Carolina Mountain Life - Spring 2021

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carolina mountain life

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Come Dip into Spring... ...a wonderful read for 24 years!

Between Boone & Banner Elk 9452 NC Hwy. 105 S






Dianne Davant Moffitt, ASID Pamela McKay, ASID Priscilla Hyatt Councill,

Banner Elk, North Carolina 828.963.7500 Stuart, Florida 772.781.1400


A Private Mountain Community

Worth Exploring

New Luxury Homes From The $800k’s Minutes from Blowing Rock & Boone • Four-Season Community 50+ Miles of UTV & Hiking Trails • World-Class Amenities • Three Paths to Ownership Homes from $800k | Homesites from $150k

To learn more or plan your visit, contact Nick Presnell or Ean Faison, the Official Sales Team of Blue Ridge Mountain Club. I 828-352-8235 I Obtain the Property Report required by Federal law and read it before signing anything. No Federal agency has judged the merits or value, if any, of this property. This information shall not constitute a valid offer in any state where prior registration is required. © 2021 Blowing Rock Resort Venture, LLC.


Summit Elevation 5,300 ft.

in all







3 4 15

5 6


J. Douglas Williams Park

13 Summer

Bike Park Lift Rides



Ski & Snowboard Snowshoe



Sugar Mountain Resort




Ice Skating


Public Tennis Golf Shop Caddy Shack Café



Snow Tubing

G re en w ay

Alpine Coaster

Lowes Foods ABC Liquor Store

Whitewater Rafting Trips


Wednesday Music Series

Sugar Mountain Public Golf

Village Hall Dick Trundy Ln.

Info Kiosk

Recycling & Trash


Entrance Gem Mining Elevation 4,000 ft.

Food Lion

Stay on the Mountain! Find vacation rentals of all sizes, including these condo communities. For info, go to

Art Greene ON THE

Master Craft Events

Handmade arts and crafts in Banner Elk, NC, from select local and regional artisans.

May 29-30

July 3-4

Aug. 7-8

Sept. 4-5

All shows will operate with 50% booth space • Please follow NC protocols for Covid safety

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Historic Banner Elk School • 828.898.5398

More High Country. Less Country Club.

Come Discover Eagles Nest A Laid-Back Mountain Community for the Whole Family. There is no better place to experience all the natural beauty and variety of the Western North Carolina High Country than right here. With one of the highest elevations in the area – and just 3 miles from the charming downtown of Banner Elk– Eagles Nest is a haven for year-round outdoor activity, catering to every age and interest.

Homesites available from the $70s Turn-key cottage packages from the $300s

Call 866-370-3396



“We are excited to welcome our new partner, Austin Fox to our creative team. Our visions are broad with hand-crafted designs­—call us today to discuss your next construction project.”


Austin Fox, Vickie & Chick Fuller 828-898-8180

We specialize in extraordinary kitchens! For extraordinary people you.

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TIMELESS T IMELESS VALUE Beside Mountain Grounds Coffee & Tea, Grandfather Center, Tynecastle

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


What’s Inside... 14......... Regional Happenings By CML Staff

20......... Spring Ephemerals By Skip Sickler

22......... A Creative Recovery By Keith Martin

29......... Circling Back Home By Trimella Chaney

31......... Avery Quilt Trail

By LouAnn Morehouse

34......... Live Music Springs Back By Mark Freed

35......... Liberty Returns By Mike Hill

Cover Photo Yellow Fork Falls by Mike Koenig Mike is a Nature and Landscape Photographer living in Lenoir, North Carolina. His website is a friendly and easy to use photo platform built for Photographers by Photographers.

49......... One Tree at a Time By Julie Farthing

53......... Edible Forest

By Scottie Gilbert

65......... Lessons in Outdoor Adventure By CML Staff

67......... Beech Mountain Turns 40 By Karen Rieley

71......... Constable Cook By Mike Hill

72......... Enjoying an Old Favorite By Nan K. Chase

75......... Batter Up!

By Steve York

81......... A Visit with the Hardys By LouAnn Morehouse

83......... Literacy Equals Opportunity By Elizabeth Baird Hardy

86......... Refresh Your Nest!

By Tamara S. Randolph

94......... A Real Estate Hot Streak By Jason Reagan

98......... A Sweet Course By Steve York

101....... Healthcare Heroes By Koren Gillespie

108....... Shades of Green By Gail Greco


Cultural Calendar with Keith Martin …24 The Big Picture Show with Elizabeth Baird Hardy…38 Book Nook with Edwin Ansel…39 Notes from Grandfather Mountain…41 Blue Ridge Explorers with Tamara S. Randolph…42 Birding with Curtis Smalling… 47 Resource Circle with Tamara S. Randolph…55 Blue Ridge Parkway Update with Rita Larkin…57 Trail Reports… 58 Fishing with Andrew Corpening…70 Wisdom and Ways with Jim Casada…79 History on a Stick with Michael C. Hardy…80 Finance with Katherine S. Newton…84 Local Tidbits…88 Community and Local Business News…90 Ounce of Prevention with Mike Teague…103 Be Well with Samantha Steele …104 Restaurant Guide…112 Wine…117 Recipes from the CML Kitchen with Meagan Goheen…126

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Call 828-733-0525

PATAG O N IA | A R C ’ T E RY X | O B O Z | S H E R PA | O S P R E Y | SALEWA S M A RT WO O L | N E M O | D E U T E R | S A L O M O N | B L AC K D IA M O N D


BOONE • 139 S. Depot St, Boone, NC • 828.355.9984 BLOWING ROCK • 921 Main St., Blowing Rock, NC • 828.295.4453 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —


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, engagements, elopements, rehearsal dinners, or special’s the perfect place to relax, re-inspire, and rejuvenate – both inside and out.

A publication of Carolina Mountain Life, Inc. ©2021 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. Babette McAuliffe, Publisher & Editor in Chief Deborah Mayhall-Bradshaw, Design Director Kathy Griewisch, Account Manager Meagen Murphy Goheen, Marketing Manager Tamara S. Randolph, Editor Keith Martin, Cultural Arts Editor Contributors: Edwin Ansel, Natalie Brunner, Jim Casada, Trimella Chaney, Nan K. Chase, Andrew Corpening, Julie Farthing, Brennan Ford, Morgan Ford, Mark Freed, Scottie Gilbert, Koren Gillespie, Meagan Goheen, Gail Greco, Elizabeth Baird Hardy, Michael C. Hardy, Mike Hill, Annie Hoskins, Rita Larkin, Tom McAuliffe, Ray Miller, LouAnn Morehouse, Katherine S. Newton, Jason Reagan, Karen Rieley, Skip Sickler, Curtis Smalling, Samantha Steele, Mike Teague, and Steve York 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

Corporate Retreats • Family Vacations • Special Events 135 Deer Run Lane, Banner Elk, NC 28604 828.260.1790 12

— Spring 2021 CAROLINA BannerElkWVSep/Oct2012.indd 1 MOUNTAIN LIFE

8/14/12 10:56 AM Visit our New Website! 828-737-0771


Publisher’s Note

he significance of the rebirth of Spring has never been more evident as this year. It offers an opportunity to see the cycles of life, the chance for renewal and hope. For me, it signals even more relevance this year as I welcome my daughter, Meagan to our family business, Carolina Mountain Life Magazine. Well, truth be known, she has been in the magazine family in some form or another since she was seven. It is hard to believe that she now is the mother of two girls, one seven and one four years old. Back in 1997 when we printed our first issue of CML, Meagan, her twin brother Morgan, and their older brother, Brennan were carefree, while we were busy conjuring ideas for stories, selling ads, getting the kids to soccer practice, leading and going to boy and girl scout meetings, helping with science projects and homework assignments, and getting the magazine back from the printer and distributed. While Meagan’s role is now official, she has been an integral part of CML since the beginning. It was just 24 years ago; she was the bright-eyed youngster eager to help in any fashion with the magazine. She and her siblings grew up around the up and down schedule of deadlines and were always willing to help cook delights for the recipe section, figure out a cover shot and get the magazine, once finished, into the hands of the readers. When we looked back on our archives, we realized Meagan and her siblings had graced our cover nearly a dozen times, and now she is the one behind the lens shooting images. The circles of life. I know Meagan has fond memories of watching her father make leavened bread and how the process was part of the reward when tasting the scrumptious warm slices smothered in butter and honey. When she and her sibs’ olfactory senses were triggered with the kitchen aromatics, they bee-lined it to the kitchen. The bread loaves would be placed amongst the other food items for the photo shoot for that issue’s recipe section. This is just one aspect of CML that I feel has had a huge impact on all three kids. The boys are both working in the food industry as chefs and love that their roots taught them skills no culinary institute could offer. Meagan has been contributing her culinary delights in our CML Kitchen now for years and will add to her list of duties everything from ad sales to photography and graphic design. I am so honored that Meagan has decided to join our team and I know that she brings a fresh perspective to the magazine. Check out her inspiring spring recipes starting on page 126. I was in the kitchen as a taste tester—I can assure you they are unique and delicious. To all our faithful readers, here’s to a season of promise and a return to all that is good in our mountain region.







Regional Happenings Avery County

The Highland Games Return July 8-11

Bagpipes, kilts, and tartans representing dozens of Scottish clan families will once again gather for four days of festivities at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games (GMHG) in Linville, NC. “We are excited to announce plans to be back on Grandfather Mountain the second weekend in July and get back to all the great traditions of this Scottish gathering—from a variety of music to highland dancing and Scottish athletic events,” said Stephen G. Quillin, Grandfather Mountain Highland Games President. “We’ll welcome more than a hundred Scottish clan associations and their members, as well as honored and distinguished guests from Scotland, while offering everyone in attendance the opportunity to be immersed in traditions and activities as old as the Scottish Highlands.” For more than six decades, the Games have fostered interest in the rich history of Scottish culture with dancing, piping, drumming, athletic achievement, music and more. Stroll through the Clan Tent Row, hone your history and genealogy knowledge, and participate in music workshops and competitions. If you’ve never attended the Games, don’t miss this chance to partake in the tradition and camaraderie that are woven into this festive, family friendly event. Following are just some of the highlights of this year’s Games: Thursday, July 8 n 11 a.m. | Children’s Wrestling Clinic/Main Field n 11:45 | Children’s Caber Toss Clinic/Main Field n 4 p.m. | MacRae Meadows open/Gates 2&3/ Ticket sales begin. n 4:30 p.m. | Picnic on the grounds n Afternoon | Scottish entertainment with traditional Celtic music, plus sheep herding with border collies on the field (throughout the weekend) n 7 p.m. | The Bear – Assault on Grandfather featuring a five-mile foot race climbing 1,568 feet in elevation from Linville to the summit of Grandfather Mountain. n Evening | Opening Torchlight Ceremony announcing each participating Clan’s arrival to the Games; North American Academy of Piping & Drumming performance; The Bear Awards Friday, July 9 n 8 a.m. | MacRae Meadows opens, with preliminary athletic competition, sheep herding, and music/dancing exhibitions; Celtic Groves will be open. Other activities will highlight the day n 11 a.m. | Opening Ceremony



n Afternoon | Children’s athletic competitions; cultural activities n 6:30 p.m. | Celtic Rock Concert at MacRae Meadows n 8:15 p.m. | Scottish Country Dance Gala, Student Rec. Center at Lees-McRae College Saturday, July 10 n 6:30 a.m. | Grandfather Mountain Marathon from Boone to MacRae Meadows field track n 7:30 a.m. | Gates open n Morning & Afternoon | Amateur heavy athletic qualifying begins, competition begins for Highland Dancing Atlantic International Championship, piping, drumming, harp playing, Scottish athletic events, track & field events, Scottish country dancing, Scottish fiddling, and Scottish harp, Celtic Groves entertainment, cultural activities n 11 a.m. | Opening Ceremony n 6:30 p.m. | Saturday Night Celtic Jam Concert at MacRae Meadows Sunday, July 11 n 8 a.m. | MacRae Meadows opens n Morning | Scottish Heavy Athletic Demonstration and Clinic, Highland Dancing competition n 10 a.m. | Worship Service and Kirkin ‘O’ the Tartans/Worship Service Platform n 11:30 | Parade of Tartans, Guests of Honor & Distinguished Guests are introduced as all members of the sponsoring clans are invited to march in the parade n Afternoon | Atlantic International Highland Dance Championship Competition, Scottish athletic events, sheep herding, kilted miles, children’s events, Scottish country dancing, Scottish fiddles and harps, piping competitions, Clan Tugs-ofWar, Celtic Grove entertainment, history and cultural activities n 4 p.m. | Closing Ceremonies For tickets, detailed schedules, maps, and information on lodging, parking and shuttle busses, visit the new Grandfather Mountain Highland Games website at—here you can also view the COVID-19 Operating Plan. Note that organizers are closely monitoring current safety guidelines from the state of North Carolina and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Be sure to pick up the summer issue of Carolina Mountain Life for additional details and up-to-date listings on the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games.




Art On The Greene

Four times this year, the green in front of the Historic Banner Elk School will come to life with Art On The Greene, featuring quality, hand-made arts and crafts from select regional and national artisans. The 2021 Art on the Greene series begins this spring on Memorial Day weekend (May 29-30), and continues on Fourth of July weekend ( July 3-4), early August weekend (August 7-8) and Labor Day weekend (September 4-5). Gates are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine. Each event represents artists from all over the south in a wide variety of arts including wood, glass, metal, pottery, clay, watercolor, oil, acrylics, photography, fiber wear, fiber art, leather, soap, and mixed media. The festivities also include food vendors and other entertainment. Art On The Greene takes place in the heart of the walkabout village of Banner Elk, which allows patrons to make a day of it by visiting shops and boutiques in town and selecting from an impressive list of restaurants in the “culinary hot spot of the High Country.” If you’re planning ahead for a summer visit to Banner Elk, be sure to catch a Thursday evening concert at Tate-Evans Park. Banner Elk’s popular Thursday Concerts in the Park begin July 1 and run through late August. For more information on Art on the Greene, Concerts in the Park, or other events happening in Banner Elk this spring and summer, visit the following websites:,, www.

Beech Mountain’s 40 Days of Family Fun

For 2021, Beech Mountain has extended its annual Family Fun Month to 40 Days in honor of the Town’s 40th Birthday! From May 21 – June 30, enjoy a wide variety of programs and activities designed for all ages to experience the beauty of Beech Mountain. On Friday, June 11, Beech Mountain Parks & Recreation will hold a Naturalist Rally, which will host experts across the spectrum for those curious about anything from mushrooms to salamanders! Other activities during the 40 days of Family Fun include family hikes, scenic chairlift rides, mountain biking lessons, fishing, cookouts, concerts, and movies under the stars. For more information on 40 Days of Family Fun and lodging discounts, call (800) 468-5506, or visit

While life is slowly beginning to return to “normal,” please continue to check online resources for COVID-related guidelines, reservation requirements, and additional information as it relates to the establishments and events mentioned within the pages of CML Magazine.

Watauga County Blowing Rock Art in the Park

For nearly 60 years, Art in the Park has annually hosted dozens of artists at each of six shows taking place in downtown Blowing Rock. This year’s series begins Saturday, May 22, and you’ll find some of the best local and regional artists and craftspeople showcasing their handcrafted jewelry, pottery, fiber, glass, metal, photography, painting and much more. Art in the Park’s high standards and professional jury attract artisans from all over the Southeast to exhibit in this popular series of shows that take place once a month, May through October. The quality of work exhibited draws many thousands of people to the mountains each season. This year’s dates include: May 22, June 12, July 17, August 14, September 11, and October 2. Each event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Park Avenue in Downtown Blowing Rock, rain or shine. Art in the Park is planned and administered by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, with COVID-19 response guidance from AppHealthCare and NCDHHS. Learn more at https://

High Country Spring Rendezvous

A visit to the Hickory Ridge History Museum in the Daniel Boone Park gives visitors a genuine appreciation for High Country history. Special events are held throughout the season to bring history to life in an educational and entertaining way, appropriate for the entire family. The museum hosts historical re-enactments, open-hearth cooking experts, fiber artists, and colonial musicians. The site includes six 18th & 19th century cabins that have been fashioned to reflect High Country Heritage. At this year’s High Country Spring Rendezvous on May 1, visitors can discover the crafts and activities settlers in the North American backcountry would have been doing during the spring months. View craft demonstrations like spinning and weaving, or try food and drinks prepared in the same fashion as the settlers of the 1700s. The Spring Rendezvous is the perfect outing for students, families, history buffs, and anyone who is interested in learning about North Carolina history and heritage. The Spring Rendezvous is presented by the Southern Appalachian Historical Association and runs from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on May 1. Check out all of Hickory Ridge’s special events at or call (828) 264-2120. Address: 591 Horn in the West Drive, Boone, NC 28607. continued on next page



Regional Happenings NEW RIVER / Courtesy of


Ashe County

Celebrate Earth and One of Its Oldest Rivers!

As we recognize Earth Day on Thursday, April 22, and all month long, you’ll find a variety of Earth Day events happening throughout the High Country. In Ashe County, you can support the New River Conservancy and have fun on the river during Zaloo’s April 24 Earth Day event. Enjoy food, fun and live music, all for a great cause—the scenic New River. Recognized as the second oldest river in the world, the New River is a National and State Wild and Scenic River and one of the first American Heritage Rivers. Learn more about Zaloo’s Earth Day event and the important work of the New River Conservancy at https://

Live Music at Ashe County Park

Make plans now to attend a spring or summer outdoor concert at the Ashe County Park in Jefferson, NC. This series of four concerts is free to the public, but registration is required. Gather a group of friends and family and reserve your own designated space at the park where you can set up a picnic and enjoy some of the best traditional music in the region. On May 21, enjoy the sounds of the Burnett Sisters Band, whose repertoire is equal parts oldtime and bluegrass, country and gospel. On June 18, Steve Lewis and Bluegrass Incorporated take the stage. Summer performances feature Liam Purcell & Cane Mill Road on July 16, and Wayne Henderson and friends on August 20. Be sure to also save the date for the Ashe County Fiddlers Convention (, returning to Ashe County Park on July 22-24. Ashe County Park is located at 527 Ashe Park Road, Jefferson, NC 28640. All events are hosted by the Ashe County Arts Council. Learn more at

Arbor Day Celebration and High Country Boil

Celebrate Arbor Day on May 1 at the Lost Province Arts Center at the historic Lansing School. Enjoy a Tree Talk & Walk with Tim Barker of Country Gardens, and shop for trees at the Tree Sale. The event also features live music, craft demonstrations, a silent auction, and a High Country Boil at 5:30 p.m. Buy tickets online at and learn more about the Center’s upcoming programs and events. Address: 9710 NC-194, Lansing, NC 28643



Carter County, Tennessee

The 75th Roan Mountain Rhododendron Festival

The annual Roan Mountain Rhododendron Festival heralds in the blooming of the famous Catawba Rhododendron along the highlands of the Roan. This year’s festival on June 19-20* takes place at Roan Mountain State Park, located at the foot of Roan Mountain, and features handmade crafts, food, and a variety of traditional music, plus an array of old-time folkway demonstrations. In addition to the festival activities, plan a hike on the Appalachian Trail where it runs along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, and catch a glimpse of the world’s largest natural rhododendron gardens atop 6,000-ft Roan Mountain. These spectacular flowering shrubs are in peak bloom during late June. *As of press time, the 2021 festival is set to take place. Please visit during April to check the status of the event and find out more details.

Drive on Over to the StateLine Drive-in

The StateLine Drive-in Theater has been an important part of Elizabethton, and the greater Carter County, TN, community since 1947. A family-owned business, the theater focuses on family entertainment in a friendly, clean environment. The StateLine is a seasonal theater operating April through September and offers one feature every Friday, Saturday, & Sunday evenings, with double features on holiday weekends (Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, & Labor Day). This spring, grab a date and head to the NC/TN state line to enjoy the classic American experience of a drive-in movie. The StateLine is located on Highway 19E South between Elizabethton & Hampton, TN (a 40-minute drive from Banner Elk or Newland, NC). All show times begin at dusk. Admission prices (cash only): $6.00-Adults (12 years and older); $2.00-Children (11 years and under). For a list of upcoming movies, visit the StateLine Drive-in Theater Facebook page or Note that the theater has FM Digital Stereo Sound only—if you do not have a radio in your vehicle you’ll want to bring another radio source.



Throughout the High Country Spring Farmers’ Markets

Spring has sprung, and our local open-air farmers markets look forward to welcoming shoppers! For a true taste of our region, stop by any of the markets listed below. Please note that while most of these markets will be open beginning April and May, the hours, locations and capacity may change due to COVID-19. Patrons need to check with each market prior to scheduling a trip.

King Street Farmers’ Market Tuesdays 4 - 7 p.m. | May - October Poplar Grove Connector, Boone, NC Blowing Rock Farmers’ Market Thursdays 3 - 6 p.m. | May 20 - September 30 132 Park Ave., Downtown Blowing Rock, NC Johnson County Farmers’ Market Saturdays 9 a.m. - Noon | May 1 through October, Ralph Stout Park in Mountain City Mountain City, TN

Abingdon, VA Farmers’ Market Saturdays 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. | April – October Tuesdays 3 – 6 p.m. | April - September The corner of Remsburg Dr. and Cummings St. in downtown Abingdon

Wilkes County Farmers’ Market Saturdays 7:30 a.m.-Noon, Tuesdays 3:30-5:30 p.m. | April - September Yadkin Valley Marketplace in downtown N. Wilkesboro

Ashe County Farmers’ Market Saturdays 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. | May 1 – late October 108 Backstreet, West Jefferson, NC

Morganton Farmers’ Markets Saturdays 8 a.m.-Noon | May 1-October 30 300 Beach St., Morganton

Avery County Farmers’ Market Thursdays 4 - 6:30 p.m. Historic Banner Elk School Parking Lot 185 Azalea Circle, Banner Elk, NC

And Wednesday Mini Market Times TBD | May 5-October 27 111 North Green St. Morganton

Watauga County Farmers’ Market Saturdays 8 a.m. - Noon | May through November 591 Horn in the West Dr, Boone

Saturday, August 21 West



56, 72, or 102 Miles plus The Assault on Mt. Jefferson






Be sure to DISTANCING visit The Blowing Rock SOCIAL SINCE 1933

“Enjoy the Legend”


The Rock Road,Rock Blowing NC 28645 828.295.7111 • Rock432 Road, Blowing NCRock, • 828.295.7111, N o r t h C a r o l i n a’s O l d e s t Tr a v e l A t t r a c t i o n , S i n c e 1 9 3 3

The Perfect Weather for a Great Adventure—Guaranteed!

Inside A Mountain Constant 52O year-round • Guided tours • Explore our Gift Shop Visit our website for hours and recommended safety precautions

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Convenient Seclusion Linville Falls Mountain Club offers you a well put together, “dressed down” mountain neighborhood experience. Homesites are generous, with custom mountain homes and rustic cottages from $387,500. Community water, sewer and high speed internet…of course.

828-756-4008 188 Catawba Drive, Marion, NC 28752



“We forget that nature itself is one vast miracle transcending the reality of night and nothingness. We forget that each one of us in his personal life repeats that miracle.” –Loren Eiseley



The Spring Ephemerals Snow, the soft comforter of white, laid down gently over time, has slowly receded. Even the deeply shadowed north-facing slopes of the thick forest have begun the slow seasonal metamorphic transformation as the coming warm season takes hold. Though still too early for the overhead leaves of the forest canopy, the trees too are beginning to break their buds in anticipation of the coming season of growth. The grand drama of the natural world unfolds as the dance of time-eternal sashays onto center stage. The soft shades of yellow greens, in shades too numerous to count, begin to dominate the hillsides as new life bursts forth from their underground repose. It is time for the spring ephemerals. Like magic, these early spring wildflowers erupt with exquisite beauty: without fanfare, without special billing, without pretension. Like fairy princesses, they dance. But, it is a transitory waltz in the gentle breeze of the changing season. For, as the word ephemeral suggests, they are short-lived, here for only a short, fleeting moment—a temporary prelude to the grand show of the magnificent Southern Appalachian forest in which we live.


