

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Feeding Avery Families By Jane Richardson Born of the Great Depression, the commodities project of the US Department of Agriculture was designed to distribute farmers’ foodcrops to the hungry. After many evolutions, this program continues today and works in Avery County through the helping hands of “Feeding Avery Families.” Feeding Avery Families (FAF) began as a handful of retirees who wanted to make a positive difference in their community. The USDA ships non-perishable foodstuffs to the MANNA foodbank in Asheville, which delivers the food directly to counties such as Avery. In 2005, the county could no longer handle the distribution of this food, and the retirees saw their opportunity. Operating under the umbrella of Reaching Avery Ministries as an unincorporated, all-volunteer agency, FAF took on the job of qualifying recipients and handing out the food. From the basement of the Newland Agricultural Extension building, these volunteers distribute foodstuffs at three locations: Cranberry, Crossnore and Newland. Each month, they collect donations, unload trucks, sort and pack boxes, and finally deliver them to the distribution points on the last Thursday of the month. Other volunteers track the paperwork and keep strict accounting of the monies collected and the poundage of donated foodstuffs. Area churches encourage volunteer participation and donations for FAF from their congregations, and contributions also come from businesses and foundations as well as individual donors. One local grocery store donates meats, breads and deli products, which are then packaged and frozen by FAF volunteers. “We even have one Ohio confectioner that sends us his overruns of candies,”

86 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

says Phil Shoemaker., one of the original founders of FAF. No doubt these make a delightful addition to the foodboxes containing rice, beans, packaged goods, canned meats and vegetables, and breads. Whenever there is a shortage of food, FAF uses its cash reserves to purchase what is needed, working through a local grocery chain to tap its bulk buying power. Recipients include the elderly, unemployed and under-employed individuals, low-income families, and the disabled. As our economy continues to struggle with the current recession, there has been a noticeable increase in area residents dealing with some degree of hunger. In December 2005 FAF distributed 120 foodboxes monthly; today that number has risen to 486. Shoemaker says FAF must continually ramp up its efforts to meet this need. There are currently about 50 volunteers with FAF, and more will be needed. In the near future FAF will assume its own corporate identity and tax exempt status, and begin operating independently of Reaching Avery Ministries. This will enable FAF to apply for federal, state and other grants directly. As the program develops and grows, land and a dedicated building will be needed to house the operation. If you’d like to learn how you can contribute to this meaningful and rewarding program, contact Phil Shoemaker at 828-898-6684, or John Cox at 828-963-8815. You will quickly see the passion, and compassion, which color this effort. As one of the original founding volunteers said, “This is a program based on the love of the people of Avery County.”

New Adventure Playground Dedicated On Beech Mtn. On July 4th, 2010 the Town of Beech Mountain Parks and Recreation Department dedicated the new adventure playground at the Buckeye Recreation Center in honor of Fred and Margie Pfhol for their commitment and dedication to recreation and families on Beech Mountain. Fred and Margie have both been very instrumental in the growth of the Town of Beech Mountain and this project could not have been possible without their support and hard work throughout the years. Everyone who comes and enjoys the beautiful new playground should thank them for their support. It was through their efforts that the Town of Beech Mountain received an anonymous donation of $25,000 in their names for the construction of the playground.


wo ancient Chinese healing practices gaining a lot of attention in the United States are Quigong and Tai Chi, and qualified instruction in both is available in the High Country. Once shrouded from the western world because of the political isolation of China, Qigong has existed for 7000 years, passed down through monks and teachers, and today it has thousands of American practitioners. Qigong means energy cultivation or working with the life energy. This ancient system of postures, exercises, breathing techniques and meditations is designed to improve and enhance the body’s qi, which in traditional Chinese medicine is considered the fundamental life energy that we are all born with—an invisible force present in air, water, food and sunlight and responsible for our health and vitality. Qi travels throughout the body along channels called meridians. The 12 primary meridians are lungs, intestines, stomach, spleen, heart, small intestine, urinary bladder, liver, kidney, gall bladder, pericardium and the triple warmer. Qigong techniques are designed to improve the balance and flow of energy through these meridians, increasing the volume of qi and thereby removing the energy blockages that create ill health. The mind, which is not separate from the body in Chinese thought, can also be used to move qi throughout the body to correct energy imbalances. According to the National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Qigong is recognized as a mind-body medicine. There are thousands of Qigong movements used for physical fitness, health and healing, and specific ones vary with the teacher and the style. It is generally practiced in two major categories, “still” and “moving.” Still Qigong emphasizes quiet meditation in motionless postures while moving Qigong involves moving the body under the conscious direction of the mind. Anthony Marco Azzaro, licensed acupuncturist and owner of Ashi Therapy, a holistic healing center in Banner Elk, is a Qigong teacher/practitioner who uses the Seven Star Tibetan style, a form developed by Tibetan monks to enhance spiritual enlightenment. You won’t find this style in a book. It was handed to him

from Chinese teachers and was developed as a simple technique for anyone to use at home by themselves to remove blockages, thus experiencing profound improvement in every aspect of life. “Qigong,” he says, “helps me by keeping me focused and healthy and allows me to help others. It’s part of what I do for my own health and easy for anyone to practice.” Perhaps better known in the West, but closely related and very similar to Qigong, is the practice of Tai Chi, which literally means “Supreme Ultimate.” Originally developed in ancient China for physical strength, spiritual growth and to be used as self-defense against warlords, it evolved into a graceful form of exercise now used for stress reduction and other health improvements. Known as meditation in motion, this alternative system of postures promotes serenity through slow, precise movements that strengthen and bring mind and body together as one. The results, advocates say, are a clearer, more relaxed mind, improved function of internal organs, better breathing, easier sleep, increased stamina and suppleness, lower blood pressure and reduced stress to name a few. There are many different styles of Tai Chi, some more fast-paced and exerting, others more gentle, low-impact and suitable for everyone, especially seniors. Each form has a different focus, and the intensity varies depending on the form practiced. Whatever the form, Tai Chi requires no special equipment or special clothes, little space and can be done indoors or out, alone or in a group. The goal is the same as in Qigong: to move the life force energy (qi) through the body’s energy channels or meridians smoothly, thereby removing the blockages that cause illness. Niki LaMotte is a Taoist Tai Chi instructor in Banner Elk where she offers classes every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. She is also involved with the Taoist Tai Chi Association USA, a nonprofit organization in 42 states and 30 countries, dedicated to making the practice available to everyone and to encourage people to take care of their health. Niki teaches Taoist Tai Chi which is not a defensive form but therapeutic in nature, utilizing 108 different sequential movements that strengthen spinal mobility and increase balance and flexibil-

