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A Taste of Our Mountain Life Awaits You . . . Come Sit a Spell, Relax & Enjoy.

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On the Inside . . .

Cover art by David Birmingham The ability to transport viewers to the vistas and landscapes of the Blue Ridge Mountains highlights David Birmingham’s artistic mastery. Birmingham’s classic realism is rich with details such as the delicate shift of shadow and light. His pathways, country roads or shaded river banks lead viewers into his paintings, welcoming exploration, allowing the imagination to move beyond the next curve or past the next grove of trees. Born in England, Birmingham studied and traveled around the globe, and later taught at the Art Institute of Miami, FL. He has made his home in NC for many years, and he is constantly exploring the beauty of the mountains through his works of oil on canvas. David Birmingham is represented exclusively by The Art Cellar Gallery, located just outside of downtown Banner Elk on Hwy. 184. The Art Cellar Gallery can be contacted at and 828-898-5175. Note: CML had the wonderful opportunity to see this painting in both its early and completed states. We chose the ‘in progress’ image for the cover. The image above is the latter.

14................. Un-Hanging Georgia O’Keeffe By Robert Inman 17................. Giduz to Guide BRAHM By Keith Martin 20................. Celebrating Craft: Festivals, Exhibitions and More By LouAnn Morehouse 23................. Blues Legend Etta Baker Honored in Morganton By Keith Martin 24................. Blue Ridge Traditional Artists’ Concert Series By Mark Freed 27................. Blowing Rock October Home for Mountain Home Music By Sarah Borders 29................. Valle Country Fair, Oktoberfest, and Woolly Worm Highlight Fall Festivals 32................. Cultural Calendar Brilliant This Fall By Keith Martin 39................. Spirit Ride By Julie Farthing 40................. The Wild Ponies of Grayson Highlands By Elizabeth Wegman 42................. State Parks Shine in Mountain Autumn By Randy Johnson 46................. Woven Together: Moses Cone and the Southern Highland Craft Guild By Hannah Barry 52................. The Case for Boone’s Appalachian Theatre By Keith Martin 54................. At the Intersection of Technology and Hospitality By Steve York 60................. A New Century for Blowing Rock Country Club By Craig Distl 62................. A Second Chance & New Life in Linville By Tom McAuliffe 64................. ASU Athletics Follow the Sun By Dave Robertson 72................. Lees-McRae Enters World of Health Care Education By Koren Huskins 74................. Brett Loftis Strengthens Fabric of Crossnore School By Elizabeth Baird Hardy 91................. Ready for Winter? By Steve York 100............... ‘Rooted’ in Appalachia By Joe Tennis 108 .............. White Lightnin’ to Wine on Thunder Road By Steve York


autumn! Healthful Living with Samantha Stephens Fishing with Andrew Corpening | Birding with Edi Crosby Chew on This with Jane Richardson | Health with Koren Huskins Wine with Ren Manning | Random Thoughts with Jean Gellin Financial with Katherine Newton




The CML team and I are excited to share this issue with our readers old and new. It is filled with inspirational stories, images, facts, and ideas we hope will help guide you on your autumn expeditions through the mountains. Roll us up and keep us handy as a reference for places to explore, treats to make and taste, and sights and sounds to delight. As we wind up another great summer and head into my favorite of all seasons— Autumn—I’m grateful for all the outdoor

music events of the past few months. My one year-old granddaughter helped me hand out the summer issue at one of the Banner Elk concerts and, trust me, it was a time I’ll always cherish. As the landscape changes with each passing day and the temperature drops, the air is filled with change and excitement. While I love the anticipation of the holidays and getting the skis ready for winter, my favorite activities are knocking at my door right now—from fall festivals to ASU Football and tailgating. The third weekend in October heralds two of our most cherished Autumn events: the Woolly Worm Festival, now in its 38th year, and the “Rockwellian” Valle Country Fair, celebrating 37 years. For almost 30 years, my family has played a part in the great community effort it takes to produce these wonderful public celebrations. Yes, I’m now officially a “Sausage Girl” in the Church of the Holy Cross booth at the Valle Country Fair! This might just be my favorite weekend of the year. Whether it is slinging Portobello mushrooms, kielbasa, and brats on that

Saturday the 17th or registering woolly worms for the races on Sunday the 18th , it’s an amazing weekend. By five o’clock Sunday afternoon, the sheer joy in participating surpasses any muscle aches or exhaustion we volunteers might feel. The huge community effort for both events is staggering and the money raised to benefit such a large cross-section of nonprofits in our area would blow away anyone who even attempted to guess what such grass roots efforts can achieve. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday to give thanks for our blessings, we at CML magazine hope that through our pages you too will be moved by the stories we share. I am humbled by the beauty not only of the palette of nature, but by the brush of each artist’s hand, the note struck from each instrument and voice, and the talent of all the businesses in this issue who offer their very best for you to experience. Waste no time—the snowflakes are soon to fall—go enjoy the inspiration to be found in a mountain autumn.

Mountain Life CAROLINA

The Heart & Soul of the High Country

A publication of Carolina Mountain Life, Inc. Publisher & Editor, Babette McAuliffe ©2015 by Carolina Mountain Life Magazine, Inc. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the Publisher.

Share us with a friend! CML is published 4 times a year and is available by subscription for $20.00 a year (continental US) Send check or money order to: Carolina Mountain Life, PO Box 976, Linville, NC 28646 | 828-737-0771 | Contributors: Hannah Barry, Sarah Borders, Deborah Mayhall-Bradshaw, Mary Jo Brubaker, David Burleson, Jean Callison, Dianna Conway, Andrew Corpening, Edi Crosby, Craig Distl, Julie Farthing, Morgan Ford, Mark Freed, Jean Gellin, Kathy Griewisch, Elizabeth Baird Hardy, Doug Hundley, Koren Huskins, Robert Inman, Randy Johnson, Ren Manning, Keith Martin, Tom McAuliffe, Pan McCaslin, Caitlin Morehouse, LouAnn Morehouse, Sheri Moretz, Katherine Skillman Newton, Jane Richardson, Dave Robertson, Samantha Stephens, Joe Tennis, Davin Underwood, Elizabeth Wegman, and Steve York

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Autumn Inspiration By Liz Brown


utumn brings inspiration from the change of season and anticipation for hikes and drives to view the beauty of this colorful time of year. Many folks make their annual visit to local orchards for a taste of apples fresh off the tree or carried home to bake in a pie. While everyone wants to record the scenery with cameras and cell phones, the season holds special inspiration for artists.  Whether local or from afar, artists are drawn to capture the spectacular natural display of the mountains in autumn. An artist’s work comes from varied sources of inspiration, but for many painters none is as strong as the shift from summer to autumn. From the first hint of red on a backyard tree to the sweep of color across distant mountain ridges, the inspi-

ration is as boundless as the artists who translate this amazing season to canvas and paper. At area art galleries a wide range of art is on display, with autumn landscapes often taking center stage. It is obvious that the change of color would excite an artist’s imagination, but many are motivated by capturing the nuance of textures, the effect of the season’s changing light and the slowly revealed structure of the trees along with the movement of color across the changes in elevation. Some artists take their materials into the landscape to paint en plein air, others use a sketch pad or camera to capture the season’s magical transformation and bring it back to the studio. While many like to capture autumn through rich vibrant landscape paintings, some artists interpret autumn though detailed still life drawings or paintings,

and in other compositions presenting elements of the season. As each season is unique, so is each artist’s vision for portraying the time of year. Autumn is an open invitation to go and experience all the beauty and richness of nature in person. It is also an exciting time to visit art galleries and view the work of artists who allow us to experience the season through their eyes. The talented artists of the High Country capture a moment of time in their individual styles and techniques, each capturing this fleeting season for us to enjoy long after the last leaf has fallen. Liz Brown is Director of The Art Cellar Gallery in Banner Elk. She lives in Crossnore and is married to sculptor Bill Brown. Autumn has always been her favorite time of the year.




Autumn’s Journey / Artist David Birmingham / Oil on Canvas

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Fall Foliage Primer Kicks Off September 23


his year’s color season could be the best in several years. That is great news for those who enjoy the magic of fall as nature prepares for winter. “With the drought over, and the weather starting to cool somewhat, particularly in the mornings, I’m predicting that this could be a very good fall leaf color season,” said Dr. Howard Neufeld, a biology professor at Appalachian State University. He acknowledges that much of the color season depends upon the weather. “Cool nights, coupled with sunny days, promote more red coloration in the leaves. People tend to regard the foliage color displays as better when the trees with red leaves have intense coloration.” The Fall Foliage Primer is a great way to follow fall’s progress. September 23 marks the first report of the 14th straight year for this online guide to fall, which provides weekly updates on the leaves’ parade of color. Reports are filed each week from five communities and include photos and recommendations of hikes and events you may want to attend. “We started the Primer 13 years ago to help answer one of the most popular questions of the fall season – ‘When is the peak color going to be?’” says Sheri Moretz from the Mast Store. “Peak leaf color is influenced by many factors beyond our control, which makes it difficult to accurately predict when the peak will be. But, what we can do is show you what the leaves looked like the previous weekend and provide some insight into the weather and how we believe it will affect the process.” Some of the reporters are long-time observers. Using their expertise, they will send you to places where you can enjoy the color – or where you may find something of interest even after the peak color is past. Reports are posted each Wednesday from the Boone and Valle Crucis area and Waynesville, Hendersonville, and Asheville in North Carolina, and Greenville, South Carolina. To help you capture your own memories of the fall season, the Mast Store photographer has some tips that will improve your photos whether you are shooting with a DSLR, a point and shoot camera, or your phone.

Autumn Inspiration

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...b ecause it’s autumn

Upon Un-Hanging Georgia O’Keeffe By Robert Inman


t’s officially Fall at my house.  There are the usual signs, of course: leaves, temperature, the snowbirds heading back to warmer climes. But for me, it’s not officially Fall until I un-hang Georgia O’Keeffe. I’ve long been an admirer of the late Ms. O’Keeffe’s paintings, many of them capturing the objects and forms she found about her in the years she lived and worked in New Mexico.  My favorite is a sunflower—a bold, celebratory eruption of color. The original hangs in the Cleveland Museum of Art, but we have a poster-sized framed print.  It stays wellprotected in the house during the winter months, but in the summer, it hangs on the back porch just above the settee (some would call it a love seat, but I prefer my grandmother’s term, “settee”).  In the late Spring, I wake up one morning and realize that the world is finally green and warm, and that’s when I hang Georgia O’Keeffe. Okay, it’s summer, whether the Vernal Equinox has arrived or not. And then comes the Fall, and I wake up one morning and realize that it’s time for Georgia O’Keeffe to come back inside. I will miss Summer, as I always do.    I love warm weather, warm enough to wake to the promise of sunshine, warm enough to go tubing on the New River. To me, there are three phases of Summer.  The first is when the sunflower takes its place above the back porch settee.  It ushers in a time of minimal clothing, the smell of mown grass, the blaze of sun and cool of shade. Summer invites a certain amount of sloth and decadence, and if we don’t slow the hectic pace of our lives to indulge in a bit of that, we have not truly experienced Summer. The sunflower tells me it’s okay to gear back.


The second phase of Summer is Vacation Bible School, which follows closely on the heels of Georgia O’Keeffe. The signs are everywhere on the mountain churches I pass, reminding me of the days of my youth in a small southern town.  Each church had a week of VBS, and the timing was a conspiracy led by our mothers. No two churches were in session the same week. They followed, one after the other, and we kids went to all of them—a week at the Baptist, the next at the Methodist, followed by the Church of Christ. By the time the first VBS started, we kids were already in the full rowdiness of Summer, so having a place our moms could park us where we could enjoy moral instruction and build bird houses was blessed relief for them. It’s not that we left our rowdiness at the door to the Sunday School building.  I well remember tacking one friend’s pants to his chair while we were in bird house construction. And I well remember Mrs. Althea Prescott, an imposing school marm and VBS director, saying, “The Lord wants everybody to sit down and shut up.” We did, but not for long. The third phase of Summer is okra. There are few smells in the world as rich and fragrant as that of frying okra. To me, okra is the Queen of Vegetables—elegant without being overbearing. It is an efficient food: like shrimp, you snip off both ends and eat everything in the middle. Then too, it is a simple food, perfect for Summer. I dare say you will not find a recipe for okra quiche or okra Rockefeller. You don’t have to worry about whether to serve white wine or red. The proper way to serve okra is with iced tea or buttermilk. But alas, the three phases of Summer have passed.  It’s becoming too nippy for shorts and a t-shirt.  Vacation Bible School is long over, and the kids are back at the grind of regular school. The only salvation for me is that my dear wife has frozen some of the okra, and on a wretched day next January she will pull it out and give us both a reminder of a season yet to come. Georgia O’Keeffe, like the rest of us, will be tucked away safe and warm, waiting for Summer. 

Sally Nooney ARTIST STUDIO GALLERY Fine Art Paintings Glass Creations and Heirloom Jewelry Scenic Hwy 194 South Midway between Valle Crucis & Banner Elk Tuesday thru Saturday 10-5 828-963-7347 • • Commissions Invited! Frank Nooney Furniture Restoration, and Antiques at the Gallery, next door

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Left: Tobacco baskets undergo a personality change when painted metallic bronze and hung in Wake, a chic “foot sanctuary” located in the Grove Arcade, Asheville. Above: Who knew tobacco baskets could look industrial? Robert Nicholas of SPLURGE Designs in Asheville’s River Arts District gives the farm tool an overhaul; interlacing recycled metal strips between the wood. The resulting sculpture would be at home in the most cutting-edge of spaces!

By Caitlin Morehouse


he lowly tobacco basket has long been a part of the North Carolina agricultural landscape. Conceived in the 1880’s by the RJ Reynolds Corporation, the wide and shallow baskets were used for displaying tobacco leaves in a unit of measurement called a ‘hand’ to be sold at auction. For almost a hundred years, demand was high for these practical devices. Made from hand-rived oak by basket weavers, the manufacturing of tobacco baskets became a booming regional industry. Just off the mountain, Yadkin County was once considered the “Tobacco Basket-Making Capital of the World.” But in the 1960’s, selling practices shifted, and by the late 1980’s burlap sheets replaced the baskets for exhibiting tobacco in loose leaves instead of hands. Thus, hundreds—perhaps thousands—of tobacco baskets were decommissioned and most were left to rot in barns or crackle in rubbish fires. Luckily for us, not all perished from neglect or were demolished as trash. Today, tobacco baskets can still be found relatively easily and affordably at antique shops, typically costing between $25-$75. Their rustic, handmade qualities are visually appealing and make them suitable for wall décor and other creative uses. I had the opportunity to use tobacco baskets in a recent interior design project. The stairwell of a client’s condo in Grandfather Golf and Country Club looked empty, but the space was awkward and didn’t require a major investment. Two tobacco baskets hung vertically on top of one another worked perfectly! They are interesting, proportional for the space, affordable, and lightweight to hang. Not to mention, they serve as a handsome reminder of a North Carolina agricultural past that echoes for many. Since that project, I have been noticing the baskets in all sorts of décor, from rustic to playful to even industrial. Thus, the tobacco baskets our farming forefathers created and used are now appreciated as works of art that celebrate our past.

Caitlin Morehouse is an interior designer based in Asheville. Visit her website at


Visit Us.

Corrina Sephora Mensoff. Golden Oars, 2014. Forged, fabricated, patinated steel and gold.

Updating Antiques: The Tobacco Basket Reconceived

Q&A with Lee Carol Giduz, new Executive Director of BRAHM By Keith Martin


n April 2015, Lee Carol Giduz became the new Executive Director of the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM). She brings to the post an impressive resume and track record for success, along with leadership in numerous statewide organizations. For the last two decades, Lee Carol has been at the helm of the Caldwell Arts Council in Lenoir, serving as the organization’s Executive Director. During that tenure, she was appointed by the Governor to the Board of the state Arts Council, serving with distinction for nine years as a member of the Executive Committee. As a member of the Advisory Panel of the Wildacres Leadership Initiative, she chaired their Selection Committee for the prestigious William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations, a program of which she was a previous honoree. In addition, Giduz has served as President, Past-President and Treasurer for the Western Art Agencies of NC, a peer organization of non-profits. As a way of introducing readers to this dynamic addition to the High Country cultural community, Carolina Mountain Life posed some questions of Giduz after her first few months on the job. It should be noted that the interview subject is a longtime friend and colleague of this writer. CML: Lee Carol, after such a long and distinguished tenure at CAC, why BRAHM? Giduz: I really never thought I would leave the Caldwell Arts Council. I loved that job, the people, and the community. Last summer I had the great privilege of receiving a Z. Smith Reynolds Sabbatical Award.  This gave me a fourmonth leave from my job. In that time I found that they really could get by without me and, better yet, that the staff and the Board were strong enough to keep the organization strong.  When asked to accept the job at BRAHM, I was able to do that with a confidence that the Caldwell Arts Council could handle the transition.  Secondly, I was feeling ready for a new

challenge; BRAHM felt like the right place to be. CML: What are the strengths and challenges you see in the organization?  Giduz: The strengths at BRAHM are many: we have a beautiful new building, a strong and committed staff, and a robust and engaged board.  We have engaging and varied programs and exhibits.  The challenges are many of the same ones faced across the region; with a tourist population and a year-round constituency, we need to serve both groups well, but at times differently as they want different things. We are still figuring out the best programs to serve these sometimes-different groups of people. Also, like many arts organizations, we constantly strive to be accessible and welcoming to all people.  CML: How has it gone so far, and what are you most excited about? Giduz: I absolutely love being here! The community has been so welcoming and I like the work that I am doing. We are growing the museum and I believe I have the experience and talent to help BRAHM become a respected top-notch museum. I am most excited about getting to know the people, listen to people’s vision for the museum, and grow the museum into a true community cultural center.  CML: After just a few months, what do you now see as BRAHM’s role in the High Country? Giduz: The stated mission is to promote the visual arts, history and heritage of the mountains through education programs, exhibition and significant permanent collections.  This is a good mission and it guides what we do. But, we need to define this more deeply and clarify how this looks in all that we do. The mission is general and the staff and Board need to work with the community to refine and detail how the mission will guide us going forward.  CML: How do you plan “to refine how the mission will guide us going forward?” Giduz: I think everything that has been done at BRAHM has been good, but I see so much room for growth, for

doing more and for doing all that we do better. That is not to criticize what has been done—I wouldn’t have taken this job if the museum was unhealthy—but there is always a way to do the job better. I seek to help BRAHM get better and better… and better. CML: Welcome to the High Country! We look forward to your leadership and contributions to our community. Editor’s note: The current exhibitions at BRAHM include its first sculpture retrospective, “The Sculptor’s Voice,” through November 14. Guest curated by Bill Brown, Jr., visitors will experience different approaches to sculpture as a medium, explored and interpreted by artists across the southeast. Additionally, “Romantic Spirits” features traditional American art by Southern artists, and “Paul Buchanan Photography” chronicles people of the region from the early to mid 1900s. For information, visit BRAHM’s website at  CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —



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Celebrating Craft: Area Festivals, Exhibitions, Workshops, and Classes By LouAnn Morehouse


estern North Carolina is a vibrant creative community that has been at the center of the earliest Craft Movements in the United States. People who esteemed self-reliance and individualism settled the Appalachian region. Living in beautiful but rugged land and frequently beset by hard times, it was a matter of grave importance to be able to make everything needed to keep home and family sustained. For that reason, making items by hand—whether pottery, woven cloth, baskets, or musical instruments, to name a few—were occupations that garnered respect. By the early twentieth century, the artisan skills honed from life in the Appalachians gained national recognition thanks to the efforts of activists who recognized their potential as an economic driver for the region. From the Craft Revolution blog comes the statement, “Craft creates community,” and it resonates strongly with Western North Carolina area artists and advocates. The region’s highly regarded craft schools, including John C. Campbell and Penland, have fostered a camaraderie and supportive atmosphere for decades. More recently, HandMade in America’s small towns programs strengthen communities and empower entrepreneurs. The longstanding pres-


ence of skilled artisan organizations such as the Southern Highlands Craft Guild uphold the standards for fine craft work and serves as an access point for collectors and others who purchase and use hand made items. Fine craftwork is available throughout the region in galleries, from studios, and at festivals and fairs. Here are some especially interesting ways to experience the best of the best.

Mica Presents “Forged and Foraged” “Forged and Foraged” is the latest visiting artist show to be presented by Mica, the cooperative fine craft gallery in Bakersville NC. Featuring Paige Davis, metal artist, and John D. Richards, the human art machine, the show runs from Sept. 24 through November 15. Whence the name? Therein lies a tale. Paige Davis is best known for her sculptural forged ironwork. Moving effortlessly between sculpture and function, Davis puts a contemporary spin on primitive forms. She has been working metal for over 40 years and still enjoys exploring ideas and materials. Paige states, “In terms of the work I forge, iron lends itself perfectly to this mixing. It is ancient in origin, holds enduring strength, and possesses the character to be sleek, fluid, and elegant. I love the process, the challenge of getting metal to do what I visualize by using very basic tools.” John D. Richards is the forager, using such common pieces of metal as cat food can lids, old brushes still sticky with paint, odd bit of plastic, and more detritus of the modern world. Somehow he turns this miscellany into art. John’s earliest memories all involve making things: forming mud puddle rivers in the back yard, drawing on paper with pencils and crayons, whittling bows

and arrows, building tree houses from leftover lumber. Now his first thoughts every morning are of structures and colors and patterns, and images. John tells us, “I am happiest when I’m in my shop making art. I am an art kind of guy. It’s just what happens. Who knows why?’ Meet the guest artists, and all the members of Mica, at the opening reception on September 26 at 5pm. Mica is located at 37 N. Mitchell Avenue in the heart of Bakersville, NC 28705 828688-6422, Follow us on Facebook: Magical Mosaic Totem Workshop with potter, mosaic artist, and clay sculptor Pam Brewer  Experience the Magic of  Wildacres Retreat  while learning the Magic of Mosaic! The workshop takes place September 28 through October 4, so act fast. Participants will work with concrete to build a form, and then cover the form with “parts and pieces” to create a Totem for the Garden! Call for further information: 828-733-5755. American Craft Week October 2 - 11 It began as a small, grassroots effort to enhance the knowledge and appreciation of handmade craft. Now, entering it sixth year, American Craft Week is a well-established, national event, celebrating the tradition of American craft in artists’ studios, galleries, museums, schools, and festivals. This year’s official celebration will be held Oct. 2–11, during which hundreds of diverse events will occur in all 50 states. With hundreds of diverse events at galleries, artist studios, museums, schools, as well as fairs and festivals, American Craft Week is the premier public celebration of handmade craft in America.

A program of Craft Retailers and Artists for Tomorrow (CRAFT), a trade association dedicated to the growth and vitality of American craft, more information can be found at Spruce Pine Potter’s Market The ninth annual show will be held October 10 & 11, 10am -5pm both days, in the Cross Street Building, off Highland Avenue in Spruce Pine. There is plenty of free parking. All the artists exhibiting in the 2015 Market are local to Mitchell and Yancey Counties, NC, and were selected by invitation to participate. The event attracts a wide audience including discerning collectors of fine contemporary ceramics. Visit the website at or the Facebook page for more information about individual artists and a look at their work, as well as directions to the event and information about this year’s fund-raising raffle. The Spruce Pine Potter’s Market can be contacted by phone at 828-765-2670 and 828-688-6422.


Florence Art School Heritage Craft Classes Woven Adirondack Pack Basket with Cathey Purvey October 15, 9:00-4:30 & 16, 9:00-Noon Make an actual  Pack Basket  designed for hiking or decorative uses. The Pack Baskets are woven from heavy gage reed for sturdiness with handle grip formed into the back of the basket and adorned with cotton straps. A fun and easy basket for beginners to advanced weavers. The tuition fee of $160 includes all materials. Instructor Cathey Purvey has been weaving baskets since 1995, and in the years since has attended numerous conferences and explored unusual materials and techniques for her designs. Cathey began teaching and designing in 1997 at retreats, schools, and guilds. The class takes place at the Florence Thomas ART School & Gallery, 10 S Jefferson Ave, West Jefferson, NC 28694. For more information and to register for this and other classes: 336-846-3827, info@ CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —



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Honoring Local Legend Etta Baker


s you pass through Burke County and scenic Morganton, NC, you will notice a new historical marker that has recently been erected on College Street in the historic downtown area; it reads as follows: ETTA BAKER, Piedmont Blues Guitarist, 1913 - 2006. Morganton native Etta Lucille Baker, starting at the age of three, played the Piedmont Blues for ninety years. Taught by her father, Boone Reid, she first recorded “One Dime Blues” in 1956. At the height of the folk music revival of the 1950’s and 1960’s, Etta Baker influenced such legends as Bob Dylan and Taj Mahal. The wording on the plaque includes a list of the numerous local, state, and national awards and recognitions achieved during her 93-year lifetime before concluding with: Etta Baker and her husband Lee raised nine children, many of whom carry on the family musical tradition. She left a unique musical legacy that continues today.”

By Keith Martin Inside the City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium, better know as CoMMA, the Etta Baker Memorial Archive is now in place in the main gallery. The massive and beautiful cherry wood display case houses several of Etta’s instruments, including her 1958 Les Paul hard body guitar. There are historical photographs along with her National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and her North Carolina Heritage Award from the state Arts Council. Rounding out the archive are press clippings, vintage family photos and other artifacts that document her remarkable career as a “national cultural treasure.” In his remarks during the August 20 dedication, mayor Mel Cohen said that the City of Morganton was very proud to recognize “one of our own,” while noting how fitting it was to preserve her memory and legacy in the facility where she performed with the likes of Ray Charles and Doc Watson. “In fact,” Co-

hen said, “it was within these four walls that Etta Baker’s memorial service was held nearly nine years ago.” Mayor Cohen announced that, “in the future, a larger-than-life sized bronze sculpture will grace CoMMA’s entrance and serve as the crowning touch to the Etta Baker Memorial.” While noting the speed at which the project has progressed in the ten months since the first meeting in November 2014, CoMMA director Bill Wilson applauded the public-private partnership with the Town of Morganton. “Without any fuss or disagreement, we have moved steadily forward to where we are today. All the pieces just kept falling into place…unheard of in this day of so much bureaucracy and rules.” The Etta Baker Memorial Archive in the CoMMA Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm and during all public performances. For more information, call 828-433-SHOW or 800-939-SHOW, or visit the website at CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


Blue Ridge Rhymes With Heritage: Traditional Artists Featured in Concert Series By Mark Freed

“Blue Ridge” and “heritage” are words that are oftentimes synonymous—written in the same sentences and spoken in the same breath. The Blue Ridge is so rich with heritage that in 2003 Congress and the President designated the region a National Heritage Area citing the “unique character, culture, and natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and foothills in Western North Carolina.”


he legislation provided federal funds and created a board of directors and ultimately a non-profit organization to develop a plan, build partnerships, and implement projects in the newly designated Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. The board discovered that heritage-specific tourism brings more than two billion dollars to the region annually. There are droves of people who want to experience the culture and traditions that have put western North Carolina on the map. One of the many projects the organization supported is the Traditional Artist Directory, an online gateway to the tradition-bearers of music, dance, storytelling, and crafts. The directory contains a wealth of information on more than 500 artists and groups from the region, with entries that include biographies, performance information, links to websites and contact information, and lots of wonderful photographs. For those who want to delve into the stories of previous generations, the directory includes a section on artists who have played defining roles in the chain of tradition, Readers can learn about the Doc Watson family of Watauga County, or Ossie Clark Phillips and the Weaving Room at Crossnore School in Avery County, or acclaimed flatfoot dancer, Robert Dotson, who helped inspire a generation of clogging groups.


Since the directory is online, the stories weave together, with embedded links from one artist to another, allowing the reader to follow tradition’s path of dissemination. Users can search for specific art forms or counties within the region. For example, you could search for banjo players from Ashe County if you were traveling in the area and wanted to track down an impromptu lesson. On that search you might discover Kilby Spencer or Amy Michels. One more click, and you would have contact information and perhaps a new banjo instructor. The Traditional Artist Directory is a heritage tourism traveler’s key to unlocking doors that lead to the heartbeat of the Blue Ridge. The musicians, storytellers, dancers, and craft artists who sat at the knees of those from previous generations are the folks who make up this directory. Most of them work day jobs in offices and cabinet shops and on farms, or they are retired. There are a small number who make their living performing, but most are not famous and not in the public spotlight often. You will most likely come across these artists at the many regional jam sessions, fiddlers conventions, folk festivals, craft shows, square dances, and small regional festivals (like the Boone Heritage Festival in Watauga or Brushy Mountain Apple Festival in Wilkes – both in October). The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area website,, has a list of regional events and also a link to the Blue Ridge Music Trails website,, which lists even more music events. In celebration of the traditional artist directory, the Town of Boone was awarded a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council to include some of these artists in the Jones House Community Center Indoor Concert series. The Fall 2015 series will kick off on Sunday, September 27, with David Holt, one of the state’s most knowledgeable performers of North Carolina traditions. Holt is a four-time Grammy Award winning musician, well known for host-

ing public radio’s Riverwalk program and for producing shows on North Carolina public television, such as Folkways, Great Scenic Railway Journeys, and North Carolina Mountain Treasures. Holt was on Hee Haw for nearly ten years and performed with many legendary folk, country, and bluegrass musicians, including a long association with the late Doc Watson. Holt is also a fantastic photographer, and an exhibit of his work will be on display at the Jones House in downtown Boone throughout the month of October. On Sunday, October 25, The Harris Brothers of Lenoir, NC, also members of the traditional artist directory, will perform at the Jones House. Reggie and Ryan Harris grew up surrounded by music, with a father, uncle, and cousins who played various stringed instruments. Making music was natural at family gatherings, and Reggie and Ryan soon expanded their repertoires from traditional mountain music to jazz, country, rock, and blues. The brothers have been performing as a duet since the late 1980s, and they are a High Country favorite… and secret. The Harris Brothers have wowed audiences on the national spotlight, but they mostly perform at smaller, regional venues such as the Jones House. The Crooked Road Ramblers features fiddler Kilby Spencer, and they will be performing at the Jones House on Monday, November 23. Spencer also grew up in a musical family and community. The small K-12 school he attended in Grayson County, Virginia, did not have a marching band, but they had an old-time string band. Music became an activity before school, at school, and after school, and by the time he graduated high school, Spencer was more than proficient on all of the stringed instruments. Today, he leads the Crooked Road Ramblers to many blue ribbons at fiddlers conventions around the region. For more information about the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area’s Traditional Artist Directory, visit the website, and for more information about the Jones House concerts, please visit or call 828.268.6280. Happy heritage traveling!