By Skip Sickler

Evolving in step with the march of natural life on this planet, the spring ephemerals use a precisely timed strategy to ensure their continued existence. Since they cannot tolerate the deep shade of the forest, they must take advantage of a small window of sunshine to grow, flower, be pollinated and produce seed. Their entire lifecycle must occur before the fully leafed overhead canopy blocks the sun. To accomplish this feat, the early spring wildflowers have developed a very efficient method of photosynthesis to accelerate their growth, well ahead of other plants sharing the forest floor. However, that is not the end of their special story. Each plant has also developed numerous other unique adaptations. Because they are the first perennials to bloom in the spring, the ephemerals provide an early source of nectar that’s valuable for bumblebees, green metallic bees, bee-like flies, and other flies. Some close their flowers on cloudy or cool days, opening them when pollinators are more active. Some have evolved flowers that permit only one type of bee to enter in order to gather pollen and nectar, thus making sure the seeds are not cross-pollinated by their

neighbors. Mayapple have downwardfacing flowers to provide better access for the insects of the forest floor. Several of the ephemerals coat their seeds with a fleshy structure called an elaiosome. Rich in various oils, the structure is loved by many types of ants who carry them back to their nests for later consumption. The seeds are then provided an underground nutrientrich place for their eventual germination. The entire ephemeral season transpires quickly, within a couple months. Indeed, some flowers show themselves and are gone in the matter of a few days. But each year, I anticipate the coming great drama and look forward to greeting my ephemeral friends with the return of vibrant growth after a winter of dormancy. I eagerly search for the earliest blossoms— the trout lily growing between the roots of a birch tree blanketed in sunshine. The sunny hillside of white bloodroot flowers, poking through the brown leaf litter of the previous autumn. Thick carpets of bluets, creating a sea of blue under open stands of knurly ancient oak trees, Hepatica, rue anemone, spring beauty, Dutchman’s breeches, squirrel corn, multiple varieties of trilliums, lady slipper orchids—they all


come and go in a flash. So, now is the time to get out and take a walk on one of the many local trails. Though not an exhaustive list of the numerous hiking opportunities found in the local High Country region, the suggestions below are particularly recommended to those in search of spring ephemerals.

enters Grandfather Mountain State Park for the remainder of its journey through a high elevation alpine environment. The 2.4-mile (one way) trail follows the summit ridge to Calloway Peak (5,844’ in elevation). It is a strenuous hike recommended for those in reasonably good physical condition.

The Profile Trail Grandfather Mountain State Park: Early each spring, as winter’s grasp on us begins to loosen, I eagerly look forward to hiking the Profile Trail on the western flanks of Grandfather Mountain. The trail is also one to which I like to revisit numerous times as spring progresses. With an elevation gain of over 2,000 feet and multiple forest types as one increases elevation, there is an ever-changing palette of wildflowers.

Tanawha Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway: In its entirety, the Tanawha Trail (Tanawha, a Cherokee term meaning fabulous eagle or hawk, and the name for Grandfather Mountain) is a long trail, approximately 13 miles in length, running from Beacon Heights on the south end to Price Lake on the north. Since it parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway, this easy to moderate trail can easily be broken into numerous shorter one-way strolls or outand-back walks accessed from various Parkway overlooks.


and end of the trail pass through a Mixed Oak Forest populated with a number of very large red oak trees. The middle section traverses along a western-facing open outcrop of rock ledges overlooking the Linville River Valley with a very nice view of Grandfather Mountain to the north. Other Area Trails Other area trails worth considering are the numerous trails at Moses Cone Memorial Park, the Price Lake Trail, the Boone Fork Trail in Julian Price Memorial Park, the Nuwati Trail and the approach trail from the Boone Fork Overlook, the Appalachian Trail in the Roan Highlands, and trails within the New River State Park and Mount Jefferson StateSound Natural Area Traveler in Ashe County

through the lens

Grandfather Trail Grandfather Mountain State Park: The trailhead for this delightful hike is the Black Rock parking area at the non-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, near the Mile High Swinging Bridge. After a short distance, the trail

Flat Rock Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway: An easy hour-long self-guided nature walk, approximately .75 miles in length, this trail has become a popular destination for many local families looking for a short, leisurely paced stroll. The beginning

Given the wide variety of trail options in the High Country, there is certainly one just right for you. The Spring Ephemerals are calling to me. Hope to see you out there!



“There can be no recovery without creativity.”

Americans for the Arts Proposes Creative Workforce Strategy


he creative economy is an economic driver in our country, an $878-billion industry that supports 5.1 million jobs and represents 4.5 percent of the nation’s economy, according to the most recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Here in the High Country, this creative economy is very much in evidence throughout the region; from the vital programs of the Ashe and Watauga County Arts Councils to the regional artists on display at Ruffin Street Gallery in Linville; from the aspirations of the Junior Appalachian Musicians at the Jones House in Boone to the awardwinning Pioneer Playmakers at Watauga High School; from the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum to the Historic Banner Elk School, both of which are “hubs” for arts programming; from the cultural offerings by Appalachian State University and Lees-McRae College to our invaluable public libraries, and the many seasonal entertainment options such as An Appalachian Summer Festival, “Horn in the West,” and Tweetsie Railroad. There can be no recovery from the pandemic without creativity, and these


groups stand ready to help our region return to the vibrancy it previously enjoyed. For those of you who ask “How are they going to do that?” here’s your answer. Americans for the Arts, the largest cultural advocacy organization in the country, has proposed a 15-action national recovery strategy that elected officials and other decision makers can use to put creative workers to work, thereby activating the cultural economy and drawing upon the energies of the country’s 5.1 million creative workers to energize Americans, reimagine how communities can thrive, and improve the lives of all. Over 2,300 organizations and individuals across the country have endorsed a bi-partisan plan for putting creative workers back to work after the pandemic. These include major cultural organizations in all genres, national service organizations, and influential individuals in the arts and entertainment industries. This cross-cutting set of policy proposals was developed in collaboration with, and with input from, over 100 field partners, and has been delivered to elected officials on the local, state, and

By Keith Martin

national levels to inform their recovery and rebuilding strategies, and to integrate the creative economy into these strategies. Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch commented, “The arts are part of the heart and soul of America, and creativity has always been essential to recovery—there can be no recovery without it. To thrive post-pandemic, the United States must leverage its creative power, putting creative workers to work rebuilding, reimagining, unifying, and healing communities in every state and territory, as well as within tribal lands. I strongly urge elected officials to put creative workers to work alongside all of the others ready to help rebuild and reimagine our communities and places, and the whole country will be made better for it.” Select endorsing organizations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia include Americans for the Arts, Alternate ROOTS, American Alliance of Museums, American Craft Council, American Theatre Wing, Association for Creative Industries, Association of Performing Arts Professionals, Association of Teaching Artists,


The Appalachian Theatre in Boone was the first local group to endorse the proposal, and is only one of many cultural organizations that have made an impact on the creative economy. Prior to the pandemic-related closure, the theatre was on track to fulfill the projected 60 annual destination events that the Center for Economic Research and Policy Analysis at Appalachian State University estimated would infuse almost four and a half million dollars of direct and indirect spending into the High Country region.


A month-long whirlwind of music, dance, theatre, lm and visual arts presented every summer on the campus of Appalachian State University. Named one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society.


Association of Writers & Writing Programs, Grantmakers in the Arts, the International Storytelling Center, International Folk Alliance, League of American Orchestras, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, National Council for the Traditional Arts, National Guild for Community Arts Education, National YoungArts Foundation, Springboard for the Arts, the Stage Managers Association of the United States, The Alliance for Media Arts + Culture, Theatre Communications Group, and United Scenic Artists. Endorsing individuals come from across the country, and include artists, cultural leaders, clergy, teachers, foundation leaders, and concerned citizens, including former National Endowment for the Arts chair Jane Alexander, awardwinning actress Annette Bening, and artist and civil rights advocate Christine Sun Kim.


To view the full 15-action proposal as well as the ever-growing list of endorsing organizations and individuals, visit “To Rebuild and Reimagine America, We Must Put Creative Workers to Work” at



Performing Arts Ponder Post-Pandemic Programs By Keith Martin

ou might remember the popular “Niagara Falls” vaudeville sketch wherein a character is relating a story and is sparked into violent outbursts when the listener inadvertently utters a trigger word. The response is still relevant today as our beloved performing arts organizations ponder their programming in a post-pandemic era and slowly return to local stages, step by step, inch by inch… Our local groups follow each of their Governor’s briefings very closely as North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia cautiously reopen, and as light begins to emerge at the end of the global pandemic tunnel. A key phrase in a recent news conference bears repeating: “When it comes to easing some restrictions, we’re depending on people to be responsible.” Responsibility is the key, but each company must follow guidelines issued by the federal government through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta and various state officials, plus accept guidance from their local county and city leadership. Appalachian Theatre Executive Director Laura Kratt said, “We are eager to get back to hosting shows but, of course, we want to do it safely. It is exciting to hear that government officials feel our state is ready to begin re-opening the theatres. Since we depend on ticket sales to cover the costs of events, our next step is to reach out to our audiences and see when they are ready to return to the theatre.” The bigger picture is this: pharmacology is outpacing psychology. While our groups are encouraged by the ever-growing percentage of the population receiving vaccines, they are very concerned about the degree to which the general public feels safe going back into enclosed venues. Most are in the process of surveying their patrons to ascertain their comfort level when resuming in-person arts events. Many companies are moving forward. Here are some of the events that have been announced from now through late June, listed alphabetically below by producing


company, with many more to be announced shortly. PLEASE NOTE that all of the performances, dates, and times are subject to change; readers are strongly encouraged to check venues’ websites for the most current information. AN APPALACHIAN SUMMER FESTIVAL is proceeding with plans to present a month-long hybrid festival in July 2021 that will be a combination of indoor and outdoor events, and livestreaming and virtual programming, featuring an exceptional lineup of artists in music, dance, theatre, visual arts, and film. They will enforce safety precautions with every scenario— masks, socially distanced seating, cleaning, etc.—ensuring the health and safety of their patrons, artists and staff. By the time you are reading this issue of CML, they will have announced their entire slate, so go to their website for a complete roster of artists and events at or call 800-841-ARTS (2787). Over in Abingdon, Virginia, the BARTER THEATRE is continuing to produce live, socially-distanced productions at the Moonlite Drive-In theater, which they have lovingly converted into an outdoor performance venue. Two shows are opening, both of which will run through mid-May. The Tempest, by William Shakespeare, as adapted by Carrie Smith Lewis, continues the Barter tradition of producing works by the Bard in the spring of every year. In this fantasy, Prospero conjures a meeting with his enemy Antonio in a struggle between his desire for revenge and the power of forgiveness. “The State Theatre of Virginia” promises an evening of magic and mischief on a fantastical island where nothing is as it seems. Running concurrently at the Moonlite is Joseph Robinette’s version of the classic C. S. Lewis story, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Adventure and mystery await four siblings when they step through the wardrobe and into the magical land of Narnia, where the icy White Witch rules,


cultu ral Y calendar “Slowly They (Re)turn, Step by Step, Inch by Inch”

and her curse ensures that the land is always crusted with snow. As they travel, the children encounter dwarves, fauns, and the great lion king, Aslan. Together they seek to fulfill the ancient prophecy and release Narnia from the Witch’s enchantment and her spell of eternal winter. For more information, visit Barter’s website at THE DEPARTMENT OF THEATRE AND DANCE at Appalachian State University closes their academic season with the world premiere of Kent State: Then, and Again by faculty member Dr. Ray Miller. The production is directed by the playwright and is based on his first-hand experiences and observations as a student at Kent State University in Ohio when he became a witness to history on May 4, 1970. On that fateful day, 28 Ohio National Guard soldiers opened fire on a peace rally, killing four students and wounding nine others. The incident marked the first time in American history that a student had been killed in an anti-war gathering. Miller has put his remembrances and reflections into a new play that chronicles the four days leading up to the deadly shooting that spring day half a century ago. The production will be held on a virtual platform at 7 p.m. from April 21 through 25. Tickets are free, but advance registration is required. For more information, visit their website at All registrants receive a private link to access the event both the day before and one hour prior to the performance. THE JONES HOUSE CULTURAL AND COMMUNITY CENTER is planning their Doc Watson Day celebration as a virtual event. It will include a livestream


HORN IN THE WEST component in partnership with the Appalachian Theatre and take place on June 18. They continue to present a wide range of content, such as their mini-music lessons, “Jones House at Home” virtual concerts, and live Zoom-A-Long jamming events. They are open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends including their Mazie Jones Gallery and a public restroom, which is a wonderful amenity in downtown Boone. More information for all of these events, and updates as they are announced, may be found at or by calling 828-268-6280. LEES-McRAE SUMMER THEATRE has brought high caliber productions to the region since 1985. Under the direction of founder Dr. Janet Barton Speer, they will produce two musicals this season, including a highly-anticipated world premiere production of America’s Artist: The Norman Rockwell Story, the newest work by the creators of both From the Mountaintop: The Edgar Tufts Story and The Denim King: The Moses Cone Story. With music and lyrics by the father and son team of J. T. and Tommy Oaks and book by Speer, it brings to life the work of Rockwell, the iconic American artist. Performances run from July 25 through August 1. Their other show is the PG-13 rated, Tony Award-winning musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by Willian Finn and Rachel Sheinkin with performances from July 19 through 27. The action follows an eclectic group of six students as they vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their lives, the contestants

spell their way through a series of words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing “ding” of the bell that signals the end of the road for them. For tickets or information, visit or call 828-898-8709. Note that online sales began on April 2 with walk-in ticket purchases available beginning June 17. The summer theatre tradition in the High Country started around 1950 when visionary members of the Southern Appalachian Historical Association (SAHA) began planning for a new outdoor drama to further their mission of celebrating and preserving “the diverse cultural heritage of the Blue Ridge Mountain region by engaging individuals in historical education and cultural entertainment centered around Daniel Boone and our fight for American Independence.” As the nation’s third oldest outdoor drama, HORN IN THE WEST has welcomed over one-and-a-half million audience members since it opened in 1952. Now celebrating its 69th season, the show is directed by Boone native Shauna Godwin, with choral direction by local legend Billy Ralph Winkler. This Revolutionary War drama brings to life the famous frontiersman Daniel Boone and the hardy mountain settlers of this region in their struggle to preserve their freedom during the turbulent years before and during the war for independence. Each July 4, they celebrate our nation’s independence in the style typical of the 1780s by reading aloud The Declaration of Independence along with a eulogy for King George III while his dummy is burned in effigy. There will also be a military salute to the new nation by firing 13 volleys from the black powder rifles, one shot for each of the

original American colonies. Info at 828264-2120, or at www.HornInTheWest. com. Performances in 2021 will run June 25 through August 7 in Boone, NC. TWEETSIE RAILROAD is North Carolina’s first theme park, opening on the Fourth of July in 1957. Known primarily as a Wild West adventure park with amusement rides and a petting zoo, Tweetsie features stunning three-mile long train rides aboard a historic, coal-fired, narrow gauge steam locomotive. From a performing arts perspective, Tweetsie is a major employer of professional talent and produces 21 performances of a half-dozen live entertainment and stage shows each day. A sampling of offerings includes the Can-Can Dancers, Country Clogging Jamboree, Hopper and Porter’s Musical Celebration, The Magic Show and the ever-popular Sunset Show. Just as the cowboys ride off into the sunset at the end of the movie, Tweetsie’s entertainers mosey into the Palace for one last show at the end of the day, featuring performers from every show at Tweetsie Railroad together on one stage. The 2021 season runs from April 2 to November 1 with varying dates and schedules; for more information, visit or call 800-526-5740. REMEMBER, there has been a major paradigm shift involving performing arts organizations and cultural facilities in the United States and beyond. The planning and implementation of in-person and/or virtual productions, performing arts events, and community programs are being done on a much shorter time frame than before

Continued on next page CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —


CULTURAL CALENDAR: Continued from page 25

Kent State: Then, and Again.

By Ray Miller


ay 4, 1970. I am 21 years old. A beautiful spring morning. I walk from my theatre class in the Music and Speech Building and made my way onto the Commons. The clanging of the Victory Bell was calling for students to stand up to the presence of the Ohio National Guard on our campus. I was one of thousands of students gathered along the parameter. Hundreds of protestors were yelling and shouting at the Guardsmen. For their part, they began firing tear gas canisters at the students. Not to be outdone, the students would pick them up and lob them back. But, the mood shifted from a being playful to something more ominous. I raced around to the practice field on the other side of Taylor Hall looking for my girlfriend. She was nowhere to be found. I looked up at the pagoda area and saw National Guardsmen milling around with loaded rifles. Some were pointing them in the direction of the students. Quickly, as I ran around Taylor Hall to the Commons area, I heard the sound of bullets. Then, a deafening silence. I froze. Then, a scream. Then, more. Someone shouted – “They shot the students!” 67 shots. 9 wounded. 4 dead. For me, and many others, that day remains lodged in our collective memory. While my body sags with the weight of each passing year, the sights and sounds of that day remain ever so vivid. The emotions are right under the surface. I decided to write Kent State: Then, and Again not only as a way to pay homage to those events but also to recognize that a shared national trauma demands that we revisit it, but with new eyes. In October of 2001, I visited the Twin Tower site. I never experienced such a profound silence by those who came to witness and pay respect each time a truck pulled out with the remains of our fellow citizens. It is sacred ground. At the time, I attended a conference at which Dance scholar Brenda Dixon-Gottschild, whose physical features reminded me of those of Toni Morrison, was receiving an award for her scholarship. One of the attendees asked: “What possible role could any of us have in the wake of this unspeakable tragedy? How do you dance after that? She replied: “Pay attention to everything you see and hear now. Never forget. Time will let you know when you can dance again. Time will bring healing. The retelling of what happened is never the same. For one, you are not the same. For another, those who listen are not the same. Trauma embeds itself in ways that cannot be easily excised, except possibly in the telling and retelling, again and again. When we try to re-remember, the beginnings become murkier not clearer; when we try to draw some lessons, they seem to be ever more elusive. The granite memorial on the Kent State campus invites those who visit to inquire, to learn and to reflect. The memorial itself is surrounded by 58,175 daffodils representing those who lost their lives in Vietnam. It is my hope that Kent State: Then, and Again will invite you to inquire, to learn and to reflect. Dr. Ray Miller is Professor of Dance Studies and Theatre Arts at Appalachian State University. He is playwright and director of Kent State: Then, and Again. See CML’s Cultural Calendar for times and ticket information.


the pandemic. Cultural activities are occurring with the least amount of lead time that I’ve ever seen in my 38 years working in the not-for-profit performing arts. Therefore, the following is a roster of the organizations whose artistry we cover in the pages of CML, many of whom will soon be announcing their upcoming productions. Please check them out online at the following websites or you may miss some wonderful events! Alleghany Community Theatre Appalachian State University Department of Theatre and Dance Appalachian Theatre of the High Country Ashe Civic Center Ashe County Little Theatre Barter Theatre Beanstalk Community Theatre Blue Ridge Community Theatre City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium Ensemble Stage Hayes School of Music In/Visible Theatre Jones House Cultural & Community Center Lees-McRae College Performing Arts Instagram @lmctheatre Parkway Playhouse Schaefer Center Presents Wilkes Playmakers

As for me, I will always have hope. Psalm 71:14a

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at the Historic Banner Elk School Open All Year Tuesday-Friday 10-4 Saturday 1-4 (May - October) We look forward to seeing you back in the Book Exchange when we are able to reopen. We hope to reopen the Book Exchange soon so that we can have patrons visit to donate or borrow books. Currently, we are sponsoring an academic tutoring program at Banner Elk Elementary School, funded by a High Country Charitable Foundation grant which will also provide summer enrichment activities.

For schedule updates, visit:


From the High Country to Hawaii By Trimella Chaney


“Aloha, Y’all!”


big 6’2” noticeably Caucasian man rushes to bestow a beautiful and fragrant wreath lei on me in the Honolulu airport as he sweeps me into a big hug. That is the proper greeting from a man who began his theatrical career at Green Valley Elementary School in Watauga County and now serves as the Artistic Director of the Honolulu Theatre for Youth (HTY) upon seeing his former teacher and director. What an amazing theatrical story this talented, passionate, successful man has had! My first question to Eric Johnson is, “How do you like Hawaii?” His answer is quite surprising. He finds many parallels with growing up in the North Carolina mountains and living and working in the Hawaiian Islands… two places with distinct cultural and storytelling heritages, artistic resources, natural beauty, and indigenous music. Johnson also compares the friendliness of the American South with the open and inviting culture of aloha in the islands. So how did this actor/director become the Artistic Director of the 65-year-old performance organization in Hawaii? His story begins with becoming a member of the original Watauga High School Pioneer Playmaker Troupe and winning the Playwriting Award from the North Carolina Theatre Conference. There are many chapters in his story: attending and later teaching at the NC Governor’s School; earning an internship at Actors’ Theatre of Louisville; founding his own theatre company; working in New York; teaching College; and even

touring Europe. He credits the early days at Watauga, working at Horn in the West, the Blowing Rock Stage Company and his education at University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) for providing a strong theatrical foundation. “I was so blessed to have amazing friends and teachers who nurtured my artistry, but also my curiosity about the world,” says Johnson. “I often think about the next generation growing up in the High Country and my hope is that they, too, have the support and courage to follow their curiosity.” Now, as artistic director of the Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Johnson is writing, directing, and producing dynamic children’s theatre with a professional company who regularly tours five islands. The company uses interactive theatre, storytelling, and multi-media platforms to educate a young audience about the culture and history of Hawaii. During my visit I sat in on a table reading with two actors who were refining a piece about the early cowboys who came to Hawaii from Mexico, not what most expect to find in Hawaii but an essential part of the local story. Most professional theatre companies start with a season of shows and hire staff and actors to put on those shows. HTY hires a company of local professionals and builds a season around the talents of those artists for their specific community. Johnson credits this philosophy with growing up in a place that valued community and celebrated what was unique about life in the Appalachian Mountains. His intent is to engage young people in the topics that are going to impact their lives through a lens that makes sense to them.

Recent work has centered on energy, climate change, immigration and of course celebrating the rich cultural diversity of Hawaii. Johnson is well aware that over 50 percent of children in the U.S. today are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and that cultural literacy is going to be an essential part of any child’s education. “We think diversity and indigenous culture are some of the gifts Hawaii has to share with the rest of the world.” In this time of COVID, Johnson’s work is circling back home again. With the theatre closed, the company has focused on producing a 30-minute television show called THE HI WAY for the local CBS station. The show has already reached well over three million viewers and is accessible through HTY’s website, Educators can sign up and watch or use the material for free and there are plans available for families as well. “Through all of this we have learned that a theatre company is not a building with seats and a stage, it is a creative team in conversation with a community. I’m really proud to be a part of this team and part of this community out here, but I am also deeply proud of the community I came from. The fact that I can now share the stories we are making half way around the world with friends and family back in Boone is one of many tiny blessings that has come out of this strange time.” Ms. Trimella Chaney is a veteran theatre arts teacher and founder of the Theatre Arts Department at Watauga High School. She currently teaches at Appalachian State University in the Department of Theatre and Dance, and is a local community theatre director. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —




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All photos courtesy Beech Mtn TDA

The New Avery Quilt Trail T

here are trails of all kinds in the High Country, from the famed Appalachian Trail that crosses Avery County between Yellow and Roan Mountains, to the wide variety of scenic paths at points along the Blue Ridge Parkway. While some trails require stamina and a good pair of hiking boots, many others are accessible to anyone with an interest in seeing something memorable. There are even some trails that require only a vehicle to drive you from one point to another. The Avery County Quilt Trail is just such an activity, and it is every bit as full of beautiful views as the others. All it takes is a Quilt Trail map, a day set aside for some touring and a full tank of gas. The “quilts” referred to here are actually large squares painted in patchwork designs that are more usually found on a handmade quilt. In most cases, the quilt squares are quite large—8 feet by 8 feet is not uncommon—and generally hung on a barn or outbuilding in a rural setting. That many of them are actually attached to the side of a barn gives rise to their other name, “barn quilts.” Barn quilts have become practically ubiquitous across the rural countryside in the US; the phenomenon even has its own

By LouAnn Morehouse

Wikipedia entry. Back in the early 2000s an organization called Handmade in America brought the concept to Western North Carolina with start-up funding to help pay for materials. The idea of honoring a traditional art form in this vivid and visual manner resonated with mountain people, the descendents of settlers who had created beauty in their items of necessity. Guided by quilt artist Barbara Webster of Yancey County, the North Carolina program grew to include more than one hundred quilt squares hung in Yancey and Mitchell Counties. By 2008, Avery County had more than sixty quilt squares of its own. The Handmade in America initiative ended, but the Barn Quilts continued. Home owners and communities created and hung their own. In some places, such as Beech Mountain, the idea took hold so well that there were dozens and dozens of Quilt Squares embellishing homes. No one really knew how many there were, or even where they all were hung. People just had to wander around and spot them. In 2020, Kate Gavenus, the director of the Visitor Center at Beech Mountain, got an idea. More than most folks, Kate knew well how popular the quilt squares were.