Healing Secrets From Ancient China By Linda Kramer

ity. Niki says, “Taoist Tai Chi has a wide appeal for a multitude of emotional and physical health issues. With it, practitioners learn that they can have power over their diseases.” Although Tai Chi is more elaborate, complicated and takes longer to learn than Qigong, an early Tai Chi master wrote that the ultimate purpose of learning Tai Chi was to live forever in the spring season of your life—not just to attain longevity but also to maintain robustness even in old age. An admirable goal. For information on Tai Chi or Qigong classes contact: Ashi Therapy: Highway 194, Banner Elk, 828-898-5555,, Niki La Motte, 828-898-4081 Note: Neither Qigong nor Tai Chi should not be used as a substitute for traditional medical care. Talk with your doctor before beginning a program, particularly if you have a problem with joints, spine or heart, if you are pregnant or have any fractures or severe osteoporosis.

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Balancing Your Diet

Understanding the “Good and Bad” Nutrients in the World of Food By Samantha Stevens


If It’s Carhartt, Look No Farther . . .  

at SHERMAN’S In Newland (Next door to Carolina Barbecue)

828.733.4602   Ladies, Men’s, Children. Just about everything Carhartt makes. Good Prices, Too!!

88 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

utumn has arrived. The days are shorter and our bodies are gearing up to rest over the winter months. That means it is natural to stay inside more now than during the longer, warmer days of the summer. Consequently, our bodies are not getting as much exercise during this time of year. If we are trying to maintain our weight, it is necessary to make adjustments to our daily eating and lifestyle habits in order to keep the proper balance between energy intake and energy output. You may already know this, but weight maintenance is as simple as keeping a budget. Let’s face it, over the cooler months, our eating habits don’t always check out. Thus budgeting input and output requires an awareness of the caloric content of the foods you consume. In the cooler months, it is tempting to give in to more caloric dense foods because many of us want to bake and prepare home cooked items known as “comfort foods.” Because of this, we tend to accumulate more calories at this time of year compared to the light fresh foods of the summertime. The first step to this “budget” is to recognize potential problems. Secondly, we can understand what these problems lead to and make a solid alternative plan. To start with, we will learn more about carbohydrates so that you can understand how and what to include in your daily regime. A carbohydrate is a molecule that is composed of a chain of carbons that breaks down into energy. If people consume more carbohydrates than they need at the time, the body stores some of these carbohydrates within cells (as glycogen) and converts the rest to fat. Glycogen is a complex carbohydrate that the body can easily and rapidly convert to energy. Glycogen is stored in the liver

and the muscles. Muscles use glycogen for energy during periods of intense exercise. The amount of carbohydrates stored as glycogen can provide plenty of calories for use at a later time. Carbohydrates come in two different categories: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are short molecules and complex carbohydrates are long molecules. Some examples of simple carbohydrates are table sugar, fructose (from fruit), and honey. These sugars are broken down and absorbed quickly by the body and therefore, they provide a quick form of energy. One problem with this is, if you do not need or use the energy right away, it is stored in your bodily cells and can potentially turn to fat if not used within a certain period of time. This is one reason why the consumption of excess sugar can lead to a little “more to love” around those problem areas. Complex carbohydrates are composed of long strings of simple carbohydrates. Because of their structure, they take longer to break down into useable energy than simple carbohydrates. In this case, “time is on your side” because complex carbohydrates will yield a more steady flow of energy than its simple counterparts. Therefore, complex carbohydrates are less likely to be converted into stored fuel. Some examples of complex carbohydrates are root vegetables, whole grains, breads, starches, and beans. In order to make a wise decision about what kind of complex carbohydrates to include in your diet, it is best to look for carbohydrates that are unrefined. An “unrefined grain” is in its natural state and has not been processed in any way to remove fiber, bran, and other essential components of the food. Furthermore, refined carbohydrates, even when enriched, provide very little nutrition compared to unrefined carbohydrates. Examples of unrefined carbohydrates include

whole grain cereals (like old fashioned oats), rices and pastas, whole fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans. Now let’s look at the way carbohydrates are dealt with in the bloodstream. The Glycemic Index of a carbohydrate indicates the rate at which carbohydrates from food are absorbed into the bloodstream. The Glycemic Index tends to be lower for complex carbohydrates than for simple carbohydrates, but there are exceptions. For example, fructose (the sugar in fruits) has little effect on blood sugar as long as the fruit is consumed as a whole. Understanding the Glycemic Index of a food is thought to be important because carbohydrates that increase blood sugar levels quickly (those with a high Glycemic Index) also quickly increase insulin levels. The increase in insulin may result in low blood sugar levels (called hypoglycemia) and hunger, which tends to lead to the consumption of excess calories and weight gain. Carbohydrates with a low Glycemic Index do not increase insulin levels as much. As a result, people feel satisfied longer after eating low Glycemic foods. Consuming carbohydrates with a low Glycemic Index also results in healthy cholesterol levels, less plaque build up in the arteries, lower incidents of cancer, a reduction of the risk of obesity and diabetes. Now let’s discuss the meaning of Glycemic Load. We have already learned that the Glycemic Index indicates how quickly various carbohydrates in a food are absorbed into the bloodstream. What it does not indicate is how much carbohydrate the food contains, which is also important. Glycemic Load, a relatively new term, includes the Glycemic Index plus the amount of carbohydrate in a food. Foods such as carrots, bananas, watermelon, or whole-grain bread, may

have a high Glycemic Index but contain relatively little carbohydrate and thus have a low Glycemic Load. Such foods have little effect on the blood sugar level. Overall, you should choose fruits such as berries, and citrus, and consume less of fruits like bananas, dates, and raisins. You can also choose high fiber bread, cereals, and pastas. When consuming vegetables pick leafy green vegetables and avoid potatoes, corn, and rice. Another important nutrient to properly understand is fat. Fats are made up of a variety of fatty acids and glycerol and are needed for growth, warmth, cellular health, energy, and hormone synthesis. When the body requires certain extra fatty acids, it has the ability to assemble them or “synthesize” within itself. That is why it is possible to accumulate fat even if there is very little fat in the diet. Certain fats called essential fatty acids or EFAs, must be consumed. They are called “essential” because your body cannot function properly without them. EFA’s play a role in immune system function by regulating inflammation and encouraging the body to fight infection. Overall, it is necessary to consume EFAs for disease prevention, brain and nervous system function, and healthy cellular turnover. EFA’s come in two forms: Omega three and Omega six. You can find essential fatty acids in fish, seeds, nuts, and leafy vegetables. Omega three and Omega six fatty acids are the only two essential fatty acids that your body cannot create on its’ own. According to numerous studies, most people are deficient only in Omega three fatty acids. This is because Omega six and Omega nines are found in many of the cereals and grains that are very prevalent in our diet. Therefore, supplementing your diet with an Omega three supplement is a good idea.