Crooked Road Ramblers

Harris Brothers

David Holt



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Rodney Sutton, energetic host of JSMHM, is a nationally known and highly respected representative of the dance and music traditions of his home state.

Mountain Home Music Comes “Home” To Blowing Rock For October


umpkins and Chrysanthemums appearing by roadsides hereabouts cause many folks to wish that this glorious mountain summer would never end. Rodney Sutton, host of Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music, admits he will miss summer, but he reports “I am truly excited about our fall concert series. We have booked some of the finest traditional musicians in the area.” Sutton will be on stage at Blowing Rock School hosting five October concerts. Hopefully, folks will finish their ice cream by 7:30 on these crisp Saturday evenings in time to enjoy the amazing lineup he has put together: old favorites such as the Dixie Dawn Band; new faces such as Rebecca Jones and Friends (The Buck Stops Here); his own clogging team, the Green Grass Cloggers dancing to the energetic and precise music of young Watauga musicians, Strictly Strings; and hometown favorites Amantha Mill, led by Becca Eggers, who play some of the best bluegrass around. Last, but not least, the Blowing Rock town celebration of Halloween will be topped off by a family-friendly event on October

By Sarah Borders 31: “A Night of Gory Ballads and Haint Tales” with two of North Carolina’s finest musicians and storytellers: Bobby McMillon and Sheila Kay Adams. Impressive—but that is not all! In the first of three venues in Boone, Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music will spotlight the release of Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr’s award winning book, Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia, a NYTimes Best Seller. Fiona Ritchie has been host of NPR’s Thistle and Shamrock for more than 25 years. Doug Orr, a very fine singer and guitar player, retired as president of Warren Wilson College and was a founder of the Swannanoa gathering. Music will be a centerpiece of their presentation. Guest singers, Little Windows ( Julee and Mark Weems) will delight the audience with their close harmony a capella singing in the traditional styles of Ireland, Scotland and Appalachia. This event will take place at the beautiful Harvest House Performing Arts Venue in Boone at 7:00 PM on Monday, October 12. (Not a mistake…that is a Monday. Mark your calendars now!)

As in the past, two Christmas concerts will be featured. The first is scheduled on “Tree Cutting” Saturday, November 28, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Boone. Featured will be the internationally known Irish guitarist, John Doyle, who will present “An Irish Christmas.” The season closes with the traditional Appalachian Christmas at Grace Lutheran Church in Boone hosted by David Johnson. A variety of Mountain Home musicians donate their time so that proceeds may go to Hospitality House and Santa’s Toy Box. There have been a few changes for Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music this year, but most things remain the same. The audience is a warm, welcoming community, the feeling is relaxed, the musicians are friendly, and there is always juice and cookies at intermission. In this, the 23rd season of the concert series, Rodney Sutton continues to honor Joe Shannon’s dream of celebrating Appalachian culture and showcasing our best regional musicians. For concert details, visit See our ad on page 114. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


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The Valle Country Fair: A Tradition Continues By Pan McCaslin

Toe-tapping Live Music


s the sun’s final lights streak above the mountains of Valle Crucis, the last craft vendor’s trailer pulls out of the Valle Crucis Conference Center field. Another successful Valle Country Fair has ended. More than 11,000 visitors, nearly 200 volunteers, law enforcement officers, health personnel, and over 150 arts and craft vendors have filled the Valle Country Fair site for the 36th year. With commitment and passion from the members and friends of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross, and with the cooperation of the Valle Crucis Conference Center, the Valle Country Fair is produced year after year. Beginning the afternoon after the Fair, plans for the following year get underway. “We couldn’t do our jobs without the history and detailed background that we have received from those who have served before us,” says Bernie Keele, who along with his wife Joan, are Co-chairs for 2015 and 2016. They began their roles last year as understudies to Jo and John Pine, the former chairs. Next year, the Keeles will have co-chair understudies learning from them. There are thirty coordinators who oversee all aspects of the fair including parking, setup/take-down, food vendors,

Crafts of all kinds

Great Food

communication and publicity, money, music and other entertainment, security, apple butter production, and exhibitors, just to name a few. Craft exhibitors are juried for quality and diversity, and all items must be handmade. Area performers provide music, talent, and entertainment. Children have their own games and craft area. Apple Butter, the delectable fruit spread traditionally made in the mountains, is cooked onsite utilizing six Amish-made copper pots and spurtles— long stirrers that scrape the bottom of the pots to keep the butter from burning. When the sun rises on the Friday before Festival Saturday, the first group of volunteers begins the two-day-long stirring of the apple butter. The teams tend batches of apple butter that will eventually yield more than 1200 pints, and will invariably sell out during the fair. Demonstrations of apple cider production take place behind the Red Barn, while musicians entertain on two stages. Folks line up early to buy freshly baked apple and pumpkin pies or to stock up on jams, jellies, and relishes. The fragrances of Brunswick stew, chili, brats, baked sweet potatoes, and hamburgers tempt visitors to taste the fare. One hundred per cent of Festival net proceeds is returned to the community;

Fresh Apple Butter

one third goes to area non-profits and the other monies are distributed by the Mission and Outreach committee of The Church of the Holy Cross to people in need. The most frequent requests are for assistance with expenses from utilities, housing, food, medical, transportation, and foster parent respite care. In 2014, over 325 requests were received. The lay member Mission committee also works with other area organizations to combine resources. Grant recipients for 2015 include Children’s House, Western Youth Network, Hospitality House, Hunger and Health Coalition, Parent to Parent Family Support Network, Volunteer Avery County, “Reaching Avery” Ministry: Emergency Food Pantry, High Country Community Health, Community Care Clinic, and High Country Care Givers. On October 17, from 9:00am to 4:00pm, the 37th Valle Country Fair will welcome visitors from around the country. Admission is Free. No pets are allowed and parking is $10 a car, $25 for a small van or bus, and $50 for a large bus. Further information on exhibitors and entertainers can be found at www. and on Instagram@ vallecountryfair.



Oktoberfest at Sugar As New High Speed Lift Installation Nears Completion


ugar Mountain Resort’s 25th annual Oktoberfest will be held October 10th & 11th. This is always a great weekend to take in the beautiful fall foliage, cool, comfortable mountain temperatures, and a weekend full of Oktoberfest activities from 10 am until 5 pm each day. Be sure to bring the kids and the grandparents because the festival is for the whole family. Admission, parking and shuttle service are free. Rain, shine or snow the festival will go on! Bavarian cuisine including bratwurst, knockwurst, sauerkraut, strudel, and pretzels will be available starting at 11:00 AM both Saturday and Sunday. To help wash it down, an ample supply of Bavarian Spaten beer will generously flow

each day until 5:00 PM. Spaten Oktoberfest beer, created in 1872 and brewed in Munich, Germany, is the world’s first Oktoberfest beer. If Bavarian cuisine isn’t your preference, American hot dogs, hamburgers, soda, and other festive foods will be available. Artisans, crafts-people, and food vendors will open their booths at 10:00 AM each day. From pottery and ceramics to jewelry and doggie items, the crafts fair will cover the back lawn for your browsing or shopping pleasure. A children’s activity area located in the Ski School Play Yard will offer bounce and play stations, hayrides, and a chance to meet Sugar Bear and Sweetie Bear. Face painting, cotton candy, popcorn, and drinks will also be available.

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Oktoberfest isn’t complete without the sounds of an OomPah Band. Yodeling, accordions, Alpenhorns, and dancing will add to the entertainment from noon until 4:00 PM both Saturday and Sunday. The fifteen-piece Harbor Town Fest Band guarantees to bring the sounds, dances, and enthusiasm of Bavaria to Sugar Mountain. Oktoberfest celebrating will have an American flavor when the Valle Crucis Middle School band performs on Saturday at 2:00 PM. The new summit lift is nearing completion and not yet ready for action, but you can enjoy spectacular views of fall foliage from a ride on the Green Chairlift and the Oma’s Meadow Chairlift to the top of Oma’s Meadow Slope. The Sugar Mountain Resort Sports and Gift Shop, located on the first level of the main lodge will again host an Oktoberfest sale. The Ski Shop will offer 30% off all 2015 and older winter apparel and footwear, plus all Spyder sample items will be 50-70% off. Sale prices are available only during the two days of Oktoberfest from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM. Some merchandise exclusions apply. New 2016 winter merchandise will also be available. Commemorative Oktoberfest and souvenir items can be purchased in the Sports Shop or under the tent on the main celebration deck. If you’re planning to spend the weekend take advantage of on-mountain lodging discounts of 25%. Lodging details and contact information can be found at  For additional information or if you are interested in volunteering or becoming a vendor please call Sugar Mountain Resort’s administrative office at: (828) 898-4521.


Merryweather’s Big Adventure: Woolly Worm Festival Honored by Kiwanis International By Mary Jo Brubaker


iwanis International, the governing body of the international, co-educational service organization, has officially recognized the Woolly Worm Festival of Banner Elk as an Outstanding Service Project. To mark the honor, members of the Banner Elk Kiwanis Club, co-sponsor of the Festival, were invited to make a presentation about the Woolly Worm Festival at the Kiwanis 100th Birthday Party and Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana this past June. After much deliberation, the Kiwanis Club decided to select a woolly worm that represented the best of the best in Avery County. And so, on a warm June day, Merryweather the woolly worm was plucked from the grass on Old Farm Road to begin his journey as woolly worm ambassador for his community. In preparation for his trip, Merryweather was placed in a specially-made travel box filled with fresh green grass. He rode with two Banner Elk Kiwanis members to the airport where, much to his dismay, he had to take off every one of his pairs of shoes to go through security! Merryweather reported that the flight to Indianapolis was uneventful and a bit lonely in the overhead compartment. Landing in Indianapolis, Merryweather went down the airport escalator and saw people playing hopscotch on a big rug that said, “Kiwanis 100 Years Old–Still Kids At Heart!” He was so happy to see Kiwanians who had come all the way from Banner Elk to the Convention waiting to welcome him. What a party it was! It was the best birthday party Merryweather had ever attended. Over 7,000 Kiwanians came to the birthday celebration from all around the world, and they all wanted to have their pictures taken with Merryweather! At the Convention Center Merryweather posed for pictures while Banner Elk Kiwanians gave out Woolly Worm stickers and invited people to North Carolina for


the 38th Annual Festival. Merryweather demonstrated string climbing and racing techniques as everyone watched in amazement. When not posing for pictures or giving demonstrations, Merryweather participated in many of the Kiwanis birthday activities. He went to the opening ceremony and got to sing “We Are Family” with Sister Sledge. He went to a pancake lunch with over 5,000 Kiwanians at Monument Circle. Merryweather ate hotdogs at a baseball game and watched a special 100th Birthday fireworks display after the game. One afternoon there was birthday cake for over 7,000 Kiwanians and one woolly worm. It was all so exciting for Merryweather. He learned that in Indianapolis no one ever has to go outside to get around town. Everyone walks from one place to another through skywalks. On his last day in Indianapolis Merryweather visited the Kiwanis International headquarters

where he left a Woolly Worm Festival sticker at every board member’s place in the boardroom. In the evening he went to the Birthday Gala to see “Up With People” and Sister Sledge again. There were balloons and dancing. What a celebration! At the Kiwanis International Conference Merryweather learned all about Kiwanis’ mission of serving the children of the world. Since returning to Banner Elk, he has organized a series of training camps throughout Avery County for young woolly worms. The training camps are designed to help young worms prepare for the 38th Annual Woolly Worm Races, October 17 and 18, 2015. Classes on string climbing, racing techniques, fitness, and overcoming fear of heights will be offered. Classes are free and open to all young worm residents of Avery County. For more information check the Festival website at CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


Cultural Calendar Spotlights for Fall By Keith Martin


utumn marks the start of numerous performing arts seasons, particularly on college and university campuses or other cultural organizations that program on an academic year. To help you plan your theatre-going experiences, here are the ten most interesting shows on the horizon from now through November, listed below in chronological order.

Billed as “A Murder Mystery Musical Comedy,” Curtains features music and lyrics by the legendary Kander and Ebb of Cabaret and Chicago fame. Set in 1959 Boston, the show is a send-up of backstage murder mystery plots that follows the fallout when an untalented star dies on opening night, leaving the entire cast and crew as suspects. Fortunately, a police detective, who is also a musical theatre fan, steps in to salvage the show,


Opening the Lees-McRae College Theatre season is the rarely produced musical comedy gem, Plain and Fancy, from the book by Will Glickman and Fiddler On The Roof writer Joseph Stein. This 1955 Broadway tuner is one of the first stage depictions of the Amish community, complete with the traditional barn raising and an old-fashioned country wedding. Lees-McRae faculty member, David Craven, is at the helm of this charming musical, which includes among its memorable songs the hit single, “Young and Foolish.” Info at www. or 828-898-8709. Runs October 1-4 in Banner Elk, NC.

catch the killer, and get the girl… without getting killed himself. Barter Theatre Producing Artistic Director, Rick Rose, directs. Info at or 276-628-3991. Runs September 25 through November 14 in Abingdon, VA.

Lakota Sioux Indian Dance Theatre communicates the resonance of dance and song in Plains Indian Society, “preserving and honoring a living history and oral tradition that is central to American Indian society and culture.” The company, which has performed at the Millennium Celebration in Times Square and the Cultural Olympiad in Greece, began with the support of traditional Lakota Indian educators, healers, community leaders, championship powwow dancers, singers and storytellers. Presented by App State’s Performing Arts Series, or 800-841ARTS (2787). Note: one performance only on October 7 in Boone, NC.

An Enemy of the People opens the 2015-16 season of the Department of Theatre & Dance at Appalachian State University. Henrik Ibsen’s celebrated masterpiece tells the story of a man who discovers contamination of a local water source and is forced to stand alone, fearlessly exposing the greed and lies that threaten to destroy the town he loves. Astute audience members may notice a similarity in the story line to the current fracking debate and/or the recent coal

Now celebrating its 25th Anniversary, the 2015 North Carolina Dance Festival stops in the High Country during a three-city tour of the state, showcasing five professional dance companies and a different program each night. This year, the works of artists from Durham (Anna Barker and Thomas DeFrantz), Greensboro (the late Jan Van Dyke), Wilmington (Karola Luttringhaus), and Winston Salem (Amy Love Beasley) will share the stage with App State faculty and

The Three Musketeers

One of the hallmarks of professional theatre is a commitment to presenting new work and to creating fresh, bold, interpretations of the classics. Barter Theatre Playwright-in-Residence, Catherine Bush, has penned an adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers that follows, “the friendship, romance and adventures” of young D’Artagnan as he joins Athos, Aramis, and Porthos to fight, “for honor, love and glory.” Director Katy Brown’s concept “takes away all the lace and feathers in favor of leather and a little grit.” This is the one production not to miss this season. Info at or 276-6283991. Runs now through November 14 in Abingdon, VA.

ash spills that have poisoned rivers and streams in North Carolina. Dr. Kin-Yan Szeto directs this production. Info at or 800-841ARTS (2787). Runs September 30 – October 4 in Boone, NC.

students during this much-anticipated highlight of every dance season. Info at or 800-841ARTS (2787). Runs October 23 – 24 in Boone, NC. All Hands On Deck is described as, “America’s most patriotic musical show… based on Bob Hope’s 1942 USO tour to the troops.” The City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium (CoMMA) knows its audiences well and they will not be disappointed with this evening of more than 40 classic songs, dances, and memories from an era familiar to every member of “The Greatest Generation.” The Hollywood Victory Caravan orchestra, performing styles ranging “from Roadshow to Radio Broadcast,” accompanies the cast. Info at or 800-939-SHOW (7469). Note: one performance only on November 6 in Morganton, NC. Ted Tally’s Terra Nova is set in the winter of 1910 as two teams of explorers race across Antarctica to be the first to reach the South Pole. Based on the true story of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and British Captain Robert Falcon Scott, whose ship, the Terra Nova, gives us the title, this “extraordinarily inventive play” is drawn from the journals and letters found on Scott’s frozen body. Playwright Tally won an Academy Award for his adapted screenplay for The Silence of the Lambs  (1988). This LeesMcRae College Theatre production is under the direction of Erin Wallace. Info at or 828-898-8709. Runs November 19 - 22 in Banner Elk, NC. Although the titles had not been selected by our deadline,  Ensemble Stage  in Blowing Rock has announced two upcoming events that are worth tracking. The first is a “Staged Radio Drama for Halloween” that will be performed on October 24, and the other is a “Holiday Radio Play” that will happen on November 28. Info at or 828-414-1844.  See you at the theatre!

Lakota Sioux Dance Theatre



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1087 Main Street, Unit 4 Blowing Rock, NC 828-372-7070 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —



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“Our terraced mountain vineyard and winery nestled at the base of Grandfather Mountain is the first producing winery in Watauga County, NC. Warm breezes during the day and cool crisp nights help develop the flavors and balance of our wines. We think you’ll find our wines unique. Enjoy and share with friends.” —Steve Tatum, owner Mon-Sat Noon-6, Sun 1-5 Located in Foscoe right off HWY 105. 7.2 miles south of Boone and 3.6 miles north of NC184 & 105 intersection at Tynecastle 225 Vineyard Lane, Banner Elk, NC 28604 828-963-2400 •


Photos: Todd Bush

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Spirit Ride By Julie Farthing


he Carender-Adams farm, with its pastoral whitefenced fields and lovely setting at the crest of Hwy 194 between Valle Crucis and Banner Elk, is probably the most photographed farm in the Matney community. The former owners, sisters Lavola and Launa Carender, were highly regarded teachers and local philanthropists; they are buried across the road in the Matney Cemetery. After the last sister, Lavola, passed away in 2007, the farm sat empty for a long while. Neighbors missed the Carenders, who had been pillars of the community. Then, three years ago, new owners with hopes and dreams of their own pulled into the farm’s long driveway, and the little community of Matney watched and waited. The neighbors soon witnessed a restored farmhouse, freshly painted white fences, Angus cattle, goats, chickens, and three special horses that all serve to make up the new Carender-Adams farm. Owners Craig and Patty Adams are living their dream of creating a haven for people with special needs, for those who have suffered trauma or are dealing with a terminal illness. The Adams have established Spirit Ride, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization serving Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey Counties. “I ran across this place and I had a vision. I’ve always wanted to do this,” said Craig of the rewards of farm life. “And I had always wanted to restore a historic home,” added Patty referring to the old

Carender farmhouse. “I’ve always loved horses, and I have been volunteering at therapy places for six years: Blazing Saddles here, Freedom Ride in Florida, which is a huge facility; and then there’s a place in St Augustine that’s a Spirit Ride facility. And when I went there, that’s when I knew I loved this company. That’s why we are a licensed center for Spirit Ride. Their core values are parallel to ours. You never charge a client, everything is free, and you trust that it will all work out.” With more than 100 facilities worldwide, Spirit Ride is a therapeutic riding center involving horses and equineassisted activities in an effort to achieve goals that enhance physical, emotional, social, cognitive, behavioral, and educational skills for people with special needs. Spirit Ride volunteers are trained to understand that having a family member with special needs has an effect on the family unit as a whole—both blessings and challenges. They believe that to best serve the child’s needs they must serve the entire family. The Spirit Ride program encourages family participation in all therapeutic riding sessions, which not only assists in the growth and healing of each family member, but also helps to transfer the therapeutic intervention from the session to the day-to-day home life of the child. Throughout the course of a Spirit Ride session (offered in the Spring, Summer and Fall), clients work with a designated instructor, horse, and volunteer therapy team members for one-hour lessons each week. Patty elaborates on the therapeutic method: “We have a strong focus on building independence and taking ownership. Therefore, clients assist, to the best of their ability, in all areas of preparation and horse-care, leading, grooming, and tacking up. This develops a sense of self-sufficiency and accomplishment, and also builds sequencing and speech skills.” Equine therapy aids the rider in many ways. In a natural environment, the equine-assisted therapy is an organic combination of speech-, physical-, and relationship-building therapies. Riders should have the undivided attention of their therapeutic team. Because of these beliefs, Spirit Ride facilities are commit-

ted to providing all private therapeutic horseback riding services free of charge to children with special needs. Patty is especially excited about the trail that her mother, Mary Belanger, retired Watauga County teacher and Spirit Ride Curriculum Director, has helped build. Belanger’s Masters Degree in Gifted Education plays a big role in Spirit Ride. Patty explained, “We have a sensory trail, and my mom has helped create boxes at stations on the trail for autistic children who require a lot of sensory development. If we are working on touch or feeling that day and the mom or dad is there, then they take that home and continue to work on it for the rest of the week. So it’s great having the parents a part of that.” Patty emphasized the goal of Spirit Ride: “All of our ‘Spirit Riders’ and their families deserve to be able to have a place where they can have a great time, without worrying about the stress or their day-to-day lives. Our volunteers and donors are a vital part of this commitment to the special needs families within our community.” I met Ashton Dorsey, an Appalachian State student majoring in Exercise Science, and volunteer at Spirit Ride. Ashton was working with “Spirit,” an aptly name horse, in the field closest to the barn. “Ashton is a novice, and it’s been real important to her, and she’s been able to learn horsemanship and caring for horses the right way,” said Patty, “So good for her for wanting to learn from the ground up before she gets her own horse.” As with the Carender sisters, education plays a huge role in the day-to-day life and activities of the Adams-Carender farm. “I think that’s what makes us different from other facilities is we emphasis education first,” said Patty. “I’m a teacher using a horse as a tool. I feel like the Carender sisters would be happy. I hope so.” In all aspects, the Adams-Carender Farm seems to have come full circle. “Yeah, Patty takes them flowers on their birthdays,” said Craig Lavola and Launa would be proud. Find out more about Spirit Ride from their Facebook page: Spirit Ride Inc., a licensed Therapeutic Center CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


Fabio the stallion with his herd

The Wild Ponies Of Grayson Highlands


f your idea of heaven is wide open spaces, views as far as the eye can see, and fields of wild ponies, then hiking in Virginia’s Mt. Rogers Recreation Area and Grayson Highlands State Park is for you. Google wild ponies, and Grayson Highlands pop ups alongside the better-known herds living on the coasts of Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. The herds in the mountains of Virginia are classified as “Feral Ponies”— free roaming  livestock of domesticated ancestry.  They are said to be  descended from  the hearty stock left in the area when the parks were created. The herd is credited to one man in particular, a horse breeder named Bill Pugh whose dream was to create a breed of horse/ pony called the “Virginia Highlander,” a sure footed mountain horse of small stature.  A pony is considered to be any horse under 14 hands. A hand is an old measurement, and is about 4 inches— the length across the palm and thumb. In the mid 1960’s, at the same time the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area was being carved out of the Jefferson and George Washington National


Forests, Pugh released a herd of his ponies into the newly designated area. He did so at the request of the Park Service to help keep the balds grazed and the thorn bushes from overtaking the grassy highlands. The ponies thrived and multiplied. Then in 1974, around the time that Grayson Highlands State Park was being formed, Pugh decided to retire and get out of the pony business. A group of locals got together and formed the Wilburn Ridge Pony Association, taking the name from the mountain ridge that stretches from Mt. Rogers through the Grayson Highlands.  The Association purchased all the ponies in the parks for $500.00 and took over management of the ponies in cooperation with State and Federal Park services.   Nestled in between the highest peaks in Virginia, Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and Grayson Highlands State Park together encompass a total of 159,638 acres of mountain ridges, large grassy balds, evergreen forests, and rhododendron thickets. It is in these unspoiled tracts of land that the hardy feral ponies live out their lives wild and free.  Their numbers range from 100

By Elizabeth Wegman

to 150 head. They live in herds of eight to 20 ponies with one stallion for each family of mares and offspring. Finding the ponies is a game of chance as they have quite a lot of area in which to wander.    The easiest way to view the ponies is to make the drive up to Grayson Highlands State Park off US Hwy 58 in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia.  This gains you easy access to the Appalachian Trail, which extends through the park and up Mt. Rogers. The ponies are often found along the hiking trails that lead to Mt Rogers.  There is a small entrance fee for the park, which has plenty to offer hikers, and campers of all levels.  Follow the main park road to Massie Gap Parking area. At the parking lot, walk across the meadow, through the gate, and up the rhododendron trail to the gap. Once in the gap you may see ponies grazing right there.  If not, continue south along the white blazed Appalachian Trail towards Mt Rogers.  At 5,729 ft, Mt Rogers is the highest point in Virginia—but don’t expect to see views from the top as the peak is well forested in tall evergreens.  I have

Fabio at Wilburn Ridge, Massie Gap

Foal friends

often come across the ponies enjoying apples or carrots that are high in sugar, the shade of those trees. It is possible and definitely not peanut butter and jelly to enjoy mountain vistas as you approach sandwiches. It is all fine and good to feed Mt Rogers as there are many rock out- a wild pony the day you visit, as you will croppings that offer breathtaking views. not be around to see the havoc caused The rhododendrons and wildflowers put when that pony invades a picnic or camp on a show in June, and newborn ponies looking for another handout. A begging pony becomes an 800 lb nuisance are a sight to see. Doug Cregger, one of the Pony Asso- and not so cute. Some ponies become ill ciations members, offers guided trips on from eating foods out of the norm and horseback. I highly recommend spend- there is no veterinary care in the wild. So ing a day or a weekend exploring the area consider the consequences and do not with this very knowledgeable horseman. feed the wildlife in the parks. It is never It will give you a feel for the way people a good idea. used to travel across the mountain range.            Once          a year the Wilburn Ridge Pony The ponies encounter people all Association holds a capture and auctions year and they are not shy, but make no off the younger, mostly male, ponies mistake, they are wild animals and  not they have collected. The auction is held “tame” by any means.  Just try to make on Saturday of the annual Fall Festival one do something it does not want to do at Grayson Highlands State Park, on and you will soon find out how wild they the last full weekend in September. The are. Keep your distance and do not ap- auction is held at 2pm in a corralled area proach or try to pet them. They do kick inside the park and the festival goes on all day Saturday and Sunday.  and bite!  Feeding the ponies is discouraged in If you have ever wanted a pony, both parks; you can be ticketed and fined these little ones are a treat to own and for this in the state park. These rules are work with. Healthy and hearty, they are to protect you and to protect the po- checked by a veterinarian, given a cognies. Their diet is grass and shrubs, not gins test, and then offered for auction. It

is a fun family event to watch as the buyers line up to pick a pony to bid on. Last year, after attending for years, I actually bought not one but two!  I have had a blast training and working with them and wish I had room for more. So if hiking the Appalachian Trail surrounded by scenic views, rock scrambles, and PONIES sounds like a perfect outing, then I suggest a day trip to the  Virginia Highlands. The scenery alone will be worth it, and if the ponies elude you that day it will only make you want to return again and again till one day you turn a corner and find that elusive herd of painted ponies…ahh, heaven!  For more  information on the Fall Festival and the Pony Auction, call Grayson Highlands State Park, 276579-7092. To ride with Doug Cregger, call 276-783-4136.   Happy Trails! Elizabeth Wegmann is a professional photographer and an avid horse lover. She can be reached at and on Facebook at Feral Ponies of Grayson Highlands.



Three State Parks for Fall Article And Photographs By Randy Johnson


he High Country is lucky to have more than its share of state parks and three of them make a particularly fetching “triumvirate” of destinations for peak autumn color. Mount Mitchell and Elk Knob State Parks, and Mount Jefferson, a State Natural Area, are all lofty summits that make it easy to enjoy fall. Each of these summits is high enough to get the color going first, say in early October. And when the leaves start thinning out on top in mid-month, each looks down on a lower elevation explosion of reds and yellows.

Mount Mitchell

From the Boone area, the hour plus drive to Mount Mitchell (exactly 50 miles from US 221 near the Grandfather Mountain entrance) is a perfect excuse to motor one of the nicest sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Out and back, this trip gives travelers the opportunity to stop at the Orchards at Altapass (Milepost 327), plan lunch at one of the inns or eateries in Little Switzerland, or visit the Mineral Museum (both near MP 330). Mount Mitchell’s summit road leaves the Parkway at MP 355 and makes it


easy to climb the East’s highest peak by car. Don’t miss a walk to the modern, spiraling summit tower (wheelchair accessible, but not an easy ascent). This nearly 7,000-foot summit is where the earliest color will be—so head up early. MidOctober can be a lot like winter. That’s something to keep in mind for campers. Mount Mitchell has a small campground, a truly lofty and auto-accessible spot to pitch a tent. From the tower trail, the Balsam Nature Trail makes a short and easy traverse back down to the parking lot. Pause at Canadian Zone forest interpretive signs along the way. Or head out the end of the parking lot, past log shelters and picnic tables, to Mount Craig, the second highest peak in the east, where great views reach back to Mount Mitchell. It is a brilliantly scenic, orange-triangle blazed hike through verdant evergreens for a two-mile roundtrip. Before heading home, the state park’s restaurant is always a great dining ritual after a hike.

