Carolinamountainlife autumn2016

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AUTUMN On Sugar Mountain There’s no better place to enjoy an Appalachian autumn than the Village of Sugar Mountain. Named long ago for the prolific Sugar Maple Tree covering the mountainside, the four-seasons resort town provides the perfect stage for the dancing flames of yellow, red and orange that will light the fall landscape. With an average elevation of 4,000 feet above sea level, (the peak at the crest of the Sugar Mountain ski slopes stands at 5,300 feet), the annual fest of color begins late September and grows in intensity through the third week in October. Sunday drives to the lower elevations of the surrounding foothills in every direction from Sugar Mountain extend the beauty of fall for travelers. But you won’t have to stray far for a fabulous time when visiting here. Few destinations combine the spirit of the outdoors and a central location to all that is good in the North Carolina High Country quite like Sugar Mountain. Some of America’s most spectacular hiking, fishing and white water rafting is only a step away. Iconic attractions like Grandfather Mountain, Linville Gorge, The Blowing Rock, and the Blue Ridge Parkway are just around the corner from Sugar Mountain. The crisp autumn air is great for your soul, and good for your appetite. At the end of your daily adventures, you’ll find some of the world’s finest dining nearby featuring local fare to continental in casual to formal dining rooms.

With hundreds of lodging options in the village, from condos to chalets, you can dine in with family and friends by the fire, or on the deck enjoying distant autumn vistas. Don’t forget your golf clubs. The 18-hole public golf course sports perhaps its finest conditions each fall. With the par-64 showing immaculate putting surfaces, made even speedier with each morning frost, golf at Sugar Mountain is a special experience this time of year. The course is open until the end of October, and never forget your sweater. That goes for tennis, too. Sugar Mountain is home to six har-tru clay courts and everyone is welcome. But perhaps there’s no more special time on Sugar than Oktoberfest Weekend, held this year on October 8th and 9th. Stirring Oom pah band, dancing, Bavarian beer, knockwurst and bratwurst lend an unforgettable spirit to the resort each autumn. This year’s rendition, the 26th consecutive celebration, promises lots of fun for the family with plenty for the kids to do, not the least of which, is a ride to the top of the mountain on the resort’s new high speed Summit Express chair lift. The autumn leaves should be in full color, and you can see for miles. You’ll find it all on Sugar Mountain. The only thing missing is you. • CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —


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What’s Inside: 14.............Autumn Walks to Waterfalls By Jim Casada

16.............Taking in the Light By LouAnn Morehouse

23.............Banner Elk Revisited By Carol Lowe Timblin

26.............The Scenic and Cultural scene in Ashe County By Joe Tennis

30.............Create Your Own Trail in WNC By Julie Farthing

32.............Wild South and Stewardship By LouAnn Morehouse 34.............Bridging the Gap—From the Mountains to the Sea By Randy Johnson 44.............Fairs and Fests of Fall By Pam McCaslin and Mary Jo Brubaker

Apples Cover art by Vicki Dameron Vicki is a professional nature photographer, videographer and teacher. She has been capturing images since she was eight-years-old and is a huge fan of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

52.............News from CoMMA By Keith Martin 54.............Q & A with Stage Legend Ben Vereen By Keith Martin 56.............In Search of Excellence—The Dave Calvert Collective By Steve York 62.............Blue Ridge Explorers—Local Lepidopterans on the Move By Tamara Seymour 66.............Gray Fossil Site Holds Big Surprises By Nan K. Chase 70.............Crossnore School Growing Strong By Elizabeth Baird Hardy 75.............Randy Johnson’s Grandfather Mountain: a Review of an Appalachian Icon By Tom McAuliffe 83.............Healing Paws By Steve York 98.............“Wheel Keep Rolling” By LouAnn Morehouse 110...........The Joy of Apples By Nan K. Chase

autumn! Vicki is married to Penn Dameron, Assistant District Attorney, 24th Prosecutorial District of the State Of North Carolina.

They have four children and two grandchildren. They call the mountains of western North Carolina home sweet home.

Calendar and Arts with Keith Martin Chew on This with Jane Richardson Fishing with Andrew Corpening Birding with Edi Crosby Healthful Cooking with Samantha Stephens Mountain Wisdom and Ways with Jim Casada CML’s Kitchen with Nan Chase Local News Briefs Book Nook and much more . . .



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Pu blisher’s Note . . .

Truth be told . . . I’m addicted to office supplies. Yes, upon walking into any office supply store­—I’m drawn to the cool gel pens, notebooks and sticky pads. My husband calls it retail therapy. My retort is, “It could be expensive shoes and handbags.” I’ve figured out through my daily walk in the woods with our year old German Shepherd, why I can’t resist the best ‘gelocity’ pen or neon colored sticky notes. These purchases are based on a higher duty and an honest attempt to make the best laid plans with lots of to do lists and to mark them off methodically with my new smooth writing gel pen. So what’s wrong with that?

One of my lists this summer had in bold—GO FLY-FISHING. I wanted to take a guided fishing float trip down the trophy waters of the Watauga River in Tennessee. I proudly checked that off. What I didn’t realize was that while we floated slowly in the mystical fog and dewy weather (downpour at put out), my quest to catch and release had slowed to enjoy and release. I caught Henry (yes, I name my fish) after a few hours of floating down the river. He was the only one on that day’s trip that I hooked, reeled in and admired before releasing him back to the water. I realized then that the trip was not about catching - it was about the experience. It was a day to practice my roll and overhead casts and get to know my fishing guide and his nuances on the river. It was a chance to be away from electronics and notepads and just soak in all the river had to offer. The day was dotted with glimpses of blue heron and the family of ducks finding their mid-day snack. I knew by the end of the day­—when the drenching rain soaked us to the bone—that the stresses of the prior week had just been rinsed off and there I was without a list or able to check anything off - but I truly had found the best laid plan. You always hear that it is about the journey and not the destination. Well, there you have it. So as you pick up this Autumn edition, we hope you will find time to enjoy the stories, take in the shows and make reservations at the fine restaurants highlighted within. If you are so blessed to drive the ribbon of highway known as the Blue Ridge Parkway this fall season then take pictures with your eyes and memory. It promises to be one of our best. We all have easy access to cell phone snap shots, but I find the best pictures are when I stop, take a deep breath, and take in the view. Those will last forever. We hope you enjoy this issue. Let us hear from you.

Mountain Life CAROLINA

The Heart & Soul of the High Country

A publication of Carolina Mountain Life, Inc. Publisher & Editor, Babette McAuliffe ©2016 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: Deborah Mayhall-Bradshaw, Mary Jo Brubaker, Becky Cairns, Jim Casada, Nan K. Chase, Dianna Conway, Andrew Corpening Edi Crosby, Julie Farthing, Brennan Ford, Morgan Ford, Jean Gellin, Kathy Griewisch, Elizabeth Baird Hardy, Annie Hoskins Randy Johnson, Keith Martin, Tom McAuliffe, Pan McCaslin, LouAnn Morehouse, Jane Richardson, Tamara Seymour, Jerry Shinn, Samantha Stephens, Joe Tennis, Carol Lowe Timblin, and Steve York

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Autumn Walks To Waterfalls Story and Photograph By Jim Casada


“...that waterfall...was a siren’s call seeking and singing to his soul.”


usical to the ear and magical to the eye, waterfalls are among the countless enchanting natural wonders found in the High Country. Maybe my personal affinity for waterfalls is in part genetic, for my father spent the most meaningful years of his adolescence on a small farm a short way upstream from an impressive waterfall, and there were two others within less than half a mile. Through all of his lengthy life (he lived to the age of 101) that waterfall, in what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was a siren’s call seeking and singing to his soul. Long ago I decided that the latter part of autumn, especially after the first heavy frost has taken care of concerns about bothersome creatures such as snakes and yellow jackets, is a grand time for waterfall gazing. It also offers far better views thanks to leaves having fallen. With that season at hand what follows are some tips on various aspects of the waterfall experience. These range from safety and plain common sense to thoughts on photography, finding littleknown cascades, and a listing of some of the guidebooks to the subject.


Given how frequently news outlets carry information on serious injuries or deaths connected with waterfalls, acute awareness of safety would seem to be a “given.” Sadly, that is often not the case, even though waterfall safety is mostly a matter of common sense. *For starters, avoid the tops of waterfalls—period. You can’t fall off or over a waterfall from its base, and that’s the best place to view and photograph them. *When visiting remote waterfalls or searching for little known ones, try to travel with a companion or at least leave detailed information on where you plan to hike or bushwhack. *Wearing blaze orange attire—ideally a cap and a vest—when waterfall wandering during the fall is a good idea. *Use your judgment when trekking to waterfalls in terms of footwear (good and sturdy with some ankle support), water for hydration, a basic first-aid kit, and recognition of your physical limitations. *On off-trail trips to waterfalls, be sure you have a GPS, compass, and topo map. *In early fall, especially along trails and in open areas, be vigilant in watching for yellow jacket nests. They are at their largest this time of year and maintained trails seem to be a favorite building spot. An encounter with these spawn of Satan can ruin a trip in short order. Carry Benadryl tablets in your first-aid kit as treatment in case you get stung.


Location and lighting are key elements of waterfall photography, although obviously each season has its special attributes in terms of color, visibility, water flow, and the like. Here are a few key pointers to keep in mind as you photograph waterfalls. *Vertical shots from below waterfalls almost always work best, although there are occasions, especially for larger waterfalls, where you will want to take some

horizontal snaps as well. *Always use a monopod or tripod. *Experiment with various shutter speeds to get different effects with the appearance of the water. *Don’t hesitate to wade to get better angles, although keep safety foremost in mind as you scramble around. *Usually images that show little if any sky work best. *While modern cameras in automatic mode can work wonders, do some bracketing and experiment not only with shutter speeds but with framing. *Periods immediately following flooding rains can produce special opportunities, but they also can present danger. If you photograph raging waters take extra care when it comes to footing.


More than a decade ago, while on an off-trail piscatorial adventure in the Shining Rock Wilderness Area/Little Pigeon River headwaters in Pisgah National Forest, I waded up a feeder stream, accessible by trail only in its lower reaches, and caught one lovely speckled trout after another. The farther I got from any vestiges of mankind the better the fishing became. Then, as I sat down on a log a short distance from the stream to munch on a sandwich and open a tin of sardines for lunch, realization dawned that there was a steady roar overriding the whisper of the nearby creek. It was a really impressive waterfall, and after lunch another 200-300 yards of fishing brought me to its base I caught half a dozen specks at its base and saw one specimen of what oldtimers simply described as “natives” that would have exceeded by an appreciable margin any I’ve caught in a marvelously misspent life of casting in High Country streams. As impressive as the fish was, though, the waterfall was even more so. It plunged at least 60 feet over a solid rock face into a pool that had to be eight or 10 feet deep. It isn’t listed in any book I’ve researched, apparently has no name, and I’m not going to reveal its precise

whereabouts. As Grandpa Joe was fond of saying, when it came to matters of fishing and other things, “a man has to have some secrets.” In truth, there are scores of cascades and waterfalls, most on smaller branches and invariably in remote areas, inviting investigation. The easiest way to pinpoint likely “prospecting” places is to get a U. S. Geological Survey map, note places where topographic lines change rapidly and where there is a watercourse, then figure out how to get to the area. This isn’t something, incidentally, to be done alone, for it is almost certain to involve bushwhacking and being off trail—maybe far off trail.


It should come as no surprise that a number of enterprising authors, recognizing the widespread appeal of waterfalls , have compiled guidebooks on the subject. Here’s a selection of such books, and it should be noted that there are multiple editions and updates of some of these. *Kevin Adams, North Carolina Waterfalls: A Hiking and Photographic Guide. This lengthy work covers hundreds of waterfalls, offers detailed information on access, rates each one from the standpoint of difficulty of access and beauty. *Brian Boyd, Waterfalls of the Southern Appalachians. A short, older work that covers Georgia and South Carolina as well as North Carolina, although the majority of the book is devoted to the Tar Heel state. *Nicole Blouin, Steve Bordonaro, and Marilou Bordonaro, Waterfalls of the Blue Ridge: A Hiking Guide to the Cascades of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This book covers Virginia as well as North Carolina, and the “Blue Ridge” of the title is a bit misleading inasmuch as the work embraces other mountain ranges (notably the Great Smokies) as well. *Faris Jane Corey, Exploring the Waterfalls of North Carolina. A basic primer by a woman who lived in Boone for

soul food

A small waterfall provides a perfect example of why bigger isn’t always better when it comes to viewing waterfalls

almost a decade and did a lot of hiking to waterfalls in that area. *Hal Hubbs, Charles Maynard, and David Morris, Waterfalls and Cascades of the Great Smoky Mountains. An early (1992) and obscure work that focuses exclusively on the Park. *Mark Morrison, Waterfalls Walks and Drives of Northeast Georgia and the Western Carolinas. Basic and highly selective in coverage. *Jim Bob Tinsley, The Land of Waterfalls. Devoted exclusively to Transyl-

vania County, where the author lived, this is an impressive hardbound book which encompasses area history, notable characters, and other subjects as well as the myriad waterfalls found along the N. C.-S. C. fall line.

Jim Casada, a native of the North Carolina High Country, has been writing about the region for some four decades. The author or editor of dozens of books, he offers a free monthly e-newsletter. To subscribe or learn more about his work, visit www.jimcasadaoutdoors. com. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —




Taking In The Light With Plein Air Artists


By LouAnn Morehouse e all know people – such as hunters and hikers – who love being outdoors so much they willingly endure downpours and heat stroke to be there. And perhaps you too risk life and limb outdoors on occasion, for the thrill of it. There is another tribe of adventurers who carry neither gun nor camera nor ski pole. They are lightly burdened with easel and paint box, a couple of canvasses, perhaps a sun hat and water—often as hard to spot as the passing deer or turkey. They are plein air artists, and they paint among us. Plein air comes from the French, and means “in the open.” When referring to painting, it signifies that the artist is working out of doors, as opposed to in the studio. The practice of painting while on site has gone on forever, of course, but improvements in paints and equipment led to a flowering of the art form by the mid-19th century. Since time immemorial, artists had ground their own pigments and added oil to make paint, a process too cumbersome to take out of doors. In the 1840’s, the advent of paints in tubes, “readymade,” simplified the gear needed for plein air painting. Not long after, easels


were developed that could fold and be carried more easily than the standard studio easels. Artists such as Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh took to the fields and seaside, and Impressionism became a vivid new movement. The depiction of light received a special emphasis, and artwork produced this way became known for its color and sense of scenes caught in the moment. The practice of plein air painting continues to flourish, with notable competitions and schools for painters, periodicals and literature on the art form, and a wide following among art patrons. Galleries in the High Country show a great many wonderful landscapes, and a substantial number of them are painted “en plein air.” Three locally represented artists known for their plein air paintings are Kevin Beck, Scott Boyle, and Monique Carr. They share some perspectives about the art form, but each sees with a unique eye. Walking into Kevin Beck’s studio makes you stop still and start soaking up the scenery captured on those canvases. Kevin has been a full time artist for twenty years. He practices a disciplined five-day work week, often producing one painting in the morning and one in the

afternoon. All of that artwork has places to go; Kevin is represented by galleries in Raleigh, Maryland, Arizona, and locally at Carlton Gallery. Kevin has been interested in plein air almost as long as he has been painting. His mother saw to his involvement in art classes early on, and it was a good fit. He credits the mentorship of the noted American artist Albert Handell for refining his plein air skills. It’s the perfect art form because for Kevin, “the muse is the landscape.” Scott Boyle has a thriving family and a full time job, so his painting is confined to when he gets the chance. But don’t feel too sorry for him—his day job is piloting an airplane, so at least it’s visually stimulating. When he was a kid, flying was the second most important thing that Scott Boyle wanted to do in his life. The first was art. His parents supported his interest, and Scott took art instruction from age 6 to 17, winning awards and selling his work as he went along. In fact, the money he made from painting paid for his first airplane lessons. Scott’s subsequent career in aviation offered many satisfactions, but around 2000 he decided to return to painting after coming to the realization that art was truly “the inspiration to all I do.” He

in the light MONIQUE CARR

attended a plein air workshop, “loved the freshness” of the form and “was invigorated” when he was able to “capture the light of a particular day.” In his free time, he makes painting trips to places such as Grandfather and Roan Mountain, and to areas in the Smokies. Scott, who loves to “capture the weather drama” of the mountains, is represented by The Art Cellar. Monique Carr dedicated herself to painting full time eight years ago and her work now hangs at Altavista Gallery. A fine arts student in college, she had listened to her parents’ concerns that artists are seldom able to support themselves on art alone, and had pursued a career in graphic arts instead. But when at last the career came to an end, Monique was free to pursue her first passion. She says, “I learn so much from being outdoors. When you paint outdoors, you have the fragrance of the wood, the bird song, the sound of water running in the stream— all these things inspiring you.” Plein air painting has its challenges. Kevin Beck says those new to the style are often intimidated by the abundance of information in a landscape, and have to learn to establish boundaries and “nail down the light and shadow.” Kevin has taught workshops in the High Coun-


try for years and Monique and Scott also teach when they can. Monique says “teaching makes me learn my skills more deeply.” When Scott got involved with plein air, he organized a monthly “paint out,” or group painting event, where artists shared techniques and learned from each other. As people got familiar with the art form, Scott helped to develop a social network—he calls it a “web-based billboard for plein air painters”—where notices about classes, competitions, and other information is posted. It’s free to join and there are currently about 550 artists registered on Painting techniques aside, there is still the matter of being outdoors for hours at a time. There’s a definite hardiness to plein air painters. Kevin Beck is known for his winter paintings and says he loves to paint snow. He credits his top-grade winter boots and a mat for standing on as the items that have made winter painting possible. After years in the field, Kevin packs as lightly as possible. His short list includes the essential painting supplies plus his hat and water for his dog. Scott, meanwhile, admits to being “something of a specialist in umbrellas” for plein air. He says painting out of doors is “a lot like camping,” and he is always modifying his equipment to

achieve the most efficient use of space in his backpack. And then there is the wildlife. None of the three artists have encountered serious threats, although Scott says he has heard stories. His closest encounter has been hearing the snort of a disturbed stag, which he says was alarmingly loud and close. Kevin says he was once working so quietly that deer slept undisturbed nearby. Monique had a too close encounter with a 1000 lb bison a few years ago, but she “played dead” and he went away. The most trouble comes from nosee-ums and yellow jackets, so bug spray is as necessary as paints and canvas. Plein air artists traverse the landscape to capture the light of a particular day, and then they bring it to us to enjoy forever. Thanks to them, we don’t always have to climb the heights to revel in the view.

Kevin Beck: Scott Boyle: Monique Carr:




Discover History The Chocolate Bar, c. 1960s. Courtesy of the Junaluska Heritage Association.

A Town Within A Town: History of the Junaluska Community August 6, 2016 - March 11, 2017 Made possible in part through the support of the Watauga County Community Foundation and the Junaluska Heritage Association

Kevin Beck | 828/963-1181


Blowing Rock Art & History Museum

828-295-9099 159 Chestnut St., Blowing Rock, NC


1 0 TH A N N I V E R S A R Y ! Western Piedmont Chamber Orchestra September 23 Ashe Civic Center

Art on the Mountain September 24 Ashe Arts Center

Emile Pandolfi in Concert November 20 Ashe Civic Center An affiliate organization of the Toe River Arts Council.


For more information call 336.846-2787

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

Celebrating 27 years in the High Country

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Inspiring Workshops

AUTUMN GROUP EXHIBITION: October 8 thru November 15 Opening Reception October 8, 2-5pm Artists’ Spotlight:Toni Carlton and Friends “Resonance of the Heart” HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE November 25 and 26 – 10am – 5pm

CarltonGallery Celebrating 34 Years!

828.963.4288 10 miles south of Boone Grandfather Mtn.Community 10360 Hwy 105 S. A G A L L E RY F I L L E D W I T H E X Q U I S I T E G I F T S Banner Elk, NC 28604 Tues-Sat 10-5, Sun 11-5

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66 Pershing St, Newland, NC / 828-733-8148 / Winter: Thursday – Saturday 10-5 / S ummer: Wednesday - Saturday 10-5 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —


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Alta Vista Gallery


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Over 100 artists: including Joan Sporn, Sheila Hancock, Jean Baird and Will Moses, heir to Grandma Moses In Our 26th Year: Oils, Watercolors, Pastels, Prints, Custom Framing, Craftsman Art Tiles, Stained-Glass, Mangum Pottery

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Patti Connor-Greene Linville River Pottery 2180 Goose Hollow Road Pineola (828)387-1944

Sally Nooney Gallery

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his year’s Spruce Pine Potters Market will be open October 8 and 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day in the Cross Street Building, 31 Cross Street, Spruce Pine, North Carolina. The work of 34 ceramic artists will be on display and for sale. Admission and parking are free. Lunches will be available for purchase. The Market is celebrating its tenth year of providing a premier shopping venue for the work of artists who are known regionally, nationally and internationally, including Stan Andersen, Will Baker, Cynthia Bringle, Pam Brewer, John Britt, Melisa Cadell, Naomi Dalglish/Michael Hunt (Bandana Pottery), Claudia Dunaway, Jon Ellenbogen/Becky Plummer (Barking Spider Pottery), Susan Feagin, Terry Gess, Becky Gray, Shawn Ireland, Lisa Joerling, Nick Joerling, Michael Kline, Kent McLaughlin, Shane Mickey, Shaunna Lyons, Jeannine Marchand, Courtney Martin, Linda McFarling, Jane Peiser, Teresa Pietsch, Michael Rutkowsky, Valerie Schnaufer, Ken Sedberry, Jenny Lou Sherburne, Ron Slagle, Gay Smith, Liz Zlot Summerfield, and Joy Tanner.

Work includes functional pottery, figurative sculpture, stoneware, earthenware, and more. Although this region is known for its concentration of artists featured during the Toe River Arts Council’s biannual open-studio tours, the Spruce Pine Potters Market offers buyers the opportunity to see new work from leading artists in one location. According to exhibiting potter Jon Ellenbogen “these artists bring the privacy of their studios to a group setting and invite the world in for a visit.” For the artists, too, this is a chance to meet their patrons, see each other’s new work, and visit with colleagues. Admission to the Market is free, but visitors are encouraged to purchase raffle tickets for work donated by four of the artists. This year, those artists are Jon Ellenbogen/Becky Plummer (Barking Spider Pottery), Courtney Martin, Jane Peiser and Michael Kline. A portion of the raffle proceeds will go to the Toe River Arts Council. For more info, visit the Potters Market website at www., email them at info@, or call 828-765-2670.

