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Manufacturers of European-inspired down pillows, comforters and featherbeds. Fine bed, bath and table linens from France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and beyond. Located in the High Country.

Since 1983

© 2006-2017 DEWOOLFSON Down Int’l., Inc.

© 2017 DEWOOLFSON Down Int’l., Inc. Photos courtesy of Peacock Alley, Yves Delorme and Home Treasures

9452 NC Hwy. 105 S between Boone & Banner Elk

828.963.4144 dewoolfson





| 866.370.3396

Local Builder

From large homes to small homes, we build in comfort, elegance & quality without exception.

Tom Eggers Construction, LLC Builder of your choice

828-963-7000 |

Photos Š Todd Bush

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 2017 —


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Fuller & Fuller GENERAL CONTRACTING & DESIGN Add more space, remodel or build the new home you’ve been dreaming of...

1880 Tynecastle Highway, Banner Elk NC 28604 828-898-8180


White! It’s bright, clean...and makes everything else look spectacular! Turn up the light in your lifestyle.

elegant living... TIMELESS VALUE Beside Mountain Grounds Coffee & Tea, Grandfather Center, Tynecastle

3990 NC Hwy 10 5 S. Suite 9, Banner Elk, NC 28604 • 828.898.9633 •


On the Inside . . . Cover Photograph Courtesy of Vicki Dameron

16......... On Site at Hart Square Village By Tamara Seymour

21......... A Valle Country Fair By Pan McCaslin

Vicki is a professional photographer and videographer. She has been capturing images since she was eight-years-old and is a huge fan of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Vicki works full time at Public Radio Station WNCW-88.7 FM as a Business and Development Specialist. She 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 North Carolina home sweet home.

Buckeye Luck According to local folklore, a “buckeye,” or the fruit of the yellow buckeye tree (Aesculus flava), is considered good luck if you carry one in your pocket; it may also ward off the worst throes of rheumatism. While the flesh inside the nut is poisonous to animals (including humans), in times of real shortages of mast when other nut crops fail, squirrels may eat a less toxic portion of the buckeye. Yellow buckeye trees are widespread in the mountains, with a favorite habitat being near streams.

23......... 40 Years of Woolly Worms By Mae D. Weed

24......... Coopers Merit “Order of the Longleaf Pine” By Keith Martin

32......... 21 Productions By Keith Martin

36......... Anvil Arts and Sculpture By Cindy Michaud

39......... Autumn Shows at Alta Vista Gallery By Maria Hyde

46......... Hillbilly Music By Mark Freed

47......... Music Review: Old Time, Jazz and More By Steve York

52......... Forty Years on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail By Randy Johnson

56......... Restoring a River By Lynn Rees-Jones

58......... The Beauty of the Balds By Jim Casada

74......... Downtown Boone Now and Then By Julie Farthing

80......... Behind the Wheel in Classic Cars By Joe Tennis

82......... Fred Pfohl Revisits Vietnam By Jerry Shinn

99......... Voices for Children

By Elizabeth Baird Hardy

105....... Beaver College of Health Sciences Changing Medical Landscape By Lynn Rees-Jones

109....... Survivorship and Cancer at Seby B. Jones By Koren Gillespie

114....... Heirloom Apples of the Southern Highlands By Doug Hundley

autumn! 121....... Wine to Water Tells a Beautiful Tale By Karen Sabo

Cultural Calendar with Keith Martin…29 Fishing with Andrew Corpening…63 Birding with Curtis Smalling…65 Grandfather Mountain Notes with Amy Renfranz…67 Blue Ridge Parkway Update with Rita Larkin…69 Blue Ridge Explorers with Tamara Seymour…70 Local Tidbits/Local Business News…88 Finance with Katherine S. Newton…97 An Ounce of Prevention with Mike Teague…103 Be Well/Be Wild with Samantha Stephens…110 Wine with Ren Manning…119 Wisdom and Ways with Jim Casada…125 Recipes with CML Kitchen…126



The Village Of

BLOWING ROCK Open to the Public

Bonfire Nights Steak on the Lake Music & Oysters Live Music

Classic Surroundings, Modern Amenities Classic Surroundings, Modern Amenities

Divide Tavern

Chestnut Grille

Divide Tavern

Chestnut Grille

Best Breakfast Buffet in Town!


EstablishEd in 1891

9239 Valley Boulevard Blowing Rock 828-414-9230 9239 Valley Boulevard Blowing Rock 828-414-9230

Blowing Rock Farmers Market includes farm raised produce, meats, cheese, honey, eggs, plants, fruits, vegetables, flowers, artisanal breads and desserts, natural body products, and whole foods from local farms, growers, and whole food producers. Join us in Downtown Blowing Rock for the best fresh goods. Parking is available at the American Legion. Thursdays from 4pm to 6pm on Park Avenue

828-295-5505 |

EstablishEd in 1891

Open May 25 - Oct 12 on Thursdays from 4pm to 6pm on Park Avenue Check out all the latest at

The Legend Lives On

“The most unique and lovely creations in Blowing Rock!” – Diana R. Handtiques customer HandMade

In THe uSa

110 Sunset Drive #2 Blowing Rock, NC ~ 828-295-7001 We’re open year-round!

Hwy 321 South, Blowing Rock 828-295-7111 •

Come enjoy the patio this summer! 20 drafts, imports and microbrews

• • • • Serving Menu 7 days a week 11:00am-midnight Bar open ‘til 12:00am, Sun-Wed and 2am Thursday-Saturday

1121 Main St. Blowing Rock 828-295-3155 •

Park Avenue, Downtown Blowing Rock 10am - 5pm, RAIN OR SHINE! • Free parking downtown on the street and in the parking decks on Wallingford St. and at BRAHM. Free trolley to and from parking areas at Tanger Outlets and Food Lion, all day, looping every 20 mins. • Art in the Park is host to 90 artisans at each show. Some of the best JUNE MMAY ay 26,20 June• 16, July1014,• AJULY ugust15 11, local and regional artists and craftspeople showcase their handcrafted AUGUST 12 • SEPT. 9 • OCT. 7 jewelry, pottery, fiber, glass, photography, painting and more. September 8, October 6 10am-5pm • Free Admission •


Geologist On Staff Heated Flumes in the Winter Specializing in NC gemstones Rock Hound Tours Available all Summer • Private Party Room Available • Fossils, Mineral Specimens, and Much More! 2 LOCATIONS!

• 111 Mystery Hill Lane, Blowing Rock, NC • NEW! 1655 Hwy 105, Boone, NC

beside the Putt-Putt Course at ‘Sunrise Grill’

"Our newly opened 2nd location gives you a completely different mining experience!"

828-264-4499 •

Open 7 Days a Week All Year! May 24-Aug 11: 9:30am-7pm Aug12-May 23: 9:30am-5pm



Banner Elk Winery & Villa Experience Luxury in the High Country’s Original & Most Acclaimed Winery Savor award-winning wine and pamper yourself at The Villa, a luxury B&B. Spend your days exploring the local golfing, fishing, and skiing. Or recharge with a spa treatment and a glass of wine in front of the magnificent stone fireplace. A weekend getaway, corporate retreat, family vacation, or destination wedding ... it’s the perfect place to relax, re-inspire, and rejuvenate ~ both inside and out.

A publication of Carolina Mountain Life, Inc. Publisher & Editor, Babette McAuliffe ©2017 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 $35.00 a year (continental US) Send check or money order to: Carolina Mountain Life, PO Box 976, Linville, NC 28646 Contributors: Deborah Mayhall-Bradshaw, Pam Brewer, Jim Casada, Andrew Corpening, Julie Farthing, Morgan Ford, Mark Freed, Jean Gellin, Koren Gillespie, Kathy Griewisch, Elizabeth Baird Hardy, Michael Hardy, Mike Hill, Doug Hundley, Maria Hyde, Randy Johnson, Lynn Rees-Jones, Rita Larkin, Jim Leggett, Ren Manning, Keith Martin, Tom McAuliffe, Pan McCaslin, Cindy Michaud, Katherine Newton, Amy Renfranz, Jane Richardson, Karen Sabo, Tamara Seymour, Teresa Shadoin, Jerry Shinn, Curtis Smalling, Samantha Stephens, Mike Teague, Joe Tennis, Mae D. Weed, and Steve York

Corporate Meetings • Weddings • Special Events 135 Deer Run Lane, Banner Elk, NC 28604

828-260-1790 828-737-0771 12

— Autumn 2017 CAROLINA BannerElkWVSep/Oct2012.indd 1 MOUNTAIN LIFE

8/14/12 10:56 AM

C A R O L I N A M O U N TA I N L I F E Publisher’s Note

One of my absolute favorite things to do (aside from being with my granddaughters) is hike with our dogs. I am certain it is their favorite part of the day, and if I get too busy to take them, well it’s obvious that “mom” has fallen down on the job. Una, pictured here, is our two-year-old German Shepherd and hiding behind us is our 12 year old English Bulldog, Roxie. When we go on our early morning stroll through the woods, I love the filtered sunlight and branches that brush me with dew drops. It’s my quiet time to reflect on the upcoming busy day, take stock in the beauty around me and chuckle at the dogs chasing after squirrels. Since we decided on this yellow buckeye nut cover, I’ve been looking on our trails for my own good luck buckeye to tuck into my pocket. We hope you, too, like our cover image. The photographer Vicki Dameron mentioned that to her, the

image represented autumn, water, new birth . . . life. To me, this image represents how a small seed can grow into something massive. One small buckeye can become a tree as tall as 90 feet and up to two to three feet in diameter. Nothing short of amazing. With our beloved Woolly Worm festival celebrating 40 years, I’m humbled by the one little seed of an idea that Jim Morton had four decades ago to race woolly worms on strings. Thanks, Jim. Your idea has attracted people to the High Country from all over the state and beyond, and has brought in thousands of dollars each year to give back to the community. One little seed, nothing short of amazing. In this issue, you’ll see businesses highlighted throughout; each and every one of them has had that original thought, that idea that launched their business. As CML magazine continues to celebrate our 20th anniversary, we also celebrate those businesses that have been showcased on our pages for years. They have worked hard to provide products and services, to grow communities, to create destinations that inspire people to share with others, “I dined there, I shopped there, I visited and stayed there . . . and I’ll be back.” Thanks for picking us up, and enjoy the many small gifts this season has to offer.





Bob Timberlake’s Vision comes to life at Linville Falls Mountain Club

Timberlake Inspired Fully Furnished Cottages from $339,900

Model Open Daily


45 Blue Ridge Drive North, Suite T, Marion, NC 28752 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


“What Dr. Hart has done here is like nothing you’ve ever seen. People have to experience for themselves what is happening at Hart Square— when they do, they will want to make sure it is always around.” - Fred Abernethy, High Country resident and former docent at the Hart Square Festival

Hart Square Village: Entering a New Era


t all started with a couple hundred acres and a plan to build some ponds. But as everyone knows, plans change. In the early 1970s, Dr. Robert William Hart III, a respected physician and avid outdoorsman, bought a piece of land in Catawba County, NC, just south of Hickory, with the mission of creating a nature preserve. He shaped the landscape, creating ponds for waterfowl and constructing cypress nesting boxes to attract wood ducks. He stocked his ponds with brim, bass and crappie. He constructed bird plots. He even brought in a small herd of fallow deer. Bob Hart had his preserve, and was recognized for it with a Western North Carolina Wildlife Conservation Award, along with the Governor’s Award for Wildlife Conservation. It wasn’t long before the master plan took a few twists and turns. People close to Hart began filling his head with ideas. “After five ponds for ducks and geese were constructed and 200 acres were fenced for our deer herd, a friend remarked that an old log cabin would look really neat on the upper pond,” recalls Dr. Hart. That one idea was the seed that has since grown into Hart Square Village, an


important center of historic preservation in Catawba County. “Soon others would say, ‘I know where there is a log barn or a corn crib that would look nice by your cabin,’” Hart adds. His wife Becky continues his thought, “When he got a few, he had to have some more.” Today, Dr. Hart is the proud owner of the largest collection of eighteenth and nineteenth century original log structures in the U.S. Productive Obsession Almost by accident, Hart became a leading preservationist of local pioneer heritage, searching for and acquiring structures dating back to the 1760s. “The most interesting part of Hart Square,” says Hart, “is that I have been able to find these log structures locally.” The majority of the log buildings have been moved from sites within Catawba County, with a handful of structures having once been located in adjacent counties, including Burke and Caldwell. “Although some may be used to depict a tavern, print shop or other specialized building, they are all original houses, barns or utility buildings that were found in the Catawba Valley area,” Hart explains.

By Tamara Seymour

He notes that most structures were either donated or sold to him for mere hundreds of dollars by people who admire his unique collection. But Hart is so much more than a collector. He has personally had a hand in dismantling, relocating, and reconstructing each of the 101 structures that are currently part of his village. His obsession has kept him physically, mentally and emotionally immersed in the project for more than 35 years. Along the way, he has painstakingly researched and recorded the history of each building, and the people who were associated with each. He has also, with Becky’s help, furnished each structure with original furniture and accessories that accurately reflect the function of the building within the community. Throughout the village you’ll find an assortment of pioneer homes, sheds, and barns. A pottery shop, millinery shop, gun shop, wheelwright shop and country store are all stocked with wares appropriate to their specialty. A schoolhouse, doctor’s office, chapel, firehouse, and jail, or “calaboose,” as it was often called back then, feature interiors similar to those found in the early to mid-1800s.

Dr. Bob Hart at work in the village

“One of Bob’s legacies will be and is that he has almost single-handedly (with wife, Becky, and a few other helpers) saved a big part of our North Carolina, and especially Catawba County, heritage and history. He has created a living museum and is certainly one of those rare breeds who does truly give far more than he takes from this life.” – Bob Timberlake

Seeing is Believing From the beginning of this colossal project, the Harts have been committed to sharing with others the history they have worked so hard to recreate. “Becky believes, as I do, that Hart Square isn’t worth all the work unless there are others to share it with, others to learn with and from, and others to enjoy with us this little piece of our past.” To that end, the Harts have opened the village to the public every year on the fourth Saturday of October. Now in its 32nd year, the 2017 Hart Square Festival will welcome 350 artisans and docents who will become village residents and workers for the day, and who will cater to 3,500 guests from all over the country. For area residents and visitors, this is a rare opportunity to experience how settlers lived in the foothills and mountains of N.C. From the mundane daily tasks— clothes being washed in a cauldron of boiling water, and stirred with a battling stick; food being prepared with antique utensils—to more specialized tasks, such as chair making, tinsmithing, lace cutting and cotton pressing, you can observe and

partake in dozens of demonstrations that expose the realities of life during that time. Woodworking, flax spinning, pumpkin carving, gourd crafting, pottery turning, music making…all are part of the experience at the Hart Square Festival. “The focus here is on showcasing the artistry of the 1800s,” says Hart. And of course visitors can tour the inside and outside of log buildings that Hart has so carefully reconstructed, each a museum within itself. “We want people to feel that they are part of the history here— there are no glass cases, no ‘do not touch’ signs—the whole experience should feel authentic.” A Legacy Meant to Last Today, the plan for Hart Square continues to evolve, and in a way that ensures the long-term preservation of the village. Bob Hart’s masterpiece has been placed in the dedicated hands of the Hart Square Foundation, and at the helm is Bob and Becky’s own granddaughter, Rebecca Anne Hart. “I grew up watching my grandfather build this village,” says a proud Rebecca, “and have since become

the very first employee of the Foundation…and the first to be able to take it into a new phase.” Under Rebecca’s leadership as executive director, the once-a-year festival for the public has grown into a much larger outreach endeavor, providing hands-on education to younger audiences. “In addition to the festival, we’ve opened the Village to around 2,000 kids in April and November.” But from the earliest days in her role at the Foundation, she has aimed for something bigger. “In 2018, we will be able to quadruple that number,” Rebecca beams. She confirms that Hart Square Village is indeed still growing, despite the fact that her grandfather had promised the family years ago to end the project with 90 structures. In development now are structures 102, 103, and 104. “We have two cabins under construction, which will serve as bunk houses for scouts and students.” But what she is most excited about is an expansive educational center in the making. “With the new Sigmon Family Education Center, we are going well beyond being a space for preservation,” continued on next page CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


HART: continued from previous page

says Rebecca. “The Education Center will be focused on teaching people of all ages, from all over the country, about Appalachian crafts and trades.” In partnership with the Foundation, Catawba Valley Community College will also facilitate a variety of related continuing education classes for local adults. The Foundation breaks ground on the Sigmon Family Education Center this October, and if you are one of the lucky ones to get a ticket to the October 28 festival, you’ll get to see the earliest phase of this monumental project. “Festival goers will notice a lot of dirt and tractors moving around,” warns Rebecca. “But by the end of next summer, the Center should be completed and open.” And of course, the festival itself will likely always be a significant educational event for the thousands of attendees who flock to Hart Square each year. “We were actually told by the staff at Colonial Williamsburg that the Hart Square Festival day is the single largest demonstration of early American crafts in the entire country.” Rebecca adds that many of the 200+ master artisans who volunteer at the Hart Square festival practice their craft for a living, many of them working at Colonial Williamsburg. “They drive from Virginia, Georgia, and Tennessee, just to volunteer at our festival. These craftspeople have been doing this for decades—they share with our family a real passion for wanting to teach.” And what’s her grandfather up to these days? According to Rebecca, in addition to chairing the Hart Square Foundation’s Board of Directors, “he’s still working at the village every day of the week except Tuesday, his golf day.” At 81, Dr. Bob Hart might just deserve a day off.


See the largest collection of log structures in America at the Hart Square Festival! Saturday, October 28, 10 am to 5 pm Tickets are $40 (free for children five and under) and go on sale at 9 a.m. on Monday, October 2. They may be purchased in person at the Catawba County Museum of History in Newton or over the phone, with a credit card, at (828) 465-0383. Directions are included with the tickets, which will be mailed at the time of purchase. For group sales of 20 or more tickets, please call The Hart Square Foundation between September 15-29 at (828) 322-2990. This event sells out quickly, so get them while you can! For more information, visit All proceeds from the festival weekend will support the Hart Square Foundation to provide ongoing, yearround educational programming and maintain Hart Square Village for future generations.

Old Time Merriment Hart Square Village has formed what Rebecca Anne Hart calls a “fun partnership” with Olde Hickory Brewery to concoct a signature ale that will be unveiled at this year’s festival. “Cabin Fever Olde Time Ale is a true heritage craft beer,” says Rebecca. “All the grains and other ingredients were grown on-site and ground at the village’s grist mill. We even used sorghum molasses, common to beers brewed in the 1800s.” All photos by Reggie Thomas | View more of Reggie’s photos of Hart Square Village in the award-winning coffee table book, Hart Square: One Man’s Passionate Preservation of North Carolina’s Pioneer Heritage. Preview a copy at

Shake Up

Your Holiday Season!


North Carolina Get everything to go under your tree in the storybook village of Blowing Rock. Shop our downtown boutiques & outlets, ski, snowboard or ice skate at Appalachian Ski Mtn, dine at award-winning restaurants and stay in stylish accommodations. Visit our website for packages and specials.

For the first time ever, enjoy the wonder of Tweetsie Railroad, dazzlingly lit for the holidays, with a nighttime train, a Christmas show, caroling,and Santa! November 24-25, December 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, & 29-30; 5:00 - 10:00 p.m. Advance tickets are recommended.

Stay at Chetola Resort, and enjoy our Mountain Holiday Package, available Nov. 1-Dec. 24. Our winter package offers charming accommodations, a $50 credit to Timberlake’s Restaurant, and various ways to customize the perfect vacation. Ask about 3rd Night Free in Condos.

Happy Holidays from the High Country!




Sugar Mountain Celebrates Oktoberfest


he mountain landscape of western North Carolina is beautiful any time of year, but the view is especially breathtaking in the fall. Sugar Mountain Resort puts its own exclamation point on the season October 14 and 15 with their 27th annual Oktoberfest celebration. Both days deliver great music and fun from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day and as always, admission is free. Sugar Mountain’s Oktoberfest features the robust Bavarian music performed by the Harbour Towne Fest Band, a fifteen piece OomPah band. They are joined by the Valle Crucis Middle School band to create a sensational hometown music fest. German and American food fuel the event with barrels and barrels of Germany’s signature beverages. For the children, Oktoberfest fun includes hay rides, corn hole, pumpkin bowling, play-time with Sugar and Sweetie Bear, and an array of bounce houses. Break out the lederhosen and other traditional southern German attire for the Bavarian costume contest. Local & regional craft vendors will display their wares on the lawn of the lower portion of the Flying Mile ski slope. For the best seat in the mountains, hop on the Summit Express chairlift for an unforgettable panoramic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains in its finest autumn display of colors. From the summit of Sugar Mountain you can see forever and you can bet on brilliant images that will last a lifetime. Since it is October in the North Carolina mountains, prepare for all types of weather. The Oktoberfest celebration goes on in any weather condition, be it wind, rain, shine, or snow. In the event you are caught off guard by Mother Nature, the Sugar Mountain Sports and Gift Shop is open with great values in discounted apparel, as well as souvenirs and keepsakes. Admission, parking, and shuttle service are free. Lodging discounts are available when you visit Oktoberfest weekend. There’s still room for vendors, and volunteers are always encouraged to join in the Oktoberfest presentation. Call 828-898-4521 or go online to It’s a sensational weekend at Sugar Mountain, a celebration that grows and grows in richness each year.

The most Incredible Toy Store in the High Country! Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 1-5pm Hwy 321 South between Boone and Blowing Rock 828 264 1422


Valle Country Fair: Having Fun and Giving Back By Pan McCaslin


eaves changing to yellows and reds, apples ready for picking, and smoke swirling from chimneys— all signs that fall has come to the High Country. And with fall, seasonal visitors return for their favorite arts and craft fairs, orchard picking sessions, and walks through corn mazes. The Valle Country Fair, located in historical Valle Crucis, draws over 10,000 visitors who return for Brunswick stew, jams and jellies, and the opportunity to shop from over 160 juried vendors. Children and adults spend time watching traditional apple cider pressings, stirring and bottling of fresh apple butter, and sitting on hay bales listening to Appalachian music groups play on two stages, while munching on a cob of corn or a freshly baked sweet potato. New demonstrations this year will include sock making on an early 1900s machine and the crafting and playing of handmade flutes. There are several new vendors offering Native American arts, mosaic artwork, and leather neckwear, as well as vendors offering locally grown forest plant essences. Spirit Ride, Inc. of Banner Elk will bring horses from their therapeutic equine program, with volunteers providing education about the program and the horses. Children’s Council of the High Country will offer activities for children. Apple Hill Farm will have alpacas and other animals in their petting zoo.

Visitors to the Valle Country Fair can complete all their holiday shopping, fill their gift baskets with jams and jellies, select baked goods for their freezers, and end their day with eating from one of the many food tents available. Brunswick stew, chili, BBQ, traditional hot dogs and hamburgers, and sausage brats can all be purchased, either to be eaten at the fair or for carry out. Students from Valle Crucis School will be offering early morning coffee and donuts to help raise funds for their yearly trip to Washington, DC. Students will also be helping in the children’s area while a local Boy Scout troop assists with trash pick-up and clean-up. Sponsored by the Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross in Valle Crucis, in cooperation with the Valle Crucis Conference Center, the Valle Country Fair is in its 39th year. It is successful because volunteers and members of the community support the underlying purpose of the fair. One hundred percent of the net proceeds are returned to the community in grants and assistance to those in need throughout the year. Volunteers for the fair include members of local service organizations and churches, area schools, the community park, and visitors and friends who travel back to Valle Crucis to share their time and talents. Pamela Conover and Ray Lutz, Valle Country Fair 2017 co-chairs, invite those who wish to help make the fair a success

to find a volunteer slot. Whether parking cars, stirring apple butter, or serving up Brunswick stew, all are needed. “By consolidating our community efforts, we can be more successful in raising funds for those most in need.” Using proceeds from the prior year’s fair, the Mission and Outreach committee of Holy Cross provided assistance to over 200 individuals during 2016. Following a submission and selection process, the Valle Country Fair 2017 grant recipients include: WAMY Community Action, Inc., Western Youth Network, Community Care Clinic, Reaching Avery Ministry, Mountain Alliance, Parent to Parent, Spirit Ride, Inc., OASIS, Children’s Council, High Country Community Health, and Watauga County Schools Extended Learning Program. Many of the grant recipients will be volunteering at the fair. Valle Country Fair 2017 will take place October 21, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Valle Crucis, located on 194 South in the field across from the Valle Crucis Conference Center. Fair parking is $10 per car, $25 for a large van or small bus, and $50 for a large bus, with free admission to the activities. No pets are allowed due to health regulations and no smoking is permitted. For further information, directions to the Valle Country Fair, and the list of 2017 entertainers, visit the website at CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —



The Woolly Worm Festival: 40 Years and Counting By Mae D. Weed


hen visitors or newcomers to the North Carolina High Country read about a local fall festival that races woolly worm caterpillars, they may be incredulous and wonder what kind a crazy place they are visiting! However, in 2007, this local festival was named one of the top ten fall festivals in North America by the Society of American Travel Writers. Every fall when the leaves are their most colorful, the beautiful little mountain town of Banner Elk, NC, goes a little bit bonkers for a great purpose. For nearly four decades, on the third full weekend in October, the schoolyard in front of the Historic Banner Elk School (now the town’s Cultural Arts Center) has been the location of The Woolly Worm Festival. The idea for the Festival grew out of the experiences and fertile imagination of its founder, Jim Morton. When Morton first came up with the idea, no one could ever have imagined the kind of event it would grow to become. From its humble beginnings in 1978, the Woolly Worm Festival in 2016 had over 20,000 attendees (more than the entire population of Avery County) and raised over $100,000 to benefit the local community. The highlight of each festival is the woolly worm races. Woolly worms aren’t actually worms at all. They are the fuzzy caterpillars of the Isabella Tiger moth. According to Appalachian lore, the 13 segments of the woolly worm are the best predictors of the weather for the 13 weeks of winter. The idea of the races, in addition to just being fun to watch and participate in, is to choose which worm

will be the official weather prognosticator for the upcoming winter. Despite the non-scientific basis of this claim, according to local records, the woolly worms’ predictions are amazingly accurate. The Woolly Worm Festival is the primary fundraiser for the Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk and the Avery County Chamber of Commerce. The festival is now its own 501(C)(3) organization and the proceeds benefit the children of Avery County and the promotional work of the Avery Chamber. The festival is entirely volunteer run! Kiwanis Club members, Avery Chamber members, local business people, Key Clubbers, community volunteers, and the Civil Air Patrol, are among the key groups that do all the hard work putting on the festival each year. The 40th Annual Woolly Worm Festival takes place Saturday, October 21, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, October 22, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information, visit or

2017 marks the 40th Annual Woolly Worm Festival in downtown Banner Elk. On this special occasion Festival organizers remember Woolly Worm Festival founder Jim Morton, and honor Mr. Woolly Worm himself, Roy Krege, who has tirelessly and creatively promoted the festival for more than 35 years! While at the event, enjoy dance performances, local entertainment, crafts, food, rides, and of course, the unforgettable worm races. You can even get a head start on your Christmas shopping at the more than 140 vendor booths. And while you’re there don’t forget to pick up your copy of the new Woolly Worm Festival commemorative booklet, which includes an in depth history of the event, activities for kids, photo albums, and more—all to celebrate 40 years of festivities! For more information, visit or



John and Faye Cooper Receive State’s Highest Honor: NC Governor Presents “Order of the Long Leaf Pine” By Keith Martin in the area. Their dedication to the community has included helping found North Carolina High Country Host (a chamber of travel and tourism), raising funds to establish a larger facility for the Hospitality House, founding the Appalachian Women’s Fund, and involvement with An Appalachian Summer Festival, the Western Youth Network, and the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce, all while raising a family, participating in their church, and running a growing business. An overwhelmed Faye Cooper remarked, “We were totally surprised and extremely humbled to be recognized in such an incredible way. To receive this award from Governor Cooper made it even more meaningful. John and I want to acknowledge the many First Lady of North Carolina Kristin Cooper, left, leads the applause for John and Faye Cooper (center and right) on their wonderful people who joined presentation of the state's highest civilian honor, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Photo credit: Mast Stores. us in helping to establish and support so many worthwhile projects and deserving organiza“You can tell when people touch a community; tions. This altruistic spirit and civic pride are what makes the you can tell when other people have a High Country community and its residents so special.” heartfelt mission to do good.” John Cooper said, “It is an honor for us to join the roster of previous recipients of this award, many of whom—includhose remarks by North Carolina Governor Roy ing John Blackburn, Jim Deal, Reba and Grady Moretz, Cullie Cooper were made about local icons Faye and Tarleton, Sue and Wade Wilmoth—are personal friends, who John Cooper during his first visit to the High we hold in the highest regard. The choice of our venerable ApCountry since taking office. The Governor delivered palachian Theatre as the site to present the award meant the public remarks after touring the Appalachian Theatre in Boone, which had just completed the first phase of its world to Faye and me and has given a boost to our fundraising renovation and restoration under the leadership of board efforts to renovate and restore this jewel in our region’s cultural crown to its former grandeur.” chair John Cooper. The Governor told the crowd assembled in front of the theThe Order of the Long Leaf Pine is North Carolina’s highatre’s newly-restored façade and historic marquee that the Cooest civilian honor, and was bestowed upon the Coopers in a pers are also given “the special privilege of proposing the official surprise presentation on August 4. By decree, honorees are proclaimed “Ambassadors Extraordinaire for the Great State of toast of North Carolina in select company anywhere in the free world.” The toast reads as follows: North Carolina.” Since making Valle Crucis and the High Country their Here’s to the land of the long leaf pine, home when they purchased the Mast General Store in 1979, The summer land where the sun doth shine, the much-loved couple has been involved in most every hu- Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great, manitarian, education-related, and community-driven initiative Here’s to “down home,” the Old North State.