Mount Jefferson State Natural Area

Take the Parkway here too. Access to Mount Jefferson on NC 16 (then US

The graded gravel path to Elk Knob is flanked by colorful trees.

221) is just under 44 miles north of US 221 at Grandfather Mountain. Start there and the viaduct can be part of the trip, along with a stop at the Mount Jefferson Overlook at MP 266. Take the winding summit road and be sure to stop at Sunset Overlook and Jefferson Overlook. At the top, there’s a picnic area in the breezy, colorful, deciduous forest. Near the restrooms, pick up a TRACK Trail brochure and loop the park’s Rhododendron Trail. TRACK Trails are an interpretive trail concept being added to many trails in the High Country and around the nation. Grab one or a few of the different brochures and the hike becomes an educational experience Be sure to hike out to Luther Rock and look down on the town of Jefferson (notice the early 1900s courthouse far below). If you loop the ‘newish’ Lost Province Trail it’s a 2.2-mile hike.

Elk Knob State Park

Elk Knob is just a short ten miles north of Boone via NC 194 (with a left at 5.5 miles on Meat Camp Road/ SR 1335). Like Mount Jefferson, Elk Knob is covered in a deciduous forest that flames in fall colors. Unlike Jefferson though,

Evergreens and wildflowers line the trail to Mount Craig and across the entire Black Mountain range.

you have to walk to the top. Luckily the 1.9-mile, blue-diamond blazed Summit Trail is a rock-built masterpiece of gradual rise. Even the hike’s 1,000 feet of switchbacking vertical rise is only moderately strenuous (just be sure to have a seat often along the way on the benches integrated into many trailside settings). The summit puts on quite a show. After climbing through a colorful forest, the trail emerges onto an open crest where interpretive signs explain the unique geology of these “amphibolite” mountains and point out distant summits. The low vegetation and central location of Elk Knob make for a great view. South, Mount Mitchell and the Black Mountains line the skyline, along with Beech and Sugar mountains, and rugged Grandfather. North, Virginia’s highest peaks soar on the horizon, the evergreen bump of Mount Rogers (5,729 feet), and number two, meadow-covered Whitetop (get it? The meadows are white in winter snow). Not ready to climb even a graded trail to the peak? Well, here too is a TRACK Trail. Grab a brochure and take the easy yellow-diamond blazed 1-mile loop called the Beech Tree Trail around the

picnic area. There’s also a half-mile, reddiamond blazed loop called the Maple Run Trail. Campers take note, the park just recently debuted a new path, called the Backcountry Trail, that leads to a variety of group and individual campsites. That makes it a snap to be immersed in Elk Knob’s fluttering autumn leaves. And if you wait a few months, you can be snow camping at those sites, via snowshoes or skis. Elk Knob may be the only state park that truly invites winter enthusiasts to come up and play in the park’s snowy setting on the Tennessee state line. That telling nod at a harsh climate is one reason why all these state park peaks are a great, and early, choice for fall color.

The summit tower view is often embroiled with cloud effects. Mount Craig is the next peak just across the gap from Mount Mitchell.

Randy Johnson’s new book, the much-anticipated Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon, will be out in April 2016, along with a new third edition of his bestseller, Hiking North Carolina, this time in an all-color version.


The Mount Mitchell parking lot shrinks to insignificance from the summit of Mount Craig. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


A group of teens put a fresh face on the Parkway in the High Country As you explore the Blue Ridge Parkway in these initial days of autumn, you’ll see spruced up areas across the High Country. At Rough Ridge Trail, you can get a leg up on the uphill terrain more easily via a new set of stairs. Pull over for a pause as Sim’s Pond or Julian Price Memorial Park picnic area to see newly constructed split rail fences. And the route is a lot easier on the Green Knob Trail thanks to new steps and nearly 2.5 miles of cleanup. The credit for these improvements and more belongs to a handful of teenagers and two leaders who spent seven weeks this summer camping and working along the Parkway as part of the North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC). The NCYCC is a program of the Conservation Trust of North Carolina, and this crew in particular was funded by the conservation group and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, working together to foster a new generation of stewards for public land. “We are excited to create a new generation of Parkway stewards through this meaningful partnership,” said Carolyn Ward, CEO of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. “These young people are providing critical support to the National Park Service in its efforts to improve and maintain the Parkway’s trails and other visitor resources.” The benefits of this program for 16- to 24-year-olds aren’t just for Parkway visitors, though. The teens from across North Carolina worked together for eight hours a day, five days a week, all the while gaining a respect for each other, the environment, and their own abilities. Each day included a one-hour education program focused on conservation and social topics. “After working with the NCYCC for five weeks, not only did I learn a great deal about the people in my crew, but I learned a lot about myself,” said NCYCC crewmember Blake Barnette. “I also learned what an impact such a small group can make on the environment. It’s definitely something I’ll keep with me for the rest of my life.”  It was also a summer of firsts for crewmember Kristiana Davis of Raleigh. This experience marked her first time hiking, first time seeing a raccoon (she thought they’d be much smaller), first time holding a snake, first time swimming in a lake, and first time kayaking. All these small but important milestones along with working with a group of people she’d never met before added up to a rewarding experience. “At first, I thought I don’t know about all this, but now I feel pretty accomplished,” she explained. Early on during their stint in the wilderness, some of the team members doubted whether they could even climb to the top of Rough Ridge Trail, much less build a new staircase to make the route safer for others. But they all made it to see the spectacular view and create another memory to take home—one of many that will surely fuel their interest in the outdoors for years to come.


Working Hard The North Carolina Youth Civilian Conservation Corps accomplished a long list of improvements along the Parkway, including: Tearing out and construction of 300 feet of new fencing at the Julian Price Memorial Park picnic area Trail maintenance on one mile of the Boone Fork Trail that includes 10 feet of new stepping stones Trail maintenance on 2.4 miles of the Green Knob Trail that includes the construction of 23 water bars and 40 feet of stepping stones Construction of 30 feet of check steps on the Rough Ridge Trail supported by 36 water bars and 15 feet of stone steps Maintenance and drain cleaning on six miles of carriage trails at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park Removal of 1,000 feet of worn out fencing and facility maintenance that includes filling 40 feet of ditch with rock crush at Cone Manor Vegetation clearing along the Tanawha Trail To learn more about the NCYCC, visit To learn more about the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s programs and projects, visit

mountain notes M O U N TA I N N O T E S F R O M T H E G R A N D FAT H E R M O U N TA I N S T E WA R D S H I P F O U N D AT I O N

Grandfather Mountain debuts Mile High Growth Chart

The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation has unveiled a new attraction at the Linville park: the Mile High Growth Chart. The Growth Chart, located on the third floor of the Top Shop Visitor Center, allows guests to measure their height compared to Mildred the Bear on a platform that’s exactly one mile above the sea in elevation. Guests who visit annually can watch their kids “grow” over the years as they compare photos at the chart over time. Jim Morton, chairman of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation Board of Directors, said the Growth Chart has been a dream since the Top Shop was renovated in 2010. When they learned that the top floor would be only 16 inches shy of one mile, the idea emerged to set up the Growth Chart. But the space limitations and need for good photography lighting made the project daunting until Coffey Architecture of Boone stepped in to conceptualize the design. “We are deeply grateful to the team from Coffey Architecture for turning our idea into a good idea,” Morton said. “Locating and designing our Mile High Growth Chart was a challenging task, but the creative folks at Coffey Architecture made it look easy. It was the outof-the-box thinking that we needed.” Architect Hunter Coffey said he and Michelle Daughtry were pleased to work on the project pro bono. “This is an architecture firm, but we like to get involved in all scales of design,” Coffey said. “I’ve designed everything from houses and large buildings to furniture to cabinetry to kiosks, so this sort of falls into that scale of project.” Printing specialists Blair Inc. from Springfield, Va., crafted the visual displays, and the completed Growth Chart opened in June. Already, guests from only a few feet tall to 7 feet, 2 inches have posed for pictures beside Mildred, Grandfather Mountain’s first habitat animal, at the Growth Chart.


Sept. 1-30: HawkWatch at MacRae Peak Sept. 12: Kidfest Sept. 19: Girl Scout Day Oct. 3: Creatures of the Night & Bonfire Delight

Oct. 3-18 (Saturdays and Sundays only): The Colors of Grandfather guided hikes Oct. 31: Beary Scary Halloween

About the Mountain: The not-for-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call (800) 468-7325 or visit to plan a trip. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


Woven Together: The Moses Cone Manor and the Southern Highland Craft Guild By Hannah Barry


n the front porch of Moses Cone Manor, the hum of a potter’s wheel moves time. All eyes are fastened on a ball of clay rising into a vessel, pulled and sculpted by the hands of Lynn Jenkins. At her side are other forms that have been carefully thrown into functional lanterns, vases, bowls, and candlestick holders. Jenkins, a long-time member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, has been working with ceramics since 1976. “It’s like coming home every time I step onto the Manor Porch and start making pots. I grew up in Blowing Rock with the Cone Estate my back yard,” says Jenkins. “This place is in my soul and my pots. There is nothing like this view.” Now home to the Parkway Craft Center, the Manor serves as one of six Guild retail operations. The Blue Ridge vista that so captivates Jenkins was also the inspiration that lead to the establishment of the estate at the turn of the century. Originally known as Flat Top Manor, the mountain estate encompasses a


13,000 square foot mansion with 3,600 acres of rolling farmland, orchards, lakes, and miles of carriage roads. This was the domain of the “Denim King,” Moses H. Cone. Son of German immigrants, Cone began his career travelling throughout the South soliciting trade for his family’s grocery business. Upon encountering skilled, hardworking men in Appalachia, he decided to move to Greensboro and build Cone Mills, recruiting those very men to work in his factories. After years of success in the Piedmont, he looked West to the mountains to create a retreat, staking his claim in Blowing Rock. Francis Goodrich, a Presbyterian missionary and contemporary of Moses Cone, also ventured into the Appalachian Mountains. While visiting a friend in Asheville, Goodrich met mountain women skilled in the art of weaving, but lacking a market for their fine handicraft. She envisioned empowering the mountain communities by introducing markets to working women living in remote areas. Goodrich’s efforts restored the weavers’ pride in their handiwork, and saved traditional Appalachian craftsmanship from extinction. “Miss Goodrich made it her mission to grow and maintain an interest in traditional American mountain culture,” says Deb Schillo, Guild archivist and librarian. Her dedication—and that of others—to this mission resulted in the establishment of the Allanstand School (1897), incorporated into Allanstand Cottage Industries (1917), and merged into the Southern Mountain Handicraft Guild in 1930. Today, it is known as the Southern Highland Craft Guild, one of the oldest regional craft guilds in the country and the largest,

spanning 293 counties from Maryland to Alabama. Over the next two decades, the Guild helped lead the way in rekindling an appreciation for handmade crafts. “After the lean years of WWII, crafts and tourism had a resurgence, drawing people to the Western North Carolina mountains,” says Schillo. In 1947, when Bertha Cone died with no heirs, the estate was bequeathed to the Moses Cone Memorial Hospital. Three years later, financial strains led the hospital foundation trustees to donate the estate to The National Park Service. With a focus on conservation and preservation, the park service sought to utilize the property for educational purposes. This vision led Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Sam Weems to collaborate with the Southern Highland Craft Guild, whose mission is to “bring together the crafts and craftspeople of the Southern Highlands for the benefit of shared resources, education, marketing and conservation.” In 1951, Parkway Craft Center opened in Flat Top Manor. Operated by Guild members, it gave visitors an opportunity to view and learn about traditional handmade crafts of the Appalachians. “Working alongside the artists as they draw creative energy from the beautiful surroundings is always an empowering, inspirational, and positive experience,” says Ellen Schaller, shop manager for the Parkway Craft Center. Schaller has spent 19 seasons at the Center, introducing visitors to the traditional and contemporary handmade crafts of the Southern Appalachians. These days, the non-profit provides an opportunity for public and craftspeople interaction via an educational

demonstration program. “Demonstrating here gives the visitor a chance to witness the connection of nature, artist and craft. It is an ongoing tradition that these mountains give to the artists and the artists give to the visitor. Any day is a good day when you are making pots on the porch of the Cone Manor sharing your craft with people from all over the world,” says Jenkins. The gallery shop, located on the main floor of the house, is open daily, March 15th – November 30th, 9am–5pm. Visitors can purchase original, regionally produced, works of art created by Guild artists. The shop is “a feast for the eyes” with a wide range of craft mediums represented. There are more than 230 guild artists currently showcased at the Parkway Craft Center at Moses Cone Manor. Whether at the loom or on the wheel, it is the work of skilled craftsmen that has kept the doors to Moses H. Cone Manor open and his vision alive. The threads of appreciation, conservation, preservation, education, and enrichment of natural resources weave together the missions of Moses and Bertha Cone, the National Park Service, Francis Goodrich and the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Just as Moses Cone’s country estate welcomed visitors from all walks of life and showcased local craftsmanship, Parkway Craft Center continues to do so today.


For more information about Parkway Craft Center and the Southern Highland Craft Guild, visit www. or call 828-295-7938. Parkway Craft Center is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 294.



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Protecting the Air, Water, Land and Communities of Appalachia

The Visitors’ Information Channel 7am-11am & 9pm -1am CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —

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4/11/14 10:54 AM

A Bridge From The Past:

Fighting To Restore The Historic Footbridge Across US221 By Elizabeth Baird Hardy Standing under the old stone arch that will mark one end of the proposed new overhead footbridge at Crossnore Presbyterian Church are Rachel Deal (center, holding the drawing of the proposed bridge), Linda LaBelle of HandMade In America (left), and the Crossnore Community Enhancement Committee’s Ann Baker (right).


rivers who have traveled the stretch of Hwy 221 through Crossnore since 1995 may not realize that there was once a remarkable landmark here, a focal point for the community. The historic footbridge that spanned the highway for over sixty years was taken down after being condemned by the state despite nationally publicized efforts to save it. One of the leading voices protesting its removal twenty years ago is now being heard again she strives to bring to Crossnore a new footbridge to connect to an old story. Rachel Deal was born on Thanksgiving Day, 1929, one of the first children delivered at the old Sloop Hospital by her uncle, the remarkable Dr. Eustace Sloop, who, along with his wife, Dr. Mary Martin Sloop, helped shape the community’s past and present. As a child, Miss Rachel watched as many as 100 children from the Crossnore School travel two by two across the bridge to and from the Crossnore School and Crossnore Presbyterian Church on the footbridge that allowed them safe passage. The footbridge was just one of many early twentieth-century community improvement projects. In 2013, the Crossnore School, established by the Sloops, celebrated its centennial and continues to thrive; however, other improvements, including Dr. Eustace Sloop’s forward-thinking hydroelectric dam, were abandoned or removed as the world changed.


Sadly, the bridge was one such victim of time and change. Once the site of social interactions, from teenage pranks to marriage proposals, the bridge was a community landmark, remembered fondly by many residents. Rachel Deal is leading the campaign to bring Crossnore a new vision of the old bridge—and this time it will connect segments of the town’s developing trail system. Local Boy Scouts have worked to make the trail both functional and beautiful, and the remains of the original footbridge have been incorporated into the section of the trail behind Crossnore First Baptist Church. For years, Rachel Deal has spearheaded the efforts to rebuild the bridge across 221, as she has campaigned to “build back something that we have lost.” Now, as plans are getting underway for the construction of this vital link in the community trail system, volunteers from Crossnore Community Enhancement have planned a new bridge that will evoke the original, provide a safe crossing between segments of the trail, and serve as a community focal point. Rachel envisions a landmark to “bring the community and the country together like a bridge from the past to the future. This bridge is a community effort.” Even with her seemingly boundless energy, Rachel cannot accomplish this project alone. She and the passionate visionaries designing and planning the new bridge seek support from both the

community and afar. One way the community is supporting the project is by raising the funds needed to construct the new bridge. Although the entire project goal is $300, 000, in order to proceed with the plans, $70,000 must be collected this summer. Serious fundraising has only been ongoing for a short time, but Rachel is delighted by how many contributors have come forward to support the project through their gifts and their desire to “keep our history going for the young people”; otherwise “it will be lost [and] that’s where our roots are from.” Those who want to learn more about the bridge, contribute to the project, or follow its progress, can do so on the informative website, footbridge-project, with links to the Indiegogo funding site and information on upcoming fundraising events. Those who want to help bring back the bridge can also help by spreading the word through social media. Everyone can be part of fulfilling the dream of Rachel Deal and others like her: “I wouldn’t have tried so hard to get it back if I didn’t know how important it is to have our history.” Rachel hopes that, in a year, she will get to see the realization of her vision: the community celebrating the opening of the new bridge with citizens standing hand in hand, spanning the road, but, more than that, spanning the years to let the past touch the future.

A Preservation Apple Orchard Reaches Maturity By Doug Hundley


ver the last ten years the Avery Extension Center has been involved in a project that draws heartfelt devotion from everyone involved in it: researching the heirloom apples of Avery County. Our efforts led us to learn about their importance to local folks, helping people find these lost “family members” and bring them back to their original homes. Who were these lost family members? Grandma kept most of hers in the kitchen orchard, Grandpa had his favorites scattered in his pasture. They had names like the June apple, or Mother bud, Maiden Blush or Fallawater. Some had mysterious names like the Northern Spy or McIntosh, known to be “Yankee” apples from up north. Others were more personal, like Ray’s Apple or Williams Favorite. They had to be someone’s favorite or they would not have been selected for grafting and propagated for centuries. The apples of America were brought as seed in personal baggage on sailing ships. As they bore fruit, some became prized for their special flavors and other desirable characteristics. They were tended and grafted to produce more fruit for the enjoyment of generations. When we found the heritage apples of Avery County, we were amazed to discover that many are the same apples George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grafted and nurtured. Creating apple orchards took place on a national scale, mostly unplanned, but nevertheless the original colonies of America were planted thoroughly with apple orchards over the first 200 years. Then about 100

years ago, Americans began leaving the farms to find work in the cities. Today we find remnants of these original orchards and realize that many varieties are slipping away. These grand old heritage apple trees, often exceeding 100 years old will begin to decline and can disappear entirely without intervention. Nearly half the original varieties are now lost. The Avery County Extension Service has been inundated for years with requests to identify apple trees found in the old meadows, farmyards, and forests of the area. Thanks to the interest of local citizens, the remnants of many heritage varieties have been identified and grafted to preserve and perpetuate the trees. Tree owners have generously given their permission to share their apples with everyone through the Annual Extension Plant Sale. Over the last ten years we have helped landowners in Avery County replant many heirloom apple varieties back onto family land. A special opportunity arose for the Extension Center to help plant two Preservation Apple Orchards, community orchards where most of the county’s heritage apples could be planted together. The first Preservation Orchard was created by the Crossnore School in 2009. Today, there are 27 varieties planted in the Crossnore Heritage Orchard. This year, after seven growing seasons, the majority of the trees have apples ripening this summer and fall. Crossnore School established this orchard as a public park for the Community of Crossnore and all who would like to see the heritage apples of Crossnore are welcome to visit. It is located directly behind Loaves and

Fishes Restaurant off Hwy 221 in Crossnore. The park is open to the public seven days a week and the Arnolds, owners of Loaves and Fishes, welcome you to park in their lot. The Crossnore Heritage Orchard is for the preservation of our heirloom apples and is also a tasting orchard. The apples are not sprayed and are safe to eat right off the tree. We would prefer tasting only, leaving some for others. Each tree has an educational nameplate that provides the local and national history of the apple. Special tours can be arranged for groups; please call the Avery Cooperative Extension Center at 733-8270 for details. A second preservation orchard that is not as old and not yet as fruitful is the Nunez Orchard on Hickory Nut Gap Road. We expect excellent results there also very soon. This orchard is supported by the Kay Nunez Family and the Avery Extension Center. The Nunez Orchard is available for visiting also, by appointment. Though not yet bearing much fruit in 2015, this orchard contains nearly 50 apple varieties and other subsistence farming plants. The Extension Center Staff will be glad to host a guided visit of this park anytime. Please call 828-7338270 to schedule a visit. The life of these orchards will be longer than our lifetimes. We hope to have these living museums of our pioneer families’ beloved apples thriving and bearing for many years to come. Whether you are from North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, or about any state east of the Mississippi River, these are likely some of your family’s heritage apples. Come sit a spell and visit with them.




The Case for Support of the Appalachian Theatre; An Insider’s Completely Biased Perspective By Keith Martin


irst, a disclaimer: this writer has been involved with the effort to restore and renovate this venerable landmark since the first meeting of the “Save The Appalachian Theatre” task force in December 2011. I was elected to the inaugural governing body in 2012-13 and currently serve as vice chair of the board of trustees. However, having been intimately involved with similar projects on six prior occasions in three different states over the course of my 35-year career, I can state from experience and without hesitation that the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country (ATHC) is uniquely positioned for unprecedented success. Here are the primary reasons for this prediction: Need for the Venue - Many local arts organizations lack a permanent space in which to create the magic that is their artistry; these include the Beanstalk Theatre, Blue Ridge Community Theatre, In/Visible Theatre, and Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music, among others. Furthermore, with the pending demolition of the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center, meeting space is at a premium. At the Appalachian Theatre, our most frequent inquiries are from clubs, civic organizations, non-profit organizations, and event planners looking for venues for a variety of functions, including weddings. The large theater, ample lobby areas and the spacious community room in the renovated ATHC will accommodate a wide variety of events. Vision of the Theatre - The current campaign will fund a complete restoration of the theatre back to its original artdeco design along with the expansion of the stage area. It will also include the addition of an orchestra pit, dressing rooms,


installation of lighting and sound systems, and enhancement of the public areas and support spaces. The Appalachian Theatre will re-open as a multi-purpose venue offering live music, opera, theatre and dance, video streaming of various events, classic movies, and art films that may not otherwise be shown in the region. A variety of community events will further enhance the AHTC’s importance to the High Country. Historical Importance - Built in 1938, the theatre opened as a first-run movie house with a vaudeville stage. For decades it was the center of activity for the entire region, hosting current films, civic events, and live performances. The theatre has undergone several transformations. After a devastating fire destroyed most of the building in 1950, the theatre reopened to serve the community for 57 years before closing in 2007. Historian and Preservation Consultant Eric Plaag has done a commendable job with the ATHC Archives and History Committee, documenting the past while helping to ensure accuracy of the renovation. Leadership - At the 2015 annual meeting of the Boone Chamber of Commerce, CEO Dan Meyer remarked that the two shining examples of leadership in the High Country are John Cooper and Jim Deal; both gentlemen are heavily involved with ATHC. Founding Chair Cooper is our trailblazer, a generous and gracious soul who has put his entire heart into this effort. Deal is a trustee and legal counsel for the theatre, lending his experience and expertise to the project. Ex-officio representatives from ten different community partners augment the diverse, 24-member board of trustees, comprising a “Who’s Who” of dedicated civic leaders.

Expertise - I continue to be amazed at the wisdom, experience, and accomplishment residing within the board and committee members. Examples abound: Dr. Frank Mohler brings four decades of experience as a theatrical set and lighting designer and created the conceptual design for ASU’s Valborg Theatre; Andy Stallings spent 30 years as a VP in the building industry, supervising construction of over six million feet in commercial space; Denise Ringler is Director of Arts and Cultural Programs at ASU and programs both their Performing Arts Series and An Appalachian Summer Festival; Treasurer Bob Neill, CPA, provides the financial management, accountability, and fiscal oversight that is so vital to any capital campaign or construction project. Fiscal Responsibility - Perhaps the most impressive attribute of the ATHC board is their commitment to fiscal responsibility. Construction will only proceed with cash in hand or signed pledges of financial support. The intent of the Design and Construction Committee is to compliment existing facilities rather than compete with, or duplicate, amenities such as the fly loft and orchestra shell available at the Schaefer Center. To quote John Cooper, “we will have the finest medium-sized theatre in the region,” suitable for events that often elude the High Country for lack of an appropriate venue. Public-Private Partnership - In a visionary decision, the Town of Boone put up the initial investment, since repaid, to buy the abandoned theatre in foreclosure. The Downtown Boone Development Association made a significant financial contribution early in the effort and served as fiscal agent until the

Many local arts organizations lack a permanent space in which to create the magic that is their artistry; these include the Beanstalk Theatre, Blue Ridge ATHC could incorporate as a non-profit entity. More recently, Town Council approved Town Manager John Ward’s recommendation to contribute three spaces in the Town Hall parking lot to expand the stage left wing and provide additional room for sets and scene changes, greatly expanding the theatre’s production capability. Community Support - Generous contributions to the theatre have come from individuals, foundations, corporations, and governmental entities that recognize the value of having a cultural anchor in downtown Boone. Now that the fundraising campaign has “gone public,” the community has the opportunity to join in the effort. AHTC is currently seeking support from local businesses and individuals who want to see this theatre renovation come to fruition. The inimitable Bettie Bond leads a support group, Friends of the Appalachian Theatre, that includes dozens of volunteers who plan fundraisers, give tours, and staff the theatre office during the week. The vivacious and enthusiastic Gail Hearn came out of retirement to manage the capital campaign and supervise day-today operations. Economic Impact - An independent study conducted in 2014 by the Center for Economic Research and Policy Analysis at Appalachian State University (CERPA) detailed the positive impact the theatre will have on our economy. Local spending by those attending theatre events will inject $3.055 million into the High Country area (Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties); these direct expenditures will circulate through the regional economy resulting in an increase of $4.512 million in economic activity each season, with a related increase of more

than 50 full-time equivalent jobs. Intangible Benefits - Not only did the CERPA study find that the direct economic impact will be considerable for our region, it also quantified the intangible benefits of the Appalachian Theatre. Among these are enriched livability, extended nightlife, and an enhanced quality of life and image for both residents and visitors. When fully operational, the Theatre will host more than 200 activities each season; of this number, approximately 60 events will be destination draws for cultural tourism, attracting patrons from a radius of several states. Location, Location, Location - The Appalachian Theatre is located on King Street in the heart of Boone, NC, within walking distance of students, faculty and staff residing on or near the ASU campus. Ample parking is available after 5:00 pm on weekdays and all weekend in the spacious lots at the university, in addition to the nearby on-street and public parking in downtown Boone. With dozens of restaurants, shops, galleries, and retail establishments within a few blocks, the Appalachian Theatre will serve as a cornerstone for activity. Without question, the case for the ATHC is compelling and NOW IS THE TIME to support this unprecedented cultural effort by making a financial investment in “The Campaign to Renovate and Restore the Appalachian Theatre.” To pledge your support and/or volunteer to assist with fundraising, visit www.—or stop by the theatre between 11:00am and 2:00pm each weekday. Your donation will help restore the luster to this once shining star and provide a cultural treasure for generations to come.

Community Theatre, In/Visible Theatre, and Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music, among others. Furthermore, with the pending demolition of the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center, meeting space is at a premium. At the Appalachian Theatre, our most frequent inquiries are from clubs, civic organizations, non-profit organizations, and event planners looking for venues for a variety of functions, including weddings. The large theater, ample lobby areas and the spacious community room in the renovated ATHC will accommodate a wide variety of events.