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Banner Elk Revisited By Carol Lowe Timblin


recent visit to Banner Elk, my hometown, revealed how much it has changed since I moved away almost a half century ago. Many old landmarks such as the Banner Elk School, the Banner Elk Presbyterian Church, and Lees-McRae College remain, but a number of places have added vitality to my beautiful little town of one thousand residents. Over those years my mountain home has become “one of the culinary hotspots of the High Country” and an ever-more popular vacation destination. Headquarters during our visit was the Best Western Mountain Lodge, located on an old farm in “Moon Valley” that once belonged to Julian and Nannie Lowe, my late grandparents, who were known for their oyster suppers and other social gatherings. The new Banner Elk School sits close to the old home site. Aboard the Bobcat bus with driver Daniel Waln, assistant basketball coach at LMC, we headed for the Apple Hill Farm in nearby Matney. There we met owner Lee Rankin and her adorable menagerie of farm animals – alpacas, llamas, goats, sheep, horses, donkeys, chickens, and a pig that sometimes entertains visitors by riding his skateboard. The evening we enjoyed a delightful eight-course dinner, paired with carefully-selected wines, at Artisanal, listed among Open Table’s top 100 restaurants in America and winner of a Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. Open May through October, it is situated on a former cattle farm on scenic Dobbins Road at the base of Hanging Rock, now home to the exclusive golf and sporting club Diamond Creek. Chef Bill Green and his wife Anita operate the beautiful restaurant that’s housed in a rustic wooden structure patterned after The Barn at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee. Following dinner, we traveled to the Banner Elk Winery, located on an old blueberry farm off US 194 north, for a wine tasting. Established in 2005, the winery has won gold medals for its Banner Elk Red and Marechal Foch and a

bronze medal for its Banner Elk White. It also produces ice wine and a limited quantity of blueberry wine, which flies off the shelves every year. The Italian villa on property welcomes overnight guests. The Acceturo family owns the winery and the villa, as well as Sorrento’s Italian Bistro in town (our lunch stop the next day). In operation for 30 years, the restaurant is known for entrees such as Veal Marsala, Chicken Picatta, Shrimp Scampi, plus hoagies, pizzas, and pastas – all based on family recipes. Our evening culminated at Tate-Evans Park that honors a local doctor and a LMC president, now both deceased. The town park occupies farmland once owned by the Cook family. Home to a weekly concert series, the event, featuring live music and dancing, drew a record crowd of 1,600! The next day Mike Dunn, a member of the town council and chair of the Banner Elk Tourism Development Authority (TDA), prepared a delicious breakfast for us at the restaurant - Dunn’s Deli - he established in an old service station 15 years ago. The bed-and-breakfast that he and his wife Robin operate is the former home of Frank and Annie Belle Perry (she was my fourth grade teacher). A piano outside the deli, part of the “Go Ahead and Play Me” project, introduced by Banner Elk Chamber president Jo-Ann McMurray, proved to be too tempting to pass up! We also made a brief stop at the Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce, housed in the old Cook’s Store, and then walked along the Banner Elk Greenway, which winds along Shawneehaw Creek from the town park to the Mill Pond and then continues along Elk River. During an afternoon tour of the May Wildlife Rehab Center at Lees-McRae on the Elk River, we witnessed the feeding of a bobcat kitten, found recently in eastern part of the state and transported to the center for rehabilitation. The rescue effort is particularly meaningful here, as the bobcat has been my alma mater’s mascot for as long as I can remember. The center treats about 1,400 injured animals and birds each year and is the only wildlife rehab training center in the United States. Our next stop was the year-round Beech Mountain Resort, established in the mid-1960s on the mountain once only accessible by a steep and winding narrow gravel road. Located in the highest

town in Eastern America (elevation 5,506 feet), the resort offers skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and other recreational pursuits. We rode the chairlift to the 5506’ Skybar, where we sampled craft beers brewed at the resort’s Beech Mountain Brewing Company and enjoyed the panoramic view of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. We also enjoyed local craft beers at Flat Top Brewing Company, located in the former Lecka Food Market in Banner Elk. We gathered for dinner at Louisiana Purchase Food & Spirits, known for its authentic gumbo, jambalaya, and blackened mountain trout. Recipient of Wine Spectator Magazine’s “Best of Award of Excellence,” 1996-2016, and AAA’s Three Diamonds, the restaurant has been delighting patrons for 32 years. The Painted Fish on US 194 near Sugar Mountain Ski Resort also serves an outstanding mountain trout, plus other seafood dishes and pasta. The last day of our tour we had breakfast at the hotel and departed for Wildcat Lake, a favorite haunt for both locals and visitors and my old swimming hole in my youth. On our way back to town we toured the Banner House Museum, built by Samuel Henry Banner in 1865 after his return from the Civil War and now owned and operated by the Banner Elk Heritage Foundation. Nearby, on the campus of the Grandfather Home for Children, there’s a granite memorial to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, who penned The Yearling and other stories while staying at a nearby cabin. Our last culinary stop was the Banner Elk Café and Lodge, owned by Les Broussard who decided to put down roots in the town after graduating from Lees-McRae College. He also serves as vice chair of the local TDA. A favorite gathering spot for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the café is known for its burgers and all-around good food. Nearby is the well-established Stonewalls, a restaurant which has been delighting patrons since 1985 and recently added a balsamic and olive oil bar. It is known for its steaks, seafood, chicken dishes, ribs, and burgers, and its salad bar is absolutely amazing! By tour’s end we had all gained a few pounds and were in full agreement that Banner Elk has indeed evolved into a worthy culinary destination for any epicurean. For such a small village, my hometown really delivers the goods. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —


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Ashe County Provides Cultural and Scenic Delights By Joe Tennis


ucked into the northwestern corner of the Tarheel State, Ashe County provides a scenic slice of country back roads, rippling waters, breathtaking mountains and small-town delights. It’s been called the “Lost Province” because this North Carolina county was historically hard to reach. But with modern roads stretching north from the heart of the High Country at Boone, Ashe County has blossomed in the 21st century as an easily accessible - yet still remote - retreat. Here, Tennessee sits to the west, Virginia stands to the north, and the Blue Ridge Parkway provides a curvy ribbon along the eastern border. All while the New River drains through scenic pastures and rocky bluffs. Shatley Springs boasts a classic eatery in Ashe County. Like the Dan’l Boone Inn of downtown Boone, Shatley Springs Inn and Restaurant features family style meals complete with famous fried chicken and loads of veggies. Located on Shatley Springs Road in Crumpler, the inn is located at the site of a


historic spring resort where you can still taste waters that are believed to cure all kinds of skin diseases, stomach ailments and nervous disorders. Southwest of Crumpler nearly in the center of Ashe County, West Jefferson appears like a postcard that you can walk through - with underground utilities, clean sidewalks, street art and nifty eateries like the Rosebud Bakery, which serves a mouthwatering Club House sandwich. It is also the home of Boondocks Brewing, a brewery with a restaurant. Established in 1915, West Jefferson grew up as a railroad town in Ashe County. Today, the community follows a simply motto, “Everyone. Fits. Here.” The town explodes with an art scene that mirrors and captures the luxurious landscape of Ashe County’s majestic mountains, hills and dales. West Jefferson’s streetscape provides a pedestrian-friendly corridor, bolstered by benches and fluffy trees, beckoning visitors to sit a spell and enjoy small-town living at its finest. “The arts are alive and well in downtown West Jefferson,” says Jane Lonon, the executive director of the

Ashe County Arts Council. “Ashe County, as a whole, is extremely rich in the arts, whether visual arts or performing arts. So it’s a strong history ... and West Jefferson has become known as a hub of the arts.” Look around: The arts stand virtually everywhere - from the streets to the walls of businesses. “You’ll find something new, something iconic,” Lonon says. “And both the music and the visual arts have just become a real centerpiece for celebrating this wonderful place we call home.” Listen for jam sessions during the summer months. Or mark your calendar for the fourth weekend in July for the Ashe County Bluegrass and Old Time Fiddlers Convention at the Ashe County Park in Jefferson, North Carolina. West Jefferson, in turn, boasts 18 art galleries and craft shops that participate in the monthly “Art Gallery Crawl,” held on the second Friday of each month, June to October. Then, at the height of the shopping season, the “Christmas Crawl” happens on the first Friday of December. This year, that’s December 2, 5-8 p.m. “The art crawls are wonderful oppor-

tunities to move about at an easy pace,” Lonon says. “The important part about the gallery art crawl is that it gives you a chance to meet the artists and see new works that are continually being created. And it’s to celebrate with those galleries and these artists the role that art plays in our lives.” More than a dozen murals are located along the streets of West Jefferson. The first was painted about 20 years ago. Since then, Lonon says, the murals have ranged “in scope, size and subject matter.” Those murals depict various scenes of West Jefferson’s culture and history from its time as a railroad town (19151977) to its modern role as an ongoing agriculture center. Also in the arts: concrete pedestals that were once part of West Jefferson’s street lamp system have now been painted with wildflowers that are native of Ashe County. “It sort of gives a different view of art, a different canvas,” Lonon says, “and now provides a little bit of beauty and whimsy to what’s in downtown.” Even more art shows up along the

fire hydrants of the downtown district through a unique project called “Arts on Fire,” in which local artists were challenged to create scenes on a dozen different fire hydrants across town. Near Ashe County Cheese, you’ll also see what looks like a mouse hanging out on a hydrant. Another fire hydrant simply looks like it’s on fire! Ashe County Cheese, by the way, ranks as the oldest and largest cheese factory in the southeast. Here on most mornings you can watch cheese being made, then step across the street to purchase some tasty varieties while also picking up a bottle of North Carolina wine. Just for fun, the “Christmas in July” festival on the Fourth of July sees Santa Claus - in fuzzy beard - walking the streets. And when it comes to Christmas? Well, across virtually all of Ashe County, Christmas trees stand in rows – just ready to be chosen and cut for your Yuletide celebration. On the outskirts of town, check out Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, where the namesake peak stands 4,665

feet above sea level, and a system of hiking trails affords great views. Look in Lansing for the Creeper Trail Park, located just off N.C. 194. This railto-trail project occupies a short portion of what used to be the Abingdon Branch of the Norfolk and Western Railway. Further north in Virginia, a 34-mile section of that same railroad has been restored as the famous Virginia Creeper Trail. Comparably, Lansing’s section is short - about a half-mile - but it’s part of a park with plans to grow over time. Down south, you can ride on even more of that old railroad grade - and many road cyclists do - when following the appropriately-named Railroad Grade Road near Todd. A charming retreat and home to long-standing general store buildings, this community stands on the south end of Ashe County near the Watauga County line.

full of art! Want more? Visit

Joe Tennis is an author whose books include “Along Virginia’s Route 58: True Tales from Beach to Bluegrass” and “Virginia Rail Trails: Crossing the Commonwealth,” both published by The History Press. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —



e can see it in your eyes. You need a break from the heat, the pace, and the demands of your life, even if it’s just for a few days. You need an antidote to your hurried and impersonal world. There are so many places you could choose from that boast cool breezes, or small town smiles. The North Carolina Mountains are full of retreats. But, sometimes those places don’t always include the sense that you are a friend the moment you arrive. Here’s what we think. You just need a little West Jefferson, NC. It is here that we understand it is equally important to be pampered, or breathe in cool mountain air, or just laugh with friends under a Carolina blue sky. You’ll feel a rush of energy flowing through, and around our revitalized downtown. Sip a local brew on a shady street corner that shares the sidewalk with innovative and inspiring art galleries. And then while you’re browsing, or savoring inventive and delicious cuisine,

We can see it in your eyes. You need a break from your hurried and impersonal world. You just need a little West Jefferson, NC (866) 607-0093


wave at someone whizzing by on a mountain bike knowing they will wave back. And then it happens. Maybe you’re in the middle of one our spectacular downtown celebrations making new friends. Or listening to a story that makes history come alive for you in a way you never thought possible when you keenly realize EVERYONE around you is laughing, or smiling, or LISTENING to the mountains groan with happiness while the sky squints with satisfaction. And you feel like you really belong. That’s when you know that a little WJ is changing you, and you’ll never be the same again. How do we do that? Well, we live slowly enough to enjoy every moment, but we think fast enough to stay relevant and innovative. And when you’re here, you’re struck deeply by the notion that this is place for ANYONE, with something for EVERYONE that really fits YOU. Come to West Jefferson, NC. “EVERYONE. FITS. HERE.”

Crossnore School fresco

Art Of The Fresco


City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium fresco

By Julie Farthing

omplementing the Blue Ridge Trail Map is the must-see Ben Long’s Fresco Trail, with nine frescoes at six locations. A Texas native, Benjamin F. Long grew up in Statesville, NC and studied at UNC Chapel Hill and the Art Students League in New York. Yet it was his apprenticeship in Florence Italy where Long would learn the techniques that would launch him to international fame as one of only four master fresco artists in the world. Fresco is the technique Michelangelo chose to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The ancient art of fresco painting is the combination of sand, water, and pigment to form the images the artist sees through his hands. Because the mixed pigments are absorbed by the plaster, the paintings actually become part of the wall. Long speaks of the wall as the true interpreter of what the painting will reveal, and he has learned to read the wall. The Frescoes are located within the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, with the trail beginning at his first fresco, Mary Great with Child, completed in 1974, John the Baptist in 1976, and The Mystery of Faith, in 1977. These are located at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in West Jefferson, NC. His next work is The Last Supper at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Glendale Springs, NC in 1980. Other sites include: Return of the Prodigal, Chapel of the Prodigal, Montreat College, Montreat, NC, Sacred Dance and the Muses, City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium, Morganton, NC, Suffer the Little Children, E.H. Sloop Chapel, Crossnore School, Crossnore, NC., and St. Paul’s Conversion and St. Paul Writing His Epistles, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Wilkesboro, NC. Each site has individual hours. Visit their websites or call for details.

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church 400 Beaver Creek School Road, West Jefferson, NC 28694 (336) 982-3076 From Wilkesboro, take NC 16 North; turn left on NC 163, travel to the second traffic light and turn left on Beaver Creek School Road. Go approximately a half mile to the church. Holy Trinity Episcopal Church 120 Glendale School Road, Glendale Springs, NC 28629 (336) 982-3076 From US 421 turn on NC 16 North and go approximately 18 miles. Church will be on the left. It is also accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 258. Chapel of the Prodigal, Montreat College Montreat, NC 28757 (828) 669-8012, ext. 3820 Take exit 64 off I-40, go north through Black Mountain into Montreat, turn right on Lookout Road. The chapel is on the right. Please call ahead to view the fresco. City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium 401 S. College Street, Morganton, NC 28655 (828) 438-5294 or 800-939-7469 Take Exit 105 off I-40, turn north into Morganton. Go to the sixth traffic light, turn left (a 45 degree angle) and travel four blocks. The Municipal Auditorium is on the right. Crossnore School E.H. Sloop Chapel 100 DAR Drive, Crossnore, NC 28616 (828) 733-4305 Take Exit 85 off I-40 at Marion, on US 221 North, travel approximately 30 miles to blinking light, turn left onto Crossnore Street. Travel a half mile, turn right onto Johnson.



Create Your Own Trail in Western North Carolina

ller eavers & Ga Crossnore W


By Julie Farthing

, Blowing Rock Flat Top Manor

/ Photo by Vick

i Dameron

Church in Cro



f Robert Frost had only had a map he might not have languished over the difference one road could make. Perhaps to take a road north, south, or just let the road lead the way. As travelers today we may not have the luxury to spend as much time as Frost on a given byway; and though sometimes the best journey is where the road leads, it’s often beneficial to know ahead what lies between the road’s beginning and end. Lucky for those of us who want to take advantage of all the rich cultural heritage this region has to offer, there is now a special map. Many roads diverge throughout the landscapes of western North Carolina, and we now can travel them all with an official trail map, the Map of the Blue Ridge Heritage Trail. This map is tangible. You can hold it in your hands, stick it in your backpack or saddlebag. Study it over a cup of hot coffee, circle points of interest and bucket list destinations. Like the maps of yesteryear, long before MapQuest, Garmin, Siri, or other GPS


systems, this folded 9” by 4’ glossy interactive guide unfolds to reveal a ribbon of highways, scenic byways and back roads that snake from north to south through the western regions of North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Heritage Trail is made possible by Congress’s 2003 designation of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, which encompasses the 25 westernmost counties in North Carolina. The mission of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area is to protect, preserve, interpret and develop the unique, natural, historical and cultural resources of Western North Carolina. Encouraging visits to natural and manmade landmarks along the Trail is a way of ensuring continued interest in the culture and beauty of the area. On the Trail you will discover stories about people and places that shed light on the rich heritage this region has to offer. The Trail leads to a collection of special places through the North Carolina foothills and mountain regions; an interpretative sign with words and photographs marks each lo-

cation. These signs, located along main walkways at historic, natural and scenic sites, tell an illuminating story about each location and illustrate the region’s natural and cultural heritage including traditional music, art and agriculture, and native peoples. The autumn season brings many leaf lookers to behold the display of crimson reds, fiery oranges and brilliant golds that engulf the forests of western North Carolina. This is a perfect time to travel through some of the world’s oldest mountains. Yet no matter which time of the year you visit, every bend in the road will offer a new vista. The webpage for the Blue Ridge Heritage Trail lists all the sights you see as you travel the Trail, such as Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain east of the Mississippi; Linville Gorge; The New River, which is actually the third oldest river in the world; The Great Smoky Mountains; Cherokee; and Biltmore Estate, America’s largest home. The Trail along the foothills of North Carolina also offers many interesting

Mast Store, Valle Crucis

destinations: the Rural Heritage Museum of Mars Hill, The Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, and the beautiful Chimney Rock State Park and Lake Lure, just to name a few. As you travel along the Trail, you will pass farms and fields that are home to some of the finest produce in the state. Goodness grows in North Carolina and many of the farmer’s markets, wineries, orchards and cheese factories can be found within a hop, skip, and a jump from one another. Don’t forget the music that has put western North Carolina on the map. Visit the Old Time Music Heritage Hall in Mount Airy and be a guest at Merlefest that convenes every April in Wilkesboro. The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area wants to encourage both visitors and locals to discover adventures they may not know about. In addition to the signs, the Trail is enhanced with the installation of five interactive kiosks in NC Welcome Centers at entry points to the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. The

Linville Caverns

kiosks will help visitors or people passing through the state to discover someplace interesting to explore along the way, encourage a nearby stop or add a scenic route to their trip. The end result of your trip and that of many other visitors is hopefully a road more travelled and a trail well-worn plus the added benefit of a greater appreciation of western North Carolina. For more information, you can find The Blue Ridge Heritage Trail at Here you can explore the map, download it to your computer, or find out which locations offer a hardcopy of the map. The Blue Ridge Heritage Trail adventure awaits its next traveler. Undergrowth is optional.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth… CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —


Wild South and the Stewardship of Public Lands By LouAnn Morehouse


hen the people at Wild South describe their organization as a “watchdog of the National Forest System,” think of nice shepherd dogs, not mean feral dogs. Actually, think of people. The people who volunteer to be Wilderness Stewards and Rangers are literally keeping an eye on—and lending a hand with—some of Appalachia’s most treasured resources, the publicly-owned national forests and wilderness areas. And it’s the people who are supporters and staff of a group called Wild South who are the catalyst for it all. Wild South is a non-profit that encourages public engagement with public lands in North Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi. Their mission is to “inspire people to enjoy, value and protect the wild character and natural legacy of the South.” The organization was formed in 2007 by the merging of The Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project, a conservation advocacy group from Asheville, NC, and the original Wild South group, described per their website as, “a grassroots forest protection organization based in Moulton, AL.” Some big things have been accomplished in nine years. lists more than a dozen projects in the areas of land conservation, species protection, and trail mapping and maintenance. In North Carolina, diverse projects are ongoing in two regions. Conservation biologist Morgan Harris conducts research on various areas of interest in the conservation sciences. A graduate of Appalachian State, Harris describes his job at Wild South as being a part of the “biology front” in North Carolina. Most recently, Harris and interns from Warren Wilson College constructed and placed “Hellbender Huts” for salamanders. Researchers consider the amphibians to be “imperiled,” which signifies the possibility that, without conservation efforts, they could soon be added to the list of endangered species.


A fearsome looking but harmless and ecologically helpful critter, the Hellbender Salamander has fallen prey to a changing environment, and numbers have declined rapidly. Hellbenders are the largest of the salamander species and can attain 29 inches in length. Harris says they are “older than dinosaurs, and deserving of protection.” With funding from a grant obtained by Wild South, Harris’ group built thirty “huts,” concrete habitats that replicate the amphibians’ nesting rocks and weigh as much as 100 pounds in order to be sufficiently stable in the creek currents. The task took from April until late summer, when they installed some twenty Hellbender Huts in a waterway in the Brevard area. The state hatchery and another conservation group will use the remaining structures. As the Hellbender Hut project winds down, Harris expects to return to collecting data on various other ongoing Wild South projects. He has conducted amphibian studies on Grandfather Mountain, and regularly assists with monitoring wildlife cameras in the Pisgah National Forest. Meanwhile, the Fall is bringing a resumption of full-scale trail maintenance and repair in the Linville Gorge, where Wild South-sponsored projects are managed by Kevin Massey. Massey, who came to the Linville Gorge about five years ago, describes himself as an “emissary to this wilderness.” Indeed, the spectacular gorge inspires many and is a particular area of interest for Wild South. Massey coordinates teams of volunteers who handle trail maintenance and such necessary tasks as trash haulout and invasive plant removal. Wild South’s involvement in the Linville Gorge is only five years old, but Massey says that the Forest Service relies on their help. Since Wild South has been organizing the trail maintenance assistance, he says they have “become known for getting a lot of work done.” National Forest trails are less developed than those in National Parks, but the

routes in the Linville Gorge had been neglected for decades due to budget shortfalls. Massey reports that all the Gorge trails “should be back up to speed by the end of the season.” A genial recruiter who believes that “the only real way to afford taking care of public lands is to engage the public,” Kevin Massey sends updates and opportunities by email to his “community” of helpers. He likes to keep the volunteers fueled with inspiration and he takes care of his people. For example, he cuts back on trail work in the summer, when heat and varmints present unnecessary dangers. He says it’s been a “big rattlesnake year,” and although you can generally count on snakes to be well behaved, “the yellow jackets are not.” Volunteers are so essential to the mission of Wild South that Massey likens their participation to “getting to vote twice,” explaining that when people volunteer, they have a direct opportunity to validate government policies. Feedback from people in the field is the gold standard for determining which policies are effective, and where change is needed. In every facet of the organization, volunteers are the fuel that makes Wild South work. Massey says there are lots of folks who want to help. And there are lots of ways to help. Aside from the hands-on support, it takes funding from grants and donations from organizations and individuals to keep Wild South projects running. A new fundraising effort is the “Keep it Wild” initiative, which is out to raise $45,000 to match a grant offered by the National Forest Foundation. Wild South has a regional office in Asheville, but the website has a thorough profile of the organization, including details of current and past projects. is also the best place to sign up for volunteering and to make a donation. It was that great outdoorsman, Henry David Thoreau, who said, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” The people who support the programs of Wild South clearly agree.





New Steps Done

Helo Hauls

Holloway Meadow Loop

Bridging the Gap: New Price Park Bridge Boosts Mountains-to-Sea Trail in the High Country


Story and Photos by Randy Johnson ithout much fanfare major improvements are coming to the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in the High Country. It isn’t widely known that this trail from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks is quickly being completed after nearly 30 years of effort. The High Country part of the path follows the Blue Ridge Parkway and not only is that path now in place and open, but our area is increasingly a focus for “section hikers.” Like their counterparts on the famous Appalachian Trail, more folks are backpacking parts of the “MST” and actually thru-hiking the entire route across the state. Last year more people made the trek than ever before. Here in the Boone area, a new 80foot bridge across Boone Fork is key to that trend. Construction materials were dropped at the bridge site by helicopter on August 24th and it was scheduled


for completion by mid-October. The span promises to make possible an unprecedented backpacking trip across the trail and also expand local day hiking options. Backpackers may have the most exciting news. Between Linville and Blowing Rock, the MST follows the Tanawha Trail from Beacon Heights across Grandfather Mountain, then loops around the Boone Fork Trail almost to Price Park Picnic Area, where it turns left across Boone Fork. It then follows part of the John’s River Road to Shulls Mill Road (and on through Cone Park). That left turn “across Boone Fork” was the sticking point—it required wading up to your knees! The bridge changes that. Now this 17-mile section of the MST is an inviting section hike, and best of all, three camping spots now make the hike a great two-night backpacking trip. Camping is normally prohibited

along the Parkway, but just across the Boone Fork Bridge, on the side of the river few people ever visited, Price Park has a designated backcountry campsite right on the MST (requires a free permit available at Price Park Campground kiosk in season or call 828-348-3510). If that site is taken, Price Park Campground is just a mile away. Hiking further, it’s easy to turn off into Grandfather Mountain State Park where campsites are not far up the Nuwati and Daniel Boone Scout Trails. The best two-nighter may actually start at Beacon Heights. Just reserve your Grandfather Mountain campsite at the park’s trail sign near Boone Fork Parking Area, then drive on and start at Beacon Heights. After a second night at either of Price Park’s campsites, hike out to a second car at Shull’s Mill Road or on John’s River Road to the Parkway at Sims Pond. Either way, this hike creates a back-

Virginia Creeper Trail Facts...

Last Virginia Creeper train ran in 1977. Three agencies own and manage the Virginia Creeper Trail: Damascus, Abingdon, and Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.

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two trails

packing trip across the awesome scenery of the Tanahwa Trail that most people just see on day hikes. From either direction, the hike features views from the rugged flank of the mountain, then distant views of Grandfather towering above the meadows in Price Park. Along that hike, additional MST improvements are evident. There’s a major “new” parking area for the trail on Holloway Mountain Road that opened a few years ago. At Shulls Mill Road, a dangerous climb up the embankment above the road now has a nice new flight of steps. The MST is making news elsewhere. Kate Dixon, executive director of the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, calls 2016 “the year of the bridge.” In Elkin and Hillsborough, growing greenway trails carry the MST, and both cities have installed major new bridges across rivers. Elkin’s bridge is being “joined by a downtown trail center,” says Dixon, “to

provide services and information to hikers.” It may not be on the radar for many, but in 20 years, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail will be a national phenomenon, a state-spanning trail that will attract thru-hikers from all over the country. Even as a helicopter was lowering bridge materials to the banks of Boone Fork, “end-to-enders” from the veterans group Warrior Expeditions were backpacking past the site, the first of what will become an annual MST trek. For more info visit for more information on the trail including a newly emerging series of trail segment guides viewable online and available in print. To volunteer, contact the author, the MST’s task force leader from Grandfather to Blowing Rock ( Randy Johnson started Grandfather Mountain’s backcountry management program in 1978. His new book is Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon.