“An Evening with Robert Duvall” Academy Award-winning Actor to Visit Barter Theatre By Keith Martin

“He’s been in wars, he’s survived the apocalypse, he’s driven cattle across the country, but he’s never been to Barter Theatre… until now.”


hat teaser from The State Theatre of Virginia in Abington heralds the arrival of the legendary actor, director and producer Robert Duvall to Barter Theatre on the company’s Gilliam Stage, 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 5, 2017. He will bring “a distinctive storytelling style to his experiences on and off camera.” The event is a benefit for the theatre’s Annual Fund for Artistic Excellence. Tickets for this special one-night event are $250 per person and include preferred seating along with a post-performance reception with complimentary hors d’oeuvres, open bar, live pianist, and credit in the playbill for one year. Barter says that audience members “can expect an evening of insight, humor, forthright reflections and stories you’ll want to share with your friends.” Duvall’s extraordinary performances have helped immortalize some of the finest works in film, TV and theatre, many of them co-starring Barter Theatre alums such as Ned Beatty, Barry Corbin, and Frances Fisher. Recipient of seven Oscar nominations, four Golden Globe Awards, a primetime Emmy, and the 1984 Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in “Tender Mercies,” Duvall’s other feature films include “To Kill A Mockingbird,” “Apocalypse Now,” “The Godfather I, II, and III” and the television mini-series “Lonesome Dove,” based on the popular book series by Larry McMurtry. This is the latest in a series of notable stars who have graced the Barter Theatre stage in this type of appearance, with Duvall joining a tradition that includes Gregory Peck, Patricia Neal, Elizabeth Wilson, Ernie Borgnine, Lilly Tomlin, Garrison Keillor, and Shirley Jones. Longtime producing artistic director Rick Rose says, “Robert Duvall is one of the actors I admire most in the industry for his work in both film and on stage, and for the great variety of acting he has done as well as the tremendous honesty he has portrayed in every character that he has created.” Rose had access to Duvall through some of the many famous Barter Theatre alumni who worked with the actor. “Robert Duvall, for me, has defined a level of acting to which very few actors ever reach,” Rose said, “I am honored that Mr. Duvall has agreed to join us.” For readers unfamiliar with the venerable Barter Theatre, it opened in 1933 when the country was in the middle of the Great Depression and spare money for a theatre ticket was not easy to come by. Founder Robert Porterfield offered a unique solution to allow local residents to attend shows: rather than money, patrons could pay for admission by bartering food, livestock or other goods. For 40 cents, or the equivalent in bartered goods, anyone could see a show, hence its name and original slogan, “Ham for Hamlet!” In 1946, Barter Theatre was designated as the State Theatre of Virginia and is now one of the few remaining year-round, professional, resident repertory theaters in the country. For tickets or information, call the box office at (276) 619-3315 or visit their website at the Barter for a onenight special event to benefit the theatre’s Annual Fund for Artistic Excellence.



9/21 – 9/23 – 9/30 – 10/7 – 10/14 – 10/21 – 11/2 – 11/14 – 11/28 – 12/14 – 12/19 – 1/9 – 1/23 – 2/2 – 2/16 – 2/27 – 3/10 – 3/19 – 3/23 – 4/7 – 4/12 – 4/24 –


Dirty Dancing Movie Screening Off The Wall in Concert So Good For The Soul – A Tribute to the Music of Motown Terri Clark in Concert Ram:Corps 828-433-SHOW Flip Fabrique – “Catch Me!” Big Bad Voodoo Daddy in Concert Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” “A Charlie Brown Christmas” Messiah Sing – A – Long The Sting Police An Evening of Piano with Jason Farnham, “Lesson Plans to Late Night” with Lucas Bohn Lenoir Saxophone & City Rhythm Jazz Band Bob Eubanks in The Not So Newlywed Game Wizard of Oz – National Broadway Tour Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company Benjamin F. Long, IV Lecture STOMP – National Tour “On Golden Pond” – National Tour The Malpass Brothers in Concert RENT – 20th Anniversary Tour


MainStage Morganton’s 2017-18 Season: A “Behind The Scenes” Preview with CoMMA Director Jim Smith By Keith Martin


he City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium, or CoMMA, has presented live entertainment and cultural events to the delight of local and regional audiences for over three decades. Their 2017-18 season is listed in its entirety in this issue (see opposite page), but CML spoke with CoMMA Executive Director Jim Smith, the person responsible for creating their diverse programming, to get a brief sneak peek at upcoming events. Here are his thoughts: CML: Congratulations on putting together such an expansive season with over two dozen events… wow! Is there a single event about which you are most excited? Smith: I am excited to bring Dirty Dancing the Musical to the main stage of CoMMA on November 14, preceded by a screening of the movie on September 21. This local, sensationally-filmed motion picture hit home many years ago through the story line featuring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, and now an entire new generation can discover it all over again. And not to mention older fans like myself. CML: CoMMA has established a reputation for bringing Broadway touring shows to our region at affordable prices. What else is on the boards? Smith: Stomp has been an exciting hit Off Broadway for years. I am thrilled to bring it to the people of Burke County for the first time onstage at CoMMA on March 23, 2018. It’s a high energy show that constantly draws your attention to the multiple and non-traditional items creating the music and the beat. This is a show for all age patrons.  

CML: Speaking of appealing to all ages, anything in particular of note for family audiences? Smith: Who doesn’t love “good ol’ Charlie Brown?” In addition to the Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol on November 28, we’re presenting A Charlie Brown Christmas on December 14. This family musical is a live version of the classic holiday special we all have enjoyed watching on television growing up. There will be a special meet-andgreet with two of the cast members after the show. I am predicting many “daddy/ daughter date nights” to this familyoriented show with lots of grandparents and their grandchildren. What better way to make a memory of a lifetime with your family? CML: The spacious stage at CoMMA and high lighting angles are ideallysuited to the art form of dance. What do you have in the lineup for the many dance enthusiasts in our region? Smith: Dance has always caught the human eye, and on March 10, 2018 the Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company will be no exception. Through the mesmerizing ribbon dance to the hypnotic motions of the Chinese Hat dance, these ladies bring an atmosphere of amazement and peace to the spirit.  We will be offering an elementary-level student master class, along with a high school and college level class on classical Chinese ballet. Space is limited, so interested dancers should inquire at their earliest convenience.   CML: The education and outreach opportunities in conjunction with your programming are noteworthy. For what community-wide events should we be on the lookout?

Smith: For the first time in our area we have put together a community-wide sing along to Handel’s Messiah. This event will take place at the First Baptist Church of Morganton with the newlyrenovated 1966 Reuter pipe organ serving as our main instrument. Ten local vocal soloists will join us for the Christmas portion of the masterwork, and the audience will receive the music scores to join them as the chorus sections are performed. Of course, audience members do not have to sing; they can simply sit back, relax and enjoy the wonderful sounds ringing throughout the building. I will be conducting this wonderful event and Mrs. Rebecca Poteat, organist at FBC, will be our primary accompanist. The cost is only $7 per person to experience the first of what we hope will be an annual holiday tradition. CML: You certainly have our attention and interest! What is the best way for our readers to find out more information and obtain tickets? Smith: Box office hours are from noon until 5 p.m. 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 our website at



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Cultural Calendar Spotlights By Keith Martin


can’t remember this many productions on our local stages in such a relatively short period of time. That’s good news for everyone involved, but especially our readers who support the performing arts with their financial resources and attendance. Here, in our opinion, are the 18 most interesting shows on the horizon opening from now through the mid-December, listed alphabetically by company. PLEASE NOTE that all 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 Dance Ensemble, photo by Lynn Willis Over at Appalachian State University, the Department of Theatre and Dance is producing the heartbreaking drama Radium Girls, by D. W. Gregory from October 4 – 8. In 1926, radium was a miracle cure, Madame Curie an international celebrity, and luminous watches the latest rage—until the girls who painted them began to fall ill with a mysterious disease. Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing (October 25 through November 4) centers around the iconic characters Beatrice and Benedick, quarrelling lovers who terrorize all with their sharp wits. Dance offerings include a residency by Aniruddha Knight and Ensemble, featuring Bharata Natyam, South Indian music and dance on November 8, followed by the ever-popular Fall Appalachian Dance Ensemble and no fewer than six premiere works from November 15 – 19. Info at 800-841-ARTS (2787) or Theatre is alive and well in West Jefferson with three events that make our “must see” list. On September 30, the Ashe County Arts Council is sponsoring a Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre entitled Hooray Holly-Weird at the Ashe Shrine Club. Cecil B. DePill’s latest theatrical marvel, “The Wind Be Gone” is ready to be cast. Joan Crawsh and Judy Garlic are auditioning for the coveted lead role in the movie epic and that’s when the trouble starts. The Missoula Children’s Theatre will be in town from October 16 – 21 for a week-long residency with Ashe County students. Monday auditions are followed by daily rehearsals culminating in two performances on Saturday, October 21. In addition, the Ashe County Little Theatre will present The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (November 17 – 19) in the Ashe Civic Center in West Jefferson. Follow the outrageous shenanigans of the Herdman siblings as they take over the annual Christmas pageant in a hilarious yet heartwarming tale involving the Three Wise Men, a ham, scared shepherds, and six rowdy kids. For more information or to purchase tickets to any of these events, please call 336-846-2787. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


All four shows currently in production at the Barter Theatre, “The State Theatre of Virginia,” are worth the drive to Abingdon. Meredith Willson’s The Music Man (September 15 – November 11) makes its long-overdue Barter debut. Director Rick Rose says this musical “celebrates all that is truly great about America’s small towns and small cities that make up the heartland of our country.” It is performed in repertory on the Gilliam main stage with Sherlock Holmes and The American Problem (September 28 – November 11), inspired by the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by R. Hamilton Wright. This mystery brings together Sherlock Holmes and Annie Oakley during Queen Victoria’s 50th anniversary on the throne. Across the street at Barter Stage II, Ghost, Ghost, Come Out Tonight (now through November 12), by Barter’s playwright-in-residence Catherine Bush, is a world premiere thriller wherein relationships shatter as friends try to solve the mystery before it’s too late. Finally, John Patrick Bray’s Friendly’s Fire (October 5 – November 11) is described by Rose as “a deeply funny, theatrically unique, a bit bizarre, and very important play about what it means to have experienced military service and sacrificed for our country.” Info at or 276-628-3991. As of our deadline, the always inventive folks at In/Visible Theatre were finalizing plans for two upcoming events, including their first In/Visible Dance Project on October 1 in various locations in Boone. From November 30 – December 3, they are producing The Place Setting, a show about Appalachian food based on the writings of Johnson City, Tennessee food writer Fred Sauceman. While the locations have yet to be announced, more information and schedule updates can be found on their website, Ensemble Stage is still reveling in the success of their first summer season in their new home in the historic Banner Elk School, an ambitious summer of six productions. Their expansion to year-round programming continues with two live, staged radio plays: Dracula on October 28, and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on December 1. This will be followed by their 2017 Holiday Musical Variety Show with a three-day run from December 15 – 17. For more details and ticket information, please visit www. or call (828) 414-1844. Also in Banner Elk at Lees-McRae College is a delightful little musical comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (September 28 – October 1) with music by William Finn and book by Rachel Sheinkin. This clever show centers around a fictional spelling bee set in a geographically ambiguous Putnam Valley Middle School wherein six quirky adolescents compete in a contest run by three equally quirky grown-ups. And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank by James Still (November 16 – 19) is a multimedia production which combines tapes of interviews with Anne Frank’s friends who survived the Holocaust with live actors recreating the scenes from their lives. The production is part oral history, part drama, part remembrance, and is completely ensemble-driven. Info at or 828-898-8709 with performances in Banner Elk, NC. The fall highlight on the “Schaefer Presents” series at Appalachian is undoubtedly the October 26 performance by Ailey II: The Next Generation of Dance. Founded in 1974 as the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, the company embodies Mr. Ailey’s pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training, and community programs for all people. Ailey’s spirit shines as these artists perform an exhilarating and diverse repertory that includes Ailey’s timeless classics and thrilling new works by today’s outstanding emerging choreographers. The performance takes place in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts on the university campus. Visit for tickets and information. Last but not least are the Wilkes Playmakers performing a clever spoof for kids and adults titled Law and Order: Nursery Rhyme Unit from September 14 – 17 at Benton Hall in Wilkesboro. “In the nursery rhyme criminal justice system, citizens are represented by two separate yet equally ridiculous groups: the nursery rhyme police who investigate nursery rhyme crime, and the nursery rhyme district attorneys who prosecute the nursery rhyme offenders. These are their stories.” For tickets, directions, and other information, call 336-838-7529.


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21 College/University Productions Anchor Upcoming 2017/18 Season By Keith Martin

Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ Band

Aniruddha Knight


he High Country is blessed with exceptional cultural programs at Appalachian State University and Lees-McRae College, with numerous offerings for campus and community audiences. From September through May of each 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 2017-18. 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 a slate of ten offerings produced in four different venues on campus. Running from early September through the end of April, the season will take the stages of the Turchin Center for Visual Arts, Valborg Theatre, I.G. Greer Studio Theatre, and the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. The highlights include over a dozen world premiere dance works and an entire season of theatre by female playwrights. American Dance Festival’s “Movies by Movers” Film Festival September 14 through 16, various times Turchin Center for the Visual Arts First Year Showcase September 28 through 30 at 7 p.m., and October 1 at 2 p.m. I.G. Greer Studio Theatre Radium Girls by D. W. Gregory Oct4 – 7 at 7 p.m., and Oct 8 at 2 p.m. Valborg Theatre Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare Oct 25 – 28 and Nov 1 – 4 at 7 p.m., Oct 29 and Nov 5 at 2 p.m. I.G. Greer Studio Theatre Aniruddha Knight & Ensemble Bharata Natyam, South Indian Music and Dance November 8, 2017 at 7 p.m. Valborg Theatre

Fall Appalachian Dance Ensemble Nov 15 – 18 at 7 p.m. and Nov19 at 2 p.m. Valborg Theatre


Well by Lisa Kron Feb 21 - 24 at 7 p.m., Feb- 25 at 2 p.m. Valborg Theatre Spring Appalachian Dance Ensemble Mar 21 – 24 at 7 p.m., Mar 25 at 2 p.m. Valborg Theatre The Hero Twins: Blood Race by Ramon Esquivel Presented by Appalachian Young People’s Theatre Apr 6 at 7 p.m. and Apr 7 and 8 at 2 p.m. I.G. Greer Studio Theatre Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by Hugh Wheeler Fri and Sat, Apr 13 – 14 at 7 p.m., and Sun, Apr 15 at 2 p.m Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

Aniruddha Knight

Appalachian Dance Ensemble, photo by Lynn Willis

Schaefer Center Presents… at Appalachian State University literally programs “something for everyone” with music, dance and theatre 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 take place in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts on the university campus. Taj/Mo: The Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ Band “Iconic blues legends unite for historic crossgenerational collaboration.” Fri, Oct 6 at 8 p.m.

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy: Visions of Cape Breton and Beyond “Fierce fiddling duo command the stage with an explosive celebration of raw energy and passion…” Tues, Feb 27 at 7 p.m.

Ailey II: The Next Generation of Dance” “Renowned for captivating audiences and translating their strength and agility into powerful performances.” Thurs, Oct 26 at 7 p.m.

Golden Dragon Acrobats “Award-winning acrobatics, traditional dance, spectacular costumes, ancient and contemporary music and theatrical techniques…” Fri, Mar 16 at 7 p.m.

The Performing Arts Department at Lees-McRae College, housed in the

School of Arts, Humanities and Education, has scheduled a three-show theatre season with a poignant drama bookended by their always enjoyable musical theatre offerings. 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.

The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee Music by William Finn, Book by Rachel Sheinkin Sept 28 – 30 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct 1 at 2 p.m. And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank by James Still November 16 – 18 at 7:30 p.m.  and November 19 at 2 p.m.

Cultu re

Us The Duo Singing/songwriting couple Michael and Carissa Rae Alvarado make their Schaefer Center debut. Fri, Nov 17 at 7 p.m. Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo “Professional male dancers present a playful, entertaining view of classical ballet in parody and travesty.” Fri, Feb 9 at 7 p.m.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street “Eight time Tony award-winning best Big Fish musical is a tasty, thrilling treat that siMusic and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa, multaneously shocks, awes, and delights audiences.” Book by John August Feb 22 – 24,at 7:30 p.m. and Frid and Sat, April 13 – 14 at 7 p.m., and Feb 25 at 2 p.m. Sun, Apr 15 at 2 p.m. Black Violin Musicians combine classical training and hip-hop influences to create a distinctive classical boom sound.” Fri, April 20 at 7 p.m.



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2839 Broadstone Road, Valle Crucis • 828.963.5247 Near Mast Store Annex • 15 minutes from Boone or Banner Elk CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


Unique to the High Country: The Sculpture Garden & Gallery at Anvil Arts Studio By Cindy Michaud


eandering south on Highway 221 along the curvy roads of Linville Falls, travelers enjoy views of Christmas tree farms, mountain vistas and even waterfalls. But the pleasure is unexpected when they round the curve and spot the large red steel building at 9600 Linville Falls Highway, home of metal sculptor Bill Brown’s Anvil Arts Studio. And today, thanks to a long ago idea, there is even more to enjoy at this locale, conveniently located across from the Linville Falls Winery. When Bill and Liz Brown recently expanded the gardens to include additional sculptors it was the realization of an early dream: The Sculpture Garden & Gallery at Anvil Arts Studio. Certainly visitors will be forgiven if they forget momentarily they are in the mountains, as this new venue is equal to that found in much larger cities. “We had talked about such an addition,” explains Liz, who worked closely with Bill thirty-six years ago to open Anvil Arts where he constructs his sculptures. “We had the property, the beginnings of a garden and a plan.” As she managed the studio Liz was also involved in many other areas of the arts, from directing the Avery Arts Council to working in a commercial gallery. She quickly realized her uncanny skill for matching collectors and acquisitions. Bill’s efforts in the studio began to earn him national recognition, as well as purchases by the NC Arboretum, the Library of Congress and Duke University Law School. At the same time he served on public art placement committees, participated in professional organizations and juried exhibitions. Whether they realized it or not Team Brown was honing all the skills needed for the imagined expansion of their locale as a sculpture destination. “The time is right,” continues Liz, “It all came together this year and we decided to go for it.”


Selecting five additional sculptors, they timed the July grand opening for peak garden beauty. And while the Garden is undeniably unique to this area, the “Gallery” portion of the venue presents a natural extension: open, airy and light filled. The sculpture here is smaller scaled and suitable for interiors or less expansive exteriors. The color filled cast glass of Rick Beck is suitable for the wall, table or floor. Inspired by tools, household objects and the human figure, his work plays with ambient lighting to create depth and reflection. Also suitable for indoors or out is Tinka Jordy’s work. Her figurative clay pieces employ color and texture to express stories of the land and heart. Don’t rush through the gallery; the Browns encourage guests to sit and spend time with the work, absorbing it in a quiet, meditative setting. But if someone is trying to visualize how a certain piece may fit in their home, Bill happily moves things around to create a familiar sense of space. “We recently repositioned several of Bill’s abstract metal pieces from his ‘Refugees’ series,” recalls Liz. “A couple wanted to see how they would appear framing a doorway and we took the time to change out each piece until they were comfortable with the pairing.” Never mind that these are not lightweight sculptures, the Browns’ warmth in accommodating visitors is one of the qualities that make this art space so inviting. Liz now gestures outside towards the shaded deck nestled between banks of blooming flowers; from this vantage one can see several large pieces. “This setting allows visitors to experience 3D art in the environment for which it was designed. It’s an engaging way to be with the scale of the sculpture; you can see it from all sides and angles.” Without this space a viewer would totally miss experiencing

the power of Tripp Jarvis’s imagery, which is constructed of cast iron and steel. Do these artists work in collaboration with Mother Nature? “Yes,” smiles Liz, “Mike Roig’s stainless steel work is kinetic, designed to move with the wind producing different reflections dependent on the time of day. And the work of Carl Peverall, who uses natural stone, offers a sculptural exploration of architecture which is designed to complement the lush feel of a garden. These artists give great consideration to how the elements impact their vision.” But natural elements are not all they must consider. The sheer size of these pieces brings up questions of transportation and installation. It all goes with the territory, according to the Browns who have vast experience with those issues. “Doorway widths, elevator heights, weight restrictions,” Liz lists in accounting for some of the factors sculpture artists must think about. “Can pieces come apart, do they balance, will they withstand being transported?” The list includes issues the average art consumer couldn’t imagine. “And,” Bill adds, “the pieces we currently have are mainly sized for residential installation. The corporate and public art pieces will grow considerably larger.” While the Sculpture Garden & Gallery at the Anvil Arts Studio is totally unique to our area, the Browns have no intention of letting it remain static. The venture is morphing daily, much like the dream that developed organically. As Liz and Bill call upon their vast network of artists they will continue to present a vibrant and ever evolving venue. All of it will benefit High Country art lovers and collectors who now don’t have to travel far to enjoy, and acquire, award winning, quality sculpture.



Guest exhibitor Liz Spear

Winter Wrap-Up at Mica Gallery By Pam Brewer


he “Winter Wrap Up” is a highly anticipated and welcome tradition at Mica, a contemporary craft gallery in Bakersville, NC. Mica has been wrapping-up the year with a celebration of wearable fiber art for several years. “We are beginning the tradition earlier this year. I love to see the transformation of our gallery at this time of year with this wonderful collection of functional fiber art. It is truly a magnificent showing,” says Carmen Grier, the only fiber artist-member of Mica, a cooperative gallery. This year Winter Wrap-up opens October 18 and runs until December 31. Gorgeous, functional garments and accessories created by guest exhibitors Liz Spear, Neal Howard, and Deanna Lynch will be on display, ready for

you to try on and take home for the holidays. Whether you are charmed by muted earth tones or rich jewel colors, fibers of silk, cotton or wool, you will find an array of styles in this popular show with which to wrap yourself or a loved one. Spear, began her creative career as a production potter, then transferred her aesthetic sensibility, time management and production skills to become a fulltime weaver. Her shirts, coats and jackets reflect her love of color, texture, and classic design. “I like to make this work, and need to work with my hands, and it pleases me immensely that every single inch of all those warp and weft threads goes through my hands, that I get to design and weave lots of fabrics, and then, that I get to make clothes with hand-woven cloth,” says Spear. The love she has for the fiber carries in each piece. Howard hand dyes silk yarns, then weaves them into luxurious wearables that are a true feast for the eyes and hand. The gentle color and pattern transitions create a unique aesthetic, receptive and enticing. With multiple layers of dyeing, she also uses the shibori process on some of her woven cloth, creating a depth and richness that is revealed in scarves, or in additions to breathtaking, collaborative, constructed works with Liz Spear. Howard’s Henceforth Yarns also will be available in skeins along with patterns, to knit, crochet or weave your own work. Deana Lynch follows a long family tradition of sewers and makers, and was inspired by her grandfather, a weaver and carpenter. With great respect for the medium and handmade craft, she has created unique, yet timeless woven combinations of earth tones and textures on the loom. The richness of this tradition feels evident when wrapping one of her scarves around your neck. “I believe handmade treasures should function as everyday objects,” says Lynch, and her work certainly does that. She has a special fiber vocabulary that speaks to a simpler, richer time, accompanied by a sophisticated design sense. Mica is particularly pleased to once again have the work of these three talented fiber artists in their gallery for an extended period. Spear, Howard, and Lynch will be in the gallery during the Toe River Arts Tour Friday, December 1 through Sunday, December 3. The public is invited to come meet the artists, acquire their work, and enjoy light refreshments during the TRAC tour weekend. Mica, located in Bakersville, NC, is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 12 - 5 p.m. For more information visit, call 828.688.6422, or visit them on Facebook at Mica Gallery NC.

weara b le art 38 — Autumn 2017 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Amos Westmoreland

Monique Carr

Two Autumn Shows at Alta Vista Gallery Focus on Hearing, Feeling the Art By Maria Hyde

“Beauty is not so much seen with the eyes as felt with the heart.”


elen Keller said this wise truth, but now two local painters are taking her wisdom beyond feeling the art to hearing its rhythm and movement, as if it were music. While creating autumn landscapes for their solo shows at Alta Vista Gallery in Valle Crucis, oil painters Monique Carr and Amos Westmoreland focused on other senses, not only vision — ironic, given that paintings are classified as “the visual arts.” We’ve all seen artists in the fields of music and dance close their eyes in order to be more immersed in the feeling of the music, but can this immersion apply to paintings? Carr and Westmoreland think so. Westmoreland, a musician who often titles his paintings based on musical works, closes his eyes and senses the entire painting’s composition before he ever touches a paintbrush — as if he’s hearing the rhythms and movement of the painting, before he paints it. Carr, a plein air painter originally from Montreal, says in her lyrical French accent, “I focus on sounds when I paint: earring the wind, birds singing, water flowing, the cracking of branches. All of this amplifies my inspiration as I paint outdoors.” When Carr is in her studio, she has music playing while she paints, and she says, “I’m influenced by the style of

music I hear. For example, if I hear Flamenco music, my brush strokes will follow that rhythm. Often, I start painting listening to Latin music like Salsa, and I paint very spontaneously and literally dance with the brush. “Then, when I begin the structural part of the painting, I change the music to classical to calm me down a little so I can focus on the challenges of working out relationships between the shapes that were created intuitively and make them into a successful composition. “When I concentrate on sounds, it gives me more freedom to be creative. I want to capture a feeling, the soul of a scene, a mood.” Westmoreland says, “Parallels between making music and making paintings are far reaching — loud notes and soft notes in music; hard edges and soft edges in paintings. In both art forms, I have to figure out how to hold the interest of the audience. “Whether I’m reading musical notes or painting what is before me, I remind myself: that part is only about technical abilities and has nothing to do with creativity. Creativity comes from a different part of the brain. It’s all about your inner spirit. The task is to move that creative spirit from my heart to the piano keys or to a canvas. “When I’m painting a landscape, I must connect with nature, so I attempt to paint with the same spirit from the sounds of nature that I get from certain music. “I think that people who like fine art understand, and maybe even demand,

that paintings are more than visual. A good painting makes a person feel the rhythms and movement of it and feel emotions.” To meet these two artists, the public is invited to attend the Opening Receptions of their solo shows at Alta Vista Gallery. Carr’s reception is September 23, and Westmoreland’s reception is October 28. Both events are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and refreshments will be served. Carr’s show will hang from midSeptember through mid-October. Westmoreland’s show will hang from midOctober through mid-November. Both artists are Contemporary Impressionists, and each will bring about 20 new oils to their shows. They’re eager to know what others feel and hear while enjoying their art shows. In its 28th year, Alta Vista Gallery shows 100 artists in all media and is located minutes from Boone or Banner Elk in a National Register Historic farmhouse at 2839 Broadstone Road, Valle Crucis, NC, between Mast Farm Inn and Mast Store Annex.


For a map and directions, and to view some of the art, visit and the gallery’s page on Facebook. For more info, call the gallery at (828) 963-5247. The Opening Receptions for Carr and Westmoreland are part of the “Tour de Art,” which is held on the fourth Saturdays of each month, from June through November. Map-brochures are available at Alta Vista Gallery and at the eight other art galleries and studios on the tour.



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Celebrating 25 Seasons with the High Country’s Finest Artists.

567 Main Street East in Banner Elk


Carmen Grier

Mida’s Touch, Ward Nichols Oil on Canvas | 828-898-5175 Hwy 184. Banner Elk, North Carolina

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Teresa Pietsch, Coneflower Plate

A Unique Ceramics Venue: Spruce Pine Potters Market

Lisa Joerling, Spring


f you talk to enough North Carolinians, you’ll learn about three topics that often come up in conversations: NASCAR, basketball and ceramics, not necessarily in that order. Why ceramics? Because North Carolina is the only state that currently supports the making of ceramics—vessels and sculpture—as a living tradition practiced by native Carolinians and many others who are attracted to schools for ceramic instruction, such as Penland School of Crafts, and regional clusters of makers, such as Seagrove near Greensboro. North Carolina also supports clay making economically through many galleries, museum exhibitions, potters markets, home sales and kiln openings that happen throughout every year. The markets are especially noteworthy places to catch up on the latest trends in the making, whether you are looking for face jugs or table ware. A favorite for many ceramics enthusiasts is the Spruce Pine Potters Market. In spite of its earthy name, this market includes the work of local artists with important national reputations. Furthermore, this market, unlike any others in the state, is organized and managed by its participants. Reversing the idea of an open studio tour, the group works together to host a weekend when these ceramic artists, living and working in the two counties around Penland School of Crafts are all in one location. This is the one place in North Carolina where ceramic artists and their buyers can meet in a forum focused on making, where they can come together to share objects and ideas in a charming mountain town with friendly faces and good food. 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 Kent McLaughlin, Jeannine Marchand, David Ross and Ken Sedberry. A portion of the raffle proceeds will benefit Safe Place, a non-profit organization working for the prevention of domestic and sexual violence. Food will be available for purchase from FRESH Wood Fired Pizza, making custom pizza on site from a pizza oven on the back of a pickup truck. For more information, visit the SPPM website at or their Facebook page; email them at, or call 828-765-2670.

The eleventh annual Spruce Pine Potters Market will be held October 14 & 15, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day in the Cross Street Building, 31 Cross Street, Spruce Pine, North Carolina. The event includes thirtytwo artists: Stanley Mace Andersen, William Baker, Barking Spider Pottery, Pam Brewer, John Britt, Cynthia Bringle, Melisa Cadell, Cristina Cordova, Claudia Dunaway, Susan Feagin, Terry Gess, Becky Gray, Michael Hunt and Naomi Dalglish, Shawn Ireland, Lisa Joerling, Nicholas Joerling, Michael Kline, Suze Lindsay, Shaunna Lyons, Jeannine Marchand, Courtney Martin, Kent McLaughlin, Teresa Pietsch, David Ross, Michael Rutkowsky, Ken Sedberry, Ron Slagle, Gertrude Graham Smith, Liz Zlot Summerfield, Valerie Schnaufer and Joy Tanner. Admission is free.



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CarltonGallery Celebrating 35 Years! Mid-Summer Group Exhibition Continues thru Sept 25 Artists’ Spotlight: “Landscapes, Treescapes & Waterscapes” Andrew Braitman, Kevin Beck, Egidio Antonaccio Autumn Group Exhibition Oct 7 thru Nov 15

Opening Reception Oct 7, 2-5pm Artists Spotlight: “A Contemporary Approach – Art of the Horse and Animal Friends” Vae Hamilton, Toni Carlton and Laura Hughes

Holiday Open House Nov 24 and 25, 10:00am – 5:00pm A GALLERY FILLED WITH EXQUSITE GIFTS | 10 miles south of Boone Grandfather Mtn.Community 10360 Hwy 105 S., Banner Elk, NC 28604 | 828.963.4288 | Tues-Sat 10-5, Sun 11-5

Sculpture Garden & Gallery

the place for sculpture 7 Sculptors working in Steel, Stone, Stainless, Glass, Clay...Offering Artwork for Exterior & Interiors

Anvil Arts Studio

828.765.6226 | Linville Falls, North Carolina CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


Crossnore Weavers. on the campus of Crossnore School & Children’s Home, opened in the early 20th to preserve the Appalachian of handweaving. Crossnore Weavers. oncentury the campus of Crossnore School &artChildren’s Home, Today we employ adults and students to keep the art alive and provide beautiful opened in the early 20th century to preserve the Appalachian art of handweaving. wearables, table linens, and students home decor. Today we employ adults and to keep the art alive and provide beautiful wearables, table linens, and home decor. Drop by for a visit on campus or check out our online store at Drop by for a visit on campus or check out our online store at

CROSSNORE CROSSNORE school & children’s home school & children’s home

Crossnore Campus: P.O. Box 249 | Crossnore, NC 28616 | (828) 733-4305 Winston-Salem Campus: 1001 Reynolda Road | Winston-Salem, NC 27104 | (336) 721-7600 Crossnore Campus: P.O. Box 249 | Crossnore, NC 28616 | (828) 733-4305 | Winston-Salem Campus: 1001 Reynolda Road | Winston-Salem, NC 27104 | (336) 721-7600 MOUNTAIN LIFE 44 — Autumn 2017 CAROLINAAll support the children of Crossnore School & Children’s Home. |

New to jam sessions? Here are some tips to help you more fully enjoy your experience.