The Northwest North Carolina Visitor Center: At The Intersection Of Cutting-Edge Technology And Old-Fashioned Hospitality By Steve York


t’s a shining light on a hill…and a shining example of how smart, eco-friendly technology can serve the needs of travelers across the state, the nation, and around the world! That shining light comes directly from the sun. Along with collected rainwater and underground thermal heating, solar energy helps generate the electricity, heat, cooling and water source for the Northwest North Carolina Visitors Center on a hill just outside of North Wilkesboro on Highway 421. For those who have stopped in and taken the time to read the signage, see the solar panels, or review the materials available in the visitor center shop, the story behind this unique rest area at the “gateway to the mountains” is truly amazing. Folks traveling west, up the mountain, have learned that this is the last stop before making the climb. For anyone driving to and from the Piedmont, or further east towards the coast, the facility is either the last or the first official rest area and visitor center on your way. Believe it or not, lots of folks make that two-way trek every day. They may be commuting to and from their job, traveling a sales route, attending regional business or organizational meetings, flying in and out of the Piedmont Triad Regional Airport, visiting relatives, or just sightseeing throughout the foothills and the High Country. The fully sustainable facility is proving to be a welcome oasis for travelers. In fiscal year 2015 more than 283,000 people stopped at the NW North Carolina Visitor Center and Rest Area. That’s roughly 776 per day. Of those, nearly 45,000 toured the visitor center information station. Travelers who have time for a little break like to take a few minutes to read up on the sustainable energy system in


place—how it works and why it’s so unique. Those same people are often traveling to visit one or more Yadkin Valley or High Country destinations. They like to browse through the actual visitor center to check out all the brochures and pamphlets, and when they do, they always receive a warm greeting from the travel specialists, Stacy, Donna, Ella and the two Bill’s. They also have regional ambassadors who volunteer to greet and assist guests. In fact, one family I met there made a point of saying that, “If you Google the meaning of Southern Hospitality, these staff members will be at the top of the list.” That compliment not only speaks well of the staff, it also bodes well for Linda Cheek of the Wilkes Chamber of Commerce. For you see, it’s the Wilkes Chamber that actually manages the visitor center information station. “The staff and volunteers are a wonderful group of people, always friendly and ready to assist. We’re very proud of the comments that we receive regarding facility, the staff and the overall beauty and sustainability of the Center,” Cheek says. “People are impressed by the contemporary design, the uniqueness of the landscape with its distinctive plants and shrubbery, as well as the trails and walkways. And many do take the time to read the instructional signage that explains all the sustainable features. This Center has become an actual destination for many visitors.” Indeed, schools and groups have made special trips just to tour the visitor center. Along with the usual courtesy restroom facilities and outdoor vending machines you’d expect at an official rest area, the beautiful information center is specifically designed for comfort and travel planning. Numerous displays of regional arts and crafts, authors, wineries, vineyards, craft breweries, cultural

artifacts, historical figures, and famous people from the area are attractively arranged for easy viewing. Wall-to-wall wooden racks present a seemingly endless choice of brochures, rack cards, post cards, photo books, and information packets about area attractions and activities. The center is THE one-stop-shop for everything there is to see, do, and know about a vast tencounty region. There’s Wilkes County, of course. But there’s also Alleghany, Alexander, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Iredell, Surry, Watauga and Yadkin. So that’s what’s inside. Now, what about the outside engine that runs this remarkable facility? Well, it is stateof-the-art GREEN. Designed by the Raleigh-based architectural firm, Innovative Design, this facility is NC DOT’s first sustainable building that employs full LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) features. It is LEED Gold Certified, and received the Federal Highway Administration Environmental Excellence Award in 2011. And here’s why. It utilizes a combination of solar panels aligned on the roof for electricity and water heating, and harvests rainwater for bathrooms and offices. Systems recycle fully sanitized water and make use of passive solar for daylighting and winter warming. The facility also incorporates geothermal heating and cooling, Green energy monitoring and interpretive signage. The main roof is a light colored membrane for solar energy management and the high mass walls conserve energy. Photovoltaic panels atop the walkway soak up and transform massive amounts of sunlight into energy. And the outdoor lighting is all super energy efficient. But there’s more. The entire landscaping and land plan are designed to optimize GREEN; from the directional

facing of the building to the water and thermal usage, through all the carefully selected trees, shrubbery and vegetation surrounding the center. The 0.8 mile Green Nature Trail provides a relaxing, and picturesque stroll for the weary traveler who needs a change of pace from driving. And the pet-friendly section allows you to take care of your pet’s needs in a setting that makes everything easier for both of you. There’s a covered picnic shelter, massive wooden benches carved from reclaimed trees, plus special parking for LEV’s and car-pooling, trucks and pet-accompanied travelers. The whole place is rated at an amazing 68% more energy efficient than other visitor centers and 47% more so than even those facilities that have been upgraded to the highest codes. You’ll find the Northwest North Carolina Visitor Center and Rest Area is an incredible Green energy achievement both inside and out. The entire facility is a showplace for how technology, comfort, architectural design and an information center can come together for better traveling and, in fact, better living. For those of us Yadkin Valley and High Country folks, this stunning visitor center really does make northwest North Carolina look smart and inviting. “Welcome to a destination attraction in its own right; set at the gateway to North Carolina’s vast, multi-faceted and splendid northwestern territory,” says Cheek. Next time you’re headed along highway 421 near North Wilkesboro, take the time to experience everything the visitor center has to offer. Northwest North Carolina travel specialists and a staff of volunteers will be on hand to welcome you.




TITLE INSURERS WORK FOR YOU! What You Need to Know About Real Estate Title Insurance Special Report from Jeffrey J. Walker, Esq.

Title insurance companies have protected the American dream of homeownership for more than a century and the behind-the-scenes work of title insurance agents ensures the quick and secure transfer of land, giving consumers and lenders confidence in their investment. On closing day, a homebuyer not only attains ownership of a property, the buyer also walks with the assurance that his interest in the property is protected. This is all achieved through the professionals working in the land title insurance industry. When someone purchases a home, how can they be sure that there are no problems with the home’s title and that the seller really owns the property? Problems with the title can limit a homeowner’s use and enjoyment of their property, as well as bring financial loss. That is what a title search and title insurance are for. After a buyer’s sales contract has been accepted, a title professional will search the public records to look for any problems with the home’s title. This search typically involves a review of land records going back many years. Nearly 40 percent of all title searches reveal a title problem that title professionals fix before going to closing. For instance, a previous owner may have had minor construction done on the property, but never fully paid the contractor. Or the previous owner may have failed to pay local or state taxes. Title professionals seek to resolve problems like these before you go to closing. What happens if a problem arises after a homebuyer move in? This is an additional benefit provided by the title insurance industry. An Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance remains in effect for as long as the policyholder (or their heirs) owns the property that is insured. A claim could actually be filed 50 or 100 years after the policy was issued. And, an Owner’s Policy covers legal expenses involved in defending the title on behalf of the homeowner. Let’s face it — a homebuyer certainly has more than enough to think about during the closing process when purchasing a new home. An Owner’s Policy provides peace of mind that comes from knowing their investment is protected. The American Land Title Association helps educate consumers about title insurance so that they can better understand their choices and make informed decisions. Homebuyers, regulators and legislators are encouraged to check out the website, www., to learn more about title insurance and the closing process. Walker Title, LLC, owned by Attorney Jeffrey J. Walker, is located at 118 West Main Street, Mountain City, TN, has been an active member in the American Land Title Association and the Tennessee Land Title Association since 2007. Attorney Walker has been licensed in Florida since 1980, is licensed in North Carolina and is the senior partner in Walker DiVenere Wright, Attorneys at Law, in Boone, North Carolina.

Visit for more information or call 423-727-0207 any time.

828-268-9640 or 423-727-0207


Need legal advice or representation? Call Walker DiVenere Wright If you’re like the clients who have built our reputation, you want a lawyer who’s local and available, one who listens and is responsive to you, answers your questions and understands your case and the courts. At Walker DiVenere Wright, we’ll answer your calls. We’ll make time for your questions. We’ll listen. We won’t waste your time. We’ll explain the law and your choices and offer guidance. Walker DiVenere Wright is a full service law firm representing clients in civil and criminal matters, including: All Real Estate Matters Wills & Trusts Accidents • Personal Injury Construction Matters Insurance Claims Criminal & Traffic Matters Family Law

Jeffrey J. Walker Tamara C. DiVenere Anné C. Wright Andrew S. Jones 783 West King Street Boone, NC 28607 828-268-9640 800-451-4299

SCORE L Five Letters To Business Success By Steve York

et’s say you have invented a neat new product or a new smart phone app. Or maybe you’re ready to jump into your own business but don’t know how to go from idea to business plan and financing. Then again, maybe you already have a business, but it’s flatlining or struggling and you don’t know how to resuscitate it or take it to the next level. Maybe you’re looking for the right franchise opportunity, but don’t know what type of franchise would most likely succeed in this area. Or maybe you’re ready to expand your business into new markets or the e-commerce arena. Whatever your business scenario, let’s say you know you’ve got a winner on your hands, but you lack some specific knowledge, skills, strategy or financing to move ahead. What do you do? Well, the smartest answer may be a 5-letter acronym known simply as SCORE. That stands for the Service Core of Retired Executives. You’ve probably heard of it. But maybe you thought it was just for senior-aged entrepreneurs or corporate level professionals. Not true. Maybe you thought you can’t afford their services. Also not true. Many of their services are either free or very economical. Maybe you just don’t know what they do and what they offer. That’s easy to find out at Or maybe you’re afraid that some bossy expert will come in and try to “tell you how to run your business”. Ah, that last one is really tricky. Entrepreneurs are notorious for not trusting outside advice. But, if you’re serious about seeking supportive business expertise, SCORE may be the best place to

start. Now, here’s where it may be good to note that there’s a subtle, but important difference between being an “expert” and being able to share “expertise”. An expert has knowledge and, presumably, experience. But expertise implies success at applying that knowledge and experience in a real-world setting. So, when you’re ready for actionable guidance, you need someone who can share their expertise. That’s exactly what SCORE pros like Herman Metzler do. And they have an ongoing track-record that’s both impressive and—more important to our readers—an exceptional track record right here in the High Country. Herman is the SCORE “mentor” running the High Country office as overseen by the organization’s Asheville chapter. Its High Country territory includes Watauga, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Wilkes counties. While also heading up SCORE’s Speakers Bureau in their Raleigh office, Herman has been instrumental in many success stories around here. So, let’s move from theory to practice, and take a look at just how SCORE has helped a couple local businesses either get started or manage a critical transition. For starters, there’s Handtiques Cultural Gift Store on Sunset Drive in Blowing Rock. Carol and Tom Temple are proprietors, and they’ve been working with SCORE for about two and a half years. “Since we began our business, we’ve used their online budgeting tools and resources, as well as the many instructive articles they offer. And they didn’t stop once we opened our doors. Herman has since visited and shared many insights and pointers on every-

thing from budgeting and store layout to actual product mix. Having someone do that and bring the wealth of experience a SCORE mentor offer is invaluable. Herman has also put us in touch with other local business owners who shared their insights and tips with us. Listening to their real-world experiences and learning from both their successes and snafus has helped us make Handtiques a much stronger business,” notes Carol. You can check out Handtiques eclectic mix of charming gifts, collectibles and décor at their Blowing Rock shop and online at Goose Kearse of Misty Mountain Threadworks used SCORE’s services during two major phases of his business. “Herman first helped me several years ago when we were working to obtain financing. With his help, we successfully secured a loan for working capital and equipment to help fuel and propel our growth. Herman’s advice was always succinct and to the point. Most recently Herman has been a resource as I’ve negotiated a buyout of my business partner to become sole shareholder of Misty Mountain.” Located on Burma Road in Banner Elk, their exceptional line of innovative climbing harnesses and equipment, and much more, can be seen at These are only a couple scenarios from right here in your backyard. So, if you’re at the start, middle or transition of your business, and you realize you need some fresh expertise to reach your business goals, that 5-letter acronym, SCORE, is within easy reach and eager to help you.



THE HOTEL TAVERN The best kept secret in Ashe County

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The West Jefferson Holiday Parade “ Celebrates 100 Years”  In honor of the centennial, the always-popular annual holiday parade will celebrate the history of West Jefferson with specially themed floats. Organizations and groups are encouraged to join the parade lineup with their own take on the 100th birthday theme. The Holiday Parade takes place November 21 at 3:00 PM. 58 — Autumn 2015 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE


THE INN AT CRESTWOOD RESTAURANT & SPA 3236 Shulls Mill Road, Boone NC 28607 | 828.963.6646

West Jefferson: A Modern Day Old Fashioned Main St.


By Jean Callison


s this year of centennial celebrations has proven, the people of West Jefferson have a well-founded sense of civic pride in their bustling town. No wonder. While many cities contend with blighted streetscapes and empty storefronts, West Jefferson’s commercial district remains as vibrant today as it was one hundred years ago. It’s not just luck that keeps the downtown corridor looking like classic main street America. I sat down recently with Jane Lonon, president of the Ashe County Arts Council, to get a better understanding of how West Jefferson continues to thrive where so many towns have failed. What I discovered is that exciting projects have been accomplished in partnership with the NC Department of Transportation (DOT) and Blue Ridge Electric Co-op. Several years ago a comprehensive plan was developed for West Jefferson that included the efforts of the town, the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce, the Ashe County Arts Council, and other agencies. This whole-community approach has inspired some creative solutions. A streetscape plan was developed that included removing traditional traffic lights and replacing them with four-way stops at each intersection. This has had a stunning effect! Instead of staring at a traffic light waiting for it to change, a driver is forced to look in all directions, an enjoyable way to view the street front, as I experienced myself. The four-way stop signs at the intersections have a “bump out” to shorten and improve the safety of the crossings; some include small green spaces and others feature attractive brick pavers. The DOT has an initiative to support pedestrian-safe intersections, and the main street in West Jefferson is Jefferson Avenue, a state road. The DOT provided a quarter of a million dollars for creating the bump outs. Meanshile, the town of West Jefferson put up money and worked collaboratively with Blue Ridge Electric Co-op to replace street lights, bury electric cable, and install antique light fixtures that contribute to the homey, pedestrian-friendly feel to the streets of downtown. You will find interesting and varied niche retail in West Jefferson including the well known Cheese Factory Museum and Store, and sites such as the Honey Hole that supplies beekeepers with needed items and also sells honey from an hive located on the premises. Galleries and eateries abound, too many to mention here, but a walk down Jefferson Avenue and adjacent Backstreet will have you returning again and again When those conventional traffic lights were removed, the town was left with concrete supports that went eight feet deep. Instead of simply demolishing them, the Ashe County Arts Council saw the supports as an opportunity for public art. Artists painted them with lively, often humorous designs. They did the same with fire hydrants—now referred to as “Art on Fire.” Two creative projects have resulted in eye-catching improvements for shoppers and visitors! CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


Blowing Rock Country Club: By Craig Distl

N January 28-31, 2016

Celebrate the fun side of Winter with Kid’s Activities, WinterFeast, WinterPaws Dog Show, Live Music, WinterFashions Show, Polar Plunge and Wine Tasting & Auction! There’s something for everyone! FOR INFORMATION & CALENDAR OF EVENTS:

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A Weekend? A Season? A Lifetime?

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H E R E ! ”

ot content to rest on its laurels, Blowing Rock Country Club celebrated the 100th birthday of its golf course in 2015 by looking ahead to a prosperous second century. A summer full of centennial celebrations became even more exciting with the anticipation of a three-phase facilities plan breaking ground this fall. Over the next couple years, the club will construct a high-tech fitness center near the intersection of Country Club Drive and U.S. Highway 321. Storage space for golf carts will then move underneath the fitness center, allowing the club to construct a new stand-alone pro shop and locker room facility in place of the existing cart storage building. Finally, the clubhouse area vacated by the pro shop and locker rooms will be renovated and converted into administrative offices and an expanded dining area. A little further out on the horizon are major projects to the golf course itself. “There is a strong eye toward leaving this place finer that we found it,” says head golf professional Wayne Smith. “I think all of our members feel an obligation to do just that.” Blowing Rock’s centennial season culminated with an exclusive Aug. 15 event in which many members dressed in 1915 period clothing, and all were presented a copy of a new book commissioned by the club that details its first hundred years of golf. “It was an interesting way to gauge the excitement the members had in this 100year celebration. They really embraced it,” Smith says. “ It was quite neat to see everybody dressed up and playing in the old knickers and the ladies in their long dresses.” A highlight of the August event was the presentation of the book to every club member. The book is authored by noted golf writer Jim Dodson of Pinehurst and features photography by acclaimed photojournalist Joann Dost of Pebble Beach.

Heralding Next 100 Years With Great Fanfare Another noted writer, Lee Pace of Chapel Hill, edited the book. Long-time member Cecil Brandon spearheaded the project. “It’s a beautiful book and exceptionally well-written,” Smith says. “And I believe that after the membership has a chance to sit down and read it, much of this information would have been unbeknown to them. I will be disappointed if it doesn’t create a renewed level of excitement, enthusiasm and pride about this golf course and the piece of property that we have.” The book comes at a beneficial time for the club. Hopefully, it will help curtail a lengthy debate over who actually designed the Blowing Rock course. In recent years, dueling theories from golf writers, architecture buffs and club members have alternatively advocated for both Seth Raynor and Donald Ross as being the course’s designer. The debate is full of intrigue because there were at least four or five different iterations of the course in its first quarter century, and Ross and Raynor, both legendary golf architects, spent time in Blowing Rock in the 1920s. Meanwhile, a 1974 fire which destroyed the clubhouse and the club’s entire collection of records only added to the mystery. However, extensive research conducted for the book has now – for the most part – united BRCC officials, club members and many golf architectural buffs behind the belief that the course is mostly a Seth Raynor creation. “The total golf course ended up being finished by Seth Raynor,” says Jim Williams, BRCC’s vice president of the board of governors. “This is the only golf course in North Carolina that was designed with his thumbprint. We’re very, very proud of that.” As the club embarks on the course’s second century, a master plan has been developed by Greensboro golf architect Kris Spence to take the historic course to the next level. Spence is one of the na-

tion’s preeminent course restoration specialists. He’s an archaeologist of sorts who unearths long-lost design elements and carefully recreates the original intent of master golf architects, while simultaneously updating their layouts for modern play. Spence has worked extensively on Donald Ross, Ellis Maples and Seth Raynor courses up and down the eastern seaboard and will no doubt do a fantastic job unifying the nature of the course’s layout in a manner that Raynor intended. Spence has already earned praise from members for his work on the ninth and 14th holes. His next step will be to completely redesign four holes – Nos. 10-13 – that were built in the mid1980s and don’t embody the classic architecture of Blowing Rock Country Club. No final timetable has been set for rebuilding the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th holes, but work is expected to commence by next fall at the latest. Once that project is completed, the board of governors will decide a timetable for completing Spence’s overall strategic vision.

“The remainder of the course has a lot of the Seth Raynor elements to it that have simply been covered up or renovated through maintenance practices or golf committees that wanted to remove a bunker or do something to a hole. So they’re still there, they just need to be uncovered,” explains Smith. “Kris is slated to do all the work. It’s his master plan and it’s going to bring back the Raynor characteristics.” In the meantime, another milestone year has been added to the history of Blowing Rock Country Club. A year that will not soon be forgotten. “The thing that was so beautiful about reaching the 100-year anniversary of the course is that it gave us time to appreciate what we’ve got and to research who actually designed the golf course and how it came about,” says Williams. “It reminded everybody of what an incredible asset it is not only to the members of Blowing Rock Country Club, but an asset for the town of Blowing Rock and the North Carolina High Country.” CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


A Second Chance & New Life In Linville


t 44 years-of-age, Scott Watson has built a rewarding life in the iconic mountain Shangri-La that is the Linville Golf Club. Here, at the foot of Grandfather Mountain, he and his wife Pam have raised three children—each well on the way to success in their chosen fields. Oldest son, Chase, took a turf management degree from N.C. State to Tom Fazio’s design at Diamond Creek in Banner Elk. Youngest son, Chance, plays on the golf team at Appalachian State and caddies in the summer at the golf course where his big brother works. So after 24 years of mowing grass and traveling to countless high school basketball games and golf matches, the proud father has gone back to school. “I finally reached a point where I could focus on my education, “ he says. Last winter Watson enrolled in Rutgers University’s Professional Golf Turf Management School and completed the first of two 10-week semesters. With an internship built around his day-job at the Linville Golf Club, he’ll begin the second and final term next January. He hopes his certification brings the professional validation he’s come this far without. “I always believed I knew what to do,” he says, “even when you felt you were a


By Tom McAuliffe

little beneath the other guys—not that anyone ever tried to make you feel like that—but it was like you were missing something.” His was an inauspicious beginning. In 1989, just after graduation from Avery High, Watson spent a “forgettable” summer on Monte Melton’s greens crew at Elk River Club. He was then hired by Linville superintendant George Cooke, but “I was young and didn’t go back,” he recalls, “and they probably didn’t even notice.” According to Watson, his first days at the Donald Ross course in Linville were just as forgettable. “George Cooke was a great mentor to me,” Watson says of the man who had toiled in Linville more than 50 years. “He knew how to talk and how to do. He gave me two or three chances in the beginning before the Good Lord saved me and our babies started coming.” When George retired in 2000, his younger brother, David Cooke, assumed the superintendent’s post. In time he moved Watson into a newly created position of Village Maintenance Director, where the young father oversaw the upkeep of the brilliantly landscaped common areas of Linville Resorts and 250 summer cottages. “I had my guys and the golf course crew had theirs,” he explains.

In 2008, Watson joined the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendent’s Association, and his horizons broadened. At continuing education seminars he met many seasoned superintendents who made an immediate impact on his life. “I knew I liked it and knew I needed more knowledge to move up,” Watson says. “It inspired me to get my degree in turf grass management.” Last year he approached Cooke and asked for the time off to enroll in the Rutgers program. His superintendent supported the move. Just as importantly, so did his wife, Pam. “Those years raising our children, Pam was the fireball that held us all together,” he says. “She taught our kids that if you’re going to do something you go all out and do it right. Without her encouragement I wouldn’t be back in school.” “Linville has always been about families,” says resort president John Blackburn, who grew up in the village where his mother once worked. “Whether here or anywhere else, you need to do what’s best for you and make every effort to better yourself. Once David bought into the plan we helped a little by arranging the time off, but Scott and Pam did it on their own. Not that we didn’t worry about the mountain boy going to the big city,” Blackburn adds with a smile. Watson admitted it was daunting to him, too. He found a room kept for students in the home of a Rutgers faculty member, and in a truck provided by Linville Resorts, he headed to New Brunswick, New Jersey. “It was exciting, but I was a nervous wreck going back to school after 25 years,” he admits. “Ten weeks may not seem like a long time away from your family, but it is. It was hard.” Watson made the best of the opportunity at Rutgers and caught the attention of faculty, and not just for being the oldest student in the class. “Scott added a strong focus to the Rutgers program because he brings a wealth of experience to the program,” notes Jim Morris of the university’s division of continuing studies. “The program demands focused dedication. Scott seemed energized by that challenge and the example he sets

in class helps improve the experience for students and instructors alike.” Back in Linville, Watson’s performance as second assistant to Cooke provides the perfect hands-on application of the formal curriculum critical to earning his certification. “They don’t let up,” Watson says of the Rutgers faculty. “Just because it’s an accelerated program doesn’t mean they’re cutting corners. I see now why the program is respected around the world.” For 23 years Cooke has watched Watson grow. “All along he’s been a fine young man,” he says. “As young men and young boys—and he was still a boy when he came here—we all had to learn responsibility, to be on time, and do the job. He was no different than any other young man. He’s taken charge of his life, his family, and his work. And he’s always been loyal to Linville Resorts.” “He’s why I’m where I’m at today,” Watson says of Cooke. It’s no small irony that while Watson was rearing his children in Linville he was still growing up himself, and learning the lessons freely dispensed by George and David Cooke. All the Watson children learned those same lessons alongside their parents working summers in Linville. “I learned that hard work pays off and gets noticed,” Chase Watson says. “Growing up in Linville we had the luxury of a lot of guys who’ve been here a long time to learn from and look up to.” Younger brother Chance, a business management major and collegiate golfer with great expectations, has his own take on the Linville experience. “Everyone here looks out for each other,” he says. “They’ll do anything to help a young player succeed.” Now it’s dad’s time to succeed. And he’s not going to squander the opportunity. “Maybe all the experience helped me appreciate the education more,” he reasons. “Now that I’ve gone to school I’m confident that I can handle whatever happens. I’m happy where I’m at and I love Linville.” For the Watson family, it’s another chance to grow together, again.

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The Sun Belt Shines on the High Country by Dave Robertson


n the Fall, people feel the need to be outside for a lot more than just leaf looking and festivals—so don’t be surprised that the biggest crowds on any given Saturday in this part of North Carolina are showing up at Kidd Brewer Stadium on the campus of Appalachian State University. The faithful have dubbed it the “Rock,” and they gather at the shrine to cheer on their beloved Mountaineer football team. More than 25,000 students and fans come together, united in their love of college football and Appalachian State. Interest has ramped up even higher since the university joined the Sun Belt Conference, leaving behind the Football Championship Subdivision with three national titles tucked into its belt, to join the nation’s elite sports program. After a 41-year stint as a member of the Southern Conference, Appalachian made the move in 2014 to the highest level of college football, the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of college athletics. In their second full year of membership in the NCAA Division One New Orleans-based Sun Belt Conference, Mountaineer teams are now fully eligible for regular season conference championships, conference tournaments, and in football, a possible bowl invitation.


ASU and Georgia Southern were new members of the Sun Belt last year, and it has recently been announced that Coastal Carolina of Conway, SC, will join the Mountaineers and the Eagles as Sun Belt members next fall. Along with Georgia State in Atlanta, the new conference members will expand the Sun Belt’s east coast footprint with four new institutions. Fans can certainly imagine league rivalries developing that should quickly surpass the former rivalries with Southern Conference schools such as Furman, Wofford, Elon, and Western Carolina. The remaining Sun Belt schools encompass institutions in Alabama with South Alabama and Troy, and in Louisiana with Louisiana-Monroe and Lafayette. Arkansas members include Arkansas State and Arkansas-Little Rock, and Texas members are Texas State and Texas-Arlington. Football-only members include New Mexico State and the University of Idaho. As an FBS member institution, significant possibilities exist for future games with elite programs in the SEC, ACC, and beyond. Already, contracts have been signed for the ASU football team to play Wake Forest, UNC-Charlotte, Clemson, Georgia, Old Dominion, and Massachusetts. The competition levels for all twenty Mountaineer teams have increased appreciably, most notably in volleyball, basketball and baseball. The Sun Belt is one of the best leagues nationally in track and field, always a top tier sport at ASU. While the Southern Conference had more small private schools than state supported institutions, the Sun Belt is comprised exclusively of state schools with enrollments and missions more similar to those at Appalachian. Appalachian’s head football coach, Scott Satterfield, played quarterback on the 1995 Mountaineer team that went

undefeated in the regular season. He served as a key offensive assistant coach during the national championship years, and returned to the program four years ago. One year later, he replaced the legendary Jerry Moore as head coach. As he enters his third season at the helm, Satterfield is excited about the new era ahead. “The chance to compete at the highest level of college football first comes to mind, with the opportunity to go to a bowl game,” he says. “This entails significantly enhanced recruiting efforts throughout our primary area of North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. We now compete with elite programs in the SEC and ACC for high performing student athletes.” When asked how his coaching staff sells Appalachian to a prospective recruit and his family, Satterfield says they promote Appalachian’s unique advantages. “Our academic reputation, diversity of academic programs, caring community, and small town mountain environment—a combination of attributes which no other school can offer—helps to persuade recruits that ASU offers something truly unique and special.” As for his players, Satterfield cites their motivations as “the opportunity to play at the highest level, greater television coverage, chance to go to a bowl game, and the opportunity to prove that the Mountaineers are an elite Sun Belt team from the get-go.” That the Mountaineers are right for the Sun Belt Conference was proven true in their first year in the league when Appalachian beat the 2013 first and second place Louisiana- Lafayette and Arkansas State on the road. Coming off a 7-5 campaign in their first year as an FBS member, the 2015 season holds great promise with 20 returning starters. Satterfield adds that the team has finally reached the full NCAA allotment

of 85 scholarship players, up from the 63 scholarship player limit under FCS guidelines. David Jackson, Associate Athletic Director for Broadcast Operations and the “Voice of the Mountaineers” for the past 16 years, comments on the excitement surrounding Sun Belt membership this way: “ASU strives to be the best at everything and this gives the university exposure in many new markets. In our first year in the Sun Belt, we had the highest licensing revenue in school history. The media coverage and attention for our athletic programs is enhanced from having almost a nationwide conference footprint. This enhanced exposure should benefit the university in many residual ways.” Jackson acknowledges there are new challenges with the move up. Greater travel distances and costs will be a major adjustment for all teams. The least effected program is football since they usually bus to Hickory, get on a plane and return the same way following the contest. Exceptions would be for Georgia Southern and Georgia State since the team takes buses to those destinations. However, all other sports play both weeknights and weekends, and frequently travel following a game at one conference opponent to the next contest before returning to Boone. This means not only arranging travel plans from remote locations, but also changing time zones and adapting practice schedules, homework and other demands while sometimes losing a valuable hour or more in a day. So far, coaching staffs have done a masterful job of minimizing the distractions for their student athletes, although the added travel time frequently means shortening practice sessions on the road due to the amount of time spent to get there. The move up will impact other sports

programs at ASU in a big way too. “Our coaching staffs have recruited well in anticipation of tougher competition, and have made top-notch athletes aware of the great opportunities at Appalachian,” Jackson says. “Our fan base is beginning to come around after seeing that our teams were competitive with other league opponents right out of the gate last year.” Jackson believes that men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, and crosscountry teams are all poised to challenge for top spots in the new conference. “This competitiveness should also translate well in our winter and spring sports too,” Jackson says. Most teams have excellent depth going into this year. All sports in the Sun Belt raise the bar competitively, and fans should reap the benefits in seeing even better talent and competition.” As time goes on, more opportunities to play against marquee programs in all sports should present themselves as the exposure the Sun Belt brings to Appalachian enhances the university brand. The Sun Belt light is sure to shine on the North Carolina High Country.

Interest has ramped up even higher since the university joined the Sun Belt Conference, leaving behind the Football Championship Subdivision with three national titles tucked into its belt, to join the nation’s elite sports program.