Three visitor centers along the trail: Damascus Caboose, the old Green Cove Station and Whitetop Station. Forty-seven Trestles on the trail. Only public phone is in Damascus. Over 200,000 people enjoy the trail each year. Thirty-four miles long from Whitetop to Abingdon, VA Eighty-one year old, Lawrence Dye has logged over 180,580 miles riding the Creeper Trail. The U.S. Forest Service operates a bike patrol only the Creeper from Damascus to Whitetop Station from MayOctober. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —


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Autumn in Bloom on Grandfather Mountain By Amy Renfranz

It goes without saying that autumn on Grandfather Mountain is made beautiful by the oranges and yellows of its changing leaves. However, some trees will be doing more than just shedding a few pounds of foliage. Some will come into bloom. Though their flowers might not be as pretty as a Painted Trillium or as well-known as the Pink Lady Slipper Orchid, the flowers of the southern witch-hazel tree (Hamamelis virginiana) are unusual in that they bloom in October and November. Last year, I asked a few junior rangers to describe the blooms. Here are their responses: “Tree confetti.” “Dirty coconut flakes.” “Fairy fireworks.” “Zombie corsages.” The blooms are about one inch wide with four bright yellow petals, and grow in clusters all along the branches of the common Witch-hazel tree. They are most easily seen after most other trees have lost their leaves. Once pollinated, it takes the tree a year to form its small fruits which split explosively at the apex of their maturity. The contracting capsule can eject its small seed as far as thirty feet. This is just one more reason to take a closer look at the Witch-hazel tree, though there are a few more. Ladies, you are right in your recognition of the tree name. I use a Witch-hazel astringent to clean my face every night. The aromatic extract of leaves, twigs, and bark is mild and cleansing. The tree was even more popular in history than it is today. Native Americans were known to treat inflammation of the skin with a Witchhazel tonic. Throughout the years, witch-hazel has been used to make a strong tea for dysentery, to treat colds and cough, and as a blood purifier. For the past two hundred years, all generations of Americans have used Witch-hazel, whether they know it or not. You might even find it on the ingredient list of your bug-bite salve. Chances are great that this underdog of autumn can most easily be found right out in your backyard. Get out there and explore! Amy Renfranz is a Certified Naturalist through the Yellowstone Institute and a Certified Environmental Educator in the state of North Carolina. She has worked as the Education Specialist on Grandfather Mountain since February 2016.

Witch-hazel photo by Julie Makin

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 2016 —


Fine Teas Photo by Vicki Dameron

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In August, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation hosted The Denim Ball, its first annual fundraiser for Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. Thanks to many generous donors, the evening was a fundraising success that brought in more than $115,000 for the estate. The crowd was also surprised with an exciting announcement: an anonymous donor put forward a $300,000 gift with the condition that matching funds be raised to support work at the estate. That means, that every gift for the cause in the coming months will be matched dollar for dollar. It’s a great time to give. Visit or call (866) 308-2773, ext. 245, to help the Foundation reach this amazing match.

The History of Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

January 26-29, 2017

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The park was owned and developed as a gentleman’s country estate by Moses H. Cone, an American captain of industry of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, who with his brother, Ceasar Cone, brought denim production to the South with several mills based in Greensboro, N.C. Together they built a textile empire that still exists today. Cone was not only a successful entrepreneur, he was an inquisitive gentleman farmer who experimented with agriculture and designed and built one of America’s most beautiful country estates. Beginning in 1897, he carefully created an impressive retreat featuring carriage trails, lakes, orchards, fields, and forests. His vision was influenced by a great regard for the natural landscape. Before his untimely death in 1908, he constructed Flat Top Manor as the centerpiece of this idyllic mountain retreat. After his passing, his wife, Bertha, operated the estate for 40 years, adhering to his original concept. The 3,500-acre estate became part of the Blue Ridge Parkway in 1950.

Remaking History At Moses H. Cone Memorial Park From a distance, Flat Top Manor at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park looks every bit the stately country home it was meant to be with prominent columns, a spacious porch, abundant leaded glass windows, and a widow’s walk atop the roof. Whether viewing the 13,000-square-foot house from Bass Lake or the carriage trail out front, it projects the grandeur of a bygone era. But as you approach the Colonial Revival style home, peeling paint, a boarded up dormer window, warped screens, and other signs of age hint at the work desperately needed. The National Park Service strives to care for this site on the National Register of Historic Places with a limited budget and staffing. Inside, the second floor, which served as living quarters for Moses and Bertha Cone,- shows signs of age in cracked plaster walls and decaying bathrooms. A peek outside the front windows offers a breathtaking view of Bass Lake, but also the patched portico roof and crumbling window frames and woodwork. Just like any old house, there are more issues than first meet the eye. Working with the park staff and Parkway Superintendent Mark Woods, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is taking on a plan that will rehabilitate the home and enrich visitors’ experiences at the manor and the 3,500 acre estate. First on the list of upgrades is the installation of a fire suppression system to protect iconic Flat Top Manor. Outfitting the circa-1900 wooden structure with a modern system will be done with careful input from the National Park Service. Along with structural repairs, Flat Top Manor needs a new roof to stop water

damage, and the replacement of damaged exterior wood components. The doors and windows of this historic home were hand crafted and skilled craftspeople will be needed to rebuild these features. The chimney requires structural repairs and many window frames must be replaced after years of exposure to the elements. All this work will be accomplished under the supervision of the National Park Service to meet the requirements of historic reconstruction. Once the repairs are made, the exterior of the manor can be fully repainted. The landscape embodies a true country estate, but Moses Cone’s original designs have faded over the years. That vision and the stories behind it will be brought back to life with new walkways and restored features surrounding the house, including the garden and outdoor recreation areas. The carriage trails

will be revitalized as vistas obscured by encroaching vegetation are cleared and interpretive signs are added to highlight the untold history. The stone features, such as bridges and walls that add to the beauty and character of the estate, will be repaired by experienced stonemasons. Flat Top Manor may be the centerpiece of the estate, but the Carriage House and Apple Barn have their own stories to tell about the people who lived here and their endeavors on the land. With adequate funding, these too will see improvements. The former estate offers a fascinating link to the history of the High Country and a path to the future of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the region. It’s time to remake history at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park.



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Valle Country Fair 2016 By Pan McCaslin, with photos by Catherine Morton


hirty-eight years ago, the Valle Country Fair began in the Apple Barn on the grounds of the Valle Crucis Conference Center. Arts and crafts, apple cider and apple butter, homemade baked goods, all provided by members of the Episcopal church, were sold with the proceeds to be used to help needy members of the Valle Crucis and surrounding areas. The purpose of the Fair today is unchanged - to help make a difference for those in need. What is different is the number of volunteers from the community needed to prepare and staff the booths. October 15, 2016, the 38th Valle Country Fair, hosted by the Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross in cooperation with the Valle Crucis Conference Center, will welcome thousands of guests who will visit over 178 arts and crafts exhibitors, enjoy foods of all types, listen to local and state-wide talent, watch apple butter being stirred and bottled, while sipping on hot freshly made apple cider. “The Fair would not happen without the community of volunteers who work


together to help make a difference for others.” states Bernie Keele, who along with his wife, Joan, serve as co-chairs for the Fair. Two activities that have occurred at the Valle Country Fair since its inception are the making of apple cider and apple butter. “It was easy to get apples back then. Everybody had orchards. We’d get a group together and go gather bushels on bushels. Everybody who could, would help.” says Bill Welch, long time resident of the Valle. The Apple Cider crew would gather between 150-200 bushels of apples to use for the crushing. “About 5 years ago, we began purchasing about 60 bushels of apples and around 250 bottles of already prepared cider from Saylor’s Orchard in Bakersville, NC. We made the switch because the demand for cider was increasing faster than we could make it and, seriously, some of our volunteers are just aging out,” Francis Pressley, crew chief for the Apple Cider gang, laughed. On the day of the Fair, the Cider stand makes fresh apple cider, heats it, and sells it by the cupful. Gallons of cider are also available to take home. Apple Butter is made onsite by the Apple Butter gang, long-time volunteers who travel from several states to oversee the three-day operation. Utilizing Amish-made copper pots and spurtles— long stirrers that scrape the bottom of the pots to keep the butter from burning the applesauce is cooked down into apple butter, bottled, labeled, packed into cases and sold on the day of the Fair, often to visitors who make the Apple Butter tent their first stop. Last year over 1200 pints of apple butter were sold. A visitor who is attending the Valle Country Fair for the first time will notice several things. No worker wears a personal name-tag, only one that states VOLUNTEER. The Scouts wander the crowd, dressed in uniform, emptying trash cans, picking up recycling. Law Enforcement officers, health personnel, and parking staff from the conference center are readily available to answer questions or assist. 178 vendors, 19 new this year, welcome visitors to browse, gather gifts

for the holidays, knowing that a portion of the proceeds of each vendor is returned to the Fair proceeds to help the community. The Kid’s Section, hosted by the Valle Crucis Community Park and the Valle Crucis School, will offer Face Painting, Games and a space for young artists to sell their crafts. (Young artists wanting to sell their original work should contact Caroline Gandy at 828-63-9239). Apple Hill Farm will have Alpacas and other animals in the petting area. Mountain Music and other Hill Country entertainment will be offered at two venues. One can munch on foods throughout the day – chili, cornbread, Brunswick Stew, BBQ, sausages, burgers, hot dogs or wings. Across the way, baked goods, cookies, and other desserts are offered for immediate eating or for freezing for the holidays. The youth members will be selling soft drinks and water. Monies from the Fair, after expenses, are returned to the community in the form of grants to non-profits and for use during the year to assist community members with unexpected expenses. In 2015, 213 individual requests to the Mission and Outreach Committee of Holy Cross were filled. 2016 VCF grant recipients include: Appalachian Senior Program, Children’s Council of Watauga county, High Country Caregivers, Hospitality House, Hunger and Health Coalition, Mountain Alliance, Parent-toParent Family Support Network, Quiet Givers, Spirit Ride, WAMY Community Action, Watauga County Library, and Western Youth Network. Each grant recipient is asked to provide a minimum of two volunteers to assist during the Fair. The 2016 VCF is October 15, 2016 from 9 – 4pm. Admission is Free. Parking remains $10 a car, $25 for a small van or bus, and $50 for a large bus. No smoking is allowed and pets are invited to stay at home due to health regulations that state: No Pets allowed. For further information, directions to the Valle Country Fair, and the list of 2016 entertainers, visit the website at

cider time



Oktoberfest at Sugar Mountain: Lasting Tradition of Autumn


fter 25 years of one family’s autumn tradition, it’s time to give this annual event its due. Oktoberfest on Sugar Mountain may not host the numbers found each year at the iconic Woolly Worm Festival in nearby Banner Elk, but the Bavarian inspired celebration of the harvest attracts more revelers and brings more intensity with each passing year. For Sugar Mountain resort owner, Austrian born Gunther Jochl, it’s a time for family and friends to join hands in song and dance, salute the fading summer, and herald in the change of seasons with an eye toward winter sports at the south’s flagship ski resort. Oktoberfest’s annual date, the second weekend of October, almost always assures the timely appearance of the sugar maples’ brilliant


mantel of color, setting once again, the autumn stage on Sugar Mountain. “We all look forward to Oktoberfest,” Jochl said. “It’s a lot of fun with traditional Bavarian food and drink and lets us know that winter is just around the corner.” Oktoberfest returns to the Sugar Mountain Ski Lodge October 8 and 9, Saturday and Sunday. Activities begin at 10 am through 5pm each day and parking, shuttle service, and admission are free. A children’s area is set up in the ski school play yard, so remember that everyone in the family is welcome. Artisans, crafts-people, and food vendors open their booths each day of Oktoberfest at 10am. Traditional foods of Germany, including Knockwurst, Bratwurst, and German style potato salad are yours to purchase along with barrels

and barrels of Spaten Beer delivered direct from Bavaria. Hot dogs and burgers, soft drinks and other festive foods are on hand, too. The fifteen-piece Harbour Towne Fest Band returns with their traditional brass and percussions sounds of Oom Pah, with yodeling, accordians, and Alpenhorns, encouraging the dances and the celebration of the Bavarian heart. Harbour Towne is on stage from noon til 4pm each day of Oktoberfest. And, has become a tradition at the festival, The Valle Crucis Middle School Band will lend their own special touch to the playbill. Of course, since it’s October in the North Carolina mountains, you should prepare for all types of weather. However, the festival goes on wind, rain, or snow. But if you could use some good mountain wear, the Sugar Mountain Sport and Gift Shop is open with deeply discounted apparel as well as souvenirs and keepsakes. But no visit to Sugar Mountain Resort is complete without a ride on the new, high speed six-seat Summit Express, the new chair-lift to the top of the mountain. The panoramic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the midst of autumn is breathtaking. From the summit, you’ll see images that will last a lifetime. The Village of Sugar Mountain is offering special lodging discounts when you visit Oktoberfest weekend. There’s still room for vendors, and volunteers are always encouraged to join in the Oktoberfest presentation. Call them at 828898-4521 or go online to www.skisugar. com/oktoberfest. For general information about Sugar Mountain and lodging specials, go to And don’t forget, Sugar Mountain is home to a brilliant public golf course as well as clay surfaced tennis courts. You are always welcome on Sugar Mountain for the best in four-season living.

It’s Woolly Worm Time Again! By Mary Jo Brubaker


eady or not, here it comes: The 39th annual Woolly Worm Festival of Banner Elk, North Carolina! With an estimated 16,000 to 20,000 visitors every year, the Woolly Worm Festival is considered one of the premier fall events in North Carolina. Cool crisp mountain air, spectacular fall foliage and a festival offering something for young and old, combine to make the Woolly Worm Festival a favorite fall getaway for many families. What makes the Woolly Worm Festival such a big success year after year? Certainly, it is the uniqueness of the woolly worm races, daylong music entertainment and a variety of craft vendors and festival food. But the true success of the Festival is due to the dedication and hard work of its volunteers. When asked about the Festival’s ongoing success one volunteer responded,” It takes a community to put on the Woolly Worm Festival. It’s not just the work of one or two people.” The Woolly Worm Festival is organized by a Board of Directors composed of four representatives from the Avery County Chamber of Commerce, four members of the Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk, a nonvoting chairperson and Chamber Executive Director who serves in an advisory capacity. As soon as one festival ends, the Board begins planning for the next year. Tom McMurray, a board member, says that he volunteers “because it’s all about the kids.” Festival profits are shared between the Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Club. The Kiwanis Club uses its share to fund a variety of projects that help improve the lives of children in Avery County. The Chamber uses its share to promote business and tourism in Avery County. In the last thirty eight years over $1,000,000 has flowed back to Avery County children and another million to support local business and tourism. An added benefit is the significant financial impact on local businesses and community by weekend visitors to the festival. The heart and soul of the Woolly Worm Festival are truly its volunteers. In all there are over 200 individuals involved including Kiwanis and Chamber members, Key Club, Aktion Club, Boy Scouts, Banner Elk Police, EMT’s, Civil Air Patrol, Lees McRae College students, the Garden Club and dozens of service minded community members. From stage storage to ticket sellers, the local community is involved. One example is the Banner Elk Garden Club members who bring fall beauty to the Festival , decorating the entertainment stage with cornstalks, plants, flowers and pumpkins from their own gardens. Getting the race stage from storage to festival grounds, advertising, setting up the stages, marking the festival field layout, putting up fencing and tents, hooking up utilities, organizing ticket sales and worm races, signing in volunteers – the list of jobs done by volunteers seems endless! Roy Krege (aka Mr. Woolly Worm) sums it up for the volunteers when he says, “If you want to be great in God’s Kingdom, be a servant to all. I like to get involved and make my community a good place to visit and a good place to live.” This year’s 39th Annual Woolly Worm Festival is October 15 and 16 at the Historic Banner Elk School in “downtown“ Banner Elk, North Carolina. It’s time to start planning your fall getaway to the mountains, so make your lodging reservations, pack your suitcase with a sweater and gas up the car! Our Woolly Worm volunteers are hard at work getting ready for you. We can’t wait for you to get here!

Roy Krege “Mr. Woolly Worm”



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Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club presents the 39th Annual

Brushy Mountain Apple Festival First Saturday in October CUSTOM WINDOW TREATMENTS & BEDDING Now Offering: Hunter Douglas Blinds, Upholstery and Drapery fabric samples, Drapery Hardware and Rods, & Headboards

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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


Choose And Cut Christmas Trees: The Greenest Holiday By LouAnn Morehouse


magine having to make a living on the steep slopes of these lovely mountains, with the high winds, deep snows, and long cold periods threatening the pursuit of agriculture. The early settlers tried potatoes and cabbage with some success. Then, about fifty years ago, some folks realized that the Fraser firs growing on the mountaintops were really similar to those quintessential Christmas trees, the Balsam fir. Enterprising farmers would take the tops off of mature Fraser firs in the forests and sell them as Christmas trees, but the trees were in remote locations and it was difficult to haul them out. Then came the idea to cultivate Fraser firs as a crop, on the farm, and a new industry took root. The Christmas tree industry got going on family farms throughout the High Country; agricultural extension agencies helped with expertise, and farmers planted trees where they had once planted cabbage. It takes about twelve years to grow a stand of Fraser firs into proper Christmas trees—that’s commitment. But it has paid off handsomely, providing this region of small farms with a product that is a renewable resource with a wide and appreciative market. Although the majority of the 1600 or so Christmas tree farmers in North Carolina ship their trees to commercial lots throughout the nation, there are some growers who prefer to welcome “tree hunters” to choose and cut their allimportant Christmas tree right on the farm. It’s become part of the holiday tradition to take a trip up the mountain to a favorite Christmas tree farm. According to Jim Hamilton of the Extension service in Watauga County, the tree hunters come from all over the south, everywhere from Atlanta to Charlotte and all points in between. The busiest weekends are the ones before and right after Thanksgiving. Jim says that in the High Country, the “Black Friday” shopping day after Thanksgiving is better known as “Fraser Fir Friday.”

Choose and cut farms are hospitable places, often serving hot chocolate and offering locally made treats and fresh produce. Some farms have hayrides and farm animals to pet. Sawyers are on hand to cut and wrap the chosen tree, so there’s no need to bring a hand saw. It all makes for a memorable day, and the best part is having a freshly cut Christmas tree that will fill a holiday house with the fragrance of the forests. In Watauga County, Jim Hamilton says there are eighteen choose and cut farms. That’s fewer than in years past, as some of those farmers who were at the forefront of the Christmas tree industry are now retiring, and some have passed away. But he’s hopeful that their families will carry on the tradition, as Joey Miller has been doing at his farm located near Meat Camp, and so has Burl Green, whose family has been growing Frasers at the top of Tater Hill for generations. If you don’t already have a favorite Christmas tree choose and cut farm, the best way to find one is to go online to – then it’s just a matter of packing your jingle bells and your family for the hunt for the best Christmas tree ever. Why is it called Fraser fir? A brief history:

In the late 1700’s, these mountains were exotic, unknown lands to Europeans. The French botanist, Andre Michaux, went on expeditions through the area, recording and identifying new species of plants. Michaux became noted for his role in the widespread distribution of, among other things, rhododendron plants to European gardens. Fellow botanist and explorer John Fraser accompanied Michaux on some trips, and identified the fir trees he saw at the highest elevations as being a distinct species. Fraser’s observation was ultimately confirmed, and so the fir tree native to high elevations in the Appalachians was named in his honor.

High Country Christmas Tree Facts from the CML archives The North Carolina Fraser fir is the most popular Christmas tree in North America, in part because of its long lasting needles. 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 three 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. For more information visit:



Shanghai Nights


n a recent conversation with a High Country arts patron, she bemoaned the fact that her family had to journey all the way to Charlotte to catch national tours of Broadway shows. “On the contrary,” I told her, “drive just a short distance down the mountain to Burke County and you’ll find all kinds of theatrical offerings at CoMMA.” For over three decades, the City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium, or CoMMA, has presented live entertainment and cultural events to the delight of local and regional audiences. CoMMA’s popular BackPorch summer concert series just concluded another successful season in the intimate outdoor amphitheater located off their main gallery, featuring artists from North Carolina to Nashville. These concerts start at 7 pm with picnics onsite beginning at 6 pm. This series is in addition to the “TGIF Summer Concerts” that takes place on the Courthouse Square. A complete summer schedule may be found on their website at The recently announced season for


CoMMA Announces MainStage Morganton’s 2016-17 Season By Keith Martin MainStage Morganton for 2016-17 contains sixteen major subscription events that give the community a variety of theatre, dance, music and popular programming. The Broadway tours on the schedule are particularly noteworthy, with the musical “Fame” scheduled for October 6, followed by “42nd Street” on January 30, and the 2013 Tony Award-winning Best Revival of “Pippin” set for February 23. Coincidentally, “Steppin’ Out with Ben Vereen” will bring the star of the original 1972 production, and Tony winner for his portrayal of The Leading Player, to the CoMMA stage for a one-man show on November 12. This event will be preceded by a master class sponsored by CoMMA in the Valborg Theatre at Appalachian State University, yet another example of the partnerships formed to extend their programmatic reach beyond the Morganton and Burke County. Music events on the series begin with recording artist “Collin Raye in Concert” on August 25, followed by “You’ve Got A Friend: The Music of Carole King and James Taylor” on September 15, as performed by Kirsti Manna and Jonathan

Birchfield with the Western Piedmont Symphony Orchestra. Back for a return engagement are The Texas Tenors on December 2 with a holiday concert titled “Deep in the Heart of Christmas.” On February 10, “Live from Nashville” stars twelve musicians, singers, and dancers who are “bringing phenomenal fiddling, fancy footwork, and top-flight vocals your way.” Ireland’s Folk Band of the year, The High Kings, perform on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day with a March 16 show, followed on April 4 by “Jump, Jive and Wail” with The Jive Aces, featured on the “Britain’s Got Talent” television show. Dance and movement are represented on the schedule with an October 20 performance of “Shanghai Nights” by acrobats of the People’s Republic of China and on March 9 with “Cinderella” by the Russian National Ballet Theatre. Family shows include the musical “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” on December 15 and “Dreams of the Impossible” by Nelson Illusions on March 23, described as “a one-of-a-kind theatrical spectacle that combines rare &


New CoMMA Director Strives To Continue Programmatic Legacy

D original illusions from around the world with award winning, jaw-dropping magic.” On May 4, “ARTRAGEOUS” takes audience members on a unique visual journey packed with wild inspiration, creativity and fun when a troupe of artists, musicians, singers and dancers pay tribute to a variety of art forms, pop icons and musical genres culminating in a gallery of fabulous finished paintings. Finally, in what has become an annual tradition, there is an event titled “The Game Show” on January 12. “We hope you like surprises,” CoMMA teases on its subscription brochure, “The Game Show is a performance that is kept secret until the curtain rises. Are you willing to take a chance?”