Why were they there? Where were they? What do they mean? She had fielded questions about them many times. Kate decided it was high time a map was created to make it easier for people to find the squares. Although her specific area of interest was Beech Mountain, she knew and loved many of the quilt squares that were hung throughout Avery County. So she decided the map should include as many squares as she could find in the entire county. With funding secured from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership covering the costs of printing and design, she got to work. The trail was cold—information about the original quilt squares was hard to find. There had been a map of some of the squares, but no copies were to be found. The Arts Council that had administered the program in Avery County had ceased operations. Kate realized that her map would have to be created from scratch. Enlisting her colleague, Armando Garcia, to the effort, she began the process of collecting locations and photographing the quilt squares. Armando, a graphic Continued on next page CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —



QUILT TRAIL: Continued from previous page designer, would handle the project design. He also proved to be an excellent map maker, which guaranteed the success of the project. Kate’s son, Alexander Gavenus, added his skills as a webmaster, and the framework was complete: a map, a website, plus a poster and rack card would give life to the new Avery Quilt Trail. The team worked through the fall and winter of 2020-21 to identify, photograph, and get GPS coordinates of as many quilt squares as they could. Kate says they concentrated on squares that were readily visible from the road, and on roads that were reasonably navigable. The intent was for Quilt Trail hunters to be able to safely see their quarry and not have to risk life and limb finding them. It was a big



undertaking—Kate admits she thought more than once about giving up, but she was so grateful for the support and interest from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership that it kept her going. Their hard work has paid off, and visitors to Avery County now have a fine new activity to enjoy. The maps are ready—and free for the asking—at the Beech Mountain Visitors Center, next door to town hall and the police station. Or you can visit the website,, and request a map to be mailed to you. However you get your map, it’s worth going to the website to see images of all the quilt squares. When available, there is information about the pattern and the name of the artist who painted the square. Many fine folks worked on this project, and you

might recognize some of the names. Kate and her team divided the quilt squares into three driving routes. There are around 60 squares listed, and it can take awhile to see them all, so they wanted to make the touring easier. One tour takes in Beech Mountain squares, and the other two cover separate areas of Avery County. Kate says she’s sure they have missed some squares, and she would be happy to add them if the owners wish it. The map can be updated at its next printing, and new squares can easily be added to the website. What better way to spend a “socially distanced” holiday than by driving around beautiful Avery County in your own car, seeing wonderful works of art, and spending the day outdoors? Happy Quilt Trails to you!


July 22 through July 25

Cheryl Prisco

Thursday 1-5, Friday 10-5, Saturday 10-5, Sunday 1-4

Contemporary art Six galleries



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Changing exhibitions

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Free Weekly Art Shows in Historic Edgewood Cottage Purchase quality original art for every interest and budget. Meet different jury-selected artists each week throughout the summer. Corner of Main Street & Ginny Stevens Lane (next to BRAHM) Blowing Rock, NC

Artists in Residence at Edgewood Cottage is Back T

ake a three-minute walk south of Blowing Rock’s Memorial Park and you’ll discover a unique cultural corner where art and history meet. Here you’ll find the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum (BRAHM) and its well-known neighbor, Edgewood Cottage, the circa 1890 home and studio of renowned American artist Elliott Daingerfield. Elliott Daingerfield (1859-1932) became one of Blowing Rock’s most notable summer residents. He painted images of the local landscape and instructed the “painting ladies” who came to Blowing Rock to study with him. His legacy lives on at BRAHM’s exhibition this April 3– August 3. The exhibition features paintings by these remarkable women who became members of the renowned Philadelphia Ten. Daingerfield’s legacy of encouraging artists in the High Country also lives on in the Artists in Residence Program at Edgewood Cottage. Presented by The Blowing Rock Historical Society, this year’s Artists in Residence series runs from May 29 – September 19. During the program the cottage becomes home to 25 artists representing a variety of outstanding, original two and threedimensional pieces. The series takes place Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with different artists each week. Art lovers of all interests and budgets are welcomed to these free open studio events to meet the artists, see them create new art and purchase their works. You’ll find a variety of creations by potters, painters, nature photographers, wood carvers, and fiber artists. Half of the net proceeds will go towards turning Edgewood Cottage into a museum during the months that are not occupied by Artists in Residence.





he Carolina Mountain Life region features awe-inspiring mountains and rivers, bustling and unique Appalachian towns, and heaping helpings of cultural activities making it a wonderful place to live and visit. One of the highlights for many spending time in the mountains is experiencing live music. Whether listening to a mountain dulcimer player strumming on a porch and singing folks songs, watching a full-blown bluegrass band picking fast licks on a stage, or crossing paths with a songwriter pouring her heart out on a street corner, the High Country is a hotbed for music. A typical spring season in the region provides many opportunities to engage in the mountain music community: old-time jam sessions at the Jones House Cultural and Community Center, square dancing on the wooden floors of the Todd Mercantile, and local bands performing on porches, lawns, and stages in Banner Elk, Beech Mountain, Blowing Rock, Boone, and beyond (i.e. all the mountain towns that don’t begin with “B”). The COVID pandemic shut down live in-person events last spring, but a number of presenters in the CML region transitioned to virtual events. At the time of press, conditions are continuing to improve and indicate that there will be a blend of in-person and virtual musical events around the High Country this spring. Many regular presenters of concerts, dances, and jam sessions plan to be nimble and creative, so the best bet for those seeking music will be keeping up with online event calendars and venue websites. Below you will find a list of helpful resources to consult, some suggestions for events likely to occur, and some venues that typically present live music regularly around the region. As you make plans for your visit, it is highly recommended to double check websites and venue contacts for updates. The High Country has become a popular refuge during the pandemic, so please do your part to help keep the community safe and be prepared to follow the venue guidelines for masking and distancing. Be safe, have fun, and we look forward to seeing you in the mountains.

Live Music Springing Back By Mark Freed

Soul Benefactor at Valle Crucis Park

Event calendars to consult:

• High Country Host, | Good regional event calendar covering Banner Elk, Beech Mountain, Blowing Rock, Boone, Sparta, Sugar Mountain, West Jefferson and Wilkesboro. • Blue Ridge Music Trails, | Good calendar for music events across western North Carolina, with a focus on Americana styles like bluegrass, old-time, blues, etc. Regional events and venues to feature live music this spring:

• Carolina BBQ – 828-733-0700 - • Chef’s Table – 828-898-5214 – • Concerts in Ashe Park, Ashe County – • Banner Elk Café – 828-898-4040 – • Banner Elk Concerts at Tate Evans Park, downtown Banner Elk – • Banner Elk Winery, Banner Elk – • Bayou – 828-898-8952 – Check out their Facebook page • Beech Mountain, Live Music at 5506’ – • Blowing Rock, NC, will begin their Concerts in the Park series on May 23 at Memorial Park in

downtown Blowing Rock. The second concert will take place on June 13. Concerts are free and begin at 4 p.m. (

• Fred’s General Mercantile Summer Sunday Sunset Concerts – 828-387-4835 – • Grandfather Vineyard, Hwy 105 between Foscoe and Seven Devils

• Green Park Inn – 828-414-9230 – • Highlander’s Grill & Tavern – 828-898-9613 – Check out their Facebook page • Linville Falls Winery, Linville Falls – • Lost Province Brewery in Boone – • Music in the Valle at Valle Crucis Park – • Music on the Lawn at Inn at Ragged Gardens – 828-295-9703 – • Muddy Creek Cafe and Music Hall in Sparta – • Old Rock School in Valdese – • Orchard at Altapass – • Pedalin’ Pig BBQ – Banner Elk 828-898-7500/ Boone 828-355-9559 – • Phipps Store in Lansing – 336-384-2382

music! 34 — Spring 2021 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Continued on page 36

Liberty! Returns

By Mike Hill


he saga of the “Overmountain Men” is largely ignored in our history texts, despite the fact that settlers from Northeast Tennessee and Western North Carolina had a tremendous influence on the formation of our country. Each summer, the outdoor drama “Liberty! The Saga of Sycamore Shoals” is presented by a cast of volunteer actors against the backdrop of historic Fort Watauga in the Sycamore Shoals State Park, which is located just “over the mountain” in Elizabethton, TN. The “Official Drama” of the state of Tennessee, “Liberty!” tells the story of the first settlers to the Watauga Settlement of North Carolina (which eventually became part of Tennessee) in the late 18th century and the events of national significance that took place on the banks of the Watauga River where the amphitheater now stands. The slate of leaders present at the Watauga Settlement reads like a roster of state and national historical figures, including John Carter, James Robertson, Isaac Shelby and John Sevier. This year brings Melanie Yodkins on board as director of the production, along with significant upgrades in everything from amphitheater lighting to

the concessions stand. There have also been adjustments to the script to remove any fictional characters. “What we really want to focus on is the history: what really happened, who was there, and how the story unfolds,” said Yodkins. “I firmly believe that theatre, in any capacity, is a collaborative art form and we have so many talented artists who have come to be part of this historic performance. What I hope our audiences see is a beautiful story told well, and come away learning something new, either about these people or about this place… living history is an experience that stays with you and helps you to almost relive the events.” The Saga opens as John Carter and his family arrive at the Watauga Old Fields Settlement, near present day Elizabethton, from the Holston River area in favor of the grand opportunities afforded by the new frontier. Many hunters and settlers began crossing the Appalachian Mountains in violation of the British Proclamation of 1763. These settlers soon made their homes along the Watauga River on what was Cherokee land. As the show progresses, we see two very different cultures come together, coupled with the effects of the American Revolution and a series of emotional and challenging events that begin to unfold in their lives. Formed four years prior to the American Declaration of Independence, the Watauga Association was the first

majority-rule system of American democratic government. In his book, “The Winning of the West,” Theodore Roosevelt describes the 1772 Articles of the Watauga Association as the “first self-government organization independent of the Crown in the New World,” where settlers elected representatives and divided their fledgling government into legislative, judicial and executive branches. In 1775, the Transylvania Purchase was negotiated at Sycamore Shoals. Led by Judge Richard Henderson, 20 million acres of land, stretching from the Cumberland River watershed to the Kentucky River, were purchased from the Cherokee in the largest private real estate transaction of the new world. More than 1,200 Native Americans spent weeks in counsel at Sycamore Shoals debating the merits of the deal, which was eventually signed by Chief Attakullakulla (the “Little Carpenter”) who ignored numerous misgivings and signed the deed amid great ceremony and celebration. The next year in 1776, Fort Watauga was constructed on property owned by a miller named Matthew Talbott. The historic fort (which is now the Sycamore Shoals State Park) eventually became a refuge for all of the families living along the Watauga when Cherokee dissidents aided by English agents waged war against the pioneers. Continued on next page CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —


MUSIC: Continued from page 34

LIBERTY!: Continued from previous page

• Saloon Studios in West Jefferson, NC, will feature Frontier Days on May 22, and they have a

Led by Dragging Canoe, and determined to drive the newcomers from their territory, the Cherokee laid siege to the fort for approximately three weeks, eventually giving up and departing when the settlers refused to surrender. Sycamore Shoals later served as the gathering place for a group of militia that defeated British Major Patrick Ferguson, commander of the Loyalist militia, at the Battle of Kings Mountain. Responding to a threat sent via messenger from Ferguson to the settlements that he would march his army over the mountains, hang the leaders and lay waste to their country with fire and sword, approximately 1,100 frontiersmen gathered at Sycamore Shoals and then set out in epic pursuit of Ferguson and his Loyalists in 1780. The militia traveled through Roan Mountain and across the Unaka Mountains, becoming forever known to history as the “Overmountain Men.” The Patriots eventually caught up with Ferguson on October 7 at King’s Mountain in South Carolina, where they soundly defeated the British forces utilizing guerrilla warfare tactics, as opposed to conventional rules of engagement prevalent at the time. Sir Henry Clinton, commander of British forces in America, later pronounced Ferguson’s defeat at King’s Mountain as “the first link in a chain of events that…ended in the total loss of America.” The victory is still considered by many historians to be the turning point of the Revolutionary War. For all of 2020, the Patriots at Sycamore Shoals have searched in vain for Ferguson, because Liberty! was cancelled for the first time in 43 years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year the Overmountain Men will no longer be denied their victory, as “Liberty!” will once again be presented each weekend in June.

number of concerts scheduled for the spring. For more information on these events, visit them at

• Stonewalls restaurant – 828-898-5550 – • Sugar Mountain, Summer concerts/Grillin’ and Chillin’ – • Watauga Lake Winery, Johnson County, TN – • Concerts On The Deck - North Wilkesboro – 336-667-7129

• Concerts In The Commons - Wilkesboro – 336-838-3951 – • Woodland’s Barbeque Restaurant – 828-295-3651 – • Zaloo’s in Jefferson, NC, focuses on canoe, kayak, and tube trips on the river, and they have two big

spring events planned with live music—Earth Day celebration on April 24, and Zaloo Fest on May 15. (

Virtual Experiences:


• Jones House Cultural and Community Center in Downtown Boone – A variety of virtual offerings including music lessons, live Zoom-a-long sessions, and Jones House at Home virtual concerts. There will also be a special virtual livestream presentation of the 11th Annual Doc Watson Day celebration on June 18, 2021. • Mountain Home Music – Offering the Virtual Greeting Cards series, featuring regional musicians giving virtual performances in Elizabethton, TN. For more on live music in our region, check out Regional Happenings and Tidbits in this issue of CML, and sign up for our e-newsletters at

Check with venues’ websites for updated schedules and COVID restrictions.

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General admission tickets range from free for children 5 and under, to $8 for students 6 to 17, $14 for seniors 60 and up, and $18 for adults. For members of Friends of Sycamore Shoals, tickets are $10. Veterans and first responders may attend the drama any night for a reduced admission price of $9. Veterans and first responders and one person accompanying each may attend for free on Thursday, June 17, 2021. For more information, call the park at (423) 543-5808, or click to



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THE BIG PICTURE SHOW The Big Picture Show:

Going Beneath the Surface with The Dig By Elizabeth Baird Hardy In 1938 and 1939, most of Britain was consumed with preparations for the looming conflict of the second World War, but in the Suffolk countryside, the forgotten treasures of a long-dead king were emerging from the soil to tell the story of a world before there was a place called England. The new Netflix film The Dig tells the story of those who brought those treasures, and the remarkable ship that bore them, into the light. While there are some historical liberties taken to add drama, the overall story is a powerful reminder of the importance of the past and of the role each of us plays, for a brief time, upon the stage of the earth. Ralph Fiennes is remarkable, completely disappearing into the role of the unexpectedly brilliant self-described “excavator” Basil Brown, hired by amateur archeologist and widow Edith Pretty to see what is within the giant mounds of earth on her land. When she explains to him her early fascination with digging up historical sites, he sagely states, “That speaks, don’t it? The past?” Throughout this beautiful and thought-provoking film, the past indeed speaks, both the recent past of the 1930s and the distant past Brown and Pretty uncover piece by precious piece. As we watch the remarkable find emerge from the ground, we also see the development of the wonderful relationship between Pretty and Brown, a friendship that transcended class lines to connect people who cared about understanding and conserving the past. Thankfully, the film adaptation does not take liberties by trying to make the relationship romantic, as it was not. There is a romantic element added, but it revolves around the film’s only completely fictional character and the


mother of the author whose novel, The Dig, is the basis for the film. Some other relationships have some “Hollywood treatment” to create narrative tension, but the most charming relationships between the characters are the understated ones, like the connection between Brown and Pretty’s young son, Robert, who is captivated by Brown’s telescope and the opportunity to explore the cosmos with it. That telescope, representing Brown’s self-taught astronomical interests, also helps to illustrate one of the film’s most powerful themes: the connection between the stars above our heads and the earth beneath our feet. Robert (Archie Barnes) early in the film notes that the science fiction heroes he admires have much in common with ancient people, like those who buried an entire ship in the Suffolk landscape: travelers, explorers, on mysterious quests. The ways in which the past and future intersect in the film also serve to stress another powerful theme: the passage of time and our longing to be remembered after we are gone. Pretty, struggling both with the loss of her husband and her own looming mortality, is keenly aware of the fact that the fantastic ship Brown discovers is, in fact, a tomb. The themes of life and death are even more vivid set against the backdrop of the imminent war, as doomed young RAF pilots fly over the reappearing shipgrave of a long-dead warrior king. Although we do not know the name of the great king whose people struggled to drag the eighty-eight-foot-long ship up from the river, loaded it with grave goods, and then buried it, his tomb tells the tale of his people. Many scholars believe the honored king was Raedwald, an early seventh-century ruler, but 1,200 years in the soil have claimed all traces of his body, leaving only a human-sized gap among a heap of glorious grave goods that set this site apart as the most important of European medieval burials. Those grave goods are the legacy of this king, speaking for him far into a future he could not imagine, as his iconic helmet now stares out impassively at museum visitors, and the garnets, gold, and even humble wooden cups of his hoard give us a fantastic glimpse into a past that was largely misunderstood before these artifacts literally came to light. Since the film focuses on the human drama of the original dig, viewers may be slightly unsatisfied by the limited amount of screen time given to the glittering treasures that emerged from the Sutton Hoo, but many of the items were not restored and displayed for years after the dig. In fact, the war necessitated keeping them locked away for safety, and they were not placed on regular display to the public in the British Museum until 1945. The film does do a wonderful job of paying tribute to another treasure: Basil Brown, who in contrast to the professional archeologists, was not an academic and was thus often overlooked. In addition to Fiennes’s award-worthy performance, the rest of the cast is also solid. Carey Mulligan does a grand job as Pretty and overcomes the fact that she is much younger than Pretty was at the time. The beautiful English countryside also gets top billing as one of the most stunning stars of the show. The Dig is a lovely film, not only for its stunning views and glimmering treasures, but also for its reminders of the importance of the past, and of the power of remembering the value of what may be lying right beneath our feet. Rated PG-13, The Dig does have a few suggestive and intense moments, but it has much to offer both on and beneath the surface. The Dig is streaming on Netflix.

By Edwin Ansel


Book Nook

Calling all hikers and naturalists! If you love waterfalls and nature’s spring colors, be sure to pick up your copy of “Waterfalls and Wildflowers” at a local bookstore (or online at and hit the trails. And for all you dreamers who are looking toward the sky for adventure, enjoy this treat from local author Kimberley Jochl (

Waterfalls & Wildflowers in the Southern Appalachians Timothy Spira, Author

Hardly Easy Kimberley Jochl, Author

You’ve cleared your calendar. Or you’ve got a houseful of guests. Either way, this is The Day. You want to get out of the house. How about a hike? A water hike. A hike with a waterfall. Surrounded by flowers! And a picnic. It’s going to be a good day. Do you have a shelf with books about hikes? Of course you do. And books about wildflowers. And that excellent map of all the great waterfalls printed on waterproof paper, so clever. Make a little space for one more. Timothy Spira has put together a guide that offers thirty waterfall hikes across the Blue Ridge from Virginia down to Georgia. “Waterfalls & Wildflowers in the Southern Appalachians” is a buffet. Each of the hikes will appeal to a particular mood or occasion. For example, if you want to entertain a troop of young people, take them to Linville Falls. The hike is vigorous, the waterfall is spectacular, and something will be blooming. They’ll love it. If you want a quiet morning outdoors, alone or with a special person, take the Tanawha Trail up to Ship Rock. The water follows a sinuous path across the bedrock, surrounded by rosebay rhododendron and topped by a glimpse of a handsome wooden bridge. Cool, picturesque, sublime. It has the qualities of a Japanese garden. (Pro tip: Great choice for a foggy morning. It’s magic.) This hike emphasizes the wildflower side. From the trailhead on the Blue Ridge Parkway you’ll climb through several “plant communities,” from the “northern hardwood forest” at the trail head to the “heath bald” at the top where you’ll find rare plants in their own unique and fragile world. With the thirty hikes located across the Blue Ridge, Spira’s guide has a dual purpose. One or two of the hikes will be nearby, helping you turn a half day into a good day. The rest will be farther from home, and so the guide offers destinations for a day-cation or weekend getaway. And his guide has another important quality: it’s small enough that you won’t mind taking it along. And you should. For each hike Spira provides a list of the trees and flowers you’re likely to find, and in his notes he tells you where to look for them. In the back of the guide are photographs of the flowers and a full description of each. Just what you need and nothing extra. So, hikes, waterfalls and flowers. Spira is hitting the marks. But though I looked and looked, I didn’t find a section on the picnic. Let me suggest the classic PBJ: wheat bread, smooth peanut butter and grape jelly. While you hike the jelly bleeds through the bread. Looks terrible, but when paired with a cold spring water, it’s so good you can’t believe it.

Charlie’s mom is cool, but her dad is way overprotective. McQueen might ask her to the prom, actually it’s so obvious, but what is Charlie going to say? Boys are okay, but she’s got a lot going on right now. There’s this girl at school, Katie Mac, she’s really pretty, and really smart, but she’s also really nice, but she’s kind of too nice, it makes you crazy. And everybody is trying to figure out whom to love, and where they’ll fit into a big, complicated world. Or even just their little high country community of Luck, located up the Mast Gap Valley. And by the way, Charlie is determined to fly jets for the Navy, and she’s willing to break some things to get there. In short, “Hardly Easy” is a young adult novel with a twist. The twist is that focus on aviation. Charlie’s school offers flight training, both in the classroom and in the airplane. You’re right there with her while she’s being lectured on aviation concepts and when she first leaves the ground in the pilot’s seat of a light plane. Density altitude and its effect on takeoff distance? Check. Navigation by dead reckoning? Check. Engine out procedures and emergency landing? Yikes! This, too. For a young person who has dreams of being a pilot, this story provides a dose of the reality as to what’s required to turn that dream into a pilot’s license. In addition to offering plenty of information on aviation, a kind of non-fiction, “Hardly Easy” also has the things you look for in any novel. Two things in particular. Though Charlie is all business when she’s pursuing her dream, there are bright moments when she’s just herself, a conflicted person dealing with parents, teachers, money, boys, Katie Mac, her feelings, their feelings. Everything. She’ll just bust out with a thought or action that is startling and revealing of her character. These moments are what we look for in fiction. In addition to such moments, the entire story has a single quality that is often missing in novels. Kindness. The people are essentially good, and good to each other. Dad seems like a grump, but he knows how dangerous flying can be and he’s looking out for his daughter. McQueen can be thoughtless, but he’s learning. Charlie herself is not an angel. If something gets in her way she’ll go around it or over it, if necessary, but she’s smart and ambitious and she wants to serve her country. The story has drama, and the drama arises from the flying of small, old airplanes among tall, old mountains. Not from drama queens. The big message is that there are plenty of good people in the world, and we can all come together to make dreams come true.



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mountain notes 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 Announces 2021 Schedule of Events

Grandfather Mountain is taking outdoor fun to new heights with its 2021 calendar of events. With a mission to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain, the nonprofit nature park and its staff are readying for a safe and eventful year. “At Grandfather Mountain, we like to bridge outdoor fun with education,” said Frank Ruggiero, director of marketing and communications for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the Linville, N.C., nature park. “Our 2021 slate of events offers folks mountains of opportunities to have fun while exploring our unique classroom in the clouds.” With a few exceptions where noted, most special events are included with park admission. Members of Grandfather Mountain’s Bridge Club will receive discounted admission for paid events. This schedule is subject to change, and additional events will be announced and posted on Adult Field Course - Advanced Birding Identification May 1, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. • Limit 10 • $60/ $25 Bridge Club This course will explore such aspects of the lives of birds as seasonal plumage, molt, nestling growth, seasonal occurrence, habitat requirements and similarities between related and sometimes completely unrelated species. Grandfather Mountain’s Adult Field Course series offers participants the chance to explore the mountain like never before. Students examine specific aspects of the park ecosystem through fun, hands-on field excursions. Course leaders are experts in their fields and include professors, naturalists, scientists, acclaimed photographers, writers, historians and artists. Advanced registration required at Adult Field Course - Introduction to Landscape Design May 15, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. • Limit 10 • $60/ $25 Bridge Club This course is a landscape design workshop that will help participants make informed and confident decisions about issues they face in the landscape. Instructor Preston Montague will present tenets of landscape design he’s learned as a professional landscape architect, as well as his approach to solving a range of problems that includes drainage, planting and overall aesthetics. The Remarkable Rhododendron Ramble May 29- June 6, 2 p.m. From May 29 through June 6, a series of 20-minute guided walks will highlight Grandfather Mountain’s rhododendron species and blooms.