Football, Food, and Friendship: The Three F’s of Tailgating By Julie Farthing


ummer is behind us. Shorter days, longer shadows, and the calling of the katydid can only mean one thing: Autumn is here! Autumn comes with its own seasonal traditions, and one of the most popular in the High Country—as in any college community—is the return of football season. Around here, that means the Mountaineers of Appalachian State University. While the game of football itself heralds the start of a new school year, there lies within the game a secret society, if you will, a fraternity of individuals, whether graduates or dedicated fans, who come together to celebrate a common denominator known as “Game Day.” Those who God has joined together, let no man put asunder. Yes, that’s part of the wedding ceremony, but to tailgaters, this communal event that accompanies every home game requires every bit as much commitment. I recently spoke to a couple of former Appstate students who would never have come together had it not been for the institution of tailgating: John Harris, a 1992 graduate in Criminal Justice and the proprietor of Dreamscapes of Boone (which is responsible for the huge black and gold letter “A” on the hill behind the stadium), and Dr. Chip Buckwell, who received two degrees from ASU—a Bachelor’s in 1981 and a Master’s in Physical Education in 1983—and is currently Assistant Superintendent of Kannapolis City Schools. The two met as neighboring tailgaters. “Tailgating is the three Fs: Football, Food, and Friendship. We met through parking beside each other; and if I had not needed paper towels and tongs, we would never have become friends,” said Harris. “Yep, and would not have ever met,” reiterated Buckwell. “It has a lot to do with App, of course, but also the camaraderie and fellowship of tailgating. I think it’s happenstance that people come together, but after that, the relationship building is so important.” Tailgaters come from all walks of


life, and they return year after year. Harris asked Buckwell: “How many people do you think stop by our tailgating party every year, be it friends or friends of friends?” “I think there’s a group of 25 core people, and other than that, probably another 35-40 that stop by.” said Buckwell. “Everyone knows who we are and where we are, and everyone comes by to have a good time. I tell everyone to come to the top of the library deck and walk until you can’t walk any further, then say ‘Hello’ to somebody.” I asked about their favorite tailgating cuisine. “I actually like the low country boil the best,” said Buckwell. “I like the pig, but the low country boil is really special because we end up with clams, shrimp, lobster, and crab legs. It’s really incredible.” “I like cooking the pig and spending the night out there, wrapping the tents in saran wrap, like a condo; that’s pretty cool. It could be 15 degrees outside, but inside it’s a hot 80 degrees,” said Harris I asked Buckwell for his favorite tailgating memory. “I think the fact that the cheerleading group and the band started coming up to the library and realizing they were connecting with the kids and the fans, and eating with us, that whole thing—that is special.” Harris commented on another aspect of tailgating: “We come from all walks of life, political and socio-economical. On game day, we are all the same.” “Thirtyfive years after going to school at Appalachian, we see our kids are coming back to tailgate, and that’s a special relationship where you are finishing each other’s sentences within five minutes,” said Buckwell “Our tailgating started at James Madison (University). That’s where it all started,” said Harris. “Yes, it started at James Madison. From there we said we would always get together to tailgate because John is larger than life and equally recognizable,” added Buckwell. “I think you said, ‘Aren’t you Beer Hat Guy?” and I said, “Yeah, what gave it away?” laughed Harris of his handmade hat made entirely

of PBR cans crocheted together. “That was how it started, and here we are... seven years later.” “That was 2009,” said Buckwell. “And I will tell you something else that’s really cool—everyone turns in their other tailgating parking passes just to come up to the library.” “Yeah, since we’ve been donating to the Yosef Club, they’ve been trying to upgrade our parking passes, but we’re like.... ‘No, we’re good; we like where we are at the library,’” added Harris. “You could tailgate as an upgrade, but where would that be? Edwin Duncan? River Street Parking Deck? Greenwood? Or the Chancellor’s house?” Harris joked. I asked Harris what made the top of Belk Library deck so special. “The top of the library parking lot, what is it about that? It has a view of the stadium, a view of downtown and other tailgaters, and Howard’s Knob,” said Harris. I asked Buckwell whether his favorite part of football is the tailgating or the game. “I love college football. I love the game. But it’s two events to me. I love tailgating—there’s the relationships and the friendships, and then there’s the game. And I think if you don’t do both, you are missing out on something really special. Harris added an analogy. “It’s kind of like Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. You’re excited about Christmas Eve and then comes Christmas Day.” Harris should know about Christmas spirit because his painted gold and black Santa was the first ever to appear at an Appalachian State game. “I painted the body gold and black, but I wanted to leave the face with a white beard so you would know it was Santa,” said Harris. When I inquired about the menu for the season’s first game, Buckwell was quick to answer: “Dogs and burgers are on the menu for the first tailgate, just to get an idea of who will be there.” Buckwell will be there with his lucky spatula, and Harris with his lucky hat. LET’S GO, MOUNTAINEERS!

Tailgate Favorites Game Day Deviled Eggs 1 dozen hard-cooked eggs, peeled  1/2 cup light mayonnaise  1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 2 tablespoons sour cream  1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard  1/8 teaspoon salt Preparation: Slice eggs in half lengthwise, and carefully remove yolks, keeping egg whites intact. Mash together yolks, mayonnaise, and next 4 ingredients until smooth using a fork. Spoon yolk mixture into egg white halves. Cover and chill 1 hour before serving. “The Pig Skin” Deviled Eggs: Prepare recipe as directed, stirring in 1 Tbsp. finely chopped green onion, 3 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish, and 1 tsp. Asian Sriracha hot chili sauce with mayonnaise in Step 2. Top eggs with pickled okra slices and chopped porkcrackling strips. Guacamole Dip 5 ripe avocados 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion  2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 1/2 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped 1 garlic clove, pressed 3/4 teaspoon salt  Tortilla chips  Preparation: Cut avocados in half. Scoop pulp into a bowl, and mash with a potato masher or fork until slightly chunky. Stir in chopped red onion and next 4 ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap, allowing wrap to touch mixture, and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Serve guacamole with tortilla chips. To make Cilantro Guacamole: Mash avocado, and stir in ingredients as directed. Stir in 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro and an additional 1 Tbsp. lime juice. Cover mixture, and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Low Country Boil or Frogmore Stew ½ cup (at least) Old Bay Seasoning 16 small new potatoes, about 1-inch diameter, rinsed but not peeled (about ¾ lb.) ½ lb. smoked sausage (kielbasa), cut into 16 ½-inch-thick coins 2 medium sweet onions, peeled but not trimmed, quartered lengthwise from stem to root 3 ears fresh corn, shucked and cut into thirds 16 largest available fresh shrimp, preferably white Carolina shrimp with head on (you may want more depending on size of shrimp)  8 stone crab claws (about 2 lb.) Preparation: Bring a large stockpot (at least 12-quart) of water (filled 2/3 of the way, about 9 quarts) to a simmer. Add Old Bay and simmer to infuse. (The water should be abundantly seasoned and aromatic.) Add potatoes, sausage coins, and sweet onions, and bring to a lazy simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 15 to 18 minutes. Keeping water at a simmer, add corn, and cook until kernels are slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add shrimp and crab claws, and cook until the shrimp becomes pink and white (instead of opaque), about 5 or 6 minutes. Strain solids from cooking liquid, and transfer them to an oversize platter or for cover table with brown paper and dump everything straight onto the paper. Great for game day festivities!

Chicken Tenders with JalapenoMustard Dipping Sauce Just before the game, stop by a grocer’s deli counter or the drive-through of your favorite restaurant for fresh, hot chicken tenders and serve with this homemade dipping sauce. Make them festive with team spirit skewers. Simply cut flags from scrapbook paper in the shape of pennants, and tape them to wooden skewers. 3/4 cup mayonnaise  2 tablespoons jalapeño pepper jelly 1/4 cup Creole mustard Confetti Pasta Salad 8 ounces uncooked small shell pasta 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved  2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach  1 yellow bell pepper, chopped  1/4 cup finely chopped red onion  3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill Vinaigrette (fresh lemon juice, your favorite herbs, and olive oil whisked together, or a good commercial Italian salad dressing) 1 (4-ounce) package crumbled feta cheese  Preparation: Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Toss pasta with tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 8 hours.



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health matters

New Breast Health Center in the High Country By Koren Huskins


reast health resources in the High Country are getting an extra boost this September with the opening of the new Breast Center of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS). Once renovations to the current Outpatient Imaging & Lab Center are complete, the Breast Center of ARHS will open its doors at 1200 State Farm Road in Boone. Please note that all current diagnostic imaging and laboratory services continue to be offered at the Outpatient Imaging and Lab Center. The Breast Center of ARHS offers state-of-the-art 3-D mammography technology plus efficient workflows between the Center and physicians offices. Patients’ work-up wait time will now be reduced by 55 percent with the new streamlined procedures. It’s a pairing of top technology with quick results to bring high quality, proactive care to patients seeking breast health services here in the High Country. “Our goal is to become the premier center for breast health services in the High Country by meeting patient needs locally. In addition, a primary goal is to reduce the anxiety-provoking wait times for patients undergoing a breast health work-up. The Breast Center of ARHS will utilize a breast navigator and the vast technical resources of radiologists, surgeons, and technical staff to expedite patient throughput for the patient and physician,” says Beth Miller, ARHS Director of Imaging, Laboratory, and Pathology Services.    The Breast Center of ARHS provides screening and diagnostic mammography for patients as well as breast ultrasound for those needing further work-up and evaluation.


Specific services include: Digital 3D mammography Breast ultrasound Stereotactic and ultrasound-guided breast biopsies A Breast Navigator will assist in guiding patients who need additional breast imaging services; the Breast Navigator system will involve a mammographer who is able to provide resources and reassurance during any stage in a patient’s breast health journey  For screening mammograms, which are encouraged yearly beginning around the age of 40, patients do not need a referral. However, they do need to have a provider name and fax number so that their results can be sent to the medical office of their choice, Miller says, “The Breast Center of ARHS has the latest state-of-the-art 3D technology for mammography imaging. 3D mammography delivers a series of detailed breast images, allowing the radiologist to better evaluate the breast tissue layer by layer, while maintaining a radiation dose comparable to the current dose for a 2D mammogram. 3D mammography will reduce the chance of a patient having to be recalled for further mammography images. It is capable of detecting up to 41 percent more invasive breast cancers than traditional mammography methods. A Breast Navigator will be available to assist patients needing further breast care and provide information and resources. Patients having breast issues will have the advantage of both mammography and breast ultrasound in the same building with a radiologist available for consultation; if desired by the patient.”    While at the Breast Center, patients can rest assured they are in capable

hands. The staff for the Breast Center of ARHS is comprised of mammographers, breast sonographers, radiologists, surgeons, a Breast Navigator, and a Breast/ Mammography Assistant. All staff is specifically trained for breast imaging procedures and follow the federal American College of Radiology (ACR) and Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) regulations. Additionally, all mammographers are American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) registered and in compliance with the ACR and MQSA regulations for mammography. All breast sonographers are registered and in compliance with ACR regulations for breast ultrasound. The vision for the Breast Center of ARHS began about two years ago with a planning committee comprised of physicians, administrative, and technical staff. After countless hours and hard work, this multidisciplinary team can be credited with bringing the current center’s model for breast patient navigation and consolidation of breast health services to the community. In addition to Breast Center services, the Outpatient Imaging and Lab Center located at 1200 State Farm Road will continue to offer outpatient imaging and lab services. Patients may call the ARHS Scheduling Department to make appointments for 3D mammograms (Breast Center location) or for 2D mammograms (Cannon Memorial Hospital).  For scheduling, please call (828) 268-9037. Additional updates about the Breast Center of ARHS can be found at

Williams YMCA of Avery Puts Words into Actions By David Burleson, Supt. of Avery County Schools


t is often the case that when all is said and done, there is usually a lot more said than done. This statement certainly does not describe our Williams YMCA of Avery County. Our Y staff, led by Mr. Trey Oakley, is a very hardworking group of people who care about the individuals they serve. When you think of our Y, there are several words that come to mind; one is cooperation. Our Y staff works not only to cooperate with its members, but also the community it serves. The second word is collaboration. Our YMCA staff collaborates with different groups from around the county, from the school system to churches to our senior center, and to any other group that needs the support of the Y. They are more than willing to work with everyone. The third word is attainment. The YMCA works hard to help its members and the residents of our community maintain a healthy lifestyle, attain an appropriate weight, and sustain a positive spiritual perspective. The fourth word is resources. I am very proud to say that our YMCA uses the resources they receive in an admirable way. They are able to meet the needs of our community on a barebones budget. Our YMCA understands that in order to support our community that we must work together. Working together is essential for providing the best possible community for all our citizens. Some examples of how our YMCA supports our children are as follows. One is the Splash Program. Our YMCA provides swimming lessons for students in Pre-K and second grade in Avery County. Not only are swimming lessons provided, but if a child needs a bathing suit, they find ways to get those also. The second example is through our ACC program. Through this program the YMCA allows student athletes and their coaches to train at the YMCA. We all understand that the weather in Avery County can make it very difficult to train in the winter months. The ACC program provides our student athletes a head start on their sports season. The YMCA through the ACC program also provides clinics for our student athletes as well as training sessions for them. The last example for the school system is the work that the staff provides for our students enrolled in the Blue Ridge Academy. These students are able to attend the Y at least three days a week. The YMCA brings their bus to our academy and takes our students to the Y and delivers them back. Because of their work and efforts, they have helped support 58 students graduating with their high school diploma. This has helped the Avery County Schools achieve the number one cohort graduation rate in North Carolina. Not only have they provided a place for many of our students to become physically fit, but have also mentored our students, provided them opportunities for internships, and after graduation, have employed some of our

students. One perfect example is a young man who started Blue Ridge Academy and was very overweight, had low self-esteem, and really did not care about school or his future. Through the work of Blue Ridge Academy and YMCA staff, not only did this young man graduate from high school, he is also living a healthier lifestyle and is working on a two-year college degree. It is important for our Y to continue to understand the impact they have on our community and to realize that their number one business is the people that they serve. I am proud to say that our Y does a great job with taking care of people. They realize that it is critical to provide meaningful programs for their members that will impact them in a very positive way. They also understand that providing tangible experiences for our children will prepare those young people to be this country’s future leaders. Our responsibility is to meet the needs of each and every person who walks through the doors of the YMCA. In closing, Will Rogers said “Even if you are on the right track, you will be run over if you just sit there.” I am proud to say that our YMCA is on the right track, and I know that they will not just sit there. Their goal is to provide better programs and have a positive impact on the citizens of Avery County.



health The May School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Lees-McRae College By Koren Huskins


n the 1920s, Edgar Tufts and Elizabeth McRae established the Grace Hospital School of Nursing in Banner Elk to train locals for emergencies and provide efficient and effective care to those in need. The first student nurses in the area entered a three-year training program to become a Registered Nurse (RN), and there was also a one-year midwifery course. Upon completion of the RN program, a student’s nursing credentials would stand up anywhere in the country. For approximately 40 years, nurses trained in Banner Elk. The RN program ended in 1952 and was replaced by the one-year Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program. The LPN program was discontinued in the 1960s  when it was added to the curriculum of local technical schools. Over the years, demand for higher education degrees has increased, and the nursing profession is no exception. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), jobs for RNs with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) are expected to grow by 22 percent between 2008 and 2018. The AACN reports that many healthcare institutions are now requiring RNs hold a BSN in order to be hired, sustain employment, or qualify for promotions. Now, more than 90 years later, the establishment of the May School of Nursing and Health Sciences at LeesMcRae College has renewed the tradi-


tion of nursing education in Banner Elk. Marketplace demand and student interest led the College to pursue bringing this program to campus. In fact, nursing was the single most requested program by prospective students when exploring Lees-McRae as a potential place of study. Additionally, the College believed bringing a nursing program to Banner Elk would continue to revitalize the school and elevate healthcare within the local area. Daniel and Dianne May responded to the need for this program by offering their assistance through a generous donation. The grand opening of the May School of Nursing and Health Sciences was officially announced in Fall 2012 and the College broke ground in Summer 2013. The inaugural nursing class, comprised of the students who applied and began pre-licensure course work two years ago, has now formed the first official cohort of the nursing program at LMC. These students were officially admitted to the May School this past Spring and began their coursework in Fall 2015. Opportunities in Health Careers: Nursing, Athletic Training, and Emergency Medical Services and Management (EMSM) The Fall semester marked a milestone for the May School as 23 students entered the hallways for their first class. Interest in the Pre-Licensure Nursing Program continues to increase, with 77

percent growth in incoming students between Fall 2013 and Fall 2015. In addition to the BSN on-campus program, the Nursing School offers an online RN-to-BSN program as an affordable and flexible option for practicing RNs to advance their careers. Current enrollment for this program is more than 150 students. Beyond nursing, the School offers programs in Athletic Training and Emergency Medical Services and Management. The Athletic Training program is designed to give students extensive clinical experiences both on and off campus. For example, students participate in the treatment of student-athletes at Lees-McRae and work with local high school teams and in clinics throughout the area. Future paramedics and medical technicians will benefit from the EMSM program, as it is only one of 14 accredited bachelor’s degree programs in the country. The College also provides a special opportunity to students who applied to the nursing school and did not gain admission. These students are offered a spot in the EMSM program for one year so they can obtain valuable healthcare experience while earning a paramedic certification. After completion of this program, these students gain priority consideration for entry to the Nursing program. All three programs—Nursing, Athletic Training, and EMSM—are housed within the May School of Nursing and

Health Sciences. This grouping of disciplines provides students with many opportunities for collaboration and interdisciplinary experiences. The May School offers a high level of interaction with peers, as well as instructors who are actively practicing in various sectors of the healthcare field. Equipping Students and Teachers with the Best Resources: Technology for all Programs May School students have the added advantage of more than $1.2 million dollars of the latest medical technology available in the new facility. Students learn in an environment that offers a high level of interaction and realism unique to healthcare education. The Hart Simulation Center is at the forefront of this technology. The Center features 3G wireless human simulators within a simulated inpatient hospital unit, which includes exam tables, hospital beds, and a replicated efficiency apartment. Technology at the Center allows the College to offer a higher percentage of clinical experiences on campus. For example, the Center’s birthing simulator, Victoria, allows students in both the Nursing and EMSM programs to practice and learn labor and delivery skills, an especially unique opportunity for EMSM students. The School is also equipped with a life-sized Anatomage table that features a touch screen and 3D viewing options. This table allows students to view images

of the overall human body, as well as the ability to zero in on its many parts. Students taking Anatomy and Physiology or Bio Pharmacology courses will use this advanced resource to gain greater understanding on how the body functions. Bringing It All Together: Cross-Campus and Community Collaboration With the opening of the May School, opportunities for collaboration—both on campus and within the surrounding community—are abundant. The School actively collaborates with other campus programs, such as using performing arts students to act as patients for nursing students. Beyond the campus, the School has already made an impact on the local community through a wide variety of partnerships. One example is the recent acquisition of 20 portable EKG screening devices from Arrhythmia Alliance and AliveCor. These devices will be used to provide health and wellness screenings for student athletes, faculty and staff, and community members. The College has partnered with Mountain States Health Alliance to provide free, non-invasive health screenings to locals. The College is also serving as consultant on the remote health monitoring program, “Bringing Telehealth Home.” This program, currently in development, will provide remote healthcare monitoring

for at-risk patients in Mitchell, Yancey, and McDowell Counties. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of local facilities to gain clinical training experiences. Participating centers include Ashe Memorial Hospital, Cannon Memorial Hospital, Catawba Valley Medical Center, and Mission Health. The May School of Nursing and Health Sciences: Poised for a Positive Community Impact After listening to the needs of prospective students, as well as responding to national demand for workers within the healthcare sector, Lees-McRae College continues to celebrate the May School launch and the promise of ongoing success. For more information about Nursing and Health Sciences, visit www.

Nursing class students CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


caring matters

Executive Officer Brett Loftis: Becoming Part of the Fabric of Crossnore School By Elizabeth Baird Hardy


atching a skilled weaver at work on a loom can be a profound experience, as the disparate threads are brought together into something cohesive, unique, and beautiful, all to the rhythmic movement of treadles, shuttle, and batten. It is this soothing, creative, and almost miraculous process that brings Crossnore School Executive Officer Brett Loftis to the Weaving Room on days when he needs encouragement or comfort. Like a woven work of art, the Crossnore School brings together an array of distinct elements and, in a dance of skill, artistry, and inspiration, makes them into something beautiful. Loftis, since becoming the school’s executive officer in February of 2013, has been one of the threads holding this weaving together, adding much to its pattern. As an attorney and program administrator, Loftis spent twenty years in child advocacy, trying to help children caught in a broken system. Through his work in South Carolina, North Carolina, and, most recently, with Charlotte’s groundbreaking Council for Children’s Rights, Loftis had already made a tremendous impact on improving educational, legal, and social situations for countless children. Yet, he felt called to do more, to really make a difference by curing the problems rather than merely “fighting to make kids fit into systems that were not designed to help”—situations that result in terrible consequences for children. Those systems—legal, social, and educational—often can only treat the devastating symptoms of abuse, neglect, poverty, and crime, rather than healing the children caught in those circumstances. Loftis and his wife Sally prayed for six months, feeling they were being led from their home and careers in Charlotte to a new opportunity. When he was approached about coming to Crossnore, Loftis quickly realized that it was “the answer to what was ailing me professionally,” and he and his family immedi-


ately fell in love with both the Crossnore School and the town of Crossnore. Since coming to Crossnore, Loftis has found what was missing in his meaningful, but often disheartening, work in the legal world of child advocacy. Crossnore’s “holistic approach is its most unique aspect; every part of a child’s life—mind, body, and spirit”—is nurtured and protected here because of the school’s focus on healing the children. With its Sanctuary model, the Crossnore School is truly a place of healing, where everyone who comes in contact with children is trained in trauma theory, so that all interactions are healing, whether they are with house parents, sports coaches, or teachers at the Williams Academy on the school’s historic and ever-growing campus. The opportunity to interact with Crossnore’s children is one of the things Loftis loves most about his work. “I love children,” he says, but his valuable abilities and expertise in child advocacy had, ironically, moved him into more and more administrative roles, removed from interacting with those very children whose lives and futures he most wanted to protect and nurture. “I still get to have relationships with kids and be part of the process while supervising, too,” he says. Appropriately, while sharing his great affection for his position and the students he serves, Loftis was approached by an older child who needed a goodbye hug before leaving the school to stay with a family member who had made arrangements to assume custody and provide a stable home life. Many of the children who find healing at Crossnore go on to positive home situations when a family member becomes able or available, or when circumstances change. Crossnore’s commitment to healing the children who come here makes such a transition even more positive, particularly by striving to keep family groups together, one of the school’s hallmark features. Many of the children who are placed at Crossnore are in sibling groups of three to four children, and

one family recently included eight children under 18. By keeping these children with their siblings, Crossnore helps these families heal in ways that could not be possible in the vast majority of settings, particularly as few foster parents are able to provide for large families, making it necessary to separate siblings or requiring them to wait for an opening. “We have had children on a waiting list the entire time I have been here,” Loftis says, noting that there are an average of thirty to forty kids each month who cannot yet be accommodated. For children whose family situations cannot or do not ever allow for a stable home, Crossnore becomes that home. The annual homecoming draws an average of over 100 former residents, many of whom think of Crossnore as home. By looking at these alumni, including one last year who was 93, Loftis says it is possible to see how Crossnore’s impact has been generational, “changing the whole life trajectory for not just these children, but for their entire families.” Whether children are in Crossnore’s care for days or for years, Crossnore is committed to making sure that the children here are not simply sent out on their own as they reach adulthood. In addition to welcoming returning alumni, Crossnore provides essential support for older students, including programs such as the innovative Miracle Scholars, which helps Crossnore graduates attending nearby Mayland Community College, housing them in a transitional home with the infrastructure, encouragement, and opportunities they need to grow as adults. Such programs can help to break the cycle that has caught many of the more than 10,000 children in foster care in North Carolina alone. Nationally, fewer than half of the children in foster care graduate high school, and less than three percent graduate college. Loftis hopes that growing the successful Crossnore model can help to make a real change in those statistics. Currently, construction is underway

on the new Young Children’s Village, a complex that will include three new cottages, a playground, and other facilities that will provide housing and support specifically for large families with multiple children under the age of 12. The village was an integral component of the “Second Century Campaign,” the effort to ensure support for another one hundred years of Crossnore services. The campaign successfully concluded in May of this year at more than $20 million in donations, an amount exceeding the original goal of $13 million. Volunteers and donors strive to make sure that the children here receive true healing that addresses all their needs: educational opportunities including a stateof-the-art charter school; emotional support including trained counselors and animal therapy; spiritual growth available with the school’s full-time pastor and an emphasis on faith and personal growth; and physical enrichment through programs from an innovative donor initiative that provides each child with a bicycle to the many sports and recreation teams and events at the school. Loftis is very pleased with how many of these opportunities involve connections with the community of Crossnore and Avery County. For example, the Williams YMCA, a favorite destination

for the Loftis family, hosted part of the Avery County Youth Soccer events at the School this past year, a partnership that Loftis particularly enjoyed: “If I could make a living coaching seven-and eightyear-old soccer, I would do that,” he says. In addition to volunteering as a coach, Loftis was thrilled to see the Crossnore students participating on the youth soccer teams, where they can interact with other children and families, and, while having fun, can also see examples of positive families and experience the kind of typical childhood so many of them have been denied. At the same time, programs like youth soccer allow the community to come onto campus and meet the children, seeing what promising and incredible young people they are. Loftis hopes that more and more community members will seek opportunities to volunteer, or even just visit the school. “The kids love visitors,” Loftis says, stressing that even volunteers who may not be comfortable working with children can find opportunities to help in other capacities, such as with the school’s therapy horses or dogs. In addition to locals who come to visit, Crossnore has become a destination for visitors drawn to the school’s incredible story and to the beautiful community surrounding the campus. Loftis

notes how many of the school’s best friends came originally to see the Ben Long fresco in the chapel, or to take a tour, and they fell in love, as nearly everyone does. “Everyone has a Crossnore story,” he notes. It is his hope that the Crossnore story will encourage efforts to replicate the highly successful model, so that even if students cannot be accommodated with the growing facilities here, the philosophy of Crossnore will be able to help students and to rewrite the predictable endings to so many foster care stories. Anyone who wants to learn more should visit the website or come in person. Whether they buy a cup of coffee in the Miracle Grounds Coffee Shop, find a bargain in the Blair Fraley Sales Store, or become part of the generations of donors supporting buildings, programs, and resources at the school, visitors from far and near can contribute to the school’s mission. Loftis stresses that one of the most important things anyone can do is simply to see the school, meet the children whose lives it changes, and see how each individual can become, like Brett Loftis and his family, woven into the unique fabric of the Crossnore School.




Landscaping Full Service Care For Your Yard Grounds Upkeep Plant Maintenance Contract Spraying Garden Design & Construction NC License Pesticide Applicator #3111

Mike Harding

828-733-4266 Pineola, NC

Christmas magic is found on the farm, not in a parking lot.

Make the trek to the Boone & Blowing Rock area in Watauga County to hand pick your family Christmas tree. Many farms offer hayrides, farm animals, cookies and cocoa, and even Christmas Shops where wreaths and roping are also available. Visit the Choose and Cut Capital this season, and start your own family tradition. To find a farm, visit: or call 828.264.3061


Corporate Transformation: A Garden Story


is name is Eric Sowder. I was introduced to him by local Christmas tree and vineyard grower, Jack Wiseman, at Jack’s Linville Falls Winery recently. “I want you to meet a friend of mine, Steve. He’s got a unique story you might like,” Jack said. Eric and Jack go back several decades. And their history—which is part of this story—ultimately helped boost our local Christmas tree economy while also helping advance a dominant force in the home building and improvement industry. We’ll get to that in a moment. But first… Eric and his wife, Jane, recently bought a home and about 50 acres just off old Montezuma Road across from Avery High School. It’s called Thistle Down and it was the long-time home of the Jim Patterson family. The Pattersons built the place in 1965 and planted a lot of memories there; along with a lot of daylilies and Christmas trees. And, after Jim Patterson passed away in 2013, even his ashes were planted there. The Sowder’s main home is currently in Lake Norman near Mooresville, the corporate office of Lowe’s Home Improvement stores. Eric retired from Lowe’s in 2011 as Senior VP & General Merchandising Manager for Lawn and Garden. And this is where the dots start connecting between Jack Wiseman, Christmas trees and a story of big business innovation. But, to connect those dots, we need to travel back 30 years to 1984. Sowder was, well, professionally unfulfilled. “I was working in a small garden center in Bristol, Tennessee, and felt like there was no future for me there. So I called Lowe’s corporate, then located in Wilkesboro, and sold them on the idea that they

By Steve York needed someone who knew plants and had some retail experience,” recalled Eric. The rest of the story represents a textbook lesson on how to create real value for your job, and how that can lead to major market-share repositioning. Back then, Lowe’s was mostly a building supply store, often located on the industrial side of town where the average consumer never shopped. Most of their products had low margins and didn’t generate a lot of repeat sales. After all, roofing and lumber aren’t things the average consumer, especially women, buys every day. Lowe’s had just begun adding some gardening products, but weren’t up to speed on plant merchandising. So Eric inspired some savvy Lowe’s executives to add a whole new garden center with a variety of plants that people would buy in volume year after year. He pointed out that, “Women are the key home shopping consumer. So we need to offer more consumable products they purchase regularly.And we need to move across town where all those consumers actually shop.” Corporate listened, and, in time, greatly expanded their customer base among women and families. During this transformation period, Lowe’s noticed that the winter months weren’t performing as well the rest of the year. So Eric promoted the idea of selling Christmas trees and holiday decorations to boost winter sales. And that’s where Jack Wiseman rejoins the story. He and Eric teamed up to bring our own High Country Fraser Firs to Lowe’s. Before long, Eric had convinced corporate to create a total Trim-A-Tree department that included decorations, lighting, poinsettias and, of course, our Christmas trees. Over the years, Eric wore many hats in merchandising and logistics, always

with the vision of seeing the company become a full-service home improvement center. Bottom line? When he left Lowe’s in 2011, sales had increased by almost 300%, number of stores by about 700%, and employees by over 2000%... nearly 250,000 employees. That’s a lot of jobs, paychecks and career growth opportunities—including for a few thousand of our area families, friends and neighbors. And the boost to our local Christmas tree growers has been in the many millions of dollars. Of course, Eric didn’t do all that by himself, and he’ll be the first to note how lucky he was to be in the right place at the right time with the right ideas and upper management support. But his approach to corporate innovation does serve as a model to help inspire and instruct future business professionals on how to succeed. And that’s another side of this story. In today’s economy, getting a good job or growing a business requires being able to communicate and demonstrate new, creative ways YOU can be of real value to your boss or customer. If that’s your goal, you just might want to “go to school” on Sowder’s real-world experience. In the meantime, Eric and Jane are remodeling Thistle Down, building a new life here in Avery County, and making a positive impact on the local community and economy. Jane is currently Chairman of the Board of Catawba Regional Hospice and has a wealth of expertise in that field. The Sowders are settling in and making a lot of new friends. And, despite all the corporate success hoop-la within this story, they’re easily some of the most unassuming and comfortable people you’ll ever meet. If you haven’t yet, maybe Jack Wiseman will introduce you one day. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


“Come See Us For Great Fall Planting Ideas!” Hard-to-find conifers and 1000’s of other landscape plants Fruit trees, shrubs, perennials and more Professional landscaping, hardscaping, LED lighting & watergardens

The Cornett-Deal Christmas Tree Farm Providing the Choose & Cut Experience to Families Since 1992

Open weekends starting the weekend prior to Thanksgiving through mid December Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 9am-Noon, Closed Sun | Winter Hrs: Open by appt. only after the end of Oct Just 30 minutes from Boone NC: 1167 Dry Hill Rd. Butler, TN | 423-768-3226 | Make a day of it! Visit Watauga Lake Winery & Mountain Spirit Alpacas, both within a 2 mile drive from the Nursery.