Box office hours are from noon until 5:00 pm weekdays and one hour prior to all events. For additional information, or to request a season brochure, please call 828-433-SHOW or 800-939-SHOW, or visit the website at

By Keith Martin

r. W. Jim Smith, is “looking forward to running the show and continuing the legacy built by his predecessor Bill Wilson.” Morganton City Manager Sally Sandy said, “We chose Jim because we think he is the best fit for CoMMA and for the City. He knows the theater business; he knows CoMMA; he knows the community; and I think he is the most qualified to continue and build on their successes.” Smith certainly does know CoMMA. Since 2006, he’s served as the Music and Programming Pastor at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church (PRBC), just southwest of Morganton, and for the last eight years, Smith has produced and directed PRBC’s “Singing Christmas Tree” production at CoMMA. The show has grown from a three-night event that filled the lower level of the auditorium, to a four-performance, standing-room only holiday season spectacular. “I’m sure there were people who applied that had more theater management experience,” Smith said. “But I felt my strength was my understanding of the community, and my understanding of what shows would bring people into CoMMA. According to former director Bill Wilson, “PRBC had the biggest show in the history of CoMMA with ‘The Grinch’ in December 2015. More than 4,000 people attended that weekend.” This coming year, PRBC will be presenting “Home Alone,” a redo of the classic holiday movie, on December 9, 10 and 11. In addition to directing PRBC’s Christmas show, Smith has also worked part-time the past five years as an on-call technical assistant at CoMMA. Jim and his wife Margaret were instrumental in getting Burke County elementary students onstage to sing in one of the MainStage season holiday shows. Previous guest artists have included Pat Boone, BJ Thomas, the Lettermen and this year on December 2, The Texas Tenors “Deep in the Heart of Christmas.” “I’ve learned a lot about CoMMA doing the Christmas show and being there part-time, and I’ve been able to get to know the staff and build some relationships,” Smith said. “That experience has given me a lot of insight into what works well and what could be improved, and ways we can build on the success of CoMMA.” Smith plans to bring all of his community experience and knowledge of music, theater, and arts to CoMMA and he has a vision. His first goal is to reach out to a younger audience. “I really want to reach the Millennial generation; that’s my top priority,” Smith said. “If we don’t seek new patrons and younger patrons, then we’ll have empty seats, and people will miss out on the joy and excitement of live shows.” One way in which Smith plans to reach out to young and older audiences is by developing a focus group of people of all ages to hear their thoughts and get feedback on CoMMA. Smith said he wants to know if people in the community feel that the theater meets their needs. Smith also plans to focus on marketing and social media, build a stronger presence in the schools, and develop relationships with other theaters in the region. Smith said he knows he has some big shoes to fill, but he looks forward to the challenge. Former director Bill Wilson assisted with the staff transition by creating and scheduling the 2016-17 MainStage Season. Smith won’t have to handle that task his first year, but soon it will be his show. “Bill is leaving a great foundation for a new director,” Smith said. “I hope that I can continue his legacy and bring more great shows and concerts to CoMMA and to the next generation.” CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —


Q&A with Ben Vereen, Legendary Star of Stage and Screen By Keith Martin


“Chicken” George in Alex Haley’s Roots; Tony Award-winner for Bob Fosse’s Pippin; Judas Iscariot in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar; the title role in the TV movie Louis Armstrong: Chicago Style; Broadway appearances in Hair, Wicked, Fosse, Grind, Jelly’s Last Jam, and I’m Not Rappaport; guest appearances on television’s Law and Order, OZ, Touched By An Angel, NCIS, Hot In Cleveland, Star Trek: The Next Generation; How I Met Your Mother, and Grey’s Anatomy, for which he won the Prism Award for his accurate portrayal of addiction; American Theatre Hall of Fame; Entertainer of the Year; National Museum of Dance Hall of Fame; three NAACP Image Awards… and so much more. This is Ben Vereen.


en Vereen is coming back to the High Country for at least the third occasion in the last five years, this time to appear in his one-man show Steppin’ Out with Ben Vereen on November 12 at the City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium (CoMMA), following a master class the day before in the Valborg Theatre at Appalachian State University, co-sponsored by CoMMA and the Department of Theater and Dance. The legendary star turns 70 in October and is celebrating a half-century as an entertainer this season. CML caught up with Vereen briefly while on location in NYC, where he was filming his third episode of the Amazon hit show Sneaky Pete with Brian Cranston of “Breaking Bad.” Most recently, he spoke on behalf of Americans for the Arts at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, then joined fellow Broadway stars including Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel and others to promote peace by singing “What the World Needs Now is Love.” Here are Vereen’s comments, edited only for space and clarity. CML: I saw an earlier version of your one-man show at 54 Below in NYC. How has the show evolved and what may we expect to see at CoMMA? Vereen: Steppin’ Out with Ben Vereen is my gratitude show, a thank you to God, and to audiences who have followed me over the years. It’s a constantly-evolving show and the songs have changed to better illustrate my life’s changing journey. At certain parts of my life, these songs were very important to me, then and now. They tell my story. In December, we go into rehearsal for my next show, “From Brooklyn to Broadway,” and you’ll hear several numbers from that production as

we continue to put it together. (His press kit says, “Ben’s show is a unique blend of artistry, combining a tribute to Broadway, Frank Sinatra, and a very special tribute to Sammy Davis Jr. Featuring hit songs such as “Defying Gravity,” “Mr. Bojangles,” “For Good” from Wicked and “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries,” and more… a contemporary and timeless journey through the Broadway songbook.”) CML: At a recent theatre conference, you kept over 2,000 students mesmerized. How do you explain your unique connection with young people, and audiences in general? Vereen: It’s simple: I talk to them, and at them. It’s a special relationship and I try to establish a common ground on which to communicate. As teachers, we have to allow students to find a voice and let it be heard, the reality of who they are and how to express that through the arts. Growing up in Brooklyn, someone was always there for me and we have a responsibility to give back to the next generation. I frequently mention about the major obstacle that stands in the way of success; I call it E.G.O., an acronym for “Edging Out God,” and I encourage young artists to be mindful of that fact. CML: How have you survived a stroke, being stuck by a car and pronounced dead at the scene, knee replacement and other major health issues? Vereen: It’s something that I can’t explain. It’s just something within that holds me together. Tenacity is the best way to describe it. CML: I’m told that one of your many current projects is “Wellness Through the Arts.” Vereen: Yes, absolutely. WTA came out of my passion for both areas, wellness


and the arts. The focus is in four different themes: bullying, obesity, low self esteem and diabetes. It’s easy to remember these areas as they spell out the word BOLD. It’s part of the Ben Vereen Awards, the San Diego edition of the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, “The Jimmys.” For the arts essay and video competition, I simply ask the students to describe their best day; it’s a process of reflection that is invaluable and it uses the performing arts as a foundation for a healthier lifestyle. When they share their personal stories on how the arts have helped them overcome any of these issues, it helps others. CML: You recently revisited the musical Hair, but this time as a director, correct? Vereen: At the Venice Theatre in Florida, but theatre is a collaboration, you don’t create it alone. That production was not so much a show but a social revival, and it still makes a strong statement today. Theatre has been a catalyst for social change from the very beginning, to change public consciousness for good or bad. It is all about making the work relevant. What I liked about the current blockbuster Hamilton is its relevance; the diversity of America and how that diversity built a nation… and an audience. Lin-Manuel Miranda is speaking their language, and that made the show for me. CML: Welcome back to the High Country! We look forward to seeing your show and attending the master class.

Ben Vereen, Legendary Star of Stage and Screen

For tickets to Steppin’ Out with Ben Vereen, call 828433-SHOW or 800-939-SHOW, or visit the website at For information about the master class, call toll-free at 800-841-ARTS (2787) or visit CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —


The Dave Calvert Collective: A Work In Progress In Search Of Excellence By Steve York


et’s face it, bands come and go. They change members, change styles, change names, and, sometimes, simply break up. Sometimes it’s the untimely death of a music legend, or the internal discord between band members or just the need for one or more of the members to evolve beyond the confinement of that band’s musical identity and creative potential. More often than not, it’s the latter. Whether it’s the Beatles breakup; the Eagles changing singers, lead guitar and solo careers; David Crosby moving from the Birds to join Stephen Stills from Buffalo Springfield, then joining Graham Nash of the Hollies to finally be joined by Neil Young of Crazy Horse; to evolve as simply, Crosby Stills Nash & Young; or your neighbor’s local garage band struggling just to get a “gig.” It’s the natural course and curse of bands. To grow and evolve, to reach their potential, or to merely reach their end, they change, they come and they go. That’s certainly the story of Dave Calvert Collective band leader and Newland’s Carolina Barbeque owner, Dave Calvert and his band—or evolution of bands. He and his band mates have been


changing and evolving right in front of our eyes over the past years. As a native of Newland, Dave started playing guitar at age 12. However, he didn’t stop there. Dave also taught himself to play drums, bass, keyboard and harp. Oh yeah, he also sings both lead and backup harmonies. And it isn’t unusual to see him wearing more than one of those hats during any given performance. Like many musicians, Dave has been influence by a “who’s who” of music legends dating all the way back to the big band swing era up to today, and across every music genre. Famous rock guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Lindsey Buckingham and Peter Frampton; big band drummers like Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich; rock drummers like Mick Fleetwood; singers like Wilson Picket, Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick Jr, Hank Williams and—yes—Eric Clapton again; bands like the Eagles, Bad Company, Fleetwood Mac and many more; as well as local guys like Gene Hollifield, Ronald Benfield, Bruce Johnson; and High Country legends like Mike Stamey and Mike Presnell. “Stamey and Presnell.” says Dave. “When they perform, it’s like the intensity of their souls oozes from their hearts.

“But the main thing is that I love all kinds of music, from classical, to jazz, to R&B, rock, country, you name it. All of it has helped inform what I play and how I play. On top of that, our band loves to perform; especially when we create the right sound which inspires a visceral interaction with an audience. When they start dancing, singing along and becoming engaged, then we know we’re doing our job. And that helps drive us to get better and better,” Dave adds. After living in Florida from 1970 until 1981, Dave moved back home and began playing around this area in 1982. He has managed to form or play with several bands, including “Suicide Sally,” “The Whip Daddy’s” and, as occasional drummer and support vocalist with local favorites, “The Johnson Brothers.” More recently, his primary focus has become “The Dave Calvert Collective.” This latest band evolution continues with a core genre of hot R&B and Rock hits. But they also throw in some familiar southern country rock stuff by groups like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers. And it’s this group that seems to be coming together as the signature sound and musical balance Dave and band members are shooting for.

Havana Cuba All-Stars

Film: “Remember”

Tuesday, September 27, 7pm

The SteelDrivers

Friday, November 11, 7pm

Thursday, October 6, 7pm

Jessica Lang Dance

Wednesday, February 8, 7pm

The Schaefer Center Presents

2016-17 Season

The Nile Project

Additional events will be announced soon!

Tuesday, April 4, 7pm

A Weekend? A Season? A Lifetime?


Those members include Dave Calvert on guitar and vocals, Dave Cox on drums, John Pinter on lead guitar, Dennis Murphy on sax, Pat McKonkey playing harmonica and percussion, Randy Buchanan on bass, plus Hope Harvey as occasional vocalist. And last—though anything but least—Dave’s wife, business partner, life partner and Stevie Nicks alter ego, Jeanette Calvert, providing cameo appearances. Close your eyes, listen to Jeanette sing “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac, and you’ll think Stevie just appeared on stage. A more recent band addition is a 27-year-old kid from Louisiana named John Pinter. John sings, is a natural showman, and possesses a raw, edgy guitar styling reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn. When not busy with his day job of making and serving Carolina Barbeque, Dave and the Collective can be seen all over the High Country, including regular performances in Banner Elk, Linville, Boone, Blowing Rock and Newland’s Riverwalk Summer Concert series. This is a band that continues to evolve, in search of their own signature musical excellence, and one you’ll always enjoy as they reach for that next peak performance.

For tickets and more information: 1-800-841-ARTS • 828-262-4046 Boone, NC

Whether you want to rent or buy…we’ve got YOUR mountain getaway. Great Locations. Great Selection. Great Pricing. Let’s find yours today. From our family to yours, Jack & Janet Anderson 828-898-9746 | 800-438-4555 | “ I T ’ S




H E R E ! ”



T he 12 most interesting shows on the horizon from now through Nove m b er... Cultural Calendar Spotlights By Keith Martin


utumn on the annual calendar marks the start of numerous seasons in the performing arts, particularly on college and university campuses or other cultural organizations that program on an academic year basis. Elsewhere in this issue you will find announcements from three such organizations, and don’t miss the season preview about CoMMA, the City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium, also in this edition of CML. To help you plan your theatre going experience, here are the 12 most interesting shows on the horizon from now through November, listed below by producing company. PLEASE NOTE that all of the performances, dates and times are subject to change; readers are strongly encouraged to contact the box office for the most current information. See you at the theatre! Appalachian State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance also has four productions remaining on its fall season. Filled with lyrical language, music and mysticism, Selkie: Between Land and Sea (September 28 through October 1) by Laurie Brooks is a coming-of-age story about a young girl who struggles to find a sense of belonging and identity as the secrets of her family are revealed.


Greatest Show - ASU Theatre & Dance Photo by Lynn Willis

Love and Information (November 2 through 6 and 8 through 11) is an acclaimed new work from award-winning playwright Caryl Churchill. It takes a close look at the Information Age and how it inspired obsessions, FaceTime conversations and celebrity selfies that threaten to replace human contact. Dr. Derek Davidson will direct this fastmoving kaleidoscope with more than 100 characters trying to make sense of what they know. Info at or 800-841ARTS (2787). The North Carolina Dance Festival (October 27 through 29), a three-city performance series featuring the best of modern dance choreographers and dancers in the state, will again include the High Country on its statewide tour this fall. This event is a unique opportunity for dance students to watch professional companies and artists from across North Carolina with a different repertoire at each of the festival’s three evening performances. New works featuring original choreography will be presented during performances by the popular Appalachian Dance Ensemble (November 16 through 19). This creative laboratory for faculty and students features six to eight different works each se-

mester. While primarily modern in style and form, pieces chosen for the concert demonstrate dance influences from ballet, jazz and pop culture. The movement ranges from abstract to expressionistic, and with rhythmic works of sheer physical energy, each exuding the joy of dance. Info at www.theatreanddance.appstate. edu or 800-841-ARTS (2787). At the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, VA, four different shows grace their stages during their fall season, and it is possible to catch all of them on a single weekend visit. The most popular show by the legendary duo of John Kander and Fred Ebb is still Chicago (September 29 through November 12), which has been playing on “The Great White Way” since 1996, making the longest running American musical in Broadway history. Bob Fosse’s distinctive choreography is the hallmark of this musical, which has won six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, and a Grammy, in addition to an Academy Award for its movie adaption. Just in time for Halloween, Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes (September 16 through November 12) joins the line-up, which the Barter describes as “a deliciously, scary adventure about friendship and innocence, and perfectly captures the wondrous belief we possess

Appalachian Dance Ensemble Photo by Lynn Willis when we are 14 years old.” Info at www. or 276-628-3991. On the intimate Barter Stage II, Shaun McKenna has adapted Peter James’ novella The Perfect Murder for the stage (September 8 through November 13). This mystery involves a husband and wife, his girlfriend, her “other interests” and the perfect murders that each of them plan for the other. The question of “what could go wrong?” is answered when nothing turns out as planned. Perfectly timed to coincide with the fall election, Winter Wheat: A New Musical (October 6 through November 12) features book and lyrics by Barter’s playwright-in-residence Catherine Bush with music and vocal arrangements by her collaborator, Ben Mackel. The setting is a small East Tennessee town in 1920 when the country was deeply divided over 19th Amendment and whether women should have the right to vote. Info at or 276-628-3991. Although details were still pending at our deadline, Gary Smith at Ensemble Stage in Blowing Rock was teasing summer audience members about their upcoming production of War of the Worlds. Those of a certain age will remember

Something Wicked This Way Comes - Barter Theatre

hearing about the “Mercury Theatre On The Air” performance on Sunday, October 30, 1938, aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network. Directed and narrated by actor and future filmmaker Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells’ 1898 novel of the same name. It became famous for allegedly causing mass hysteria, although the reality of the panic is disputed as the program had relatively few listeners. Info at www.EnsembleStage. com or 828-414-1844. Over in Banner Elk at Lees-McRae College, area audiences will get their first look at The Addams Family (September 29 through October 2), a musical comedy with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. The show is based upon The Addams Family characters created by Charles Addams in his single-panel gag cartoons, which depict a ghoulish American family with an affinity for all things macabre. In Eurydice (November 17 through 20), yet another High Country premiere, Sarah Ruhl reimagines the classic myth of Orpheus through the eyes of its heroine. Dying too young on her wedding day, Eurydice must journey to the underworld, where she reunites with her father and strug-

gles to remember her lost love. With contemporary characters, ingenious plot twists, and breathtaking visual effects, the play is a fresh look at a timeless love story. Info at or 828-8988709 with performances in Banner Elk, NC. Parkway Playhouse in Burnsville, NC continues their 70th Anniversary Season with The Great Gatsby (September 24 through October 8); it is the one “must see” production on my fall theatre schedule. Adapted by Simon Levy and under the skillful direction of Michael Lilly, the influences of money, class, romance, and corruption collide as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s quintessential take on the American dream comes to life on stage. “Opulent parties, passionate affairs, jealousy, and murder are tangled together in this powerful and vivid tale of American bravado, lost love, and post-war recovery in the Roaring Twenties.” The Playhouse believes that this work is “an eloquent evocation of a bygone era that deeply resonates with our world today.” Info at or 828682-4285.



18 Upcoming Shows Add Spice, Diversity To Local Arts Scene By Keith Martin The High Country is blessed with exceptional cultural programs at Appalachian State University and Lees-McRae College with their numerous offerings for campus and community audiences. From September through May of each academic year, hardly a week goes by without a major event that enriches the quality of life for residents and visitors alike. Three different groups recently announced their seasons, and the following is a brief overview of what to expect during 2016-17. For more information, visit the websites listed at the end of each section. The Department of Theatre and Dance at Appalachian State University has announced an expanded slate of 10 offerings produced in five different venues on campus and in the community. Running from early September through the end of April, the season will take the stages of the Valborg Theatre, I.G. Greer Studio Theatre, Varsity Gymnasium, Turchin Center for Visual Arts and Daniel Boone Gardens. The highlights include over a dozen world premiere dance works and an entire season of theatre by female playwrights. n American Dance Festival’s “Movies by Movers” Film Festival Sept. 8–10, 2016 Turchin Center for the Visual Arts n First Year Showcase Sept. 22–24, 2016 at 7 p.m., Sept. 25, 2016 at 2 p.m. I.G. Greer Studio Theatre n Selkie: Between Land and Sea by Laurie Brooks Sept. 28–Oct. 1, 2016 at 7 p.m., Oct. 2, 2016 at 2 p.m. Valborg Theatre n North Carolina Dance Festival Oct. 27–29, 2016 at 7 p.m. Valborg Theatre n Love and Information by Caryl Churchill Nov. 2–5, 8–11, 2016 at 7 p.m.; Nov. 6, 2016 at 2 p.m. I.G. Greer Studio Theatre n Fall Appalachian Dance Ensemble Nov.16–19, 2016 at 7 p.m. Valborg Theatre n Silence by Moira Buffini Feb. 22–25, 2017 at 7 p.m.; Feb. 26, 2017 at 2 p.m. Valborg Theatre n Spring Appalachian Dance Ensemble March 29–April 1, 2017 at 7 p.m. Valborg Theatre n The Mischief Makers by Lowell Swortzell Presented by Appalachian Young People’s Theatre April 21, 2017 at 7 p.m.; April 22–23, 2017 at 2 p.m. I.G. Greer Studio Theatre n Flight from the Mahabharath by Muthal Naidoo April 26–29, 2017 at 7 p.m.; April 30, 2017 at 2 p.m. Valborg Theatre


The Performing Arts Department at Lees-McRae College, housed in the School of Arts, Humanities and Education, has scheduled a three-show theatre season that covers the entire history of the art form. From a re-imagination of an ancient Roman myth by a modern playwright, to a much-loved Elizabethan classic by Shakespeare, to a contemporary American musical comedy, LMC will produce a program with usual balance. All performances are in the Broyhill Theatre of Hayes Auditorium on their idyllic campus in Banner Elk, NC. Tickets are only sold at the door one hour before show time, and all seating is by general admission. n The Addams Family Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa, Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice Sept 29, 30 and Oct 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct 2 at 2 p.m. n Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl Nov 17 – 19 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov 20 at 2 p.m. n As You Like It by William Shakespeare Feb 23 – 25 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb 26 at 2 p.m. The Schaefer Center Presents… at Appalachian State University, formerly known as the Performing Arts Series, has set the majority of its 2016-17 line-up with one or two other events yet to be announced. There is literally something for everyone with music, dance, theatre, and film highlighting each and every season, smartly programmed by the same creative team behind the venerable An Appalachian Summer Festival. Simply stated, if this organization didn’t provide such a diverse, international line-up across the full spectrum of the arts for culture lovers in the High Country, who would? All performances begin at 7 p.m. in The Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts on the university campus. n Havana Cuba All-Stars “Music from the rumba to the cha-cha-cha to the habanera…” Sept 27, 2016 at 7 p.m. n Film Screening: “Remember” Directed by Atom Egoyan, starring Academy Award-winner n Christopher Plummer Oct 6, 2016 at 7 p.m. n The Steeldrivers 2016 Grammy Award-winners for Best Bluegrass Album Nov 11, 2016 at 7 p.m. n Jessica Lang Dance “A master of visual composition,” —Dance Magazine February 8, 2017 at 7 p.m. n Lake Street Dive An up-and-coming band whose members first met at Boston’s New England Conservatory Feb 25, 2017 at 7 p.m. n The Nile Project “Musical ambassadors and diplomats” (BBC) “Producing harmony in a divided world” (NPR) April 4, 2017 at 7 p.m.


...on stage

Appalachian Dance Ensemble – Photo by Lynn Willis




ur mountains are home to hundreds of species of butterflies and moths, also known as lepidopterans (Order Lepidoptera). All of these butterflies and moths go through a four-stage lifecycle, or a complete metamorphosis. At different times of the year, we notice them in their various forms, feeding on leaves, inching along our roadways, and fluttering through the skies. In this Explorers report, we look inside the “secret lives” of two lepidopterans that are especially active during the fall months.

Blue Ridge Explorers Byways and Flyways: Local Lepidopterans on the Move By Tamara Seymour

The Wandering WOOLLY

Few insects are as recognizable as the bristly, black-and-rust caterpillar that we celebrate every year in the high country. Throughout the rest of North America, these common caterpillars are known as woolly bears or black-ended bears. Here in our mountains, and throughout much of the south, we fondly refer to them as “woolly worms.” A woolly worm is not a worm at all, but the larval form of the Isabella tiger moth, a mid-sized, cream-colored moth with random black spots and a twoinch wingspan. Like all lepidopterans, Isabella tiger moths go through an egglarva-pupa-adult lifecycle. But unlike some species that spend the winter as eggs, in cocoons, or as winged adults, this common moth braves the winter as a caterpillar. One Cool Cat In anticipation of the cold winter months, mature woolly worms start wandering. You’ll notice them crisscrossing our highways and byways as early as August, but the activity really picks up in October. Why woollies feel the need to wander is a bit of a mystery, since this caterpillar is a food generalist – it will eat an assortment of plants that can be found almost anywhere, including grasses, clovers, dandelions, sunflowers, and maples. A woolly will roam until it finds just the right rock, pile of leaves, or decomposing log where it can quietly pass the cold months. Here in the mountains, woolly worms enter a state of hibernation, surviving frigid conditions with the help of a natural, built-in antifreeze called a cryoprotectant. Come early spring, woollies wake up, feed for a few days, and spin a cocoon, weaving in some of their own black-and-


rust bristles. Magic happens inside the cocoon and the worms grow their wings. Once the adult moths emerge from their cocoons, they mate and lay eggs. The spring woolly worms hatch, and the lifecycle continues. Each year, we may see two or three generations of woollies, depending on weather and other factors. The woollies we spot wandering in the fall are usually the last generation of the year. “Reading” the Worm No one asked the woolly worm if it wanted to be a weather forecaster. Nonetheless, many mountain dwellers rely on this clueless caterpillar to predict

the severity of the coming winter. Woolly worms have 13 body segments with bristles, or setae, which come in two colors: black and rust. Local worm readers claim that each of the 13 segments represents a week of winter— rust means a milder week, black means a cold and snowy week. An all-black woolly would therefore indicate a rather nasty winter approaching.* Each fall in the high country, we put our favorite caterpillars’ prediction powers to the test. The popular Banner Elk Woolly Worm festival, now in its 39th year, encourages event goers to collect or purchase a worm contestant— one that will speed up the official racetrack, cross the finish line first, and accurately forecast the severity of the winter to come. “Wacing the worm” is the center of the celebration, but in addition the attendees enjoy music, food, dancing, and mountain crafts. Concerned about a woolly worm shortage? No need to worry. Populations of this species appear to be stable, but can fluctuate from year to year, depending on temperatures and moisture levels. Festival activities are not likely to have a lasting impact on our mountain populations. So feel free to have some fun and collect a few worms to make your own weather

predictions. Just keep in mind that the more caterpillars we return to safe wintering sites—leaf litter, rocks, or logs near food sources (and away from the road!)—the better the chances of these woollies surviving the cold months and having grandchildren to compete in next year’s big race! *Spoiler alert: Science-based evidence suggests that segment colors change with each molt, or instar, a woolly worm undergoes. As the caterpillar molts, a black segment is replaced with a rust one. So a woolly with many rust segments would likely indicate the advanced age and growth of that particular caterpillar, rather than a mild winter to come.

The Mighty MONARCH

You may quickly recognize this classic butterfly, with its orange-andblack patterns resembling stained glass. Perhaps you’re already familiar with the monarch’s claim to fame: its lengthy fall migration to Mexico. What you may not realize is that western North Carolina is considered a prime location for observing the monarch butterfly and its remarkable migration. Marathon to Mexico Several generations of monarchs are

born in North America each year. Adult butterflies from the spring and midsummer generations live roughly two to six weeks. Butterflies of the late summer/ early fall generation may live much longer. This generation includes the mightiest monarchs of all, the ones that travel up to 2,500 miles to reach Mexico’s oyamel fir forest in the mountains of south-central Mexico. Once in Mexico, they will spend the winter months hanging out in the oyamel trees. Come spring, they begin their return trip north, making it about half-way before they reproduce and die. Their offspring will continue to fly north, creating new generations along the way. Monarchs have two primary migration routes: a central flyway that encompasses much of the Midwestern U.S., and the eastern flyway, which roughly follows the Appalachian mountain range. The mountains of North Carolina have traditionally been a hotspot for the eastern population, even serving as roosting sites, or “overnight campgrounds” for hundreds of migrating monarchs. But in the past several years, areas along the migration routes, including our mountains, have seen far fewer migrating monarchs.