Tips to Take to Jam Sessions By Mark Freed

Jam sessions are one of the best ways to experience live music when you are visiting the Carolina Mountain Life region. For musicians, they give you a chance to pull out your acoustic instrument and learn some local favorites. For listeners, jam sessions give you a chance to hear the music up close and personal—often unamplified and coming direct to you from vocal chords and the vibrating strings of fiddles, guitars, banjos, mandolins, and more. There are a few great resources for finding jam sessions in the region, including the Blue Ridge Music Trails website ( for western North Carolina and the Crooked Road for southwest Virginia ( In Boone, NC, you can find three regular jam sessions with very different flavors. There are weekly jam sessions on Wednesday evenings at Ransom restaurant on King St. for an anything-goes jam, and on Thursday evenings from 7:30 to 11 p.m. at the Jones House Cultural and Community Center for an old-time jam ( And, there is a twice monthly bluegrass jam—the Red, White, and Bluegrass Jam— on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at the Harvest House.

Courtesy of the Watauga/Boone TDA

1. Many of the jam sessions are free to attend and participate, but some ask for a small donation, or are held in a restaurant or store that is hopeful you will spend a few dollars while enjoying the music. 2. Not everything with a banjo is considered bluegrass. Some jam sessions are open to all types of songs and playing styles, but many of the jams are specific to bluegrass or old-time. Knowing some differences between bluegrass and old-time can be helpful. Bluegrass musicians typically take “breaks”—taking turns with solo improvisations—while the rest of the group supports the individual soloing. In old-time music, the fiddle often plays the lead, with other musicians supporting the fiddle part. In bluegrass, the banjo player usually plays three-finger rolls with picks. In old-time, the banjo player often plays a style called “clawhammer,” rapping down on the strings with the back of his or her fingernails (it looks kind of like knocking on a door). 3. It is somewhat cliché to request “Rocky Top” or “Wagon Wheel” at jam sessions (they are equivalent to “Freebird” for rock bands… oh, and you shouldn’t request “Freebird” at a bluegrass or old-time jam!). To sound like an insider, ask bluegrass musicians if they would play you some Stanley Brothers, or ask an old-time fiddler for their favorite version of “Sally Ann.” 4. Often times the musicians sit in circles at jam sessions. If you are not participating, you should reserve seats in the circle for players and singers. But, you should certainly gather up around the circle to listen. Watch for one of the players lifting a foot, indicating one-more-timearound, or the ending of the tune. 5. The players are usually not paid, and they participate for their own enjoyment. Some might be professional musicians, while others are just learning. They are all there for the love of the music, and it is infectious! CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


Hillbilly Music: Looking Back and Forward By Mark Freed


he word hillbilly (or “Hill Billie”) started showing up in print in the early 1900s as a derogatory term to denote the southern mountaineer. In the decades prior, people from Appalachia had frequently been depicted as backwards, disheveled, and uneducated, and the term hillbilly came to represent the wild and reckless mountaineer. While many see the traits of the mountaineer as positive—living close to the land, being resourceful and independent, and having a strong sense of family and community—in the early 1900s popular culture usually depicted the people and culture of the region in an exaggerated example of negative stereotypes. Local color writers and illustrators of the period set the scene and imagery that would soon be adopted by the early commercial recording industry and radio programs, followed by films and television. From the Skillet Lickers’ multi-record skits about making moonshine and the live “barn dance” radio programs of the 1920s, to the televised musical comedy Hee-Haw of the 1960s-70s, country music has capitalized on the imagery as much as any form of popular entertainment. The roots of what we now refer to as country music have a lot of ties to the Carolina Mountain Life region, including the origins of the term hillbilly as associated with this style.


The commercial recording industry started recording country music in 1923, and what most call the first country song (Fiddlin’ John Carson’s “Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane”) was released in 1924. The region was bustling with fiddlers, banjo players, guitar players, singers, and string bands then. Since radio and records were still in their infancy, most people had to make their own music if they wanted to dance, or entertain themselves. In Galax, Virginia, Tony Alderman was cutting hair in his barbershop when he saw a fellow walk by with a guitar case. Alderman tracked him down and invited him to his shop for some jamming. The man was Joe Hopkins, from Boone, and his brother Al Hopkins soon joined, along with a local store keeper, John Rector. With Alderman playing fiddle, the Hopkins brothers on guitar and piano, and John Rector playing banjo, the quartet started performing around the area as the Hopkins-Alderman-Rector band. Rector had previously been to New York City to accompany Fries, Virginia native Henry Whitter on some commercial recordings, and he helped the band secure an audition. In January of 1925, the foursome drove a Model T Ford to New York City and recorded six songs for the Okeh Record Company. As the story goes, it was a long, multiday journey to New York City, and the band stopped to stay with an uncle of the Hopkins brothers in Washington D.C. along the way. Before leaving, the uncle jokingly asked, “What do you hillbillies think you’re going to do in the big city?” After the group finished their recording session, famed talent scout Ralph Peer asked the band what they called themselves. Al Hopkins replied, “It doesn’t matter what you call us, we’re just a bunch of hillbillies from Virginia and North Carolina.” Peer wrote “Hill Billies” on the company ledger notes, and when the album was released, they were listed as “The Hill Billies.” After the first recording, the band added Charlie Bowman from east Tennessee, known as one of the finest fiddlers in the region at a time when everyone played the fiddle. Over the years, the band recorded and performed as The Hill Billies, Al Hopkins and His Hill Billies, and Al Hopkins and His Buckle Busters. The group made dozens of recordings through

1928, and they continued performing for several more years. They toured from New York through the Deep South, playing radio stations, vaudeville theatres, auditoriums, and school houses. The band continued until Al Hopkins, the band’s leader and driving force, was killed in a car accident in 1932. The band left an important stamp on the industry, and they helped propel the term “hillbilly” into the genre. The Victor record label even used the term as a standard category, for a period, to denote the country records in their catalog (other labels used terms like “Olde-Time” and “Old Familiar”). Eventually, the genre would become known as country music, but the imagery of the southern mountaineer would remain for decades. When Dr. Humphry Bates got his band’s publicity shots taken for the early days of the Grand Ole Opry, the musicians were asked to change from their suit and ties to straw hats, suspenders, and corncob pipes. Today, hillbilly imagery has substantially subsided, although there are some holdouts in the tourism industry, and there is a growing faction of mountaineers from the region reclaiming the term. These modern hillbillies emphasize the complimentary traits, rather than the derogatory, and identify the word with pride. Most view the term as pejorative, and rarely will one hear the country, oldtime, and bluegrass music of the region referred to as hillbilly music anymore. Though it may not be called hillbilly music, the sounds and styles of Al Hopkins and his band are still alive and vibrant in the region. Jam sessions, fiddlers’ conventions, square and contra dances, concerts, and festivals dot the landscapes of western North Carolina and southwest Virginia. The Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina (www. and Virginia’s Crooked Road ( are two good resources for travelers to the region. The Blue Ridge Music Center, off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Galax, Virginia (, and the Jones House Cultural and Community Center in downtown Boone, NC (, are two good venues and resource centers for traditional and country music in the region.

Old Time Music: Alive and Well! Traditional Old Time Music is—in essence—timeless music. Its roots run deep within our mountain culture, yet harken back to days and lands of old across the sea where many of our European kin first picked up a fiddle, lute, or drum and started to sing the folk music of their land and their legends. Here in the new world, that music was honed, hammered, plowed, molded, baked and transformed over and over again, taking on the characteristics of local cultures and regions populated by immigrants from around the world who settled throughout this country. It was flavored by regional dialects and colloquial phrasings, filled with stories of hardships and heartaches, and deeply humanized by harvests, hymns, losses, loves, renewals and triumphs. But there is a common chord running throughout most expressions of Old Time Music that always stirs the heart and soul, and brings back the nostalgia for earlier days when this nation and these lands were being carved out of a vastly unsettled continent by courageous folks who toiled and then celebrated with the music of their own making. Today, that music is still very much alive, continuously revived and frequently updated by many musicians who hold it dear. And one of the most authentic and sought-after Old Time Music groups in

By Steve York

these parts is the Sheets Family Band. Randy Sheets, wife Deborah Jean Sheets and daughter Kelly Sheets Snider make up this richly talented trio. Given that they weren’t always living in close proximity to each other, the coming together of this family band of musicians is pretty amazing and, perhaps, fortuitous. Randy hails from Grayson County in southwest Virginia. Deborah Jean was originally from Durham, but has lived in this area since the early 1970s. Kelly was actually born here, but has traveled extensively to places like the Philippines, Costa Rica, India, Poland and across the US. She now resides in Ashe County. Their band lineup has Kelly on fiddle, Randy on banjo and Deborah Jean on guitar. All the band members sing, and have their voices well-tuned to each other as well as their instruments, with harmonies tight yet easy. Their performances typically include both original compositions and covers of songs that may vary a bit from traditional Old Time tunes. And, perhaps, some notes from their website best describe both their music and their appeal: “Their unique Old Time mountain style takes inspiration from the music of the Appalachian Mountains and beyond. You’ll hear a variety of lively fiddle tunes, songs from the area, rich in tradition, and original songs so honest and haunting

that they evoke the goose-bump effect.” The words honest and haunting do seem to capture the distinctive quality that their music brings to an audience. The Sheets Family Band is actually a relatively recent enterprise. “We’ve only been playing as a family since 2007,” notes Deborah. “Randy and I started playing together back in 2004. Before that, we’ve all played with other folks since the late 1970s. Randy grew up listening to his idols who were also his neighbors. I started playing ‘70s folk music with a group called Chickenlips. Kelly began playing after graduating from ETSU when Randy gave her a fiddle made by renowned fiddler and luthier, Albert Hash,” she adds. This family band is well-known and well-booked all over the High Country and beyond. Recently they performed in Lorton, Virginia near Washington, DC for the Mount Vernon Nights event. They’ve played at MerleFest and are regulars at Bristol Rhythm & Roots. Usually their performances includes the trio. But on occasion, Randy and Deborah play on their own. The best way to keep up with their schedule is at, where you can check out their latest CD, “A Southern Girl’s Reply,” and link over to several of their YouTube videos. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


Brooks Forsyth: Surprisingly Authentic & Original By Steve York


ould it be that legendary artists Woodie Guthrie, Doc Watson, Louie Armstrong, Chet Atkins or Sun Ra have all reincarnated and are now living amongst us in one person named Brooks Forsyth? Perhaps Bob Dylan is traveling incognito under that same Brooks Forsyth persona. Or, on a completely different side of the music spectrum, how about someone like Antonio Carolos Jobim? Maybe he has mysteriously body-snatched Brooks while continuing to enchant fans with those same soothing and romantically fluid Bosa Nova melodies and rhythms that Jobim has trademarked. Fanciful musings, of course. But it is a fact that all of these musical greats—and more— are well liked by Brooks and no doubt of some influence in his evolution as a musician and performer. So the question may not be, “Who IS Brooks Forsyth?” Perhaps the question should be, “Who ARE Brooks Forsyth?” Because the minute you think you’ve pegged Brooks to just one or two types of music, guess what? His sound takes a little turn and gives you a taste of something unexpected, yet completely compatible within a Brooks Forsyth performance. It would seem that the words talent and versatility have found a common denominator in the stylings of this local Boone hometown musician. And despite the many personalities living within his music, it is all simply, surprisingly and authentically…Brooks. Very broadly speaking, the umbrella term for much of Brooks’ music is “Americana” mainly because it incorporates music genres born and raised within this country’s nearly 250-year lifespan. It can include elements of folk, country,


blues, jazz, bluegrass, rock and—yes— even a hint of pop Latin. As a highly skillful guitar player and raw, authentic singer, Brooks effortlessly stitches together genres and styles of play to deliver his audience a rare and refreshing performance that is uniquely Brooks. And, whether flatpicking, finger-picking or smooth chord strumming, his vast repertoire of original songs keeps listeners entertained and very impressed. His second CD, “On The Lam And Lonesome,” was launched during his first national tour back in 2016, and won him solid acclaim. This CD will give you a good sense of his blended styles, music composition, vivid lyrics, rich vocals and guitar mastery. From songs like “Ain’t Got The Time” and “Ballad Of Alvin Mac” to “Wait A Lifetime” and “Walkin’ On A Moonbeam,” you’ll get a good dose of the depth and range of Brooks’ influences as they meld into his very own brand of music. As a founding member and lead in the North Carolina band The Major Sevens, Brooks helped expand the band’s

performance venues all across the state and as far south as Key West, Florida. They’ve hit many locations around the High Country, throughout the Piedmont Triad, east into the Raleigh/Chapel Hill Triangle region and have been regulars during races at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. They even had the honor of playing for and with the late and renowned Doc Watson during a press conference for the MusicFest n’ Sugar Grove. When Doc heard their interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “Don’t Mean A Thing,” he smiled and proclaimed it as Country Jazz. Brooks’ music adventure has taken him across the country, down to New Orleans and Texas and as far west as Colorado and California. But he’s also a big hit when back near his Boone roots and playing here in the High Country. So, if you haven’t yet become acquainted with Brooks Forsyth, take the next opportunity to do so. You can also find him on Facebook and at his website, www.

And: All That Jazz By Steve York


hane Chalke is a musician’s musician, as evidenced by both his seasoned skill on the trumpet and his nearly non-stop circuit of performances all around the High Country, his home state of Florida and beyond. Whether playing with his BE Jazz group when in Banner Elk, with his original Shane Chalke Jazz Trio back in Florida, or sitting in with Boone’s Swing Set orchestra, Shane IS “the music man.” But his evolution towards music man status took a sharp and unlikely detour for many years. Typically, most fulltime professional musicians start young and follow some form of music path for the rest of their life. And that’s the path Shane’s life appeared to follow when he was a boy. After all, he got his first trumpet at age nine, learned to play both alto sax and flute, and even developed some skill on piano. His passion for music was well nurtured and seemed to mark his destiny. “In high school, I’d fall asleep every night listening to a Miles Davis album called ‘Basic Miles’. I probably listened to that album 1,000 times. I also loved Lee Morgan and Blue Mitchell,” Shane recalls. Throughout college, Shane played jazz gigs professionally and was a trumpeter with a Tower Of Power-type funk band at various clubs during the summer and New England ski resorts in the winter. So, anyone back then would have reasonably assumed that Shane would continue developing his music career until he either hit the big time or ended up playing weddings and minor venues for a living. But another destiny called, and Shane left music behind to immerse himself in

the business world. “I was a math major and music minor in college, then became an actuary. For a while I headed up research for Transamerica before leaving that job at age 25 to form my own company. Ultimately, I ended up founding several more companies in the field of financial technology,” Shane recounts. So, once again, the logical assumption would have been that the world of business and finance had captured Shane’s life and passion from there forward, and that music would have been mostly a happy memory or, at most, an occasional weekend indulgence when dusting off the trumpet and blowing out a few tunes in the garage for an audience of one. Ah, but have we learned nothing from this tale so far? Skipping over the details, let’s just say that one morning in 1996 Shane woke up, decided to leave his career of high finance behind, pulled that dusty trumpet out of the garage, and rekindled his old flame…jazz. Playing jazz, hitting the jazz clubs, performing at jazz festivals, forming his own jazz trio, playing with other jazz bands, playing all kinds of jazz, producing his own jazz CDs to sell online, living jazz and lovin’ it. Okay, so we left out all the practical details about how he made the transition

from the financial industry back to professional jazz musician. But isn’t it much more romantic and dramatic—more fitting for the world of jazz—to skip all that and just say, “His trumpet called, and he said yes”? Shane and his wife, Monique, spend summers in Banner Elk, from where he and his group play non-stop every hot spot in the High Country. In the winter, the Chalkes have their home in Sarasota, Florida where, according to Shane, there’s a big vibrant jazz community. “By far the hippest jazz club in Sarasota is Burns Court Café, where I play every Wednesday night during the season. I do a handful of concerts each winter in 200300 seat venues, but nothing larger. Jazz works better in small places.  Around here, my regular venues are The Chef ’s Table in Banner Elk, Chetola in Blowing Rock, and The Alpen Inn on top of Beech Mountain. The most interesting gig I’ve done with my NC boys was last October when I took them down to Sarasota to play four shows at the famous Asolo Theatre—that was a great experience,” Shane recalls. You can catch up with this true music man’s blurring performance schedule at com. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


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The Mountains-to-Sea Trail Celebrates 40 Years By Randy Johnson

“It’s surprising how many people still have no clue about the trail after 40 years of effort...that is what this 2017 40th anniversary celebration is all about — getting people involved.”


hat a difference 40 years make. Back on September 9, 1977, North Carolina Secretary of Natural Resources and Community Development Howard Lee gave a speech and suggested it was time to build a trail all the way across the state, from the mountains to the sea. Lee and state park trail coordinator Jim Hallsey had been noodling the idea. A lot of people agreed with Lee’s speech, and things took off. Four decades later, the effort to build a trail from Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smokies to Jockey’s Ridge on the Outer Banks has ebbed and flowed, but September 2017 finds the trail closer than ever to completion. It also finds the calendar full of events intended to celebrate what is today called the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, or the MST. Trail planner Jim Hallsey has since retired from Raleigh to Ashe County and he’s one of many North Carolinians involved in making the MST an increasingly popular path that one day will no doubt rival the Appalachian Trail. If you haven’t heard of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, don’t fret. The high Country has one of the best-known, most scenic sections of the MST, but Betsy Brown, Outreach Manager for the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, confesses, “It’s surprising how many people still have no clue about the trail after 40 years of effort. That,” she says, “is what this 2017 40th anniversary celebration is all about—getting people involved. All these activities are designed to get new people on the trail and it’s happening.” Brown says membership in the trail’s Friends group is rising. “It’s an exciting time for the MST.” Most of the trail has been built, but


even in the 35 or so percent of the trail where a “final, final” trail location isn’t in place, you can still follow the trail on alternative routes that are doable. By the time this article appears in Carolina Mountain Life, some anniversary activities may be over, including the “MST in a Day” event that will find more than a thousand people setting out to hike every section of the trail on September 9. One of the goals is to calculate how many total miles North Carolinians will hike on the MST in that one day. One event that will not be over, that you can follow right now, is an end-toend hike of the 1,175-mile MST by Jennifer Pharr Davis that started in August and will last through November. In 2011, Davis hiked the 2,185 miles of the Appalachian Trail in 46 days, achieving the fastest known time on the AT, a record that stood for several years and required an unbelievable average of 47 miles per day! Davis is blogging as she treks the MST trail and you can sign up for her newsletter or read her posts at https:// The author and inspirational speaker will also be making presentations at key spots across the state, including a September 21 appearance in Winston-Salem at SECCA sponsored by the Great Outdoor Provision Company, and an October 10 engagement in Raleigh at the Museum of Natural Science. The entire MST celebration is intended to raise awareness and money for the trail, so you can help sponsor some of Jennifer’s trek as well. Along the way, she’ll be undertaking a “Walk a Mile” program where she’ll hike with notable North Carolinians. Davis might be a record-setting adventure hiker but her three-month jour-

ney across the state “will be a family affair,” says the MST organization. “Jennifer’s husband Brew will handle logistics, and he and their two children—4-yearold Charley and 10-month-old Gus— will join her frequently on the trail.” This hike will not be an endurance test. Davis is tackling the 40th anniversary walk to “encourage a love of the outdoors and help people experience this amazing trail that’s right outside our back doors.” That goal shouldn’t surprise you if you’ve hiked part of the MST in the High Country. There are serious stretches of the trail, but most of this statewide path is a perfect family outing, assuming you don’t intend to do the entire hike. In the High Country, the MST follows the Tanawha Trail across Grandfather Mountain, then wanders through Price and Cone Parks to cross US 321. From there it follows along the Parkway north to Devil’s Garden Overlook, where it turns to descend into Stone Mountain State Park and begin the traverse of the North Carolina Piedmont. The entire High Country part of the trail, from Beacon Heights to Devil’s Garden Overlook, is 88 miles. You can download a guidebook at the Friends website Almost any short stretch of the MST can be enjoyed as an easy day hike, but the eventual goal is a much bigger one: to make the MST one of the world’s most attractive “thru-hikes” like the AT or Pacific Crest Trail. Not everyone can hoist a backpack and take to the wilderness for more than a thousand miles, but the MST’s more urban location offers a true opportunity to create a long walk like many found in the Alps of Europe, where hikers carrying light packs can spend a night at an inn or B&B.

Photo by Jeff Clark

That vision is what the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail organization has explored at a few “trail town conferences” over the last four years. Increasingly, the group’s meetings are attended by mayors, town planning officials, tourism people, and others who realize that having an official North Carolina state trail winding through downtown is a great way to attract visitors, enhance the local lifestyle, and boost the economy. Conferences have been held in Elkin and Hillsborough, both known for atmospheric small downtowns where trail facilities have suddenly sparked exciting urban renewal projects and increased business at area restaurants, accommodations, and attractions. That kind of future prospect for the MST is one anybody can support, and in fact, North Carolina hikers and businesses are coming out of the woodwork to do just that. Now’s the time to join in. Visit the Friends website to become a member or otherwise support the effort, including how to hit the trail and volunteer to build or maintain the path. Now is the perfect time to get outside and see what this 40-year overnight sensation is all about, so head out on the MST this fall. Afterwards, visit Appalachian Mountain Brewery in Boone and raise a toast to the trail and its exciting future. The brewery’s special late summer “White Dot IPA” commemorated the white dot trail blaze of the MST and sales helped support completion of the trail. The brew might not be available now, but taking a hike and hoisting a pint is the perfect salute to a trail whose time has finally come.

Photo by RJ— the MST in the Croatan National Forest near the Outer Banks

Randy Johnson is the task force leader for the Grandfather to Blowing Rock section of the MST and has been involved with the trail since the 1980s. His award-winning book Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon tells the story of how the Tanawha Trail became part of the MST.



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Safe Cycling: Keep Your Eyes on the Road By Randy Johnson

Photo by Bill Russ,

It’s autumn and the glowing foliage of fall has a way of distracting even the safest motorist. But, now is not the time to drop your guard. More and more cyclists seem to be biking local roads and it’s everyone’s responsibility to make the High Country a safe place to soak up the scenery. Follow these tips to do your part.

Obey the Rules:

Cyclists are special people, but they shouldn’t act like they own the road. Bikes are considered vehicles and must obey all traffic rules. Obey all traffic signs and lights and do not block traffic.

Have the Proper Gear:

Ride a well-maintained bike that fits you and always wear a helmet! No single piece of safety equipment can do more to save a cyclist’s life. Tie and tuck your shoe laces. Please wear bright clothing and buy and use the newest brightly flashing safety lights that are so easy to spot—but even then, assume motorists do not see you.

Don’t Drink and Bike:

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one in five cyclists, or about 21 percent, who were killed in crashes had a “blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher, the illegal alcohol level in all states.”

Choose Your Route Carefully:

Choose light traffic routes for riding. If at all possible, pick streets with separate bike lanes or stick to greenways and other dedicated cycling routes. You can find these conveniences in our area, so use them. Boone’s greenway system is a great example of a dedicated bike route that permits many nice rides through traffic-free rural scenery while at the same time connecting to urban areas such as the shops and restaurants along Blowing Rock Road. When using greenways, always announce your presence to pedestrians, especially when passing.

Don’t Fall!

Many cyclists are hurt in falls, and mountain roads are notoriously rough and uneven. Mountain bikes are often more stable than narrow-tired road bikes, but loose gravel or potholes can throw anyone to the ground. Sadly, many bikers who die are just going too fast. You could die if you have a blowout flying down one of our long hills on NC 105, US 221, or the Blue Ridge Parkway. Slow down.

ing the law in many European countries. Never use your left hand to open your door—you might open it directly in front of a passing biker. Always use your right hand so you have to fully turn to the left—and be sure to use your mirror and peripheral vision to scan for approaching bikes before opening. Passing is one of the most accidentprone instances when cars and bikes collide, and when that happens, it’s the cyclist who gets the short end of the stick. Every cyclist has gasped in surprise as a car zips past, inches away from his handlebars. Slow down and move as far left as possible to pass a biker. If curves prohibit a view of the road ahead, wait to pass. If you pass in a passing zone, signal left and move into the left lane as you would for a car to give the cyclist more than enough room.

Do Some Research:

Check out some websites. A great example is And don’t forget to visit and maybe join the Boone Area Cyclists

Motorists Have Serious Responsibilities:

Do more than needed to keep cyclists safe. Slow down and be sure not to turn in front of a cyclist. And when you park parallel or beside a street or road, use the door-opening technique that’s becomCAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


River Builder: 100 Miles & Growing By Lynn Rees-Jones


hose lucky enough to have spent time in the waters of the New River—fishing rod in hand, splashing and swimming to cool off, or atop the river in a canoe, kayak or tube— are sure to appreciate the meandering path of clear cool river water. Their experience is enriched with glimpses of fish and crawdads beneath the surface, dragonflies flitting on the surface of the water, and the birds gliding along the path of the river lined with verdant green vegetation before coming to rest in the tree canopies that project dappled patterns of shade on the river. While there are many sections of the river that match this idyllic vision of our beloved New River, much of the river is not as healthy and beautiful. Have you ever noticed that after a heavy rain, the river turns the color of chocolate milk? Or stepped into the river only to feel mud squishing up between your toes? Have you seen a bank with concave exposed dirt banks and wondered why there are no critters rummaging in the brush or any birds chirping? Have you roasted in the sun while kayaking along stretches where treeless manicured lawns extend all the way to river’s edge? Are you a property owner who is apprehensive of each major rainfall for fear of losing more property as it erodes and is swept away by the strong currents of the river? The difference between the idyllic version and the muddy river described above, is the health of the riparian buffers


which serve as transition zones between land and water. They help stabilize and filter all that goes into the river. Wellfunctioning riparian buffers include woody trees and shrubs with extensive root systems to stabilize the soil, which reduces sediment and filters out pollutants. Trees shade the water, regulating temperatures and keeping the water at an optimum temperature for fish and other aquatic species; fallen leaves provide nutrients. Birds live and nest in the buffers and feed on the fish in the river. The New River, which originates in Watauga and Ashe Counties, has been in existence for 300 million years. It has slowly evolved into one of the oldest rivers in the world, but has changed dramatically in recent years as a result of development. Those that treasure the river can be thankful for the New River Conservancy (NRC), a non-profit organization established in 1976 to “protect the waters, woodlands and wildlife of the New River watershed.” The NRC believes that clean water, healthy land, and empowered people benefit communities and the watershed. The watershed includes all the streams and brooks that feed the river and all of the forest, fields and communities that surround it. Of the many initiatives and programs undertaken by the NRC, one they are most proud of is the River Builder program, which restores streambanks into healthy riparian buffers. The NRC reached a significant milestone this summer with the completion of the 100th

mile of restoration since the program was established in 1998. This included working with 425 landowners and the planting of nearly 850,000 native shrubs and trees! The River Builder program works with riverfront landowners to help restore the river banks on their property. Chelsea Blount, River Builder Coordinator, will meet at the owner’s property to identify issues and provide recommendations. If a project is suited to the River Builder program, Blount will outline an approach, determine the level of cost assistance for plant materials and schedule installation. Landowners are required to sign a partnership contract. According to Blount, the most common reason she is contacted by landowners is that they are experiencing loss of property through eroding banks. The most common culprit is the lack of woody plants on the bank of the river. Many property owners extend their grassy mown lawn right to the river bank; however, the root system of grass does not withstand the dynamic flow of the river water over time. This lack of this woody vegetation results in the loss of riverfront property and also releases sediment into the river, causing a reduction in habitat and food supply for fish. Excess nutrients also run off from fertilized lawns and farm fields; algae growth increases, oxygen in the water is depleted, and fish die. Streambank restoration always includes the addition of woody plant ma-

terials to stabilize the bank. The NRC works with local nurseryman Glen Sullivan at Foggy Mountain Nursery who grows native shrubs that have ideal root systems to combat erosion. Species include silky dogwood, silky willow, black willow, ninebark, elderberry and button bush. These plant species live year-round and as they grow, the roots intertwine to create a stable structural network that mitigates erosion and protects water quality by significantly reducing sedimentation into the river. Ninety percent of the plants used in the River Builder program are what are called “live stakes.” Live stakes are dormant cuttings from live plants that can be installed directly into the ground during the months of October to March. While initially these live stakes are essentially dormant sticks, they will root quickly and develop extensive root systems. According to Blount, some projects require more than just plants. When this is the case she is able to provide recommendations for possible solutions, which may include the sloping of banks to allow the river water to escape into floodplains. Blount often visits projects where homeowners have added rocks along the bank in an attempt to mitigate erosion. She is quick to point out that if done incorrectly this actually creates more erosion, as water velocity will increase when it hits the rocks and erode the bank at a more rapid rate. Such projects typically require the addition of rock and cross

vanes engineered by professionals with expertise, knowledge of required permits and access to large machinery. The New River Conservancy has successfully completed 100 miles of restoration. Now they are looking towards 200 idyllic miles of healthy riparian buffers. The New River Conservancy is nationally recognized for its citizen en-

gagement efforts to inspire ordinary people to undertake extraordinary activities to protect the river. For those who wish to learn more about the River Builder project, contact Chelsea Blount at, or call 336.846.6267. Visit to learn how you can support the organization.