Grandfather Mountain offers a striking backdrop for the vibrant hues of rhododendron blooms. From May 29 through June 6, guests can enjoy guided hikes to the mountain’s most colorful spots. Photo by Victoria Darlington | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation Educator Workshop - Project WILD: Bears Thursday, June 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. • Limit 12 Project WILD is a K-12 interdisciplinary conservation and environmental education program emphasizing wildlife. All participants will receive the Project WILD activity guide and earn six hours of Criteria II or III credits toward their N.C. Environmental Education Certification (or 0.6 CEUs). A homework option is available to earn up to 10 hours or 1.0 CEU. Grandfather Mountain’s Educator Workshops are free to educators and offer credits for Criteria I, II and III programs. Courses include complimentary admission to the park for attendees. Registration is required at Educator Workshop - Project Growing Up WILD Wednesday, July 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. • Limit 12 Growing up WILD is an early childhood program that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and their habitats. While the workshop is primarily oriented toward educators that work with children ages 3-7, many of the activities in the guide can be adapted to a wider age range. Registration is required at

For the Rest of the Schedule

To learn more or register, visit or call 828-733-2013. The nonprofit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call 800-468-7325, or visit to plan a trip. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —



For the Good of the Hive —and Humanity By Tamara S. Randolph

“We must always look closer at what we think we see in order to know what is really there.” –Matt Willey


ay you see a honeybee. What questions come to mind? Perhaps, “What’s her favorite flower?” Or, “How far away is her hive?” Knowing that honeybees have been in the news lately because of their dwindling populations, you might also wonder if the bees you see are healthy—if you might be doing something in your own yard that can help them, or perhaps even harm them. It’s this kind of curiosity that leads to research, to knowledge, to action. When it comes to taking action to help bees, and honeybees in particular, people all over the world are joining forces. This is good news for our planet’s most prolific pollinator, who is partially responsible for making sure billions of human beings have food on the table. Here in western North Carolina, a unique partnership between an artist (who until recently lived in Asheville, NC) and a local educational institution is blossoming—together, they hope to educate the public on the plight of bees. Meet Muralist Matt Willey Matt Willey’s fascination with bees started at ground level. In 2008, he had an encounter with a single bee on the floor of his art studio, and that encounter made him want to learn more about bees. As he studied them, he built on his limited knowledge of the threats against them. He sifted through data on colony collapse disorder, a set of mysterious ailments that continue to plague bees; he honed his awareness of “altruistic suicide,” an act in which a sick bee intentionally dies away from its hive in order to prevent anything dirty or diseased from making its way inside. With all this research, he developed an understanding that bees are anything but self-centered—they think collectively; what is most important to them is the health of their entire hive. Willey sees bees as the perfect bridge between humans and nature. So, through


creativity and determination, he made it his mission to help bees, and thus the planet. In 2015 he founded The Good of the Hive®, a global art project, adventure, and organization “based on my personal commitment to hand paint 50,000 individual honeybees in murals around the world,” says Willey. Why the target of 50,000 bees? “That’s about how many bees it takes to comprise a healthy hive,” he adds. The artist began with a single mural on the side of a family-owned honey company in Florida, where he painted the first 17 bees. Since that first mural he has painted nearly 30 murals across the country, with a handful right here in NC. So far, more than 5,000 hand-painted bees, depicted much larger than life, swarm the walls, floors, roofs and ceilings of structures that include everything from skate parks, to the brick sides of fire stations and elementary schools, to the exterior wall of Burt’s Bees global headquarters in Durham, NC. One of his latest notable projects is a mural on the wall of the Great Ape House at the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington D.C. “The mission is to get people curious about the planet we live on through the lens of art, bees and storytelling,” says Willey. “And my vision, if all goes as planned, is a world filled with people that see and experience the connectedness of all things.” Mayland Makes the Call For those who live in the CML region, you’re likely familiar with one of our area’s most star-studded venues, the Mayland Earth to Sky Park (ESP) in Burnsville, NC. Owned and operated by the Mayland Community College Foundation, Earth to Sky is an environmental educational park that includes the celebrated Bare Dark Sky Observatory and the Glenn and Carol Arthur Planetarium, the latter still under construction. While on a bright clear day, the site exposes some of the region’s most

spectacular mountain views, when the sun goes down, the Park is one of the darkest places in the state. In fact, the Earth to Sky Park and Bare Sky Observatory have the distinction of being the first International Dark-Sky Association (IDA)-certified Star Park in NC, and Mayland is the only higher education institute in the US to operate a certified IDA park. In the early days of development, Mayland placed much of its focus on getting the “Sky” portion of the Park up and running. However, over the last year “Earth” has gained ground, thanks in part to Margaret Earley-Thiele, Executive Director of the Mayland Community College Foundation. In 2020 Earley-Thiele happened upon one of Matt Willey’s murals on the wall of a bee keeper’s shop in Weaverville, NC, and thought to herself how a bee mural would fit in quite nicely with both the ESP mission and its physical landscape. “So I cold-called Matt and told him that we would love to have him paint a mural at Earth to Sky,” says Earley-Thiele. “He was jazzed about it because he had just been reading about how dark skies were important to bee hive health.” Bees are very sensitive to light pollution, and recent research suggests that the surge in night lighting worldwide is yet another real threat to our beloved bees. Given the dark skies at ESP, Earley-Thiele and Willey agreed that the Park would be an ideal location for the public to make this connection between dark skies and thriving hives. The new mural will be painted on the cylindrical wall, 40 feet in diameter, around the new Glenn and Carol Arthur Planetarium, a unique canvas for a one-of-a-kind mural. “The idea of the bee mural really ties the ‘Earth’ into our Earth to Sky Park,” says Earley-Thiele. Another earth- and beecentric project at ESP that has taken shape over the last year is a huge new pollinator

Apis mellifera

Matt Willey

Bee Involved In May, the public will have a rare opportunity to watch this revered artist at work as he paints his very first bee at the Earth to Sky Park. The Good of the Hive team will also be filming Willey’s work and the people he reaches through his art, so this is a terrific opportunity to be part of a documentary in the making. While Willey will be departing for Ireland to complete a commissioned mural after his initial visit to ESP, he will return to the High Country in October, at which time the public will have a full month to see the mural through to completion. Days and times to view Matt Willey at work will be posted and updated daily at Children’s activities and artist presentations related to the mural are also being planned, as well as an outdoor class on beekeeping, so be sure to visit the website regularly. There’s so much happening at Mayland Earth to Sky Park this season and throughout 2021, so grab your favorite humans and buzz on over. Tamara Randolph is a N.C. Certified Environmental Educator and Blue Ridge Naturalist. She is the founder of Carolina Explorers: Adventures in Nature, a monthly educational day camp for kids in Banner Elk. You can reach Tamara at

Be Kind to Bees (and other Pollinators) – Spring is a busy time for honeybees. They’re on the move, pollinating flowers, as well as many of the fruits and vegetables we enjoy. Research compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture concludes that one out of every three bites of food in the U.S. depends on honeybees and other pollinators. These pollinators help contribute to food diversity, food security and food profitability. You have likely heard that honeybee colonies worldwide have been dying off at an alarming rate in recent years—the High Country is no exception. While all of the different causes are not completely understood, a large body of evidence supports the idea that certain insecticides, known as neonicotinoids, or “neonics,” have contributed to the problem. “And it’s not just bees we should be worried about,” says artist Matt Willey. “Neonics are fast becoming known as the pesticides responsible for killing birds and other insects in record numbers, poisoning our water supply, and turning our food toxic.” In essence, they can be bad for humans, too. We can help give honeybees—and numerous other species—a better shot at survival with these simple acts: Choose local foods grown with fewer pesticides | Farmers’ markets in our area offer many foods that are grown without the use of harmful chemical pesticides and herbicides. Ask your favorite farmers about their agricultural practices— most are happy to share! “Feed” your local pollinators | Plant native wildflowers in your yard to attract honeybees and other pollinators. There’s a great list of native, bee friendly plants for our region on the Xerces Society’s website at Additional information is available through the N.C. Cooperative Extension website at and the N.C. Native Plant Society at Use fewer chemicals to keep your yard looking nice | Honeybees are sensitive to all kinds of chemicals. One of our earliest spring bloomers is the dandelion. While many of us love our pure green lawns, knocking out dandelions with herbicides can have a detrimental effect on bees, who rely on these and other flowering “weeds” as an early spring food source. Instead of considering dandelions as enemies, embrace them for their burst of vivid yellow, as well as for their edible properties—all parts of the dandelion can be eaten, from root to blossom, and they’re healthy, too (as long as they haven’t been exposed to herbicides). For those weeds you just can’t live with, apply the following tried-and-true “beesafe” weed killer you can make and use at home. “Bee-safe” Weed Killer: 1 Gallon Apple Cider Vinegar 2 Cups Epsom Salts ¼ Cup blue Dawn Dish Detergent Mix all ingredients in a garden sprayer and apply to unwanted weeds. This doit-yourself spray works best on hot, sunny days. Experiment with small patches of weeds until you arrive at the results you want. Weed killer “recipe” courtesy of the Honey Hole of the Blue Ridge in West Jefferson, North Carolina. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —



garden, blooming for the first time this spring. “The paths through our pollinator garden create the shape of a butterfly,” she shares. “Throughout the garden we’ll have information on plants and pollinators, including honeybees, and why they’re so important.” In the center of the garden is an outdoor classroom, where visitors can participate in a variety of naturalist-led classes.


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Time to Count Birds!! ecently, a partnership including the NC Wildlife Resources Commission and Audubon North Carolina announced the launch of the North Carolina Bird Atlas project. With spring upon us, the birds are letting us know that it is time to get out there and listen and look for them—and we need everyone’s help to complete this major community science project! While birds are one of our most studied groups of animals, there are significant gaps in our knowledge of where they occur across our state and how many, or the relative abundance, of each species. This is especially true of less common species that nest in North Carolina or spend their winters with us. Everyone can help us fill in those knowledge gaps as the Atlas project collects data over the next five years. Simply put, a bird atlas seeks to find where the birds are through structured survey effort. The atlas team has identified a series of priority areas, or “blocks,” evenly distributed across the state. These almost 1,000 blocks are each about 10 square miles in size, and the goal is to have these areas covered thoroughly by observers who record the birds seen, the approximate numbers of each, and any observed evidence of breeding. Volunteers can adopt a block to help insure that enough effort is put into surveying each block. Looking for birds in all the dif-

ferent habitats within each block is not only important, but fun as well. People tend to be creatures of habit and so visiting new and different habitats leads to interesting and exciting finds! Even if you do not adopt a block, you can bird anywhere in the state and contribute sightings to the project—and you don’t have to be an ace birder. Observing birds in your back yard, your favorite park, and other areas can provide great information. If the only birds you know are the common locals, we still need the data on them, especially relative abundance, breeding evidence, and other information. So if you know and see Blue Jays everywhere, don’t be bashful about sharing that data. All data collected by what we hope will be thousands of observers is entered directly by those observers into a species portal for the atlas on eBird, the common platform used by birders around the world to record what they see. Through a special contract with eBird, our NC Atlas portal allows volunteers to adopt a priority block, see in real time where folks are birding, and track progress toward our goals. Getting Started The fastest way to get started is to visit our website at for easy tutorials on signing up, getting trained on basic procedures, guidelines for looking for nesting evidence, and other news

regarding the effort—there is even an on-line store for all of your atlas swag! You will also find links to eBird, an FAQ page, and recordings of our trainings. Kris Smith, an engagement biologist with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, was recently named the coordinator of the project; regional volunteer coordinators are being added and can help direct effort and answer questions. You can find contact information for staff and regional coordinators on the website. Spring is the best time to start learning about birds, and the atlas project can help kickstart your birding journey. Many more folks have gotten interested in birds during the pandemic as they were locked down at home and noticing for the first time the amazing diversity and activity going on around them. Let’s take that newfound awareness and enthusiasm and contribute to this major community science project. The birds will thank you for it as we learn more about them to inform our conservation efforts. Curtis Smalling is a Boone resident and the Director of Conservation for Audubon North Carolina.





By Curtis Smalling

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CML carolina mountain life

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Now is the Time. THE TIME FOR TREES. Trees provide the very necessities of life itself. They clean our air, protect our drinking water, create healthy communities, and feed the human soul. But these life necessities are threatened around the globe. To address this, we’re launching an unprecedented undertaking: the Time for Trees initiative. Together, we can create change...through trees. ~ Arbor Day Foundation

A Time for Trees By Julie Farthing


here is something innately comforting about a tree. We sleep under them, climb them, and take refuge among them. Yet we are losing them in rapid numbers across the globe. One of the most devastating losses in the Appalachian Mountains was the chestnut blight, starting in 1904, when billions of American chestnut (Castanea dentata) trees were lost in eastern North America. The American chestnut was considered the “perfect tree.”They were the largest, tallest, and fastest growing tree in the forest. Its wood, almost rot resistant, was straight-grained and perfect for building beautiful furniture and homes that can still be found in the High Country. Its nuts fed wildlife, farmers, and their livestock. The loss of the chestnut trees not only decreased deer, squirrel and rabbit populations, it reduced the population of predator animals, totally disrupting the ecosystem. Soon bird populations dwindled, affecting insects, water quality, and many species of aquatic life. According to The American Chestnut Foundation, the chestnut blight has been called the greatest ecological disaster to strike the world’s forests in all of history. During the 1800s, one man who recognized the relationship of trees and the

environment was J. Sterling Morton of Detroit, Michigan. Morton moved with his wife to Nebraska in the mid-1800s. One thing he missed most was trees. He and his wife were lovers of nature and immediately started planting trees, shrubs and flowers around their home. Morton then proposed a tree-planting holiday at a meeting of the State Board of Agriculture. On April 10, 1872 the first “Arbor Day’’ was celebrated with more than one million trees planted. Arbor Day is now officially celebrated on the last Friday of April, and The Arbor Day Foundation, founded in Nebraska one hundred years after the first Arbor Day, is keeping Morton’s dream alive by inspiring people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. The Foundation’s Tree City USA program has been greening up cities and towns across America since 1976. It is a nationwide movement to get communities involved in green space. As of 2020, North Carolina had 81 cities and towns with the distinction of being declared a Tree City USA community. Four communities that have been designated a Tree City USA community are right here in the High Country: Boone, Banner Elk, Beech Mountain and Seven Devils.

A big shout out to these and other communities collaborating with the Arbor Day Foundation as they continue to advocate for the lush, green canopies of the High Country, one tree at a time. Learn more about the work of the Arbor Day Foundation and the Tree City USA program at Two of today’s threats to Appalachian mountain forests include acid rain and the hemlock woolly adelgid, an aphidlike insect that has been destroying the eastern hemlocks. Learn more about threats to our native plant species at the N.C. Cooperative Extension’s website,




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The Edible Forest Garden A

s spring creeps in and we begin to see the ground wake with fresh green buds, many of us will begin to plan yard projects for the warmer weather. Some will choose to plant vegetables in an existing home garden bed while others may decide to build raised beds with a wooden structure or sheet mulching. Annual chores may need to be accomplished, like cleaning up an existing orchard or maintaining a perennial bed. Many people would like to incorporate more ornamentals into their yard, perhaps in a bed enclosed by a wellmanicured lawn or in a privacy hedge. Whatever your situation and whatever you’d like to accomplish this year, consider incorporating a forest garden, or food forest, into your landscape. A forest garden—one which mimics natural ecosystems by using layering, companion planting, and light filtration—is a gardening technique that, once established, requires little maintenance while also producing a long-lasting and high yield crop. What better way to celebrate the earth this spring than to encourage its prosperity and stability for generations to come? If you were to take a walk in any wooded area or mature natural landscape and observe its elements, you’d begin to notice a layering effect taking

place. There are three main layers in any forest (trees, shrubs, and ground plants) but some can host as many as seven. The first layer is the canopy, the trees that get the most sun. These trees also filter light through to the plants below and provide mulch when leaves or needles fall to the ground. In a forest garden concentrated on food production, you’d likely use this layer to host large nut or fruit trees such as chestnut, apple or pear trees. Ornamental trees can also be included as long as they don’t cast too large a shadow from their dense leaf structure. If you have a larger area and can have sub-layers, you may choose to have a large tree and several shade tolerant smaller trees underneath, such as paw paw, a fruit native to the southern Appalachians, mulberry or small apple or nut trees. It is still imperative that these are spaced accordingly or pruned in a way to let optimal light through. The shrub layer consists of a wide variety of species, everything from nitrogen fixers that aid in soil health to flowering and fruiting plants that attract pollinators and other beneficial wildlife. Most importantly, this layer has many options for food production. Both shade-loving plants, placed under the canopy of the tree layer, and sun-loving plants, placed midway between two trees, can be used

By Scottie Gilbert here. Blueberries, currants, blackberries, quince, elderberry, and flowering shrubs like roses, butterfly bush, and mock orange would benefit from the protection the canopy offers while providing some of their own. On a similar level as shrubs is the vine layer. Vines can help use the maximum amount of space you have in your forest garden. Native honeysuckle, hops, and grapes are excellent additions around the base of trees or on a trellis built into the bed. This layer can even include annuals like cucumbers and squash. Lastly, the ground layer can consist of several different mini layers. Perennial herbs and vegetables are a common choice in the edible forest, but selfseeding annuals are also a good addition to maximize variety and crop production. Native species are important here because the ground plants are the base of the forest, the soil builders, mulchers, and weed subduers. Ground covers like creeping thyme, strawberries, clover, and creeping phlox can fill in all the gaps up to the bases of trees and shrubs, and out to the edge between lawn and garden. Next, low-lying native perennials and some annual vegetables can be placed in sun or shade appropriately. These can Continued on next page CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —




EDIBLE FOREST: Continued from previous page include anything from comfrey and rhubarb, to herbs like sage and rosemary, and flowers such echinacea and daffodils. Spring blooming plants do particularly well when placed close to trees; they can get sun before the leaves of the trees grow in but die off in time for the shrubs to fill in. Root crops can also be used in a forest garden. Ginger and Jerusalem artichokes do well in shade, and annuals like radish and dandelions are great for sunny spots. The most important idea to consider when designing and building your forest garden is to work with the preexisting conditions, not against them. Placing the canopy towards the north and getting smaller as you go south allows the entire bed to get maximum sun. Planting near a body of water can be beneficial if you need more light and can use the sun’s reflection. In the early years of the canopy development, some shade loving plants will not be happy. Consider filling in with a cover crop for a few years before planting more delicate species. Forests don’t need to be watered and after a transitional period, neither will your forest garden. Just keep in mind the natural flow of water through your yard or ecosystem. In an area where drainage is poor, you might consider planting your trees on mounds and lower plants on the slopes of the mounds to allow water to run off into ditches. Forest gardens are a wonderful way to incorporate the wild natural world into your own backyard. They not only offer many useful food crops, but also offer a gift to our eye, creating beautiful displays of self-sustaining plants and animals.


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Resource Circle:

For the Love of Our Land By Tamara S. Randolph

s residents of the High Country, we share a spectacular place on our planet. We don’t all share the same history or the same perspectives but we do share the same amazing landscape, the same natural resources, and a love for our High Country “neighborhood.” From rocks and minerals, to forest goods, to clean water, to agriculture and wild game, our mountains are rich in raw natural resources. Each of these individual resources alone is something in which we can take pride; combined, however, they add up to likely our most valuable shared resource: the land itself. It’s the scenic beauty of our land as a whole, along with the wildness of our terrain, that attract people from all over the region (and the world) to play in our neighborhood—to dine in our restaurants, hike our trails, ski our slopes, frequent our attractions, stay in our lodging, spend money in our shops. This land creates our jobs, finances our infrastructure, affords the roofs over our heads, and keeps food on our family’s table. The health and beauty of our land should matter to us all.

Let’s Talk Trash

In recent months, the trash that has littered our landscape has been hard to ignore. We’ve seen it along our roadways, in our yards, snagged in trees. It is unsightly, as well as unsafe. Why so much trash? There are a number of explanations, and some obvious—and not so obvious—solutions: Litterbugs | Much of the trash we see along our roadways is the result of people intentionally throwing trash out the windows of their cars. Evidence exists as fast food packaging, beverage containers, and cigarette butts. In addition to soiling the landscape, this type of trash can be dangerous to pedestrians and to wildlife—frequently animals are hit by cars in their pursuit of sustenance left behind by humans.

Solutions: We can make sure we dispose of trash at home or at a public trash and recycling facility, and also stow anything that rides around in the bed of a truck. If we see a litterbug in action, we can document the act and call our local authorities. If evidence supports the complaint, the litterer is likely to incur a $200 fine, plus court costs. Defunding | A popular NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) program that once put inmates to work picking up trash along our state’s roadways was by many accounts successful at controlling the widespread trash problem. However, in recent years state leaders made a decision to contract out trash abatement work. Without centralized funding and framework, the trash has been piling up—here in the High Country and throughout the state. Solutions: Take some time to research the causes and effects. Contact your local and state representatives to seek statistics and voice your concerns. Several resources to help you get started include: https://, NC Department of Environmental Quality at, and the NC Wildlife Resources Commission at Wind and Wildlife | The “wildness” of our land includes wild weather and wild animals. Winter and early spring are especially wild—winds pick up our trash and transport it miles away, while wildlife emerge from slumber in search of anything that resembles food. Bags and debris that are not securely contained are likely to be scattered about, unintentionally trashing our landscape. Solutions: Make sure any trash left outside the home is fully secured—if bears and raccoons are in the neighborhood, invest in bear-proof containers that are known to work. Accidentally attracting wildlife to garbage is bad for both the scenery and the animals.

Sweeping It Up

In late March and early April, many of our neighbors got together with a goal of making our expansive neighborhood safer and more scenic. They participated in the Avery Clean Sweep, a collaborative grassroots effort to clean up the roadways and public spaces across our community. Organizers and volunteers included the NCDOT, Avery County Sheriff’s Office, Avery County Emergency Management, Avery County Government, Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, Lees-McRae College, and numerous civic clubs, churches, businesses, families, and individuals. In total, nearly 400 of our neighbors spent a significant portion of their weekends helping with the laborious task of picking up stray trash. They began with a visit to a Clean Sweep Control Center where they equipped themselves with safety vests and trash bags, pulled on some latex gloves, and headed out to our roadways. “We recovered over 80 cubic yards of trash, including 1,400 bags of trash,” reports Jesse Pope, event organizer and Executive Director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. Also collected were “countless tires, lots of appliances and electronics, a bath tub, and even a 1950s Chevrolet Bel Air car that was down an embankment in a rhododendron thicket!” The Avery Clean Sweep was a sweeping success, and our neighborhood is better for it. Community projects such as this help us realize that we are connected in more ways than we can imagine—that we share the same roadways, parks, forests, streams and trails. Most importantly, we share a mutual belief that our mountains should remain a place of beauty.





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Flat Top Manor Renovations Underway By Rita Larkin

If you visit Flat Top Manor this spring, you may not recognize the historical Colonial Revival landmark. The columns, railings, and windows are absent as they undergo refurbishments at a special workshop in Greensboro. Soon, crews will erect scaffolding to continue additional work on wooden siding, shingles, gutters, and more features of the 120-year-old home. The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is thrilled to announce this longawaited transformation which is being made possible by support from donors both near and far. Although the pandemic delayed the start of work last year, good news arrived during the holding pattern. The National Park Service reassigned additional funds to the restoration, in great part due to the overwhelming support the project has received from donors. With donations already secured, the project was considered “shovel-ready,” a key factor in deciding the order of initiatives across the national park system. The increase in funds from the federal government will broaden the scope of repairs on the house, and multiply the impact of donors’ generosity. Moses and Bertha Cone’s former home will be abuzz with work continuing through the summer, but visitors will still be able to shop at the Parkway Craft Center and America’s National Parks bookstore on the first floor starting in April. Work is slated to be completed this fall, resulting in the centerpiece of Moses H. Cone Memorial Park looking stately once again. Virtual Tour No matter the time of year, visitors can tour Flat Top Manor with a new virtual interpretive experience. From a computer, anyone can explore the manor’s interior, interacting with touchpoints that highlight the architectural features, stories of its former residents, and the furnishings it once held. To take the virtual tour, visit Monthly Webinars Catch the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation Insider’s Report webinars at 11 a.m. the first Tuesday of each month to explore topics ranging from wildflowers and wildlife to the history of the national park unit. Upcoming presentation announcements are available at events. To watch past sessions, visit CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —


Trail Reports: Spring 2021 By CML Staff


Valle Crucis Park


oes your family enjoy hiking and exploring our local forests, parks and trails? Follow our Trail Reports in each issue for some of the latest developments on trails and public lands, and upcoming opportunities to discover our region’s rugged mountain beauty.

Valle Crucis Park

In 2015, Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) received a donation of 21.7 acres of farmland located within the Valle Crucis Historic District along NC Scenic Byway 194. Thanks to the generosity of John and Faye Cooper, longtime residents, conservationists and owners of Mast General Store, this scenic property will forever remain as agricultural and recreational land along Dutch Creek and the Watauga River. Last spring a major stream restoration project improved the integrity of Dutch Creek. The property is now more conducive for agriculture and is safer for public access. A new, unpaved trail extends from the Valle Crucis Park loop through the field offering additional opportunities for fishing, exercising, bird watching, and more. “The Cooper Farm has amazing potential for hosting activities including sustainable agriculture, environmental education, and recreation,” said BRC Executive Director, Charlie Brady. “We are fortunate to partner with the Valle Crucis Community Park to open access to the farm. Blue Ridge Conservancy will continue working with community members to maximize the public benefit of the property.” “We are very excited for park visitors to come out and discover the magic and peace of our new grass path,” said Valle Cru-


cis Park Executive Director, Ashley Galleher. “This year outdoor recreation has seen a big surge in popularity so having more space to spread out and enjoy time in nature is crucial to the happiness and well-being of our community. We are proud to partner with BRC to make these opportunities available.” “Protecting the rural character and heritage of the Valle Crucis Community enhances quality of life to its residents and visitors and tightens our ties to the past. We hope this land fosters recreation, healthy living, and a strong sense of community to its users,” said John Cooper.