Acupuncture • Acupressure • Reflexology Aromatherapy • Massage Therapy Qigong • Reiki • Classes

Hayride & Refreshments, Gift Shop Decorated Wreaths, Tree Stands 142 Tannenbaum Lane, Vilas, NC Like us on Facebook

Aromatherapy Store Natural Remedies Products for People & Pets

Ashi Therapy Ashi Aromatics, Inc Holistic Healing Center 828.898.5555 • Banner Elk WHAT’S A SECOND OPINION WORTH? Glenn P. Deal Jr. ChFC®, CLU®, LUTCF, FIC Financial Consultant Blue Ridge Associates Office: 888-658-3985 Cell: 828-234-2001

A lot—when it comes to your investments. As a Thrivent Financial Financial Consultant I can look at your portfolio with fresh eyes to determine if it is aligned with your goals. No matter which way the financial markets are going, together we’ll determine whether any changes are needed to help keep your investment plan on track. Contact me today for a complimentary portfolio analysis.

Securities and investment advisory services are offered through Thrivent Investment Management Inc., 625 Fourth Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55415, a FINRA and SIPC member and a wholly owned subsidiary of Thrivent Financial, the marketing name for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Appleton, WI. Thrivent Financial representatives are registered representatives of Thrivent Investment Management Inc. For additional important information, visit For additional important information, visit Appleton, Wisconsin • Minneapolis, Minnesota • • 800-847-4836 28506 N7-15


Wildflowers Since 1892

Gardens of The Blue Ridge 9056 Pittmans Gap Road Newland, North Carolina 28657 828-733-2417 / Fax 828-733-8894 Open Monday-Friday 9 to 5 Wreaths • Centerpieces • Swags & Roping

HIGH COUNTRY CHRISTMAS TREE FACTS North Carolina ranks second in the USA in live Christmas tree production. Fraser Firs are native to the Southern Appalachian region. They are extremely well adapted to the environmental conditions of Watauga County, North Carolina.

Photos courtesy of Watauga Christmas Tree Association

Choose and Cut: A Mountain Tradition for Families


re you planning to meander the mountain hillsides this year to select your Christmas tree from one of our many High Country Choose & Cut tree farms? If so, you’re part of a growing tradition. There are few experiences more memorable for the entire family over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays than getting out there among the countless rows of perfect Fraser Firs and finding your tree! With the growing regional demand for Fraser Firs, the NC Christmas Tree Growers Association and county growers associations recognized the unique marketing and promotional value of the Choose and Cut campaign. Seasonal tourists and locals alike are encouraged to fulfill their longing to choose their very own perfect Christmas trees right there on site. Today there are at least 400 Choose & Cut locations in the region. It’s a great success story and a wonderful part of our High Country heritage. According to Watauga County Christmas Tree Association, the tradition has grown in importance on many levels over the years. “Many families visit the same Choose and Cut farm year after year, establishing long-lasting friendships and cherished family traditions,” reads the message on the tree growers web site. “Countless couples have chosen Choose and Cut as the occasion to ring in an engagement, as well as the Christmas Season. Come bring your family to our North Carolina mountain counties. Shop at unique mountain craft stores and visit classic destinations like the Mast General Store. Come explore our Choose and Cut Christmas tree farms – you’ll be glad you did. Choose and Cut farms generally open the weekend before Thanksgiving and remain open through the week before Christmas. Most tree farmers make it an event for visiting families. At the Cornett Deal Christmas Tree Farm in Vilas, visitors are treated to hot cider and hot chocolate before the hayride carries them to the handsome fields of Fraser Firs. Beautiful handmade wreaths are popular as is the gift shop featuring hand-crafted pottery, jewelry, and fused glass. The Red Barn Tree Farm in Linville Falls promises the same kind of experience. “We have been a family farm for over 15 years,” said Linda Wiseman of the Avery County tree farm located next to the family-owned Linville Falls Winery. “We open each year prior to Thanksgiving and offer hayrides, homemade cider and hot chocolate. Our service includes bailing and placing the tree atop your car. We are all about family fun and creating lifetime memories.” Every member of the High Country Choose and Cut industry are committed to creating long lasting mountain memories for families returning each winter to find their perfect Christmas tree.

Christmas trees are grown as a renewable crop, and therefore add more living trees to our planet. Unlike Christmas trees of the past, modern Christmas tree farms replant up to 3 tree seedlings for every tree that is harvested from their farm. Modern day Christmas tree farms do not cut down trees in the forest and sell them to customers. By planting Christmas tree seedlings every year, farmers are helping to decrease the carbon footprint of their farms. Living Christmas trees will absorb and retain carbon from the atmosphere and utilize it for photosynthesis, producing sugars and carbohydrates for the trees to live off of. Christmas tree farms provide shelter, food, and habitat for a diverse array of wildlife, including bears, deer, groundhogs, squirrels, turkey, quail, songbirds, insects, and microorganisms in the soil. Real Christmas trees, as opposed to Fake Plastic Christmas trees, are 100% biodegradable and can be recycled in many ways: chipped up for mulch, sunken in ponds to create fish habitat, placed in the backyard for use as a birdfeeder or using trees to stabilize sand dunes on coastal areas. Fake Plastic Christmas trees are made overseas in countries such as China, from petroleum based products and non-recyclable PVC plastics. Some artificial trees are packaged with a pair of gloves, to protect customers from directly touching the Lead that artificial trees contain.



~John Muir, Our National Parks


“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but Nature’s sources never fail.”

Hunter’s Tree Service, Inc.


Hunter’s Tree Service, Inc. has served the High Country since 1980. Our mission is to provide you with skilled tree care and outstanding customer service, while caring for one of your most valuable resources. As your complete tree specialist, we offer a range of services:

Pruning View enhancement Tree removal Stump grinding Bucket truck service Crane service Cabling Lightning protection Pre-construction consultation Disease and pest control

POB 1674, Banner Elk NC 28604 / 828-733-3320 or 828-953-5094

Fly Fishing Guide Service Private water on Linville River 828-263-4611

Hwy 105 in Linville at the Foot of Grandfather Mountain • 828-733-3726 • 80 — Autumn 2015 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Keep your Birds Happy: Prepare for Fall By Edi Crosby


abor Day has long been the signal to begin preparing for Fall Feeding. Fall is coming, with crisper mornings than usual just to warn us. Autumn is a beautiful season to be outdoors! The exact timing depends on many factors, but the calendar dates for the season are generally accepted as September 22-December 20 in the Northern Hemisphere. Birds make any yard enjoyable, from their happy trilling to their colorful feathers. It is best to prepare for the season now so that you aren’t left scrambling when it finally shows up.  Many people are also seasonal bird feeders, and thus will be putting out feeders soon to help their feathered friends make it through the winter or prepare for migration. In nature, Fall brings bounty! It can be difficult to attract birds in the fall because of the increased availability of natural food sources—do not be discouraged. Birds take note of the food sources in their territories so that they know where to go when the weather turns harsh.

Be aware of the migrating schedule of your birds.

Hummingbirds will be moving south soon, and may be entering territory where they are not normally seen. Syrup feeders for Hummingbirds and Orioles should be left out for at least two weeks after the birds have not been observed at the feeders. Keep them fed for their long journey —you’ll keep them coming back!

Don’t forget water.

Water is even more important to a bird’s survival than food. It is also needed by all species and may attract birds not normally attracted to feeders. As natural water sources begin to freeze, birds are in danger of dehydration. They also need water to keep their feathers clean for flight and warmth.

Fall Preparations

Birds seek safe refuges in all seasons, and autumn birds are looking for good food sources, fresh water and secure shelter that can sustain them during an unpredictable season. By meeting birds’ basic needs not only with supplemental feeders, baths and houses but also with bird-friendly landscaping, backyard birders can provide an autumn sanctuary many bird species will appreciate.

A helpful List of To-Dos:

Clean out old Nest Boxes: this will reduce the possibility of parasitic bugs surviving the winter and give birds a roost in a clean house. Prepare Bird Baths­: birds need a source for water in the winter, and a heater or heated bird bath is recommended for winter feeding. Keep them full of clean, fresh, water at all times. There are products that help keep the water fresher for longer periods of time.   Clean Feeders: check feeders for damage from heavy summer use and repair them so they are safe for autumn birds. It is  important that feeders be cleaned on a regular basis. Feeders should be cleaned with warm water only.   If a feeder has mold or is terribly dirty, it can be cleaned with a solution of 1 part bleach and 10 parts water. Clean the area around the feeder for those birds feeding off the ground.  Squirrel-proof feeders  with different tactics to prevent autumn foraging squirrels from depleting birds› food supplies will help. Add/Upgrade Feeders: keeping seed and other foods dry in bad weather can be a major headache.   Wide, overhanging roofs or baffles/covers that keep out rain and snow are ideal.   Window Feeders will bring birds very close and allow for great photos; these are more likely to be visited during winter, when hunger may overwhelm caution. Window seed feeders and suet feeders are available—and yes, they stay on all winter if put on before the temperature drops below 40 degrees.   Hardware Maintenance: now is a great time to check the mounting hard-

ware for stability and functions. If poles are scratched they can be painted with rustproof spray enamel.  Check all screws to be sure they are tightened and ready for winter. Best Winter Bird Foods: last but definitely not least, you can offer your birds some very yummy treats. When the temperatures drop, birds need adequate energy to survive even the worst weather. Foods high in oil and fat, such as suet, peanuts, sunflower seeds, peanut butter and nyjer are the most popular choices.


Gold Finches: In early fall, gold finches molt. That is, they replace their worn, tattered feathers with a set of fresh, new feathers. The appearance of these beautiful creatures changes drastically. The brilliant yellow body feathers are replaced by dull brownish plumes and the striking black cap disappears. Females also molt, but their appearance doesn’t change much. As a result, it’s harder to tell males and females apart and many folks assume their gold finches have gone away and mistake them for other birds during fall and winter. Cardinals: Many don’t know that Cardinals are non-migratory and early in life will choose a year-round territory, often not far from their parents.  In summer, they are spread evenly about, each pair in a separate territory. But in winter, they are likely to gather into flocks, visiting feeders at one time, especially where the birds are numerous. They generally live in areas where there are both trees and berry-producing shrubs. This includes forest edges, old fields and suburban neighborhoods. Plants in your yard best suited for Cardinal food and shelter include blue spruce, dogwood, wild cherry, elderberry and red cedar. If you keep your feeders filled and squirrel-free and your bird bath clean, you can expect the local flocks to frequent your house even in the fall and winter. Just be sure not to let either go dry, or at least certainly not at the same time, and they will remember your house. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —



Pioneers in Southeastern Fly Fishing Since 1988

Grandfather Trout Farm

Outfitting Float & Wade Trips on Local Streams & Tailwaters Full-Service Fly Shop

Appalachian Angler

Carrying Sage • Ross • G-Loomis Simms • Patagonia



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)


Pioneers in Southeastern 1988 Hwy. 105, Boone ●Flyfishing (828) Since 963-8383 Worldwide Outfitters & Guide Service Outfitting Float & Wade Trips on Local Streams & Tailwaters

Fly-Shop • Fly-Fishing School • Fly-Tying Hwy. 105, Boone • 828-963-5050 • 828-355-5505 174 Old Shulls Mill Rd / Hwy 105 Between Boone & Foscoe

Fishing: When And Where By Andrew Corpening


hen visitors to the High Country want to fish, the three most commonly asked questions are what fly/lure is working, where can I fish, and when is the best time of day or year to fish. Since the first question could take a whole column to answer, I will concentrate on the last two questions. The simple answer for where can you fish is anywhere that is not posted against trespassing. There are approximately 300 miles of trout waters in the High Country. Even the streams that are not designated trout water by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) contain trout. Nearly all of our High Country streams and rivers contain some trout. One visiting angler caught an 18-inch brown trout behind the Burger King in downtown Boone (the people in the drive-thru were applauding). If the water looks good and the land is not posted, give it a try. Even though I say to give any promising water a try, I am not saying to throw common sense out the window. Don’t walk through people’s yards to get to the water. Don’t park in people’s driveways or block roads. Ask politely if you can cross property. Also, whatever you do, don’t litter. This is just being courteous, but littering can also get you a big fine from the game warden. Where you can fish is also determined by how you are fishing. If you are using bait or multiple hook lures you may only fish on streams that are designated Hatchery Supported or undesignated waters. On streams designated Wild Trout waters you may only use single hook, artificial lures. Also prohibited on Wild Trout waters are any scented lures. It is obvious what you can use on streams designated Fly Fishing Only. All the different designations can be confusing for seasonal visitors. The local fishing shops can help you determine

where you can fish. In addition, the NCWRC Regulations Digest lists all of the designated streams by county. However, even the Digest can be confusing since it uses State Road numbers. These numbers are the small numerals usually attached to the sides of stop signs. Unless you have telescopic vision, the numbers are hard to see. One of the best sources for finding designated streams is the NCWRC web site, Here you can find maps, by county, of all the designated streams—but have a good map handy since the trout maps are lousy road maps. The answer to the question when to fish actually comes in two parts. Many anglers want to know what time of day would be most productive. This is dependent on the temperature, so the most productive time of day for fishing varies with the seasons. Trout are a coldwater species so they are most active when the water temperature is approximately 55 to 65 degrees. During the late summer and early fall the water is at its warmest and, since warm water contains less oxygen than cold water, the trout have trouble breathing. Trout can still be caught but it can get a little tough. If you are fishing during the cooler months, it really does not matter too much what time of day you decide to fish. If the nights are still getting pretty cool you might want to fish in the afternoon. This gives the water time to warm a little. If you are fishing during the warmer months you might want to get out early before the water warms from the heat of the day. Many anglers assume that the spring is a good time for fishing, and they are right. From April through the middle of July the fishing can be really good. When the water starts warming after the winter months, the aquatic insects that trout eat become more prolific and the trout begin to actively feed. During the winter you can also catch trout, but the fish are con-

serving energy due to fewer insects and less food. Winter fishing requires you to put you fly or lure right on the fish’s nose. High Country winters are usually more conducive to winter sports than to fishing, but if there is a little thaw (the area usually has a thaw around mid-January) the fishing can be good. Fall is the overlooked season. This time of year can be one of the best times to fish. As the water cools off, the trout start feeding and they are not real selective. The trout seem to know that winter is approaching and food will become scarce. The fall is when the trout build up stores of fat to sustain them through the winter. They start to feed more opportunistically; if it looks like food they will likely eat it. Also, some area streams are restocked with trout during this season. The NCWRC usually stocks the Delayed Harvest streams around the first of October and November. Another reason the fall is a good time to fish is that there seems to be fewer people on the streams. This probably has to do with other activities taking up the angler’s time. Since fall is the height of hunting season and many anglers are also hunters, some of them stop fishing and concentrate on hunting. The football fans are also absent from the rivers. With college football on Saturday and the NFL on Sunday, the weekends are a lot less crowded. One other reason that fall is a great time to fish is that there is no prettier time of year than autumn in the High Country. Even though there are definitely some times when the fishing is better than at other times, keep in mind the old adage, “The best time to go fishing is when you can.” And there is one other fishing question most asked by visitors: Do I need a fishing license? The answer is simple: Yes.



Long Term Care Planning: An Impassioned Appeal By Katherine Skillman Newton, CFP®, ChFC™



or years I have been talking with clients about available long-term care • The views presented here are those of Katherine planning options. Newton and should not be considered as investment I have discussed the importance of having a plan—of choosing to advice or to predict future performance. Past “self-insure” by using personal assets to pay rising long-term care costs, performance does not guarantee future results. or of purchasing long-term care insurance, or of having life insurance in All information is believed to be from reliable place on each spouse so the surviving spouse has sufficient assets on which to live, sources;however, we make no representations as to its or of using a combination approach to deal with the complex and expensive choices completeness or accuracy. • Please note that neither Cetera Advisor Networks, LLC this issue poses. I had heard stories about loved ones who experienced the indignity of running out nor any of its agents or representatives gives legal or of money to pay for assisted living. I knew that, oftentimes, elderly persons are forced tax advice. For complete details, consult with your tax out of private nursing homes when their life savings no longer pay the bill, necessitat- advisor or attorney. • Katherine Newton, a 30-year veteran of the financial ing a move to facilities that accept Medicaid. And of course, I always added the topic of long-term care planning to my client services industry and Certified Financial Planner™, crafts protectorates for her clients’ wealth so they have review agendas. peace of mind to pursue what’s most important in their I had certainly “taken my own medicine” and purchased my own long-term care lives. You can reach Katherine at her company Waite insurance years ago. I knew I didn’t want my children to be burdened with my care Financial in Hickory at 828.322.9595or by email at when I became elderly. But it took my own personal family experience to make me Her registered branch truly passionate about the topic. address is P.O. Box 1177, 428 4th Ave., NW, Hickory, NC I had believed this journey of being present for my father in his elder years to be 28603, 28601. inevitable but had assumed it would be easier for me since I have the advantage of • Securities and Investment Advisory Services are being in my particular profession. But I have been surprised at the emotional dif- offered through Cetera Advisor Networks, LLC, Member ficulty of it all. FINRA/SIPC. I have certainly been one of the lucky ones, as I have a sister who has assumed Cetera Advisor Networks and Waite Financial are equal responsibility in the decision-making for my dad by taking the lead in health- unaffiliated. related decisions while I have led with the financial ones. Many of you know how independent my father has been, preparing his own tax return up until last year. He has frugally and judiciously done all the things financial advisors tell their clients to do: Always be an investor, always be a saver, employ the values that you have been taught—values of frugality, of good stewardship, of gratitude—in your own finances. He has accumulated some wealth of his own, wealth he considers to be his family’s money. personally invested Still, our hearts are broken as we see that, in spite of all of my dad’s hard work, his family is left with difficult healthcare wealth management and financial decisions. The decisions we make to ensure he is well provided for and comfortable during his remaining days financial planning may mean his assets vanish to rising healthcare and long-term asset protection care costs. My newfound passion for long-term care planning is now evident in each client meeting, when I begin the conversation about the importance of transitioning to a retirement community in one’s 70s or at the latest by one’s 80s. Having watched my own father make that move with great difficulty at age 93, I want Katherine S. Newton, CFP®, ChFC Waite Financial to provide relevant recommendations and suggestions to protect clients from the hardships of decisions made too late. 428 4th Ave, NW  Hickory, NC 28601 And knowing that having no plan is, of course, a decision in 8 2 8 . 3 2 2 .9 5 9 5  866.716.8663 (fax) and of itself, I will continue to appeal to clients to make a decikatherine@  sion about having a long term care plan in place. Registered Representative of and Securities and Investment Advisory So please, if you presently have no written long term care Services offered through Cetera Advisor Networks, member FINRA/SIPC. plan, contact your financial advisor—or us—today to begin this Waite Financial and Cetera Advisor Networks are unaffiliated. conversation.


Local Business News Harris Named Director of Humane Society The Avery County Humane Society Board of Directors has named Susan Harris as its new executive director. Harris started her new position on August 17th. “We are excited to have Susan on our team,” Humane Society President Erika Siegel said. “She brings to the Shelter a level of expertise and knowledge that will be invaluable as we move forward in our mission to provide care to the animals of Avery County. The Board is extremely pleased with our choice and we all look forward to working with Susan.” Harris is coming to the Avery County Humane Society with a unique set of skills and experiences. She is a North Carolina native who earned a B.A. in sociology and anthropology from St. Andrews College in Laurinburg, NC. She completed her graduate studies in public administration and economics at UNC-Chapel Hill. Since then, she has worked with numerous non-profit organizations such as United Way and has served on many boards, including High Country Host, HandMade in America, Boone Chamber of Commerce, NC Center for Public Policy Research, NC Pottery Center, Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show, Watauga Community Foundation, and NC Economic Developers Association. She spent many years working for the American Saddlebred Horse Association and served as the executive director of the Watauga County Economic Development Commission a few years ago. She is married to Ernie Whitener, a former longtime ski patroller at Sugar Mountain Ski Resort. Skiing has been a mutual interest as Harris taught private and group lessons at Sugar Mountain. Harris has a grown stepdaughter and, of course, a 10-year-old spaniel named Chester. Horses are a lifelong passion. She competes in driving competitions at horse shows with her Hackney pony. “I am thrilled to be serving as the Avery County Humane Society’s new executive director,” Harris said. “The majority of my career has been in service to the people of North Carolina in the fields of economic and community development and non-profit fundraising. Now I have an opportunity to extend that service to the animals of Avery County that are in need. In my short time with the Avery County Humane Society, I have gained such a respect and admiration for the organization. The passion and dedication of the staff, the board, and the volunteers to the welfare of the animals entrusted to our care is inspiring to see. I look forward to sharing the story of their remarkable work with all the residents of Avery County.”

Meet The New Director Of Avery County Habitat For Humanity Christon Clark has experienced many facets of working for Habitat for Humanity, the nonprofit organization that builds and repairs homes all over the world with volunteer labor and donations. In the past six years, he has served Habitat for Humanity as a board member, AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service, Global Village Team Leader, and as an Executive Director twice. Prior to joining Avery County Habitat for Humanity as Executive Director on August 10th, Christon was the Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Kosciusko County in North Central Indiana. During his three-year tenure there he built a countywide foundation of support for the affiliate to grow and thrive. He engaged new volunteers, advocates, board members, donors, foundations, and families even as he maintained strong relationships with those who were longstanding supporters. The first 100% “Women Build” house in the affiliate’s history was completed with 176 volunteers building a highly efficient home that exudes character and curb appeal. As a participant in the Kosciusko Leadership Academy, Christon led a team that won the prestigious Northenor Award for best project. “Rethinking Neighborhood within the Community” was a blueprint for how Habitat should operate in Kosciusko County in order to grow and engage the community at large. He heard the statement, “I did not know Habitat existed within the county before you arrived,” far too many times. Habitat now has a strong presence in Kosciusko County. In 2011 Christon participated in his first Habitat Global Village trip to El Salvador. He fell in love with the country and its people; such beauty and kindness coupled with a great need. Since that first trip he has led three teams of volunteers building homes in the departments of Santa Ana and Ahuachapán bordering Guatemala. The most recent family the group worked with, Francisco, Aida and their twin boys, built their home next door to both sets of parents. Francisco was finishing his legal studies and preparing to take the bar exam while also spending at least half if not all day on the build site. Christon is planning for his next trip to El Salvador in late February/early March and local volunteers are welcome to join him. Before joining Habitat, Christon owned his own golf equipment business for several years in addition to working as a consultant within the industry. A graduate of Valparaiso University with a degree in Business Administration and a lifelong Hoosier, Christon has taken well to the High Country and was so amazed by the scenery that he was late to his first interview. Outside of working to further the Habitat mission, Christon enjoys exploring the High Country, playing golf, and is an avid curler. On his fourth day on the job Christon had surgery to repair a retinal detachment, so if you see him around with one eye closed he is not winking, merely trying to see you!



A Letter From Greta Dear Friends of the New River: Hello, my name is Greta. I am 12 years old and I will turn 13 in June. I live in Guilford County, North Carolina and go to middle school. I live with my mom and dad and 10 year old brother. I love to play outside, play soccer and run track, and I especially love to play in the New River. Many people know the New River as a fun weekend place to go hang out at or camp, but I know the river as part of my life and childhood. I started going to our family land in the Blue Ridge Mountains and on the New River when I was only three months old! That means I have been going there for almost 13 years. My family and I used to go on the weekends and stayed in “the trabin” (part trailer and part cabin), which was our family’s nickname for my grandparents’ former mountain house. Now we stay with my Aunt Linda and Uncle Joe. We’ve made a tradition of celebrating the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and other holidays there as a family. We go tubing down the river. We have cookouts. We go fishing. We catch crawdads. We play on huge rocks. We take turns swinging on the hammock. This is all by the river with my cousins and family. I cannot imagine life without the New River. It is part of my life and I want to share the beauty of the river with my kids when I grow up. I want to have little cookouts with them and go tubing down the river with them. I want them to grow up the way I grew up, by the river. But as I have gotten older, I realize as much as we need the river, the river needs us even more. While I have been doing all these wonderful things, I’ve noticed that sometimes trash is in the river or on the mountain side. This isn’t good and someone has to clean it up because the New River cannot clean itself, or the fish that swim in it or the animals that live along it. And it’s not pretty either. Who can help? I know the New River Conservancy helps keep it clean all the way from where it starts in North Carolina to where it ends in Ohio. They don’t just clean up trash, they help protect it. But they can’t do it all on their own. I need to help too and this is why I’m writing this letter. This is also why we need your help to support the New River. I want a healthy, clean River when I grow up. So when you make your gift, you will see it will make a big difference for the New River. Sincerely,

Greta Wagner Help us continue to protect the New River forThe Next Generation. Learn more or make a gift online at 866-481-6267,

Local Business News Brushy Mountain Apple Festival October 3rd It’s apples, apples, apples—time for the Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club to present the 38th Annual Brushy Mountain Apple Festival in downtown North Wilkesboro, NC. The streets will come alive Saturday, October 3 at 8:00 AM with over 375 arts and crafts vendors, 100 food concessions, and four stages with bluegrass, country, folk, gospel, and Appalachian Heritage music, including cloggers, rope skippers, and other dancers. More than 100 civic clubs, churches and other non-profit organizations participate. The Brushy Mountain Apple Festival is recognized as “A Top 20 Event for the Month of October in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society. The festival will include Appalachian Heritage exhibitors demonstrating wood carving, chair, soap, and apple butter making, quilting, spinning, rug braiding, hit-andmiss engines, and much more. Tunes from Appalachian dulcimers will fill the air as well as all the appetizing smells of the variety of foods available. Local apple growers set up throughout the festival selling their apples, apple cider, and dried apples. The many fun activities for children to enjoy include a petting zoo, climbing wall, and a giant inflated slide. Bring your camera because the festival sponsors a snapshot photo contest. This year, the contest subject is “The Brushy Mountain Apple Festival.” All contest rules and regulations are listed on the website as well as in the free souvenir and program guide that can be picked up at the information booth at Main and 9th Streets. The guide contains music and dancing schedules, as well as a location guide of exhibitors and food concessions, along with apple recipes, stories, and tales about the community. Take the hassle out of parking by using the festival shuttle bus from the West Park Medical Center. The 38th Annual Brushy Mountain Apple Festival is a wonderful family event and admission is free. Held rain or shine, it’s a great way to kick off the apple harvest for orchards from Wilkes and Alexander Counties, and to celebrate mountain heritage. And don’t forget the “Apple Jam,” with free live music the night before the festival. The Jam takes place on Friday evening, October 2, at the corner of 10th and Main streets in downtown North Wilkesboro. Music starts promptly at 6 p.m. Bring your lawn chair, relax, and enjoy an evening of entertainment. For more details, visit the Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club website at, call (336) 9213499, or email

“It is one of the blessings of wilderness life that it shows us how few things we need in order to be perfectly happy.” —Horace Kephart


The Orchard at Altapass—Saving the Good Stuff Perched on the crest of the Blue Ridge atop the Eastern Continental Divide, the Orchard at Altapass occupies a unique spot in both America’s landscape and history. That it exists now as a learning center welcoming all is a tribute to three people. “Kit” Trubey and Bill and Judy Carson were on a mission—to preserve 280 acres of unrestricted land straddling the Blue Ridge Parkway. The happy outcome of their success is the Orchard at Altapass, a beautiful garden of apple trees and butterflies where people come to listen and dance to music. Aside from the spectacular setting and fine apple trees, the Orchard at Altapass showcases area history and culture with a vivid music program of live performances as well as targeted activities for the family. It is now under the umbrella of the nonprofit Altapass Foundation, Inc. committed to preserve, protect and educate the people who are meant to enjoy its abundant beauty. In keeping with the foundation’s commitment, the orchard offers heirloom apples for picking and purchase, storytelling hayrides through the orchard, a free book club, live music and dance performances, a Monarch butterfly garden, storytelling hikes, and nature walks. Heritage Thursdays highlight local historians, musicians and storytellers. The Duke Energy sponsored Super Saturdays provide engaging children’s programs and field trips. Musical performance is at the heart of Orchard activities, and is an essential part of practically every program throughout the May – November season. The Orchard Store has a wide selection of regional items: books, music CDs, lots of beautiful new pottery, a jarred food section, toys, locally made products for the home, delicious fudge, jams, jellies, preserves, and more. All proceeds from the store help to support the Mission of the Altapass Foundation. The Orchard is located along the Blue Ridge Parkway at mile post 328.3. It is open May 2 through Sept. 12 Sunday noon to 5:30, Mon. and Wed.-Sat. 10-5:30, and Sept. 13 through November 1 10-6 everyday. For more information visit “Visiting the Orchard is a way to experience a cross-section of what Southern Appalachia has to offer all in one afternoon.”  --


North Wilkesboro, North Carolina First Saturday in October

October 3, 8am-5pm

Food • Arts • Crafts • Live Entertainment Children’s Activities • Demonstrations Fun for the Whole Family

For more info: 336-921-3499 Pre-festival Friday, October 2nd at 6pm—Live Music


We Didn’t Invent The Chicken, Just The Chicken Sandwich.®

Mon-Sat / 6:30am-10pm 2082 Blowing Rock Rd, Boone NC 28605 828-264-4660 • Follow us on Facebook at Chick-fil-A of Boone CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


Avery Tire Pros: A New Level of Service From An Old Friend June 2014 marked an important step forward for Hank Phillips and the gang at Newland’s largest tire and auto repair facility. That’s the day they became part of Tire Pros, the nation’s largest network of elite, independent tire dealers, and—consequently—the largest such dealer in the High Country. For those already familiar with the business, you probably noticed their new sign out front at 405 Linville Street in Newland. It reads simply, Avery Tire Pros. But the full new name is actually Avery Tire & Service Tire Pros. And that name change is more than cosmetic. It represents a more comprehensive, all-around tire and repair service standard for the company. Now, Hank has always had a full service tire and auto repair shop. And many of the faces you see there, working throughout the office and repair stalls, still look familiar. But their new Tire Pros affiliation gives them even more customer support assurance than ever before. “We’re now in an even better position to satisfy our customers both during and after their visit,” Phillips said. “And that gives us the confidence to say that we can pledge to make your automotive service and tire buying experience simple, straightforward, and hassle-free.” The ten-point list of required tech services is both impressive and too long to list here, but some key features include verifying the size, speed, and load ratings for your new tires to fully match your exact vehicle, inspecting all tire pressure monitoring sensors before and after installation, and using state of the art wheel servicing equipment to mount and balance your tires. And they assure all ten steps in 59 minutes or less. The Tire Pros’ benefits go well beyond all that. They offer a 30-Day Ride Guarantee for any new tire performance you aren’t happy with, free tire rotation and pressure checks, additional road hazard protection options, and special deals and promotions during the year. “With Tire Pros, we can now offer complimentary roadside assistance 24/7/365 with any purchase. Warranties are accepted at over 30,000 service stations nationwide. Plus, we have attractive financing offers through the Tire Pros credit card, along with exclusive tire and service promotions that you can’t find anywhere else,” Phillips said. Naturally, with the word “tire” in the name, you’d expect Avery Tire Pros to carry a pretty good line of tires. Right? Well, they’re way ahead of you with 32 different brands to choose from. Of course Avery Tire & Service Tire Pros continues to offer complete individual and fleet vehicle repair and tune-up services. That’s one of the key reasons for the word “service” in their name. So, even though many of the faces are the same, the building is the same and the service racks are still in the same stalls…when you look under the hood, there’s a much more powerful engine driving Avery Tire.