These are just a few helpful hints for your seasonal transition. Bring out the baking pans ladies and gentlemen and fix those seasonal treats, but fill in the meals between the parties with low-glycemic complex carbohydrates, vegetables and fruits and enjoy “unrefined grains” in moderation. Knowing which foods to limit and which to eat in moderation will help you enjoy the cooler weather without the dreaded winter insulation around the mid-section.

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Banner Elk Winery & Blueberry Villa Inn

Join us for Wine Tastings & Tours featuring our Award Winning Wines Tuesday - Sunday 12:00 - 6:00pm Closed: Monday Visit the Winery and plan to stay for a romantic weekend at our inn, the Blueberry Villa. Our winery is available for parties and special events. From the light in Banner Elk, take NC 194 1 1/2 miles North to Gualtney Rd. Turn left and go 1/4 mile.

828-898-9090 •

90 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life


E “One of the High Country’s largest selections of awardwinning, imported and domestic cheese, incredible chocolates, fine specialty foods,and the wines... aah, the wines!”

Visit our tasting room Wine by the glass

ERICKS CHEESE & WINE Grandfather Center Junction NC 184 & NC 105 Next to ABC Store Banner Elk NC 28604 828.898.9424



echnically, a vulture is a large bird of prey that feeds on carrion. The term also refers to somebody who waits or looks eagerly for opportunities to take advantage of somebody else, especially somebody weak or helpless. Especially a highend winery that can’t sell all its products at their established prices in today’s economic climate. It goes way beyond Fred Franzia, the nephew of Ernest Gallo who disdains any wine selling for more than $10 and made the “Two-Buck Chuck” wine famous. Through his Bronco Wine Company, he sells over 20 (target: 100) million cases a year and rakes in revenues of a half billion dollars from all his brands. Besides making his own wine from his mammoth vineyards, he is the ultimate vulture, buying not only surplus wine wherever he can find it at distressed, rock-bottom prices, he also buys brands out of bankruptcy and pours his own juice into bottles of those erstwhile producers. Value-seeking wine lovers who buy Salmon Creek, Forest Glen, Quail Ridge, Crane Lake, Napa Creek, Napa Ridge and about 30 other brands probably have no idea they are adding to Franzia’s empire and aiding and abetting a company that has been fined millions for fraud and has sparked controversies for its strong-arm tactics and abusive (and in at least one case deadly) labor practices. Not all vulture wineries carry such “credentials.” Many are benign and provide a valuable service, taking excess

The Vulture Wineries By Ren Manning grapes and finished wine from premium producers. It should come as no surprise that in today’s economic climate, highend wineries accustomed to selling their Napa Cabernet Sauvignon for $50+ per bottle are having trouble selling all their output at those pre-recession prices. The penalty for lowering their prices to sell all their wine is that they may find it impossible to get their prices back up when the economy improves, and, of course, they fiercely resist the “optics” of having to discount the lofty prices on their cult wines. Enter the vultures. They snap up the grapes and wine that the premium winery deems to be surplus, that is, what can’t be sold at the established prices. For finished wine, they bottle and label it with their own name and sell it for a song; for grapes, they take them to a facility to crush and produce wine. (Yes, there are such facilities for hire.) In either event, without much expense other than raw material and marketing costs, these vulture wineries can sell the wines on the market for a fraction of what the premium winery would sell them for. Naturally, there are confidentiality agreements in place to ensure that the consumer doesn’t know that Stag’s Leap or whatever is being sold for $15.00 as Brand X. We recently stumbled on Grayson Cellars, which makes wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel from surplus

grapes and juice. Their wines sell for $12 - $15, yet Robert Parker says they taste like $40 wines. Who knows what wine is in the bottle. Screaming Eagle? Other fantastic deals abound. In order to keep its Barolo production level down and its prices stable, Italian producer Vietti declassifies certain lots of high-end Nebbiolo wines from its cru vineyards presumably headed for Barolo bottlings and bottles them two months early under its own label as Vietti Nebbiolo “Perbacco” and sells them for onehalf of what its Barolo sells for. Writing for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, wine critic Antonio Galloni comments: “Many Barolo producers would kill for a wine like this. In a word: Awesome!!” Some producers don’t want you to trade down and buy their “seconds” (really “first” made in such quantity that they cannot sell without driving down the price for their main label) so they sell under another label. Oregon producer Foris, which makes a premium Pinot Noir, sells its overages under the Cambell Cellars label for $10. A terrific wine at an absurd price. Not all $10 wines are worth the cost. This one is. Most wines that sell for eyebrow-raising prices are truly plonk. The trick is to find those that aren’t – they’re out there. Ren Manning is one of the owners of Erick’s Cheese and Wine in Banner Elk.