Mountains-to-Sea Trail

The 40 Hike Challenge was launched by Friends of the Mountain-to-Sea Trail (MST) to encourage families to get outside and explore North Carolina. The 1,175-mile trail meanders through the Coastal, Piedmont and Mountain regions. All 40 hikes in the Challenge are profiled in the official guide to the MST, Great Day Hikes on North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which showcases everything from scenic mountain vistas to surprising escapes in the state’s Piedmont region and the wonders of coastal plain pocosins. In early 2021, Friends of the Mountainsto-Sea Trail (MST) announced that the ElGenk family of Durham was the first family to complete the 40 Hike Challenge. Hussein and Nashua, and children Zakariyya, Ayyub, Kareema and Rasheed, ages 6 to 12, finished all 40 hikes in seven months. The family was introduced to the MST in 2020, when they needed to combat the extended screen time that they all were experiencing. Their next-door neighbors

shared the announcement of the 40 Hike Challenge on the MST and the El-Genks began hiking in May 2020. The 40 hikes highlight special spots along the MST as it crosses through small towns, national and state parks, quiet backroads, and historic sites. The hikes have been carefully chosen for hikers of all experience levels and range from half a mile to 8.6 miles. The El-Genks admittedly experienced some challenges, including a torrential rainstorm during the longest and toughest of the hikes (#8 - Linville Gorge Wolf Pit Road to Table Rock) but it was all part of the adventure. “We loved doing the challenge, and it was so timely as it gave us purpose and structure in a tough year,” says Hussein. “There is something on the trail for everyone of all ages, abilities and interests; we would love to see others take on this challenge of diverse hikes across our beautiful state! We are immensely grateful for the hard work to establish, maintain and constantly grow and improve this amazing public resource.” The family also took time to explore the trail communities and learn about history, culture, geology, industry and nature across the state. Zakariyya, age 12, shared, “I learned about the different rock formations and shapes around the state, like Pilot Mountain is a quartzite monadnock, Stone Mountain is a granite pluton, Hanging Rock has quartzite knobs and ridges, Linville Gorge was eroded out by the river, and Falls Lake is on a fault line.” To complete the 40 Hike Challenge, all 40 hikes from Great Day Hikes must be completed by March 31, 2023. All who com-

Left: El-Genk Family at Skinny Dip Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway, courtesy of the El-Genk family / Right: MountainTrue Guided Adventures, courtesy of plete the challenge will receive a special patch. Firsthand accounts from hikers taking the challenge are archived along with full details on the Friends of the MST’s website. Learn more at The Great Day Hikes on North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail guide was written by Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and published by UNC Press. Available at local bookstores and from the Friends’ at https://

Mountain True Guided Hikes

MountainTrue is a western NC non-profit that champions resilient forests, clean waters and healthy communities in the Southern Blue Ridge region. MountainTrue fosters and empowers residents throughout the region to engage in community planning, policy and project advocacy, and on-the-ground projects. They also offer a variety of public programs, including their Guided Adventures. MountainTrue Guided Adventures are a great way to explore the mountains and rivers of the Blue Ridge while learning from distinguished expert naturalists and celebrated local advocates. These enriching experiences are an excellent opportunity for you to connect with some of our mountain region’s most treasured natural places. Below are some upcoming opportunities in the High Country: High Country Wildflower Hike | May 7, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm ($10-$20) Join MountainTrue’s Public Lands Field Biologist, Josh Kelly, as he leads this hike to explore the wildflowers found in Elk Knob State Park. The hike is on the Summit Trail,

a moderate, 4-mile out and back trail, that offers spectacular views of Mount Jefferson, Grandfather Mountain, Mount Mitchell, and others. Sign up for the event at https:// Hikers will meet at The Summit Trail Head, Old Woods Rd, Todd, NC 28684, and will need to bring the following: closed-toed shoes, mask, sunglasses, water, lunch and/or snacks, sunscreen (no dogs, please). Watauga River Snorkel | June 4, Time and meeting location TBD ($20-$30) Join MountainTrue’s High Country Water Quality Administrator, Hannah Woodburn, and take the plunge to explore the unique ecosystems of the Watauga River. Hannah is a graduate student at Appalachian State University in biochemical toxicity and is one of the leading experts on the Watauga and its ecology. She is intimately familiar with the area and the river ecosystem and is eager to help participants find some smallmouth bass, black nose dace, rainbow and brown trout, and hopefully some tangerine darters! River snorkeling allows you an unparalleled viewpoint to explore all the nooks and crannies of your local river. By peeking under the water, you can find yourself swimming alongside darting fish or face-to-face with the tiny insect larvae that feed them. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of a Hellbender! Updates as to the precise location will be announced closer to the event, depending on the water levels in the area. If you sign up before May 27, MountainTrue will provide wetsuits & snorkels. Otherwise, participants will be responsible for bringing their own. All participants should know

Linville Gorge Wilderness

Continued on next page CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —


TRAILS: Continued from previous page how to swim, and the outing is limited to a maximum of 10 participants at this time (no children under 13). Compliance of COVID-19 event guidelines are required. Sign up for the event at https://mountaintrue. org/event/hco-june-snorkel/. MountainTrue members receive discounts on these and other 2021 MountainTrue Guided Adventures. As a member, you can help protect our forests, clean up our rivers, plan vibrant and livable communities, and advocate for a sound and sustainable future for the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. For a list of all events taking place this spring and summer, visit

Linville Gorge

Earlier this year, The Conservation Fund and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) announced the addition of 205 acres to Pisgah National Forest at Linville Gorge, buffering the adjacent Wilderness Area. Its protection secures iconic viewsheds, enhances access for recreation, and preserves wildlife habitat and water quality for the area. In 2018, The Conservation Fund purchased the property and transferred it

to USFS for their permanent protection at the end of 2020. This effort was made possible with support from the Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Conservancy and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, as well as funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund and Fred and Alice Stanback. An iconic destination in North Carolina, Linville Gorge is one of the deepest, most rugged and scenic gorges in the eastern United States. Sitting atop of Long Arm Mountain, this 205-acre property is visible from Linville Gorge and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Now part of the Pisgah National Forest, the land will be protected from any development that could hinder these stunning natural viewsheds. It also preserves a valuable watershed—specifically Bull Branch Creek which starts on the property and flows into Linville River—and secures public access on the east side of the gorge. “Linville Gorge is a popular place for recreation like hiking, camping, hunting and climbing,” said Bill Holman, The Conservation Fund’s North Carolina State Director. “Conserving land within the gorge not only

preserves an important environmental ecosystem, but it enhances these recreational opportunities, protects a stunning viewshed, attracts visitors, and supports North Carolina’s robust outdoor tourism economy.” Pisgah National Forest consists of over 500,000 acres of hardwood forestland, pristine waterfalls, and whitewater rivers— including the popular 50-foot Linville Falls. The Cherokee called the gorge “Eeseeoh,” meaning “river of many cliffs.” It was later given the name Linville after William Linville—a frontiersman who, when hunting in the gorge with his son, met an untimely death in the middle of a battle between the Cherokee and Shawnee. The gorge provides habitat for black bear, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, neotropical migratory birds—such as the black-throated green warbler—and federally endangered plant species, including the Virginia spiraea and northern beech fern. Today’s addition will expand protected habitat for these species and enhance accessible game lands for recreational hunting. Learn more at


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Lessons in Outdoor Adventure: Lees-McRae College Scores Big with Bikes and More


estled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, LeesMcRae College is a private, residential college that awards baccalaureate and graduate degrees. At nearly 4,000 feet— the highest elevation of any campus on the East Coast—the college celebrates its location through distinct programming. An emphasis on experiential education inspires students to learn by doing and gain broad knowledge through study across disciplines. Outdoor programs and recreation are an essential part of the Lees-McRae experience. In addition to college-sponsored hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, rafting, rock climbing, and caving trips, Lees-McRae also offers academic programs that put students right in the middle of the action, including Outdoor Recreation Management, Wildlife Biology, Cycling Studies, Wilderness Medicine, and Ski Industry Business and Instruction. Gold-Level Bicycle Friendly University The League of American Bicyclists, the premier grassroots advocacy organization encouraging better bicycling and protecting the rights of people who bike, has

recently honored Lees-McRae College with a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly University award in recognition of the institution’s achievements in promoting and enabling safe, accessible bicycling on campus. Lees-McRae, which has nearly 1,000 students, is the smallest educational institution in the U.S. to receive the Gold-level designation. Lees-McRae is able to rank alongside larger institutions with more resources through dedication to campus accessibility and education about the benefits of cycling. The college’s commitment to cycling is evident not only in its endeavors to create a campus culture and infrastructure that promote biking, but in its Cycling Studies minor—the only academic program of its kind in the country—and its champion men’s and women’s cycling teams. “It is so energizing to have LeesMcRae among our cohort of 212 Bicycle Friendly Universities across the country,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “The 2020 class of 38 Bicycle Friendly Universities, which includes Lees-McRae, has had to address a crisis unlike any we’ve seen in our lifetimes. Amidst the pandemic, we are

grateful each of these institutions has acknowledged the benefits to the well-being and health of its students, staff, and faculty in being a Bicycle Friendly University.” Nesper added, “These colleges and universities are leading by building healthy environments where people can safely get around while improving the well-being of their community by enabling access to sustainable transportation options.” Deana Acklin, Outdoor Programs and Campus Bicycle coordinator at LeesMcRae, said, “Our collaborative efforts are what afforded us this honor. Our mission moving forward as a Gold Bicycle Friendly Campus is to promote sustainability on campus and connection to the outdoors by growing the bicycle culture and making bikes easily accessible at Lees-McRae. We contribute to this culture by advancing our advocacy, improving our infrastructure, improving educational awareness for both people on bikes and drivers, and by providing a bicycle to any student who needs a bike for recreational activities or for commuting.” Top Adventure College In other news, Lees-McRae is hoping Continued on next page CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —


LEES MCRAE: Continued from previous page to hold on to its “crown” this spring in the Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine “Top Adventure College” contest. The winner of this prestigious competition will be announced in late April. Thirty-two schools from across the Southeast and MidAtlantic regions of the U.S. were chosen for this year’s competition. Lees-McRae is the defending champion of last year’s contest, and also won the championship in 2018; the college was first runner-up in 2019. Blue Ridge Outdoors selected the 32 colleges and universities based on their “outdoor clubs and curricula, their commitment to outdoor and environmental initiatives, the quality of their outdoor athletes and programs, and their local opportunities for adventure,” according to the contest website. “We feel so much pride and excitement from our previous Top Adventure College titles,” shared Katie Wall, assistant professor and program coordinator for Outdoor Recreation Management. “Here at Lees-McRae, it’s obvious why we are a top adventure college, and it’s fun sharing all the incredible experiences we provide. This competition is an annual opportunity for us to celebrate all we’ve accomplished and all we have planned. It’s one of our favorite times of year.” To find out if Lees-McRae has kept its title, and to learn more about the college’s award-winning programs and campus, visit or call 828.898.5241. The Bicycle Friendly University program now includes 212 colleges and universities in 47 states and the District of Columbia, and is part of the League’s Bicycle Friendly America program, which also awards communities and businesses with certifications as part of its mission to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. To apply or learn more about the BFU program and the League of American Bicyclists, visit the League online at


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There’s No Place Like Beech Mountain By Karen Rieley

Family Fun Month, photo by Todd Bush / Insert: Land of Oz,


hat do 40,000 yellow bricks, Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher, seven elephants, Jean-Claude Killy, Lance Armstrong, pole cats, bobcats and salamanders have in common? They are all part of the story of Beech Mountain, “the highest ski area in eastern America,” which is celebrating its 40th Anniversary throughout 2021. Each month of 2021, residents and visitors will have opportunities to help Beech Mountain celebrate its 40th Anniversary. May is set aside as the official monthlong celebration, in recognition that The North Carolina General Assembly incorporated the Town of Beech Mountain in May 1981. Visitors and residents can submit comments, photos and other memorabilia to Beech Mountain’s digital time capsule via Instagram @beechmountainnc, by email to beechmountainvisitorcenter@, or in person at the town’s birthday party, when the Time Capsule will be buried. The Town Birthday Party will honor veterans and highlight new recreation programs that the town is offering. In celebration of Arbor Day, guests will be given 40 seedlings to help plant around Beech Mountain. Visit https://beechmtn. com/40th/ for details about all 40th Anniversary events and the town’s 40 Days of Family Fun.

May also highlights the opening of the town’s camping area at Shane Outpost Park, the town’s newest recreation facility. The park is located beside Buckeye Lake and within walking distance to Buckeye Recreation Center. It hosts 10 tent campsites, a natural play area, a low ropes course, bathroom/shower facilities, picnic tables and shelters, trail access and eventually an ADA-compliant amphitheater. The Beech Mountain History Museum will open a Civil War Exhibit in May about the Battle on Beech, which was fought in 1864. It will also offer an audio exhibit featuring Ray Hicks, who was best known for telling of a group of stories known as the Jack Tales in which he wove fairy tale elements with realistic trappings of Southern Appalachian culture. In August, the Hi-Lo Adventure Trail, which begins and ends on Beech Mountain, will open with a free High-Lo Merchant Expo at the Buckeye Recreation Center. Visit the Town of Beech Mountain Visitor Center to pick up Hi-Lo maps that highlight fun activities and stops along the trail, including hiking, fishing, water sports, out-of-the-way stops like the Dry Run Grocery Store in Butler, TN, and the old Neva Community Center’s farmers market, as well as better known stops like Doe Mountain, the Watauga Lake Winery and Mast General Store.

“The Hi-Lo Adventure Trail is designed to let people get to know what’s on the ‘Other Side of the Mountain’,” said Kate Gavenus, the town’s director of tourism and economic development. Dr. Thomas Brigham, a Birmingham, AL, dentist and avid skier, in his search for a Southeast mountain that could support skiing, found Beech Mountain in the late 1960s. At more than 5,000 feet, Beech Mountain’s cold winter climate makes skiing possible from November through early April most years. He approached local businessmen Harry and Grover Robbins who were interested in building a golf course. They attracted 40 investors of $20,000 each to enable them to purchase more than seven square miles. They divided it into lots and subdivisions and formed the Carolina Caribbean Corporation (CCC). The CCC created a ski resort, golf course, pool and tennis facilities. It built houses based on an alpine Bavarian village theme and laid out roads and water and sewer services. Charlotte-based designer Jack Pentes, who had helped Grover Robbins design Tweetsie Railroad, designed the Land of Oz theme park. The Land of Oz’s Yellow Brick Road was made of 40,000 glazed bricks. Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, Continued on next page



along with other stars, attended the Land of Oz opening day ceremony in 1970. The Beech Mountain Property Owners’ Association (POA) was formed in 1970 to collect assessments for the maintenance of roads and recreation areas. That was also the year that well-known and much-beloved resident Fred Pfohl first started working at Beech Mountain’s ski resort. His next working gig was with the Land of Oz. Jean-Claude Killy and other famous skiers put Beech Mountain’s ski slopes on the map in the ‘70s by competing in the North Carolina Ski Cup professional ski races. The POA took over ownership and operation of community services in 1974. Pfohl was the first elected and longtime mayor of Beech Mountain, spearheading countless town projects. His late wife, Margie, and he opened Fred’s General Mercantile in 1979, and the store has been open every day since. After the town was incorporated in 1981, the POA reorganized as Beech Mountain Club to take over management of the golf course and recreational facilities. Today, the club’s recreation campus features an interactive family pool surrounded by a fitness center, pickleball and tennis courts, pavilion, playground, day camp and a wide range of social events, classes, group excursions, presentations, interest clubs and groups. In September 1984, the Clyde Beatty Circus was coming to Beech Mountain. When the trucks could not haul the elephants up to mountain, they walked up. Phfol and other town leaders got a ride on them. Ski Beech was purchased by the Costin family in 1986. Now known as Beech Mountain Resort, it offers snowmaking capabilities that cover 100 percent of the ski slopes, a one-of-a-kind bar at the top of the mountain called 5506’, and an onsite brewery. Non skiers can enjoy onsite tubing with over 700 feet of runs in the colder months and mountain biking, disc golf, scenic lift rides and Mile High Yoga in the warmer months, making the resort a year-round destination. Beech Mountain and its NC Highway 184, which gains 1,450 feet in altitude in three miles, has a long history in the biking world. The mountain has hosted four


national bike championships, such as the Tour DuPont, which Lance Armstrong famously won in 1995 and finished first or second each year from 1993 to 1996. Lees-McRae College’s mountain biking team, which uses the mountain to train, has the nation’s only collegiate Cycling Studies. The team has produced 10 Team National Championships and 59 Individual National Champions since 2001. The Land of Oz is now family-owned as well. Although COVID-19 has restricted operation, normally the theme park runs “Journey with Dorothy Tours” on select days in June and July as part of Beech Mountain’s Family Fun Month. It also hosts “Autumn at Oz Festival,” one of the world’s largest Wizard of Oz festivals, on two consecutive weekends (Friday through Sunday) in early September. Private tours are available in June through early October. At an elevation of 5,506 feet, the town draws tourists year-round, many seeking adventure on the winter ski slopes, as well as more seeking cool mountain air, lush trails and country club amenities in the summer. “The town has 66 miles of street with about 2,500 homes and condos and 3,000 vacant lots ready to be someone’s next home for year-round living or as a second home that tourists may rent,” said Jim Brooks, owner of Beechwood Realty. The Town of Beech Mountain today is home to at least 53 businesses employing more than 700 people. It is part of a thriving economic corridor created between Beech Mountain and the surrounding areas of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. Town Manager Bob Pudney reports that Beech Mountain’s short-term rental business has grown quickly. “Our goal is to continue building a vibrant resort destination that offers year-round activities with controlled growth in keeping with the charm and history of the town.” “It’s exciting to see so many new people buying property here on Beech Mountain,” said Pfohl. “I hope they are able to appreciate the wonderful atmosphere and peace of life that the town offers, just as my family and I have, even as we continue to grow and plan for Beech’s future.”

Photo by Todd Bush

BEECH: Continued from previous page

Left to right, Delores Robbins, Dr. Tom Brigham and Rushton Hays, courtesy of the Beech Mountain Historical Society Going Back in Time: 1966 Carolina Caribbean Corporation formed 1967 Ski Beech opens 1970 Land of Oz opens 1978

Sanitary District established to manage water and sewer; Property Owners’ Association acquired the golf course and the 13-1/4 acre recreation park

1979 Fred’s Mercantile opens 1981 Town incorporated; first mayor Fred Pfohl 1984 Clyde Beatty Cole Brothers Circus comes to Beech 1989 New Town Hall Building opens 1994 Tour DuPont Bike Race travels through Beech Mountain 2002 Beech Creek Bog becomes a State Natural Area; currently managed by Grandfather Mountain State Park 2006 Beech Mountain Historical Society established 2006 Buckeye Recreation Center opens 2013 Beech Mountain History Museum opens 2020 Buckeye Recreation Center renamed for Margie and Fred Pfohl 2020 Buckeye Creek Road is paved providing an alternate route out of town Compiled by Pat Wright/Beech Mountain History Museum

beech mountain




Avery County



Spring Has Sprung FISHING

By Andrew Corpening


ow that spring has returned to the High Country, many people think about outside activities. For some it could be hiking or camping, for others it might be gardening and lawn care, but for the fly fisher it means trout fishing. However, if your gear is not ready, you might have a problem. With a little maintenance your gear can work better, last longer, and make you a more successful fly fisher. The first item that needs to be checked is the fly line. You can visually inspect your line for cracks or wear, and if the line is badly cracked or even abraded, it is probably time to replace it. If it does not look too bad, a good cleaning will probably be enough to get you through the season. A clean, reconditioned line will cast and float better. The local fly shops sell commercial cleaners that clean and recondition the line. Using these products is the easiest and most convenient method. Fly line should also be slick to cast properly. If you use just line cleaner it may reduce its slick coating. To make the line slick again, you can use a commercial product or use a product that both cleans and reconditions at the same time. When finished, wind the line back on the reel. And speaking of reels, does yours seem stiff or hard to wind? If so, it may need cleaning and lubricating. Under certain storage conditions, the lubricant applied at the factory can dry out and make the reel hard to wind. If this is the case, remove the spool from the housing and check the spindle. Use a rag to wipe the spindle clean and then apply lubricant; use the lubricant sparingly and be sure to avoid getting it in the drag system. Reel lubricant is also available at the local shops. Some other items to check are your leaders and tippet. It will be obvious that you need a new leader if it is getting too


short or is full of knots. However, it could also need replacing if it is getting too old. This does not mean that you should throw away all your leaders and tippets each year. Storage conditions have a lot to do with how long they will last. Leaders and tippets are especially vulnerable to high heat or sunlight. If your equipment is not stored in the trunk of your car during the summer or where it gets direct sun, then you are probably alright. But is it worth the risk of losing the trout of a lifetime by not using good leaders and tippet? If you have a problem with your waders or hip boots, it will be abundantly clear. A wet pant leg is a sure sign you have a leak. A cut or tear should be easy to find but a pin-hole leak is a bit harder. If you use the stocking foot type of waders or hippers, the best way to find a pinhole leak is to turn them inside out and fill them with water. When you see the water coming out you have found the leak and can circle it with a pen. After turning them right-side out again you can patch the hole once the waders dry. With the popular breathable waders and hip boots, it is important to use the proper method to patch the hole. Some patching methods are not compatible with some of the breathable materials and can make the problem worse. Consult with a local fly shop to find the best patching method. While you are taking care of these fly fishing chores, it can also be a good time to clean out some of your fly boxes. Every fly fisher is carrying around flies that haven’t been used in years. It is a fly fisher’s nature to buy flies that look good and give them a try. Logically, if the fly does not produce, you would take it out of your box, but most fly fishers have the “just in case” mentality and carry them forever. Clean out your boxes and you may find that you end up carrying one less box.

Now that your equipment is ready it is time to hit the water, and spring is a great time to fish. As the water warms up, the insects that the trout feed on are getting more plentiful and the wild trout will get more active. Also, the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission starts stocking the Delayed Harvest and Hatchery Supported waters in March. Keep in mind that the Delayed Harvest waters are single hook, catch and release only from October 1 to the first Saturday in June, and that the Hatchery Supported streams, where you can keep asome trout, are closed to fishing from March 1 to the first Saturday in April. It is difficult to recommend specific dry flies for spring fishing since spring is a transition season. As the temperatures warm up, the insects change from small dark flies during the early spring to larger, light-colored flies in late spring and early summer. If you see trout feeding when you arrive at the river, take a moment to observe the insect. If you can determine its color and size, try to match the hatch. If you see feeding but no insects, try using a parachute fly beginning with a dark pattern (Adams). If that does not work, switch to a light-colored parachute (Cahill). Of course underwater nymphs always will work since 90 percent of the trout’s diet consists of underwater insects. You cannot go wrong using Copper Johns, beadhead pheasant tails, and Prince Nymphs. As the water temperature rises with the progression of spring, streamers will work well, especially on larger trout. With the warmer temperatures, the trout get more active and will chase after streamers fished with a darting action. Now that your equipment is ready and you know what to use, forget about the cold days of winter and go fishing. Time flies so don’t waste it.