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Magic, Mystique, & Mystery: The Beauty of Balds By Jim Casada


lthough literary history remembers Izaak Walton primarily as author of The Compleat Angler, my favorite quote from his writings has nothing to do with fishing. Instead, it focuses on those incomparable scarlet jewels of culinary delight, wild strawberries. Walton, quoting a friend, suggested “Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did.” Anyone who has walked through a ripening patch of these delights growing in one of the mountain-top meadows we call balds can only agree. Their delectable aroma fills the air, and to pause and pick, eating while meandering, is to have such sensory overload that you seem to be placed at the portals of paradise. Some of my fondest boyhood recollections involve such scenarios, with a high mountain bald invariably the setting. These wonderfully welcome moments strolling through “Strawberry Lane” usually came at the end of an arduous climb up steep ridges after a day of trout fishing far below, thereby making the refreshing treats especially welcome. Found in a number of high elevation locations in the southern Appalachians, sprawling grassy areas or heath covered landscapes long known as “balds” form one of the most striking aspects of the mountains. Beautiful to behold, they are adorned with thriving grass or rhododendrons, azaleas, huckleberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and plants more common to Canada than points a thousand plus miles to the south. Ecologists and serious students of natural history have a variety of theories to explain balds, aptly named because when viewed from a distance they bear a readily discernible resemblance


Photo by Don Casada

to a human pate with few follicles. They are also sometimes called slicks, thanks to the fact that from a distance the uniformity of the vegetative cover has that appearance. In truth, the two types of balds—ones with grass and those with other types of vegetation—vary dramatically. Grassy balds closely resemble an alpine meadow while those with heath can be hellishly thick (laurel “hells” deserve their name). The precise origin of balds continues to be a subject of considerable debate, but in essence they are places where trees should be, yet trees are not present. The activities of man certainly loom large in explaining balds, but fires, insects, climatic factors (winds, insufficient soil moisture, holdovers from the last Ice Age, and the like) can also figure in the equation. Scientists have long argued, and continue to do so, about the precise explanation for their existence. For most of us, such theories and rather arcane arguments hold little more than passing interest. Personally I find Cherokee and Catawba myths of giant footprints, battles that left the landscape bloody red (think flame azaleas), or tracks of a devil, more intriguing though admittedly far less plausible explanations than the ruminations of geologists and natural historians. One of the known factors in the creation of balds involves intentionally set fires. Native Americans realized that open areas with the tender vegetation that sprang up after a burn drew game and thus improved hunting opportunities. They were in effect employing wildlife management techniques today known as “controlled burns” long before the first Europeans arrived. Early settlers

learned from the Indians and pursued similar practices, although their burns created forage for cattle rather than focusing on wildlife habitat. Today a number of balds are kept in an open state through similar human intervention (the official lingo says they are “actively managed,” which means they are seasonally mown or periodically burned to keep trees from intruding on the landscape). No matter what the precise nature of their origins, the balds dotting the landscape along that ancient spine of time, the Appalachians, have long been one of the more interesting and intriguing natural features of the High Country— spread through the Blue Ridge, Unakas, the Great Smokies, Nantahalas and other ranges of mountains. Distinctive in character and deeply immersed in a complex mixture of fact and fiction, legend and lore, balds share one constant which endures now as it has through countless generations. They are changeless yet ever changing—oft shrouded in fog, mist, or cloud; bright emerald in the warmth of late spring; arrayed with a flowery coat of many colors in summertime; golden in the glories of autumn sunsets; and periodically bedecked with a white mantle of snow or rime ice in winter. Whatever the season they draw wanderers and fill them with wonder, sustaining adventurous spirits with their scenic vistas, mystery, and allure. Jim Casada, a native of the North Carolina high country, has written on his highland homeland, outdoor recreation, natural history, and related subjects for some four decades. To learn more, visit www.

HIKING MOUNTAIN BALDS Shortly after this article appears, those interested in exploring the myriad delights of balds will have a helpful book to guide their footsteps. Amy Duernberger’s Exploring the Southern Appalachian Grassy Balds: A Hiking Guide is scheduled for publication in November by the University of South Carolina Press ( uscpress). Thanks to an advance peek at the manuscript, I can assure any reader with a serious interest in balds that this is a “must have” and “must read” book. Nicely illustrated and featuring a number of helpful features such as maps, a bibliography, guidance on the difficulty of hikes, and recommended websites, the work is divided into two main sections. The first provides, in six chapters, background information on balds, their history, flora and fauna, and general thoughts for hikers. The second and much longer section comprises six chapters which cover, after a general introduction on treks to balds, sixteen separate hikes grouped by geographical area. Those likely to be of the greatest interest to readers of this publication (simply because they are closest) are the “Asheville Area” (Bearwallow Mountain, Black Balsam Knob, Craggy Knob, Max Patch, Purchase Knob, and Sam Knob) and the “Roan Highlands Area” (Hump Mountain, Little Hump Mountain, Round Bald, Jane Bald, and Grassy Ridge Bald). Further afield are the balds of the Cherohala Skyway region, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Mount Rogers, and The Lump. There are trail maps, information on the relevant USGS quad map, comments on degree of difficulty, hiking time, key historical and other features of the trail leading to the bald, and detailed coverage of how to get to trailheads. The good news is that there are balds for all, ranging from those accessible by vehicle and minimal walking to others requiring strenuous hikes of many miles and with appreciable elevation change. This work will be a literary window opening before the nature lover a world of wonder.

The May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center: Hawks on the Wing

By Dr. Amber A. McNamara, DVM, CVA Veterinarian, MWRC


he May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (MWRC) in Banner Elk regularly receives injured or orphaned hawks of all sizes, from the tiny Sharp-shinned hawk (weighing around 80 grams) to the relatively giant Red-Tailed hawk, whose weight can top 1,600 grams. Two recent patients included a pair of Broadwinged hawks who were admitted for different injuries, but who found common ground in their rehabilitation and release. Each patient admitted to the MWRC is assigned a case number, which allows students and staff to effectively evaluate, monitor, and medicate each patient appropriately. Patient #2017-0687 was found by a North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) officer after the hawk was likely hit by a car. Through a series of volunteer transports, the Broad-winged Hawk was delivered to the MWRC on July 13. Thin and dehydrated, he also had swelling of the left wing near the elbow. Broad-winged hawk #2017-0810 was also found by a NCWRC officer, but this time during an illicit drug investigation. Although no physical injuries were noted, he seemed disoriented and was incapable of sustained flight. Each hawk progressed well through their own rehabilitative process. For BWHA #0687, that included regular and controlled physical therapy and wrap changes (every 3-5 days) to maintain flexibility in the elbow while the bone healed. For BWHA #0810, rehabilitation meant careful monitoring of demeanor, eating habits, and activity. After 3 days indoors, he was moved to a small (20-foot) flight enclosure. On August 9, both hawks were ready for a large flight space and met each other in one of the MWRC’s 60-foot enclosures. Before release, they would both need to demonstrate their ability to fly with strength, speed, and maneuverability. By the end of August, both hawks were flying beautifully and got the green light for release. Both were returned back to the wild on Grandfather Mountain, soon to join thousands of other hawks on their migration south. Wildlife presentations at the MWRC are available to the public on Saturdays at 1 p.m. through November. Learn more about the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at Lees McRae at Grandfather Mountain is an officially designated Hawk Watch Site. Learn more about the fall hawk migration at



Holston Meadows LODGE BANNER ELK


Friday 6pm DOWNTOWN

All new! Opening October 2017! Now taking reservations.

Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club presents the 40th Annual

Brushy Mountain Apple Festival First Saturday in October

October 7, 2017 • 8am-5pm

North Wilkesboro, North Carolina Food • Arts • Crafts • Demonstrations Live Entertainment • Children’s Activities Fun for the Whole Family Celebration of Our Mountain Heritage EXHIBITS • MUSIC • FOOD • CRAFTS

• Secluded/Private Lot w/Forest Views • Completely Furnished • 7 Bedrooms (Queen Beds w/Futon Chairs) • 2 Futon Couches • 6 Bathrooms • Full Kitchen w/Bar • Spacious Living/Dining Room • Upstairs Group Space • Gas Fireplace • 2 Smart TVs & Wi-Fi • Handicapped Accessible • Private Covered Deck • Washer/Dryer Includes Holston Center Amenities: Wildcat Lake: Swimming, Boating, Fishing, & Hiking. Dining at or Catering from the Center’s Dining Hall. Other on-campus activities available: Zip-lines, Rock Climbing, Team Building Course, Archery. Only minutes from restaurants, shopping, and ski slopes!

Located at: 560 Parallel Rd. Banner Elk Call (844) 465-7866 for details and reservations. 60 — Autumn 2017 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

For more information call 336-921-3499

Enjoy summer breezes at 4900ft when you visit Sugar Ski & Country Club’s year-round resort. Efficiency • Efficiency w/loft • 1 & 2 bedroom Condos with WiFi and access to hiking/biking trails. Congratulations CML on 20 years of serving the High Country!! 100 Sugar Ski Drive Banner Elk NC 28604


Fred’s General


Everything store Everythingaa general general store usedtoto be be ......and more! used and more Camelbak • Sherpani • Columbia Woolrich • Columbia Merrell •• Wolverine Merrell Carhartt••Croakies HiTec Wigwam Wigwam • Sorel • Life is Good Sherpani • Teva Teva • White Sierra Crocs • Life Is Good While at Freds ... While Fred’s ... StopAt in and Visit Stop in and visit

The Wildbird Supply Co.

The Wildbird Supply Company & Fred’s Backside Deli & Fred’s Backside Deli Brome • Droll Yankees • Opus Aspects • Perky Pet • Parasol 27th Anniversary Locally crafted houses & feeders Crafts themore! Green and on so much

Aug. 2 • 9 am-4 pm

– Celebrating 38th Year! – pm Summer Sunday our Concerts - 6:30 July 13, 20, 27 • Aug 3,10

Visit us at Eastern America’s Visit us at town Eastern highest

America’s highest town

828-387-4838 (828) 387-4838 501 Beech Mountain Parkway 501 Beech Beech Mountain, Mountain Parkway NC Beech Mountain, NC

Honey, Books, Magazines, Souvenirs, Friendly Service, Toys, Patio Dining, Hardware

, and Much More

Plumbing Supplies, Shoes, Shirts, Sweaters, Gifts, Lunch, Breakfast, Beer, Wine,

Tools, Bird Feeders, Sweets,

ANNUAL BRIDAL SHOWCASE November 5th, 2017 • 1pm-4pm Meet with top vendors in The High Country, take a tour of our facility, door prizes, food tasting from the Table Restaurant, and bridal fashion show. Free Admission


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



Grandfather Trout Farm

Appalachian Angler



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


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


Hwy. 105, 10 Miles South of Boone

(across from entrance to Seven Devils)

Pioneers in Southeastern 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 Guide Service: 828-963-5050 Theo Copeland: 828-268-5311 • Haden Copeland: 828-832-6039

“The only Orvis endorsed fly shop in the high country”

Check out our new merchandise & product lines. Gifts & Gear, Full Line Fly Shop,Guided Float Trips, Fly Fishing School, Fly Tying Classes & More. 8857 Hwy 105 | Between Boone & Banner Elk | 828-963-6556

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



Autumn Angling By Andrew Corpening Autumn means different things to different people. For some it means NFL football, for others it means hunting, for many it is the beautiful foliage and High Country festivals. Of course, many folks come to Boone for the great football action at Appalachian State University. For the fly fisher it means great fall fishing Even though the High Country offers ample fishing opportunities during the summer months, it can sometimes be daunting to catch trout in late summer. As the water temperature warms up, the trout’s metabolism slows down. Also, water levels tend to be lowest in late summer. With water temperatures approaching 70 degrees and the ideal temperature for trout being between 50 and 60 degrees, the trout tend to be in the deep pools and they are not going to move much to go after food. This changes during the fall season. As the days get shorter and the sun gets lower in the sky, the water temperature cools down. As the water gets closer to the trout’s comfort zone, they get more active. Fish will be on the move and actively seeking food. For the fly fisher this means that as the water cools down the trout fishing heats up. Another reason fall fishing is great has to do with the approaching winter. Trout, like many of nature’s creatures, seem to know that winter is coming. During the winter the activity of aquatic insects, a trout’s major food source, slows considerably. The trout need to store fat to hold them through the lean winter months. This means they become more opportunistic feeders during the fall and are less selective. During the fall trout will try anything that looks like it might be food; having the exact fly to match an insect, or matching the hatch, becomes less important. One other reason that fall fishing is good is the start of the delayed harvest season. The delayed harvest rivers are ones that the North Carolina Wildlife

Resources Commission has designated single hook, artificial lure, catch and release only from October 1 to the first Saturday in June. These are the only rivers that the Commission stocks in the fall. The North Carolina hatchery crews will normally stock these rivers twice after October 1. From the first Saturday in June to October 1, these rivers revert to the hatchery supported designation. Some of the High Country’s delayed harvest streams are portions of the Watauga River in Watauga County, several creeks in Ashe County, and two creeks in Mitchell County. The Watauga sections are from State Road 1114 (Dewitt Barnett Rd.) to the Highway 194 bridge in Valle Crucis, and from the State Road 1103 bridge to the confluence with Laurel Creek. Ashe County has Helton Creek from the Virginia state line to its confluence with the New River, Big Horse Creek from the State Road 1324 bridge to the North Fork of the New River, and the South Fork of the New River from the upstream end of Todd Island to the State Road 1351 bridge. Mitchell County’s delayed harvest streams are Cane Creek from the Highway 226 bridge to the State Road 1189 bridge and the North Toe River from the US 19E bridge to the NC 226 bridge. Some other good choices for fall fishing are the streams designated as Wild Trout. The Wildlife Resources Commission views these rivers as selfsustaining. In other words, the trout are reproducing adequately so that stocking is not required. Since these are not stocked, they tend to be overlooked by many fishermen. Wild Trout streams are single hook, artificial lures only and you can keep four fish, seven inches or larger. Most anglers practice catch and release at these streams. Also, don’t forget the Elk River on Lees-McRae College property. This river is designated Fly-Fishing Only, Catch and Release. It,

like the Wild Trout waters, is considered self-sustaining and not stocked. If you are taking children fishing you might want to consider a couple of the High Country’s delayed harvest lakes. Children sometimes have trouble fishing moving water so the still water lakes can work the best. Two area delayed harvest lakes are Lake Coffey on Beech Mountain and Trout Lake at the Ashe Wildlife Club in Ashe County. Remember that even children have to abide by the rules of single hook, artificial lures, and catch and release. As for fly selection, as mentioned before, matching the hatch exactly is not as important in the fall. Any of the usual nymphs, such as Copper Johns, Bead-head Pheasant Tails, and Tellicos, should work well. For dry flies, any of the darker colored flies, such as dark midges, Adams, or Blue Winged Olives, should work if the trout are feeding on the surface. Keep in mind that smaller dry flies, 18 to 20s, should work the best. As usual, if you see trout feeding but do not see any insects, try a Parachute Adams which floats in the surface film. It imitates an emerging insect. If you are not a fly fisher but you want to fish the delayed harvest, you have some options. A fairly short, ultralight spinning rod works well. For lures, you can use single hook spinners or jigs and small plastic worms. If you are using plastic baits they cannot be scented. If you cannot find single hook spinners, you can take a treble hook spinner and cut off two of the hooks. Autumn in the High Country offers a lot for visitors and residents alike. From the beautiful leaves to the many activities, the High Country has something for everyone in the fall. But for the angler autumn means great fall fishing—so go wet a line.




SALE OCT 1 - 31

Live Music through October


225 VINEYARD LANE, BANNER ELK, NC 28604 • 828-963-2400



BIRDING My Favorite Season By Curtis Smalling, photos by Donald Mullaney Ring-neck Ducks

Northern Cardinal

Main Image: Look and listen for Carolina Chickadees to be leading the mixed flock through the woods and yards in the fall. Migrant birds find and follow these local flocks.


hadows lengthen and the woods grow quiet. Walks are filled with new smells, musty leaves, somehow darker twilight and spectacular sunsets. The humidity drops (finally!) and the skies clear, revealing more stars and deeper blues. Autumn in the High Country is my favorite, even more than the first halting signs of spring when I know the birds are coming back and the residents are singing their hearts out. But fall is special; our birds have gone quiet for the most part. No more long dawn chorus, instead replaced by the quick burst of a scolding Carolina Wren as he wakes up for the day, or a lingering Eastern Screech Owl whinnying his displeasure at some interloper trying to still claim a territory for the winter. Birding enthusiasts have to work harder this time of year. September is great as hordes of migrant birds wing their way to the tropics of Central America or the Caribbean or for some, South America. In fact 75 percent of the 100 or so breeding species in our area migrate away for the winter. But once October arrives, we check outside our yards for special arrivals that often are fleeting, or species that are hard to detect or identify. Migrant ducks start to show up on area lakes, ponds or rivers, only to be gone the next day or even the afternoon of the same day, winging their way to the Gulf or the coast for winter.

For land birds, sparrows rule the days in October with over 10 species of little brown jobs (LBJs as birders say) challenging the novice and serious birder alike. But all is not lost for the birder willing to search a little harder. Migrants still passing through, or early winter arrivals from the far north start to appear and often find the local chickadees, titmice and nuthatches to follow around. These mixed species flocks are the lifeblood of fall and winter birding trips. You can often walk literally miles through the woods with hardly any bird life detected only to come upon a mixed flock in a quiet cove of trees with 10 or 15 species of resident, migrant or wintering species: Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Whitebreasted and Red-breasted Nuthatches, Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Winter and Carolina Wrens, and where there is fruit, American Robins, Eastern Bluebirds, and Hermit Thrushes. And for the keen observer, perhaps you’ll see the Brown Creeper skulking up the trunks of large trees, always up, flying down to the base of the next tree. Throw in a late migrant Blue-headed Vireo, a wintering male Eastern Phoebe, some early Purple Finches, maybe a Red Crossbill, and our only regular winter warbler, the Yellowrumped Warbler and you still can have

a busy and productive morning out with the birds. The nicest thing about fall birding is that it’s not quite cold yet and the sun can still draw out some migrants (and some birders looking for the heat), and if you are lucky some really uncommon birds for our area like the Rufous Hummingbird or Horned Lark, or even a rare sparrow like a Lincoln’s might make an appearance. And of course we see the remnants of the hawk migration yield some nice species that peak in the fall, like Northern Harrier and American Kestrel and maybe, if we keep our eyes open, a Golden Eagle. So listen for the local flock of chickadees and titmice to announce their lap through your yard and feeders, and when you hear the activity, take a chance on finding a jewel tagging along with them. Enjoy that fall sun in preparation of our long winter to come, and enjoy the best time of year here in the High Country. Curtis Smalling is a Boone resident and is the Director of Conservation for Audubon North Carolina. He works conserving birds in North Carolina through monitoring species populations, working with volunteers in Important Bird Areas, and through public outreach. Check out his blogs on North Carolina bird conservation topics at For local birding information make sure to visit the High Country Audubon website at CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


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

Grandfather Mountain: Special Events By Amy Renfranz

As the leaves change color in the High Country, Grandfather Mountain will be bustling with a flurry of events and additions. The mountain is planning to welcome three elk to its Environmental Wildlife Habitats. The elk will be housed in a fully renovated natural habitat, complete with waterfall and pond. On top of that, Grandfather has released its 2017 schedule of special events, featuring mountains of programs designed to educate and entertain: 47th Annual Girl Scout Day, Sept. 16, 2017 Scouts and leaders receive free admission Join your fellow scouts for a fun-filled learning adventure on Grandfather Mountain. Enjoy special scout activities, presentations and a closing ceremony! This year, we’re exploring Grandfather’s ecological wonders. “Canopy Meg” Lowman – an expert ecologist – will join the Scouts for two special presentations. Celebrate Migration, Sept. 23, 2017 $40 general public / $20 Bridge Club Join Jesse Pope for this six-hour course on raptor migration. In 2015, more than 11,000 raptors were observed in September as they soared over Grandfather Mountain on their annual migration south. Learn why they do this, and become an official “watcher” yourself. Grandfather Presents Speaker Series: Leigh Ann Henion, Sept. 25, 2017 $20 general public / free for Bridge Club members Nature Museum Auditorium · 6 p.m. John Muir, the prominent naturalist, once described Grandfather as the “face of all heaven come to Earth” when he visited the area in 1898. Fuel your own passion for the outdoors by exploring the life of bestselling author Leigh Ann Henion. Henion is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, “Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World.” The book is about how she chased eclipses,

migrations and other natural phenomena around the globe to reawaken her sense of wonder. “Phenomenal”  was named an editor’s pick by O: The Oprah Magazine, Backpacker and Barnes & Noble Review. Elizabeth Gilbert called it a “gorgeously written and deeply thoughtful memoir.” Creatures of the Night & Bonfire Delight, Sept. 30, 2017 $20 per person Enjoy rare after-dark tours of Grandfather Mountain, fireside tales and a chance to meet the park’s nocturnal residents. The Colors of Grandfather Guided Walks October 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 & 22, 2017 Included in admission Various Locations · 1 p.m. The flora diversity on Grandfather Mountain makes it a spectacular location for fall color display. Learn more about the great deciduous forest and the science behind the color. Beary Scary Halloween, October 28, 2017 Included in admission Join us for a full day of nature programs about the animals we consider creepy and crawly! This fun-filled day includes an opportunity to create animal enrichments and trick-or-treat through the animal habitats. Children in costume are admitted at half price! And Much More… For a full schedule of events, including daily programs, special programs and night walks, visit For more information, call (828) 733-2013. 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 www. to plan a trip. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


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

Good beer

good food

good times


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 |

The Perfect Weather for a Great Adventure—Guaranteed!

Inside A Mountain

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

Linville Caverns

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


Find Your Pint and Raise a Toast to the Blue Ridge Parkway By Rita Larkin

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s beer series, Find Your Pint, is back with even more breweries teaming up to raise funds for the scenic route with special beer releases and events. In its second year, the series is sweeping up the Parkway from Asheville to breweries in the High Country and Virginia. “We’re honored that the brewing community has rallied around the Blue Ridge Parkway for the second year of the Find Your Pint series,” said Jason Urroz with the Foundation. “It’s representative of how meaningful the Parkway is to the communities it reaches, and demonstrates that great things can happen when partners come together to help raise awareness, money, and a pint or two to support one of the most-visited units of the National Park Service.” Each brewery is celebrating the connection between beer and the outdoors. Some are creating special beers in honor of the 469-mile ribbon of road, while others are highlighting flagship brews in their lineup. Every participating brewery is generously donating a portion of sales to support the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation as the nonprofit celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. For instance, Lost Province Brewing in Boone is donating $1 for every pint of its Lost Trail Pale Ale sold

during September. Booneshine Brewing will do the same for every Booneshine IPA. In 2016, more than 15 million people traveled the Parkway, surpassing the visitation at Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon national parks combined. Unlike many large parks, the Parkway does not charge an admission fee, and with stagnant government funding, the Parkway requires extra support to keep it an amazing place. The Foundation’s current projects include construction of showers at Price Park Campground, restoring Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, and rehabbing Sharp Top Shelter. The series includes a passport program encouraging beer fans to visit each brewery to collect Parkway Beer Passport stickers. The passport booklets will be available at participating breweries and can be downloaded online at Beer fans are encouraged to use #FindYourPint and #brpfoundation and tag the breweries in social media posts to spread the word. The September participants are Asheville Brewing Company, Asheville, from September 15 until the batch is gone; BearWaters Brewing Company, Canton, September 18-24; Blue Ghost Brewing Company, Fletcher, from September 2 until the batch is gone; Booneshine Brewing Company, Boone, all month; Ecusta Brewing Company, Pisgah Forest, Fridays in September; Ginger’s Revenge Craft Brewery and Tasting Room, Asheville, all month; Highland Brewing Company, Asheville, September 8 until the batch is gone; Loose Shoe Brewing Company, Amherst, Virginia, September 29; Lost Province Brewing Company, Boone, all month; New Belgium Brewing, Asheville, September 24-30; Noble Cider, Asheville, September 8 until the batch is gone; One World Brewing, Asheville, all month; Oyster House Brewing Company, Asheville, all month; Pisgah Brewing Company, Black Mountain, September 14-October 13; Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Fletcher, September 4-10; Thirsty Monk Brewery and Pub, Asheville, September 7-10; Twin Creeks Brewing Company, Vinton, Virginia, all month; and Twin Leaf Brewery, Asheville, September 23. For more information, visit CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


A naturally occurring stand of Fraser firs and red spruces on Mt. Mitchell

Blue Ridge Explorers: Finding Fraser Firs


ome mid-autumn, families begin thinking about the upcoming holiday season—and this year’s holiday tree. Most North Carolinians know by now where to go to find the perfect Christmas tree. Fraser fir tree farms are easily accessible throughout our mountain region, including western NC, eastern TN, and southwestern VA, and many families make their treefinding adventure even easier by visiting the same choose-and-cut farm year after year. Finding naturally occurring Fraser firs is not so easy. The original parent trees of our locally farmed Christmas trees grow wild in the southern Appalachians and nowhere else on Earth. They live alongside red spruce trees on the highest peaks, usually above 5,000 feet, including Grandfather Mountain, Roan Mountain, Mt. Mitchell, the Balsam mountains and peaks in the Great Smoky Mountains. It


was on one of these high mountain tops that the tree that would one day become the official ‘N.C. State Christmas Tree’ was first “discovered.” John Fraser, a Scottish botanist and nurseryman, traveled to North America in the late 1700s to explore the flora of the southern Appalachian mountains. Andre’ Michaux, a famous French botanist, was at that time searching North American forests for new species of trees to bring back to France to help rebuild its forests following years of destructive war. (Michaux is best known by many High Country residents for his ascent of Grandfather Mountain in 1794, and his famous journal entry, which read, “Reached the summit of the highest mountain in all of North America…”.) Although they were rivals in their field of study, John Fraser and Andre’ Michaux decided to join forces on one of their expeditions into the Blue Ridge

By Tamara Seymour

mountains. While we have no real proof of what exactly took place on this expedition, a common rendition of the story reads something like this: Mr. Michaux, likely the more “serious” of the two explorers, got annoyed by Mr. Fraser’s talkative nature. One night while camping, the two men’s horses wandered away from camp. Eager to ditch his travel companion, Michaux decided to go out on his own to look for the horses and insisted that Fraser carry on without him. Shortly after being left by Michaux, Fraser stumbled upon the unique conifer. He documented his find and was later credited with its discovery. The tree was named Abies fraseri after Mr. Fraser—common name: Fraser fir. Both Fraser and Michaux went on to discover and document many species of flowering plants and trees native to our area, several of which were named after these two great Blue Ridge explorers.

A Fraser fir tree farm, courtesy of The average 6’-7’ Fraser fir Christmas tree at a tree farm has been visited by the grower more than 100 times during its life.

Seeking your own Fraser fir for the holiday season? According to the N.C. Christmas Tree Association, 96 percent of the Christmas trees produced on tree farms in North Carolina are Fraser firs. Ashe, Avery, Alleghany, Watauga, and Jackson counties alone produce 88 percent of North Carolina’s Christmas trees. To find the right choose-andcut tree farm in the High Country, visit one of the following websites: N.C. Christmas Tree Association,; the Watauga County Christmas Tree Association,; the Ashe County Christmas Tree Association, www.; the Avery County Christmas Tree Association,; or the Alleghany County Christmas Tree Association,

Caring for Your Fraser Fir: Once you and your tree arrive home, make a fresh cut ¼ inch off the base of the trunk. Keep your tree outdoors in a container of water until you are ready to decorate—keep it out of the sun and wind. Maintain a consistent water level throughout the season—trees are thirsty so check the water level regularly and supply fresh water as needed. Once you have enjoyed your tree for the season, recycle your tree by placing it in your garden or backyard to provide habitat for birds and small animals. It can also be used as a natural mulch, or recycled. Sources: NC Christmas Tree Association, Watauga County Nurserymen’s Association

Some of the best hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains take you through spruce-fir terrain. As you hike the trails, you will likely notice that many of the trees appear unhealthy. In fact, an estimated 80 percent or more of mature Fraser fir trees in our sprucefir forests have been lost since 1950, when the balsam woolly adelgid (Adelges piceae) was introduced to the southeastern U.S. This non-native insect has severely damaged Fraser fir trees over the years. Acid rain (or precipitation with high levels of nitric and sulfuric acids) is thought to have compounded the problem. Nonetheless, spruce-fir forests remain home to a special group of organisms, some of which are rare and found nowhere else on the planet. Tamara Seymour is a N.C. Certified Environmental Educator and Blue Ridge Naturalist. She is the publisher of Carolina Explorers magazine, a family publication all about the nature of North Carolina. Reach Tamara at CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


Tom’s Custom Golf Home to Titleist & Footjoy BUY



Furniture • Glassware • Tools • Primitives • Jewelry • Clothing 199 Howard Street • Historic Downtown Boone




226 W. Laurel Avenue Damascus, Virginia 24236 828-475-5095 or 276-475-5095 The original and largest shuttle service for groups, individuals & gear to high country trails

Blowing Rock Souvenir Sportswear Area’s Largest Selection of Hats & Shirts Be Sure to Visit Sunset Sweets & Heats (over 500 hot sauces) Jewelry Hershey’s Dip Ice Cream Gifts Life Is Good T-Shirts

9am-9pm Mon-Sat | 10am-8pm Sun Main St., Blowing Rock | 828-295-9326 72 — Autumn 2017 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE


Chris Wotell, Broker-in-Charge: 828-260-1366 Jim Fitzpatrick: 828-898-3257 4501 Unit #6 Tynecastle Hwy. Banner Elk |



Women’s Apparel & Accessories

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Blowing Rock, NC 537 N. Main St. (828) 295-4200 Across from the Chetola Resort Exclusive styling that takes you from work to evening & into the weekend.

January 25-28, 2018

Celebrate the fun side of Winter with WinterFeast, Polar Plunge Winter Wine Tasting, Beer Garden & Chili Cookoff, WinterFashion Show Ice Carvings, WinterPaws Dog Show, & Shopping. There’s something for everyone! FOR INFORMATION & CALENDAR OF EVENTS:

828-295-7851 • 877-295-7801

EAT, DRINK, BE SOCIAL... Lunch • Dinner • Full Bar Tues-Sat, 11am-9pm 128 Pecan Street Abingdon, Virginia (276)698-3159 Continued on next page CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


Downtown Boone: Now, Then, and Back Again


here is nothing quite like autumn in the High Country. The long shadows begin in August when the song of the katydid calls to the screech owl to begin the harvest dance. Pumpkins, scarecrows, and sweaters take the place of summer dips in cool mountain streams. The time has arrived for visitors from far and wide to gather to witness the last flicker of golden sun on crimson leaves. Downtown Boone is as lively as ever during the peak season of autumn. Appalachian football, combined with unique shops and an array of local restaurants, leave little elbow room on sidewalks from College Street west to Poplar Grove Connector. Yet, if one were to travel back two hundred years, rolling pastureland creeping up Howards Knob and farms and churches dotting the rural landscape would be the norm. The community’s name was even different—Councill Store, after the mercantile owned by Jordan Councill, one of the area’s earliest residents.


There certainly was no game day in 1899 when ASU began as Watauga Academy in a crude building with no doors and broken windows to serve 53 students from the community. The Academy would later become Appalachian State Teachers College that would educate children and prepare teachers to serve as educators beyond the hills of Appalachia. The first primitive boarding facilities were a far cry from the luxurious student housing today, and the absence of running water and indoor plumbing would have put a damper on pregame parties. Football didn’t show up until the mid-1900s, and it would take fifty more years before female students could wear pants on game day. In the early 1900s, a major event occurred that would bring great change to this sleepy little town once called a lost province. The East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad (ET&WNC) completed laying tracks running parallel to Main Street, and added a depot to serve travelers in town.