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Birding in the Southern Appalachians

Many Species Prepare For Winter By Leaving By Curtis Smalling

Above: Chimney Swift / Below: Rose-breasted Grosbeak


ast issue we talked about birds in late summer preparing for their journey south and how quiet it gets in August as the local birds quit singing and settle in to fattening up for migration or for the winter. Now that it is fall, that huge journey has started for many of our summer birds. Here in the southern Appalachians, up to 75% of all of the 150 or so breeding species are migrants that leave the US for the winter months. And some of our birds spend the winter in the Caribbean, while others go all the way to southern South America. Some of our longest distance migrants include Barn Swallows, some of which will go all the way to the tip of South America at Tierra del Fuego before heading north again to return next spring. Chimney Swifts will head to the forests of the Amazon basin, and some of our local Bobolinks that breed in Bamboo or the backside of Beech Mountain go all the way to Argentina in the grasslands there for the winter, journeys of over 8000 miles! A majority of our breeding birds here in North Carolina however wind up wintering in Central America. A lot of our warblers, orioles, vireos, and tanagers all spend the winters from southern Mexico to Panama. Some, like our Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, migrate non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico from the shores of Alabama and Mississippi to the Yucatan peninsula. Others follow land around the Texas coast and down through Mexico to reach their final destination. Through banding birds both here and on the wintering grounds we are learning a lot about where the birds are coming from and where they are going. We also now know that many go back and forth to the same places year after year. I have been fortunate to help with banding birds at the Finca Esperanza Verde in the central highlands of Nicaragua. We have Wood Thrush there that we have recaptured in subsequent winters in the same part of a shade grown coffee plantation, and we also know that most will return to the same places in the US to breed. In fact we had a Veery, (a type of thrush), at our station at Bass Lake that returned for five years in a row from its wintering grounds in Brazil, to the exact same territory. It really brings home how important conserving the wintering grounds is to bird conservation to think about a bird returning year after year to the same location at each end of its long migration. It is remarkable that they can do that. Most of our songbirds migrate at night. Most of our raptors migrate during the day, and some like ducks and shorebirds will migrate at anytime the weather and winds are good-- day or night. For songbirds, they leave right after sunset each evening and fly about 1000-3000 feet above ground level for six to eight hours before returning to rest until daybreak, when they set off on short flights to find good foraging areas for the day. Then if they have fed enough that day, they repeat the cycle the following night. You can see this exodus at dusk on weather radar when skies are clear. Curtis Smalling is a Boone resident and is the Important Bird Areas Coordinator and Mountain Program Manager for Audubon North Carolina. He works conserving birds in North Carolina through monitoring species populations, working with volunteers in Important Bird Areas, and through public outreach. Check out his blogs on High Country birds at and his posts on North Carolina bird conservation topics at

92— Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

Fishing FAQ’s


By Andrew Corpening

any visitors to the High Country want to try a little fishing while they are here. If you are a front desk clerk at one of the many area hotels or work at a visitor center, you have most likely encountered fishing questions. If you work in a fishing store you already know the most frequently asked questions. You answer them everyday. But for the visitor, or one who deals with visitors, the following might be of some help. The most frequently asked question is, “Where can I go fishing?” The simple answer is any place you see a lake, river, or stream. The truth is that most of the higher mountain streams hold trout. This is true even for the rivers that are not designated as mountain trout water by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC). Sometimes these undesignated rivers fish very well since they receive less fishing pressure. If you see promising water, and it is not posted for no trespassing, give it a try. But just because there is water with fish does not mean that anything goes. Because of the delicate nature of mountain trout streams there are several different designations for streams. These, for the most part, pertain to what is on the end of your line. The vast majority of the local trout streams require single hook, artificial lures. This applies to Delayed Harvest streams from October 1 to the first Saturday in June, Wild Trout Waters all year, Fly Fishing Only Catch and Release streams all year, and Single Hook Artificial Lures Catch and Release streams all year. If you are unsure as to the designation, look for the diamond shaped signs that the NCWRC places along the rivers. If the signs are missing you can find out about a stream by pick-

ing up a NCWRC Regulations Digest or go on line to Undesignated streams fall under the Hatchery Supported rules where any sort of bait or hook is allowed. The one exception is that during the month of March until the first Saturday in April when Hatchery Supported rivers are closed, even though you can still fish undesignated streams, no trout may be kept. The second most frequently asked question is, “Do I need a license?” Of course you need a license to fish and a basic North Carolina fishing license is not enough. You will also need a trout permit or, as they used to be called, a trout stamp. Many of the area’s visitors from the eastern part of North Carolina just have a basic license that cost $15. When they get up here they have to purchase a trout permit for an additional $10. If they had gotten a comprehensive fishing license, which includes the trout permit, in the first place for $20 they would have saved $5. If you are a North Carolina resident with a Sportsman license, or combination hunt/fish, you are already legal to fish for trout. If you are a non-resident visitor and want to fish you also need a license. A ten-day non-resident license, including the trout permit, is $20. A non-resident yearly license is $40 with the trout permit. If you think this is expensive, take a look at what some of the neighboring states charge and you will see North Carolina is a bargain. For the fishing shop employees, the third most frequently asked question is “What are they hitting (or biting, taking, hatching)?” Even though the fishing shop employee will try to give you some ideas, they really don’t know exactly since they are not on the river at that

time. Trout eat the aquatic insects that are available and that can change hourly. However since these insects spend the majority of their lives as nymphs that live underwater the trout eat nymphs all year. It is always a good bet to use the nymph type flies. These can always work. The type of fly to imitate a nymph is probably not as important as getting the fly down to where a trout is holding. Trout feel safer underwater so they are likely to try anything that comes their way that looks like food. Of course flyfishers want to use dry flies which imitate the nymph that has come to the surface to hatch into a winged insect. Dry fly fishing is the most exciting since you can see the trout come up and take the fly. The unfortunate thing is that these “hatches” occur infrequently. In this part of the country hatches can happen any time of day and for a very short time. This can be frustrating for the occasional fly fisher since they may not have the right fly for the moment. This is the reason avid fly fishers carry, what seems to some, a ridiculous number of flies. They want to be prepared for whatever happens on the river. With that said it is not really necessary to carry exact replicas of every aquatic insect. If you have a good selection of sizes of the light colored dry flies, like Light Cahills, you can imitate a number of the light colored insects the trout eat. This also applies to the dark insects. A good selection of the Adams fly can imitate a lot of the dark bugs. This can also be said of the Elk Hair Caddis. These three flies can imitate a majority of the insects that trout eat on the surface. continued on p. 94 Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