A Conversation with Constable Cook


yles Cook was born in North Carolina, but it is fair to say that Tennessee raised him. Being told he’s the “adopted son of Carter County” is a distinction he relishes. Cook began a law enforcement career in Carter County, fell in love with her people, and never left. He has served in numerous roles at the Carter County Sheriff ’s Office, such as corrections, patrol, narcotics, warrant service, FBI and USMS task force. He graduated from East Tennessee State University with a Master’s Degree in criminology and taught there as an adjunct professor. He enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserve, and currently serves as a proud Infantryman in Company I, 3rd Battalion - 25th Marines “just over the hill” in Johnson City. These days, Myles teaches full time at the Elizabethton campus of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in the Criminal Justice Department. It is in this role where he was instrumental in launching an award-winning program that teaches hands-on experience and certification, and could change the way the state views public safety training. In 2020, Cook was elected to serve as a Tennessee Constable. If you are not familiar with the term, you’re not alone. “It is a duly elected state judicial officer,” Cook explains. “The position of Constable is an ancient one that shows a belief in direct representation of the executive branch. It is a belief our forefathers who crossed Sycamore Shoals to turn the tide of the American Revolutionary War at Kings Mountain would have supported. While Constables have the same arrest powers as any other officer in the state, I generally

like to use my time for the ‘community caretaker function’ of law enforcement, which involves things like community engagement, volunteer service, checking on community members in need, and giving advice for those seeking process.“ Within minutes of meeting him, Cook’s enthusiasm for service to community and country is obvious, but he also has a real passion for fishing and local history. “I have never considered leaving Carter County, because the history, the people, and the fishing are just too good,” says Cook. “The history of Carter County has always amazed me: Fort Watauga, the Watauga Association, the ‘old fields,’ to name a few…speaking of Fort Watauga, there is some fine trout fishing in that stretch of the Watauga River, where you can walk (and fish) in the same spots as men such as Daniel Boone did. A great mentor of mine—in both outdoors education and professional police work—taught me law enforcement really is akin to trout fishing. It is great to land a ‘big fish’ and take a picture for the paper, but if you do not leave the environment better than you found it, if the rest of the fish are not healthier and happier for your being there, if you have done nothing to help preserve that river, or that community, what is the point?” Cook says lawmen and trout fisherman aren’t so different. “I’ve never seen a more caring conservationist than a trout fisherman, showing near religious respect for the fish. Peace officers do well when they are trusted members in their community, role models of impeccable character, being careful not to break the trust of their com-

By Mike Hill

munity. Old methods of respect, and of being a steward—both in trout fishing and being a lawman—pay dividends. Both are professions steeped in love, respect, stewardship, and a sturdy knowledge of life patterns. And that is the duality of trout and public service, both can be rewarding and unforgiving.” Cook’s usual fishing spots include nearly any deep pool on the Doe or Watauga River. The Watauga boasts numbers, but the Doe provides an intimacy of experience. “Whether I am searching for excitement, supper, or peace of mind, both rivers will provide enough,” he says. Not being a purist, Cook prefers to spin fish but will fly-fish depending on location. He ties his own flies/jigs and has had the greatest luck on combinations of white, black, and olive marabou. Guides are certainly helpful on the Watauga, but not necessary. He says the Doe, from the Roan all the way to Elizabethton, is an experience best suited for the quiet solitude of self-teaching. “The patient, quiet, Appalachian autodidact was our grandfather’s recipe, and one that still works, and works well if you are patient enough.” In another intersection of all his life pursuits, Cook and wife Courtney recently purchased a home “within a stone’s throw from where the covered bridge crosses the mighty Doe.” Interestingly enough, a structure on the property is believed to be the original Carter County jail. “I believe I have wound myself into the fabric of this community,” Cook says, “…it has turned me into the person I am. I hope to spend my life in service of this community.” CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —


Grandfather Mountain in Education Mode: New Ways to Enjoy an Old Favorite By Nan K. Chase Grandfather Mountain offers access to more than 12 miles of pristine hiking trails, with options for beginners, experts and all points in between. The nonprofit park also offers guided hikes by reservation. Photo courtesy of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation


y love affair with Grandfather Mountain began more than 35 years ago, when my husband and I were raising three young children in Boone. That mountain was our playground, and the older the kids got the more adventuresome our hiking became. Nowadays, as a grandmother of six, I’m not so comfortable scrambling up the high ladders and over the cliff faces, and the grandkids aren’t quite ready for that either. Fortunately, we have discovered some fresh and highly educational ways to enjoy the Grandfather Mountain nature park attraction. (The 720-acre private portion of the massive peak is privately run by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, while another 2,500 acres is now Grandfather Mountain State Park.) Behind-the-scenes tours of the animal habitats, group activities tailored for homeschoolers and scouts, adult field courses, naturalist-guided hikes, even a “keeper for a day” program for animal lovers are all ways that the Stewardship Foundation is finding to boost the educational component of its operations. With many children locked out of inperson schooling for much of the past year


because of COVID-19 restrictions, the science education aspect of Grandfather Mountain has grown in importance. We decided to give it a try last fall when my now 40-year-old daughter and her husband brought their three kids— ages 4, 7, and 9 at the time—to the High Country for some outdoor fun. “Gramps” and I took the kids to Grandfather for the day while their parents got some time off. We had booked two different tours with the kids (see “When You Visit”), and had time left over for a leisurely lunch and a quick, cold and windy but thrilling stop at the Mile High Swinging Bridge. Learning from Nature I was so impressed with the quality of the “instruction.” Our guides were more than just highly trained employees; they seemed happy to be outdoors teaching and sharing the riches of Grandfather Mountain’s 16 distinct ecological communities. The great outdoors is an everchanging pageant of colors and sounds, birds and animals, so every day holds different features. Because the summit was closed in the morning due to high winds, we began

farther down the mountain with a slow guided hike. My grandkids are super hikers, which means they love to race along a trail. In this case, naturalist instructor Lauren Farrell handed each one a plastic magnifying glass, and we took to the trail with a mission: go slowly…look closely… what do you see? So instead of running along the trail we took it step by step, pausing to peer into the miniature worlds hiding behind bark, under rocks, inside tree trunks. “How” and “why” are the building blocks of scientific knowledge, and listening to the kids’ questions—and answers—was a delight. Lauren says she loves the excitement of young children who have never visited the mountains before and the feeling of combining science with the natural beauty all around. “It is hard to choose which of the programs I enjoy the most, because they are all so different based on the teachable moments that appear, such as seeing the first bloodroot flower of the season, or a migrating bald eagle in the fall!” After the hike we drove up to the nature center, animal habitats and café, called Mildred’s Grill after Grandfather Mountain’s famous bear of old. Although

The environmental wildlife habitats are home to river otters, black bears, mountain lions, bald eagles and elk, all of whom were either injured or orphaned in the wild or born into captivity before arriving at Grandfather, therefore unfit for release into the wild. Guests can learn more with a behind-the-scenes tour. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Grandfather Mountain offers mile-high outdoor fun for young and old. Photo by Chip Henderson | Chip Henderson Photography

the natural history displays were closed during renovation, there was plenty of activity at the outdoor bird feeders to keep the kids amused as they scarfed down cheeseburgers, onion rings and homemade pie. It’s funny what kids remember; when Gramps and I returned the grandchildren to their parents, my daughter said that as a child she loved the onion rings at Mildred’s Grill. Then it was time for the behind-thescenes tour of the animal enclosures, again with a professional naturalist, the friendly Deborah Anderson. To stand up close— behind safety fencing—near the huge elk and to learn the daily habits of the sleek mountain lions were sensations I’m sure none of us will forget. And who knew that the adorable river otters have the capacity to crush human bones! Wait, There’s More While a lot of the education programming appeals to young children, there’s a “keeper for a day” experience for kids 12 and over at the animal habitats. Rangerled guided hikes to the mountain’s main peaks are also on tap for families and friend groups that can handle the rugged

The Mile High Swinging Bridge offers panoramic views of the entire Western North Carolina High Country. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

terrain; the focus can be on birds, wildflowers, or any other relevant topic. Reserve those hikes at least two weeks ahead. Rounding out the learning opportunities are the all-day “adult field courses” that run from late March through October. The topics in 2021: advanced birding, landscape design, late summer sketching, and star gazing on the mountain. Grandfather Mountain’s John Caveny, incoming director of education and natural resources, urges visitors to ask lots of questions as they take advantage of special programming. “I always tell my staff to leave the visitors with more information than they came seeking…They likely will not learn if they do not ask.” He invites the bird-watching public to join staff members for the annual HawkWatch each September, to help count hawks migrating southward for the winter. “This is my favorite time of the year for two reasons: it is amazing to see these raptors, especially the broad-winged hawks that come through in the largest numbers, and it is a great ‘aha moment’ for guests to look up and witness this spectacular natural event right above their heads.”

When You Visit Plan ahead! As Grandfather Mountain supports COVID-related precautions in 2021, admission tickets must be purchased online at and for timed entry, although a limited number of tickets may be available at the main entrance on weekdays. Call 828-733-4337 for information. Admission ranges from $9 for children ages 4-12 to $22 for adults. Senior and AAA discounts are available. Check the website for special program add-on prices, and be sure to reserve those early. Although admission tickets are nonrefundable, Grandfather Mountain offers a “rain date” policy, good for one year. The naturalist-led activities are generally offered April through October and require at least one week’s advance reservation, although ranger-led hikes are available all year. Weather is always a concern at Grandfather Mountain, and if winds are too high the summit is closed. Bring an extra layer of clothing even in summer, as temperatures vary widely and clouds can close in fast. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —


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Boone Bigfoots Baseball is on the Mound.

So, Batter Up! By Steve York

“If you build it, he will come.”


hat ethereal whisper, which drove the storyline in Kevin Costner’s classic 1989 feel-good baseball movie, Field Of Dreams, still echoes in the hearts of movie fans. Its meaning remained a mystery until near the end. That was when it was revealed that the “he” referenced in that haunting entreat turned out to be Ray Kinsella’s (Keven Costner) late father, John Kinsella. John had come back from Heaven as a young man to play a bucket list baseball game with long-departed major league greats such as Smoky Joe Woods, Mel Ott, Gil Hodges and the infamous Shoeless Joe Jackson. One of the film’s most emotional moments came after the game when Ray called out to his father’s apparition, “Hey, Dad, wanna have a catch?” That scene brought chills and a few nostalgic tears to the eyes of anyone who’s ever had a catch with their dad.

Nelson Aerial Productions /

Then, in sharp contrast, there’s that other 1989 comedy classic, Major League. One of the most memorable moments in that film was when Charlie Sheen’s character, Ricky Vaughn, was called out to relieve his Cleveland Indians’ pitcher in a tight 9th inning. As Vaughn—nicknamed “Wild Thing” for his oft wild and blazing fastballs—strolled out onto the field, the stadium’s PA system started blasting the 1966 rock hit song, “Wild Thing,” by the Troggs. And, right on cue, his wildly exuberant Cleveland Indians fans leapt to their feet and sang along with a tumultuous, bleacher-rumbling roar. That scene also brought a few chills, not to mention, wild laughter. Whether via a sentimental storyline that tugs at the heartstrings, or a comedic farce that keeps us in stitches, one thing both films had in common is how they captured America’s nearly two-century love affair with our nation’s original “favorite

pastime,” BASEBALL. As Terrence Mann ( James Earl Jones) proclaimed in Field of Dreams, “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball.” And that sentiment is why blockbuster films such as The Natural, Bull Durham, A League of Their Own, Moneyball and even the 1946 film, The Pride of The Yankees, have all reaffirmed that same love affair. Those films and more always remind us how much baseball and America’s sandlot spirit are inextricably stitched together. And now that glorious spirit is headed home to the High Country this summer as BOONE BIGFOOTS BASEBALL hits App State’s Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium from early June through mid-August. With it comes an A-team lineup of sizzling summer baseball fun, excitement, hot dogs, fireworks, fanfare plus live entertainment. To add an Continued on next page CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —


L to R: Cobra Kai’s Ralph “Daniel Russo” Macchio, Bob Wilson, Billy “Johnny Lawrence” Zabka. Wilson is also Boone Bigfoots President.

BIGFOOT: Continued from previous page extra kick to the spectacle, on July 24 fans will be treated to celebrity guest appearances by the two big league stars of the current Netflix hit series Cobra Kai! But wait a minute! Isn’t Cobra Kai about karate? How do karate and baseball fit together? In this case, like a glove. Cobra Kai is the modern-day Netflix series follow-up to the classic 1984 film, The Karate Kid. The two stars of the series are, once again, Ralph “Daniel Russo” Macchio and William (Billy) “Johnny Lawrence” Zabka. And those same movie all-stars will be here to help celebrate Boone Bigfoots Baseball. They will even be throwing out the first pitch on July 24—Cobra Kai Night. So, how did these two sporting worlds line up together? Well, that would be via the inspiration of one Bob Wilson of Deep Gap, North Carolina. Yes, baseball fans, with support from App State’s Director of Athletics, Doug Gillin, and Executive Associate Athletics Director Jonathan Reeder, Bob Wilson— who just happens to be producer of Cobra Kai—has teamed up with Boone Bigfoots’ Ryan Smoot/Head Coach, Matt Anders/ Assistant Coach, Andrew Papp/Operations, Baylee Morton/Communications Director, Tanner Graeber/Supervising Partner and Ryan Berg/Creative Director. Together this collaboration is bringing exciting Minor League baseball to Beaver Field. Wilson was born and raised in Los Angeles and is a 35-year veteran film and television director/producer. His more recent credits include Cobra Kai, the USA/Netflix Queen of the South, and the Lifetime Channel Drop Dead Diva series. Wilson is also a self-proclaimed


baseball fanatic. He, his wife and their two Australian Shepherds moved to the cool mountain air of Deep Gap a couple years ago while vacationing up from Atlanta, Georgia, where Cobra Kai is headquartered and filmed. He fell in love with these mountains, the Boone area, App State and everything our western highlands have to offer, including our strong spirit of competitive outdoor athletics. In the midst of a temporary COVIDrelated Cobra Kai filming hiatus and a lull in live, outdoor sporting events, it occurred to Wilson that a perfect way to jumpstart local spirits would be to revive the ageold American tradition of summer baseball right here in the High County. So he knocked the dirt off his cleats and took a swing at creating a partnership with App State that could generate big excitement for the community while also being a direct fundraising opportunity for the school. The result? A Home Run! His Boone Bigfoots baseball dream is now a reality with all profits from ticket and merchandise sales going back into the community through a donation to the App State Athletic Scholarship Fund. Why the Boone Bigfoots name? “From the beginning we wanted a mascot that is family friendly, fun, and relevant to the lore of the Boone community,” notes Tanner Graeber, Wilson’s supervising partner. “We kicked around hundreds of possibilities throughout the early months of the pandemic, but ultimately circled back to an absolute classic. What we landed on was BIG-E the Bigfoot! He’s BIG, friendly, illusive, and ready for some summer baseball. Oh, and be sure to keep an eye out…because Bigfoot sightings will be up!” adds Graeber.

“We’ve joined the newly created Textile League,” Wilson explains. “The Boone Bigfoots, a 501(c3) non-profit baseball organization, is part of a college level independent summer Wood Bat League with teams playing in Minor League and college stadiums out of North Carolina and Virginia. This League is run by world baseball veteran, Greg Suire, and welcomes college eligible athletes from all over the country.” Bigfoots coach, Ryan Smoot, adds, “I’m excited to work with Bob in bringing summer collegiate baseball to Boone. I look forward to joining him, Andrew, Baylee, Tanner, and anyone else in building an organization that is not just competitive on the field, but an asset to the community.” “We are currently seeking host families that are able to join our team in housing players for the run of the season this summer,” Wilson notes. “We are also seeking sponsor partnerships with corporations, local businesses and personal donors. Anyone interested in either or both support opportunities can contact Operations Manager, Andrew Papp, at” Ticket sales, the full season lineup, team players, the Bigfoots story and COVIDrelated notices are all available online at You can also keep up with the team on Facebook and other social media. Spoiler Alert! The first game of the season, Saturday, May 29, features Charlotte’s award-wining, hit recording Country/Rock band, Diamonds and Whiskey. All that’s left to say now is, “PLAY BALL!”

Experience 2021 in... S U G A R M O U N T A I N GOLF AND TENNIS CLUB

Avery County Avery Fine Art & Master Crafts Festivals

Sugar Mountain Resort

July 16-18 August 13-15

Village of There’s a new energy rising at the Sugar Mountain Golf and Tennis Club. Our public golf course offers fabulous putting greens and shot making challenges. The six Har-Tru clay tennis courts feature superbly maintained playing surfaces. Golf and Tennis are open and accessible to everyone. You won’t find better value, or a heartier welcome anywhere in the mountains. • After the games, unwind and enjoy great food and drink at the Caddy Shack Café, with its spectacular panoramic views. Weekly, from Memorial Day through Labor Day, enjoy great food and dancing with live music on the deck. It’s mountain casual, affordable, with lots of opportunities to meet new friends who share your love of the High Country. Make this season your season at Sugar Mountain Golf and Tennis Club.

Avery Chamber Golf Classic Beech Mountain Club

September 20

44th Annual Woolly Worm Festival Every 3rd Weekend in October

Downtown Banner Elk, NC

October 16 & 17

Event Updates at Reserve tee times at

Golf: 828.898.6464 Tennis: 828.898.6746

Our Visitor Center is located at 4501 Tynecastle Hwy, Unit 2 Banner Elk, NC 28604

828-898-5605 | CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —



As a Blue Ridge member, you have a powerful connection with your utility. That’s because you are much more than a customer. You’re a member-owner of an electric cooperative formed and governed by local people. As a member, you elect the Board of Directors, with one member, one vote. You also receive capital credits — money back to you, those who use our services. You have access to innovative services, renewable energy options and 24/7 reliable power, thanks to a dedicated team of employees. Your cooperative also partners with the local community to attract new business, support education and improve the quality of life in our area. This includes grants to local organizations, as well as support to enhance broadband internet access across our area.

Blue Ridge and the members we serve. Together, we’re stronger.


A patch of ramps in the springtime. Photo courtesy of Don Casada.

A bowl of freshly harvested ramps.


he woodlands and fields, highways and byways of the Carolina High Country offer a rich and varied bounty to those with sufficient knowledge and the necessary gumption to collect harvests from nature’s larder. These foodstuffs come in many forms—vegetables, herbs, nuts, berries, and fruits—and their collective availability stretches across many months. Perhaps none, however, are more welcome than the greens of spring. The list of edible offerings from early spring is a long one, and folks living close to the land in the Appalachians once knew them with an intimacy born of a mating of necessity and practicality. The good news is that they remain readily widespread today and can add delight to the spring menu and a welcome diversion from daily routine in their gathering. Among the favorite wild vegetables available regionally to readers, sometimes almost literally at their doorsteps, are dandelions, lamb’s quarter, tender young fiddlehead ferns, newly sprouted stinging nettles, purslane, wild garlic and onions, branch lettuce (saxifrage), wild lettuce, wild mustard, saw brier (greenbrier) tips, speckled dock, creasy greens (also known as cress, though not to be confused with water cress), red-rooted pigweed (if the “pig” is a turnoff just call it amaranth), sorrel, cattail shoots and stalks, crow’s foot, sochan, ramps, and of course the incomparable poke. “These greens are popular staples, however the woody counterparts to spring’s wild vegetables should not be overlooked. Although syrup making from the rising sap of maples has never been common in the southern Appalachians to anything approaching the extent found farther north, it’s no accident that a region of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park where maples are abundant is known

as Sugarlands. Even today, if you want a refreshing and slightly sweet drink from nature, tap a tree or two and attach a bucket when the sap starts to rise in early spring. Sweet birch was sometimes used to make “Triple S” tea (in company with spicebush twigs and sassafras roots), and licking the sap from a piece of birch bark is far better than sucking a drop of nectar from a honeysuckle bloom. Of course sassafras tea, often blended with a bit of honey or blackstrap molasses, is probably best known of all the old-time spring tonics. A scrumptious harbinger of spring which hardy mountain folks have long considered both a feast and a fine “pick me up,” the tender sprouts of pokeweed, when cooked, are universally known throughout the region as “poke sallet.” A bit of explanation is needed at this point. Sallet and salad are two distinctly different edibles. A sallet consists of some type of greens, wild or tame, cooked in water and usually with a piece of streaked meat being added to the pot. Salad, on the other hand, refers to uncooked vegetables such as might engender a comment of this nature: “We caught a mess of trout and that evening enjoyed a fine bait of them with a kilt salad of branch lettuce and ramps.” A mess probably needs a bit of clarification as well. In terms of amount, a mess is somewhat amorphous, but if asked for synonym or definition, “a precious plenty” comes immediately to mind. In other words, a mess is an ample quantity of some edible. Poke sprouts show their heads early in the greening-up season, and thanks to dried stalks left over from the previous year, finding places where the plant grows is a cinch. Among the sites you are likely to locate poke in abundance are road banks, field edges, recently abandoned agricultural fields or pastures, logging yards

By Jim Casada where harvested timber was gathered to be loaded on trucks, and indeed most anywhere that is fairly open without significant overstory. Birds, foxes, and other critters that eat the purple berries in fall guarantee that this widespread plant gets “seeded” in abundant fashion. In fact, foxes enjoy the berries, which are poisonous for humans, so much that their appearance after consuming them resulted in a delightfully descriptive if somewhat crude simile I’ve heard all my life: “As red as a fox’s ass in pokeberry time.” In addition to being free for the gathering, poke is healthy, delicious, and just enough of a purgative to give one’s body what Grandma Minnie called “a good spring cleaning.” Grandpa Joe had an even more graphic, or perhaps earthier, way of describing the side effects of what he invariably styled “a good bait of poke sallet.” He would talk about how it had always been a welcome addition to diet at the end of a long winter and how much he enjoyed eating it. However, he would finish with a bit of a cautionary note: “It’s fine, but it sure will set you free.” Poke grew abundantly in the pasture adjacent to my boyhood home, and it holds a special place in my memory not only as a culinary delight but for pecuniary reasons as well. The first money I ever earned came from a number eight paper poke crammed with poke (if that seems confusing to some readers, I’ve just learned something about you—I don’t think paper bags are called pokes over most of the country, but I’ll guarantee that the word is a part of the vocabulary of anyone for whom High Country English is their native tongue). My second grade school teacher absolutely loved Continued on next page CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —



Spring’s Wild Bounty

Water cress beckons the spring (and the food lover).