The narrow-gauge railroad was soon nicknamed “Tweetsie” for the sound of the whistle ringing out through the hills and hollers surrounding Boone. Not only did Tweetsie make travel between western North Carolina and Tennessee possible, it brought great economic prosperity for rural farms and the logging industry. The old depot still exists today as Portofino’s Restaurant on Rivers Street. Although the population of Boone almost doubled after the railroad came to town, it was always a bit of a tourist town, if you will, with its agreeable summer climate. Lodgings for visitors were found up and down King Street, such as the Blair and Blackburn hotels, along with garages and livery stables. Items in the “Local News” column of the Watauga Democrat included the notice: “Mumps are still prevalent in and around Boone,” as well as “The corn crop in the county is nearly all planted,” and “A piano was installed in the Blair Hotel last week.” In its heyday, the Daniel Boone Hotel on King Street with its grand

By Julie Farthing stairway and spacious lobby was THE place to stay in town. Sunday dinner, open to the public, was said to be a legendary feast. Although listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Daniel Boone Hotel was demolished in 1982 to make way for condominiums. Luckily for history buffs, Denise and Fulton Lovin bought the old Horton Building on King Street across from the site of the Daniel Boone Hotel and are turning it into a chic, boutique hotel. Once again visitors will not have to leave the charm of King Street to rest their weary heads. Another wonderful renovation is taking place just a couple of doors down from the new Horton Hotel. Thanks to a group of community supporters The Appalachian Theater, built in 1938, is being restored to its former glory. When it opened, the theater with its beautiful art deco architecture could seat the entire population of Watauga County in just three showings. Not only a venue for movies, many live acts were performed

in the theater, including one of Doc Watson’s earliest performances. After larger theaters were opened in Boone, the downtown location with declining customers showed movies for a dollar to many locals, students, and tourists in the 90s until it closed its doors in 2007. The theater, now a nonprofit 501(c)3, is currently taking donations to help raise the additional funds needed to complete the restoration of this grand dame. There isn’t a downtown shop or restaurant here that doesn’t have some historical significance. Proper Restaurant on Water Street is located in the old jail with bars still on the windows. Several restaurants and shops on Howard Street are located in the old Wilcox Drug Building, once a place of trade for local ginseng and herbs. Down the street on Howard, Espresso News — tucked across the street from the old Goodnight Brothers Feed and Seed — was a Ford tractor dealer. Melanie’s Food Fantasy, beside the post office, was once a service station; and people still talk of the

Smithey’s Burger you could get at the grill in the old Smithey’s Department Store where Ram’s Rack is now located. The Appalachian Antique Mall used to be Belks before the department store moved to the Boone Mall. F.A.R.M cafe and Boone Belles are now located in the old Boone Drug Store, which began operation in 1919. Nearby is the old Farmer’s Hardware building, where locals purchased building supplies from 1924 until 2004. That family then reopened the building as a retail store called The Shoppes at Farmer’s Hardware. Part of the store used to be the Watauga Bank, and the old safe now serves as a retail display. Donna Cook, who has owned Did Someone Say Party on King Street since 1989, says her building was once home to the popular Robinson’s Clothing Store in the early 70s. “We removed the dropped ceiling and found original tile that was simply gorgeous,” says Cook. If you walk into many of the shops on King Street, you may see original architecture continued on next page



Downtown Boone:

continued from previous page

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formerly hidden from sight. Bill Parish, who owns the hip boutique Highway Robbery, has been in business since 1971. He said his building once housed McGuire’s Beauty Salon, owned by Ayla McGuire in 1918. “We had a salon in the back in the early days,” says Parish. Hardly any of the original houses that lined King, Howard, Depot or Water Street exist today. One home that has remained is the old Jones House, on the hill overlooking King Street. The home, built in 1908, belonged to one of the first physicians in the area, Dr. John Walter Jones and his wife, Mattie Blackburn Jones. Dr. Jones had an office and pharmacy in the building next door, which is now Mast General Store. Mattie Jones lived in the house until 1977, and died a year later at the age of 94. Her daughter, Mazie Jean Jones Levinson, inherited the home and had the foresight to sell it to the town of Boone with the stipulation that it be used as a community cultural center. The Jones House is now home to an art gal-

lery for area artists, while the front porch and yard are used for the popular Summer Concerts on the Lawn. The two immense oak trees that shade the house on warm summer days are seen in a 1917 photo of the home during a 4th of July Parade. Although Mast General Store was originally built in Valle Crucis in the late 1800s, it opened a second location in the old Hunt’s Department Store in 1988. Mast Store is steeped in Appalachian history and sells many products made locally. One tradition the store continues is to place a bean in a jar for each fog in August to predict how many snows we will have come winter. Now the leaves are turning again. Hopefully before the first snowflakes fall, there will be enough warm Saturdays for good Appalachian football… a few more mild evenings for concerts at the Jones House and an amble down King Street. And, if you listen closely, you may hear the sound of Tweetsie still echoing through the mountains of Boone.

Furniture • Appliances Small Household Items • Books Clothing & Accessories 1/2 Off on clothing every Saturday! Donations welcomed. Pick up available for furniture and appliances Thank you for your continued support

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

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Flu Shots Available! 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.

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To find a farm, visit: or call 828.264.3061



Is that a chill in the air?


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It’s time to stock up on sweaters and boots for the crisp days ahead. Football games and tailgate parties in your plans? The Mall’s the place to find gear in your team colors. Or maybe you prefer to snuggle up at home? Fireplace tools, comfy blankets, and a nice rocking chair are the perfect accompaniments to a good book. And don’t forget the bag of treats you’ll be needing for all the ghosts and goblins! No doubt about it, you don’t want to miss Fall at the Mall.

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Behind the Wheel: Classic Car Collectors


oger Dalton rolls down the road in a classic cruiser—a 1956 Chevrolet, built when Elvis Presley topped the rock’n’roll record charts. Often he cruises the countryside to North Carolina’s Pilot Mountain State Park, seeking respite on the road, even just for a day. “Your ‘55, ‘56 and ‘57 Chevrolets are one of your more collectable cars,” says Dalton, who moved to Boone, North Carolina, about ten years ago. “People like their body styles. And, in ‘55, they made a big change to a V8 engine. They’re pretty popular.” A retired mechanical instructor, Dalton is a past president of the Boonebased High Country Classics Car Club. And, oh, how he loves vintage automobiles. Club members, including Dalton, own cars that date mostly to the 1950s and 1960s. “And just about everybody in our club drives theirs,” Dalton says. “They don’t just sit around.” Routinely on Fridays, starting at 6 p.m., about 25 to 30 car owners come out to show off their vintage cars in Boone


at the parking lot of the Life Store Bank, 1675 Blowing Rock Rd. This is a warmweather gathering, starting in spring and running through Thanksgiving—or until it starts to snow. “We cruise until they throw out salt,” Dalton says. “We’re in the mountains. So, when they throw out salt, our cars go inside. That’s pretty much it.” Though not an official member, Joe Ward has attended a few Friday nights in Boone. And he’s gone cruising with the club members, heading south on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Asheville. “People just gather and talk cars,” says Ward, “and tell old stories, like ‘This is what I used to have’ and ‘I wish I would have kept that one.’” Ward, 67, is a Banner Elk native. He spends his days selling SUVs and Subarus at his Banner Elk car lot, Joe’s Used Cars, near the Avery-Watauga county line. But what’s his real passion? “As far as I can remember, I’ve been interested in the collector cars and classics,” Ward says. “I like Corvettes—the thing I’ve been interested in most. But

By Joe Tennis

I like Ford, Chevy…both cars. It don’t matter who made it. If it’s an old, classic car, I’ll like it.” Ward has owned a 1964 Corvette Coupe for 47 years. He bought it in 1970. “It’s part of the family, you know. I was driving it when I met my wife in ‘72,” he says. “I work on it for a little bit and give up for a couple of years.” Then, he says, he’ll work on it some more. Or he’ll go to another car in his collection: a 1934 Ford pickup truck; a 1950 two-door Ford; and Corvettes dated 1959, 1969 and 1982. Over the years, Ward has taken his 1959 Corvette to car shows at Knoxville and Charlotte. “And I got it out and drove it up town and back, just to exercise it a little bit,” he says. “I restored it about two years ago.” Ward’s father also restored old cars. “So I guess I got it from him.” And got it, Ward did. While growing up, Ward studied the costs of Corvettes—reading magazines—but always wanting a 10-year-old model. He thought, “When I get out of school and get a job, I’m going to buy me one of those.”

Larry Ruppard and His Comet

Ward’s longtime friend Larry Ruppard also lives in Banner Elk and loves vintage vehicles. “I’ve been interested in them ever since I could buy one,” says Ruppard, 65. “Just getting out of high school, the first car that I bought was a 1965 Mustang Fastback from my cousin.” Now retired, Ruppard made his living with a series of jobs. He served as a billing clerk for the Town of Beech Mountain. And he worked at ABC stores all over Banner Elk. All along, he followed a happy routine of trading cars. “I’d get them the way I wanted them,” he says, “then sell them and get me another one.” Today, Ruppard owns just one: a 1960 Comet. The body and interior of the car is all original, he says. “And it looks original until you open the hood.” Truth be told, Ruppard restored the Comet with parts left over from other projects, including a replacement engine. “I just took assorted parts that I had.” And, underneath, he says, he has added parts “to make it more road-worthy.” Behind the wheel, Ruppard cruises

into Tennessee towns like Rogersville, Elizabethton and Kingsport. And, in North Carolina, Ruppard drives his Comet to Lenoir. Today, the Comet stands alone as Ruppard’s only classic car. “But I stay busy working on other muscle cars for people,” he says. “I had three at one time, but it got to be a little bit more work to try to keep three cars the way I keep them.” Muscle cars are big gas guzzlers sporting lots of chrome, big fenders, wide bodies and plenty of power under the hood. They are bold, and they are beautiful. And they remained part of the automobile industry’s lineup through the early 1970s, Ruppard says. Today, such cars are classics. And so are the people who want them. For a large part, Ruppard says, the people who collect the cars of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s are in their 50s, 60s and 70s. “It’s the age group. And I think it goes back to a lot of us just didn’t have a lot growing up,” Ruppard says. “So we enjoy just getting out in the cars and working

on them. And we learned it out of necessity. When we could get stuff, we took a lot of pride in what we had, because it took us so long to acquire one.”

Like to cruise with your classic? Check out one of these local “cruise-in” events for classic car enthusiasts:

September 22, 2017 | 5:30p.m. – 9p.m. Court Street Grill Cruise-in Hwy 127 South, Hickory, NC October 7, 2017 | 4 p.m. until… Lenoir Cruise-in Downtown Lenoir, NC October 14, 2017 | 3p.m. – 7p.m. Wilkes County Cruisers Cruise-in CBD loop and farmers market area North Wilkesboro, NC Saturdays through October, 2017 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. Carty County Car Club Cruise-in Downtown Elizabethton, TN For a comprehensive listing of cruise-ins and car shows, visit CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


VIETNAM REVISITED: For Fred Pfohl, an Emotional Visit to the Place He Served By Jerry Shinn


lmost half a century after he was there with the U.S. Navy, Fred Pfohl wanted very much to go back to Vietnam. He wanted to see what had happened, particularly in a village on the Tien Sha peninsula near Danang and Monkey Mountain and Marble Mountain and the beaches on the South China Sea. That’s where he had spent a year in the Civic Action Division in one of 13 Village Assistance Teams. Their mission was to improve living conditions for Vietnamese villagers and farmers. They did construction work, offered agricultural advice and assistance, provided medical care, improved sanitation, and Fred even tried to teach English to some of the children. They did all this while listening to the sounds of nearby combat and ducking the occasional rocket flying by—and never knowing how many or which of the villagers were secretly part of the Viet Cong, slipping away after dark to battle South Vietnamese and American forces. When he learned that the Patriotic Education Travel Program at the College of the Ozarks was organizing a 2017 Vietnam Tour for students and Vietnam veterans, he signed up. As he hoped, the tour—March 19-31—turned out to be one of the most significant experiences of his life.


Some years before Fred Pfohl was the best-known citizen of Beech Mountain, serving several terms as mayor, and proprietor of Fred’s General Mercantile, he was a 20-year-old college student who, like many of his generation, wasn’t sure what to do with his life. Tired of academic rigor after two years working toward a degree in forestry at N.C. State University, he decided to drop out, at least temporarily. He realized that without a student deferment he could be drafted into military service at any time, with no control over where or how he would serve. Back home in Greensboro he followed the suggestion of his former scoutmaster and mentor and joined the Naval Reserve. He was called to active duty in 1968, and in late August of that year he was headed to Vietnam. At almost the same time, tens of thousands of antiwar protesters were clashing with Chicago police in clouds of teargas outside the site of the Democratic National Convention. If Fred was aware of that, it did not deter him. His decision was reinforced by an airport encounter with a young soldier in a wheelchair, back from Vietnam, with both legs missing. “I realized I was no different from him,” said Fred. “He had given his two legs.... You need to do your part.” Although his 15 months there did not include combat, no part of South Vietnam was a safe haven in 1968 and 1969. He wore a flak jacket and was armed with a 12-gauge shotgun and a .45 caliber pistol. He and his fellow Village Assistance Team members had been told there was a bounty on the heads of everyone in the Civic Action Division. The College of the Ozarks, in Point Lookout, Missouri, started its Patriotic Education Travel Program in 2009 and since then has organized tours for veterans to many battle sites in Europe, Asia

and the Pacific islands. The program pairs one student with each veteran. The students provide physical assistance to the veterans as needed, but primarily, according to the program, the studentveteran pairs “share not only experiences, but more importantly, a bond between two very different generations that is cherished by both.” Fred Pfohl did not need any help with luggage or getting himself off and on the bus, but he did cherish the shared experiences with the student assigned to him, Courtney Bressler, a junior from Branson, Missouri. She was majoring in family studies, with a minor in psychology, and hoping to earn a master’s degree in counseling. The group of 12 veterans and 12 students arrived in Vietnam on the morning of March 20. For the next 11 days their itinerary would take them to places the veterans remembered and particularly wanted to visit. One was the village where Fred and his team had worked, where Fred had taught kids English and played ball with them. The village he remembered had been wiped out. Instead, he found high-rise resort hotels. Farther inland there were still rice fields and shacks, but along the coast—and in the larger cities—”there were fine hotels equal to anything in the U.S.” The most moving moment during the tour for Fred Pfohl occurred not where he had served, but at the site of what became known as the Battle of the Road to the Graveyard. That was where another of the veterans, Joseph Tiscia of Memphis, Tennessee, was severely injured in both legs while seeing 27 of his fellow Marines killed. He said the experience caused him to contemplate suicide many times over the years as he wondered why he had survived while the others had died.

A Weekend? A Season? A Lifetime?


On the day of their visit to the battle site, Tiscia, in the front of the bus, directed the driver to the graveyard, where he said, “This has to be it.” He climbed out of the bus and rushed up a hill among the graves and monuments while the rest of the group followed, finally stopping at the spot he had been looking for. He had a bottle of holy water that his priest back home had given him, and he began sprinkling it over his companions and over the ground. Fred Pfohl, also a Catholic, remembers the scene: “If ever there was an occasion where I saw a spirit lifted from a human body, that would be it. He was transformed. A smile came on his face and he said a prayer of thanks that he had survived and was able to come back there. It was something else.” Until that day Joe Tiscia had never talked about his experiences in Vietnam, but now he told his fellow tourists about it, and about how it had tormented him all those years. “It was like he was free at last,” said Fred. “That experience alone was worth the whole trip.” Fred Pfohl came home from the war and completed his education at Appalachian State University. He began a series of jobs at the new resort community on Beech Mountain and in 1979 opened the general store and deli that became a magnet for tourists and a gathering place for residents. He is not bitter about the Vietnam War or the people of his generation who opposed it and avoided it. Before going home, he was advised that there would be no hero’s welcome. He understood. But he will tell you this: When he returned home, his mother not only welcomed him; she also thanked him for serving his country. A few years ago at a convocation at College of the Ozarks, he met Gen. Tommy Franks, who had led the battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam’s regime in Iraq. When Fred told Gen. Franks he had served in Vietnam, the general said, “Thank you for your service.” Now, almost 50 years after Fred Pfohl came home from Vietnam, he says those were the only two times anyone has thanked him for his service.

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New Veterans Memorial By Michael Hardy

Diane Kempler, from the Symbiosis Series

Open Tuesday-Saturday • Free Admission

Seven galleries. Changing exhibitions of new and historically important works by national, international and regional artists 828.262.3017 • 423 W. King Street, Boone, NC •

SKYLINE EMPORIUM Antiques, Quality Furniture, Unique Home Decor, Special Gifts, and Collectibles. Wed-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12-6pm 10480 Linville Falls Hwy (Hwy 221) Linville Falls, NC • 828-766-2718

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Watauga County’s historical connections with veterans date back to before the county was created. In many cases, the earliest settlers in the area were veterans of the American’s Revolution. Local men, and later women, served in all of the nation’s conflicts, from the War of 1812 through ongoing actions in the Middle East. Many of these veterans returned to become the bedrock citizens of their communities. Last year, several groups came together to collaborate on a memorial to local veterans. The High Country chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is working with the Town of Boone to erect the new Veterans Memorial. The Town has provided a piece of property on King Street, adjacent to Boone Town Hall that is ideal for the Memorial. The area will also be revitalized by the town with a pedestrian friendly green space. Recently, the Military Officers Association concluded a competition in conjunction with the ASU Turchin Center, receiving 19 initial designs. They narrowed the choices down to three finalists, with the final design being unveiled to the public by mid-September. The High Country Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, founded in 2004, is seeking donations to help fund the project. Their fundraising goal is $200,000.00 and with continued support from Government, businesses and the local community, they are confident that goal will be achieved. Online donations can we made through their website at, or their facebook page at hccmoaa. You can also mail a donation to:  Watauga County Veterans Memorial Fund, c/o High Country Chapter MOAA, PO Box 3312, Boone, NC 28607. The High Country Chapter MOAA currently has 59 former and retired military officers of all service branches, and is a 501(C) 19 non-profit Veterans organization. All donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.


From the Mountains to the Sea: Shining Our Light through DAR Service


he National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was formed in 1890 to perpetuate the memory of ancestors who fought to make this country free and independent. Since being incorporated by an Act of Congress in 1896, the objectives of the organization have remained the same for its 125-year existence. This non-profit, nonpolitical women’s service organization is dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and providing better civic education for children. These goals are just as relevant in today’s society as they were over a century ago. DAR members volunteer millions of service hours annually in their local communities including supporting active duty military personnel and assisting veteran patients, awarding thousands of dollars in scholarships and financial aid each year to students, and supporting schools for underserved children with annual donations exceeding one million dollars. DAR members support six schools through chapter and member donations of both time and money. The following schools are national DAR schools: 1) Kate Duncan Smith DAR School, Grant, AL 2) Tamassee DAR School, Tamassee, SC 3) Crossnore School, Crossnore, NC 4) Hillside School, Marlborough, MA 5) Hindman Settlement School, Hindman, KY and 6) Berry College, Mount Berry, GA. As one of the most inclusive genealogical societies in the country, DAR boasts 185,000 members in 3,000 chapters across the United States and interna-

tionally. More than 950,000 women have joined the DAR since it’s founding. Any woman 18 years or older—regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background— who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, is eligible to apply for membership. Most of the DAR’s volunteer work is evidenced at the local level by chapters whose focus is on the mission areas of DAR. Members are encouraged to become involved in these initiatives and support the national motto of God, Home, and Country. North Carolina currently has 106 chapters and the NCSDAR is continuing to grow! The statewide theme 2015-2018 is “From the Mountains to the Sea, shining our light through DAR service.” There are two DAR chapters in the High Country; the Crossnore Chapter in Crossnore and the Daniel Boone Chapter in Boone (other nearby District 2 Chapters include North Wilkesboro and Hickory). The Daniel Boone Chapter was organized October 16, 1966 when a group of women met to honor their Revolutionary ancestors by forming a chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR). They were organized with nineteen charter members under the leadership of Mrs. Hadley Wilson. The chapter was named for Daniel Boone, an American pioneer, explorer, and frontiersman whose frontier exploits made him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. Boone was a militia officer during the Revolutionary War, which in Kentucky was fought

primarily between the American settlers and the British-aided Native Americans. The Daniel Boone Chapter meetings are held at 12:00 noon on the second Wednesday of August through December, and March through June. Members annually participate in Constitution Week, Service to Veterans, College ROTC, DAR Good Citizen, and other programs of NSDAR and the North Carolina Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NCSDAR). Please contact Chapter Regent for more information about visiting the chapter. | Historical to perpetuate the memory and spirit of the men and women who achieved American Independence Educational  to carry out the injunction of Washington in his farewell address to the American people, “to promote, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge, thus developing an enlightened public opinion…” Patriotic  to cherish, maintain, and extend the institutions of American freedom, to foster true patriotism and love of country, and to aid in securing for mankind all the blessings of liberty. Information contributed by Teresa Shadoin, American History Chairman, NCSDAR, Daniel Boone Chapter CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


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“Be careful going in search of adventure—it’s ridiculously easy to find.” —William Least Heat Moon, Blue Highways

A Rider Reminisces By Jim Leggett


stride my 1982 Honda G1100, I’m parked on Main Street in North Wilkesboro to meet my sidekick George Smith. Riding since 1965, George knows the high country’s cobweb of roads that thread through areas so remote, if ever I lost him I’d need a Cherokee Indian guide to get me home. Goggles down, I nail a comfortably safe position behind George’s Ducati ST2 1000cc. We speed southwest on highway 268 towards Linville Falls to meet fellow riders, then press on to Lake James. The movie Last of the Mohicans (1992) was filmed here, and this visit prompts memories of Hawkeye’s (Daniel Day Lewis) spectacular Fort George battle and Indian canoe escape.  Riding west, roads take rapid climbs into dizzying Z-curves bordering cliff-side drops, adrenaline peaking as only motorcyclists can know.  Serendipitous in spirits we stop at Lake Lure Village, Chimney Rock and Hickory Nut Falls, also locations for Mohicans, as well as Dirty Dancing, starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray (1987), the latter spawning an annual commemorative festival where you can learn dance steps to The Time of My Life, Do You Love Me and more. At Bayfront Bar and Grill on the lake’s southern tip we swap ideas

on hope-to-do future rides, engaging in teasing banter with other diners, some who apparently wish they’d kept their Harleys. Mostly we ride bucolic little roads, sharing some with folks on horseback, catching glimpses of North Carolina and Tennessee as they looked before soulless Interstate slabs bulldozed their way across landscapes only Native Americans ever knew. Roads of the Past I’m home, feet up, thumbing 160 fascinating pages of Golden Oldies – Classic Bike Road Tests. I look up motorbikes from my vanished youth; Vincent, Sunbeam, Ariel, Norton, AJS, Matchless and Rudge—the first motorcycle I ever rode was a 1939 Rudge Ulster. I’m still in love with Brit bikes… just bought two 1950s style Royal Enfield 500 cc Bullets, found dust-covered in a local storage unit. As an apprentice bike mechanic in my native Glasgow, Scotland, during the vanished era of British motorbikes (1950 -1970), BSA, Norton, Triumph, Douglas and newfangled  Honda and Kawasaki were among weekend “road test” loaners  that we canny lads convinced workshop foremen were absolutely necessary; we were riding bikes we could only dream one day to own. I recommend a day trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway, several hours southwest of the high country to Dale Walksler’s Wheels Through Time transport museum in Maggie Valley, NC. Here you’ll find a collector’s dream-come-true, crammed with vintage, mostly American, bikes, an

original 1930s motorcycle workshop, and assorted iconic motor cars. Happy as a kid with a new toy Dale is ever eager to kick-start any bike, jump astride, adjust his vintage helmet and goggles, and blast off, exhaust trailing in his wake. Decades back I found a 1947 HarleyDavidson Knucklehead lying forlorn in a backyard garage. I paid $75 cash, drained out the old gas, checked the oil, installed new spark plugs, pumped air into the tires and kick started it, quite reluctantly, back to life. As a Triumph aficionado, this clumsy old Harley was not my cup of tea. I sold it for $50, just to be rid of it. Later I saw that same bike on ebay: asking price $18,000 …who could have guessed? I much prefer un-restored motorcycles, except for tires, control cables, brake pads, etc. so I’m not planning on any restoration on a recently discovered 1959 Ariel Square Four Mark 11—IF my bid snares this classic British beauty. Meanwhile I’ll relish riding those rustic back roads—we are, indeed, living the only Time of our Life. Wheels Through Time is home to the world’s premier collection of rare American motorcycles, memorabilia, and a distinct array of unique “one-off” American automobiles. Located just five miles off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Maggie Valley, North Carolina the museum houses a collection of over 350 rare machines. Love to Ride? For a list of autumn motorcycle events throughout N.C., visit Motorcycle-Event/NC CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


Fall Festival at Newland River Walk October is Disability Employment Awareness Month. At Yellow Mountain Enterprises, the mission is to give everyone an opportunity to work and be productive, even if a disability limits the type of work that can be done. To help raise funds to support their work, Yellow Mountain Enterprises will be hosting a Fall Festival at the Newland River Walk on Saturday October 14, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. There will be live entertainment, a tin man decorating contest, a hay bale maze, bouncy houses, crafts tent, and much more! Learn more about Yellow Mountain Enterprises at Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge: Women Helping Women to Build Bright Futures The Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge creates positive change and economic justice for women and girls in the counties they serve. Through funding to local nonprofit agencies, they aim to be a philanthropic catalyst for all women and girls to have access to the resources they need as they strive to become empowered and reach their full potential. You can help by contributing to “Eleanor’s Gift,” a program that provides funds for women recovering from addiction, and women and their families who have been adversely affected by drug and alcohol abuse. Since 2014, the Women’s Fund has granted almost $14,000 to women through Eleanor’s Gift. And don’t miss contributing to this year’s “Pack the Pantry” Food Drive December 5-21. All food items collected will be distributed by Hospitality House, Health and Hunger Coalition, Ashe Sharing Center, and Feeding Avery Families. Learn more at www.


Hunger & Health Coalition’s Masquerade Ball The Hunger & Health Coalition is a resource for individuals and families within our communities who are struggling to provide themselves with basic needs such as food, prescribed medications and heat during winter. To help support the organization’s mission, the Hunger and Health Coalition is bringing back their Halloweenthemed Masquerade ball for year three! Attend this fun event on Saturday, October 28, from 7 p.m. – 11:00 p.m., at the Blowing Rock Country Club. Come in costume or come as you are and purchase a beautiful mask at the door. Some of the tricks and treats throughout the evening include local theatre performances by ASU Department of Theatre and DAnce, a trick or treat bar, fortune tellers, silent “tricky tray” auction and lots of dancing fueled by the DJ! Tickets are $55 per person or $100 for two tickets. Call (828)-262-1628 for more information. Learn more about the Hunger & Health Coalition at Feeding Avery Families Update It was a full house at the 4th Annual Empty Bowls fund raiser for Feeding Avery Families in late August, and the organization thanks everyone who participated! Feeding Avery Families (FAF) is a non-profit Christian organization in Avery County dedicated to eliminating hunger by any means possible including monetary donations, volunteerism, and food donations. Dick Larson has recently been named the new Director for FAF. He believes “the need in Avery County will only grow as the population ages,” and he is committed to

addressing this growing need and leading the organization into the future. Feeding Avery Families relies on private contributions to sustain the operating costs related to food distribution. Contributions to this 501 (c)(3) organization can be mailed to P.O. Box 1075, Banner Elk, NC 28604. Follow Feeding Avery Families on their Facebook page. Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk Golden Jubilee in 2018 The Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk will mark 50 years of service to the community in 2018. To celebrate its March 1968 charter, the service club is planning a series of mini-celebrations. Noted for co-sponsoring the Woolly Worm Festival and financial support of causes related to children, the club plans to honor its past and forecast its future. See future issues of CML for the specifics.  Mining for a Cure The 6th Annual Mining for a Cure will be held at Doc’s Rocks on October 7. Event activities include a silent auction, $1.00 raffle, and gem stone raffle, with every penny going towards the Cancer Patient Emergency Fund to benefit those in recovery with mounting bills. Stop by and support their efforts and enjoy a day of gem mining. You can also visit the fossil shop and enjoy a cup of java.

LIVESTRONG at the YMCA Is Here Cancer is a life-changing disease that takes a tremendous physical and emotional toll on those affected. LIVESTRONG at the

YMCA is a research-based physical activity and well-being program designed to help adult cancer survivors reclaim their total health. Participants work with Y staff trained in supportive cancer care to safely achieve their goals, such as building muscle mass and strength; increasing flexibility and endurance; and improving confidence and self-esteem. By focusing on the whole person and not the disease, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is helping people move beyond cancer in spirit, mind and body. 2017 Centennial Challenge The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and National Park Service are teaming up for the 2017 Centennial Challenge program to address high priority needs at sites along the Blue Ridge Parkway: Humpback Rocks Farm (milepost 5.8), Sharp Top Shelter (milepost 86), Mabry Mill and Groundhog Mountain (mileposts 176 & 188), and Moses H. Cone Memorial Park (milepost 294). This year, Congress provided $20 million for projects across the country through the Centennial Challenge program. These funds will be matched by $33 million from more than 50 park partners to improve trails, restore buildings, and increase visitor access to parks. For more information, visit www. Photo by Vicki Dameron

Watauga County TDA BOOSTS Rehab Effort at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation announces that the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority has committed a grant of $300,000 to further the nonprofit’s efforts to rehabilitate Moses H. Cone Memorial Park near

Blowing Rock. “The Watauga County Tourism Development Authority is pleased to be able to invest in the future of one of our area’s iconic attractions,” Executive Director Wright Tilley said. “The Blue Ridge Parkway and Moses Cone Estate are often mentioned by visitors as two significant reasons for visiting our area. We are happy to help improve and preserve this Boone-area landmark for future generations of travelers to enjoy.”

What’s New at BRAHM (Blowing Rock Art & History Museum) Don’t miss the special fall programming at BRAHM, beginning with a book-signing—The South in Color: A Visual Journal with Bill Ferris, on Saturday, September 16, 11-12 p.m. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the brand new, permanent exhibition, “The Village of Blowing Rock: Exploring Our History,” on September 19. BRAHM will offer a Fall Watercolor Workshop with Dwight Rose on October 5-7, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. Throughout the fall season, you’ll also enjoy guided gallery tours, open studio sessions, music concerts, movies, additional book signings, lectures, children’s activities, “coffee with the curator,” and more. And don’t miss BRAHM’s exhibition of Romare Bearden’s work through Nov. 11.