FISHING continued from p. 93 If you are on the river and see trout feeding on the surface but see no insects, the trout are probably eating an emerger. The emerger is the nymph that has come to the surface to split open and hatch into a winged insect. During this process the insect is extremely vulnerable to trout. Good imitations to use are the parachute flies. You may have to experiment with dark and light colored parachute flies but one of the two will probably work. For the person using conventional tackle, such as spinning rods, on single hook, artificial lure streams, there are also a number of options. Single hook spinners work well. Some of the fishing shops carry single hook spinners but if you can not find any cut two of the hooks off a treble hook spinner and you will be legal. Jigs and plastic worms also will work but the plastic worms can not be scented or flavored. Also, even though artificial, man made baits like “Powerbait” can not be used on single hook, artificial lure only streams. People using spinning gear can also use flies. To do this you need a casting bubble or bobber. Attach a piece of line approximately 1 ½ feet to 2 feet long to one end of the casting bubble or bobber. To the other end of this piece of line attach a fly. Then attach to other end of the bubble to the line coming from your reel. The bubble or bobber gives you the weight to cast the fly. It will not be a very delicate cast but it can work. The fourth most frequently asked question is “Why am I not catching fish? I have tried everything in my box.” The answer could be the weather, high/ low water, water temperature, time of day, time of year, or, most likely, “operator error”. Whatever the reason the shop employee will try to narrow it down to help the customer. However sometimes the customer needs to be reminded that they are out in a beautiful place enjoying nature and, catching or not, fishing beats work. The customer should also remember that what they are doing is called fishing not catching.

94 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

CLIMBING KILIMANJARO AT 70 by Richard A. Wolfe, PhD Join us at The Banner Elk Winery Receptions & Booksignings with free hors d’oeuvres

6-8 pm

Friday, September 24 Friday, October 22 September/ October Special! signed copy of Climbing Kilimanjaro at 70 with selected wines


Brought to you by: The Banner Elk Wnery Ingalls Publishing Group, Inc


r. Richard Wolfe of Banner Elk has many titles, and I find myself at a quandary when it comes to introductions. Owner and Vintner at the Banner Elk Winery where I occasionally work, I introduce him to customers simply as the man behind the wine and leave him to explain the complexities of winemaking. As a grower of grapes myself, and therefore a farmer, I let the discovery process unfold on this grower of grapes who also happens to hold a Doctorate in Nuclear Engineering. Dr. Wolfe is a complex man who prefers to reduce life and work to a simple, yet adventurous journey. A native of the wild West Virginia hill country could you expect anything else? When Dr. Wolfe isn’t making wine he is traversing the globe. Recently, he travelled to China researching applications for clean coal. Dr. Wolfe has conducted experiments to produce a new clean carbon product called “Carbonite,” and methods to produce coal oil from coal. His studies have led to the formation of Coal Technology Corporation in Bristol, Virginia in 1988. Since publishing his works, he has served on the energy research staffs at the University of Kentucky, West Virginia University, Appalachian State University, and currently he sits on the Advisory Board at Virginia Tech’s Center for Coal and Energy Research. When not immersed in Cabernet or coal, elements as seemingly as opposite as night and day, Dr. Wolfe finds time to paint, publish articles, and hunt. His plate is full which is why, last Christmas at a dinner party, when Dr. Wolfe casually mentioned climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro on his 70th birthday; I almost choked on a cracker. We all knew Dr. Wolfe had been spending a lot of time hiking Beech Mountain, and he was in great health, but Mount Kilimanjaro? At 19,334 feet, Kilimanjaro is the tallest in Africa and the largest free standing mountain in the world. I chalked it up to wishful thinking and Holiday cheer until the following month I learned he had left for Africa. It was the second week in January when the news arrived that Dr. Wolfe had indeed reached the summit on his birthday, a feat he had long dreamed of as a boy in Sophia, West Virginia after he first saw the movie “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” an adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s classic tale brought to life on the big screen by film legends Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. The adventure produced his own tale in a newly published book Climbing Kilimanjaro at 70. At the release party Dr.Wolfe described the difficult and arduous climb, a feat only forty percent of those who try actually reach the top. So now the introductions to Dr. Wolfe at the Banner Elk Winery only grow more complicated than ever. Do I call him the inventor? The Vintner? The Mountain Climber? I have decided to make it simple and say “this is my friend, Dick Wolfe.” We know he’ll take it from there.

Coal, Cabernet, and Kilimanjaro

The Irrepressible Dr. Wolfe By Julie Farthing

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


“I find television very educational. Every time someone turns it on, I go in the other room and read a book.”

Halloween Trunk or Treat in Banner Elk: Candy, Face Painting, Costume Contest, and a Haunted House Chilly winds and early nightfall cast a pall over the fading colors of late October, but the children are keeping the gloom at bay. Their excitement is growing at the prospect of another Halloween celebrated at Banner Elk’s Town Park. The children know that on October 31, the park is turned into a party just for them. That’s when businesses & individuals stock the trunks of their decorated cars and trucks with loads of candy for Trick or Treaters. The costume contest goes all evening, with lots of prizes for ages 0 – teen. Families make a night of it and dine on hot dogs priced right for a crowd. After filling a loot bag full of candy, the bravest Halloween fans take a hayride down to the Haunted Barn in the back field. It’s a night of fun and adventure for the children of Avery County and a great way to say “boo!” to the oncoming winter. Banner Elk has been observing its family-friendly version of Halloween with a Trunk or Treat since 2004, when a group of friends organized the first one at the Food Lion Shopping Center. Local resident Judy Schwebke and friends realized that the town wasn’t laid out in a way that made it possible to walk from neighborhood to neighborhood, so she brought the candy-givers to the kids. Businesswoman Trish Daniels of WRAPS Box & Ship shared a fondness for good ol’ fashioned Halloween fun, adding her face-painting skills to the mix and promoting the event with posters and enthusiasm. Daniels and Schwebke were quickly joined by a big group of Halloween merrymakers including Kiwanis members, and Trunk or Treat became a fixture on the calendar. Since 2006, Trunk or Treat has been held at Banner Elk’s Tate Evans Park. The popular town park easily accommodates the more than 400 children that now regularly attend the event. Parking is easy and safe; there are traffic assistants to keep everything moving smoothly. Trunk or Treat committee members spend the whole day decorating lavishly with the help of the Town of Banner Elk staffers. The Haunted House – an essential element of any Halloween party – started as a modest affair and is now quite properly scary. Special Haunted House committee members take over the old barn at the far edge of the park and transform it into a place for none but the bravest. Tricksters and their chaperones can take a hayride across the park to the Haunted House. Firefighters are on hand to light up the area (and give out candy) and the town sets up its “kicks for treats” soccer goal to help burn off candy-fueled energy. Trunk or Treat takes place from 5-8 on Sunday, October 31. Face painting is from 1-7pm. Participants are needed to make this a memorable event. It’s a great way to represent your business with a decorated vehicle, give out wrapped candy to 400+ children and receive a free sponsorship listing on the Trunk or Treat Poster. For Business registration only, contact Trish Daniels at 898-9696. As Trish Daniels says, “Don’t miss the horror and fun of the 7th Annual Trunk or Treat!”