More Milkweed=More Monarchs Scientists have been studying monarch migration for many years now. Evidence shows that a decline in migrating populations reflects the loss of monarch breeding habitat and milkweed (Asclepias spp.), the monarch caterpillar’s sole food source. Milkweeds are native plants that grow wild throughout North America. Female monarch butterflies lay their eggs only on milkweed, and the caterpillars that hatch from these eggs spend their larval life munching on the mildly toxic leaves of their one and only food plant.** Without milkweed, monarchs cannot survive. Land development for human use is the single biggest contributor to monarch habitat loss. In many cases, landowners simply do not know the importance of milkweed and so it gets whacked, along with other, less worthy weeds. Yet when we keep this native plant intact, it grows quite tall, produces colorful, sweet scented flower clusters, and supplies food and nectar to monarchs and other pollinators. Continued on next page



Lepidopterans continued from previous page

Meet the Author: Tamara Seymour By Jane Richardson

B Habitat for Humanity (and Monarchs)

A growing number of landowners, parks, schools, churches, libraries, and environmental education centers are now working together to support monarchs and their amazing migration. Efforts to preserve, plant, and nurture milkweed in areas where monarchs are known to breed have been paying off in many parts of the country. Want to help? By planting milkweed seeds and plants, you can attract monarchs to your property for years to come. Two milkweed species that are easy to grow in the mountains include common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) and butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). You’ll find these and other regional species at garden centers specializing in native plants. Your family can also participate in citizen science programs to monitor monarch eggs, caterpillars and adult butterflies in your area. Here are two terrific websites to get you started: • Annenberg Learner’s Journey North: Monarch Butterfly website at Download an app to report your own sightings, follow the migration week by week, and find answers to all your questions about monarch migration • The Monarch Joint Venture Project website at www. Find seed and plant sources, read about the latest monarch research, and review the 2016 Monarch Conservation Implementation Plan. Working together, we can bring more monarchs back to our mountains and play an important role in the future of these mighty butterflies!

Note: Feeding on milkweed is an adaptive survival strategy that makes monarch caterpillars unappetizing to many predators. However, all species of milkweed are toxic to livestock and humans.


efore author and publisher Tamara Seymour found her ultimate calling, she traveled our country extensively pursuing her education and career in the marketing, creative business, and communication fields. Born in Florida and growing up both there and in North Carolina, Seymour studied communications at Auburn University which led to her career in journalism, copywriting and graphic design. While practicing those arts in the Pacific Northwest, her experience working with educational organizations whetted her appetite to learn more about science and environmental education, and to create a venue for public outreach. So she began taking classes in environmental science and biology, and participated in Oregon State University’s Master Naturalist program. She also volunteered in marine and environmental education at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, OR. That experience led Seymour to launch her first magazine, Smiling Sea, designed to educate and inspire young people about marine science. It was a perfect melding of her skills and training in communication and her passion for science. Coming back “home” to the high country in 2010, Seymour continued her freelance communication work and also helped manage a local Fraser fir tree farm. While there, she developed a grassroots interpretive center and environmental education program focused on the nature of the Blue Ridge region. Recently, Seymour received her N.C. Environmental Education certification and is now completing her Blue Ridge Naturalist certification through the NC Arboretum in Asheville. In 2015, Seymour started her most recent publication Carolina Explorers, which covers the various natural aspects of our state - its topics can range from solar farms to sea turtles. Created to encourage exploration of “our own back yard,” every quarterly issue features pages such as “Hike Back in History” and “Rainy Day Adventures,” to name only a few, and makes a great field guide for road trips since you can easily tuck it into a pocket or bag. The “Word Wise” page is a helpful glossary of terms found in each edition. The summer 2016 edition has a particularly interesting piece on the over one thousand pure white squirrels (no, they are not albinos) of Brevard, NC. There are interactive puzzles as well, and though targeted toward the young reader in particular, there is something to interest all age groups. “I want to encourage learning through exploring, which I think involves a combination of reading about nature, observing nature, and enjoying hands-on experiences,” says Seymour. You’ll find this limited circulation magazine (with almost no ads) in some libraries, classrooms and doctors’ offices, and coming soon to select retail locations as the subscription base expands.

Check out the website at, follow on Facebook, or subscribe by emailing

Butterflies Moths Lepidoptera Woolly worm Caterpillar Isabella Larva Generation Egg Pupa Cryoprotectant Cocoon Setae Human Monarch Migration Oyamel fir Milkweed

Explorers Search

See if you can find all of the words on the list that also appear throughout the article. E J M I T C E N J U N R T I O O


















You’ll find this challenge ‘solved’ on page 86


Explorers Search


Dig It! Gray Fossil Site Holds Big Surprises By Nan K. Chase


simple road-widening project in eastern Tennessee in the year 2000 got complicated with the discovery of bone and tusk fragments from Ice Age tapirs dating from about 11,000 years ago. And with the subsequent unearthing of a far older alligator skull at the same site, the timeline got moved back…way, way back, 5 million years to the late Miocene epoch. Today that highway takes a detour to accommodate an important ongoing fossil dig, a high-tech laboratory for analysis and reconstruction of bone fragments and other finds, climate-controlled long-term fossil storage, plus a conference center and a fine natural history museum. For fans of prehistoric discovery the Gray Fossil Site is a must-see destination and makes a pleasant side trip from the N.C. High Country. Located about 12 miles from Johnson City, Tenn., the fossil site illustrates the laborious process – inch by inch, using toothbrushes and dental picks – that’s involved in uncovering the distant past. Thanks to its affiliation with East Tennessee State University, the fossil dig and lab are staffed with an emerging generation of paleontologists. The actual dig site may hold enough material in its estimated 130-foot depth for a century or more of digging, plus a staggering thousand years of interpretation. Showy? No. Fascinating? Yes.

Lions And Tigers And Bears

The complex Miocene epoch lasted about 18 million years. Dinosaurs were no longer on the scene, and the Ice Age and modern human life were yet to come. This was the era of evolving mammals, including whales and other aquatic mammals, while the air was filling with birds. Grasslands abounded and the oceans held vast nutrient-rich kelp beds. Thanks to lush vegetation on land and sea, this emerging animal life took on big proportions. At least there was a lot of life, everything from mice to


mastodons, from snakes and frogs and turtles to pandas and badgers, horses, big cats and rhinoceros. Plants, too. In addition to all those species, the Gray Fossil Site has yielded up the lustrous brown skeleton of a huge local bear. It stands 10 feet tall, in the front lobby, and has claws several inches long hinged on long, long fingers and powerful arms. Also on display from the site: a delicate alligator skeleton about two feet long, and as elegant as a piece of modern jewelry. How did this abundance happen to collect in such concentrations just at Gray? Beneath the surface of what would be known as Tennessee, limestone deposits created a honeycomb structure that was prone to flooding, seepage and collapse. Interpreters at Gray Fossil Site speculate that such a situation existed with a pond on top, a watering hole that attracted countless animals to drink. Perhaps the limestone floor beneath the pond collapsed – some 7 million to 4.5 million years ago – creating a sinkhole about 130 feet deep. A guide at the site calls this formation a ”natural trap” that now holds a cache of bones. During the warm spring and summer months these days, a cadre of paleontologists systematically pick away at the uppermost layers of the deposit; so far only three feet of the 130 foot depth have been explored. Every shovelful of dirt is coded and collected in yellow plastic bags, while blue flags in the ground indicate small finds and orange flags mark a grid that guides each researcher’s efforts. In fall and winter, when soil temperature fluctuations can affect the dig, activity moves indoors to the research and restoration labs, which invite visitors to peer through big observation windows and see work in progress. At the end of the 2015 season the diggers made an important find. They isolated a 5 ½ foot lower piece of a giant mastodon’s jaw, far larger than that of a modern elephant. This bone was painstakingly moved to the lab. Based on the latest findings the beast’s remains are

situated lengthwise in the ground. It may take generations to get to the bottom of its skeleton and all the way to the tip of its well-preserved ancient tail.

3-D Printers And Other Touches

Any visit to the Gray Fossil Site should include a guided tour. The friendly guides are stoked about their work, the scientific facilities and passing along their knowledge. That’s a great combination for families who might like to introduce their kids to the concept of ancient history. Tours tend to start on the hour, so arrive half an hour or so beforehand to study up. There’s a short video introduction to the site, and a well-organized natural history museum inside the handsome welcome center. After an introduction to the tools of excavation – everything from plastersoaked burlap to 3-D printed facsimiles for study -- visitors get to see the actual dig site. Don’t expect too much: the size is modest and in the off season the fossilrich hillside in Tennessee may just look like some pits covered with plastic sheets. Never fear. Modern software tracks every discovery in three dimensions and helps build a flexible database. The tour goes indoors to show visitors the “macro” lab, where big bones get fitted back together over the course of years, and the “micro” lab, where technicians piece together tiny pieces of tissue to recreate life before our time. For a full-day side trip to east Tennessee, add on a visit to Bristol Caverns. There you can see underground limestone activity in real time.

Gray Fossil Site & Museum is open Tue- Sat-, and Sunday afternoons during the school year, except major holidays. During June, July and August open Mondays. Located at 1212 Suncrest Drive, Gray, Tennessee 37615 Call toll-free at (866) 202-6223, or locally at (423) 439-3659. Admission is $5 for ages 3 and up, guided dig site tours additional $3 per person. Group rates available.

Avery Animal Hospital Small Animal Medicine Surgical Services CO2 Surgical Laser Hill’s Science Diet & Prescription Diets In-house Laboratory Therapy Laser Treatments Cozy Boarding

Lab Preparator working on rhino skull

Dr. Brent Jewell 828-733-9810 351 W. Mitchell Street Newland, NC 28657

Volunteer crew in the rhino pit

Why Not Book Your Fly Fishing Trip Today?! Note: Dig site is generally “dormant” from Oct- April, but all facilities are open year-round. Closed-toe shoes are recommended for outdoors. The last Fossil & Artifact I.D. Night 2016 takes place on Tuesday, Oct. 25, from 4-6 p.m. Bring your own treasures for the experts to analyze. You may own something special!

Just Contact Nils Peterson at 828-964-8581 or CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —


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WAMY: Working For Better Lives In The Mountains Around Us


e all know that the mountains of Western North Carolina are a beautiful place to live. There’s an abundance of outdoor activities, recreational opportunities, shopping and more. However, for the hundreds of people living here in poverty, the isolation of the mountains and lack of higher wage jobs are obstacles to better living conditions. For many it is more than not being able to enjoy the occasional dinner out--it is whether or not they can afford to eat at all. It is more than foregoing a vacation or other luxuries. It’s often a life of hard choices—should we buy medication or pay rent? Do we put gas in the car or pay the electric bill? Will it be food or badly needed shoes for the children? “These are the people that live paycheck to paycheck, have no savings or health insurance, and often no access to transportation,” said Melissa Soto, Executive Director of WAMY Community Action, Inc. an acronym for the counties it serves—Watauga, Avery, Mitchell and Yancey. “There is a misconception in the community about people living in poverty,” Soto said. “They are not lazy and using the system. “Most of the people we help are working, sometimes two jobs, but you cannot support a family on minimum wage.” WAMY Community Action, which offers a variety of programs to help lowincome individuals and families, is trying to raise awareness of poverty in Watauga, Avery, Mitchell and Yancey Counties. Last year, the organization assisted more than 500 families by providing programs and services such as Weatherization, Total Family Development, Avery YO!, Housing Preservation, Helping Homes, and Gardening.

Weatherization and Housing Preservation help to increase the efficiency and safety of homes, making them more energy efficient and protective from the elements. Total Family Development assists individuals who are trying to obtain a degree or certification, so that they have the resources they need to finish and qualify for better jobs. Helping Homes and Gardening provides garden vouchers for locals, especially the elderly, to plant their own gardens, creating a source of healthy food. These programs operate across the four counties of WAMY. Avery YO! is an after-school youth program serving elementary and middle school students across Avery County. WAMY receives funding from federal and state grants, but many of their programs are supported locally through individual donors. “We believe in the power of neighbor helping neighbor and encourage people to invest in their communities by giving back to those less fortunate,” Soto declared. If you would like to contribute to WAMY Community Action, you can do so by visiting Your contribution helps us to continue much needed work in the High Country, and supports the mission of helping disadvantaged families break the cycle of poverty. To learn more about WAMY and the services it provides, you can contact Melissa Soto, Executive Director, at 828264-2421 or You can make a difference.



The Crossnore School: Growing Strong By Elizabeth Baird Hardy


nyone who is a parent or who has worked with children knows how quickly they grow from infants into independent adults, rapidly changing over an amazingly short span of time. Sometimes the programs that care for and support children must also grow, developing and adapting to meet needs over time. The Crossnore School has been undergoing some exciting developments this year that will allow it to continue its vital mission of caring for children while expanding its mission beyond Avery County.


On August 5, The Crossnore School dedicated its new Young Children’s Village, a project that will allow Crossnore to expand its signature service of keeping even fairly large sibling groups together. The village, which includes three new beautifully apportioned cottages, adds twenty-seven beds to Crossnore’s current capacity of eighty-five. Having spots for 112 children will have a tremendous impact, as Crossnore is always full and always has a waiting list. Unfortunately, without programs like Crossnore’s, siblings are often broken up or placed in less ideal situations. Currently,

Crossnore is home to seventeen sibling groups, and the new children’s village will allow more such groups to stay intact. As Executive Officer Brett Loftis notes, older siblings often act as caregivers for younger brothers and sisters, and Crossnore allows these small, fragile families to stay together while also seeking long-term, stable arrangements. In addition, the new village will place younger children closer to campus facilities such as the dining hall and the Williams Academy, a great advantage in the colder months or inclement weather. When the weather is conducive to outdoor play, as it so often is during our temperate summers, one of the new Children’s Village amenities is sure to be popular: the large adventure playground, a generous gift from donor Meredith Michener in honor of two grandchildren whom she has lost. “This playground is a real dream,“ Loftis says. Designed by Beanstalk, the playground includes ropes and other exciting, challenging activities that will make it a center of play on the campus away from traffic hazards. “Part of our goal is to serve more children,” while offering a “full continuum of services,” Loftis says. In an effort to bring Crossnore’s successful model of care to a wider population of at-risk children, in February Crossnore began the process of partnering with WinstonSalem’s century-old Children’s Home. Now sharing a staff with The Crossnore School, The Children’s Home is following the Crossnore model of holistic care in a safe living environment. While Loftis is the Chief Executive Officer of both programs, The Children’s Home has its own Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Tony Cortèz, who lives on that campus, and who comes from an impressive background of service with the Hershey School in Pennsylvania and with Samaritan’s Purse’s child welfare programs. The two sites will continue to work toward a more formal relationship, but The Children’s Home is already thriving under the Crossnore model, with newly reopened and renovated cottages housing 25 children.

The partnership also brings positive changes for the children who live at Crossnore. The Children’s Home site currently encompasses 212 acres including an onsite farm, with animals such as horses, goats, llamas, chickens, and drew over 3,000 people to its recent Fresh Fest. The site offers great opportunities for children to learn everything from animal husbandry to business management with its farmstand. The Children’s Home’s location in Forsyth County also allows access to great opportunities for older children. Many of the children who are served by Crossnore eventually age out of foster care. Although those children can now legally remain in foster care until they are 21, they often need particular care in their transition process. Programs like Crossnore’s successful Miracle Scholars support system are vital to these students. Crossnore’s Communication Director, Holly Barrett, who developed the Miracle Scholars program, is excited about the opportunities the Children’s Home location will present, including more choices for higher education, employment, and transportation for older children, meeting a wide variety of needs and giving each child what he or she needs. Forsyth County also offers greater opportunities for foster parenting, for placing some of the at least 1,000 children who, at any given time, are awaiting adoption. Adopting children through the foster system is free, and gives these children much-needed stability that is lacking in many of their lives; children in foster care experience an average of seven placements before they are adopted, placed with a stable family member or guardian, or age out of the system. Social changes have led to a greater demand for the kind of care both The Children’s Home and The Crossnore School can provide, while allowing choices in terms of the best services and programs for each child. The new partnership also promises exciting new activities for the coming year. Loftis notes how much fun the

children of both Crossnore and The Children’s Home had together on a recent joint trip to Carowinds, and he eagerly anticipates this fall’s popular Winston-Salem event, the “home maze,” made from more durable and attractive sorghum instead of corn. Also, thanks to the “wonderful donors” who help make Christmas magical at Crossnore, Loftis is eager to share that kind of Christmas experience with the Winston-Salem children. As The Crossnore School begins this exciting new chapter of development, Loftis invites community members to come and see what is happening in both Crossnore and Winston-Salem. Tours

are encouraged, as the children are proud to show off where they live and to welcome visitors who sometimes become long-term supporters and even foster or adoptive parents. Visitors can also see how Crossnore’s growth helps the community by offering opportunities for employment and economic development as well as for service; the new children’s village, for example, will provide twenty new jobs. To learn more about these and other upcoming events in the combined lives of The Crossnore School and The Children’s Home, check out the Crossnore website at, or, better yet, come by for a tour and see the how things are growing in Crossnore.



Book Nook

Where We Fall by Rochelle B. Weinstein. Lake Union Publishing, Seattle 2016. This is indeed a story of falling: in love, out of love, and over the edge. As longtime college friends Lauren, Ryan and Abby leave to pursue their careers, an unexpected sequence of events drives one away, leaving the other two locked in a painful and unrewarding relationship with no way out in sight. Walking with Abby as she struggles with depression is particularly moving and insightful. The first person narrative for the central characters brings the reader an intimate understanding of each of their motives. The plot builds smoothly and the characters are genuine, although they don’t always behave that way. The drama is delivered subtly, with no wasted words and just the right amount of description. You’ll enjoy the rising tension as you try to discover just what happened to force these people apart. And since it’s set in Banner Elk and Beech Mountain, you’ll recognize all the local landmarks, including Woolly Worm. With so many threads and elements, this would be an excellent choice for a readers’ club discussion.


Family of Earth: a Southern Mountain Childhood by Wilma

Dykeman. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill 2016. If you have read any of Dykeman’s writing you will recognize in this work her kinship to the North Carolina Mountains and their rivers. Designed as a memoir, this book is written in chapters representing each year of Dykeman’s life growing up in Buncombe County, beginning surprisingly enough with accounts from her birth year and ending at age fourteen with the death of her beloved father. This introspective work was begun in the author’s mid-twenties but never published, and was only discovered after her death in 2006 at the age of 86. Her writing is pungent, earthy and raw yet at the same time elegant as she describes growing up an only child with mostly nature as her inspiration and companion. No doubt this deepened her understanding of the needs of the environment, both the physical and the social, as can be seen in her later non-fiction such as The French Broad (1955) and Neither Black nor White (1957). Family of Earth is a quick read that will leave you wishing Dykeman had written more.

Dark Debts by Karen Hall. Simon and Schuster, New York 2016. Hall first published this complex, fast-moving novel in 1996, and now, twenty years later, she has re-written the cast and the ending. But “dark” is still the theme. In the book’s opening, newspaper reporter Randi gets a phone call from her old more-than-friend Cam shouting “I’m in trouble that I didn’t even know existed!” and from there, the reader meets Cam’s brother Jack, who is in hiding with a dark and dangerous secret. In parallel, conflicted Jesuit priest Michael meets fifteen-year-old Danny and moves through the channels of the Catholic Church to resolve Danny’s problem, and in the process learns the dark truth about his own family’s past. How Hall weaves these characters’ lives together in a South Georgia setting takes you on a complicated journey through Catholic principles, exorcism, half-formed beliefs and shaken faith. And after all the darkness, the author pulls it together in the last line: “But something had shifted, and hope no longer felt like a punishable offense.”

North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries: A Traveler’s Guide to Local Restaurants, Diners, and Barbecue Joints by D. G. Martin.

The University of North Carolina Press 2016. Martin, a newspaper columnist and host of UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch, has compiled a listing of hometown eateries sorted by reference to their nearest interstate highway. As he traveled the state during his career, Martin always sought out the landmark, community-centered restaurants “where the locals eat,” and he has reported these to us faithfully, including directions from the interstate. In this well-organized book, we are introduced not only to the restaurants but also their owners and histories. From barbeque to burritos to blue plate specials, chances are good that you have enjoyed a meal at one or more of these places and this book will give you insights to make your next visit more memorable. In his very comfortable, conversational style, Martin also provides information on things to do and see in the area after you’ve eaten. This book can be your personal, portable tour guide to our state’s most iconic eateries – you’ll want to keep this one in your car.

A New Love: A Novel of the First Century by Katerina Katsarka Whit-

ley. New Beginnings, an imprint of Material Media LLC, San Antonio, Texas 2016. This work is set in Corinth during the last stages of the Apostle Paul’s mission of spreading the gospel of Christianity. The book opens with the lovely young Helena declaring “I will seek revenge and then I’ll die.” And the action doesn’t slow as she moves across the Roman Empire searching for revenge and her lover, but instead finds a new awareness of self and of God and the relationship of the two – indeed a new and different love from the one she was seeking. This Greek-born author paints authentic portraits of the countryside and of the people who lived there in the first century with her well-researched descriptions of their food, clothing, and societal norms. Her lengthy study of the apostle Paul led her to say “I enjoyed…having my mind changed about him.” Whatever your faith, you will be enlightened by this fictional account of familiar Biblical characters as they probably lived during this turbulent and most pivotal era.

The Aviatrix by Kimberly Jochl: Wilfred Lee Books, 2016. Author Kim Jochl is well-known in mountain circles as a principle owner of the Sugar Mountain Ski Resort, a life’s passion she shares with her husband Gunther. Raised in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, she grew up ski racing and was a member of the U.S. Women’s Alpine Ski Team and as a teenager won a gold medal in giant slalom at the Junior World Championships. For all her accomplishments in international ski racing, Jochl writes in captivating detail her conquest over fear and self-doubt learning to fly in her first published work, The Aviatrix. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to learn to fly, (and who hasn’t imagined that), the first-time author takes the reader along with her as she earns her private pilot certificate. Jochl’s first-person narrative delivers a candid view into her heart and soul as she faces the sometimes comical, and sometimes terrifying realities of taking to the skies alone. The Aviatrix is a quick and easy read and a lighthearted look at the business of learning to fly small airplanes.