Coffee Shop, Bakery, Bagelry, Creamery...and Catering!

4 Great Quiches & 9 Yummy Belgium Waffles! Broccoli & Three Cheese Quiche $3.95

Mon–Sat 9–2


Lakeview Suites, Linville, NC 28646 Directly across from Linville Land Harbor

Come See Our Old Fashioned Candy & Fudge Shop 88 — Autumn 2015 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

New Organization For Women OffersNetworking Opportunities One of the most exciting new organizations in the High Country is Watauga Women in Leadership.  With the mission of “Women Empowering Each Other,” this group was formed as a resource for professional women and women in leadership positions in the area.  Through Watauga Women in Leadership, women can network, share information and get support from other like-minded women, an opportunity not always available outside of larger cities.  Watauga Women in Leadership holds events on a quarterly basis and encourages new members and new ideas. Their most recent activity was an old fashioned Pig Pickin’ and pot luck dinner. The next event will be hosted by Dr. Sheri Everts, Chancellor of ASU, on November 12 at her residence.   To learn more about this group, go to their Facebook Page: Watauga Women in Leadership. To be included on the email list, please contact Barbara Armstrong with the Boone Chamber of Commerce at

The Sonny Sweet Scholarship Kickoff Event Was An Amazing Success! A packed house at Boone Golf Club spent an enjoyable evening honoring a remarkable man, with shared stories of his community impact over his time in Boone. Sonny and Bricca, along with family, friends and representatives of MOAA, Red Cross, Blood, Sweat, and Gears and The Western Youth Network (All organizations Sonny has served) came together to raise over $20,000 (with more still coming in daily!) to help start this fund. Sonny’s scholarship will be used to help build youth of character and confidence in the High Country, via programming provided by The Western Youth Network. Donations can still be given by visiting or by mail- 155 WYN Way, Boone, NC 28607. (Please put Sonny Sweet Fund in the memo line) An annual event to continue funding for the scholarship is being planned for 2016. (More details to come)

Brown Mountain Bottleworks: A Paradise For Beer Lovers

Local Business News Beech Mountain Brewing Company Lifts 4-Seasons Resort From its rejuvenated Bavarian themed village to the wildly popular new skybar,5506’ at the top of the summit lift at Eastern America’s highest town, Beech Mountain Brewing Co. has made a big impact at the Beech Mountain Resort. With the capacity to brew up to 100 gallons per day Beech Mountain Brewing Company is open year during peak seasons to serve skiers, snowboarders in the winter months, and mountain bikers and resort visitors enjoying the cool Beech Mountain Summer. The brewery features distinct ales created on-site under the direction of brewer Billy Smith. Smith is a graduate of nearby Lees-McRae College and has a creative palate. Heading the list of beers is the 5506’ Pale Ale, followed by the Cream and Scotch Ales, Beech Blonde, Wee Heavy, a Beech IPA and the Patroller Porter. The handcrafted beers have proved a hit with the active, outdoor crowd who call for their favorites by name. Patrons may purchase these high-quality craft beers by the pint or the growler. Beech Mountain General Manager Ryan Costin has made the brewery presence a centerpiece of resort operations where a resurgence in the facilities and offerings undergo improvements each year. “The brewery is yet another amenity added to the resort as part of our effort to become a year-round destination,” Costin said. “With the growing popularity of craft beer in North Carolina, we believe our customers will enjoy the experience.” Please call ahead for hours of operation as the brewery will re-open for winter ski season. Phone number: 828.387.2011.

Beech Mountain Brewing Co. 1.800.438.2093 Located at Beech Mountain Ski Resort! Call ahead for hours of operation.

Our jaunt down to Morganton wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Brown Mountain Bottleworks. Unlike actual brewing companies, Brown Mountain is strictly a bottle shop and taproom. But here’s the thing, they are a craft beer heaven! Brothers, Kory and Collin Suttles—along with the support of their dad, Keith—found a real niche and have created a beerlovers paradise in the middle of Morganton. These guys feature at least 300 different beers, plus 60 North Carolina wines, cider, a gift shop, Tuesday “live pickin” bluegrass music, home brew classes and locally supplied, self-serve food items like chips, cheeses, crackers, nuts, hard meats, dips and bakery treats. They rotate about 8 beers on tap, so it’s always a new experience when you visit. Their specialty is craft beers from all over the world. But their focus is on North Carolina’s own craft beers. So, many of the brands from both Morganton and right here in the High Country are also offered there. They are also active within the community and participate in Morganton’s State Of Origin craft brew festival, featuring the best-of-the best NC craft brews from their enormous selection. “We’re also supporters of MASH, the Morganton Area Society of Homebrewers; an organization dedicated to the art, skill and enjoyment of craft brewed beers,” Kory noted. Now, if you really like beer, you might be a little overwhelmed when you first walk in; it’s like wall-to-wall and cooler-to-cooler brew heaven. “A lot of people are a little stunned and in awe at the selection,” Kory added. “They tell us all they can do is just stand and stare for a while to take it all in. But, then, they zero in on either their favorite or something completely new and have at it.” Places like Brown Mountain Bottleworks are exactly what helps proliferate distribution for all the craft breweries around the state. It’s at bottle shops like this that many people first discover that new brand and that new taste. And it’s at places like this that up-and-coming breweries have a chance to showcase their beers to a large, eager-to-try-something-new market. As our Beer Trail adventure illustrates, craft breweries and taprooms have evolved into much more than the old beer tavern of decades ago. They’ve become tourism destinations where people can relax, try new brews, socialize with friends, enjoy fun food and entertainment, and just kick back amidst a rich selection of truly tasty and distinctive craft beers. And, along with our growing winery industry, they are making a very positive impact on our small mountain town economies and lifestyles. Cheers!

Brown Mountain Bottleworks

WNC’s newest bottleshop experience Hundreds of selections for the craft beer, wine, & cider enthusiast Also offering several delicious local food options 115 E. Union Street Morganton NC 828.413.2678 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


Arrowhead Mountain Arrowhead Mountains is a brand new mountain community, located in the heart of Leatherwood. Spread over 400+ acres of majestic mountain beauty, this development will be top notch as all lots will be over 10 acres in size and situated right on the trail system. The work that is going into this community is second to none, with large roads, easy access, and manicured building sites. The views from the lots are spectacular, with some being 360 degrees.  Arrowhead will be released in 4 phases, with the first phase of 10 lots being available for purchase now. Owners of Arrowhead property will have access to all amenities that Leatherwood has to offer, including a pool and tennis courts, on site restaurant, campground, and over 80 miles of horseback and hiking trails.  Schedule a time to come and see this amazing development today! 512 Meadow Rd, Ferguson NC, 28624 336-973-5044 mountainsresort

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—Celebrating 20 Years— 90 — Autumn 2015 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Are You Ready For Winter? By Steve York


obody wants to even think about this yet, BUT the season is changing. And before we know it, we’ll be stacking up firewood, calling in the chimney sweep, storing away outdoor furniture, filling up propane tanks, getting out the weather stripping, replacing those tired old heating filters and sealing cracks anywhere we can find them. Because, at some point, winter will settle in. Even October often causes us to bring out the extra blankets. While Fall and Winter around these mountains can resemble some pastoral scene from a Currier & Ives calendar, they also come with a price tag. That price tag isn’t just the chill in the air, it’s a real cost. Shorter days, longer nights, and colder temperatures mean more energy used for lighting and heating. Plus, since we stay in more, we do more indoor and at-home cooking, especially over the holidays. All of those facts mean it’s time to get ready, get prepared and tighten up. Right off the bat, one way to tighten up is to better manage your energy usage and better control your energy bill. Blue Ridge Electric Membership Cooperative has something new to help you do just that. It’s called “Energy Advisor,” and it’s an online information tool that advises you of specific things you can do to save energy and lower your bill. It’s a free, easy-to-use service and the information is customized to address your unique energy use and conditions. Just go to “my account” at Blue, click on “Launch Energy Advisor” and tunein to tune-up your electric savings. Some of you may be lucky enough to require only moderate winterizing of your homes. But, as we have all experienced, if our heating systems or other appliances are ever going to break down, it’s when we most need them. As Patrick Howard of Blue Ridge Propane says, “NOW is the time for that pro-

verbial ounce of prevention.” Make sure all your heating appliances are in good working order. Test the pilots on your firelogs and room heaters to be sure they light properly and burn with a “smooth” blue flame. Turn your central heating/ ac thermostat from “AC” to “heat” for a moment and make sure you’ve got nice warm air. And remember, to avoid the mad scramble later, this is the time to get your heaters cleaned. Blue Ridge Propane offers a one-stop-shop for folks who use propane. Along with installation, maintenance and repairs, they carry all the heating, cooking and water heating appliances that propane users would ever need. If you do any heating with wood, get your chimney sweep over pronto to check fireplaces, wood stoves, dampers, exhaust pipes, fans, flues, and chimneys. Their season is already ramping up and you don’t want to be stuck with faulty wood heating when the cold weather sets in. The folks at Tristan’s Chimney Sweep in Newland are professionals. They’re also loaded with great advice and common sense tips to help you get the most mileage out of your wood and wood heating. For example, always burn dry, well-seasoned wood. Did you know that green or “wet wood” can contain up to 45% water, and is the major cause of creosote build-up? Plus it tends to produce more smoke and odor rather than flame and heat. And that creosote can increase the chance of flue and chimney fires. So use wood that has been cut for one to two years and stored in a dry place. If possible, stick with either hickory or black locust for maximum BTU heat output. Use black and white printed paper, not colored or coated, as a fire-starter. Let your fire reach an optimum heat level before tamping down your dampers or you’ll lose both flame and heat. Amy Southern of Avery Heating & Air Conditioning in Newland notes that a comprehensive pre-winter checkup is

especially critical here in the High Country. “Let’s face it, old heating systems are going to break down. And they’ll do so just as soon as you begin to put more demands on them to keep your home or business warm. A thorough checkup now can help avoid more costly repairs later. Maybe you’ll only need to replace old filters or repair faulty ductwork. But even if a new heating system is necessary, today’s heating and energy-saving technology will not only provide better, more efficient, heat, it will be cheaper in the long run. As a Logan Home Energy Systems company, we’re on top of the latest climate control systems around. Heat pumps, complete HVAC and Geothermal systems are just part of what we can offer. And our maintenance service program helps keep you running warm all winter.” Here are two more safety tips before we wrap this up: 1) Always keep an adequate number of fire extinguishers on hand, and especially where you have open-flame heating. Learn what types of fires they’re suited for and, above all, learn how to use them quickly and efficiently. 2) Have plenty of fire/smoke/ CO2 detectors strategically located around the house. Make sure they’re either hard-wired in or loaded with fresh batteries and tested. Now…go enjoy our colorful mountain Autumn season, and even more so knowing that you’re ready for Winter’s chilly surprises. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


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• Monday Night Football Specials—Come watch the games on the Big screens with Bucket of Beer and Large Pizza for $25 (Lodge open until 11pm) • Friday Nights—Enjoy 1/2 Price Wine & Live Music 5:30-9:30pm • Saturday’s Live Music 6-10pm on the Heated Patio • Everyday: Enjoy seasonal coffee drinks and Fall entree specials • Offering Steaks, Burgers, Pizza, Seafood and More... • $12 Two-topping Large Pizza • Open 7 Am Everyday: Serving Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Visit for entertainment schedule and full menu 96 — Autumn 2015 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

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Preserving Your Harvest Of Herbs By Samantha Stephens


t’s so fun and quite easy to grow herbs at home. The taste of fresh herbs on salads, soups, sautéed veggies, and main dishes take ordinary flavors to the next level. I love to cut up a variety of wild and cultivated herbs and mix in with home grown and wild lettuces, add in some candied nuts, grape tomatoes, diced green apples, and a little raw cheddar cheese, toss with fresh squeezed lemon juice and olive oil, then top with freshly ground pepper and Himalayan sea salt. What a taste sensation! Herbs grow rapidly in the summer and then once they reach their peak, they can bolt, shooting high and tall with few leaves and flowers. Once an herb bolts, it no longer yields the tender sweet flavor that it once had. Keep your herbs trimmed to prolong the length of your harvest. If you find that have an abundance of herbs, more than you and your neighbors can consume, then how about preserving them to enjoy year round? DRYING - Harvest your herbs when they are low growing, full, and lush. Use sharp scissors and cut the tops just above the joints where the lower leaves extend. This will promote future healthy growth. You may also dry herb seeds at the end of their season. The next step is to remove the water from the herb. This can be accomplished by tying them in bundles and hanging overhead to air dry or by dehydrating in a dehydrator or convection oven on very low heat (120 degrees) or by using a solar oven. Once your herbs are “dried to a crisp,” crumble with your bare hands (it’s fun) and store in airtight jars, zip lock bags, or leave whole to fashion them into a decorative culinary wreath or bouquet to give as a gift. Be creative and make your own herb blends. I like to combine dried oregano, thyme, basil and green garlic tops for an Italian seasoning. For a nutritious wild herb blend, I use Queen Anne’s lace seeds, Plantain seeds, dried Lambs Quarter leaves and seeds, and wild onion tops. Use these dried herbs for pizza,

breads, salads and casseroles. If you air dry your herb seeds, you can store them in the freezer and plant them the following year. FREEZING - After harvesting you will need to finely chop your herbs. I use culinary scissors or a large, flat butcher knife and wooden cutting board. Throw the chopped herbs into your blender or Cuisinart and blend with either oil or water and salt. To make pesto, simply add extra ingredients like pine nuts, walnuts, or almonds, fresh garlic, and Parmesan cheese. If you prefer plain herbs. then stick to just a little salt and either olive oil or water. After you blend this well, pour into an ice cube tray, a ziplock bag, or small bpa-free plastic freezer containers. Once frozen, the herbed ice cubes can be popped out and stored in ziplock bags. The flattened ziplock bags full of herbs can be frozen and then broken off in pieces as you need it. This method of preserving will yield your truest and freshest flavor, so if you have space to freeze, choose this method above all other methods of preserving. Frozen herbs thaw easily and can be used in dressings, marinades, sautés, dips and main dishes. VINEGARS - Instead of freezing you could try infusing your whole or chopped herbs into vinegar to preserve them. Choose either white, apple cider, or Kombucha vinegar. Select a jar with a stopper. Place as many herbs as will fit in the bottle, then fill to completely cover the herbs up to one inch from the top with your choice of vinegar. Seal and store in a dark place for up to 12 months. Use in salad dressings, as a marinade, or in soups. Tarragon and dill are two of my favorites to infuse into vinegar. They both are “bright” and their strong flavors match well with the tartness from the vinegar. Herbal vinegars are also great to apply to the skin as a natural exfoliate and toner. Applying herbal vinegars to hair can deeply cleanse and clear the scalp of skin problems such as dandruff and

psoriasis. It can also be used as a natural cleaner for your home. Try rosemary, lavender, calendula, mint, or chamomile vinegar for these topical and home applications. Give as a gift wrapped with a little raffia and garnished with a dried flower. OIL INFUSIONS - Infusing in oil is another option for preserving herbs. Fill your crock pot or stove top pot with your fresh herb or combination of herbs, then cover them completely with olive oil and warm on a low temperature for 12-48 hours to infuse. A few of my favorite herbs for oil infusion are basil, rosemary, thyme, and garlic chives. Be careful to maintain a very low temperature or you will cook your herbs. Temperatures that are too high will yield burnt, bland flavors. Low temperatures gently draw out flavors; this is what you want. After infusing, strain out the herb material through a thick cheesecloth and decant the infused oil in an airtight stopper bottle or cork topped bottle. Store the bottle in the refrigerator, removing it to stand at room temperature for about two hours before use. When ready, serve as a dip for homemade or bakery bought artisan bread, in salad dressings, or give as a gift. For all these methods of preservation, you should use the product within 12 months, store out of direct sunlight, and maintain storage temperatures at or below 75 degrees F. I hope that you enjoy these tips! Contact me if you have any questions or comments. I’d love to hear from you. Samantha Stephens is a wife and mother to three amazing children and an amazing grandchild due to be born very soon. She is also nutritionist, food scientist and wild food enthusiast. Her experience includes serving as the Head Nutritionist at Westglow Spa in Blowing Rock, home schooling her three children, and owning “Sam and Stu’s French Italian Bistro.” She and her family currently operate Cherokee Cove Christian Retreat which is located on 200 private acres high up on a mountain overlooking the Neva Valley in Mountain City, TN. Samantha can be contacted at info@ CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


Full Service Grill • Daily Lunch Specials Professional 9-foot Tables • CD Jukebox • 3 Widescreen TV’s Groups & Parties Welcome Proprietors Chris & Sandra Aldridge 9021 Hwy 105 South, Boone, NC 28607 Located in Foscoe between Boone & Banner Elk 828-963-6260

Celebrating 20 Years! 98 — Autumn 2015 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Chew on This By Jane Richardson

The Hotel Tavern, 5 W. Main Street, West Jefferson, NC

This historic hotel was built to serve the Virginia Creeper Train and has been an area landmark since 1915. Renovated in 2013, the first floor of the building now features the restaurant’s bar and dining areas with seating for 90. Check out the bar top, locally crafted from rare, 150-year-old pre-wormy chestnut lumber found in the basement during restoration. While you are there, kick up your favorite cocktail with a splash of one of the house-made rum or vodka infusions. The building’s original staircase leads to the upper level where there is an array of shops and artists. Start your meal with Chef Kevin Parker’s signature hot crab dip served on bruschetta or try one of the house-made soups. Choose from three baked-to-order pizzas or one of the half-pound burgers from the sandwich menu (the short rib sandwich is a local favorite). Grill specialties include beef, chicken, seafood and pasta entrees with vegetarian options also available. The fresh fish choices are all hand-prepped on site. View the complete menu at Come meet new friends at one of the special wine dinners held periodically on Sunday evenings. These events offer seating for 50 by reservation and feature selected theme menus presenting the history of each dish, with wines to accompany each course. Check on Facebook or sign up for email notifications to see the schedule. Brunch is served Sundays 11am–2pm with the bloody Mary bar starting at 12. Closed Mondays. Lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30am. Call 336-846-2121 to book your special event.

Timberlake’s Restaurant, Chetola Resort, Blowing Rock, NC

Chef Hunter Bowling brings his fresh, creative vision to this classic High Country restaurant. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner every day from its regular menu, Timberlake’s also welcomes you to special dining and entertainment events such as Steak on the Lake Wednesdays, Jazz and Oyster night Thursdays and Bonfire night with live music on Fridays (weather permitting), each from 5:00pm in season. At breakfast, enjoy specialties such as the shirred egg casserole, the almond encrusted French toast, or go with the hearty buffet, served every day and a value at $12. The lunch and dinner menus offer fresh takes on your favorite sandwiches plus a variety of homemade specialty soups, such as seafood chowder, tomato basil bisque or cream of asparagus depending on what’s freshest in season. For starters, try the local favorite, fried oysters, or the green tomato napoleon with brie, spinach, red peppers and caramelized onion. Choose from long-standing favorite dinner entrees like the Pan Seared Duck Breast with cranberry port wine compote, the Coca Cola Pork Loin with apples, cheddar, bacon, and rosemary pan gravy, and Rachael’s Roasted Carolina Quail stuffed with ham, tomato and corn pudding and served with a maple-thyme jus. And be sure to ask for the fresh-baked cornbread—it’s one of their signature dishes. Breakfast is served from 7:30–10:30am; lunch noon-3pm; dinner from 5–10pm. Headwaters Pub (adjoining the restaurant) is open noon–11pm. View the menu at or call 828-295-5505 for reservations and to check the entertainment schedule.


Macado’s, 539 W. King Street, Boone, NC

Enjoy all day dining in this relaxed setting with pop culture memorabilia— much of it local—decorating the walls. The menu features appetizers, soups, salads, burgers and overstuffed wraps and sandwiches. For starters, try the Chips, Dips and Things: a basket of homemade potato chips, soft pretzels and taco chips with onion dip, salsa and ranch, great for sharing. Two of the house specialty sandwiches are the Big Daddy (chipped steak, onions, two cheeses on French bread) and the Babe Ruth (turkey, Muenster, bacon, lettuce and tomato on a croissant). Choose from a variety of wraps or one of the special gourmet burgers. The popular Chichi’s Burrito comes with firehouse chili, cheddar, jack, lettuce and tomato in a tortilla. Or create your own specialty from the build-your-own sandwich section. Kids will enjoy the grilled pretzel dog and the homemade potato chips. Entrees include lasagna, chicken parmesan and chicken broccoli alfredo, with glutenfree items available as well. Don’t miss the jumbo cinnamon rolls baked fresh daily. The bar menu offers North Carolina craft beers on tap. Drink specials include creative martinis, shooters, shots and cocktails such as the Green Dinosaur or Blue Motorcycle, and everyone’s favorite Delete the Day, plus other specialty concoctions for Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day (always a big party!) and during football season. Open from 11am (sometimes earlier, call to check)–12:30am Monday through Thursday, and until 1:30am Friday and Saturday. Look for Macado’s other locations throughout Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee, the newest one now open in Bristol. 828-264-1375 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


Nearby Mountains Of Virginia And Tennessee Are ‘Rooted In Appalachia’ By Joe Tennis


ith increasing demand for locally grown food, both farmers and restaurants want you to know that the community around Abingdon, Virginia, is “Rooted in Appalachia.” A farm-to-table campaign launched in 2012, “Rooted in Appalachia” is centered in Abingdon, the scenic and historic town located about an hour west of the North Carolina High Country. The Rooted program unites several dozen restaurants, as well as bed-and-breakfasts, that use locally produced food, wine, and beer. “The primary advantage is the ability to being marketed,” says Kathlyn Terry, the executive director of Appalachian Sustainable Development. “And we’re planning to really do some promoting at farmers markets, because those are usually going to be the kinds of customers that would be most likely to support a local-focused restaurant.” For more than a decade, the not-forprofit Appalachian Sustainable Development organization has been working to link local farmers with markets. But, Terry says, many of those markets were


miles away. “We were shipping—and still are shipping—a lot of product to more urban centers, where there was a greater demand for local foods,” Terry says. “But we really wanted there to be more opportunities for farmers locally.” That’s why Rooted in Appalachia was launched, she says, as a joint effort between Appalachian Sustainable Development and the Town of Abingdon. For restaurants, joining this campaign equates to telling customers your list of fresh ingredients. “We’re trying to make local foods just kind of ubiquitous,” Terry says. “Wherever you turn, you’re going to be hearing about it and being able to buy it and recognizing that eating more fresh, healthy, food impacts your health.” The campaign has grown beyond Abingdon. From Johnson City, Tennessee, to Wise, Virginia, various eateries and other operations now display Rooted in Appalachia logos. Members include Wolf Hills Brewery in Abingdon, as well as the nearby 128 Pecan, a restaurant which advertises its menu as “simple, good food.” “We also found that when you buy local produce it lasts a lot longer,” Terry says, “and so you’re not go-

ing to have the spoilage.” “Rooted in Appalachia” members include the Burger Bar, a retro-style hamburger eatery located about a block off historic State Street in downtown Bristol, Virginia, plus The Damascus Brewery of Damascus, Virginia, near the Appalachian Trail. Also on the roster is the Harvest Table, located in Meadowview, Virginia, just north of Abingdon. Famous for its farm-fresh cuisine, the Harvest Table maintains strict rules about what it serves. “Going in there, people know, ‘I’m going to get a farm-to-table experience,’” says Kevin Costello, the director of economic development and tourism for Abingdon. An online ordering and delivery system was initiated in 2013 that makes it simpler for Rooted members to get farm fresh foodstuffs. Chefs have the benefit of a convenient way to plan and order seasonal produce, pasture-raised meat, eggs, and goat cheese, and farmers can update their offerings each week. Orders are delivered to participating restaurants thanks to a refrigerated truck donated to Appalachian Sustainable Development. It’s a win-win-win situation for farmers looking to sell their crops, restaurants in need of better ingredients, and diners wanting food made from fresh, local, and healthy ingredients. “The goal,” says Costello, “is if you have people going in and asking the wait staff, ‘Where did my salad come from?’ or ‘Where did the kale come from?’ or ‘Are the carrots local?’ then they start going back to the chef, saying, ‘Hey, these people are asking what’s local on the menu.’ So that means to them, the chef, that maybe I need to get local on the menu. So it’s kind of a revolution, if you will, to try to get people to buy into it.” For more information, visit, email, or call 276-676-2282.

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“You don’t have to eat here every day, but you’ll want to!” Scrumptious, Quirky, and Fun

Blind Squirrel Brewery “We’re nuts about beer”

Join us Friday-Sunday to enjoy a wide variey of food, beverages, and fun. Located in the historic village of Plumtree along the North Toe River, we are centrally located to countless activities within the High Country! We are a full service restaurant and events venue with numerous in-house catering options. Learn more by visiting us online! Mention This Ad & Receive 15% OFF Packaged Beer To Go! 828-765-9696 | | CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


Downtown Boone’s

Microbrewery and Wood Fired Gastropub


Inspire Your Tastebuds Painted Salad

MAKE YOUR RESERVATION NOW! 2941 tynecastle highway • banner elk (across from the entrance to Sugar Mountain)



CO BO SUSHI sushiBISTRO bistro AND andBAR bar Monday-Saturday: 5-Close Open Nightly @ 5 / Live Music Sunday nights through October Visit our sister Restaurant ! Bullwinkles: 606 Beech Mtn. Pkwy. 828-387-2354

161 Howard Street, Boone 828-386-1201

Harvest Time Is Wine Time Elevate your taste in wine d Wine Tastings d Live Music Sat & Sun d Special Events d Festivals

Delicious Espresso & Coffee Drinks Homemade Baked Goods Breakfast, Lunch & Soup Items Cozy Mountain Setting Free WIFI 3616 Mitchell Ave, Suite 1 Linville NC • 828-733-9333

9557 Linville Falls Hwy. 828-765-1400

Open 7 Days Weekly • 12-6pm LINVILLEFALLSWINERY.COM

US 221 north of the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost #317 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


Top Ten Finalist For The Best Dish in North Carolina Award Presented by The State of North Carolina 2010, 2011


artisan foods

BANNER ELK WINERY & VILLA Experience Luxury in the High Country’s Original & Most Acclaimed Winery and Luxury B & B


Organic Farm-to-Table Fine Dining The Historic Mast Farm Inn in Valle Crucis, North Carolina Resv. Suggested: 828-963-5857

Corporate Meetings • Weddings • Special Events Open Daily from Noon to 6pm 135 Deer Run Lane, Banner Elk NC 28604 828-260-1790 •

WINE TASTING SATURDAYS, 1-5pm Visit our tasting room Wine by the glass Visit our Craft Beer Cave

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!”