96 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

—Groucho Marx

New & Used Books Discount Books Kids Toys, Games Audio Books and Much More! Visit our Café and ask about your free cup of coffee! 2146 Blowing Rock Rd Boone NC 28607 828-264-4636

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“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” —Marcus T. Cicero

book reviews Tell Me About Orchard Hollow

Climbing Kilimanjaro at 70

Albert A. Bell, Jr

Canterbury House Publishing

Ingalls Publishing Group

In this sequel to The Secret of the Lonely Grave, Steve and Kendra have a few weeks of summer vacation to go before facing sixth grade. This time they are joined by Rachel, a Latina of their own age, whose family has just moved in next door to the Old Bradford House. Still becoming civilized into a cozy bed-and-breakfast, the Bradford House looks spooky enough to harbor any ghost. Rachel’s Tía (“Aunt”) Rosaria senses that the light in the attic window must be a restless spirit, yearning to “cross over.” A subplot involves the two Cadiz, KY best friends in their encounter with the more sophisticated young lady from the city of Memphis. Bell’s insight evokes vivid memories of one’s own eleven-goingon-“omg!” years. Steve and Kendra, best friends since earliest childhood, are unprepared for Rachel’s sudden feud with Kendra, and her bewildering attentions to Steve. Resisting the average adult’s impulse to explain everything, Bell once or twice allows Steve, as narrator, to say it all in a one-word paragraph— “Girls.” Kendra and Rachel’s rapprochement echoes Steve’s truce with the bully in Bell’s previous book. Teachers and parents will be glad to find all the youngsters speaking perfectly inflected, standard American English. Among the adults, even the villain’s speech is marred only by a very occasional “I’m gonna;” while Rachel’s Tía Rosaria, the character who interprets the ghost for us all, speaks only Spanish, never actually articulating her own lines. This is a great story for young adults, and a good read for older adults. Bell demonstrates an unusual sensitivity for early adolescent uncertainty, and a deft hand with all his characters. Get this book for your favorite young adult, and then, when they finish it, ask for permission to read it yourself. You’ll be glad you did both.

This second entry in Lin Stepp’s twelvebook Smoky Mountain Series is above all a good read— the kind of “good read” that compels jaded book reviewers to take the book to bed, turn off the lights, and spend half the night reading under the covers by flashlight. Stepp’s fans will notice almost immediately that her villain is a slimy slug indeed, and her hero a delight from the outset. Boyce Hart is more complex and less egotistical than most romantic heroes. A celebrated artist, he delights in the beauty around him, and fumes when his work is disrupted. Although he resents outsiders’ stereotyping of mountain folks, he expects newcomers to be “spoiled” and “sissy.” Jenna, too, is different—not at all feisty or spunky or red-headed. Reared by a belittling mother and distant father, then married to and betrayed by a controlling bully, Jenna is firmly convinced she has little to offer beyond her “little hobby” of designing greeting cards. This sweet romance weathers several storms. Romance needs conflict, tears and reunions; and Stepp knows what works. The Foster Girls’ Scott is enraged because Vivian fails to tell him early on that she expects to keep her fosterchild after their marriage. Paralleling that, Orchard Hollow’s Boyce is enraged because Jenna fails to tell him early on that she designs the popular “J.C. Martin” greeting-card series. Later, when Jenna’s travel plans seem to threaten his romantic plans, the fit Boyce pitches could sink their romance. To keep readers from getting confused, Stepp is careful to explain her characters’ words and actions (“She was grateful for his counsel. ‘I am glad to have you to tell me what is right ...”). All in all, Stepp’s relatable characters populate a well-paced, sweet story, just spicy enough to keep this reviewer’s flashlight burning to the end.

The Secret of the Bradford House

Ingalls Publishing Group

Lin Stepp

Richard A. Wolfe, Ph.D

At the age of seventy, Banner Elk winemaker Dick Wolfe finished the last stage of a climb that began when he was seventeen. During his high-school job of running the local theater’s projector, he watched The Snows of Kilimanjaro, based on Hemingway’s tale. All the charm of Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, and Susan Hayward couldn’t eclipse the power and grandeur of the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Wolfe was enchanted. Wolfe begins by reliving his boyhood. He helped put meat and fish on his mother’s stove, catching trout and squirrels among the creeks and woods surrounding the coal-mining town of Sophia, WV. “We walked everywhere,” he writes. His family planted and harvested their own produce. When the work was done, kids played with whatever they came across, and had a game of racing straight up the mountain to see who’d get to the top first. These opening reminiscences present more than an Appalachian boyhood, or a strong mountain work ethic. In Africa, Wolfe observes kids in Tanzanian villages. Sixty years later, around the base of Mount Kilimanjaro, “I saw many kids and people working manually without machines, digging gardens and planting crops … it reminded me of my own life some sixty years ago … [It] makes me think about where Tanzania may be in the next sixty years.” Wolfe’s prose reads like the reminiscences of a beloved uncle, reliving the most intense experience of his life. He lingers over the good bits, retells his favorite background scenes. It’s the voice of a man who sees whomever he looks at, hears whomever he speaks with, and connects the seemingly incompatible. His editor, Judith Geary, deserves enormous credit for not “correcting” Wolfe’s unusual style, letting us hear the voice of a seventy-year-old kid who ran up mountains to get there first.