WILD BOUNTY: Continued from previous page Left: The Ore Knob Mine in Ashe County was just one copper mine in the High Country. Photo by Michael C. Hardy Below: Image courtesy of the Ashe Historical Society Young poke shoots

History on a Stick:

The Ore Knob Mine By Michael C. Hardy


or much of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century, mining was big business in western North Carolina. The first gold rush in the United States took place in the greater Charlotte area in the 1820s and 1830s. Mining iron ore from Cranberry and mica from the Spruce Pine mica belt lasted well into the mid-1900s, providing jobs and a rail link to the outside world. Marble, rubies, sapphires, garnets, emeralds, aquamarine, feldspar, kaolin, and copper round out the major mining industries, some of which are still practiced today. It is not entirely clear who discovered the copper mines in Ashe County or when. Owen Ballou purchased property at Ore Knob in Ashe County, and while looking for iron ore found copper, but did not pursue it. The property was later sold for taxes in 1848. In February 1855, a group of investors began working the mine, but due to the cost of moving the copper to the nearest railroads, the mine closed the following year. The mine did not reopen until July 1873, under the direction of Clayton and Company of Baltimore, Maryland. New machinery was installed, and in just one year, 400,000 pounds of copper was mined. A town, known as Ore Knob, was established by the General Assembly in March 1875. At one time, it boasted 700 residents, with a school, churches, post office, and a bank. Local historian Arthur Fletcher considered the Ore Knob Mine the “leading copper producer of the United States.” In 1877, the price of copper began to decline. Work continued until 1880, when mining ceased altogether. From December 1883 until 1962, mining took place sporadically, eventually producing 31,000 tons of copper, with smaller amounts of gold and silver. The town of Ore Knob rose and declined just like the mines, and today there is only a quiet crossroads where there was once a bustling community. There were other copper mines in the area. Ashe County also had the Peach Bottom Mine and the Copper Knob Mine, while not far away in Watauga County was the Elk Knob Mine. As with the Ore Knob Mine, the cost of mining the copper and getting it to market far outweighed the profit; the Ore Knob Mine outlasted the others. In 1954, the state of North Carolina erected a state historical marker at the intersection of County Road 88 and Little Peak Road.


poke sallet, and when I presented her with a good mess she rewarded me with a quarter. That was big money for a small boy in 1950. For a few weeks it was a “cut and come again” vegetable, and I knew the location of every poke plant within a mile of our home. Second only to poke, ramps hold a special place in mountain food lore. Indeed, there have long been ramp festivals celebrating returning spring at locales throughout the region. That’s thanks in part to the plant’s pungency—raw ramps make garlic seem an olfactory sissy—which has given it a special place in folklore. Simply put, anyone who has consumed raw ramps can instantaneously clear a classroom, empty church pews, or chase away everyone downwind for a distance of thirty yards unless they too have eaten the wild vegetable. Once you do so, the side-effects magically vanish. The other consideration is that ramps have become a hoity-toity ingredient in high-class eating establishments, and there’s no question that the plant adds zest and taste delight to many dishes. The key consideration, however, is that in such situations it is invariably cooked. Doing so completely mitigates the “smell factor” side effects. You will seldom if ever find any of the other offerings from nature’s bounty mentioned above served in dining establishments with the possible exception of water cress as a garnish, but for the adventurous or those with adequate amounts of what my grandfather always called gumption, taste treats aplenty beckon from the wilds. You’ve just got to venture afield along with knowing how to identify edible plants and the places where they grow. You’ll get some exercise while doing the hunting and harvesting, enjoy some mighty fine eating, and savor the satisfaction of linking hands with the mountain past. To sign up for Jim’s free monthly e-newsletter or learn more about his most recent book, A Smoky Mountain Boyhood: Musings, Memories, and More, visit his website at

The Hardy Family: Elizabeth, Nate, Isabella and Michael

The Hardy Family By LouAnn Morehouse


uring these long, strange days of pandemic stress there have been so many things we haven’t been able to do. For one, it’s been especially difficult to maintain all the precious relationships with family, friends, acquaintances, and neighbors that give color and meaning to our lives. After all, humans are social creatures who thrive on being with others. We at CML are feeling the loss of our social ties too. We decided to look in on one of our favorite Avery families, Michael C. Hardy, wife Elizabeth and children Nathaniel (Nate) and Isabella, and catch up on their doin’s. Our visiting was confined to a Zoom meeting, of course, but it was mighty good to hear and see folks even so. And since it’s highly likely that you, too, know some members of this most engaging and lively bunch, we thought you’d enjoy reading about them. Elizabeth Hardy may be best regarded as the English teacher who knows more about the Hogwarts School (of Harry Potter fame) than any other reader around here. Her fascination with myth and legend began when, at age 8, she won a copy of the first book in the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. It has persisted as a rewarding field of study throughout her career, and she is a regular contributor to scholarship on Lewis and J.K. Rowling, and on other works of fantasy such as Star Wars, The Hunger Games, and Star Trek. Elizabeth recalls that she was a new mother when she

“caught the wave” with the Harry Potter series, and it “rocked her world.” She says she carried her son in one arm and that book in the other; she couldn’t put down either. Elizabeth is a Senior Instructor in English literature and composition at Mayland Community College; she also teaches classes on Storytelling and Introduction to Film. Her students include those who are dually enrolled in high school and college classes, so she is regularly at Avery High School during normal times. These days, teaching online and via phone is her “day, night and all the time job,” which she wholeheartedly “LOVES.” Another of Elizabeth’s passions is storytelling, which no doubt arose from being a member of a family of storytellers from Kentucky. When she was assembling her repertoire of stories, she asked Grandfather, “Papa Baird,” for some from the family’s collection. He refused to share with her, saying, “They ain’t stories. They’re true.” Elizabeth was a frequent participant at storytelling events in pre-pandemic days, and looks forward to resuming them when the times permit. Michael Hardy believes in the axiom, “We must study the past in order to know how to deal with the future.” An award-winning historian—he was North Carolina’s Historian of the Year

in 2010—Michael has been immersed in studying the past since his earliest memories. Growing up in Central Florida, he was the kid who was fascinated by the Old West from television shows on Saturday evening. He says he’d stay awake, watching and growing curious about those pioneering days, while his Dad snoozed in the easy chair nearby. Then his uncle invited Michael along to a historical re-enactment, a re-visioning of a Civil War battle, and he came home and told his parents that it was “the coolest thing he had ever seen.” The stories of what had happened long ago had literally come to life in Michael’s presence, and he was hooked. As his participation in historical reenacting persisted, Michael rose from foot soldier to commander of troops, and with each promotion came the imperative to research and study the historical record of events. Michael says that people who attended the re-enactments would ask questions, and he realized he needed to be able to give them a factual account. So it was his encounters with historical events that led him to researching primary documents, and eventually, to pursuing a writing career on Civil War and North Carolina history. Early in their marriage, while Elizabeth was earning a Master’s degree at Appalachian State University, Michael Continued on next page



would prowl the history sections of the university’s Belk Library. He was looking for documents that would further his knowledge of Civil War events. He was astounded to find “many holes” in North Carolina’s Civil War history and set his course to be the person to fill those gaps. Michael’s profound interest in the subject and his dedication to ferreting out primary documents in archives, civic records, and personal narratives, have provided a satisfying and worthwhile career for him. To date, Michael has authored twentyfour books, primarily in his specialty area of North Carolina’s Civil War history. His next book, on the dietary habits of Confederate foot soldiers, is to be released later this year. He is a frequent contributor to historical journals and has written more than 250 articles. Michael’s weekly column on Avery County history ran for nine years in the Avery Journal. While his personal appearances have been curtailed in the past year, he’s always willing to chat. He maintains an active website,, and also produces a live “Sunday Night History Chat” on his Facebook page every Sunday at 8:30 p.m. Just as Michael believes that the past must be studied to prepare for the future, his children appear prepared to take on the future full of enthusiasm and expertise. Mechanical Engineering is son Nate’s field of interest; his mother says he was thinking in three dimensions even when “little bitty,” making exploded diagrams to illustrate the inner workings of


things at age five. As a middle schooler, Nate founded the “Appalachian Science Experiment,” and with his fellow enthusiasts won a $5,000 grant from an eCybermission Competition in 2015 to develop a drone program that assists search and rescue efforts. These days, Nate is a student at UNCCharlotte with his aspirations fixed on the stars. He’s developed an online engineering services company, Retrofire Industries, and is looking for opportunities to join a space technology industry—calling Space X, are you listening? His blogspot at NCHardy. com/blog provides a whirlwind summary of the many interests of this man who is set on becoming an aerospace engineer. Nate’s sister, Isabella, has her own take on space technology; she is currently working on a project to develop vegetables that can be grown in the soil on Mars. It’s Isabella’s latest entry in a science competition. Like her brother, she has found competitions to be a perfect complement to their project-based learning practices. Last year, Isabella placed first in her category at the national-level finals of the prestigious National History Day contest, a competition that draws more than half a million entrants from throughout the U.S. Isabella’s project was a depiction of the life of astronomer Williamina Fleming, whose illustrious career at the Harvard Observatory blazed a path for women in the sciences. For the 2021 competition theme, “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding,” she has focused

on the “Books for Victory Campaign,” a program that sent books to Armed Forces troops during WWII, and later served troops during the Korean Conflict. Isabella sees a pathway to the stars, but she is firmly rooted in the earth. A selfprofessed “woods person,” she also enjoys the historical re-enactments that she has participated in since she was a babe in arms. Five years younger than her brother, Isabella has plenty of time to set her own course. It’s sure to be an interesting one. They haven’t been doing as many reenactments lately, but the Hardy family still share their knowledge of early times by volunteering as cultural interpreters at historic sites. Their contributions have been so appreciated that the entire family were awarded Volunteer of the Year in 2015 by the Pisgah district of the Blue Ridge Parkway. You might have seen them at Fort Defiance, or Sycamore Shoals, or most recently at the Tipton Haynes Historic Site. That gentleman in “country lawyer attire” and the pretty “granny lady with her herbal cures” who answer your questions? They’re your Avery County neighbors. They might like to give the impression they’re from the past, but as you can see, they are right with the here and now, and looking towards the future. Michael C. Hardy and Elizabeth Baird Hardy are frequent contributors to CML Magazine.

Literacy Programs: Opening the Door to Opportunity and Independence By Elizabeth Baird Hardy


ometimes, success seems to be a door that opens easily for some individuals, while remaining securely locked for others. One of the most valuable keys that can be used to unlock that door is literacy. Adults who do not have a high school level of literacy do not yet possess that key, making it difficult to attain opportunities like a family-sustaining wage. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that individuals over age 25 who do not have a high school diploma have the lowest median weekly earnings and the highest levels of unemployment. According to estimates from the National Center for Education Statistics, in Avery and Mitchell Counties, 13% of adults lack basic prose literacy skills. In Yancey County, the rate is 14%, as it is for the entire state of North Carolina. Thankfully, there are accessible resources to put that key of literacy into the hands of those who need it. Steve Gunter, Dean of Pre-College Programs at Mayland Community College, knows that accessing literacy tools and resources is essential. He calls literacy the “doorway to independence and economic independence for families,” and Mayland is at the forefront of helping adults enter that doorway. “Around the area,” Gunter says, “there are several providers with literacy support, all tuition free, and some community based with federal support.” Within the Mayland service area (Mitchell, Avery, and Yancey Counties), the college has the only Title 2 Federal program in place. While community-based programs often provide one-on-one tutoring offered by volunteers, community colleges like Mayland can offer classes at different levels to help those who are preparing for college courses or to take the GED® in order to earn their high

school credential. Even those who may struggle to reach some literacy skills can gain skills that can help them succeed, and Mayland’s program allows them to quickly reach those tools. Technology can assist many individuals, and digital skills can allow a variety of people to be more employable and independent than was once possible. Literacy, Gunter says, is a critical piece that is “so important for being competitive in the job market,” especially in small communities like those Mayland serves. Both employment and entrepreneurship opportunities require reading and math literacy, and the dream of running a small business is one that can be made into a reality with the reading and math skills literacy provides. With the devasting economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone has faced challenges, and the changes have put additional obstacles in place for those with literacy challenges. Gunter acknowledges that the virus has “truly had an impact” by magnifying the barriers that already face literacychallenged adults, including insufficient employment, childcare difficulties, and transportation hurdles, but he is glad to report that many community colleges, like Mayland, have really “found their way” by utilizing distance education for those who can comfortably navigate technology. For those who benefit most from in-person options, limited inperson instruction with health protocols is also available to provide valuable resources, as adults with literacy challenges may also lack adequate access to technology, such as devices and internet service. Literacy providers are working hard to rise to the challenge of making sure students have the resources they need to reach their goals, says Gunter, and those who use Mayland’s literacy training also

have the advantage of being connected to additional services and further training while accessing other MCC resources like the NCWorks Career Center. With its open-door model, Mayland is a great fit for literacy learners and excels at meeting those learners where they are. In addition, adults who once had doubts about whether they could achieve a GED® may be inspired to pursue higher education through the college. Mayland’s Foundation has a scholarship specifically for students who have completed the GED® through the literacy program and who then wish to pursue further education with a Mayland degree. Gunter says that adult learners can “find their footing” with the program. Gunter is pleased that Mayland has a great reputation in the community, which means that many students hear about literacy programs from others, often family members, who have successfully reached their goals. “People know they can trust Mayland to connect them with the resources they need. They usually know someone,” Gunter says, someone who found the key to success through literacy and hopes to share that key with others. Spreading the word about literacy programs is one way that community members can help. Since the population who needs these resources may be hard to reach, word-of-mouth recommendations are crucial to helping spread the word about the services that are available and the enormous benefits that they can provide. Anyone who knows adults who need literacy help can recommend that they contact a local literacy provider. In addition to community colleges like Mayland, every community has resources in place providing some kind of literacy Continued on page 85 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —



Tax-Advantaged Charitable Giving Strategies to Help Others and You By Katherine S. Newton, CFP®, CeFT®


elping clients be charitable while finding ways to save taxes in the process is a topic of conversation that I particularly enjoy. So I want to mention a couple of relatively simple actions you can take in order to benefit others while saving taxes in the process. You can always make a contribution of cash to any 501(c)(3) organization you wish. You get a deduction for the gift if you itemize your taxes. Everyone gets a Standard Deduction of $25,100 for couples or $12,550 if single; or if your itemized deductions are more than this, you get those deductions instead. What some do is to “bunch” deductions into alternating years so that the standard deduction can be used in some years and itemized deductions can be used in others. Let’s imagine you have a year when you have more income than usual, perhaps from the sale of an asset which had a large capital gain. You are looking for ways to offset the tax liability, and you’d like more deductions than the standard deduction. You could create (or add to) a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) as a way of getting a large charitable deduction in one year. With a DAF you set up an account with an organization which acts as a custodian of these types of funds. You then contribute either cash or securities to the account, and you get a charitable deduction for the money you put in the DAF. Then you use this account to make charitable donations whenever you like. This strategy works particularly well when you give appreciated stocks in which you may have a very low basis or cost. Once in the account, the stock is sold, and you don’t pay taxes on the gain. You get a deduction for the amount of the contribution to the DAF. The money is then invested in a portfolio of funds so that it can grow over time, and you pay no taxes on the growth. Another advantage with a DAF is that you control both to whom and when the gift is made. You can either write a check from the account and direct the gift to the 501(c)(3) organizations you choose; or, the fund may have a website where you can simply choose from a list of qualified organizations, then press a button, and the gift is made to the charity of your choice. There are two disadvantages to using a Donor Advised Fund. One is that the custodian does charge a moderate fee for their due diligence and service. Secondly, the money you contribute is an irrevocable gift. You cannot go back and retrieve the money for your own personal expenses; you must use it exclusively for charitable giving. Using your IRA to make Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCD) is another technique that works particularly well for retirees, but you must be 70 ½ or older to use this technique. With a QCD you direct, through the custodian of your IRA, a transfer of funds to a charity or charities in an amount up to $100,000 per person or $100,000 per spouse for couples (using their own IRAs). If you are already taking a required minimum distribution (RMD), the qualified charitable distribution or QCD is deducted from it, and so you don’t pay taxes on the part of the RMD that represents the gift. Some restrictions apply. For example, you cannot make a QCD to a Donor Advised Fund. Interestingly, when the law changed to delay RMDs to age 72, the rule for making QCDs did not. Bottom Line: Donor Advised Funds or Qualified Charitable Distributions are taxadvantaged ways to help the charities you wish to support. Make sure to discuss these techniques with your financial and tax advisor before making use of them.


• The views are those of Katherine Newton and should not be considered as investment advice or to predict future performance. • Past performance does not guarantee future results. • All information is believed to be from reliable sources. However, we make no representations as to its completeness or accuracy. • Please note that neither Waite Financial LLC, Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, Carroll Financial Associates or any of their agents or representatives give legal or tax advice. • For complete details, consult with your tax advisor or attorney. • Investors should consider their investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses associated with municipal fund securities before investing. This information is found in the issuer’s official statement and should be read carefully before investing. • Katherine Newton, a 40-year financial services practitioner, Certified Financial Planner™, and Certified Financial Transitionist™, partners with her clients to help them reach their goals and dreams so they have confidence to pursue what’s most important in their lives. • You can reach Katherine at her company Waite Financial in Hickory at 828.322.9595 or by email at • Her registered branch address is P.O. Box 1177, 428 4th Ave., Hickory, NC 28603, 28601. • Registered Representative offering Securities through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, a broker dealer and Registered Investment Advisor, 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.

Make Your Dream a

LITERACY: Continued from page 83

RE AL I T Y support. The National Literacy Directory, at, provides contact information on the resources and services available in any given area. In addition, there are opportunities for volunteers who would like to be trained to assist adult learners as they reach toward their literacy goals. Donors can also help offset costs of services and GED® testing. Community organizations, in particular, rely on such support, and Mayland’s Foundation partners with the literacy programs. 82 8- 2 6 5 - 3 62 2 • 2 2 1 B O ON E H EIG H TS DR . • B O ON E B O ON E.BU YA BBE Y.C O M • M ON. - FR I. 8 - 5 • S AT U R D AY BY A PP OI N T M E N T

To learn more about adult literacy and the importance of the programs that help students reach that vital key to success, visit More information about Mayland Community College’s program can be found at

High Quality Furniture at Affordable Prices Fully stocked for immediate delivery

“It’s more than furniture, it’s a lifestyle” West Jefferson, NC • 336-246-5647 | Boone, NC (at Boone Mall) • 828-266-1401 | CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —




Refresh Your Nest By Tamara S. Randolph


ome is where the heart is. And over the past year, our homes have been where our minds, bodies and souls have also taken refuge. Our houses, condos and apartments have become our offices, classrooms, workout spaces, sanctuaries, eateries, and family retreats. This spring, we are finally feeling more comfortable venturing out and about. We’re returning to our workplaces and schools, our gyms, restaurants, and vacation destinations. So now is the perfect time to rethink our living spaces—to hit the reset button and refresh our surroundings. Where to begin? We spoke with several local designers and home furnishing establishments about some steps people can take to “refresh their nests.” Start with the Basics “The easiest way to refresh a room is to declutter and simplify,” says Molly Northern, owner of The Bee & The Boxwood and Molly Northern Interiors in Boone. “The current design trends are all about simplicity and minimalism.” She suggests that instead of placing lots of small accessories in a space, choose one or two large statement pieces for your room refresh. “Rearranging your furnishings can also be an easy way to breathe new life into a space.” Gregory Clark of Gregory Alan’s on Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock emphasizes starting small in the beginning. “You don’t have to do a major redo. Try a different color paint. A couple of new lamps and wall pieces and your home will feel like a new place.” He adds,



“Even one new piece can brighten up a place and make the homeowner happy.” Mary Miller, an interior designer and owner of Abode Home, with locations in Linville and Charlotte, agrees with Clark when it comes to a quick change. “The best facelift for any space is a paint job. Everything old will look new again.” She says that until the pandemic hit, people were on the run, and maybe not detecting that things were taking a beating in their houses. “As people began spending more time in their homes, they were able to notice more nicks and bruises and stains in their living spaces.” In addition to painting as a remedy, “You can wallpaper a space, recover that old tired sofa or buy a new one. A new chandelier over your dining room table can add glamor in addition to better lighting.” Focusing on walls and lighting were common themes with our local designers. Pamela McKay of Dianne Davant & Associates (with studios in the Banner Elk/Seven Devils area and Stuart, Florida), suggests, “Add an interesting wall covering to a focal wall and change outdated lighting fixtures.” She says that reaccessorizing with pillows and linens will also spruce up a space. For a more radical refresh in the home, “Consider a kitchen remodel. Everyone is home more and cooking more so renovating a space you constantly use is money well spent.” Even as life returns to normal, people are likely to continue with culinary experimentation and entertaining in their own kitchens. And this time of year, they’re also heading outside. “Warm weather is coming so think about refreshing outdoor spaces, too,” adds McKay. “These spaces will be great safe gathering spaces in the coming years, so you’ll want to get new outdoor furniture on order ASAP!”


Supply and Demand Ordering furniture, appliances and furnishings as soon as you can is good advice, since high demand has led to short supplies and big delays. Unlike most sectors of the economy, the housing and home furnishings markets have flourished during the pandemic. “The first half of last year was devastating,” admits Clark. “But as summer came along, people were stircrazy, and felt more comfortable in small towns, like Blowing Rock. We ended up having record months from September through November.” Top sellers at his shop during the height of the pandemic included inspirational wall hangings. “One of the most popular signs reads, ‘May your faith be bigger than your fear.’” He shares that so far in 2021, sales are well ahead of last year. “Folks want to fluff up their houses now. People are really shopping rather than simply looking. And retailers, like myself, with home furnishings and gifts are doing well.” Miller says she experienced a touch of panic last spring, but as the going got tough, everyone at Abode Home quickly reacted. “When the pandemic first hit, we immediately started making masks from our fabric samples and leftovers so that people could be safe.” Their masks were an instant success, and one of her vendors in Paris, France, began sending her additional fabric. The masks were so popular that they sold out regularly and even had customers on a waiting list. “Everyone was trying to find their way to help. We sent any profits from our masks to local healthcare workers.” Other popular items at Abode Home included specialty hand sanitizers, scented candles and room diffusers. “Those items were a relief to those who had college kids


returning home,” quips Miller. Abode Home’s specialty food items were also in great demand. “We sell must-have munchies. We also sell delicious casseroles and ham biscuits from Lady Fingers out of Raleigh. This was a huge help to people who were home having to cook every single night.” Over at The Bee and The Boxwood, Northern says she stayed busy for much of 2020, and today her retail and design business continues to thrive. “Last spring, while everyone was staying inside, my online sales of puzzles and paint by number kits were great! I couldn’t keep them in stock!” Northern says that in recent months she has seen a new trend emerge. “People began re-doing homes with an emphasis on new upholstery.” And she notes that this trend is nationwide. “Production time for new upholstery orders has jumped from the typical 6-8 weeks to 20+ weeks.” Much of the demand for interior designers and home furnishings can be attributed to a record year in home building here in the High Country. “Home builders were essential workers and their projects continued on schedule, so our involvement in the process of homebuilding necessitated us continuing alongside the builders,” shares McKay. Being a full-service interior design firm, Dianne Davant and Associates stayed busy renovating existing homes, while taking on larger projects as new home construction escalated in our area. “We ended up with the most successful year in the history of Dianne Davant and Associates.” Seek Inspiration, Enlist a Pro Considering a refresh project? Start with a vision and a plan. Find inspiration by looking at magazines and books. Visit



stores and showrooms. If the projects you have in mind are bigger than what you have time to manage on your own, consider asking for help from a professional. “If you’re like so many others who have taken a look around their homes this past year and decided it was time for a serious facelift, choose one or two rooms to start and hire a professional to help you,” offers Northern. “At The Bee & The Boxwood and Molly Northern Interiors, our shops are full of gorgeous furnishings to inspire homeowners, and we can help clients with any project, no matter the scale.” If you do decide to move forward with a larger scale rejuvenation project, or plan to build a fresh new home altogether, McKay advises, “Be patient. Make sure you have a builder and designer lined up to assist with planning, and get decisions made early so orders can be placed early.” She says that at Dianne Davant and Associates, they continue to have issues with timely delivery of many products, including lumber, foam and appliances, so the sooner orders can be made, the better. Miller of Abode Home can help manage contractors and architects for major renovations, and she gladly shares her expertise with homeowners who are considering smaller projects. “You can convert those small rooms that no one ever goes in into your world business headquarters or a learning lounge,” Miller proposes. “We offer soup to nuts evaluations and services.” And the Abode Home retail locations make furnishing new or converted rooms more convenient, whether you need furniture, drapery, or accessories. “We encourage people to take things from our stores out on approval to see if it looks right in your home. Bring it back if it’s not right. We want our customers and clients to be happy.”


For more inspiration and a fun shopping experience, head over to Blowing Rock. Gregory Alan’s is known for its unique and out-of-the-ordinary selection of gifts and decorative accents for homes and patios. “I think the big thing about my shop is there’s something for everyone,” says Clark. If you’re not sure what you need to fill a space, he says to bring a picture. “We can work with photos of customers’ spaces, look through catalogs together, and place an order if we don’t have what they need in the store.” Ready to begin your refresh? The general consensus from our local experts is to implement some of the smaller changes to achieve instant gratification, but to also use this pandemic experience to think about the bigger picture—how your nest can satisfy your family’s current and future needs while also being an idyllic place to hang your hat and lay your heart. • Gregory Alan’s | 1151 Main Street, Blowing Rock, NC Find on Facebook and 828-295-3330 • The Bee and The Boxwood and Molly Northern Interiors 215 Boone Heights Drive, Suite #300, Boone, and 960 Main St., Blowing Rock (opening this Spring) | 828-386-6212 • Abode Home and Mary Tobias Miller Interior Design 4004 NC-105, Suite 1, Linville, NC 28604 | 828-898-4449 • Dianne Davant & Associates | 5111 Highway 105 S. Banner Elk, NC | 828-898-9887, 828-963-7500 • Tatum Galleries | 5320 Hwy 105 South, Banner Elk, NC 28604 | 828-963-6466 | • The Cabin Store Mountain Interiors & Furniture West Jefferson - 336-246-5647 | Boone (Boone Mall) 828-266-1401 | CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —


our community is grateful for their many contributions. Call the YMCA at 828-7375500 to learn more about this annual event, as well as the many services and programs provided by the YMCA.

Be a VIP!

Bicyclists: Save the Date!

The Blue Ridge Brutal Bike Ride is scheduled for August 21, 2021, and registration is open now (with an early-bird special until July 15). The Brutal began in 1989 as a fundraiser for the Ashe Civic Center, and the 102-, 72-, and 56-mile Ride has been a long time favorite summer event. In 2020, the Ashe Chamber of Commerce became the organizer of the event, partnering with the Civic Center, but it was cancelled due to COVID. Plans for this year’s Ride are being made following all COVID guidelines and safety protocols. Proceeds will benefit the Ashe Advantage Project (501c3) to fund scholarships for high school seniors, as well as the Ashe Civic Center. Riders come from all over the country to enjoy the scenery, which includes a stretch on the Blue Ridge Parkway and an optional finish challenge called the Assault on Mt. Jefferson. Riders who choose can ride up to the top of Mt. Jefferson State Natural Area. The ride is made possible through the cooperation of local business sponsors, first responders and ham radio operators, and volunteers. Registration and information can be found at www.blueridgebrutal. org and on the event’s Facebook page.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is currently recruiting VIPs (Volunteers-in-Parks) for the third annual Project Parkway, which takes place at various locations along the Parkway on Saturday, April 24. This single-day, park-wide volunteer project will help complete much needed work at various locations across the park and is ideal for people interested in learning more about the park through hands-on service. The Volunteers-InParks (VIP) program at the Blue Ridge Parkway works to preserve the cultural heritage, history, and natural resources of the Parkway through the support of education, interpretation, and resource protection activities. Learn more at volunteer.htm.

Experience Sugar Mountain this Season

On May 28–May 31, bikers and footpassengers can enjoy a scenic chairlift ride to the mountain’s peak. The bike park will be open from Friday 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday, and Memorial Day Monday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Chairlift rides aboard the Summit Express shuttle bikers and foot-passengers to Sugar’s peak and the Easy Street lift services a beginner-level gravity skills trail. The summer concert series Grillin & Chillin returns starting Memorial Day, then every Wednesday throughout the warm season. Visit for a detailed listing. You can now pick up a copy of a brand new illustrated map of the Village of Sugar Mountain, now available at more than 200 locations throughout the High Country, or at the new outdoor kiosk located near the main village entrance. View the expanded 150-page website for a detailed spring guide.