When Hope Is All That’s Left


oday, Kacy is a vibrant and lively 10-year-old girl in the foster care program at Children’s Hope Alliance. Not long ago, however, years of abuse and neglect led her to consider taking her own life. When Kacy was six years old, her mother died from a drug overdose, leaving Kacy’s father to take care of her and her younger sister. Kacy’s father was often gone from the home for extended periods of time and even though he was married several times and had live-in girlfriends, Kacy found herself in a caregiver roll for her younger sister and often physically abused by her father and his girlfriends. When her teacher noticed signs of


depression at school, she talked to Kacy, who told her about her life at home. The teacher made a report to the Department of Social Services. Later that week, Kacy and her sister were removed from the home. After spending a month in a psychiatric hospital for suicidal tendencies, Kacy was brought to Children’s Hope Alliance’s foster care program. Children’s Hope Alliance is a nonprofit organization with a long history of child advocacy and welfare dating back to 1891. Its mission is to provide a safe healing journey for hurting children and families - creating hope now and in the future. The current organization was formed in 2014 through a partnership with Grandfather Home for Children in Banner Elk and Barium Springs near Statesville. It offers the state’s most robust array of child welfare services with nearly 30 specialized programs for children and families in need through its 15 different office locations throughout North Carolina. In 2015, the organization helped more than 3,600 children and families across the state. One of Children’s Hope Alliance’s largest programs is foster care. The orga-

nization trains and licenses foster parents throughout North Carolina, and there is always a need for more foster parents to open their hearts and their homes to children like Kacy. Kacy was under the impression that she was going home to her father, so at first she was angry about going into foster care. Luckily, there was another young lady in the foster parent's home who had a sunny disposition and couldn't be happier to be a friend. The young lady took friendship bracelets off her arm and gave them to Kacy right away. Within a few days, the foster parent and case manager linked Kacy to a therapist, medication provider and doctor, and enrolled her in school. The consistent care and love of her foster family, as well as the friendship of her foster sibling, has caused Kacy to have a new outlook on life. Kacy's father is also working with one of the Children's Hope Alliance therapists and is learning how he can take action to mend the relationship with his daughter. For information about how you can help children like Kacy, visit

Grandfather Mountain:

The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon Randy Johnson, Author By Tom McAuliffe

“It reads like a James Michener novel.” —Vicky Jarrett, former editor, Our State

Available at Mountain Dog and Friends in Foscoe, the Mast Stores, Grandfather Mountain, many other locations & online. Visit:

Johnson’s definitive work was a lifetime in the making. Since 1978 when he convinced the late Hugh Morton, owner and protector of Grandfather Mountain, of the viability and potential of a fee-based hiking trail system through its mammoth backcountry wilderness, this story begged to be told. Author of seminal works as Southern Snow: The Winter Guide to Dixie, Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Best Easy Day Hikes Blue Ridge Parkway, Johnson helped open the door to the wonders of exploring the region’s stunning topography for thousands of visitors to the southern Appalachians. A founding outdoor editor of the Mountain Times, he would burst on the investigative journalism scene along with co-author Jim Thompson when he produced a five-part series on the impact of clear-cutting policies in the Appalachian National Forests. The work earned the writer the 1989 N.C. Press Association’s Top Award for the expose they called one “clearly of national significance.” Wilderness Society proclaimed that the exhaustive investigative “series influenced national conservation policy.” The sum of his life’s work to date as an award winning editor and publicist led to the compilation of his hands-on experience in the backcountry of Grandfather Mountain. Sifting through thousands of photographs, many from his own camera and those of prolific photographer Hugh Morton and any other sources he could uncover, Johnson has delivered a thoroughly sensational perspective of the iconic mountain, which like the ancient cliffs will stand in significance for future generations. From the mountain’s earliest explorers, attracted by Grandfather’s botanical and geological importance, to its development as a popular tourist destination and later its designa-

tion as a World Biosphere Reserve, Johnson’s rich narrative and compelling archival photographs make for an exciting journey through the years. Particularly noteworthy is the author’s telling of Hugh Morton’s bold stance against the powers of the U.S. Government in his single-mindedness to assure the thoughtful completion of the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Grandfather Mountain section. The final section of the parkway connecting the northern and southern legs had been held up for years in the face of unsatisfactory routes offered by the park service engineers. Morton’s stand, fortified by his love for the mountain and his genius in working the media to his intended ends, resulted in the incomparably beautiful Linn Cove Viaduct, an engineering marvel that minimized the damaging impact inherent to mountain road building while maximizing the aesthetic appeal in what is now a world renowned scenic by-way. Grandfather Mountain, published by University of North Carolina Press this year, is in a large coffee table format, and while many books of this genre offer fine photography for leisurely page turning, the writing and even the photo captions here are filled with finely honed historically significant material. Local folks will appreciate the thorough capturing of their ancestors described throughout the book, and newcomers to the region will be captivated by the astounding narrative of Johnson’s Appalachian Icon.


Just announced at press time, Johnson’s Grandfather Mountain has been nominated for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award for 2016. Past winners include Robert Morgan and Charles Frazier. The Blue Ridge Parkway has also just announced three fall book signings for Johnson at Linn Cove Viaduct visitor center. Come meet Randy September 17th, October 8th and 22nd, from 11 am to 3 pm. — CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —


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9am-9pm Mon-Sat | 10am-8pm Sun Main St., Blowing Rock | 828-295-9326


Healthy Children The Crossnore School and The Children’s Home have united to create a continuum of care offering HOPE AND HEALING for children in North Carolina who are suffering from the effects of trauma caused by abuse and neglect. COME VISIT US - we would love to share our story!

THE CROSSNORE SCHOOL | 100 DAR Drive | Crossnore, NC 28616 (828) 733-4305 | | THE CHILDREN’S HOME | 1001 Reynolda Road | Winston-Salem, NC 27104 (336) 721-7600 | |

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8/15/2016 11:54:06 AM

Change At Brinkley’s Hardware By LouAnn Morehouse


rinkley’s Hardware, in Elk Park, NC, is the type of store people frequent because it has a truly vast inventory of merchandise. That is central to the appeal of hardware stores, of course, but certain establishments go beyond merely being well stocked; they are institutions of useful items and the centers of everything handy or helpful. The red brick building with the big plate glass windows in “downtown” Elk Park is just such a place. It’s called Brinkley’s for a reason: family patriarch A.P. Brinkley opened for business in 1903 and there’s been a Brinkley at the helm ever since, a straight line from father to son, to grandson, and now to great-grandson. The newest owner, Robbie, is stepping into the role at 49, about the same age as his father, Steve, did. The Brinkleys allow their successors time to grow up and work elsewhere before running the store, but each one knows that eventually the business takes precedence. Robbie’s college degree in finance led to an early career as a stockbroker before he found his “passion” in fitness training. Most local folks are familiar with Peak Fitness, the gym he started—and recently sold—in Banner Elk. Or perhaps they have benefitted from his skills as a trainer at the fitness center in Linville Ridge. Regardless, from childhood days visiting his granddad at the store, where he “punched the cash register tabs and shot the BB guns,” Robbie has had a place awaiting him at Brinkley’s. He’s an only child, so the succession was clear. The situation might change for the next generation of Brinkleys. Robbie and his wife, Tammy, are the parents of four children: Wilson, James, and four-yearold twins, son Stephen III, and daughter, Everly. The twins have already started their apprenticeship at the store, and who knows, maybe the next Brinkley owner will be a miss instead of a mister.

Retiring owner Steve Brinkley says it’s the linseed oil they use on the floors that gives the store a faint, pleasant odor, but perhaps the accumulated scents of all the tools, seeds, lamp oil, tv sets, and the thousand other items for sale contribute to the mix. There was a time, Steve says, when the smell of tobacco overpowered most everything. During his dad’s tenure, smoking was allowed on the premises, as it was pretty much everywhere else. It wasn’t such a big deal, except on Saturdays, when the construction crews came by to get their weekly paychecks. “My Dad was the first to sell televisions in the area,” says Steve, and a lot of people didn’t have a tv at home. Dad would always have one on, tuned to ‘Wide World of Sports,’ and it was sure to attract a big group of onlookers. Well, the smoke could get pretty thick in here then.” When a business has been around as long as this one, it’s typically referred to as a place that’s “like stepping back in time.” Which is not precisely true of Brinkley’s. To be sure, there are those fine old oak floors and tin ceilings—and then there are electronic readers for the credit cards and wireless internet access so customers can check email while shopping. In fact, Brinkley’s has always been a business that responds to the times. At its founding, it was Brinkley’s General Store, with a bit of everything that might be needed by an isolated farming community. After World War II, as prosperity returned and electricity came to the region, second generation owner Bill Brinkley saw an opportunity to diversify. He hired workers who added indoor plumbing to homes and built new houses for returning veterans and their families. All those plumbing and building materials necessitated a change of name, so the General Store became Brinkley’s Hardware. By the time third generation owner Steve Brinkley took over, the population

of Avery County had increased, and so had the demand for washing machines, dining tables, and all the things needed to fill a home. Once again, the store name was modified to reflect the services and it became Brinkley’s Furniture and Appliances. It’s still possible to purchase appliances and furniture from Brinkley’s, but Steve Brinkley thinks it’s time to update the store name again. He wants folks to be reminded that Brinkley’s isn’t just about hardware, or furniture, or appliances—although all those items are most definitely still available. To mark the change of ownership to the fourth generation Brinkley, Steve has ordered a new sign: Brinkley’s Country Store. Just think of it as a nod back to the General Store days of 113 years ago. As he takes the reins at Brinkley’s Country Store, Robbie says he intends to keep things as they are. It’s pretty much impossible to computerize an inventory that includes thousands of items produced before bar coding was created, anyway. But that’s not a problem when store employees have been around so long they keep extensive mental catalogs of everything. The Brinkley men think very highly of staff member David Turner, who hired on in 1995. Even longtime customers think David is a Brinkley, and that’s high praise indeed, considering that he moved to Elk Park from Florida. Steve says they ought to “put his name up there in gold.” Robbie isn’t giving up fitness training. He starts the day at 5:30 AM so he’ll be able to get in a good workout and train his clients before heading to the store. He just can’t quite believe his dad is actually going to retire, anyway – a remark that brings a derisive snort from the elder Brinkley. But the new sign is on its way, and with it, a “new” owner. After all, Robbie has those two young Brinkleys to train, and they will be growing up in the aisles of the store their great-great granddaddy started so long ago. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —


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Are You Ready to Pay a $263,000 Nursing Home Bill? The Value of Working with an Elder Law Attorney


amilies coping with both the emotional and legal issues associated with long term care for elderly or disabled adult family member face a unique and serious set of challenges. If you live to 65, there’s a 70 percent chance you’ll need some form of long-term care services in the future. The number of Americans needing long-term care services is expected to grow to 27 million in 2050, according to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. Women need care longer (3.7 years) than men (2.2 years) on average. The median cost of a semi-private nursing care room in North Carolina in 2015 was $75,190. Over 3 ½ years, that cost will balloon to $263,165. As a result, many individuals considering long term care issues are more than willing to turn to professional service providers for guidance and advice. To ensure effective legal planning and advice, families desiring to plan ahead for long term care options and opportunities should seek out professionals who specifically focus their practice on elder law issues.

available resources. Avoid attorneys who do not treat each client as a fresh, unique, and deserving of the highest regard. You may not have to be in a nursing home to receive Medicaid benefits. Depending on your state of residency, Medicaid benefits may be available to cover the costs of receiving inhome care. In North Carolina, the state Medicaid program not only provides benefits for qualifying persons entering nursing homes, but also for individuals who wish to remain in their homes and who qualify medically and economically. A qualified elder law attorney will have the knowledge to guide you through all of your long term care options, including community-based programs to enable you to remain in your home for as long as possible.

Medicaid planning, for example, is a particular area of elder law that lends itself to complexities and serious pitfalls. People who try to answer Medicaid questions without first undergoing extensive training run the risk of giving out misinformation that may lead to serious, long-lasting effects on the care options available to you and your loved ones. Realizing the complexity of this particular area of elder law is the first step toward ensuring that you or your loved ones do not fall victim to ineffective planning.

You may be qualified to receive veterans benefits and not even know it. Wartime veterans and their surviving spouses, 65 years and older, may be entitled to a tax-free benefit called Aid and Attendance provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This benefit can be used for in-home care, board and care, assisted living communities, and private-pay nursing homes. The veteran had to have served on active duty at least 90 days with only one of those days of service required to be during a period of war. Service in combat is not required, only that the veteran was in the service during wartime and was discharged honorably. Currently over 10 Million adults are estimated to qualify for V.A. benefits and many never even know about this valuable program for the veteran or for the surviving spouse.

Every case is unique. There is no standard approach that will effectively address your individual Medicaid needs. Each individual facing issues related to elder law brings to the table a unique set of circumstances, including assets and income profiles, family support and

Asset protection is an integral part of elder law planning. Depending on the circumstances, there are a variety of estate planning techniques that may serve to preserve a portion of your assets without necessarily disqualifying an applicant from Medicaid. More im-

portantly, simply giving away your assets may trigger a penalty period under the Medicaid statutes that could prevent access to needed benefits for a lengthy period of time – possibly years. An experienced elder law attorney will be able to help you implement the gifting and planning techniques that best fit your particular situation. Through mastery of complex tax, trust, testamentary, Medicaid, and Veteran’s Administration laws, a qualified Elder Law attorney can save a married couple or individual – possibly even you or your loved one – many thousand dollars. More importantly, a qualified elder law attorney can educate and empower you to attain a sense of financial security and peace of mind about your future. Tricia Wilson is an attorney in private practice in Linville. Her law firm is the Appalachian Elder Law Center, and she focuses her practice in elder law, asset protection planning, trusts and estate planning, estate administration, planning for children and adults with special needs and adult guardianships. Disclaimer: The information contained in this article or accessed on the publisher’s web site is intended to provide information of general interest to the public, and is not intended to offer legal advice about specific situations or problems and is not a source of advertising, solicitation or legal advice. The author does not intend to create an attorney-client relationship by offering this information, and anyone’s review of this content shall not be deemed to create an attorneyclient relationship. You should contact a lawyer if you have a legal matter requiring attention.



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Healing Paws By Steve York

Knox and Ben


few months back, I had made a special trip to Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro to accompany a family member about to undergo major surgery. It was one of those dreaded 7 a.m. surgeries scheduled to last for several hours, and it required a 5 a.m. checkin for all the usual pre-surgery prep. For the next six hours I was stationed in a large waiting room, watching the patient surgery progress monitor, doing some business work on my laptop, updating other family members via text, and trying not to nod off and start snoring. But if you’ve even spent that much time in a hospital waiting room, you always nod off. And given enough time, you’ll probably start snoring. On this day, about half way into my clumsy nap, I felt something gently nudge my knee. At first I figured it was some exasperated hospital administrator tapping me to, “Wake up and stop snoring!” Yet, to my pleasant surprise, it was a large, fluffy, golden retriever with big, brown, gentle eyes smiling back at me. Half awake, I wasn’t sure if he was real or I was having some out-of-body experience at a kennel, or had left this earth and gone to doggie heaven. But, sure enough, he was real— and he was BIG. Even when I sat straight up, his head and my head were almost at

Knox and Brianne Harris

the same level. And that was about the happiest face I’ve ever seen—human or not—especially there in a surgical waiting room. Lightly attached to Mr. Dog was another smiling face that belonged to an elderly man with silver hair, a plaid shirt, khaki pants and a long, loosely draped leather leash. “WOW! I’d never seen a dog—big or little—in a people hospital before,” I thought. But I was soon to learn that this dog, Edmond The Great, and his handler were part of a new program called “Therapy Dogs.” Therapy Dogs is a very creative initiative that brings happy, people-loving dogs into otherwise notso-happy hospital settings to help patients deal with the emotional and physical stress they so often experience during post-treatment recovery and rehabilitation. And it really works. The minute that patients and concerned family members see a dog like Edmond, their whole mood changes from worry and discomfort to joy and easiness. It’s a total heart-to-heart encounter that quickly turns pain and tears into smiles and laughter. Great story, huh? Well, it gets even better. You see, the therapy dogs program is also happening right here in the High Country. And it’s a huge hit. The program is coordinated by some professional and compassionate people within the dog

Lisa Mallory and Kelly

training community. Their therapy dogs program serves local hospitals, assisted living, and other special care facilities. They help a range of people, from general hospital patients to senior care citizens, as well as those with Autism and people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Why does it work? Well, there are a lot of scientifically documented reasons, but at the core of it is the dynamic that most people experience when they get their first puppy or pet. That special heart-to-heart connection we so often share with our pets is why it works. Our beloved pets give us unconditional love and devotion. In turn, we learn how to experience and return those emotions—and that exchange makes us better people. It also makes us feel better. In fact, the bio-psycho-chemistry associated with that relationship is both measurable and highly healing…in body, mind and spirit. One of the trainer/facilitators of therapy dogs in this area is Brianne Harris of Positive Partners Dog Training in Banner Elk. Originally from Creedmoor, just outside of Durham, Brianne is a graduate from ASU with a BS in Psychology. She has been an ardent animal-lover/caretaker since childhood. She also works at Apple Hill Farm, an educational farm located just outside of Banner Elk where CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —


the public is welcome to visit with alpacas, llamas, angora goats, donkeys, chickens, and a lot of other animals. That’s where you’ll also find Knox, Brianne’s Great Pyrenees therapy dog. In fact, Apple Hill Farm is where she first met Knox. Brianne describes the role of a therapy dog this way: “A therapy dog is a pet dog that has been specially trained to bring joy to others through visitation, performing tricks, or even just being a calming presence. Therapy dogs most often visit patients or residents in hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities, and elsewhere for about an hour or less. They may also participate in reading programs at schools and libraries. But therapy dogs are not technically service dogs, such as seeing-eye dogs, guard dogs, or other special needs dogs. They don’t provide those types of services, and they aren’t allowed the same level of access in public places.” “It really is incredible to see the difference a therapy dog can make in someone’s life, even with just a brief encounter. I love seeing a patient or resident’s eyes light up when Knox saunters into the room. And I live for the moments when someone just forgets their surroundings and loses themselves in hugging or petting him,” she added. Joining Brianne in bringing this unique canine care to the High Country is Lisa Mallory of Good Dog Training LLC in Ashe County. Like Brianne, Lisa is a certified Tester/Observer for the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, recognized as one of the top therapy dog organizations in the country. As a professional dog trainer,


Lisa specializes in what’s known as positive reinforcement training. Contrary to many of the harsher methods of discipline and punishment training, her approach works with the dog’s natural positive response tendencies. Her services cover everything from basic house and obedience training to correcting problematic antisocial behavior, all the way to special K-9 nose work for police tracking needs. Lisa’s background is extensive and particularly well suited for caring for both people and animals. “I’ve had dogs and competed in various dog sports since I started in 4-H at nine years old,” she says. “Later on I became a registered nurse working in the areas of Oncology and bone marrow transplant. After I retired from nursing, I decided that I would like to give back by volunteering with a therapy dog.” A life-long Doberman Pinscher lover, she began searching for a young one with just the right temperament for therapy dog work. That search led to finding “Kelly.” Together, Lisa and Kelly passed their therapy dog test in 2010, and became members of the organization Therapy Dogs International. “Kelly and I began volunteering at The Villages of Ashe Assisted Living in Ashe County. Very soon I began getting calls from other agencies, requesting a therapy dog to make visits. But, since I was running a busy dog training business, I didn’t have limitless time, and had to turn down most requests. Yet it became my dream to form an organization to help bring more therapy dogs to the High Country,” she says. “Then, in late 2014, I met Brianne Harris at the Watauga Humane Society where she was volunteering as a trainer in the Diamond Dog Program; a program training shelter dogs to help make them more adoptable. I soon discovered that she also had a registered therapy dog named Knox, and did visits at the Watauga Medical Center in Boone. We became friends, realized we shared the same goal of bringing more therapy dogs to the area, and decided to make that dream happen. We formed the High Country Caring Canines organization in 2014 to help dog

owners who were interested in volunteering with their pet to get the training and testing they needed to become a registered therapy dog team.” Today Lisa is the President of High Country Caring Canines and Brianne is the Vice President. What kinds of dogs make good therapy dogs? According to Brianne and Lisa, “any breed of dog can become a therapy dog. A therapy dog must have good manners, a stable temperament, be in good health, and have a desire to be with people.” They add that it must also pass any required testing and observations that an appropriate organization such as their Alliance of Therapy Dogs program can offer. And if you’re interested, you can learn all about these programs at both and . But before we leave this story, it’s been found that certain other animals can also become proficient at special needs therapy for people of all ages. In particular, miniature ponies and certain full-size horses have gained growing praise for their ability to provide both loving attention and gentle playfulness. Studies and anecdotal experience show that those mini-horses seem to especially warm up to children with Autism Syndrome Disorder (ASD). Their unique size, temperament, and almost magical appearance appear to help nurture an immediate and warm bond with ASD kids. And many horse riding clubs are reporting that even just being around certain horses seems to elicit positive and calming responses from some Autism sufferers. Of course even miniponies wouldn’t work in a hospital room. But there are several outdoor camping and recreational venues for special needs folks where these larger animals can do good things. As many of us know firsthand, there truly is some magical, uplifting, and healing value to our relationship with the animal kingdom. And as experts like Lisa Mallory and Brianne Harris have found, with the proper training and an empathetic heart, therapy animals can deliver just what the doctor ordered.

HEALTH $19.95/mo. No Contract. No Upfront Costs. 1-800-759-2226 *Some restrictions apply. SkyBest Internet subscribers will pay only $14.95 per month.

The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge Celebrates its Grand Opening After nearly two years of growing anticipation, The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s (ARHS) new post-acute care center, celebrates its grand opening in September. Designed with the patient in mind, the 112-bed healthcare facility will serve as a cost-saving alternative for patients healthy enough to be discharged from the hospital (post-acute), but not quite ready to safely return home. Residents and patients will benefit from on-site physicians, rehabilitation services, short and long-term care, skilled nursing, memory support, assisted living and palliative care. Beautifully situated on a 68-acre tract of land, the 87,500 square-foot facility will replace Blowing Rock Rehabilitation and Davant Extended Care Center (formerly Blowing Rock Hospital). Unlike its predecessor, The Foley Center will function less like a hospital and more resembling a modern patientcentered neighborhood. Private and semi-private bedrooms, a rehabilitation gym, community dining areas and six living rooms each offering breathtaking mountain views are just a few of the amenities residents can expect. ”The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge will allow us to treat the right patient, at the right time, in the right place,” said Richard Sparks, President & CEO, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. “Our goal is to provide patients with quality care in an affordable home-like setting that will not only improve their overall health outcomes, but also reduce lengths of stay and hospital readmissions.” The Foley Center will open its doors to patients and residents later in the fall. In addition, the Harriet and Charles Davant, Jr. Medical Clinic and Boone Drug’s Village Pharmacy are both scheduled to open on the Chestnut Ridge property later this fall. To learn more about The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge, visit

health matters



Butterflies Moths Lepidoptera Woolly worm Caterpillar Footsloggers in Blowing Rock: Isabella New Owners, Same Great Place Larva Great things are happening at FootGeneration sloggers of Blowing Rock! Back in April, two longtime locals saw a chance to beEgg come part of the fantastic staff and the Pupa great happenings at their favorite store— so they bought it! Now Cryoprotectant the Blowing Rock Footsloggers is independently owned, Cocoonthe same, but everything else is staying including the exceptional service and all Setae the cool stuff that has kept Blowing Rock folks and savvy visitors Human coming back year after year. Monarch As for that great staff—the entire team, as well as their Migration families, are out there hiking, biking, Oyamel kayaking, fir rock climbing, and skiing just like you. And Milkweedthe best that’s why they can recommend

See if you can find all of the words on the list that also appear throughout the article. E C R Y O P R O T E C T A N T I H F J A O I I N A A I V S P P R I E S A M T COUNTRY M M I SCORE G R HAS A TA RECORD I O NYEAR U C S O V A HIGH I E B I E N H U B I M A P C S R R S High Country SCORE in Boone has announced that in the past 12 months, it has T R M C toT a record T R number M B of small R Sbusinesses K M and E individuals A A S in the R counprovided service ties C ofP Watauga, U A Avery, R E Ashe, T Wilkes, P O Alleghany D I and P Catawba. E L L TheH agency E Eprovides free business mentoring services to existing small companies as well as individuals E want I I to NstartLa small Y Obusiness. W C AsN“counselors B W Cto America’s E T RsmallI business, Y who ” in the in N past L year R SSCORE U has N also Y expanded R R CtheAnumber I Pof workshops O E W and L seminars O the High Country. All of this has been carried out through the volunteer efforts of J local L SCORE A M Manager, A L Herman D I Metzler, S P and G 4Rother M Counselors T G EwhoF have J helped the clients U A with T the O creation L B ofFbusiness T I plans, H funding H E and C financial U O planning, G R Inew customer acquisition, social media marketing and overall business strategies. According N R E O N L E R Z S O B M H H E E T to Metzler, “most of our new clients have been introduced to us by local Chambers of R A O local G banks E AandWfinancial L B institutions, E O WlocalG universities L U Oand Tcolleges, I Commerce, plus referrals from existing clients and from people who have found us at our national web T W A M E F E B L T P A E O M I T K site,” I Recently A A SCORE J G extended E N itsE service R Aofferings T I to O N A inBSouthern U H Virginia companies and Western Tennessee, and as a result is actively looking for additional O Y C O C O O N O E H S E V N U B Nvolunteer Counselors to join the High Country SCORE team. If you have an interest in discussing O Oprograms I B forSyourT personal P R business M I interests L K orWif you E would E DlikeRto learn S how their you might become a Counselor yourself, please contact Herman Metzler at 919/2806123 or by email at Based on trends and economic forecasts, the High Country SCORE people are very optimistic about the local opportunity for small business growth over the next year. As their slogan states, it’s all “for the life of your business”.

Isabella Larva Generation Egg Pupa Cryoprotectant Cocoon Setae Human Monarch —Albert Camus Migration Oyamel fir Milkweed

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."