Turchin Center Announces a New Exhibition Garden of Botanical Delights, by Diane Solomon Kempler Diane Kempler’s colorful, wildly gesturing ceramic works reflect

the richness of life seen through a microscope. Inspired by seedlike forms invisible to the unaided eye, she strives to capture the energy of microbes in the colors and forms fashioned in her Garden of Botanical Delights. Her exhibition provides a glimpse into the oldest form of life on the planet, and without which macroscopic life as we know it, would not survive. See Kempler’s work through January 6, 2018, in the Mayer Gallery. tcva. 13th Annual WNC Pottery Festival Features 43 Master Potters Western North Carolina’s 13th Annual WNC Pottery Festival will be held in Dillsboro, NC on Nov. 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Known as one of the “Top 20 Southeast Arts Events” by the Southeast Tourism Society, 43 master potters from 15 different states will show off some of the best handmade pottery in the country along Dillsboro’s Front Street. Tickets are $5 per person (children 12 and under can get in for free). For more information, visit http://www.wncpotteryfestival. com/.

Carlton Gallery Continues 35th Anniversary Celebration This year, Toni Carlton is celebrating the 35th Anniversary of Carlton Gallery, which was voted “Best of the Best Art Gallery” in Watauga County for 2017. Attend one of Carlton’s exhibitions this fall, including the Mid-Summer Group

continued... CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


Exhibition continuing through September 25 and featuring “Landscapes, Treescapes & Waterscapes” by artists Andrew Braitman, Kevin Beck, and Egidio Antonaccio. The Autumn Group Exhibition begins with an opening reception on October 7 from 2-5 p.m. and runs through November 15. In the Artists’ Spotlight is “A Contemporary Approach – Art of the Horse and Animal Friends,” including works by Vae Hamilton, Toni Carlton and Laura Hughes. The Winter and Small Works Exhibition will run November 24 through April 30, 2018, with a Holiday Open House on November 24 and 25 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Small Town Christmas in Banner Elk “A Small Town Christmas” will take place on December 2, 2017. Activities will begin at 6 p.m. with the annual “Parade of Lights” proceeding down W. Main Street from Lees McRae to Tate-Evans Park. The park will be decorated with thousands of luminaries, along with numerous animated lighted displays, which will illuminate the path for our trackless train. The train will provide rides for families around the park. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available to listen to children’s Christmas lists. Other fun activities will be announced in the coming weeks. Banner House Museum Experience 19th century life in Banner Elk and the High Country in the home of Samuel Henry Banner, one of Banner Elk’s original settlers. – The Museum welcomes visitors through Oct.7. Knowledgeable docents guide guests through the home to illustrate the history, culture, and development of the local community and surrounding areas. For the 2017 season, the Greater Banner Elk Heritage Foundation has partnered with the Banner Elk Book Exchange to offer supporters even more Heritage Events,


including the “You Are Here” series of talks aimed at local life and history. Visit BannerHouseMuseum. org for a list of events, or call 828-898-3634.

Happenings at Beech Mountain

Love to see the changing colors in the High Country? Beech Mountain Parks & Recreation will host a Leaf-lookers Hay Ride on October 7 at the Buckeye Recreation Center on Beech Mountain from 12-2 p.m. And on November 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., visit the Rec Center as local crafters, artisans and vendors come together for the Holiday Market. Peruse a wide variety of handmade goods and pick out something for everyone on your Christmas list. The public is welcome and there is no admission fee. For more information, call 828-3873003, or visit www.beechrecreation. org. If you are interested in being a vendor at this year’s Holiday Market, contact Kate Prisco at or by calling 828-387-3003. 2nd Annual Community Shag Dance: Saturday, September 30 join fellow dancers for the second annual community wide Fall Shag Dance, hosted by the Boone Shag Club and ASU Department of Theatre and Dance. The event will be held in the Reich College of Education Building on the Appalachian State University Campus. Dinner will be at 6 p.m. and dancing will start at 7 p.m. There will be live music performed by The Lucky Strikes, and a cash bar for beer and wine. Tickets are $25 per person, which includes dinner and dancing. For more information, contact Susie Miller with the Boone Shag Club at (828) 612-4327 or susiemiller0@gmail. com.

1950s Dance & Music Revue to Support the New River

Head to West Jefferson on Saturday, September 30 for some ‘50s dance and music! The event will be held at Boondocks Brew Haus from 7-11 p.m. The David

Braun Band will strike up some old tunes, with hits from favorites like Chuck Berry, The Platters, Fats Domino, Patsy Cline, and Bill Haley & His Comets. Tickets are $35/ person. For tickets call 336-8466267 or visit newriverconservancy. org.

Seven Devils “THE HAWK”

Join in the fun and compete in The Hawk, Seven Devils’ 1st annual 7K race. Sponsored by the Town of Seven Devils and Hawksnest Resort, The Hawk is a 7K loop course with breathtaking views of Grandfather Mountain and the surrounding autumn scenery. Walkers will be able to participate on a condensed 3K course, as well! Register at:

Mayview Madness 5K Run/Walk

The 18th annual Stick Boy Bread Company Mayview Madness 5K Run/Walk will be held on Saturday, September 30 in Blowing Rock. Along with the 5K run, there will also be a 1-mile fun run for kids sponsored by Blue Ridge Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Proceeds from this annual event benefit the Blue Ridge Conservancy, which works with willing landowners and local communities to permanently protect land and water resources with agricultural, ecological, cultural, recreational and scenic value in northwest North Carolina. To register online, visit  https://register.chronotrack. com/r/32088. Or, pick up a paper registration from Stick Boy Bakery or Stick Boy Kitchen.

Lees-McRae Competes to Be Named National Outdoor Champion

Hiking, kayaking, backpacking, bicycling and even bird-watching— just a few of the activities LeesMcRae students, faculty, staff, alumni and the local community will be participating in from Sept. 18 through Oct. 15 as they compete to win the fourth annual Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge. The Challenge is hosted by the Outdoor Foundation, a nonprofit committed to reconnecting millennials with the outdoors, and sponsored by REI, The North Face, Hydro Flask and ENO. The Campus Challenge aims to get students from more than 90 universities across the U.S. off the couch and into the wilderness since its launch in 2010. To learn more about the Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge, visit oncampuschallenge. org, and

Old Fashioned Fun at the Old Hampton Store

On Saturday, October 21, the Old Hampton Store is cooking apple butter the old fashioned way, right in their back yard! Cooked all day in an antique copper kettle over an open fire, the apple butter must be stirred constantly with a six foot long wooden paddle. Come enjoy a day of bluegrass music, barbeque, and the traditional process of making apple butter. Maybe take a turn stirring if you’d like! The apple butter will be available when it comes off the fire. For more information, check out the Old Hampton Store Facebook page.

Smoking in the Foothills Barbecue Competition and Festival

A family friendly world class barbecue competition and festival, Smoking in the Foothills is a Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) sanctioned event and a delicious festival not to miss! Thousands enjoy championship BBQ from professional cook teams, BBQ food vendors, live music, beer gardens, corn hole tournaments, and more. Smoking in the Foothills is a

501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization and all net proceeds go to local charities in Caldwell County, NC. Visit historic downtown Lenoir and find out what real barbecue is all about on October 20 and 21. www.

what Avery Sisk estimates to be more than 30,000 coffee mugs—17 years in the making! The cabin is located on Johns River Road, near Collettsville, North Carolina. House of Mugs is open to visitors yearround and is free to see—Mr. Sisk simply asks that you sign the guest register before you leave. To learn more and get detailed directions, visit the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce in downtown Lenoir, NC.

Photo by Todd Bush

The New Clock in Town

Over the past year, the Town of Banner Elk has transformed a cluttered street corner into the beginnings of a new downtown park. The first permanent installation at “The Corner Park” is the stone clock tower with chime, which began telling time this past summer. The design also includes an inviting green space and a covered colonnade seating area with benches. Elk River resident Elaine J. Wold kicked off the Park project by making a donation to fund the new clock tower.

A Cup-covered Cabin in Caldwell County?

Known as the “House of Mugs,” this roadside attraction is actually a private residence owned by the Sisk family of Caldwell County. A whimsical destination to be sure, the outside of the cabin and surrounding fence is covered with

Discover Gardens of the Blue Ridge for the Holidays

Planning ahead for fresh garlands, wreaths, centerpieces and decorations to accompany your holiday tree? Nothing brings the feel of Christmas to a home more than fresh cut greenery. The trees that provide the greenery, including Fraser firs, are grown in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains where the high altitudes and cold winters create the perfect growing environment. Planning to spend the holidays outside the high country? Gardens of the Blue Ridge ships to all locations in the U.S. Visit to view their selection for the 2017 holiday season.




Get to Know

PARTNERS! Canines PARTNERS! Canines’ mission is to end the euthanasia of adoptable dogs and puppies in animal shelters throughout the South. Last year the organization helped rescue over 2,000 dogs and puppies, and over the last 10 years have saved the lives of over 10,000 great shelter dogs. They are a non-profit organization that works toward transferring great but unadopted dogs and puppies from shelters, mostly in rural NC, to other state and national rescue organizations where they are spayed/neutered and held until they are all adopted! Learn more at or their facebook page.

All Aboard Tweetsie

Tweetsie Railroad is commemorating its 60th anniversary throughout 2017. On July 4, 1957, Tweetsie Railroad opened at her new location just a few miles away from the old East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad (ET&WNC) station in Boone. In the following years, Tweetsie Railroad evolved from an excursion railroad into North Carolina’s first theme park. ­–Visit Tweetsie Railroad this fall for several fun family events, including Ghost Train®. It’s safe, scary fun for the whole family! Kids will enjoy the Halloween shows and trick-or-treating. And take a chilling journey into the night and return to Area 12 on the Ghost Train—if you dare! (September 22–23, 29-30; October 6-7, 13–14,


20–21, 27–28; open 7:30-11:30 pm) New this year, celebrate the joy of the holiday season when Tweetsie Railroad transforms into a winter wonderland for Tweetsie Christmas. Enjoy a train ride through the twinkling lights, visits with Santa, Christmas shows, caroling and more. You can even pick out the perfect Christmas tree while you’re there! (November 24-25, December 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, & 29-30; open 5:00 - 10:00 p.m.) Advance tickets are required for both events. Visit for more information.

Local Wineries Raising Their Glass In late August, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper made a proclamation that September is North Carolina Wine & Grape Month. Great news for all our local wineries! • Banner Elk Winery is in the beginning stages of fermentation of their blueberry wine—due for Holiday release. They also have a new release of their popular Rose wine. They are geared up to help the Avery County Humane Society with a Chili and Cornbread Cookoff on September 23. Tickets will be sold at the door starting at 11 a.m. Professional and amateur competitions with no entry fees are available. – See their website for details. and

• Grandfather Vineyards is pleased to announce the following new wine releases: 2016 Vidal Blanc, 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, 2015 Petite Syrah, 2015 Merlot, and a 2015 Winemaker’s Blend. – Visit www.grandfathervineyard. com for music dates and events. • Linville Falls Winery is excited about their new releases to include “Enchanted,” a sparkling wine with a bit of carbonation. “Stover” is their new strawberry fortified cordial named after Mr. Stover who farmed their land. “Pink Lady” made from Pink Lady apples from Altapass and their dry Riesling is back. Look for their food truck on weekends and live music schedule. • Watauga Lake Winery recently claimed awards in the 2017 Asheville International Wine Competition. They won double gold for their “Duncan Hollow” portstyle wine, gold for their “Barely Peach” wine and silver for their “Tart-N-Blue,” a new blueberry lemoncello fortified wine.

Now go out and have yourself a wonderful adventure!

kee ping you u p to date!




A Part-Time Activity is Now a Full-Time Business at Encore Travel.

More than a Shelter: Play Groups for the Pooches

For Wendy Snider, the fascination with travel began while spending a year living in South Africa as a teenager and has continued taking extensive visits to destinations throughout the world. Her experience with arranging trips for others started while she was a military wife by assisting other military members to plan their vacations. “I loved seeing the excitement and enjoyment that my travelers experienced and always wanted to devote more time to what had become a passion of mine. However the economic reality of being a home maker and raising four children made it necessary to follow my passion on a parttime basis while working full-time until recently,” says Wendy. With the last of her children enrolled in university, the decision was made to devote 100% of her time and attention to her calling, and Encore Travel was launched in a permanent location in Banner Elk this summer. Working at something on a part-time basis is very different from starting and developing a successful business and Wendy opted to work with SCORE to get started on a firm foundation. SCORE ( is a volunteer organization largely made up of individuals who have owned and operated their own businesses. They operate under the auspices of the Small Business Administration and provide complimentary services for people like Wendy and others in the High Country who seek assistance with starting a small business or who seek advice on how to make an existing small business better. Herman Metzler heads up the local SCORE office in Boone where he and a group of four other mentors work with entrepreneurs and small businesses in the counties of Avery, Watauga, Ashe, Wilkes, Alleghany, Catawba, as well as eastern Tennessee and southern Virginia. Herman can be reached at 919/280-6123 or by email at “Wendy is the type of person we are established to assist. She is professional and extremely knowledgeable in her chosen industry. She has an established base of very loyal and satisfied customers on which to build her business and those are two of the most important success factors,” Herman shared with us recently. Wendy’s clients include those who have used her knowledge to arrange destination weddings and honeymoons; to rent villas in Italy; to take African Safaris; to organize golf and ski trips; to select specialized cruises and tours; to recommend vineyard vacations, etc. As Wendy puts it, “Over the years I have developed detailed knowledge about, and travel contacts in, destinations all over the world. One of my specialties is putting together very personalized trips for my clients using this expertise.” Wendy’s office, truly a Travel Lounge, beautifully displays original artwork of travel destinations painted by Linda Sheppard, Wendy’s mother, who is a professional artist and lecturer. Wendy invites your feedback and questions by calling 828/7196955, by emailing, or by dropping in to see her at 2780 Tynecastle Hwy in Banner Elk.

Watauga Humane Society visitors may see a new sight as they drive up to the adoption center—a yard full of dogs romping, wrestling and even splashing in a pool. WHS initiated play groups for shelter dogs in May 2017 based on tenets of the nationally acclaimed program Dogs Playing for Life. These play groups allow dogs to use their most natural form of positive interaction with both humans and other canines—the instinct to play! Kennel staff, assisted by volunteers, supervise the sessions and dogs are assessed and categorized by play styles to insure safety and compatibility. The antics of the ‘rough and rowdy’ groups are generally the most entertaining but it also warms the heart to see a large group of ‘gentle and dainties’ sniffing, sunning, and rolling in the grass. All of the dogs enjoy off-leash, outside sessions, getting to meet their fellow residents and the stress relieving benefits of play and exercise. Visitors as well as dogs are enjoying a calmer, quieter, happier kennel environment. Play groups are just one of the ways WHS is striving to look beyond the basic physical needs of food and safety for homeless animals. WHS is proud to be ‘more than a shelter’ by providing enrichment, rehabilitation, training and love.

More than a "shelter"



Welcome to the Neighborhood! By Tamara Seymour


arlier this year, the CML office relocated from Linville to downtown Banner Elk in the Historic Banner Elk School (HBES). In just a matter of months we’ve watched the old elementary school, which served local students from 1939 to 2011, transform into Banner Elk’s Cultural Arts Center. In addition to observing the growth of the Center’s original “hub,” the Banner Elk Book Exchange, we’ve seen the arrival of several new tenants, and are honored to be their neighbors. Here we highlight some of the organizations and businesses that are today part of Banner Elk’s Cultural Arts Center at the Historic Banner Elk School: “Bring a Book, Take a Book” has been the motto of the Book Exchange, a volunteer-run local library-of-sorts that opened in the HBES in 2016. However, unlike a library, there are no check-out counters or machines, no due dates and no return of books required! The Exchange simply asks that patrons refrain from taking out more books that they bring in. Today there’s so much more than books at the Book Exchange! From lectures on local history, to Story Time for children, to book discussion groups for adults, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss the upcoming lectures this fall, including the “You Are Here” event on October 18 featuring Doug Hundley, “the Apple Guy” (see Doug’s article on Heritage Apples in this issue of CML). For up-to-date events and happenings at the Book Exchange, visit With just one summer season under its belt at the theatre’s new location, few can deny that Ensemble Stage has become an “overnight” success here in Banner Elk! Ensemble Stage, a 99-seat Professional Theater, was conceived out of a love of the performing arts and the desire to share it with the North Carolina High Country community. Since October 2009, Ensemble Stage has presented 72 productions


(plays, holiday shows and special events) with over 275 performances; sold over 20,000 show tickets; hired over 150 performers, as well as more than 40 designers and technical crew personnel; trained over 100 students, ages 5-16, in theatrical and presentation techniques; and accumulated nearly 100 dedicated annual donors and 146 annual subscribers. Did we mention that they took a defunct elementary school gymnasium and transformed it into an amazing theatre space in a matter of months? Ensemble Stage kicks of its Fall Season on October 28, with a production of “Dracula: A Staged Radio Drama.” On Friday December 1st Ensemble Stage will launch its holiday weekend with a performance of “A Christmas Carol.” For a complete listing of shows, dates and times, as well as ticket information, visit The new BE Artists Gallery artists’ cooperative opened mid-summer, and has been a welcomed addition to the old school! A group of artists came up with the concept and received tremendous support from the Town of Banner Elk to open an art gallery. Currently nine member artists own and operate the gallery, which showcases a large selection of fine arts and crafts, including paintings, photography, pottery, jewelry, metalworks, fine furniture, wood turnings, fabric art and much more. The Gallery accepts applications from consignment artists, whose artwork is also represented at the gallery. A consignment artist application is available at www. Starting to think about the holidays?

Be sure to stop by and secure your locally made, affordable gifts, created by talented artists from nearby communities. BE Artists Gallery is open Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mayland Community College has several new classrooms for continuing education courses at the Historic School in Banner Elk. These newly renovated classrooms are versatile to provide space for art classes, technology classes, and much more. To find a complete listing of classes offered at the Historic Banner Elk School campus, visit And what’s happening at the office of Carolina Mountain Life Office? We’ve already begun work on the Winter issue, the final issue of our 20th Anniversary year! We appreciate all the feedback we’ve received from our readers and advertisers regarding our new look and feel. We also hope you’ll stop in to pick up a copy of our latest issue, as well as a copy of the latest Carolina Explorers Magazine, a smallformat publication for young people and their families that’s all about the nature of North Carolina—published right here at our office in Banner Elk! CMLmagazine. com | Next time you drive by the “old school” remember it has come alive with books, publications, art, music, theatre, and countless opportunities for life-long learning! Learn more about the school, and how you can support the Town of Banner Elk’s efforts to continue restoration on the historic 1939 WPA-public works project, at

The Jerky Outpost in Valle Crucis By Pan McCaslin


ocated on a hillside in historic Valle Crucis, the Jerky Outpost offers a unique experience both for visitors to the area and to High Country residents. Walking through the doors of the store, one is met with racks and shelves of jerky and jerky products of all types. The smell of smoked meats invites one to wander and to taste. Once a bed and breakfast, the Jerky Outpost has been open several years, expanding products and services as its popularity has grown. Suzanne and Damon Stevens, owners, moved from Florida over 12 years ago to open a bed and breakfast. Suzanne brought experience in sales and hospitality with Damon’s background in finance/accounting and sales. “We were ready for a move. We ran the bed and breakfast over 10 years and then decided we wanted to stay in the Valle, but offer a business that complimented the other businesses in Valle Crucis,” Suzanne stated. The Stevens have created a niche market for craft jerky, offering not only local and High-Country jerky, but select jerkies from across North Carolina. Over 300 varieties, packaged as sticks, chew, or in small bags, are available in any taste, spiciness, or animal. There are common types of jerky— beef, pork, chicken, rabbit—but has one ever heard of swordfish jerky? Bison, salmon, python, Moroccan octopus, alligator, buffalo, pheasant, duck, venison, boar, elk, kangaroo, ostrich, lamb and turkey jerkies all find a place on the store’s shelves. Jerky Outpost Jerky is a signature

jerky for the store. The store also carries four other area jerkies. The most requested jerky is Moonshine. “It’s hard to keep it in stock,” Damon shared with a smile. In addition, the store offers meat seasonings and rubs, gourmet popcorn, and other snacks. Local crafts, a local roasted coffee, and a K-cup coffee wall offer opportunities for one to make up a gift basket or a hostess gift. Samples of several jerkies are available and Damon and Suzanne are always ready to educate people about different types and tastes of jerky. “People come out of curiosity and stay for a while. I like to help them decide what jerky they might like. I’m always giving out samples and directing them to new and different styles,” Damon related. In addition, the owners direct interested visitors to the website www.jerkyoutpost. net where each type of jerky is listed with the current cost.

Looking for an unusual birthday or Christmas gift? Jerky of the Month Club offers recurring monthly online shipments of three different types of jerky. Shipping is free. “It’s a great way to introduce our products to friends who don’t live in an area that has a craft jerky store,” shared Suzanne. “We are a family business,” she continued. “We are all involved, including our son Dylan, who attends Valle Crucis School. We hope he is learning that fun and hard work go hand in hand.” Visitors to the Jerky Outpost can also mine for gems, sit in the rockers on the front porch enjoying a cup of delicious coffee, and watch the horses graze across the valley at the River Run Horse Farm. Jerky Outpost is located in historic Valle Crucis at 2107 Broadstone Road. 828-260-6221. Photos by Natalie Thomas CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —



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Suddenly Single: Widows and Their Unique Challenges By Katherine S. Newton, CFP ®, ChFC™ Becoming suddenly single is traumatic regardless of the cause. But especially for a widow, this tumultuous life event carries with it particular trauma, including the overwhelming realization that she is now solely responsible for her financial future. Here are some stunning statistics about widows: 1. 70% of all married women on average will experience widowhood. 2. 80% of men die married. 80% of women die single. 3. The average age a wife becomes a widow is 59.

From the beginning of my own work with widows, I sensed and now know that my conversations with new widows cannot and should not begin with discussions about money. One of my widowed clients talks about the absolute shock and suddenness of the death of her husband and the resulting feelings of panic and complete inadequacy to handle the wealth she and her husband had built to share and enjoy together in retirement. When first approached by professionals, she felt like “a cornered animal. I could feel their sensing my lack of understanding and knew they would try to take advantage of me.” She wanted to be spoken to respectfully and patiently. “Money is a very intimate and private matter, and I needed to develop trust in another person to help me with my money, and confidence in myself to make good decisions.” Although in shock and grief, she knew not to make impulsive or quick decisions but instead took time finding good advisors and then making prioritized lists. Becoming and being a widow involves moving from the event itself through several stages. Although impossible to see at the outset, a widow can move from the initial pain ultimately to a new life of independence, joy, and happiness if she has careful and skillful guidance and the will to transform. I recently had the privilege of meeting Kathleen Rehl. She is a pioneer in working with widows  based on her own experience as a Certified Financial Planner™ who became suddenly widowed herself. She is author of a body of work about working with widows based on her own experience. As I have worked with clients and with widows over the years, I have relied on my own listening skills and sensitivity to guide me in helping others become strong, courageous, and confident in making their own financial decisions. But it has involved intuition only. So I was thrilled to learn of this new program of study in which I am now enrolled. As a result of meeting Kathleen and finding a new edu-

cational opportunity dealing with the people side of money, I am inspired to do the training to become a CeFT™ (Certified Financial Transitionist). This will not replace anything I do as Certified Financial Planner (the numbers side of money) but will only augment my skill set in dealing with the people side of money. I am most excited about garnering tools to help clients who are going through significant change and hope to share with you much of what I learn. Stay tuned for more. The views are those of Katherine Newton and should not be considered as investment advice or to predict future performance. • You can reach Katherine at Waite Financial in Hickory at 828.322.9595 or by email at katherine@waitefinancial. com. • Registered branch address: P.O. Box 1177, 428 4th Ave., NW, Hickory, NC 28603, 28601. • Registered Representative of and Securities offered through Cetera Advisor Networks, LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Carroll Financial Associates Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Waite Financial, Cetera Advisor Networks, and Carroll Financial Associates are unaffiliated.

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428 4th Ave, NW ● Hickory, NC 28601 ● 828.322.9595 ● Registered Representative offering Securities through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Carroll Financial Associates Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Waite Financial, Cetera Advisor Networks, and Carroll Financial Associates are unaffiliated. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


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LEGAL Guardian ad Litem Volunteers: Providing Voices for Children Who Need Them the Most By Elizabeth Baird Hardy Being summoned to appear in court is an experience that can bring fear and anxiety into the heart of even the strongest of adults, so it’s difficult to imagine just how frightening that experience can be for children. Yet every year, 2,200 abused and neglected children in North Carolina alone go to court without someone to advocate just for them. They face legal proceedings that can be confusing and scary. In order to help these children, volunteers with the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program serve as their voices, not just in the courtroom, but throughout their experience in the legal system. GAL recruiter Dr. Lynn Presnell notes a desperate need for more GAL volunteers: “We never have enough trained GALs.” The number of children in Department of Social Services custody is constantly growing, and “in a sparsely populated area, there is a lot of territory to cover for a limited number of GALs.” This need is one factor that motivated Dr. Dan Barron to join the program. Though he had spent many years working with advocacy programs for children and for the prevention of domestic violence, he was concerned by the lack of GAL volunteers. After retiring from his position as Director of the Avery Mitchell Yancey Library system, he underwent the required 10 weeks of intense training to prepare him for the challenges of serving as an advocate for children who have been in the care of DSS, sometimes for most of their lives. He was actually assigned his first case on the day he was

sworn in, just over a year ago. Since then, he has been challenged by the situations that surround the children he represents, but he has also been deeply rewarded by the growth he has seen in their lives. One child has already been moved to a “safe, loving, sustainable environment” where he is ready to start school and faces a bright future. However, it takes time to get those successful results, time that not everyone is able or willing to provide. Dr. Barron stresses that being a GAL is not just showing up for a few meetings, though the time constraints are not prohibitive. He especially encourages retirees to join the program to give back to the community, to invest in the future: “When you help victims of domestic violence, it establishes economic development for community and helps kids contribute positively.” “There are no set qualities” that the program seeks in its advocates, says Dr. Presnell. “We look for people who are committed to making a difference in the life of a child by providing a voice for that child in the courtroom and providing an independent view of the child. We are not looking with eyes and training of the DSS worker, … therapist, … parent, … teachers, and …probation officers.”  GAL volunteers are partnered with attorney advocates, a team to represent children swept into legal proceedings. “The GAL attorney advocates have the legal expertise to use the information we provide in our reports to better express what is in the best interest of the child.” While an attorney has many cases,

a volunteer advocate has only a few and can give undivided attention. In addition to providing better overall outcomes and helping children attain permanency sooner, Dr. Presnell states that “statistics show children with a GAL are less likely to re-enter the foster care system.” GAL volunteers are afforded the opportunity to work with the age group and number of children with which they are most comfortable. Dr. Presnell, who taught middle school and high school English before becoming a professor of teacher education, volunteers with older adolescents, though there are children from birth to age 18 in the system. Most GALs work with one or two children or sibling groups and are provided with resources and training in skills ranging from understanding the legal system to providing meaningful mentoring and properly documenting interactions. Most important in a GAL volunteer is the “willingness to be there for the duration that the child is in the custody of DSS,” says Dr. Presnell. Dr. Presnell urges “anyone who wants to make a difference in the life of a child” to go online to complete an application. “It is the most rewarding and significant volunteer job I have ever had…..It can be heartbreaking and at times heartwarming; it remains my personal mission field.” To learn more about the Guardian ad Litem program or to apply to be a volunteer, visit the program’s website,, or at https://www.facebook. com/ncGuardianAdLitem/ or volunteerforGAL, or https://youtube/dFcR4QCJ5ws. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


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Come Explore Caldwell County...

Visit our historic downtowns, our serene outdoor destinations, and experience the most public sculptures per capita in the US. Upcoming Events in Caldwell County: Hudson Festival of the Arts Saturday, September 16 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Downtown Hudson, NC

Granite Falls Festival on Main Saturday, September 16 2 p.m. - 8 p.m. Downtown Granite Falls, NC

Caldwell Agricultural Fair

September 19-23 Caldwell County Fairgrounds

Smoking in the Foothills BBQ Competition and Festival

The Complete History of America [Abridged]

October 20-21 Downtown Lenoir

September 28-30 J.E. Broyhill Civic Center Presented by Foothills Performing Arts

Musical Christmas Light Show

Caldwell Chamber’s Author Series: Dr. Gary Chapman

City of Lenoir Christmas Parade

Thursday, October 5, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. J.E. Broyhill Civic Center

35th Annual Molasses Festival

Saturday, October 14, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sims Country BBQ

November 16 - New Year Downtown Lenoir Friday, December 1 Downtown Lenoir

Christmas Parade & Third Annual Christmas Arts & Crafts Festival Saturday, December 2 Downtown Hudson

Caldwell Chamber of Commerce 1909 Hickory Blvd SE, Lenoir, NC 28645 828.726.0616 102 — Autumn 2017 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

An Ounce of Prevention By Mike Teague

leading to a deadly and damaging home fire. Just like a home furnace, it is important to have preventive maintenance performed on those fuel burning space heaters. Many times, small adjustments can prevent incomplete burning, which produces added smoke and dangerous combustion by-products.

Debris Clean-up


hat a wonderful time to live or visit the North Carolina High Country! Summer is beginning to fade while beautiful fall colors begin to emerge. The changing of leaves should also signify a time to start thinking of cooler temperatures and the need to turn on heating systems. It is important that we take the time to address several safety concerns in preparation of the coming winter months.