Contemporary American

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



Craft Beers v Thoughful Wines Patio Dining Available Live Music Sundays | 828.414.9230 9239 Valley Blvd, Blowing Rock 28605

Wining And Skiing In The High Country By Ren Manning, Ericks Cheese & Wine

QUESTION: What do Avery County and the Valée d’Aosta have in common? If you haven’t forgotten the headline of this article, you have probably figured out that they both offer grape-growing and winemaking in close proximity to good snow skiing. I enjoy wine and both downhill and cross-country skiing, so when I find a location where wine is made and there is snow skiing, I am in highcotton!


good ol’ days, when everyone from the Celts, the Romans, the armies of the Savoy monarchy, Hannibal, and Napoleon marched through there on the way from northern Europe to pillage southern Europe, and vice-versa. And this was before the tunnels were bored beneath the Alps to make the journey quick and easy. Having finally been left alone over the past few centuries, the Aostans have had to become self-sufficient: part farmer, part artisan, part rancher, part cheese maker (Fontina), part grape grower, and part wine producer, all influenced by Swiss, French and Italian cultures. This is a tiny region, and, as you might guess, not much wine is produced. Only a tiny amount is shipped to the outside world, an infinitesimal amount of which reaches the U.S. An aggregate of about 635 hectares of vines are grown, which are tended by thousands of individual growers in vineyards the size of family vegetable gardens. As of the last year for which I could find data (2002), only about a dozen private estates and five regional co-ops were producing about 360,000 cases, in total. I’m always scouring wine lists to scout out new wines made from grape varieties I’ve never experienced, and when I spotted Pavese Ermes’ Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle from the Prié Blanc grape (I was as intrigued as much by the mouthful of the wine name as the prospect of tasting a new varietal) on a Charleston, S.C. restaurant wine list, I absolutely had to order it (French/ Swiss culture and language dominates in the Valée d’Aosta, like German on the other side of Italy near the Austrian border). This was an absolutely stunning white wine, floral and refreshing, from

the highest vineyard site in Europe. It is austere, racy, and mineral, with vivacity and good length. Sniffing its bouquet and sipping it with eyes closed conjures up images of a mountain spring flowing through a valley of wildflowers. The icing on the cake is the beautiful, uniquely shaped bottle that offers a better candleholder than the bottles of Mateus and Lancers we grew up with. Back in Avery County, I found a distributor who amazingly carried the wine, and he introduced me to several other fine wines from the region. Both are produced by a small, oddly-named producer, La Maison Agricole D&D, which is intent on perpetuating the wonderful indigenous grapes of the area, such as the white Petite Arvine and the red grapes named Petite Rouge, Cornalin and Fumin, which are featured in its “Torrette” blend. Only 350 cases of the Petite Arvine and 500 cases of the Torrette are produced annually; unbelievably, several cases of these wines have made their way into Avery County. The white wine is flinty and aromatic, crisp and bright with lime zest-tinged fruit and nuances of pink grapefruit and mandarin oranges. The red Torrette is spicy, juicy and medium-bodied, like a top cru Beaujolais. It’s great, slightly chilled in summer or accompanying heavier dishes in the winter. I can’t recommend enough actually visiting the Valée d’Aosta to ski, hike around or just take in the gorgeous scenery. If you can’t get there, seek out some of its wines, close your eyes and let their bouquets and flavors transport you to one of the most beautiful spots on earth.


e all know about the good skiing at Sugar and Beech Mountains and the wines coming out of Banner Elk, Linville Falls and Grandfather Vineyards, but I bet you don’t know much about the wines and skiing in the Valée d’Aosta. Let me offer you a quick tour. The Valée sits in extreme northwestern Italy in the shadow of the Alps. Turn clockwise, standing in place, and view Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, and then Italy’s highest peak, Gran Paradiso, in sequence. Get the picture? This is a very special place on earth. When my wife and I visited on a skiing odyssey several winters ago, I thought I had discovered the most gorgeous spot on the planet. Visitors to Italy always go to Tuscany. Why, I wonder, when Heaven on earth is just several train connections and a couple bus rides away? The Valée got more tourist business back in the



The Thunder Road Legend Turns White Lightnin’ Into Wine By Steve York


n 1958, Hollywood came out with a low-budget, black & white film about post World War Two Tennessee moonshiners called “Thunder Road”. It starred a 1940’s through 1960’s film noir tough guy named Robert Mitchum. Mitchum, who had won major acting acclaim as a gangster, detective, war hero, cowboy, and all-around rugged individualist, not only starred in “Thunder Road”, he helped write, direct and produce the film. On top of that, he also co-wrote and sang the title song, “The Ballad of Thunder Road”. (side note: Elvis Presley was originally targeted to play the lead, but his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, turned it down.) The movie was loosely based on an actual person named Rufus Gunter who ran the infamous Cumberland Gap moonshiner’s route hauling “white lightening” from Tennessee into Kentucky, North Carolina and throughout the South. According to historians, Gunter died on Kingston Pike Highway in Knoxville when his car ran off the road


into an icy lake. In the movie, Mitchum was the ill-fated lead character and was killed in a car crash while trying to avoid capture by the ATF, or Revenuers, as they were nicknamed. Although the movie’s title song never rose above #69 on the Billboard charts, it became a cult classic and helped memorialize both the film and that era of Appalachian moonshiners. This movie background sets the stage for the all new Thunder Road Wine Trail; a trail of six wineries stretching across six counties throughout the mountains of East Tennessee, and along the actual legendary “Thunder Road” trail. Knox, Union, Claiborne, Grainger, Cocke, and Johnson counties mark the territory. The six wineries include Blue Slip Winery in Knoxville, the Winery at Seven Springs Farm in Maynardville, Spout Spring Estates Winery & Vineyard in Blaine, Goodwater Vineyards in Mosheim, Eagle Springs Winery in Kodak, and Watauga Lake Winery & Villa Nove Vineyards in Butler. Each of these wineries is steeped in its own historic

Appalachian legends and each offers its own unique mix of award-winning Tennessee mountain-grown wines. On that merit alone, the Thunder Road Wine Trail is easily a full weekend’s adventure. In fact, all of these wineries offer special events, entertainment venues, tastings, gift shops and tours. So you’ll end up spending several hours at each stop along the way. But the Trail is so rich in other sites, attractions, historic settings and authentic mountain culture, you’ll want to make several trips to take in everything there is to see, do and experience along the way. Plus, since the region is famous for its seasonal events, arts & crafts, bluegrass festivals, fiddlers conventions, theater performances, historic reenactments and scenic mountain destinations, the Thunder Road Wine Trail is likely to become an ongoing getaway adventure for the true wine lover and winery explorer. The six wineries that have joined together to link the Thunder Road Wine Trail are all featured online at www. There you can learn much more about the history, wines, special promotions and events they offer their visitors. An official grand opening of the Trail set for Saturday, October 17th at Watauga Lake Winery, notes a special ribbon cutting ceremony, a vintage car show, live entertainment, a Sock Hop featuring 50’s and 60’s music and a pizza party. Check the website for details. In the meantime, rent or download the movie, Thunder Road, and get a taste for the back-story behind this new and colorful Thunder Road Wine Trail in east Tennessee. The Trail’s six wineries are creating their own thundering legend along this legendary trail.

RANDOM THOUGHTS A Different Kind of Climber By Jean Gellin


Regional Fare & Drink – Open 6 nights – Dinner service starting at 5:30 Closed Monday Outside Dining Available 828-414-9508 7179 Valley Blvd., Blowing Rock, NC (across from Tanger Outlet)

See the beauty. Taste the tradition. Feel at home. SUNSET DRIVE • BLOWING ROCK (One Block Off Main Street) Restaurant: 828-295-3466 Serving Dinner Inn: 828-295-9703 12 Rooms & Suites + 2 Cottages

The other day I found myself thinking about mountains and I realized they’re not all made of rock. Some are parts of lives, like family issues, hard times or trying to make a better life. If there are different kinds of mountains, it seems logical to assume there are different kinds of climbers. Some may need skiis to achieve their goal. Others may need to take in a deep breath as they push open the door to another day at the office with a crazy boss. Some climbers don’t even know they’re climbling a mountain. They just put one foot in front of another and keep moving. A friend of mine, Ruth, did that. This is her story. She lived in a steel town and when the wind blew, coal dust made everthing a challenge. It crept in every crack and cranny and if there was an open window, the dust made it possible for a person to write their name on every table top. Cleaning was a daily necessity, like eating and sleeping. Ruth was a secretary in a steel town during and after the Second World War. She walked to work to save money and carried her lunch. She wanted to make her life better so she saved as much money as she could. She went to the movies once a week, with her friends. Afterward, they had a snack at the soda fountain in the local drug store. She went to business college at night and studied during lunch hour. After much thought and research, she decided to open a small dress shop, feeling she was financially safe in doing that since the economy was doing well. She opened the shop in a small shopping center in her town working twelve hour days. She couldn’t afford any help, so she did it all, selling, keeping the books, cleaning the shop and changing the dresses on display in the windows, which she washed herself. The business grew slowly but steadily. Most of the customers were wives of steel workers who found they could purchase a fashionable dress at a decent price. When she could, Ruth traveled to other steel towns where the economy was booming and eventually, she owned three shops, each in a different town. She traveled to New York four times a year to order clothes for the next season. She hired women managers for assistance and the business thrived. She became interested in real estate in the nearby city and over a period of years, bought a vacant lot here and an old building there. She renovated and rejuvenated as her holdings increased and her bank account became healthier. She contributed to the churches in each of the towns in which she did business. She never forgot what it was to struggle and wonder where the next dollar was coming from. She helped those who could not help themselves and they never knew who provided the help. She wanted to remain anonymous. Somewhere in between the shops and the real estate work, she met and married a good man, a professor at one of the colleges and over a period of six years, had three children. Her family became her life. Ruth went from “nickel and diming it” to being one of the wealthiest and most generous women in her part of the world and she did it, one step at a time. It may be we all have a mountain of one kind or another to climb. Whatever it is, we can all hope the view will be worth the effort. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


Autumn Recipes By David Underwood


hakespeare wrote, “summer’s lease hath all too short a date,” and in the span of one night, cool, crisp air begins filling the High Country with the first signs of Autumn. With the rich-hued withering of our verdant oasis comes a multicolored harvest season. Orchard fruits, winter squashes and greens, and root vegetables decorate the markets and our dining tables with the colors and smells of the season. Corn, butternut squash, pumpkins, pomegranates, kale, sweet potatoes, apples, and pears are just a few items from the harvest. As a kid riding along the highway in the back seat of the family car, I remember seeing orchards full of apples at Barber’s Orchard in Waynesville, NC. I’ll never forget our stopping in to pick up a bushel of apples for canning, some fresh and delicious apple turnovers and cider, or an apple cake or pie. It was exciting and such a treat to go there, and I’m happy to note it still is. Apples are arguably the most widely recognized, consumed, and admired of all fruits. They are available worldwide and are in season throughout autumn. While the number of varietals is mind-boggling, only twenty or so are commercially available in the United States. Golden and Red Delicious, Rome, Granny Smith, McIntosh, Pink Lady and Gala are commonly found at our markets. At CML we recently celebrated the harvest season with a menu inspired by the apple. Its delicious and healthful qualities make apples a fine ingredient in every course. The pork loin with its apple-enhanced pan sauce is sweet-savory and, paired with a sweet potato/ginger mash, created a delightful combination. The fresh Waldorf salad is a great relish! It’s light, crisp, and an adds a very pleasant acidity to the plate. Unlike the classic version that has mayonaisse to bind the ingredients, this version uses a blend of honey and lemon juice that sparks the flavors of sweet and tart. For hors d’oeuvres, we displayed charcuterie, cheeses, and crudité with brown mustard on a large wooden cutting board. Alongside it was a quick pickle of garden squash and a tray of crackers. We chose two types of good, store-bought sausage: a smoky, spicy, Andouille, and a sweet, mild, chicken and apple. The cheeses were sharp cheddar and Emmentaler, a fine Swiss. Also, a smoked salmon-cream cheese dip was served with rye crackers. The dip is made with chopped scallions, fresh dill, horseradish, lemon juice, and roughly chopped smoked salmon smoothed into cream cheese and thinned with a touch of cream, then seasoned well with salt and pepper. The finale was—what else—apple pie. We made one that is influenced by the French practice of baking under paper: Apple Pie en Papillote. Thanks to the moisture barrier of the paper enclosure, this pie doesn’t need a pastry top to keep the apples moist and tender. Plus, the dramatic presentation—of ripping open a paper bag to reveal a delectable pie—never fails to astound and please. Not to mention, it’s delicious! We hope you enjoy these autumn recipes as much as we did; they were a big hit and our bellies were pleasantly stuffed. Happy cooking from the CML kitchen!


Roast Pork Loin with Apple Gravy

• serves 4-6 4-5 lb. boneless pork loin Salt and black pepper to taste 1/2 tsp. Ground sage 1 cup Yellow onion, diced ½ cup Carrot, diced ½ cup Celery, diced 1 cup Apples, cored and diced 2 tsp. Fresh thyme, roughly chopped 1 Bay leaf, crushed 2 Garlic cloves, crushed 1 cup Chicken stock 1 cup Apple juice 1 cup Dry white wine, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc 2 tbsp. Flour 2 tbsp. Reserved pork fat Salt and black pepper to taste Pre-heat the oven to 325˚F. • Trim pork loin. Place the trimmings in a pan over medium heat. • Season the loin with the salt, pepper, and sage. • Place a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan just large enough to hold the loin comfortably without crowding over high heat. • Add 1 tbsp. butter and 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil to the pan. • When the pan is smoking, put the loin fat side down and add the trimmings. • Sear over med-high heat until well browned, about 2 minutes. • Rotate the loin, searing on all sides. Remove the loin and set aside; pour off some fat from the pan and add the carrot, onion, celery, apples, thyme, bay leaf, and garlic. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and toss to coat. • Roast the loin on the bed of herbs, trimmings, and vegetables until the internal temperature has reached 140˚F, 20-30 minutes. • Remove the loin from the oven and the pan; cover with aluminum foil and set aside. • Place the pan over high heat and reduce rapidly, allowing the vegetables to brown well. • When the vegetables are browned, deglaze with the wine, apple juice, and stock, being sure to scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Strain the sauce. • In the same pan, make a roux with the butter and flour. Let the roux bubble and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. • Pour in the sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes. • Slice the loin and serve with the sauce.

Baked Sweet Potato and Ginger Mash • serves 4-6 3 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed 1/4 cup heavy cream 3-4 tbsp. unsalted butter 1-2 tbsp. grated ginger 1/4 cup honey salt and white pepper to taste

• Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F. • Wipe the potatoes well with a wet towel and using a fork, pierce the potato and place them on a sheet pan. Cook until fork tender, about 30-40 minutes depending on the size. • Combine the cream and butter in a saucepan and bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to warm. • When the potatoes are done, remove from the oven and let cool slightly. • Cut them in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh out into the bowl of a blender. Add the grated ginger and blitz, adding enough of the cream to make a smooth purée. Then with a few pulses of the blender, add the honey and adjust the seasonings with salt and white pepper.

Apple Pie en Papillote 1 pie pastry, uncooked (enough for a single crust) 2 ½ pounds tart apples, approx. 7 cups 2 tablespoons lemon juice ½ cup white sugar 2 tablespoons flour 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Waldorf Salad a la LouAnn

Topping: ½ cup all purpose flour ½ cup butter, chilled ¼ cup white sugar ¼ cup brown sugar 1 large brown paper bag – (use the “green” ones from a whole foods store. Or use parchment to fully encase the pie)


• Serves 6-8 3-4 large, firm and flavorful apples (Pink Lady, Cameo, Granny Smith), washed, cored, and cut into bite sized pieces. 2 stalks organic celery, medium dice ½ cup currants or raisins ¾ cup pecans chopped coarsely Dressing: ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice ½ cup honey

• Combine the apples, celery, currants, and pecans in a bowl. Warm the honey gently in a small pan; when it is liquefied, whisk in the honey. Pour the warm dressing over the apple mixture. Serve immediately or prepare in advance. Chef’s comments: All the components of this salad are adjustable to the tastes of the cook; some might prefer more currants or nuts. Likewise, the dressing quantities are flexible and can be adjusted. In place of lemon or lime juice, use apple cider vinegar.

• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. • Core, peel, and cut up apples. Place them in a bowl and dribble the lemon juice over them. In a separate bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and spices. Sprinkle the flour/ sugar/spice mixture over the cut apples, tossing together until the apples are well coated. • Fit the pastry into a 9 inch pie plate. Pour prepared apples into the unbaked pastry. • Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, crumble together the topping ingredients. Sprinkle this mixture over the apples. • Place pie into a sturdy brown paper bag. Secure the bag with staples or paper clips. Place on the middle rack in the oven. Bake the pie for 1 hour 20 minutes (glass pie pan) or 1 hour 10 minutes (metal). • Remove the pie from the oven, (do not open bag because it is very hot), allow to cool on a wire rack for ten minutes. Carefully cut the bag open and remove the pie. Serve warm or at room temperature. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


OUR SPONSORS: 103......... 128 Pecan 38........... A to Z Detailing 28........... Abingdon Convention & Visitors Bureau 105......... Alpen Restaurant and Bar 19........... Alta Vista Gallery 38........... Amy Brown, CPA 69........... Andrews & Andrews Insurance 69........... Antiques on Howard 82........... Appalachian Angler 93........... Appalachian Blind & Closet 4............. Appalachian Regional Internal Medicine 4............. Appalachian Theater 49........... Appalachian Voices 12........... Art Cellar 78........... Ashi Therapy Ashi Aromatics 18........... ASU Performing Arts 38........... Avery County Chamber of Commerce 92........... Avery Heating and Air 68........... Avery Tire Pros 102......... Banner Elk Olive Oil & Balsamics 96........... Banner Elk Café 95........... Banner Elk Realty 37........... Banner 106......... Banner Elk Winery & Villa 28........... Barter Theater 102......... Bayou Smokehouse & Grill 38........... BB&T 89........... Beech Mountain Brewing Co. 103......... Bella’s Italian Restaurant 103......... Blind Squirrel Brewery 118......... Blowing Rock Furniture Gallery 34-35..... Blowing Rock Pages 60........... Blowing Rock Winterfest 18........... Blue Mountain Metal Works 28........... Blue Blaze Cycling 95........... Blue Ridge Electric 90........... Blue Ridge Propane 92........... Blue Ridge Realty & Investments 69........... Blue Ridge Realty & Investments –Linda Cramblit 34........... Bob Timberlake Restaurant 102......... Boondocks Brewing & Restaurant 22........... Boone Mall 16........... BRAHM 48........... Brinkley Hardware

89........... Brown Mountain Bottleworks 87........... Brushy Mountain Apple Festival 104......... Casa Rustica Restaurant 104......... C/R Catering 98........... Canyons Restaurant 15........... Carlton Gallery 103......... Carolina BBQ 22........... Carolina Country Wines 106......... Chestnut Grille 34........... Chetola Resort 87........... Chick-Fil-A 5............. Classic Stone Works 92........... Compu-Doc 105......... COBO 115......... CoMMA 78........... Cornett-Deal Christmas Tree Farm 98........... Country Retreats Family Billiards 48........... Creative Printing 19........... Crossnore School 2............. Dewoolfson 8............. Distinctive Cabinetry of the HC 35........... Docs Rocks Gem Mine 22........... Drexel Grapevine Antiques 96........... English Farmstead Cheese 106......... Erick’s Cheese & Wine 5............. Eseeola Lodge 104......... Fairway Café & Venue 38........... Flora Ottimer 35........... Footsloggers 95........... Fortner Insurance 82........... Foscoe Fishing 49........... Fred’s General Mercantile 8............. Fuller & Fuller 78........... Gardens of the Blue Ridge 3............. Grandfather Mountain 82........... Grandfather Trout Farm 36........... Grandfather Vineyard 34........... Green Park Inn 15........... Gregory Alan’s Gifts 34........... Handtiques 12........... Hardin Jewelry 76........... Harding Landscaping 38........... Headquarters Bike & Outdoor 90........... Health Connection 48........... Hearth and Home Realty 68........... High Country Animal Clinic 117......... High Country Polaris 69........... Holmes Mobile Veterinary Service 80........... Hunter’s Tree Service 68........... Incredible Toy Company 28........... In the Country

58........... Inn at Crestwood 98........... Italian Restaurant 114......... Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music 92........... Keller Williams Real Estate –Laurie Chilelli 63........... Leatherwood Mountain 6............. Lees McRae College 116......... Linville Caverns 105......... Linville Falls Winery 7............. Linville Land Harbor 104......... Lost Province Brewing Company 98........... Macado’s Restaurant 98........... Maria’s Mason Jar Café 106......... Mast Farm Inn/Simplicity’s Pantry OBC........ Mast General Store 22........... Mica Gallery 58........... Mountain Aire Golf 87........... Mountain Dog and Friends 117......... Mountain Jewelers 48........... Mountain Retreats Realty 80........... Mountain Troutfitters 78........... Mountain View Nursery 80........... Mountaineer Landscaping 76........... Mustard Seed Market 68........... My Best Friend’s Barkery 35........... Mystery Hill 117......... Newland Business Association 104......... Nick’s Restaurant & Pub 38........... Northern Parker Interiors 6............. Old World Galleries 104......... Painted Fish 69........... Pack Rats 19........... Parkway Craft Center 38P........ Peak Real Estate 30........... Pedlin’ Pig 118......... Perry’s Goldmine 48........... Premier Pharmacy 18........... Ram’s Rack Thrift Shop 60........... Resort Real Estate & Rentals 38........... Rite Aid Pharmacy 105......... River Dog Coffeehouse & Café 12........... Rivercross 109......... Roots Restaurant 38........... Rustic Rooster 15........... Sally Nooney Artists Studio Gallery 48........... Seven Devils TDA

48........... Sheer Bliss/Little Bear Rock Shop 38........... Shooz and Shiraz 26........... Shoppes at Farmers 38........... Shoppes of Tynecastle 96........... SisterLees 35........... Six Pence Pub 16........... Spruce Pine Potter’s Market 103......... Stick Boy Bread 94........... Stone Cavern 102......... Stonewalls Restaurant 116......... Sugar Mountain Golf and Tennis 76........... Sugar Mountain Wreath and Garland 68........... Sugar Ski and Country Club 26........... Sunset Tees 7............. Tanner Doncaster Outlet 36........... Tatum Galleries & Interiors 109......... The Best Cellar 34........... The Blowing Rock 63........... The Cabin Store 15........... The Consignment Cottage Warehouse 38........... The Dande Lion 58........... The Hotel Tavern 109......... The Inn at Ragged Gardens 102......... The Rock Bar and Grill 35........... The Spice & Tea Exchange 78........... Thrivent Financial 113......... Thunder Road Wine Trail 18........... Twisted Laurel Gallery 26........... Tom’s Custom Golf 95........... Town Home Studio 90........... Tricia Wilson Law Firm 38........... Valle de Bravo Mexican Grill 49........... Visitor’s Information Channel 84........... Waite Financial 56........... Walker DiVenere Wright Attorneys at Law 56........... Walker Title LLC 76........... Watauga Choose & Cut 113......... Watauga Lake Winery 59........... West Jefferson Centennial 34........... Woodlands BBQ 119......... Woolly Worm Festival 71........... YMCA of Avery Co 88........... Yum Yum Café

thank you! 112 — Autumn 2015 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE


“A Taste of Tuscany in Tennessee” TASTING ROOM: Thurs-Sat 11-6, Sun 1-6 SPECIAL EVENTS: At Winery & Vineyard WEDDING VENUE; Call for details

6952 Big Dry Run Rd. Butler, TN 37604 (423)768-0345





Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes? David Johnson and The Dixie Dawn Band

Blowing Rock School Auditorium


Saturday Oct.


Concert Series

The Buck Stops Here

Blowing Rock School Auditorium Monday Oct.



Appalachian Culture Ticket Information:

Adults: $18($20 at door) Students: $10 ($10 at door) Children 12 & Under Free

SHOWTIMES: 7:30 pm

Harvest House, Boone @ 7PM

Saturday Oct.



Mountain JAM and Dance Strictly Strings and The Green Grass Cloggers

Blowing Rock School Auditorium

The Best Mix - Musical Friends & Family Genetics Amantha Mill and The John Cockman Family

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Boone

Saturday Oct.


Sheila Kay Adams - 2013 NEA National Heritage Fellow

Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland & Ulster to Appalachia

Authors: Fiona Ritchie & Doug Orr Music: Julee & Mark Weems Book Signing to follow concert

Saturday Oct.



Women Rock Old-time Music

A Night of Gory Ballads and Haint Tales Bobby McMillon and Sheila Kay Adams

Blowing Rock School Auditorium Saturday Nov.


A Celtic Christmas from Ireland John Doyle with Duncan Wickel

St. Elizabeth Catholic Church Saturday Dec.


An Appalachian Christmas Various Artists

Grace Lutheran Church



The BackPorch 2015 July 9.........10 STRING SYMPHONY July 23........BRASSFIELD ALY Aug. 6 ........MARGO & THE PRICETAGS Aug. 20.......ASH BREEZE BAND  

MainStage Morganton

Hot Sardines

Aug. 28.......SUPREME REFLECTIONS The Ultimate Tribute to the music of Diana Ross & The Supremes                      Sept. 10. . ....THE MIDTOWN MEN   Oct. 15........LIVE & LET DIE                     A Symphonic Tribute to the music of Paul McCartney   Nov. 6 ........“ALL HANDS ON DECK”   Nov. 19.......COUNTRY ROYALTY                      Jason Petty & Carolyn Martin pay Tribute to Hank Williams & Patsy Cline   Dec. 11.......TONY ORLANDO                     “The Great American Christmas”   Dec. 22 ......SWEET POTATO PIE / PUDDINGSTONE                       “Homegrown Christmas” 2016 Jan. 10.......“BUDDY”   THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY         National Broadway Tour   Jan. 28.......THE HOT SARDINES   Feb. 18.......“JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT”         National Broadway Tour   March 3......JOHNNY RIVERS   March 18....“VANITIES”   Apr. 5.........THE SHOW 4   May 4.........“ONCE”   National Broadway Tour  

Box Office Hours: Noon-5pm Mon-Fri

Tony Orlando

433-SHOW (7469) • 800-939-SHOW (7469) CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2015 —


Open to the Public!

It’s Just Better On Sugar Mountain

Fast Greens / Clay Courts / Great Value

Low Fall Rates

. . . Remember Oktoberfest Oct. 10th & 11th 10am-5pm on the grounds of Sugar Mountain Resort 828-898-6464 for Golf / 828-898-6746 for Tennis

The Perfect Weather for a Great Adventure—Guaranteed!

Inside A Mountain

Constant 52O year-round • Guided tours Photos Allowed • Bring jacket & camera!

Linville Caverns

19929 US 221 North, Marion, NC 28752 Between Linville & Marion, just 4 Miles South of the Blue Ridge Parkway 800-419-0540




Enjoy Greater Newland’s Fall Events & Attractions

Downtown Halloween • Pumpkin Festival • Autumn Splendor Arts • Dining • Shops • Breweries • Wineries

When it matters...


Between the 2 stoplights in Newland NC Tues-Fri, 9-5 & Sat 9-3 || 828.733.0186 Join us on Facebook

HIGH COUNTRY POLARIS 200 PINEOLA STREET DOWNTOWN NEWLAND NC 28657 828-737-3060 Warning: Polaris off-road vehicles can be hazardous to operate and are not intended for on-road use. Driver must be at least 16 years old with a valid driver’s license to operate. Passengers, if permitted, must be at least 12 years old. All riders should always wear helmets, eye protection, and protective clothing. Always use seat belts and cab nets or doors (as equipped). Never engage in stunt driving, and avoid excessive speeds and sharp turns. Riding and alcohol/drugs don’t mix. All riders should take a safety training course. Call 800-342-3764 for additional information. Check local laws before riding on trails. ©2014 Polaris Industries Inc.



ALWAYS GREAT SAVINGS Now Featuring Kincaid, Craftsmaster, Riverside and Many Lines Made In America

OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK Mom-Sat 10am-6pm • Sun 1pm-5pm 8486 Valley Blvd. (Hwy 321) • Blowing Rock 828-295-7755 VISA/MASTERCARD/AMERICAN EXPRESS/DISCOVER


We buy & sell fine jewelry 4 N Jefferson Ave West Jefferson, North Carolina (336) 846-2274 Open Thurs-Sat 10am - 5pm


Carolinamountainlife autumn2015  

Regional magazine highlighting the heart & soul of North Carolina's High Country (and neighbors!)

Carolinamountainlife autumn2015  

Regional magazine highlighting the heart & soul of North Carolina's High Country (and neighbors!)