Explorers Search

See if you can find all of the words on the list that also appear throughout the article. E J M I T C E N J U N R T I O O



















equipment, clothing, and accessories for you and yours. Plus, they know where to go around here for great adventures, and they’re happy to share the details. Everything is ready for your adventure. The store is stocked with all your hiking needs from footwear to packs and trekking poles to clothing. And check out some of the fun items sure to make your time outdoors more enjoyable. Come visit the staff you’ve known to Butterflies give great service and professional footMoths wear fitting and see all the new products we have to offer. Lepidoptera Footsloggers of Blowing Rock, 921 Woolly worm Main Street, 828-295-4453 Mon-Thurs 105:30, Fri-Sat 10-6, Sun noon-5. Caterpillar

Explorers Search

Local Business News Doubling Down on the Appalachian Trail Experience By Jon (Grey Goose) Hoffman Ten years ago this spring I started my hike of a lifetime, The Appalachian Trail. One year ago this May, my wife, B.R. and I went to my 60th high school reunion. While it was a true joy seeing all my old classmates, sitting down and talking with David James, has changed everything! David and I were great friends in high school but lost track of each other for decades – almost a lifetime. Now we’re in business together and communicate every day. David is a retired professor from the University of Missouri who has seen a hobby of publishing commemorative decks of playing cards blossom into a successful business, a one man cottage industry. As he told me about the decks he has published – The Erie Canal, The Katy Trail, Coastal Maine – I began thinking about my thru-hike back in ’06, my journal and the 600 or so pictures I took on my adventure. It just clicked. With his experience and organizational talent and my notes and pictures we had the seeds of an original idea, The Appalachian Trail playing cards! We spent the rest of last summer choosing photos, writing short descriptions to explain what the viewer is seeing in each shot and arranging all fifty-two cards in logical order. We determined and posted the mileage of each from Springer and arranged the card suits alphabetically, so the deck can be easily put back in its original order to give the owner a true sense of the journey. We received our first shipment from our printer in February and by May had set up thirty retailers from Georgia to Maine. Reorders are already coming in briskly and we are preparing our second edition. David and I are in agreement on our basic business plan. Although we would like to turn a profit some day, our goal is to have fun and to put a product out there that people will enjoy and find interesting. Recently David responded to an email I sent him apologizing for giving away so many decks to my friends and relatives. “Doesn’t it feel good to hand somebody a pack of cards and tell them ‘Enjoy’ or some such thing,” he asked. “And above and beyond the money, this deck exists for the purpose of making us feel good about creating a special treasure – one that will be passed on, saved, rediscovered in someone’s desk drawer 30 or 40 years from now, causing the finder to say ‘I wish I could have met the Goose. He sounds like a real character.’ You can’t buy that feeling” He nailed it. Nearby retail outlets: Footsloggers Outfitters, Boone and Blowing Rock; Grandfather Mountain Gift Shops, Linville; Fred’s General Mercantile, Beech Mtn; Lowrey’s Bar B Que Linville; The Quilt Shop, Boone; Mount Rogers Outfitters, Damascus VA Show Me Cards: David James President & Owner 573-449-1630 Jon Hoffman, Thru-hiker, 828-964-8139

Antiquing in the High Country: It’s time to start stocking up on great stuff! It must be all those squirrels putting away nuts for winter that’s got me in the mood for doing some puttin’-away shopping. You know, the shopping you do because the weather’s so nice and it’s good to get out and poke around. No special need, just a chance to do a spot of looking at places where you have to take your time. That’s where you find the perfect gift—the one you’ll tuck back into the closet for months, just to have it to present with a flourish on the right occasion. In and around Boone, there are three particular antique emporiums that are worth your time. Drexel Grapevine Antiques, on Highway 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock, is the type of antiques store you don’t come across too often anymore. It’s a single proprietor’s shop, and owner Jeff Savage has credentials as an appraiser and specialist in some interesting areas. Savage has a superior collection of face jugs, those wonderfully expressive, original clay creations that our area is known for. They make a great gift for the big boss. Or perhaps an antique fishing lure is more budget friendly. Savage is an expert on fishing lures, as well as on the many vintage paper items he has in stock. How about a menu from a long gone favorite restaurant? Now that’s a gift you won’t find just anywhere. 828-386-1881 Antiques on Howard, in downtown Boone, is one street over from busy King Street, and–wonder of wonders—actually has its own parking spaces right in front of the store. Ease of parking is just the beginning. This establishment offers the treasures of some thirty vendors’ kiosks spread out over three enormous rooms. Longtime owner Charlene Headley confirms that there’s something for every budget, and that’s important in a college town where some folks are living on a shoestring. She says the merchandise seems to follow market tastes and these days that includes mid-century furniture and vintage kitchen items. Tool collectors know the great booth in the back with all the good stuff, and there are military artifacts and coins too. 828-262-1957 Hidden Valley Antiques on Highway 105 in Foscoe isn’t hidden at all—it’s smack dab in the middle of things, and it’s been there a long time, for thirty years or more. Manager Becky Feenstra says the store has a wide patronage, from the folks who have been coming every year since they came with their parents back in the day, to the newcomers who just happen to drop by for the first time. Forty vendors keep the two expansive buildings that comprise Hidden Valley Antiques chock full of the exquisite and the weird. Just pull up in the roomy parking lot out front—no parking meters here—and prepare to be enthralled. 828-963-7450 These fine establishments are open year ‘round, although it might not hurt to call ahead and check for winter hours if you’re considering a shopping trip in deepest darkest November. But don’t worry, they’ll be there. Just bring your imagination and your gift list. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —



Wildflowers Since 1892

Gardens of The Blue Ridge

Hunter’s Tree Service, Inc.

9056 Pittmans Gap Road Newland, North Carolina 28657 828-733-2417 / Fax 828-733-8894 Open Monday-Friday 9 to 5 Wreaths • Centerpieces • Swags & Garlands


• Lamps • Lamp Shades • Custom Created Lamps 221 East Main Street • Abingdon, VA 24210 • Lamp Repair 276-356-1674 • Unique Accessories & Gifts

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

"Bonfires, football, carving pumpkins and waiting for the first snowflake to fall . . . loving autumn."

Hwy 105 in Linville at the Foot of Grandfather Mountain • 828-733-3726 • 88 — Autumn 2016 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE


Preparing For Winter Feeding By Edi Crosby


ou might not know it, but wild birds are already making decisions about which back yards they will visit this winter. What you do as the days grow shorter lets the birds know that you want their business and invites them to come back when serious winter comes. Those who don’t start feeding birds until severe weather hits may be missing out. Fall is the season to begin, even though natural foods are plentiful and the birds such as the tufted titmouse may not spend much time at your feeder yet. They are out in the fields and woods, feasting on seeds and berries and well-fed insects. The birds that do visit feeders in the abundance of autumn are scouting. They need to be ready when cold weather hits. Cold will increase their calorie requirements, right at the moment that food becomes harder to get – so they need to be ready. They are making note of where food is available and locating alternatives. If birds discover your yard is worth visiting, they will remember. Start offering food and water now. For seeds, try black oil sunflower, white millet, niger, safflower, cracked corn, broken nuts. Offer suet in hanging baskets, for woodpeckers. You can try some chopped up fruits. Don’t worry about them if you have to be gone from your home for a while in winter. Birds are used to having a food source disappear. They won’t starve because of your lapse. One of the best ways to get the birds into your yard is to provide unfrozen water, replenished daily. Sometimes water is harder to come by in winter than food. If you have some thick trees such as evergreens for shelter in your yard you’ll probably also attract chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, and woodpeckers. A variety of feeding locations will bring you more kinds of birds than a single feeder, because each species will find its own preferred level and location. If you want to get more elaborate, you can sink a post into the ground and mount a platform at the top. Put a bit of molding

around the edge to keep the seeds from rolling off. Let the molding leak at the corners so that the feeder doesn’t fill up with water. A few of my favorite fall birds are the Downy Woodpecker and the Northern Cardinal. The Downy Woodpecker is the smallest woodpecker found here. It is easy to tell which sex they are, since only the males have the red feathers on the nape. They feed on a variety of insects, and of course on wood-boring insects the most. But they will eat at feeders, especially suet and sunflower seeds. Downies are found in woods, farmland, suburbs and parks. They excavate nest cavities in dead wood and lay 4-5 eggs that are white in color. They do loud, continuous, very rapid pecking on resonant surfaces to announce their territory and attract a mate in the breeding season. This sound is different from the light taps that are irregularly done to peck for food or excavate for nests. (The Downy Woodpecker is very similar in appearance to the Hairy Woodpecker, except the size. Hairy Woodpeckers average is about 9 inches in length.) The Northern Cardinal is a favorite of most people and is the state bird of North Carolina. It is also the state bird of several other states. It is about 8 1/2” in length. It will readily come to feeders where it prefers sunflower seeds, safflower seeds and cracked corn. Cardinals naturally feed by hopping around on the ground, getting food from low shrubs and trees – where they also choose to live. They eat insects, spiders, wild fruits and berries. Cardinals are found in shrubs near open areas, woods, parks and yards. They build nests of twigs, bark strips, vines, leaves, root lets, and line them with fine grass and hair. They place their nests in dense shrubbery or in branches of small trees about 1-15 feet off the ground. They lay

2-5 eggs that are white with dark marks. It is a beautiful scene when the male cardinal picks up a seed and hops over to the female to give it to her. Their beaks will briefly touch as she takes the seed. This can occur as much as 4 times a minute while feeding. Mate-feeding will occur from breeding to egg-laying to incubation phase. The American goldfinch is another of my favorite birds, all year round. Did you know that they are very social birds and will visit backyard feeders in hungry flocks of 30 or more? Thistle or Nyjer seed is the preferred food for goldfinches. Hang your thistle feeder at least 15 feet from other feeders and water sources. (And you may have to cover the this feeder with a baffle just to keep the seed dry, as when wet it will grow bacteria very rapidly.) Black oil sunflower is also enjoyed by goldfinches. Goldfinches nest later in the season than most species. This is when their favorite food, thistle seeds, ripen. The females also line their nests with the down of thistle. They may behave territorially during nest construction, but this aggression is short-lived. This species is generally monogamous and produces one brood each year. A source of water is important. Goldfinches love to bathe. Offer water in a bird bath, with a dripper or mister and enjoy watching them play. Remember to clean all of your feeders regularly and keep their water source clean. Keep your birds healthy and coming back to your yard to entertain you! Edi Crosby’s WingN’It Wild Bird & Gift Store in the Red Caboose in Banner Elk has sadly closed! “Thanks for all the wonderful years - sharing with you (and learning from you also) information on all the wonderful birds of the area! We have moved to spend time with our family in Las Vegas. We miss every one of our customers and friends in the High Country, but hope to continue to ‘see ya’ in print as I continue to write for CML.” CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —


Grandfather Trout Farm OPEN YEAR-ROUND


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


Rod, Reels, Flies, Wading & Footwear, Apparel and Fly Fishing Gifts Guided Trips, Casting Schools, Fly Tying Classes Open 7 day a week in Downtown Linville 4210 Mitchell Ave., Linville, NC 28646, 828-733-2181


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)

Fly-fishing: Getting Started By Andrew Corpening


ow that the dog days of summer are over and cooler temperatures return to the High Country, the trout fishing will start getting better. As the rivers and streams cool off the trout become more active. It also helps that the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission restocks some of designated trout waters. With the improved fishing also comes a renewed interest in taking up fly-fishing. Hopefully the following will help you get off to a good start and maybe even give the nonfisher some gift ideas for their fly-fisher during the coming holidays. The first thing the novice needs to do is learn how to cast a fly rod. The cast is completely different than that of conventional equipment. If you have a friend that can teach you, wonderful; if not you might want to consider a guided fly fishing trip. Most of the area guides are good instructors and will show you how to cast. Since most guided trips include all the equipment it is a good way to see if you like fly-fishing before investing in the gear. Now that you have decided you want to take up fly-fishing, your biggest concern is the rod and reel. The least expensive way to purchase a fly rod and reel is to get an outfit which includes the rod, reel, line, and, sometimes, a leader. Outfits can range in price from $60 for something more suited for children to the top of the line in the $1,000 plus price range. With that said you can get some good outfits in the $150 to $300 range. When shopping for an outfit the employees of the area fly-fishing shops can help you pick the right one. A good one to start with would be an 8’6” 5-weight. This sized rod is suitable for the local streams, the larger rivers in Tennessee, or pond fishing for blue gill and bream. Now that you have the outfit you will need some flies. Again, the shop employees will help you pick out a dozen flies for the time of year. Next comes something to store them in. Fly boxes come in all shapes and sizes. What you

pick is mostly personal preference so pick one you like. At this point you can go fishing. However, you are going to be very limited if you are fishing from the bank. You will soon see a need to get in the water and wade. If it is during the warmer months you can wet wade in shorts and old tennis shoes. After you have slipped several times you will see why they make shoes especially for wading streams. Most of these shoes have felt bottoms that grip wet rocks better that rubber. When the weather is cooler you will need waders. The good news is that the wading shoes you bought will also work with the waders. You won’t have to fish much until you have to replace the leader. The leader is tapered and is the transition from the thick fly line the fly. Every time you change flies you cut some of the leader off. Eventually you will have cut the leader back to the point where the line is too thick for the fly to float naturally. You can replace the leader, as many people do, or buy tippet. Tippet is simply monofilament line that you can add to the leader to extend its life. Remember that the tippet cannot be larger than the leader. Of course you will now have to buy more flies since you have lost so many to rocks or tree limbs. You will also need flotant and split shot. The flotant helps the dry flies float and split shot helps the sinking flies sink. And speaking of sinking flies, you will need strike indicators since you cannot see the fish take the fly underwater. Strike indicator is just a fancy name for a very lightweight bobber. Now you will start getting gadgets. Some are very good and some are just good at separating you from your money. Some that fall into the good category are forceps, nippers, zingers, and polarized sunglasses. Forceps are good for mashing the barb down on the flies if you are practicing catch-and-release and for removing the fly after landing a fish. Nippers are made specifically for trimming and cutting the leader when changing

FISHING flies or adding tippet. A zinger is a retractable string or wire that is attached to your vest or bag and to, usually, nippers. This allows you to use the nippers and when finished retract back. With the zinger there is little chance of losing the nippers. Polarized sunglasses help you see through the glare on the water to spot fish. Some other helpful, but not essential gadgets are a stream thermometer to check water temperature, aids to help you tie on flies, aids to help you remove flies, and gadgets to help you organize the gadgets. With the accumulation of fly boxes, leaders, tippets, and gadgets, you now need a way to carry all these things. The choice you have to make here is: vest or pack. The traditional vest which features numerous pockets seems to be more popular with the older fly-fishers. Since I tend to be old-school, I use a vest. The younger generation tends to go for the packs. Packs basically are either chest packs or fanny packs. Both get the job done but remember one thing, Murphy’s “Fishing” Law states that the more pockets you have the more you will have to buy to fill them up. The last thing you are going to need to become a proficient fly-fisher is knowledge. This knowledge comes from doing, but also from reading or instructional DVD’s. There are literally thousands of books on the subject, but my personal favorite is the Orvis Fly Fishing Guide. It has been in print for over 30 years and was up-dated a few years back. This is an excellent resource for the beginner. If all of this seems like it is getting very expensive, put it in perspective. You can buy a lot of fly fishing equipment for the price of a bass boat and there are no greens fees. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —


Appalachian Angler

Pioneers in Southeastern Flyfishing Since 1988 Worldwide Outfitters & Guide Service Outfitting Float & Wade Trips on Local Streams & Tailwaters Guides • Fly-Fishing School • Fly-Tying Hwy. 105 Between Boone & Foscoe 828-963-5050 / 828-832-6039


1 cup butter 2 sticks, and use the real thing—no substitutes ½ cup shortening 3 cups sugar 6 eggs 3 cups sifted flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 ½ cups finely chopped black walnuts 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup half-and-half or whole milk Cream butter and shortening thoroughly. Gradually add sugar, creaming until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well as each is added. In a separate bowl, sift flour and baking powder and add chopped black walnuts. In a measuring cup, add vanilla to half-and-half. Add flour and walnut mixture alternately with half-and-half to the creamed mixture, stirring as you go (beating well is a key secret to any successful pound cake). Pour into a prepared 10-inch tube pan and bake at 325 degrees for an hour and 15 minutes or until done. Cool for 10 minutes and remove from pan. Top with frosting after completely cool.


1 stick butter, melted 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar Half-and-half or whole milk ¼ to ½ cup chopped black walnuts Blend melted butter and powdered sugar. Add enough half-and-half to reach desired consistency. Fold in walnuts and frost cooled cake. Jim Casada and his wife, Ann, have written a number of cookbooks focusing on foods from nature, fish, and game. For details on these and his other writings, or to sign up for his free monthly e-newsletter, visit


HEALTH CONNECTION “Banner Elk’s Complete Health Food Store” Safe, Effective Diet Products Vitamins • Supplements • Groceries Homeopathics • Whole Food Supplements Body Care • Books • Unique Gift Items Mon-Fri: 10-6, Sat: 10-5 At the Sugarfoot Shoppes, across from Sugar Mtn 828-898-8482 •

—Celebrating 21 Years— 92 — Autumn 2016 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

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617 W. King Street Downtown Boone, NC Daily for lunch 11-2

tradition Mountain Wisdom And Ways: The Bounty Of Black Walnuts By Jim Casada


y Grandpa Joe sometimes referred to the black walnuts which lined the path from his home to the chicken lot and then onwards to the pig pen as “three-generation trees”. By that he meant that the slow growing hardwoods needed three generations to reach a sufficient level of maturity to be cut for any of the many uses for which the wood is so well suited—beautiful furniture, cabinets, veneer, gunstocks, and hand-carved novelty items. Yet he also was keenly aware of the myriad other virtues of black walnuts. Traditionally the trees had been planted in yards and around barns and other outbuildings to keep the ground underneath clear and reduce problems with troublesome insects. Toxins connected with growing black walnuts did this in admirable fashion. One of the hallmarks those searching for old home places seek is mature walnuts. Other historical uses for the trees include production of dyes for leather and clothing from the husks covering walnuts; making an infusion from husks which temporarily stunned fish and allowed them to be collected for food; and nut hulls were used for polishing soft metals, jewelry, and the like. Far and away the most widespread

use of black walnuts, however, involved their delicious nut meats. Black walnuts are among the most predictable of mast bearers, producing good crops of nuts year after year from the time the trees are fairly young onward, and the delicious, piquant flavor of the nuts is in a class by itself. Gathering walnuts is messy, timeconsuming work best done when they first fall and still carry their husks. Waiting until these wear away means every likelihood of losing most or all the crop to squirrels, which relish the nuts so much their bellies will be dyed with walnut stain in autumn when the nuts ripen and begin to fall. The normal approach is to gather quantities of the nuts when they begin to drop to the ground (tow sacks are ideal for this purpose) and then drying them in a squirrel-proof place until the husks can be easily removed. If desired, the process can be expedited by spreading the nuts out on a gravel driveway or surface and running over them with an automobile. Once the husks are removed, it is best to let the nuts cure for a month or more before cracking. Traditionally mountain folks began cracking them in the latter part of November and early December so as to have plentiful nut meats for preparation of holiday desserts. It was often an evening family activity, and I relish fond memories of sitting with my parents and siblings listening to the radio while each of us worked away on a big bowl of walnuts Daddy had previously cracked with a vise. When it comes to cracking, there’s no sugar-coating the undeniable realities of the situation--black walnuts are devilishly difficult to crack, getting big pieces verges on the impossible, and if you manage to pick out a pint of meats without having a bit of hull in the mix there has

to be some black magic involved. You’ll find plenty of nut-cracking devices for pecans and the like, but when someone invents one that consistently produces walnuts cracked in a fashion making removal of the “goodies” the essence of simplicity, they’ll have a special tool for the ages. The closest I’ve seen is a walnut cracker made by a friend that uses old car parts and an ingenious handle to apply gentle pressure. Never mind the tedium and patience required to get the nut meats, the end results make it all worthwhile. Black walnuts added to traditional oatmeal and raisin cookies give this mainstay sweet a college education, and once you’ve had banana nut bread baked with walnuts you’ll never again be satisfied with pecans. Black walnut bars are a pure delight, and in warmer weather, black walnut ice cream or an ice cream pie with black walnut crust rate as flat-out 10’s on my personal taste meter. Moving outside the realm of the sweet tooth, the nuts also lend themselves wonderfully well to a black walnut vinaigrette dressing. But for pure-out, calorie-laden, sinfully scrumptious delight of the kind that will make an old-time mountain trencherman rare back and pronounce unequivocally, “My, that’s fine,” give me a black walnut pound cake with creamy frosting. Every time I sample and savor a slice of this exquisite dessert I think of Grandpa Joe, the trees on his property, and the wisdom he shared about the cherished place black walnuts held in high country folkways. To wander down that route of reminiscence is to tread a mental trail of wonder, and to enjoy black walnut treats is to experience real gustatory pleasure beyond measure.




n style with a gourmet flair souther

A New Orleans style Restaurant & Bar Banner Elk Location:

Boone Location:

4235 Hwy 105 South Banner Elk, NC 28604 ..................

2968-A Hwy 105 Boone, NC 28607 ..................



Cajun & Texas Cuisine

A Friendly General Store

Visit the Wall of Flame! Beer • Wine Local Items Souvenirs Hot Sauce Downtown Banner Elk Open 7 Days a Week

Kitchen Open Late! 828 898~8952 94 — Autumn 2016 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Open Saturdays May Thru Nov


8-Noon (Nov: 9-Noon) 828 898~TxLa (8952)


Daniel Boone Park, Horn in the West Parking Lot, Boone NC


Dedicated to excellence Committed to community

Family Style Country Dining Our menu features sugar-cured country ham, fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, a variety of country vegetables, and assorted deserts. We also have cabin rentals, and are well known for our mountain spring water. Located in Ashe County, on Hwy 16, easily accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway at Glendale Springs. Call for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Hours 336.982-2236










From My Gluten-Free Kitchen:


By Samantha Stephens

or about three years now, we have been transitioning away from all carbohydrates in general, but more recently we have been convinced to eliminate wheat from our diet. Many natural healthcare practitioners agree that all wheat, even organic wheat, causes inflammation and excess weight gain. Actually, all grains add to inflammation and weight gain to some degree, but wheat is definitely the worst contributor. One study in the Journal of Nutrition (March 2010) shows that wheat is directly related to insulin sensitivity, diabetes, waist circumference, and inflammation. Are you ready to try giving up wheat to see if your health improves? I have included some of my favorite recipes to get you started. Just keep in mind that ideally, your diet should include less than 10% grains. So if you are the typical American that consumes around 60%+ of their diet in grains, hold back if you think replacing all wheat products with an alternative grain is your best choice. Instead, choose from the following: grass fed meats, pastured poultry, wild fish, raw and cultured dairy, a few nuts, seeds and berries with PLENTY of a wide variety of greens.

Sweet Pie Crust 1 1/2 c pecan pieces 1/3 c brown sugar (or preferred sweetener) 3 T grass fed butter 1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt

Dried harvested wild herbs and seeds



Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine pecans, brown sugar, butter and sea salt in food processor. Pulse until coarsely blended but not totally smooth. Press evenly into a glass pie pan, covering the sides and bottom well. The crust should be about 1/8 in thick. Bake until browned slightly. Remove from oven and fill with your neighbor’s favorite pie filling and share with them to brighten their day.

Using alternative grains, seeds and roots to produce tasty and nutritious baked goods Savory Quiche or Casserole Crust 1 1/2 c well-cooked quinoa 1 tsp Celtic sea salt 1 egg 1 1/2 tsp dried Italian herbs 1/3 tsp white or black pepper 1/2 T honey 1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Add enough water to make a doughlike consistency. Press evenly into a glass pie pan, covering the sides and bottom well. The crust should be thin but not translucent. Bake until firm and no longer glossy. This should take about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and fill with egg or casserole filling and then bake as directed. Bake this tasty, gluten free main dish for your next covered dish supper or family gathering.

High Protein Pancakes 1 c gluten free oats 3/4 c cottage cheese 3 eggs 1 tsp sugar or your choice of sugar substitute 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt 1/2 tsp vanilla 1/4 c mashed banana (optional but makes it taste like banana bread!) 1/4 cup raw milk protein powder (optional but adds extra protein) Blend these ingredients with hand mixer. Let sit for 2 minutes and then pour into hot iron skillet that has been greased with bacon grease, coconut oil or grass fed butter. When bubbles form in pancake, flip over delicately. Serve hot with pure maple syrup, blackberry preserves or raw honey.

pieces of wax or parchment paper. Roll evenly until thin. Gently peel off paper and pan fry on both sides until slightly puffy and lightly golden. Serve with your favorite Mexican menu and for extra appeal, wear a sombrero and play some lively Spanish music!

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies 2/3 c coconut flakes ground down to 1/3 c coconut flour (or use coconut flour) 1/4 c coconut oil 1/4 c pure grade b maple syrup 1 tsp vanilla 1/4 tsp almond extract 1/3 tsp Celtic sea salt 2 whole eggs 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips or 1 drop of food grade lime oil for a lime coconut flavor Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With bare, clean hands, spread coconut oil very thinly over cookie sheet. Blend coconut flakes in blender until finely ground into flour. Whisk coconut flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, almond extract, salt and eggs into a smooth, even batter. Do not be concerned if the batter seems runny at first because the coconut flour thickens quickly. Add chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoonful then press flat with thumb or back of spoon. It is okay to place cookies close to one another because they will not expand. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until slightly browned. Store in airtight bar jar.