Home Heating Systems

Fires and incidents involving heating systems will begin to rise as the temperatures begin to drop. It is important to have your heating systems checked and have preventive maintenance conducted by a reputable heating contractor. Remember, our heating systems have been off since April or early May. The importance of an annual “checkup” of your heating system can improve the life of your heating system and prevent costly damage to the system and your home. If your home has a wood burning fireplace or wood stove it is important to have the chimney and/or wood stove cleaned and inspected by one of the High Country’s qualified chimney sweeps. For those who burn a lot of wood throughout the heating season, it may be necessary to have the chimney cleaned several times during the wood burning season. Additionally, try to use “seasoned” or dry wood for your wood-based fires. The drier the wood, the less creosote the wood contains. Creosote buildup can lead to dangerous chimney or flue fires. When cleaning out the ashes from a fireplace or wood stove, never place the ashes in anything but a metal container with a lid. Every year, fire departments in our area respond to structure fires where stove ashes have been improperly discarded. If you utilize space heaters to heat your home it is important to give them space. Portable electric and fuel burning space heaters need at least 36 inches of clearance on all sides of the heater. Items stored too close to the heater can ignite,

During the fall, leaves and dying vegetation debris can add to the danger of an unattended fire to your home or business. Make sure to rake up leaves keeping them away from the sides and/or decks of your home. Additionally, make sure to keep the gutters free of leaf buildup. This will help in a couple of ways. First, it will help your gutters and downspouts work as intended. Secondly, embers from a nearby fire can ignite combustible debris in the gutters, which can easy transfer to the house itself. Keeping debris buildup at a minimum around your house will help to create a defensible space that can save your home from wildland fires or the discarded cigarette.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms

It seems to be the last safety item we tend to think about, but it should be our first. Properly functioning smoke alarms save lives and property every day. Here in the USA we have a tendency to think fires happen to others and don’t plan for them to happen to us. Smoke alarms should be checked at least monthly and their batteries changed annually. The majority of people who die in structure fires are overcome by smoke before the flames ever reach them. Protect yourself and your family: install and maintain working smoke alarms in your home. If you burn any type of fuel in your home or have an attached garage, you should have at least one carbon monoxide alarm installed near the living and sleeping areas. Carbon monoxide is produced when a combustion chamber burns some form of a fossil fuel. Carbon monoxide itself is colorless and odorless, making it undetectable by humans. A lot of CO alarms are completely self-contained and will last seven to ten years. Follow the manufacturer’s directions as to placement and maintenance.

If you have questions or suggestions for fire safety topics you would like to see covered in CML, please email Mike at Mike Teague is a 1987 graduate of ASU, and has 33 years of fire service experience. Mike served two years as Avery County Fire Marshal and 31 years with the Boone Fire Department, where he is currently serving as the Assistant Fire Chief, certified fire service instructor, and level 3 fire prevention inspector.



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“For generations, Appalachian has worked to increase access to quality health care in Western North Carolina. With great progress in the construction of this facility, we are closer to realizing an exciting new level of health care education and access for the region.” - Chancellor Sheri N. Everts

Innovation and a Healthy Future at the Beaver College of Health Sciences


or those driving by the intersection of Deerfield and State Farm Roads in Boone, it is impossible not to notice the huge building taking shape across the intersection from the Watauga Medical Center. When complete in the summer of 2018, it will house Appalachian State University’s Beaver College of Health Sciences (BCHS). The Beaver College of Health Sciences was established in 2010 as the result of a strategic university commitment to significantly enhance the health and quality of life for individuals, families and communities in North Carolina and beyond. In just a few short years, the BCHS program has grown dramatically. Now the second largest college on campus with 3,400 students, the BCHS is home to 16 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Organized into six departments, these programs are preparing the next generation of health care professionals in the areas of Nursing; Social Work; Communication Sciences and Disorders; Nutrition and Health Care Management; Health and Exercise Science; and Recreation Management and Physical Education. The Beaver College of Health Sciences was founded to train students in healthrelated professions to serve the people

of rural North Carolina, particularly the western part of the state. The educational and clinical training programs of the BCHS have a strong rural health emphasis, which help create a socially responsive clinical and community outreach for the region. The BCHS has implemented collaborative and transformative models that blend education, research and service. Now adjacent to the Watauga Medical Center, the college is part of the community it serves. The 9.2 acre parcel of land was donated by the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, a strategic partner of the Beaver College of Health Sciences, and is located next to the Greenway Trail. In addition to housing the BCHS, this 203,000 square-foot state of the art building will include space for the Wake Forest Physician Assistant Program and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC Institute for Health and Human Services. It is a space not only for education, but also for collaboration between the BCHS and the community. The new building will also act as a home for the faculty and students of the Beaver College of Health Sciences, which is currently located in seven different buildings across campus, including offcampus rental spaces. The BCHS building will house high-tech and innovative

By Lynn Rees-Jones

classrooms; advising and academic support; an inter-professional health clinic; food innovation and exploration labs; exercise physiology and human performance labs; nursing simulation and clinical innovation; rehabilitative science labs; human anatomy and physiology labs; and a human cadaver lab. Built to address the needs of 21st century learners, the new BCHS space will serve as a community lab where ideas come together as students learn the intricacies of team-based health care professions. Newly appointed dean of the Beaver College of Health Sciences, Dr. Marie Huff began her role on August 1 of this year. Formerly dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Bowling Green State University, Huff has a great passion for rural health care. Now, as part the BCHS, Huff looks forward to collaborating with a creative and passionate team of professionals who are dedicated to teaching and graduating students who will become ethical, competent and compassionate practitioners. For questions contact Kelli Wilson, Director of Development Beaver College Health Sciences @ or call 828.262.6714. For more information or to support the Beaver College of Health Sciences visit or give. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


The Tricia Wilson Law Firm Is Pleased To Announce A Firm Name Change To More Accurately Reflect Professional Growth & The Establishment Of Our Practice Concentration:



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HEALTH Jill Storelli: Pumping Iron and Breaking Records By Elizabeth Baird Hardy Photo courtesy of Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center and Clinical Programs, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System


n the 2011 film Captain America, Peggy Carter chides soldiers doing push-ups, claiming that her grandmother could do better than they can. While Agent Carter’s grandmother may or may not have been able to best Army recruits at boot camp, Jill Storelli’s ten grandchildren, including a United States Marine, would not be exaggerating if they boasted of their grandmother’s athletic prowess. In 2016, the Boone resident tied the world record in her age group for the dead-lift, hefting 230 pounds. Storelli didn’t plan to become a champion weightlifter when she began working out at the Broyhill Wellness Center in Boone. She was just finally getting around to following the advice her chiropractor had given her years before, urging her to use weight-lifting as a form of physical therapy to alleviate back problems. Reduced to crawling at times from her back pain, Storelli could not imagine lifting weights, but, at age sixtyfive, she decided to give it a try. “The first day, I was hooked,” she says. She started slowly, using light weights and carefully following the instruction of her trainer, Michael Darling, who is “very particular about technique.” Darling’s enthusiasm, knowledge, and expertise soon led Storelli to lifting for more than just her health. Though Storelli thoroughly enjoyed working with the weights, and was particularly attracted to dead-lifting, it wasn’t until Darling began wondering about the lift record for Storelli’s age

group that they started to get serious about hitting that record. “I was lifting about 185 or 190,” she says, but Darling believed Storelli could reach the recordbreaking dead-lift weight of 230 pounds for a seventy-two-year-old lifter. They embarked on a twelve-week training regimen that prepared her to meet the record. However, she missed the benchmark by five pounds. Undeterred, she asked Darling to start the twelve-week process with her again for another try, and her determination paid off, as she now holds the record that once seemed like a distant goal. While she is happy to stick with making records at her own gym, with video documentation of her accomplishments, Storelli says she does have some elements in common with professional, competitive weightlifters. “The training is very similar,” she says, “but they are doing it to compete, and I am just doing it for me.” Storelli and her husband Sergio, who moved here full-time thirtythree years ago to embrace “the real life,” chose the High Country for its quality of living, and she is determined to continue improving, inspiring herself and others. She believes that the secret in life is for a person to do the very best he or she can do, “not what someone else can,” and she is thrilled with the improvement she has seen in her health and well-being since she began lifting. Unlike many people her age and younger, Storelli does not take any prescription medication. Weightlifting has provided her with physical benefits, like improved

balance and bone-density, plus mental ones, like increased determination. Those are benefits she is not content to keep to herself, as she now encourages others to try weightlifting, an activity she says is “like putting money in the bank,” especially for senior adults. She even had one friend sign a document, promising to become more physically active. With the help of a good trainer, and with a slow start, people who might never have considered weightlifting can become hooked, like Storelli, who had never participated in sports before taking on weightlifting. Not content to rest on her laurels, Storelli is expanding her repertoire by doing chin-ups. After being challenged by one of the Wellness Center interns, she began carefully working up to a fullchin-up. Storelli is one of only about 3 to 5 percent of women her age who can do a chin up, a testament to her dedication and willpower. She has also discovered planking, and has even challenged her son and grandsons, none of whom could beat her record time, 5.13 minutes. While she continues to expand her horizons, Storelli is also still focused on her first love at the gym: dead-lifting. After all, next year she’ll be seventy-five, and she is already aiming for a new goal: finding out the record in that age bracket, and smashing it. To learn more about the benefits of weightlifting at any age, or to begin your own fitness journey, visit the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center in Boone, http://wellness.; or the Williams YMCA of Avery County in Linville, CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


Left Behind in the High Country: Support Group Forms for those Touched by Suicide By Cindy Michaud


t is a sad fact that statistics for completed suicides in both Watauga and Avery Counties exceed those of the state and national averages. Unfortunately, this translates to a large number of loved ones left to grieve this unique and catastrophic trauma. Even when a death occurred many years ago, family and friends often continue to deal with feelings of unresolved guilt, blame, anger or melancholy. They may even perceive a stigma attached to the death which prevents them from talking about their loved one. Being with empathetic, caring individuals who understand the loss is a critical step towards healing. For the first time locally a suicide survivors support group is forming with facilitators who have “walked this path” and understand the value of supporting each other through it. “Left Behind in the High Country” will


begin meeting on Thursday, September 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville, NC. The mission of the Support Group is to provide a safe and confidential space where survivors will be comfortable sharing their feelings as they assist each other in the journey towards healing. It is not necessary to speak and there are no participation requirements other than the mutual agreement that everyone remain non-judgmental and supportive. Some survivors may have stories of hope and comfort while others need help believing that day will ever come for them. “Left Behind” will meet every other Thursday evening in the same room at 6:30 pm. To register your intent to participate, or for more information, please call Bob at 321-243-1640. He will answer questions and/or give directions to the location.

Find your peaceful place...

Survivorship Program at the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center By Koren Gillespie


or cancer survivors, their journey can be summed up as a life-altering diagnosis, a fight for survival, and an experience that never fully goes away even after treatment or a clean bill of health is pronounced. To help ease the transition from being a cancer patient to returning to a once familiar daily routine, the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center offers the Survivorship Program. “A battle with cancer is all consuming. When patients get to the end of their treatments, they celebrate by graduating from chemo or radiation treatments. Prior to completion, patients have been coming for weeks and months. They’ve had a lot of time and attention poured into their cancer care. Then, one day, their oncologist releases them back into their pre-cancer life. Many patients tell us it’s a daunting feeling. They feel like they’re supposed to pick up where they left off, but they can’t go back to their normal pre-cancer life because they are never the same,” says Sandra Cassidy, Director of Oncology Services at the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center. Cassidy continues, “Cancer is an emotional, psychological, and physical experience. The Survivorship Program allows patients to participate in activities with employees or other survivors who understand what they’ve been through.” Launched in the Spring of 2016, the Survivorship Program is designed to be a 12 to 18-month service specifically for cancer survivors. At the completion of their last treatment visit at the Cancer Center, patients have an opportunity to review their entire treatment plan. More

specifically, they go over care received, medications used, and what their future will look like as a survivor. Typically, this appointment is scheduled with Barbara Dean, Physician Assistant for the Cancer Center, to teach patients about the Survivorship Program and all its resources. Each patient receives a portfolio of educational materials based on their specific type of cancer. The Cancer Center encourages all patients to take advantage of this program so they can successfully begin a new chapter and make a soft transition from cancer patient to cancer survivor. The Survivorship Program includes a wide variety of free services and opportunities to participants. On one end of the spectrum, there are more clinicalbased awareness/education options. For example, the center offers a class in the prevention and treatment of Lymphedema, a condition common with survivors in treatment or post-treatment, which can cause redness, swelling or other symptoms. Additionally, there are nutrition classes offered, which cover a wide range of topics. The overall goal is to teach survivors how to establish a proper diet and healthy eating habits after treatment. Popular discussion involves information on super foods, antioxidants, portion control or weight gain (as needed), dietary supplements, cancer fighting foods, and much more. These classes are taught by clinicians through Watauga Medical Center. Non-clinical classes offered include a support group, yoga, a walking group,

beauty tips, and meditation. The Cancer Center staff facilitates a support group, participate in a walking group along with cancer patients, cancer survivors, and their families and friends. Additional classes, made possible by local, certified/ licensed volunteers include yoga, meditation, and beauty tips, with estheticians and stylists. Most recently, an arts class has begun and is being led by a graduate student enrolled in the Expressive Arts Therapy program at Appalachian State. “Participants have told us that the program is awesome and wonderful; that it helped them transition. One lady told me having access to these resources helped her to worry less about every little thing going on with her body. I fully believe this program helps people find their new normal,” concludes Cassidy. The Survivorship Program is free to participants and made possible by funding through the Seby B. Jones’ Cancer Resource Alliance. Additionally, the Cancer Center is accredited by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer®. If you or a loved one is interested in the Survivorship Program, learn more online at Interested participants can also inquire or request more information about a specific service, class, or the overall program with their medical provider by calling the Cancer Center at (828) 262-4332. To donate to the Survivorship Program, contact the Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation at (828) 2624391 or visit CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


be well!

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Be Well: How Mood Affects Your Life and What to Do about It! By Samantha Stephens Want to know something really ironic? Ever since I started writing this article, I’ve been struggling with a range of moods and instability. While trying to process these emotions, I’ve procrastinated in getting this piece done, which has led me to more moodiness and frustration because I am behind schedule! To get started on the cure for this, I made a list of what I must do to finish all the tasks before me today. Next, I will decide on a reward for myself when I get these things done. Pretty soon you are going to realize how important this strategy is. Consider how the way you feel each day affects your relationships, productivity, and goals. Do you know how your diet and lifestyle might be impacting your mood? Whether consciously or subconsciously, you are making daily choices that will either positively or negatively affect your mood. Read on to find out how. Let’s start with your brain. A lot is happening every second inside that marvelous organ. Simply put, the brain stimulates several neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and epinephrine in


response to certain triggers. Triggers can include food, drink, activities, and circumstances. Now consider your thoughts: they also directly affect your brain’s chemistry, which causes a physical response in your body. Remember the last time you watched a commercial about some delicious food like a juicy, sizzling hamburger? Did it make your mouth water? This is an example of how thoughts lead to physical reactions in your body. Every day, there are thousands of reactions occurring in our bodies due to our thoughts, both positive and negative. With negative emotions such as fear and anxiety, our brains slow down every process which reduces our ability to be logical and solve problems. This leads to reactions that are primal and often unreasonable in nature. This scenario also affects short and long term memory, mood and overall mental stability. For instance, if you dwell on past failures and disappointments, you can become more discouraged and even physically ill. Studies show that if you are suffering from a serious illness, yet you have a positive outlook and strong will

to survive, your chances of getting well are remarkably improved. With positive thoughts, your brain engages in a reward system that steers you toward improved health, greater productivity, motivation and mental alertness. You do not have to fully understand the pathways of these reactions in order to influence them. Here are some simple, yet effective ways to “steer” you and your mind in the right direction. Smile: Have you ever had a bad day, then encountered someone who approached you with a big smile? It was hard not to smile back, wasn’t it? Science has proven that smiling actually causes a physiological response in your body, causing neurons in your brain to stimulate the production of dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. So do yourself a favor and smile: everyone will enjoy it! Make a to-do list: Do you love to get things done? Here is some good news: your brain actually responds physiologically to the act

HEALTH of striking off your to-do list by stimulating loads of dopamine. This is one of the main reasons that it is so satisfying to check off your list. And once you have accomplished your goal, add a reward and you will further boost your mood! Eat these foods: Certain foods will naturally raise your dopamine levels. Choose at least one of these foods daily: pumpkin seeds, avocado, chocolate, coffee, almonds, eggs, bananas, beef, chicken, salmon. Avoid addiction: Becoming dependant on foods, substances, and habits that replace the body’s normal pathways for producing mood enhancing neurotransmitters can be counterproductive and harmful. Often our dependency is due to the way we respond to stress. Consider the sensations of hunger and thirst, which we normally respond to by eating or drinking. It’s not uncommon to have a drink to “unwind” or reach for ice cream when feeling a little down. In moderation this is okay. But when it becomes a habit, a way to cope on a regular basis, there is a problem. Create a playlist: Music affects mood. When I need to reflect, I play instrumentals. When I need a pick me up or I’m working on a physically demanding task, I like something more upbeat like hip-hop. When I lack focus, classical music is excellent for organizing my brain and relaxing me. Put together several playlists and keep them handy for whatever your mood or need is. Love and be loved: Remember how it felt when you fell in love? It’s a rush of exhilarating happiness, joy, and passion all at once. Even when these feelings taper off a bit, loving and being loved creates a healthy response in your brain that supports good mood and overall well-being. Kind words and actions are healing to both the giver and the recipient.

Empathize: Empathy is the ability to relate, share and understand feelings with another person. Scientifically speaking, when humans relate on topics and issues, this connection causes healing. Take time to be a good listener. Deepen relationships so that you can be supportive to one another. Discover something new: Whether it’s a new project, skill, or adventure, doing things that interest you will yield a positive mental reward. If you are lacking joy or motivation, or recovering from some sort of trauma or exhausting event, you can lift your spirits by doing something you enjoy that feeds your soul. It might be golf, antiquing, or even a massage. Perhaps you just need to get away for a few days. Take care of your self—it’s good stewardship!

Consider supplementation: Although I wish we could get everything we need from our diet, this is not realistic. Our food supply is depleted of vitamins and minerals and daily stressors will cause a demand too high to meet without supplementation. Remember, when you are proactive in maintaining good mental health, your world will be a better place! Samantha Stephens is a nutritionist, food scientist and herbalist. Contact her at

Direct your thoughts: This is BIG! What we think, say and do directly affects our brain, our actions and our overall physical being. This in turn affects our environment, circumstances and relationships. Whatever you dwell on, whether good or bad, hardwires your brain by creating more neurons and synapses to support that mentality. Simply put, our thoughts, whether negative or positive, create a highway for similar thoughts. If you dwell on positive things and refuse negative thoughts and emotions, you are more likely to be healthy and happy. The good news is, you do have a choice and these patterns can be changed! Get outside! Make exercise a regular part of your day. Even mild exercise like walking for a few minutes a day will make a big difference in your overall dopamine levels. If you cannot exercise, try deep breathing anywhere—before you get out of bed or while sitting in traffic. Being outside in the sunshine produces vitamin D in your skin, which also lifts your spirits.

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Enjoy Foraging for Wild Plants By Samantha Stephens There are a few very important things to remember when foraging for plants: Choose the right location. When wild harvesting, gather plants that are at least 50 feet back from the edge of the road; never gather where domesticated animals linger or under power and telephone lines (pesticides are usually sprayed there), and not under roof drip lines (roofing materials leach toxic material). Do not harvest near old, lead-painted buildings, industrial sites, or other areas at risk for soil contamination. Know your plants. The best way to learn how to accurately identify wild plants is to forage with an expert who knows wild foods well. Take photos and use for reference. Use identification books, like a Peterson’s Field Guide. Bring along a canvas bag or basket to take home all your goodies in. Carefully gather only what you plan to use immediately, and always leave plenty behind for others and for continual growth. Wash your herbs carefully with well or spring water before use. Sassafras Sassafras is a deciduous, perennial tree that is found along the borders of the woods, on slopes and in thickets. Sassafras offers food all year long. The leaves are prolific in the spring, summer and fall and the twigs and roots are available anytime. All parts of this plant make a delicious tea. When making tea, be sure to use the inner bark of the root for the most nutritious and flavorful beverage.


When collecting sassafras, harvest saplings that are growing in crowded, shady areas because they are unlikely to survive in those conditions anyway. Freshly picked sassafras leaves are a delicious addition to salads and soups. They are bright and tangy and will liven up any meal. The leaves taste cool, sweet, and fruity with eucalyptus undertones. The flavor of the roots and inner bark is similar to cinnamon, but is more easily recognizable as the popular flavor of root beer. Original root beer was made from sassafras roots but since then, most root beer is synthetically flavored. Sassafras roots, inner bark and leaves can also be dried for tea or seasoning. Try making your own homemade “gumbo file” with dried sassafras leaves. Just grind dried sassafras leaves into a powder and add to your Cajun gumbo just prior to serving. By adding at the end of the cooking process, you will preserve the nutrients and fresh flavor. You can also experiment with the powdered herb by adding it to other kinds of soups, salad dressings and casseroles. Sassafras thickens anything it’s added to, so make adjustments for that. In addition to being a flavorful component to your food, sassafras root has been traditionally used by Indians and early settlers to purify the blood and detox the whole body. In 17th century Europe, it was considered a panacea and was used specifically to treat high blood pressure, viruses, arthritis, poor circulation, gout and kidney problems. Sassafras is high in vitamin C, soluble fiber, phytonutrients and beta carotene.

• Sassafras tea: Simmer root and/or inner bark for 20 mins, then strain. Sweeten with a little honey if desired. Serve hot or chilled. • Sassafras root beer: Simmer root and/or inner bark as you would for tea, but prepare as a concentrate with plant material. Cool, sweeten and add sparkling water with a little fresh lemon juice. Wild Roses Wild roses grow in full sun and will easily take over an area if not controlled. To cultivate and control roses, clear out around the bushes and cut back as needed in order to access all the flowers and fruit. Rose petals are a beautiful and tasty addition to salads and desserts. I have successfully fermented rose petals to make delicious, carbonated beverages too! If you want to try it, I have a recipe below. Once roses have bloomed, a rose hip will emerge where the flower died off. They start off very small but will grow larger over a period of a few weeks. Let the rose hip fully develop and then taste. It should be sweet, tart, just a bit juicy and astringent. Oftentimes rose hips are best after the first frost of the season. This is because the cold temperatures cause the sugars to develop and concentrate. If you have easy access to rose hips, taste them as the weather turns colder and pick when the taste and texture suit you. Rose hips are packed with bioflavonoids and antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E, so eating just a few a day is an excellent way to boost your immune system for the pending winter months. Collect


Wild Rose Hips

as many rose hips as you can to freeze, or dry them for future use. They can be dried and ground into a powder to use as a supplement, tea or tart flavoring. One great way to extract the nutrients in rose hips is to infuse them in raw honey. Simply add rose hips to raw honey in a mason jar and cover. Let infuse in a dark, cool location for at least two weeks—the longer the better. Gently shake the jar a few times per week to facilitate the infusion process. The rose hips add a powerful punch to the raw honey, which is already a rich source of probiotics and vitamins. Use this rose hip infused honey on breakfast foods and desserts and as a valuable component in your own homemade cough syrup. • Fermented rose petals: Loosely fill a Mason jar with an assortment of fresh or dried rose petals, then fill 1/3 with raw honey and 2/3 with non-chlorinated, room temperature water. Cover with cheesecloth or a coffee filter secured with a rubber band. Let sit in a warm place out of direct sunlight, stirring daily for 3-7 days until fizzy. Then store in an airtight, non-metallic container in your refrigerator until you are ready to enjoy over crushed ice. If too sweet, just dilute as desired. Plantain Plantain leaves emerge in spring and last until fall. A tall, green stalk covered with tiny white, almost transparent flowers will spring forth mid-summer. These flowers give way to seeds packed in little brown capsules. The entire plant including the seeds is edible. The leaves

Long Leaf Plantain

add beta carotene, calcium and soluble fiber to soups and salads. The seeds are packed with insoluble fiber, amino acids and essential fats. Plantain is effective in lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. The high chlorophyll content in the leaves is an excellent way to freshen breath and alkalize the body when hiking and foraging. Plantain is also very effective when used topically to heal the skin. In the event of a bug bite or bee sting, grab some fresh plantain, chew it slightly, and apply the poultice directly to the bite or sting. Cover with a bandage and let stay in place as long as possible. Within just a few minutes, the plantain will effectively draw out the poison and ease the itch and pain. Plantain can also be infused in olive or coconut oil to use as a healing skin moisturizer or salve. It’s very effective in soothing eczema, skin abrasions and skin rashes. • Solar infused plantain oil: Fill a Mason jar with dried plantain leaves until half full. Cover completely with olive or coconut oil. Cover and place in sunny, warm window for 6 weeks, shaking daily. Strain out plant matter and store in cool, dry location. Jerusalem Artichoke, or “Sunchoke” Sunchokes grow abundantly in dry locations along roadsides, thickets and hillsides with full to partial sun. They are native to the Great Plains, but thanks to the Indians who regularly consumed them and often travelled with them, now they are very prolific here on the East Coast as well. Only the tubers are edible and they are at their peak for harvesting

Jerusalem Artichoke

in the fall. The tubers are lumpy, beige vegetables that look similar to small potatoes. When eaten raw, they are juicy, crunchy and slightly sweet like water chestnuts. As a cooked vegetable, they also make an excellent addition to stir fry and soups. You might have already noticed that sunchokes have become quite a delicacy in big cities and fancy restaurants. They are one of my favorite wild foods. Rich in vitamin C, inulin and minerals, they are a tasty wild addition to your fall and winter diet. • Raw sunchoke relish: Clean and dice sunchokes into small cubes. Add equal amounts of diced apple, carrots, cucumbers, and fresh parsley. Squeeze fresh lemon on top. Serve as a side salad or on top of grilled fish or chicken. I hope you are feeling adventurous enough to take some time to forage for at least one of these glorious wild foods. Experiment with them in your kitchen to see how you enjoy them the most. One of the greatest things about foraging for wild foods is that these amazing gifts are FREE! Get outside and start exploring. I’m certain you will be pleasantly surprised at what you find. Disclaimer: Never attempt to identify and harvest wild foods without an expert or without plenty of experience and a complete field guide. Samantha Stephens is a nutritionist, food scientist and herbalist. Contact her at



The Heirloom Apples of the Southern Highlands


hroughout the 20th Century southerners from the piedmont of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia have headed north into the mountains of their states to stock up on mountain apples. The rich, fourseason climate of the higher elevations produces some of the finest apples in all of the Eastern United States. Traveling north and going into higher elevations for some cooler temperatures in September is clearly a great idea. If you are coming up in October, an annual pilgrimage to the mountains turns into a beautiful sightseeing vacation to view the colors of the National Parks and Forests in all their fall glory. However, mountain apples are reason enough to make the trip. As you drive about in the mountains this fall keep an eye out for large heritage apple trees covered with red and gold ornaments hanging like decorations. These historic relics, many well over 100 years old, are living friends from the past. That one remaining apple tree in the old pasture may be the last tree left from a large 1890 homestead orchard. The heritage apple trees of the High Country have a long and rich story that goes hand in hand with the history of America, and the founding of our country. Perhaps you’ve heard that our founders were apple growers and cider makers? That’s because most of our ancestors were


apple growers. Coming originally from the British Isles or Western Europe, early settlers came from a strong apple culture. They brought apple seeds from their homelands when they immigrated. They already knew there were no native apples in North America. Our ancestors began to arrive in the early 1600s. In the beginning they planted seedling orchards (growing apple trees from seed not grafts). They grew these first apples mostly to drink, pressing them for cider. However, they knew that over time, from these seedling orchards, the finest apple trees would be recognized for their sweeter flavor and other outstanding qualities. Once these trees were identified, growers named them and began grafting. Grafted now for hundreds of years, these were and still are, the first true American apples selected by our ancestors. They are what we refer to as “Heirloom Apples.” The first named and grafted apple in America is believed to be the Roxbury Russet. It was grown from a seed around 1620 near Plymouth, MA. In 1640, it was selected for its sweet flavor, and for grafting. Roxbury Russet continues to live in the mountain counties of North Carolina. Oher heritage apple varieties were given names such as: Virginia Beauty, Yellow Bellflower, Shenandoah, McIntosh, Carolina Red June, Maiden

Blush, Seek No Further, Summer Rose, Golden Delicious, Pumpkin Sweet and American Beauty—beautiful names for beautiful apples. The first settlers of the Southern Appalachians started up the rough mountain roads in the mid-1700s and brought many of these apple varieties with them. They had to plant two acres of apple trees to secure their land grant and prove they were going to stay on the land they were given. When they planted these varieties in the mountains they found they grew better here than any place in the South. Our mountain climate closely resembles the climate in northeastern states where many of these varieties were first cultivated. Cool summer temperatures and rainfall of over 50 inches per year makes this region an excellent place for growing apples. Virtually every mountain settler planted a home orchard; many of these early mountain orchards grew large enough to sell fruit to the “flatlanders” in the fall months, thus starting the tradition we have today. It is estimated that in 1890 there were over 1,800 apple varieties in just the southern states. By 1990 perhaps only 400 had survived, and they were going fast. The scale of the loss was confirmed when, in 1980, a recently retired army biologist named Lee Calhoun began a home orchard in Chatham County, NC.

Photos by Doug Hundley

Visit a Heritage Orchard • Some of the local heritage orchards that are open to the public include:

By Doug Hundley Calhoun and his wife Edith started looking for the old varieties and spent the next 35 years searching the mountains and piedmont of North Carolina to find and save the remaining heirloom apple varieties. Over the years, they successfully have brought attention to this tragic loss of history, and have inspired many individuals and groups to plant new home heirloom apple orchards every year. The Calhouns wrote an iconic book titled “Old Southern Apples,” now used by many to continue this valuable work. The book is available in many mountain bookstores or can be purchased online. Their own heirloom apple tree collection can be seen at Horne Creek Living Historical Farm in Pinnacle, NC. The farm is a great place to visit, and directions and details can be found easily online. Thanks to Lee and Edith Calhoun, the tide has turned and the loss of heirloom apple varieties has slowed dramatically. At a closer location, in Avery County, there is a public heirloom apple park established by the Crossnore School. The Crossnore Heritage Orchard, is free and open to the public seven days a week, with 25 varieties bearing apples July through November. This is a preservation and tasting orchard with educational information at each tree. See and taste these organically grown heirloom apples throughout the fall; the Crossnore

Heritage Orchard is located right off Highway 221 next to Loaves and Fishes restaurant in Crossnore, NC. North Carolina Cooperative Extension Centers in Yancey, Mitchell, Avery, and Watauga counties are deeply involved in the heirloom apple recovery work. Agents in these Centers have searched the old orchards of their counties where they have found many of the heritage apples. Extension staff have helped residents to propagate and replant heritage varieties, and heirloom apple trees are available for sale at their Annual Plant Sale early each spring. For more information, find your local Extension Center online. Whether you are visiting for a few days or spending the rest of your life in the Southern Highlands of North Carolina, learn all you can about the history of this region, and our heirloom apples. They deliver American heritage like few things left in modern times. The orchards of this area and the apples that grow there exemplify the true flavor of our past, for all to enjoy. Note: The apple illustration is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705

Orchard at Altapass on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Mitchell County, Shady Lane Farm on Arbuckle Rd. in Yancey County, Bill Moretz Mountain Orchard and Coffey Orchard in Watauga County, Big Horse Creek Farm in Ashe County, and Jarrett Orchard and Roan Highlands Farm in Burbank, near the Roan Mt. State Park (cross the NC/TN state line in Elk Park going toward Roan Mt., TN) • Directions to each of these orchards can be found online. Heirloom apples are often available at the Watauga and Ashe County Farmers’ Markets, as well as other farmers’ markets in the region.