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98 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

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Across from Sugar Mtn. next to Health Connection 100 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life


t a time when the business of immigration - legal and illegal - dominates politics, media and water cooler conversation, it’s easy to forget that America is a country of immigrants, founded upon the hopes and dreams of the oppressed, less fortunate, and hopeful. At the Italian Restaurant in Pineola, celebrating 15 years in business, one family’s loftiest dreams have been realized, through hard work, devotion to family, and commitment to community. Rama Tahiri, now 60, grew up in a small village in Montenegro, a province of old Yugoslavia. His land was home to a fiercely proud people who under the leadership of Josip Tito battled the Nazis in WWII and later said “nyet” to the post–war communist rule of Joseph Stalin. Life was good in Yugoslavia compared to the dismal lot of other Eastern Bloc countries, and as a young man Rama found work in Belgrade with the national airline back in 1972. Affable and friendly, he become a flight attendant, saw the world, and on one fateful day in Paris three years later, he cheated death. At 1300 hours on Jan. 13, 1975, Rama sat in row 13 reading the newspaper during a layover and waited the boarding of passengers departing for Montreal. Out of the blue a shouldered fired rocket, perhaps intended for an El Al 707 parked alongside, pierced the fuselage and literally flashed in front of his face between his nose and pages he read from outstretched arms. The rocket exited the plane to his right, sending shrapnel into his head and breaking his nose. Blood flowed but he survived. The rocket failed to explode, saving his life. Three months later he was flying again.

“I was not afraid to get back on the plane, but now I celebrate two birthdays,” he said of the 13th of January. In 1980 he married Baki, a native of Kosovo who worked for the Turkish airlines. They made a home in Belgrade and had a daughter and a son, Selda and Ertan. In peacetime Yugoslavia the family had everything they could want. But tranquility came to an end in 1992 when hostilities between Serbia and Croatia flared, a precursor to the massive genocide and violence that ultimately drew in United Nations and American intervention. The family packed their belongings in four bags and flew to New York City. “They didn’t know what to expect,” he recalled of their exodus from civil war. “I knew this country. I was a little scared but I was confident in myself and there was opportunity to support my family. I think positive to succeed.” The comfortable home in Belgrade was replaced by a one-bedroom apartment in Queens. Fortunately, Baki was kept on by Turkish Airways in New York and Rama set out to find work. From the outset he took any job he could find. He painted houses and drove a limo. “America is open to everybody,” Rama said. “They didn’t care about your religion and there was nobody to stop you if you can do it. Here you succeed if you believe and work hard. Here it is in your hands.” Yet fate intervened again when a speeding Yellow Cab smashed into the limo Rama was driving. But unlike his rebound from the close call on the Paris tarmac, Rama put the chauffeur’s job in his rearview mirror. The near fatal mishap merely foretold of good fortune ahead. An acquaintance from Yugoslavia had found success in the restaurant trade

Rama Tahiri and Pineola’s Italian Restaurant American Dream Marks 15th Year

By Tom McAuliffe

in upstate New York, but like Rama he was looking for a change. He asked Rama to join him in a new venture in the Sunbelt - an Italian restaurant in the foothills town of Morganton, N.C. “I didn’t have a clue about the restaurant business,” Rama admitted, “and no money.” Two years after landing in America he migrated south on the wings of hope, faith and the strength of his own two hands. Mother and children stayed behind awaiting the outcome of the exploration. “I saw I could do it,” Rama remembered. The Italian Restaurant in Morganton proved the right product at the right time. Within a year the place was busy every day and making money. When local businessman J.H. McCombs became a regular diner he posed a proposition to the two partners. McCombs owned an empty restaurant building up the mountain in the tiny crossroads town of Pineola in Avery County. Opened as a Tastee Freez in the ‘80s, the operation failed, as did a second effort in the early ‘90s. The Morganton man believed the hard-working Yugoslavians could make a go of it. “He was in a hurry to get me up here,” Rama remembered of McCombs, whose son, James, operated a popular convenience store and deli next to the restaurant. “When I saw it I didn’t understand why the building was empty. He offered us a couple of months free to get started.” The second Italian Restaurant opened in April of 1995, but the partnership dissolved almost immediately. Rama’s partner stayed in Morganton, and the High Country’s newest restaurateur brought his family to the Christmas Tree Capital of the World.

Succeeding where others had failed proved a daunting task. “I worked 15, 16 hours a day, seven days a week,” Rama recalled. “I was working for my family. My first goal was to educate my kids.” Acceptance came slowly in a county where foreigners are viewed warily. But as Selda and Ertan entered the public school system and folks found Rama dedicated to his new business and new community, they were accepted as neighbors. “I would recommend to any young couple to raise their children here,” the once reluctant mountaineer Baki admitted. “We always felt safe here and both children loved Avery High School and all of their teachers were good to them.” With each passing year the family’s integration into the community grew deeper as the restaurant became woven into the fabric of the neighborhood. After three years of steady growth, he bought the building and land from McCombs. “How did we succeed here?” Rama asked rhetorically. “Tasty food, good service, a clean restaurant. And I learned from my mother to be friendly and generous. Fill the plates. Nobody leaves our house hungry.” Today marks his 15th year in Pineola, and his 30th wedding anniversary with Baki. He is content that his primary goal to prepare his children for the world has been fulfilled. Selda is in South Korea, teaching schoolchildren to speak English. Ertan is in his second year of graduate school at Pfeiffer College. “Maybe I’ll try something new one more time, yes,” he muses with an eye toward one last venture—one more challenge. “Maybe open a restaurant, but perhaps less work and more golf this time.” Only in America.

Not long ago, Yugoslav National Rama Tahiri became a naturalized citizen of his adopted country after tenaciously building a successful restaurant business in the southeastern Avery County community of Pineola. Along with his wife Baki, they raised two children now on their own and pursuing their own dreams as young Americans. His tale, so common in the land of immigrants, yet so unlikely in the face of obstacles overcome and the intervention of fate, warrants telling on the 15th anniversary of his inauspicious arrival in the High Country.

Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


Autumn Apple Treats By Adele Forbes


hen I think of fall my mind instantly conjures up visions of apples which are grown on hillsides and orchards throughout our beloved mountains of Western North Carolina. The varieties are truly astonishing, from the plentiful Red and Golden Delicious, Jonathan’s and Winesaps, to the tasty antique types like Carolina Pippins as well as Clara’s Creek apples which originated in Ashe County. As a young girl my very favorite was the old-timey Rusty Coat apple which grew on my grandparents land in Newland NC. I have searched far and wide but have been unable to find this apple anywhere; leaving me to believe that it has become extinct. Such a shame! If anyone out there knows of the existence of such an apple, be sure to share your information with us here at Carolina Mountain Life Magazine. Use your favorite cooking apples to make these tastiest of all apple dishes. Try Bramley’s, Granny Smith’s, Jonathan’s, McIntosh, Rome, Stayman or Winesaps in the following recipes...