Pumpkin Spice Bars 3 cups gluten free oats 1 cup sweetened pumpkin pie filling or homemade spiced pumpkin butter 2 tsps aluminum free baking powder 1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt 1 T vanilla 1/3 c coconut oil or grass fed butter 1 large or two small eggs 1/2 cup nuts or chocolate or caramel chips (optional)

ealthy food! Paleo Tortillas

1 1/4 c 100% natural cassava flour (a gluten free, grain free, nut free flour made from 100% yucca root) 1 scant tsp sea salt 1/4 cup grass fed butter, ghee, coconut or avocado oil 1/2 c liquid whey (room temperature water may be substituted)

Preheat a cast iron griddle. Blend all ingredients together to form a dough ball. The dough should be tacky, not wet. Add more cassava flour as needed. Lightly coat griddle with grass fed ghee, grass fed butter, coconut or avocado oil. Pinch off walnut sized pieces of the dough and roll out between two

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a baking dish with coconut oil or grapeseed oil. Combine all ingredients in the order listed above. Fill the baking dish and press down firmly. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool and cut into squares. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or completely cooled as a breakfast bar. Samantha Stephens is a nutritionist, food scientist and wild food enthusiast. She has served as the Head Nutritionist at Westglow Spa in Blowing Rock, and owner of Sam and Stu’s French Italian Bistro. Samantha and her husband founded Cherokee Cove in Mountain City, TN. Contact Samantha at CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —


corn meal, p

Wheel Keep Rolling: Jack Dellinger And The Dellinger Gristmill By LouAnn Morehouse

Jack Dellinger making meal


ack Dellinger is a time traveler. He doesn’t have a DeLorean time machine in the barn, but that old water-powered gristmill of his has been a vehicle of change throughout his life. Actually, it was the cornfield belonging to his father, Marvel Dellinger, that put everything in motion. Jack grew up on the family’s 96-acre farm not far from Bakersville, NC. Descendants of early settlers, the Dellingers raised, grew, or made pretty much everything they needed to live, right down to the shoes that Jack’s granddad, David, fashioned to keep the family shod. Jack says he longed for store-bought shoes, but with


a cobbler in the family, it wasn’t to be. Along with farming and shoemaking, Jack’s granddad operated a gristmill, built by family patriarch, Reuben, in 1867. The all-important millstones had been fashioned out of stone from a local outcropping. Jack had heard his granddad tell of their making, “way ‘fore your times, even I was little,” when an itinerant Frenchman who shaped millstones had boarded with the family as he first searched out and then used hand tools to carve the stones. Each millstone took six months to shape. As was the custom, the Dellingers ground their neighbors’ corn into meal and grits in return for a small share of

the product. Cornmeal was a staple, and everyone had a cornfield. Marvel Dellinger’s plot was a sharply sloped ten acres of “mostly rocks” that was son Jack’s special task to tend. He says, “Every spring, there would come a morning that Daddy would look across the table at me and say, ‘Jack, go harness the mules and plow that cornfield…’ and that’s where I learned to cuss.” Upon graduating from Bakersville High School, Jack took a hard look at his future and decided that plowing cornfields was not part of the picture. The family didn’t own an automobile, so he walked the four miles into Bakersville and enlisted in the Air Force. The Korean War was on and there was a big demand for servicemen with airplane mechanic skills. Jack took every course the Air Force offered and wound up becoming a flight engineer before he had even learned to drive a car. After active duty in Korea, Jack had pretty much settled into stateside routines when he met up with some aeronautical engineers who encouraged him to pursue a college education. He mustered out of the military, earned a degree on the GI Bill, and then got hired by IBM to train as a computer engineer. Jack had come a long way from plowing with mules, but the future wasn’t finished with him yet. One day at work, in 1963, he saw an interesting job posting. The space race was well underway, and IBM had been tapped by NASA to develop an onboard computer for the Saturn V rocket that would carry men to the moon. NASA project director Werner von Braun wanted just six programmers, and they had to be “stubborn, patient, and persistent…but not necessarily smart.” Jack felt that he fit the bill, so he signed on, and spent the next two years in the job of a lifetime. The highlight of his career was meeting the Apollo astronauts, who all came to Huntsville to visit with the people working to get them to the moon.

polenta & grits! Jack wrapped up his career in spaceage technologies thirteen years later back in North Carolina, at the Research Triangle Park. He retired with plans to build a nice house on the land he had inherited from his folks, at the old farm outside of Bakersville. The man who had been raised on a 19th century farm and who had made significant contributions to a 21st century industry was ready to come home. As the peace and quiet of rural life seeped back into him, Jack began to contemplate the ruins of the old mill that had been the center of his childhood world. Dellinger’s gristmill had been idle for some 42 years by then, ever since Jack’s father had passed away. The mighty four-ton mill wheel was tilted at a 45-degree angle, buried three feet in the mud of the creek where it had once freely turned. There was a cracked foundation on the mill building, and various necessary parts were missing. For all that, the chestnut wood of the structure was still sound, and the two millstones were intact. Jack says he got to thinking: “I sure would like to see that thing turning again…” followed by, “Lordy, how am I going to tell my wife.” Three years and at least as many contractors later, Dellinger’s gristmill was back in service, using the power of water to grind corn with the same wheel, the same pulley, and the same millstones as great grandfather Reuben Dellinger had more than a hundred years earlier. It took the same qualities of patience, persistence, and even stubbornness that rocket scientist von Braun had sought for his project to get the mill running again, but Jack Dellinger was up to the task. His father and grandfather had taken care to impart the knowledge to him, and as Jack says, “It’s amazing what will come back to you.” Dellinger’s Gristmill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. The last water-driven mill in North Carolina continues to provide

fine stone ground meal, grits, and–with a nod to Italian cuisine—polenta, for discerning cornmeal lovers. No doubt it’s also the only gristmill with a miller who knew astronauts on a first-name basis. And that’s not the end of it. Jack Dellinger and his good friend, Bill Carson, who revived the historic Orchard at Altapass, produce a concert every August on the grounds of the gristmill. The two met back in their IBM days, and as luck would have it, wound up on neighboring mountains when they retired. The annual Concert at the Dellinger Mill is free admission, with music from the “Dellinger Gang,” a group of notable musicians who have performed with some of the greats of Americana music.

It’s an unlikely path that took Jack Dellinger from a gentle curve of Mitchell County’s Cane Creek Road to the gigantic Saturn V rockets that drove men to the moon. Less likely still is his return to the ways of his forebears. He carries a cell phone in his overalls as he operates a device that is largely the same as it was in medieval times. Jack Dellinger is a man at ease with old and new, and he and his gristmill are doing fine.

Dellinger Grist Mill is open on Fridays and Saturdays, 10am-4pm from May-September, and is usually open every day in October. Stone ground cornmeal, grits, and polenta are available for purchase. The website,, has driving directions, a calendar of events, more family history and great photos.



A Vacation Paradise awaits...

Leatherwood Mountains Resort • • • • • • •

“The High Country’s Premier Steak & Seafood Restaurant”

Year-round vacation rentals Fly fishing - Premier equine facilities Restaurant & Bar - Swimming pool Trails - Tennis courts - Hot tubs Biking & tubing - Weddings & Groups Real estate & log home sales Live music weekly - 800-4NC-MTNS

All ABC Permits Children’s Menu Serving Daily From 5pm 344 Shawneehaw Ave Banner Elk, NC 28604

Downtown Newland 10:30-9 Mon-Sat

...while at Stonewalls, make some time to enjoy “A Tasting Experience” at

Live Music Friday & Saturday Nights!

11-6 Sun


WE CATER! “Voted Best BBQ in the High Country 11 years running!” 100 — Autumn 2016 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Some Thoughts On Cornbread

Chew On This By Jane Richardson

By LouAnn Morehouse

You run the risk of being thought unAmerican if you don’t have some corn in your diet. Not to worry: that most American of grains shows up in practically every kitchen. Its myriad forms delight our palates, from the seasonal highlight of fresh corn on the cob to the snacker’s favorite, corn chips. But before Doritos made corn chip passionistas out of us, there was cornbread. At least in the South, you have been served cornbread by someone blood related to you at some point in your life. And chances are you have either some version of a cornbread mix or some favorite brand of cornmeal on your pantry shelves right now. My North Carolina grandparents were mountain farmers who raised pretty much everything they served at their table. With their stone ground cornmeal, buttermilk from their cows, eggs from their chickens, and bacon grease from their hogs, their cornbread would have made any of today’s farm-to-table advocates delirious with pleasure. My grandmother was especially proud of her harvest time specialties: “roastin’ ear bread,” and cracklin’ cornbread. The former incorporated fresh corn scraped off the cob and added to the batter, and the latter was studded with crispy bits of deep fried pork bits, some meat, some rind, some fat. The cracklins were scrumptious by themselves, and a treat to run into while eating hot cornbread. There are excellent recipes for cornbread to be had everywhere; I recommend using the one that is included with the cornmeal you purchase. The real trick to making good cornbread is in the tool and a little technique I learned at my mama’s knee. First, the tool: yes, you have to use a cast iron pan to make good cornbread! Making cornbread in a cast iron skillet has the fortunate side effect of keeping the pan perfectly seasoned, so that’s not an issue—if you only use the pan for cornbread. Then, the technique that produces a glorious, crispy crust, the best part of a cornbread: Begin by heating the oven to the indicated temperature (425 degrees F is a typical setting). You want a hot oven when it’s time to bake the cornbread. All recipes for cornbread call for some kind of oil; traditionally bacon fat, but corn oil is very good and so is peanut oil. It’s usually about ¼ cup oil. Rather than adding the oil to the batter, pour the oil directly into the cast iron skillet and slowly heat it on the top of the stove. While the oil is heating, mix the batter ingredients together. Then, when the oil in the skillet is sizzling hot, pour most of the oil into the batter. Return the skillet to the stove burner, quickly stir the hot oil into the batter, and pour the stirred batter into the hot cast iron skillet. Put the skillet into the hot oven and bake as specified in your recipe. It’s unlikely you will have leftover cornbread when made this way, but if you do, someone will probably want to crumble up a piece into a glass of milk. Jack Dellinger says in his family they called that treat “crumb-up.” My family doesn’t have a name for it, but my Dad still prefers it to any other late night snack, including corn chips.

new owners of Stonewalls!

Stonewalls Restaurant, 344 Shawneehaw Avenue S. Banner Elk, NC Stonewalls, the landmark Banner Elk eatery known for its signature New York Strip steak and lavish salad bar is undergoing a change of ownership after 30 years under the direction of John and Ann Carrier. New owners Scott Garland and Tim Heschke have combined their culinary talents and experience to reimagine the food and atmosphere for this Banner Elk landmark. Chef Tim is adding updated entrée choices to the menu with an emphasis on freshly prepared selections using locally sourced products. You will want to try the Parmesan crusted halibut or the trout meuniere in addition to the familiar favorites. Or the best-seller pork porterhouse with maplebalsamic glaze and peach/red onion jam. Ask about the off-menu specials available every night. The popular salad bar (added to your entree for only $4) will feature housemade special recipe pimiento cheese and hummus. The arugula salad is dressed with the store’s own specialty olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and the Caprese salad uses locally-grown tomatoes in season. And all the breads are made and baked fresh in house. Fresh Georgia peaches or local mountain apples star in the dessert tart topped with bourbon whipped cream (a generous portion begging to be shared). Full bar service is available, introducing 14 reserve boutique wines. The restaurant will hold its “re-grand” opening in May 2017 and will add a brunch on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Visit the website at Open this season 7 days a week, seating from 5 pm to 9 pm. Call 828898-5550 for reservations.





(Served on our homemade bread)

Pies • Cakes • Tarts Shepherd’s Pie Steak & Ale Pie Chicken Pot Pie English Specialties (On request)

Catering “Don’t forget to order your pies and sides for Thanksgiving”

Serving Dinner Twice Monthly Call or Check our Website for Dates & Menu


Simple, Good Food Located at 129 Pecan Street Abingdon, Virginia (276)698-3159 Fabulous British Chef/Owner

Dominic & Meryle Geraghty


Open Tues-Sat 10am-4:30pm 9872 Hwy. 105 S. in Foscoe

Catering Available | Open 7 days a week Mon-Sat 11am-9pm & Sunday Noon-9pm 190 Boone Heights Dr, Boone, NC 28607 Reservations Suggested 828-386-6101 – Visit our Banner Elk Location – Open Nightly @ 5 / Live Music Sunday nights through October Visit our sister Restaurant ! Bullwinkles: 606 Beech Mtn. Pkwy. 828-387-2354



Watauga Lake Winery A beautiful 30 min. drive from Boone, NC! Join us in our tasting room for a touch of history in our historic and haunted winery. Open M, Th, F. Sat 1-6, Sun 1-5

2015 “Best of Tennessee” Award Winning Winery 6952 Big Dry Run Road, Butler, TN




Downtown Boone’s Microbrewery and Wood Fired Gastropub featuring local & regionally sourced foods

Good beer

good food

good times


CO BO SUSHI sushiBISTRO bistro AND andBAR bar Monday-Saturday: 5-Close 161 Howard Street, Boone 828-386-1201

Celebrating 20 Years! 104 — Autumn 2016 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Painted Fish


Louisiana Purchase


The Culinary Hot Spot of the NC High Country Artisanal (828) 898-5395

Cam Ranh Bay (828) 898-4121

Puerto Nuevo (828) 898 -3332

Banner Elk Café & Lodge (828) 898-4040

Dunn’s Deli (828) 898 -6731

Sister Lees Café (828) 898-4000

Banner Elk Sushi Club (828) 898-1940

Louisiana Purchase (828) 898 -5656

Sorrento’s Italian Bistro (828) 898 -5214

Bayou Smokehouse (828) 898 -8952

Painted Fish (828) 898 -6800

Stonewalls (828) 898 -5550

Indulge your cravings at ... CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —


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!”

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


Chestnut Grille Craft Beers, Thoughtful Wines and Tasty Foods Patio Dining Available Live Music Sundays | 828.414.9230 9239 Valley Blvd, Blowing Rock 28605


Ah...Almost Perfect! Now, just add the wine.

Linville Falls Winery d Wine Tastings d Special Events d Live Music Weekends d Award-winning Wines

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


Donation Station One of the places that make Carolina mountain living so special in summer and fall is the Watauga County Farmers Market in Boone. On Saturday mornings, May through November, at the Horn in the West parking lot, you’ll find an abundance of just-picked produce and all natural meats and poultry from nearby farms, plus baked goods, cheeses, honey, jams and jellies and indigenous arts and crafts. This year the addition of a charitable component is making the market an even more valuable asset to the people of the High Country. Three local hunger relief agencies – Hospitality House, Casting Bread Food Pantry and Hunger and Health Coalition – have joined with the Farmer Foodshare Inc. network and Boone United Methodist Church to establish Donation Station at the market. The pioneering predecessor of the new program was the gleaners, a program coordinated by the Society of St. Andrews and stewarded locally by Boone United Methodist Church, which has been gleaning at the market for many years. At Donation Station, shoppers can donate fresh produce or cash as part of their Saturday morning at the market. Cash donations are used to buy produce from farmers at the market, which is added to donated produce and food gleaned after the market closes. The three agencies arrange for distribution of the food to needy families in the area. The gleaners from Boone United Methodist provide tax receipts to farmers for produce gleaned or donated to the station. Sharing some of that abundance with neighbors in need can make the farmers market experience even more special. The Watauga County Farmers Market is open Saturdays from 8 am until noon, May through October, and 9 am until noon in November.

The Place To “BE” In Banner Elk A taste of the season...

The Banner Elk Cafe


& The Lodge Pizzeria and Espresso Bar 828-898-3444

• 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 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —


MODERN A M ERIC AN CUISINE Inspired by southern mountain fare

349 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock, NC | 828.295.9474 |





Rooms Suites




g Com


Our 6th generation family farm makes farm- fresh cheese on site from our own happy dairy cows.

Inspire Your Tastebuds Painted Salad

Our farm store also offers other local goods!

152 Sunset Drive Downtown Blowing Rock, NC 828-414-9600 (Ale House) 828-414-9254 (Inn)


828-756-8166 Fri-Sat, 10am-6pm, year-round 19456 US 221 North (.5 miles south of Linville Caverns) Marion, NC 28752

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


Apple Hill Farm Store

“Get back in touch with what's real.”

Largest selection of alpaca yarns & accessories in the High Country. Banner Elk, NC | (828)963-1662

We’d love to host your next event!

The Best Western Mountain Lodge and Gadabouts Catering would love to host your next event! With three meeting rooms that can be transformed into a spacious ballroom, we have the flexibility to accommodate conferences of any scale, from corporate meetings to receptions for up to 300 people. Gadabouts offers all styles of menus available for catering on or off site. We have 100 newly renovated guest rooms with corporate rates available for your group if you need overnight accommodations. We would love the opportunity to host an event for you! Please give us a call to schedule a meeting to learn more about our services and try some of our delicious fare.

Mountain Lodge 828-898-4571 • 1615 Tynecastle Hwy (NC184), Banner Elk 28604 |

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

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

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



Nan K. Chase is the author of Eat Your Yard! and co-author of Drink the Harvest. Her apple-icious garden grows in Asheville.

The Joy Of Apples: By Nan K. Chase

Crumbly-Yum Apple Pie Start the 1-2-3 Pie Crust and follow the next steps while it chills. 1-2-3 Pie Crust


ature’s greatest gift in fall: a ripe apple picked from the tree and consumed in the open air, with magnificent scenery all around. That’s truly the pause that refreshes. Burnished by the late summer sun, chilled by autumn’s first frosts, sweet and tart, juicy and crisp all at once, an apple is a feel-good fruit that’s good for you. And so versatile, providing us with juice, cider, applesauce, pies and cakes, jelly and apple butter, and more. A well-tended apple tree, once it reaches maturity, can bear fruit for a century, so the High Country is dotted with stately old heirloom trees ready for the harvest. No matter where you acquire your apples this season – the back yard, a farmers market, or an orchard stand – get ready to enjoy a fresh treat that’s packed with flavor and nutrition. And let’s not forget about crabapples, America’s own native apple tree. Crabapples come in hundreds of varieties, some of them, like the Callaway Crab or the Kerr Crab, delightfully juicy and sweet. Crabapples love cold weather, so they do well in mountainous conditions and can be substituted in some apple recipes. Here are three satisfying recipes that feature apples or crabapples: an apple pie, a baked “pancake” topped with stewed and spiced apples, and an intriguing crabapple jelly.

German Pancake with Spiced Apple Compote

(Adapted from How to Dry Foods, by Deanna DeLong) Yield: 4-6 servings Prepare the compote: Peel, core, and cut into chunks 2-3 large apples. Place apple pieces in a small saucepan with 1/3 cup water and cook on medium heat until fruit is just soft. Add 2 Tbsp. or more sugar plus ½ tsp. cinnamon and ¼ tsp. nutmeg. Stir and remove from heat while preparing the pancake. For the Pancake: Preheat the oven to 400° F. and place a 13” x 9” baking dish holding 6 Tbsp. butter in the oven while it preheats. Watch so the butter doesn’t scorch as it melts in the baking dish. Combine thoroughly: 6 eggs 1 cup milk ¼ tsp. salt 1 tsp. sugar ½ tsp. vanilla extract 1 cup flour Pour the batter into the preheated baking dish. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden and fluffy. Serve immediately topped with generous helpings of compote.

Sift together: 1 cup flour A pinch each of baking powder and salt Cut in 2 heaping Tbsp. of vegetable shortening, lard, or butter Stir in quickly about 3 Tbsp. ice water Note: Over-handling the dough will make it tough. The dough should stick together into a ball and yet not be sticky. Chill at least a half an hour before rolling out on a floured surface. Prick the crust all over with a fork. For the topping cut together in a medium bowl: 1 stick of butter ¾ cup flour ½ cup brown sugar For the apples sift together in large mixing bowl: ¼ cup flour ¾ cup sugar ½ tsp. cinnamon ¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg Then stir in enough peeled, cored, and sliced apples to fill a standard pie pan (4-6). Preheat oven to 425° F and prepare a pie pan with the chilled 1-2-3- Pie Crust. Put the coated apples into the pie pan and sprinkle the topping over the contents. Place in the oven and reduce the heat to 350° F Bake for about 45 minutes, until the apples start to bubble through the topping.

the feel-good fruit!



From CML’s Kitchen Blue Ribbon Crabapple Jelly Yield: Two extra-large mixing bowlfuls, about 15 to 18 pounds, will yield 12-16 half-pints. Pick a sweet-tart variety of crabapple approaching peak ripeness; include some under-ripe crabapples for more pectin. Rinse the crabapples, leaving stems. Halve the fruits, place in heavy enameled pots, and add water just to cover. Bring to low boil, reduce heat and simmer until fruit is soft and the liquid lightly colored, 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a clean container. Do not squeeze or press the pulp, as this clouds the jelly. Let the pulp drip overnight, covered with a tea towel or in the refrigerator. The next day, wash and scald canning jars, bands, new lids, and utensils, including a wide-mouth funnel. Measure the juice, and bring to a rapid boil in a large enameled pot for 5 minutes, removing any froth that forms; at the same time prepare a water bath in a separate kettle for sealing the jars. Add to the boiling fruit juice ¾ to 1 cup of sugar for each cup of juice. Dissolve the sugar, and boil until the mixture reaches the jelling point. Test for this by pouring a small quantity off the side of a wide cooking spoon; when it slows and forms a sheet rather than individual drops, jelly is ready, about 15 minutes. Pour carefully into jars, leaving ¼ to ½ inch headroom, gently cover with lids and bands, and seal in a hot boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

RANDOM THOUGHTS A Story of Choices By Jean Gellin

Her name was ”Kate” and from where she lived, she could see the ships coming in and out of the harbor. It was 1892, in Belfast, Ireland and Kate had received two notes, one from her brother, Thomas, who lived in County Leathrim, in central Ireland. The other note was from his daughter, Ann Jane, Kate’s favorite niece. The note from Thomas was about the marriage he was arranging for his daughter, Ann Jane. Arranged marriages were common in those days, so Ann Jane’s father probably believed he was doing the right thing. The proposed marriage was to the son of a wealthy friend of Ann Jane’s father. The note from Ann Jane stated her great unhappiness over the prospect of marrying a man she didn’t love. Memories of the past must have flooded into Kate’s mind as she read the notes. Years before, she had been in love with a man who raised horses, which she loved to ride. He asked her to marry him but Kate’s father, a judge, who was firm in his opinions, wouldn’t allow the marriage. It could be that Kate either didn’t have the courage or, perhaps the strength, to oppose her strong-willed father. After reading Ann Jane’s note, Kate wrote Ann Jane a letter of encouragement. She also enclosed money and directions for the trip to Kate’s house. From there, Ann Jane would board a ship to America, where she would be welcomed with open arms by other relatives. Kate also wrote a letter to Ann Jane’s father, reminding him of how fortunate he had been in having the freedom to choose his wife. It is logical to assume Kate also assured him that Ann Jane was safe and well and would keep in touch with letters. Ann Jane was my grandmother and Kate was my great-aunt. My grandmother found the love of her life, Edward, in New York. He was a friend of one of her cousins. Edward sold carpets to department stores. After he and Ann Jane were married, they moved to New England and eventually had five children. My mother was the second one. Kate became a teacher and never married. However, she had a beautiful horse and every so often, a man and his son, each on a beautiful horse, would come to visit her...



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thank you! 112— Autumn 2016 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE


Play tennis, hike, shop, tube, zipline or just relax while enjoying some of the best views around! From nature lovers to adrenaline junkies, there is so much to do and see in the area. And staying in Seven Devils makes everything easily accessible from our great central location between Boone and Banner Elk, N.C. You will find an array of lodging choices... whether you stay for a weekend, a season or a lifetime!


Town of Seven Devils For Information on the Town of Seven Devils:


For Zip Line: 828/963-6561

3236 Shulls Mill Road, Boone NC 28607 828.963.6646 |

828/963-5343 • Ad Sponsored by the Seven Devils Tourism Development Authority



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Celebrating 85 Years! Blowing Rock, NC 537 N. Main St. | (828) 295-4200 Across from the Chetola Resort Banner Elk, NC The Grandfather Center 3990 NC Hwy. 105 South, Suite 8 (828) 898-2155 Next to Distinctive Cabinetry E x c l u s i v e s t y l i n g t h a t t a ke s y o u f r o m w o r k t o e v e n i n g & i n t o t h e w e e ke n d . CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2016 —




ainStage 2016 - 2017

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Human. Nature.

Seems like we’re all drawn to nature. And whether it’s childlike wonder or an adult sense of discovery, you’ll find it here, in abundance. w w w. g ra n d f a t h e r. c o m