Learn More about Heritage Apples October 18, 4 p.m. | Banner Elk, NC “Heritage Apples of Avery County” Lecture by Doug Hundley, founder of the Avery Apple Program Banner Elk Book Exchange, www. October (date TBD) | Boone, NC Heirloom Apple Tasting Watauga County Agriculture Center For details and date contact: Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture 828386-1537, .



n style with a gourmet flair souther

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Boone Location:

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

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



Exotic Teas | Spices & Herbs Salts & Sugars | Spice Blends Accessories | Gifts 1087 Main St., Unit 4 Blowing Rock NC | 828-372-7070




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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 –












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!”

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



Chestnut Grille Thursday - Sunday evenings from 6pm - 9pm Reservations recommended.


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Sizzling Sicilian Sippers By Ren Manning, Ericks Cheese and Wine


t used to be that you would be more likely to encounter Sicilian wine heading north in a tanker truck than under cork in a fine restaurant, but from the land of mustachioed women and wise-guy rub-outs now come some of the world’s most exciting and modern wines. Sicily is Italy’s granary, and its agricultural character includes grapes. While Sicily has perennially ranked at the top of the list of Italian regions in terms of vineyard area and wine production, it has ranked at the bottom in terms of bottled wines and even lower (if that is conceivable) in terms of quality wine production. Sicily is still medieval in many ways, carrying its agrarian economy, poverty and mafia heritage among its Greek and Moorish history. Yet it offers contrasts everywhere, from chaotic, urban Palermo on one corner, to beautiful Taormina on another, to captivating Greek ruins in Agrigento and beautiful, rustic mountainous lands in between. Most Italy-bound tourists head for Rome, Florence and Venice, understandably. Vesuvius and the Amalfi coast attract folks willing to endure the frightening run through Naples to get there, but largely forgotten treasures await further south—in Puglia, Calabria or across the silvery sea sliver to Sicily. Alert: some of Italy’s best sights and food are found on Italy’s largest island. And wine! Small-scale wine production had always met local needs, but Sicily’s commercial wine history began only with Marsala in the 1700s. Agrarian “reforms” after World War II resulted in land redistribution to small farmers, who joined government-subsidized cooperatives run by shady (i.e., corrupt) politicians and industrialists. Fast-forward to the turn of

the 21st century when the co-op system collapsed and private investment and wine entrepreneurs stepped up, and you have an idea of how young Sicily’s modern winemaking “industry” is. You may associate Sicily with red wine, and indeed you will find wonderful reds from there. But this region’s richly diverse menu tilts toward seafood, so, as you might expect, this island features a vast array of white wines from grapes of Greek origin found nowhere else on earth—Grillo, Catarrato, Inzolia, Grecanico and Zibibbo. It is so surprising to find wines of such personality, elegance and freshness coming from Italy’s hottest, driest island, much of it south of Tunesia. Look for whites from Donnafugata, Valle Dell’Acate and Planeta (Sicily’s most modern winery, which makes a stunning Chardonnay as well). For reds, look no further than its signature grape: the spicy, plush Nero d’Avola. One of the world’s great (and largely unknown and unheralded) red wine grapes, its thin-skinned and lateripening characteristics make it ideal for growing in hot, dry and sunny Sicily and almost nowhere else. But skating under the radar only makes its discovery by wine lovers more exciting, whether in mono-varietal bottlings or in blends. The most famous blend is called Cerasuolo di Vittoria and incorporates wine from the equally impressive Frappato grape. Cerasuolo carries Sicily’s only DOCG (highest) classification. Producers worth seeking out include Morgante, Planeta, Tasca d’Almerita, COS and Donnafugata. The “hottest” new location where many of Sicily’s winemakers are rushing to stake out territory is Mt. Etna, where the northern slopes offer a nirvana for

grape growers seeking wines of unparalleled intensity, minerality and longevity. Wines from here tend to be mono-varietals or blends of Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio. White wines from Mt. Etna’s Carricante grape are mouthwatering and well worth seeking out. Planeta, Girolamo Russo and Marco di Grazia are a few names to watch for; they all produce stunning red and white Etna wines. Sicily has always produced some of the world’s most wonderful sweet wines, which are used to wash down their cannoli and sweet cakes. Marsala has the history, but it’s hard to find the good stuff these days, as much of its production has devolved to the cooking variety that graces grocery store shelves. Instead, look for elixirs made from the Zibbibo grape (otherwise known as the Muscat of Alexandria) and Malvasia delle Lipari. Many of these hail from offshore islands such as Pantelleria and Lipari or along the southeastern coast. These beautifullyscented, aromatic and mouth-coating wines are decadently sweet but balanced with crisp acidity to cleanse your palate. Look for Donnafugata’s “Ben Ryé” or Planeta’s “Moscato di Noto” for a breathtaking oenological experience. You won’t drink a lot at one sitting, and they are Sicily’s most expensive, so most bottles are 375 ml or 500 ml in size. Just right. Sicilian wines are gaining the recognition they deserve and are beginning to pop up on retail wine shop shelves and wine lists of the better restaurants featuring Italian food and wine. Expand your wine horizons and seek these out!




One Nibble and You’re Hooked.

he winds are fair, so plot a course for our famous seafood buffet every Thursday evening. If you haven’t made this scrumptious feast one of your weekly traditions, it’s high tide—er, time— you did so. Call for Reservations Seafood Buffet Begins Thursday, June 1


Boone’s Town Square Open Saturdays 8-Noon May through November


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

F.A.R.M. Cafe is a non-profit, pay-what-you-can community kitchen that builds a healthy and inclusive community. We provide high quality and delicious meals produced from local sources when available, served in a restaurant where everybody eats, F.A.R.M Cafe is a non-profit, donate-what-you-can community kitchen regardless of means. Located at 617 King Street in that builds a healthy and inclusive community. WeW. provide high quality Downtown Boone, NC and delicious meals produced from localOpen sources when available, daily for lunch 11-2


served in a restaurant where everybody eats, regardless of means.

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


Wine To Water CEO David Cuthbert says his international aid organization has “a beautiful story to tell.”

Wine To Water


By Karen Sabo

ine To Water CEO David Cuthbert says his international aid organization has “a beautiful story to tell.” The newest venue for telling that story comes in the form of Ransom, a new cafe and bar that moved into the downtown Boone space formerly occupied by Murphy’s Restaurant and Pub. Through the power of community, Boone-based nonprofit Wine To Water provides clean water to those who need it most. This effort has taken their supporters to four continents so far, and strengthening community is the crucial tool to achieving their mission of bringing clean water to one million people. Doc Hendley founded the organization in 2004 while working in Raleigh as a bartender and musician. He had begun to learn about the extent of need for clean water in global communities, and he wanted to make a difference. Hendley began by having bar-based fundraisers, eventually going to the Sudan to install water systems, and becoming forever changed by his travels. Over the past 13 years, Wine To Water has improved the lives of 600,000 people around the globe by giving them access to clean water, and by experimenting with the cultural change needed to help people accept and use these new water systems. “World water industries have found that a technology solution doesn’t go far enough,” said Cuthbert, explaining that simply installing water systems in developing nations is often ineffective. “Culturally you’re introducing, in some cases, something very foreign, very different. We presume that folks should trust us

that ‘Hey you don’t have access to a well, you should use a well,’ but for somebody who’s never had access to that, it’s not intrinsically safe to them or a better solution.” Wine To Water approaches the challenge of convincing people from different cultures to embrace unfamiliar water systems by hiring managers from the regions they serve. International staffers from Cambodia, Nepal, the Dominican Republic, and the Amazon open the door for complex communication between the indigenous cultures and the U.S.-based staff and volunteers, so that Wine To Water’s new water technologies systems are not only installed, but accepted and used. “We put in a well in the Amazon jungle several years ago,” Cuthbert said. “The water was very good, but we went back some time later and they weren’t using the well. To the community, it didn’t taste like the river, so it tasted funny to them. Only over time and with education can you explain why this water is better, and that their children won’t be as sick anymore. In time when they see the results of that and have understanding to gain the trust, then you’ve created change. The well itself did not create the change.” Wine To Water arranges volunteer trips so that people can help create new water systems in communities that need them. Those volunteers will often, in turn, become informal spokespeople for the Wine To Water mission by describing their trips to others and spreading the word about their personal experience with the impact of the nonprofit’s work. The new enterprise Ransom fits into

this vision in numerous ways. Cuthbert explains that even the name of this new venture fits with their mission, as the definition of a ransom is a consideration paid for the release of someone or something from captivity. He says that since part of their global mission is to meet people where they are culturally, through their new pub they’re doing the same here in Boone. At Ransom, by purchasing a beer, a cup of coffee, or a sandwich, locals have the opportunity to help free people in other countries from the captivity of inadequate and unsafe water systems. Cuthbert also said that Ransom will send their staff on international volunteer trips, allowing the servers and baristas to also be spokespeople for the work at the nonprofit. “The first person from Ransom is returning from international work in the Dominican Republic,” said Cuthbert. “Our efforts bridge these communities together. We have sponsored one member to go later this month, we expect two more soon, so we’ll continue to send folks to the field...this will bring more of the High Country community into the beautiful story, and make them a part of this.” One hundred percent of the net profits from Ransom will support the work of Wine To Water. Whether patrons get a latte at Ransom’s coffee counter or visit the Dominican Republic to work at a ceramic water filter factory, they join a community helping hundreds of thousands of people to live better lives with clean water.




The Chef’s Table, Banner Elk By Jane Richardson


ou’ve enjoyed her culinary talents for years from the kitchen at Sorrento’s Bistro. Last summer, Chef Nicole Palazzo designed and created her own unique restaurant upstairs at the same location with its own specialized kitchen, bringing her creative touch to the on-trend furnishings and décor, and the upscale menu. The Chef ’s Table menu emphasizes farm to table creations, and the seasonal and daily specials reflect what is fresh and available within a sixty-mile radius of Banner Elk. Palazzo contracts with local produce growers for her micro greens, potatoes, tomatoes, and other vegetables. She tours local farms and shops local farmers markets to find the best products as they are available. The restaurant’s selection of meats, including locally made sausages, is raised and harvested on Beech Mountain and other nearby farms. The breads are made by local artisans. And of course, the mountain trout comes fresh from our own high country waters. Several of the entrees are presented in two sizes, making it easy to add a salad and/or appetizer. Two of the most popular starters are the smoked salmon and the beef carpaccio. Entrée selections range from a New York strip sandwich (with sautéed mushrooms, onion and topped with a goat cheese fondue) to the popular shrimp and grits, with prosciutto de Parma and caramelized onions with calabrisi chili cream. The trout can be ordered with a lemon caper butter or Panko crusted with a blueberry Port reduction. The Chilean sea bass, one of the few items not locally sourced, is prepared with a citrus buerre blanc. The pork tenderloin is rosemary crusted with local wild mushrooms and red wine demi. For all the sushi lovers, Chef ’s Table offers fresh inspirations such as Yum Yum, with Panko fried shrimp topped with crab mix, tuna, avocado and a spicy aioli; or the Philly, with salmon, cream cheese and cucumber. A children’s menu with quesadillas and pasta choices is also available. The wine list features all your favorites from Sorrento’s bar, including selections from Banner Elk Winery and other regional wineries. Expect to see daily specials and side items evolve as fall brings a changing array of available fresh vegetables. Including the outside dining area and Barra’s, Chef ’s Table can seat 75. Reservations are recommended but not required. Dining hours are Wednesday and Thursday 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.; and Sunday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. 140 Azalea Circle, Banner Elk 828-898-5214 Photos by Todd Bush





Gideon Ridge Inn 10 wonderfully comfortable bedrooms with evening turndown service Serving Dinner Tuesday - Saturday from 5:30pm - 8pm Reservations Required Dining & Cocktails Alfresco and the view... 202 Gideon Ridge Road, Blowing Rock, NC, 28605 / 828-295-3644

...a beautiful 30 minute drive from Boone, NC. Enjoy a walk through history in the historic and haunted “Big Dry Run Schoolhouse” where the classrooms have been transformed into the wine production area and tasting room. Share a great bottle of wine paired with Boar’s Head deli products in our indoor or outdoor seating area. Mon, Thurs - Sat 11:00 - 6:00 p.m. Sun 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. Closed Tues and Wed.

WataugaLake Winery

6952 Big Dry Run Road, Butler, TN 423-768-0345


Lunch: 11 AM to 3 PM. | Dinner: 5 PM to 10 PM. Sunday Brunch: 11 AM to 3 PM. 143 Wonderland Trail, Blowing Rock, NC 28605 / 828-295-4008 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


Our 6th generation family farm makes farm- fresh cheese on site from our own happy dairy cows. Our farm store also offers other local goods!


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

A boutique bed & breakfast in historic downtown Blowing Rock, serving breakfast seven days a week, and dinner every night (except Mon.) with fresh, locally sourced, New American Cuisine. | 828.295.3487 239 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock NC 28604

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

Come See Our New Look! New Full Service Bar with Signature Drinks Check Out our New Menu Items Serving Daily from 5 pm Check out our Weekend Brunch schedule online! Hwy 184 Downtown Banner Elk, NC 28604 (GPS - 344 Shawneehaw Ave)


Highest Quality • Premium Selections Crafted by Nationwide Producers High Protein, Low Fat, Low Sodium No Nitrates, No MSG Gourmet Salts, Hot Sauces, Popcorn and Deep Fried Peanuts

100+ Varieties Alligator Wild Boar Salmon Kangaroo

Elk Venison Pork Ostrich

2107 Broadstone Rd in Historic Valle Crucis 828-260-6221 |

A Passion for Persimmons By Jim Casada

Persimmons are widespread in the high country, with field edges, road banks, fence rows, and overgrown farmland being places where the tree is commonly found. Most folks, even those familiar with the sticky sweetness persimmons offer when dead ripe, largely ignore the tree’s orange-gold fruits. Yet there is a reason hunters sometimes refer to persimmons as nature’s candy, and to finish off a hearty meal with a dish of persimmon pudding to enjoy is to be seated at a table in culinary heaven. To be sure, at any stage short of being fully ripe, persimmons are singularly astringent. A bite of one in this stage will turn your mouth inside out, redefine pucker power, and make you realize that by comparison a dose of sulfur and molasses or exposure to someone who has just eaten a bait of raw ramps seem like almost pleasant experiences. For that reason, managing to get “city slicker” cousins to bite into a lovely looking, firm persimmon has long been a favorite trick of country boys. But once the process of ripening is complete, the fruit undergoes a remarkable transition. Although it is often said persimmons don’t ripen until after the first hard frost, that is not actually the case. It’s just that the time when they do reach full ripeness normally coincides pretty closely with early frosts. The fruits are soft, almost mushy when ripe, and often fall to the ground at that point. However, you sometimes see persimmon trees completely barren of leaves where fruits still hang on in late October or November. These will almost certainly be ripe. Historically the persimmon tree has had many uses. Back when golf clubs called “woods” were actually made of wood, the incredibly hard, dense persimmon wood was a favorite choice for making them. In fact, persimmon wood is so hard that in pioneer days, when metal was precious and often hard to come by in frontier situations, wedges for splitting

Image showing comparative size of a tame and wild persimmon, Photo by Jim Casada

firewood were made from persimmon trees. Even today skilled craftsmen who fashion trumpet-type turkey calls favor it, although many will readily tell you that the wood is so hard it “eats” up metal tools during the turning process. Deer hunters know that a bearing persimmon tree can be a great ally and look for them accordingly. Incidentally, persimmons are one of those unusual trees (hollies being another) that come in male and female versions. So locating a persimmon tree in full flower in springtime does not necessarily translate to one laden with fruit come fall. Deer, bears, foxes, ‘coons, coyotes, and other critters flock to bearing persimmons when they ripen, and much like the situation with another wild fruit of this season, pawpaws, you’ve got to be on the ball to beat the animals to the treat. If you managed to do so, exquisite eating is in the offing. It’s been a full 60 years, but the taste of a persimmon pudding made by Stella Jackson, a wonderful African-American cook from my youth who prepared meals for the local Rotary Club where I grew up, remains a delicious memory. It was my first exposure to this nectar of the gods, and throughout adulthood I’ve gathered persimmons with that culinary memory in mind. Here’s a trio of persimmon recipes, and if you want to “cheat” a bit, Oriental persimmons ten times the size of wild ones (and seedless to boot) can sometimes be found in grocery stores. Alternatively, plant your own. They bear after just a few years and soon provide all the fruit you want, and the pulp can be frozen.


2 cups persimmon pulp 2 cups packed brown sugar ¼ cup melted butter 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 ½ cups self-rising flour ½ cup light cream or whole milk 2 eggs, beaten ½ teaspoon cinnamon ½ cup raisins and/or pecans (optional) • Combine all ingredients and beat just until well mixed. Pour into a greased 9- x 13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown (30-35 minutes) and just beginning to pull away from the sides. Remove from oven and cool. Cover and seal tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Cut into squares and top with whipped cream when served.


• Wash persimmons thoroughly and remove stems and any debris. Drain well, Press through a non-aluminum sieve to remove skins and seeds. Add honey to taste and mix well with a fork. Store in refrigerator and serve on bagels, muffins, toast, or biscuits.


• Persimmon leather is best made with a dehydrator. Place one cup of persimmon pulp and a half cup of crushed pineapple in a blender and puree. Spread thinly on waxed paper and dehydrate at 135 degrees until leathery. Average drying time for fruit leathers of most kinds is four to six hours. When dry the leather will be shiny and non-sticky to the touch. Allow to cool and peel from waxed paper. Roll into cylinders and enclose in plastic wrap. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


enjoying the harvest

CML Kitchen: Bursting with Colorful Fall Harvest Veggies and Apples

Stuffed Butternut Squash: Cut butternut lengthwise and remove excess seeds and turn upside down in a pan with water; bake until nearly done. Turn over and scoop out some flesh, and fill each side with a savory mixture of ground pork, onions, garlic salt, black pepper, sage and an egg to help hold together. Pop back in the oven to cook until done and tender. If desired, top with breadcrumbs after baking. Just typing this makes me think of Thanksgiving dinner!

Roasted Veggies Stuffed Butternut Squash Eggplant with Thai Coconut Sauce Seared Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry, Apple and Clove Relish Apple Crisp


Roasted Veggies: Roasting peppers, beets, broccoli, carrots and sweet potatoes is always a quick way to delicious and tender veggies. We like to cut them into around ½ inch cubes (broccoli into smaller florets) and throw into a big bowl. Combine ½ melted butter (we suggest Kerry Gold grass-fed) and ½ melted coconut oil (you can buy the unflavored variety) and drizzle over the veggies. Stir them up to insure they are evenly coated. Spread on a roasting pan and sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Bake at 450 in a convection oven, stirring and watching for that toasty golden look. We have also roasted purple cabbage in the CML kitchen but we suggest doing that on a separate roasting pan so that the purple does not bleed onto the other veggies. To make a fall squash hash—roast your favorite fall and winter squashes and fingerling potatoes. Then turn into a cast iron skillet with onions, garlic and seasonings.

By Morgan Ford

Eggplant with Thai Coconut Sauce: Slice your favorite eggplant (see beautiful offerings at Watauga Farmers Market) and pat dry on paper towels. Salt and pepper and dredge in egg wash, then coat with your favorite dusting (flour, cornmeal or panko with seasonings). Transfer to a shallow dish sprayed with coconut or grapeseed oil and liberally spray the tops of the eggplant and make sure slices are not overlapping; bake at 350 until lightly browned. You can pan fry them if you wish. Thai Coconut Sauce: Be creative and make your own sauce or purchase at the store. We like to combine the following for an extra spicy and flavorful taste: cumin, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, yellow curry, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Add a can of coconut milk and simmer for a few minutes over low heat. Serve over baked eggplant. Top off all these great entrée possibilities with a yummy apple crisp.

RANDOM THOUGHTS The Ending of Stories By Jean Gellin Seared Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry, Apple and Clove Relish: Make relish in advance. Dice apples, and your choice of either raisins, currants or dried cranberries and ground clove to taste. Let simmer and cover in a sauce pan with a little water for about 10 minutes until you dress the pork tenderloin. Then sear your pork tenderloin in coconut oil on all sides at a high temp in a cast iron skillet. Then place pork in Pyrex cooking dish to finish off for about 20-30 minutes (depending on size of loin). Once the pork is done, drizzle your relish and finish with buttered, toasted pecans for added texture and flavor. As with chicken, be on the safe side and cook to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees.

Apple Crisp: 4 large apples, sliced (Granny Smith and Macintosh are excellent baking apples) ½ cup pure maple syrup 2/3 cup brown sugar 1 cup Kerry Gold butter, melted 2 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp nutmeg ½ tsp cardamom ½ tsp sea salt 1 ½ cups old fashioned oats 1 cup walnuts ½ cup golden raisins Place sliced apples, ½ the melted butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and salt in a bowl. Stir to coat evenly. Place in baking dish. In the same bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, walnuts, raisins and the rest of the butter. Spread evenly on top of the apples. Bake at 350 until bubbly. Serve hot with vanilla bean ice cream. Serves 6.

They all ended at about the same time. It happened in the early 1950s, and I felt the loss. They had diminished the boredom of ironing, the drudgery of defrosting the refrigerator, and the labor of scrubbing the floor. They were the radio soap operas, so-called, because they were all sponsored by soap companies. They had been on for decades, and when the announcement came that they were to be discontinued, it felt as though many interesting neighbors were moving away. They were produced in studios with actors standing around microphones reading from scripts, that were for the most part, very well-written. Each story used a “sound man” who must have been a very talented individual, because he could produce everything from the cry of a baby to the slamming of a door. I had a few favorites. “Our Gal Sunday” opened each day with the question, “Can this girl from a little mining town in the west find happiness as the wife of a wealthy and titled englishman?”. It was ahead of its time because it dealt with the issues of a mixed marriage and different cultures, and the challenges that ensued. “Ma Perkins” was about a widowed middle-age woman who lived in a small town and ran a lumber yard. Her assistant, “Shuffle” Shobert, was probably named as the result of his refusal to be hurried. They seemed to know everyone in the town and many of the residents visited the yard frequently. After placing their orders, they talked about what was going on in their lives. As good neighbors do, Ma and Shuffle listened intently to the stories, and offered support, whenever it was needed. Each story created a sense of a community in which people cared about each other. “Backstage Wife” revolved, as the title suggests, around the life of an actor and his wife. His name was Larry, and unfortunately, I have forgotten her name. Their marriage had its ups and downs, which mostly depended upon her perceptions of his involvement with his current leading lady. However, their marriage remained intact, because they loved one another. In the end, Love ruled the day. Years ago I heard or read that there are only seven themes: love and hate, triumph and tragedy, betrayal and revenge, and jealousy. The list is as I remember it. Looking back on these three programs, I realize that none of them ever contained hatred or tragedy, and their absence was a gift. We can hope for the same absence in our own lives.



Apple Hill Farm Store

“Get back in touch with what's real.” Largest selection of alpaca yarns & accessories in the High Country. Summer Hours: Mon - Sat 10-4; Sun 12 to 4 Banner Elk, NC | (828)963-1662

Celebrating 22 Years! 128 — Autumn 2017 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

A to Z Auto Detailing 828.897.1966 Amy Brown, CPA Certified Public Accountant 828.898.7607 Avery County Chamber of Commerce 828.898.5605 / BB&T 888.BBT-ONLINE / Headquarters Bike & Outdoor 828.898.8885 Nick’s Restaurant & Pub Open 7 Days a Week 828.898.9613 Northern Parker Creative Interiors & Accessories 828.263.8734 and 828.898.9636 Peak Real Estate 828.898.1880 Rite Aid Pharmacy 828.898.8971 Rustic Rooster Country Living With Elegance 828.898.5161 Shooz & Shiraz A Shoe & Wine Salon at The Dande Lion The Dande Lion Ladies Apparel, Shoes, & Accessories 866.222.2050 and 828.898.3566 Tynecastle Builders 828.387.1222 / Tynecastle Realty 828.898.7777 / Valle de Bravo Mexican Grill 828.898.4949

For Leasing Information Call 828.898.6246

SHOPPING • DINING • BUSINESS • At the Corner of Hwy 105 & 184 Tynecastle Hwy. • Banner Elk CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Autumn 2017 —


OUR SPONSORS: 129........... A to Z Auto Detailing 35............. Alta Vista Gallery 129 .......... Amy Brown, CPA 106 ......... Andrews & Andrews Insurance 72............. Antiques on Howard 62............. Appalachian Angler 7............... Appalachian Blind and Closet 106........... Appalachian Elder Law Center 106........... Appalachian Voices 128........... Apple Hill Farm 104........... AppOrtho 11............. Art in the Park 57............. Ashe Chamber of Commerce 106........... Ashi Therapy Ashi Aromatics 86............. Avery Animal Hospital 129........... Avery Chamber of Commerce 100........... Avery Heating and Air 42............. Banner Elk Consignment Cottage 42............. Banner Elk Olive Oil & Balsamics 86............. Banner Elk Realty 14............. 12............. Banner Elk Winery 30............. Barter Theater 117........... Bayou Smokehouse & Grill 129........... BB&T 117........... Bella’s Italian Restaurant 68............. Best Western Mountain Lodge 123........... Bistro Roco 106........... Blowing Rock Ale House Restaurant/Brewing Co 10............. Blowing Rock Farmers Market 10,11........ Blowing Rock Pages 73............. Blowing Rock Winterfest 72............. Blue Blaze Bicycle & Shuttle Service 40............. Blue Mountain Metalworks 6............... Blue Ridge Propane 101........... Blue Ridge Realty & Investments 78............. Boone Mall 28............. BRAHM 104........... Brinkley Hardware 60............. Brushy Mountain Apple Festival 102........... Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce 128........... Canyons Restaurant 43............. Carlton Gallery 54............. Carolina BBQ 35............. Charleston Forge Home & Outlet

118........... Chestnut Grille 10,19........ Chetola Resort 100........... Children’s Hope Alliance 6............... Classic Stone 77............. Compu-Doc 26............. CoMMA 104........... Creative Printing 44............. Crossnore School for Children 2............... Dewoolfson 8............... Distinctive Cabinetry of the HC 11............. Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine 104........... Drexel Grapevine Antiques 117........... Eat Crow Café 66............. Echota 124........... English Farmstead Cheese 30............. Ensemble Stage 118........... Ericks Cheese and Wine 120........... Eseeola Lodge 120........... F.A.R.M. Café 54............. Footsloggers 100........... Fortner Insurance 62............. Foscoe Fishing 61............. Fred’s General Mercantile 8............... Fuller & Fuller 68............. Gadabouts Catering 86............. Gardens of the Blue Ridge 123........... Gideon Ridge Inn 131........... Grandfather Mountain 62............. Grandfather Trout Farm 64............. Grandfather Vineyard 78............. Graystone Eye 10............. Green Park Inn 76............. Gregory Alan’s Gifts 104........... Guardian Ad Litem 11............. Handtiques 40............. Hardin Jewelry 86............. Harding Landscaping 129........... Headquarters Bike & Outdoor 42............. High Country Animal Clinic 51............. High Country Wine Trail 62............. Highland Outfitters 96............. Highlands Union Bank 60............. Holston Meadows Lodge 86............. Hunter’s Tree Service 28............. In the Country Bakery & Eatery 20............. Incredible Toy Company 61............. Inn at Crestwood 128........... Italian Restaurant

73............. Jack’s 128 Pecan Restaurant 84............. Skyline Emporium 101........... Skyline/Skybest 124........... Jerky Outpost 116........... Sorrento’s Italian Bistro 34............. Kevin Beck Studio 83............. Leatherwood Mountains Resort 43............. Spruce Pine Potters Market 124........... Stick Boy Bread Co. 54............. Lees-McRae College 50............. Stone Cavern 68............. Linville Caverns 15............. Linville Falls Mountain Club 124........... Stonewalls Restaurant 31............. Sugar Mountain Golf 118........... Linville Falls Winery and Tennis 79............. Linville Land Harbor 84. . ........... Sugar Mountain 3............... Lodges at Eagles Nest Wreath & Garland 68............. Lost Province 60. . ........... Sugar Ski and Country Club Brewing Company 72. . ........... Sunset Tee’s 72............. Lucky Lilly 73. . ........... Tanner/Doncaster 128........... Macado’s Restaurant 64. . ........... Tatum Gallery OBC.......... Mast General Store 40. . ........... The Art Cellar 40............. Mica Gallery 31. . ........... The Blowing Rock 98............. Mountain Dog and Friends 96. . ........... The Cabin Store 35............. Mountain Jewelers 98. . ........... The Consignment Cottage 100........... Mountaineer Landscaping Warehouse 42............. My Best Friend’s Barkery 129........... The Dande Lion 11............. Mystery Hill 124........... The New Public House & Hotel 28............. Naturally Acoustics 28............. The Schaefer Center Presents 128,129.... Nick’s Restaurant & Pub 116........... The Spice & Tea Exchange 129........... Northern Parker 78............. The Summit Group 117........... Painted Fish Café 28............. The Twisted Twig Antiques 129,72...... Peak Real Estate and Accents 116........... Peddlin’ Pig BBQ 5............... The Village of Sugar Mountain 77............. Premier Pharmacy 10............. Timberlake’s Restaurant 76............. Ram’s Rack Thrift Shop 4............... Tom Eggers Construction 98............. Reeves Divenere Wright 72............. Tom’s Custom Golf Attorneys at Law 84............. Turchin Center 101........... Replay Arcade for the Visual Arts 83............. Resort Real Estate & Rentals 129........... Tynecastle Builders 129........... Rite Aid Pharmacy 129........... Tynecastle Realty 34............. Rivercross 129........... Valle de Bravo Mexican Grill 101........... Root Down 77............. Village Jewelers 129........... Rustic Rooster 97............. Waite Financial 43............. Rustik 77............. Watauga County Choose & Cut 34............. Sally Nooney 120........... Watauga County Art Studio Gallery Farmers Market 43............. Sculpture Garden & Gallery 93............. Watauga Humane Society 5............... 123........... Watauga Lake Winery 54............. Seven Devils TDA 10............. Woodlands Barbecue 129........... Shooz and Shiraz 22............. Woolly Worm Festival 76............. Shoppes at Farmers 78............. YMCA of Avery Co 129........... Shoppes 0f Tynecastle 11............. Six Pence Pub

thank you! 130 — Autumn 2017 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE



Take a good long look at forever.


Hand in hand is a wonderful way to share the awe and delights that await you at Grandfather Mountain. Share the joy today and help us preserve it for tomorrow. w w w. g ra n d f a t h e r. c o m


Carolinamountainlife autumn2017  

"Come take a stroll through Autumn"