  Be sure and serve this beautifully puffed pancake as the centerpiece of your meal sprinkled with red raspberries and a light layer of powdered sugar. Honey and homemade sausage would make extra nice accompaniments. Oh, and be sure and take a picture because it is not going to last long.   2 tablespoons butter 6 large eggs 1 cup all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup milk Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place butter in two 9-inch ovenproof skillets. Heat in oven until butter is melted. Spread butter evenly over pan. Set aside. Process eggs, flour, sugar, salt and milk in a food processor. Divide batter evenly between the prepared skillets. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until a deep golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately loosen pancake from pan and slide onto serving dish. Keep warm.

CINNAMON APPLES 4 tablespoons butter 2 large cooking apples, core and sliced 1/4-inch thick (peel if desired) 1/3 cup sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons powdered sugar   CINNAMON APPLES: While pancakes are baking, melt butter in a large skillet. Add apples, sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over apples. Stir to coat, cook over medium-high heat until slices are tender, stirring occasionally, about 6 to 8 minutes. Pour apples onto pancakes. Sift powdered sugar over top and serve. Serves 4   ( This recipe may be made using one 12-inch skillet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and continue to bake 20 more minutes until deep golden brown.)  


  Fragrant layers of spiced raisins and juicy apples wear a topping of heavy cream, eggs and Monterey Jack cheese. Heaven....I’m in Heaven...   1 unbaked (9-inch) pie crust 1/2 cup golden raisins 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed 3 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced 3 large eggs 1 cup heavy whipping cream 3 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded   Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pie crust in pie pan. Scallop edges and prick bottom and sides with a fork. Line snuggly with foil. Bake 6 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Set aside. Combine raisins, cinnamon, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Place half of apple slices in pie crust. Cover slices with half of raisin mixture.  Repeat layers. Beat eggs with cream in a small bowl. Pour egg mixture over layers. Top with cheese. Bake 1 hour or until browned and apples are tender. Cool 10 minutes before slicing. Serves 6 to 8.  

“Any fool can count the seeds in an apple. Only God can count all the apples in one seed.”

~Robert H. Schuller

Adele’s Email: / Recipe Blog:

102 — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

HA HA HA A 6-year-old was asked where his grandma lived. “Oh,” he said, “she lives at the airport, and when we want her, we just go get her. Then, when we’re done having her visit, we take her back to the airport.” * When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, “I’m not sure.” “Look in your underwear, Grandpa,” he advised, “mine says I’m 4 to 6.” * I heard about a florist who mixed up two orders on a busy day. There was a new business opening and a family had a death. Both of them had ordered flowers but the orders got mixed up. The guy with the new business came in and he was upset. He said, “The flowers you delivered to my business on opening day said, ‘Rest in Peace’. The florist said, “You think you have problems. You should have seen the guy who just left here. They had a funeral and they got a bouquet that said, ‘Good luck in your new location.’”


About Abundance

t this time of year, I think of baskets of dark, richly colored grapes and country roads lined with Queen Ann’s Lace, a memory which goes back to my childhood when our family spent autumn Sunday afternoons, driving out into the countryside where we stopped along the road and bought the fruits of the harvest.. Years ago, when I was a child, there was only one car to a family so trips of any kind, even grocery shopping, had to be reserved for weekends when fathers were at home. We lived in a very small town where there was an equally small “butter and egg store” within walking distance which also sold a few boxes of this and a few cans of that, a limited inventory, so on Saturdays we drove into the larger nearby town which had a real grocery store with bakers who made fragrant bread and beautiful pastries and butchers behind the meat counter who knew how to cook everything they sold. Saturday was marketing day when much of the food was bought for the following week. We didn’t have to buy milk because there were milkmen who delivered milk several times a week. My father was good at fixing things so we often stopped at the hardware store which seemed to have every tool that anyone could possibly need and the salesmen knew all about everything in the store. If Saturday was set aside for things we had to do, Sunday was the day for things we wanted to do and driving out into the country in the fall of the year was the treat of the week. There were many more family farms in those days than there are now so no matter what road was taken, there were multiple choices to be made. There were fruit stands everywhere. There were lots of orchards so the variety of apples, peaches, pears, plums and cherries was like a painter’s palette. The vegetable farmers sold green beans so fresh they really snapped, potatoes that had been dug out of the ground that morning, tomatoes of every size, squashes in all their varied glory and peppers the size of a fighter’s fist. The farms with vineyards yielded fruit with the deep, rich colors of purple, burgundy and dark blue. With my father, mother and the baby in the front, my younger sister and I had the back seat and I remember wondering if I’d ever grow big enough for my feet to touch the floor. There were no trunks in cars at that time, so on the ride home, we were surrounded by bags of whatever had been purchased and the wonderful grapes were piled in baskets on the floor of the car. We were allowed to eat as many as we wanted and there was something magical about relishing the goodness of those succulent, opulent fruits of the vineyards as we drove along through the golden afternoon, car windows open to the warm, autumnal air. The fruits and vegetables were destined for present and future enjoyment. In those days, the fall of the year and rides into the country signaled a big event in many households. It was canning time. That was the season of the year when mothers stood in kitchens, surrounded with whatever they were canning that day and Mason jars, in big pots, quietly rattling in boiling water on the stoves. Houses at that time had fruit cellars, small rooms in the basement which had a window and lots of shelves. My mother lined those shelves with rows of jars, filled with peaches, plums, jellies, preserves and relishes which would enhance our meals during the long, cold winter. She often said that she didn’t know how to boil water when she married my father but she must have been a fast learner and nothing demonstrated that more than her canning. Each day, when the afternoon sun came round to the side of the house with the fruit cellar window, the room glowed with light and the contents of the jars sparkled like jewels. If the fruit cellar had been a theater, it would have been time for applause and a standing ovation for her and for the abundance of the earth. Jean Gellin is a wordsmith who lives on the edge of a glacier canyon in northern Ohio Carolina Mountain Life Autumn 2010 —


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thank you! The End — Autumn 2010 Carolina Mountain Life

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Carolina Mountain Life - Autumn 2010