YMCA Golf Tourney

The Williams YMCA of Avery County will host the annual Leonard and Marjorie Williams Golf Tournament on May 6 at the Linville Golf Club. This annual fundraiser helps support programming for our local children and families, while also honoring and remembering the generosity of Leonard and Marjorie Williams. The couple’s dedication to supporting children and other vulnerable populations has touched countless lives, and

Introducing the Blue Ridge Craft Trails

The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area (BRNHA) works to protect, preserve, interpret, and develop the unique natural, historical, and cultural resources of Western NC for the benefit of present and future generations, and in so doing to stimulate improved economic opportunity in the region. One of the latest initiatives of the BRNHA is The Blue Ridge Craft Trails. continued...

Discover My Bucket Journal

The initiative celebrates the Western NC region as a vibrant center for traditional and contemporary handmade crafts through the promotion of craft artisans, arts organizations and heritage tourism. The Blue Ridge Craft Trails website at highlights a system of drivable trails throughout the region featuring 200 craft sites. In addition to the arts and crafts venues featured on the site, travelers get tips on rounding out their experiences with nearby foods, breweries, distilleries, wineries, music, outdoor activities, and scenic views.

Journals help you take the uncommon and purposeful journeys of life and make them cherished memories. Taking the time to record your memories is good for the mind and also good for posterity! My Bucket Journal recently released their North Carolina State Parks Bucket Journal, great for families exploring the state. A fun “workbook” of sorts, families will enjoy planning their destinations and recording their memories. Learn more at

Mike Smith Builders

Blue Ridge ArtSpace in Boone, NC, one venue on the Blue Ridge Craft Trails

A Fond Farewell to the Bolicks

Allen and Rebecca Bolick, long-time residents of Banner Elk, will be missed by many as they begin new adventures off the mountain. Allen Bolick was deeply involved in shaping the town of Banner Elk, including serving on Banner Elk’s Planning Board and the Town Council, and in many roles with the BE Chamber of Commerce. As a team, with wife Rebecca, the Bolicks have dedicated the past five years to helping with the formation and development of the Banner Elk Book Exchange and the Historic Banner Elk School (HBES), spearheading fundraising and orchestrating renovations in support of the HBES and its place in the community. A special thank you from all of us at CML Magazine for your work in Banner Elk. You will be missed!

Allen and Rebecca Bolick

One of the preeminent High Country builders, Mike Smith Builders has been constructing and renovating mountain homes for nearly 30 years. One of their most recent new construction projects is a private venue barn (pictured above) for the High Country Charitable Foundation (HCCF). This distinctive commercial building is located adjacent to Engel & VÖlkers real estate in Banner Elk. Mike Smith Builders has completed countless projects, including residential homes that stand the test of time in exclusive developments such as Elk River, Linville Ridge, Grandfather Golf and Country Club and elsewhere in the High Country. Considering building or remodeling here in the region? You can reach Mike Smith Builders at or (828) 297-7528.

Singing on the Mountain

Singing on the Mountain is a free gospel music festival that began in 1924 and is the longest running old-time gospel convention in the Southern Appalachians. The all-day gospel sing and fellowship returns to MacRae Meadows at Grandfather Mountain on June 27, 2021 for its 97th year! Top gospel groups will perform, and audiences can expect a sermon from a well-known speaker. Admission is free; a goodwill offering is collected. In a spirit of faith and community, all are welcome to enjoy picnics and musical performances together. The event begins at 9 a.m. and continues until 2 p.m.

Join a BRAHM Book Club

Alpacas Get a “Haircut”

Have you ever wondered what it’s like when an alpaca gets a haircut? Join Apple Hill Farm in Banner Elk for Alpaca Shearing Day on Saturday, June 5 and see for yourself! This year, in-person viewing of this special event requires a reservation. Book a one hour time-slot for your family and get a front row seat to watch the whole process of shearing, fleece sorting, and more. To make a reservation and explore all that the Farm has to offer throughout the year, visit

In the Autumn 2020 issue of CML Magazine, we featured The Last Entry, a novel by local author Jim Hamilton, in our “Book Nook” column. If you haven’t yet picked up your copy, now is a great time to consider reading it as you join in for the BRAHM (Blowing Rock Art & History Museum) Book Club! On April 29, the Club will discuss The Last Entry. And on May 27, the Club will discuss Daniel Boone: An American Life, by Michael A. Lofaro. BRAHM’s Book Club meets on the last Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. via Zoom. View the upcoming spring and summer titles at https:// You can purchase your books at Foggy Pine Books (Boone) on their website or by calling (828) 386-1219.

“read all a b out it!” Apple Hill Farm Honored

Apple Hill Farm in Banner Elk has been named runner-up for North Carolina’s Small Farmer of the Year 2021 by the Cooperative Extension at N.C. Agriculture &Technical State University. Apple Hill Farm is a unique mountaintop alpaca farm, home to nine different kinds of animals on 10 acres of mountaintop land. “Visitors to Apple Hill Farm find joy and connection through our animals and the experience of a real working farm,” says Lee Rankin, owner and founder of Apple Hill Farm. Open yearround to the public, the farm hosts fun and educational animal experiences, while the farm store offers a variety of products made from alpaca fibers, along with local books, jams and jellies, and more. Each year, the Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T celebrates the crucial role of small farmers in North Carolina’s $91.8 billion agriculture sector with Small Farms Week in March. The award recognizes farmers who are innovators in livestock or crop production and marketing; leaders involved in contributing time and other resources to build their communities; stewards of the environment who protect and enhance natural resources; and wise businesspeople running a farm business in an entrepreneurial manner. Apple Hill Farm was one of two finalists, with the top award going to MAE Farm in Franklin County. “We are so honored to have been nominated,” said Rankin. While 2020 was a challenging year, Rankin and the rest of the team at Apple Hill Farm worked hard to keep the animals and their customers the top priority. “Even with the uncertainty of a global pandemic, we focused our energy on continuing to make our farm sustainable, eco-friendly, and above all safe for our animals and guests.” Learn more about Apple Hill’s farm tours, store offerings and upcoming events at

The Daniel Boone Native Gardens, located near downtown Boone, contain an outstanding collection of native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers. More than 200 species of plant varieties provide a progression of blooms throughout the growing season. And now you can take home free seeds to grow natives in your own backyard. In partnership with the Daniel Boone Native Gardens, The Blue Ridge Chapter of the N.C. Native Plant Society recently installed a seed library box within the Gardens. You’ve likely seen Little Free Library boxes that people use to share books. The idea behind these seed libraries is very similar in that people can share SEEDS. Plan a visit to the Daniel Boone Native Gardens, stop by the seed library box, and take seeds of your choice; you can also deposit seeds if you have any to share. Note that the box at the Daniel Boone Native Gardens is for native plants only—non-native seeds can be deposited at a second seed library in downtown Boone. In addition to seeds, detailed instructions on how to grow native plants from seeds and guidelines for seed sharing are available inside the box. Small envelopes and bags are also available. What kinds of seeds are inside the library box? Here is just a small sampling of the many seeds available this spring: Eastern Red Columbine, Common Milkweed, Hollow Joe-Pye Weed, Bottle Gentian, Smooth Oxeye, Cardinal Flower, Foxglove Beardtongue, Hop Tree, Wafer Ash, Hoary Mountainmint, and Wingstem. For a complete list of seeds that are available (new ones are added regularly), visit To see what’s in bloom right now at the Daniel Boone Native Gardens, visit The Daniel Boone Native Gardens and seed library are located at 651 Horn in the West Drive in Boone. You can find other seed libraries nearby for sharing heirloom veggies and more at the Watauga County Library at 140 Queen St, Boone, and the Ashe County Public Library at​ 148 Library Rd, West Jefferson, NC 28694.

Located in the Historic Banner Elk School 185 Azalea Circle | Banner Elk, NC 28604


New Seed Library at Daniel Boone Native Gardens

Please visit our website at for hours of operation and event listings

Community & Local Business News Mica’s 10th Anniversary Season Springs in April

Caldwell Hospice & Palliative Care

Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, a pioneer in hospice care since 1982, is guided by its values—integrity, respect, acceptance, and excellence. As a community-owned hospice and palliative medicine provider, Caldwell Hospice invests in the neighborhoods they serve to make a true impact on serious illness and end-of-life care. Last year, Caldwell Hospice provided more than $1.6 million in patient care for which there was no reimbursement. In 2014, Caldwell Hospice expanded services to Ashe, Avery and Watauga Counties due to an unmet need. Services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and to ensure the same quality care in the High Country, Caldwell Hospice has a complete expert care team who live and work in the counties they serve. The local team is led by a physician and includes nurse practitioners, nurses, certified nursing assistants, medical social workers, chaplains, and specially trained volunteers who are solely dedicated to caring for High Country patients. The Caldwell Hospice team provides care in the patient’s own home, skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, hospitals or in one of two patient care units located in Lenoir and Hudson in Caldwell County. Grief support services are available to hospice patients, their families, and anyone in the community who needs help coping with a loss. Caldwell Hospice is very much a part of the High Country community and was voted Best Hospice by the readers of The Watauga Democrat in 2020. Caldwell Hospice has established relationships with a local advisory council, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, Ashe Memorial Hospital, physicians, and long-term care communities throughout the region to focus on the needs of the community. To learn more about their services or employment call 828-754-0101 or 1-844-MYJOURNEY, visit, or follow on Facebook or Instagram.

Mica, the cooperative gallery in downtown Bakersville, NC, opened for its 10th Anniversary season on April 1. The gallery, owned by the artists who exhibit their work, is a large, comfortable space following strict COVID safety procedures. Visitors to the gallery are asked to wear masks, maintain social distancing, and help Mica in stopping the spread of the COVID virus. New to the gallery this year is Penland-based Carmen Grier Landscape artist Vicki Essig. Essig’s studio work includes weaving and paper making, and her process incorporates found and ancient objects into visual compositions. She notes, “On my daily hikes my pockets gradually fill with artifacts and curiosities that I find along my path. These small treasures, often overlooked, are archived into my fine handwoven cloth. Many of my compositions incorporate nearly twohundred-year-old manuscripts and texts. The fragments of this rag paper, with barely detectable messages, are hand woven into the silk cloth producing an intricate structure that weaves the past with the present.” In celebration of its 10th year, Mica will highlight each of its member-artists monthly with special featured exhibits. In April, our highlighted artist’s work will be the colorful pottery of Jenny Lou Shelbourne in a collection of serving dishes and mix/match serving sets that she cleverly refers to as “To Serve, with Love.” In May, Terry Gess and Carmen Grier will share the spotlight. Gess will present a selection of Mother’s Day gift-worthy pottery. He notes, “Spring is the potter’s season—all those flowers in the garden and all manner of vases for bringing them into the house.” Grier will present a new series of small, oil and cold wax landscape paintings. “I never set out to paint a particular scene,” she says, “I let landscapes from everywhere inspire me. While each scene in this collection is unique, they also work together as family. The highlight of my day is working in my studio. I hope this joy is evident in my paintings.” Mica is located at 37 Mitchell Ave, Bakersville, NC, and is open daily, Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 12–5 p.m. For more information call 828688-6422 or visit Follow the gallery on Facebook at Mica Gallery NC, or on Instagram at micagallerync.

WAMY Community Action Report WAMY Community Action is a non-profit agency dedicated to working with communities and families to give the disadvantaged the support and tools they need to become self-sufficient. WAMY stands for Watauga, Avery, Mitchell and Yancey, and programs and services such as housing repair/rehabilitation, educational support and COVID relief are available to residents of these counties. WAMY recently published their Community Action Report, and shared the following highlights on their work in 2020: • Prevented 32 families from becoming homeless. • 250 students received tutoring and a hot meal after school. • 68 seniors have a warm and safe home. • 261 kids had a fun virtual camp experience and received weekly food deliveries. • Provided financial assistance to more than 1,083 individuals affected by COVID-19. • Delivered 150 Holiday meals, and provided 800 gifts for seniors. • Touched 2,825 Lives! Learn more about WAMY’s important work at



Avery Humane Society Receives Generous Bequest

The Avery Humane Society (AHS), along with the Beech Mountain Fire and Police Departments, were the beneficiaries of a generous bequest from the estate of Barbara Mooradian. A check for $300,000 was presented to the Avery Humane Society Executive Director Gwynne Dyer on March 10 at the Beech Mountain Town Council meeting. “This bequest will have a significant impact on our ability to care for vulnerable animals in our community,” said Dyer. “The Mooradians understood the joy animals bring into the lives of individuals and families, and they wanted to ensure that animals in need could receive the food, shelter, medical care and love they need until they are able to go home with a family. We are so thankful for their compassion for animals and for their generous gift.” Barbara and her husband Reuben, who predeceased her, were active members of the community for many years. Reuben was a founding member and Chief of the Beech Mountain Fire Department from 1974 -1995; he also served on the town council for 10 years. Barbara was an artist and served as the town clerk for a number of years. The Mooradians had a passion for animals, and always had one or more dogs in their care. At the end of her life Barbara lived in her home with a beloved Goldendoodle named Sandy. Homebound and in failing health, each day members of the fire department would check on her. “While she may have been isolated, she was not alone,” says Dyer. Studies have shown that animals have a positive effect on physical and mental health, they offer emotional support and can reduce fear. “Animal companions make a huge difference in our lives and Sandy did that for Barbara.” The Avery Humane Society: • Has a 94% adoption rate—one of the highest in the state. • Never euthanizes a healthy animal. • Animals stay with AHS until they are placed with a forever family. • Is the only organization in the county that offers services for homeless animals (Avery County government does not provide animal control services or funding for the shelter). • Relies solely on private donations, foundation grants and limited earned income. For more information visit

Military Surplus Knives • Tools Camping & Sporting Goods “Your Military & Outdoor Store”

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Collectibles & More


Photo by Michelle Lyerly photography

“read all a b out it!” Introducing Callista Flower Co.

The historic little red caboose in downtown Banner Elk is more than what meets the eye. Having been home to a variety of businesses since its debut in 1971, including a winery, a health store, and an outdoors shop, you‘ll now walk in and be greeted with the wonderful aroma of fresh flowers. Callista Flower Co., run by mother and daughter team Kristi and Marley Turbyfill, is host to a variety of hand selected, garden-inspired home accents, hostess gifts, and house plants—and of course an abundance of fresh floral bouquets. The Callista girls showcase their talent by creating stunning seasonal arrangements and market bouquets for pickup and delivery, available weekly by special order or first-come first-serve. Kristi Turbyfill grew up in Avery County and after spending her summers with her grandmother perusing art shows and lending a hand at the flower shop where she worked, her love of all things design and flowers blossomed. Soon after starting a wedding floral business of her own, the family tradition continued and she brought in daughter Marley to assist with arranging flowers and setting up events. The Turbyfills are devoted to supporting the area’s local flower farms and using the surrounding landscape as inspiration for their designs. Callista Flower Co.’s floral creations make the freshest anniversary, birthday or “just because” gift for the special people in your life. The two are happy to create custom arrangements and small planters for your home, whether you are hosting guests or just want a fresh and happy reminder for your entryway or dining table. If you find that you want Callista flowers around all the time, consider their ‘Year of Flowers’ package, a monthly flower subscription full of the best blooms of each season. Visit the Callista Flower Co. shop in the little red caboose at 441 Shawneehaw Ave S, downtown Banner Elk, or their website at; follow them @callistaflowerco. Hours: Tuesday- Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Community & Local Business News Presbyterian Women Grant Holston Camp

Holston Presbytery Camp and Retreat Center (HPCRC) is one big step closer to implementing a new outdoor early education and childcare program. HPCRC recently received a $10,000 grant from the Presbyterian Women towards necessary building renovations. With these renovations, HPCRC’s property is equipped to care for the holistic needs of children enrolled in the Nature Preschool program. In partnership with Banner Elk Presbyterian Church (BEPC) Preschool, HPCRC plans to implement the nature preschool program in fall 2021. Located on 150 wooded, High Country acres with streams, rocks, and bountiful plant life, HPCRC offers children a resource-rich environment to explore, discover, and grow. Age-appropriate nature play spaces ignite a child’s imagination, encourage cooperation, foster connection to others and nature, and combat the effects of prevalent violent video games, inane television, and other social influences unique to the modern world. Given the realities of “zoom fatigue,” perhaps children, now more than ever, need supervised, unstructured playtime in the outdoors. HPCRC preschool and after-school programs will follow an emergent curriculum which allows children to self-direct lessons as they learn through play in the outdoors. In “Last Child in the Woods,” Richard Louv explains that play-based outdoor activities enhance children’s natural sense of wonder, exploration, creativity, and self-worth. Nature-play in resource-rich environments fosters interpersonal and problem-solving skills; improves emotional strength, resilience, perseverance, and independence; engages fine and gross motor skills; and encourages critical thinking and leadership. “We look forward to expanding our ministry to a demographic that is typically underserved in our community: our youngest members,” says Jim Austin, Camp Director. For more information regarding the nature preschool program or other HPCRC programs, please visit or call 844-465-7866. The camp is located at 6993 Hickory Nut Gap Road, Banner Elk.

HCCF Partners with Mike Smith Builders – by Jason Reagan

Throughout American history, raising a barn has often been a community effort to help out a neighbor. Fast forward to 2021 and the spirit of barn raising is alive and well. The High Country Charitable Foundation (HCCF) is teaming up with Mike Smith Builders to construct a private venue barn next to charity founder Jim Ward’s real estate office just outside Banner Elk. The barn won’t be serving as a home for cattle and next fall’s apple harvest but rather as a means for Jim and other HCCF members to host private events to advance the foundation’s mission. After Ward settled into the High Country 11 years ago, he saw the need for a locally-based, charitable foundation to serve Avery County people (and animals!) in need. In 2016, he helped launch HCCF with a small group of Avery residents. He later decided to open a residential real estate office in Banner Elk, donating the profits after expenses and commissions to the foundation. “The vision of our foundation is to provide for needy Avery County residents and animals by supporting local public charities and other private foundations,” the foundation’s website reads. “Our goal is to use our efforts to keep expenses as low as possible with the majority of funds raised going to those in need.” As the HCCF began to grow, Ward found himself hosting several private events in his home. “I entertain a lot for the charity and I wanted to be able to do that in a more sophisticated manner,” he said. After meeting with Mike Smith of Mike Smith Builders in 2019, Ward laid out plans for a large venue barn that would include an indoor fireplace and wine room to entertain would-be donors and have a more integrated way to share the HCCF’s work across the High Country. Choosing Mike Smith was a no-brainer for Ward—the two had collaborated on several residential projects over the years. It’s also a win-win for everyone—building the barn will give Smith a chance to complete a non-residential project, providing visibility for prospective clients. Last year, the HCCF award more than $550,000 in grants to charitable groups across the High Country. Organizations included the Linville Volunteer Fire and Rescue, Hunger and Health Coalition, Banner Elk Book Exchange, OASIS, Spirit Ride Therapeutic Riding Center, Western Youth Network, Hill Learning Center and Holston Presbytery Camp and Retreat Center.

The Appalachian Regional Library System

“Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life. Libraries change lives for the better.” The Appalachian Regional Library system includes the Ashe, Watauga and Wilkes Public Libraries. If you haven’t explored a library lately, this spring presents a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of our local libraries’ varied programming, as library buildings recently reopened to the public (masks are required and capacity is limited). Virtual programs, ebooks and magazines, childrens’ activities, and curbside service are also available—our libraries do everything they can to make it convenient to read and learn. New programs and events are being posted every week so be sure to visit to see what’s happening at the library nearest you. There’s something for every age group, and programming goes well beyond reading—career development, digital skills workshops, StoryWalks®, digital photo collections, music lessons, and so much more. From the Appalachian Regional Library website, you can also access free digital content for children at the NC Kids Digital Library. The NC Kids Digital Library offers e-books, audiobooks, streaming videos, and Read-Alongs. This collection was specifically designed for youth and includes picture books, youth fiction, youth nonfiction, young adult, and more. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —




The Real Estate Boom Continues


s the nation slowly begins to return to normalcy following last year’s COVID-19 outbreak, the real estate market in the High Country is anything but normal—in fact, the market is experiencing an unprecedented hot streak. And while that news makes Realtors and home sellers ecstatic, it’s also fertile ground for economists as a real-life laboratory in fiscal trends. According to a recent report by the High Country Association of REALTORS, regional Realtors sold 182 homes worth $91.4 million in February—a five percent increase in unit sales compared to last February. As of March 8, there were approximately 364 homes for sale in the four-county area—the lowest inventory total on record. Great news for sellers but the shortage of “For Sale” signs has transformed the area into a housing treasure hunt for would-be buyers. “There is unprecedented demand for High Country homes right now. Many new listings are attracting offers over the asking prices,” says Shyllene Fecteau, President of the High Country MLS. “Local Realtors are crucial now more than ever to ensuring sellers are listing their properties to best take advantage of current market conditions and helping buyers to navigate the process.” The Economics of a Boom Those numbers are no surprise to Harry Davis. A longtime banking professor at Appalachian State and an economist for the N.C. Bankers Association, Davis has become known as the unofficial “economics guru” in the High Country. Every


January, Davis presents an economic forecast for the region to various chambers of commerce and business roundtables. “The real estate market in Watauga County and in the High Country is red hot,” Davis says. “It is also red hot across North Carolina and the nation. We have the lowest inventory of unsold homes right now in Watauga County and across the U.S. that we’ve ever had since they’ve been keeping the statistics.” Although COVID-19 dented the travel industry in this region last year, many local Realtors not only never noticed a downturn but actually saw their best years in sales. “I have never seen the amount of multiple offers going on listings,” says Scott MacIntosh, Broker in Charge at Allen Tate Realtors in Blowing Rock. “I have never seen property going over (asking price), not by $10,000 or $20,000; I’m seeing properties under the $500,000 mark going over asking price by $50,000,”he says, adding that some buyers are not even closing the sale with those bids. MacIntosh noted the area Allen Tate office actually doubled its numbers between 2019 and 2020 with the largest share coming from third or fourth quarter sales. Davis breaks down some impressive numbers that back MacIntosh’s experience: n New single family home sales and existing home sales are at the best level since 2006 (“which was a banner year for home sales,” Davis added). n Last year, more homes were sold than in any year, as long as statistics have been recorded.


By Jason Reagan n The dollar value of homes was also the greatest in any year on record. n January 2021 was the best January on record for home sales—not only for the number, but for the dollar value. What’s fueling the boom? Davis points to record low interest rates on mortgages but also notes several pandemic-related social trends fueling increased interest. First, the growth of remote work and education woke many people up to the fact that the office or classroom can be almost anywhere in the world with sufficient wifi access. For many harried urban workers, the idea of packing up the family and moving to a mountain Shangri-La is tempting and within reach. “We do have a movement. It’s not a tsunami. It’s not a big wave, but it’s a trickle at least, of people moving from inner cities to rural areas,” Davis says. “If you can work from home, why work from downtown Charlotte when you can work from Boone? Housing is less expensive. It’s a more beautiful area. So, people are making those decisions.” Changing personal values among a younger demographic are also pushing mountain home sales. Mobile, affluent Millennials are starting to think about starting families. “A lot of couples who are renting an apartment in downtown Raleigh or Charlotte, or certainly New York City, are deciding to move to a rural area so they can have a house and have multiple bedrooms, have an office in one of the bedrooms, and raise children with a front yard…that is helping to drive the sale of single-family houses,” Davis notes.

“ fact, the market is experiencing an unprecedented hot streak.” “You’ve got all these parks; you’ve got the mountains; you’ve got a different lifestyle and it was a wake-up call for a lot of urban folks,” Mcintosh adds, noting the desire to get away from the hubbub is starting to bubble up in the 30-35 year old demographic—goodbye, high-rise, hello, cabin. Solving the mystery of low housing inventory is easy, he says—it’s all about skills. Where Are the Houses? It’s an obvious question—where are the houses? It should be a simple equation. Greater demand followed by red-hot sales should motivate homebuilders to ramp up construction. As with most economic trends, it’s not that simple. “We need more houses built. We don’t build enough houses in the High Country. We don’t build enough houses in the United States. That’s the reason that the inventory is so low,” Davis said. “We need to attract more builders, more people with the skills needed to build houses. When Davis speaks to business organizations about the skills gap, he advocates for more post-high-technical programs. “We need students to go to community colleges, technical schools and become electricians and plumbers and skilled carpenters. “For many of them, they will make more money with a trade than they will going into a four-year school. They also won’t run up the big student loan debt. We need some changes in the attitudes of people, so that we come up with more skilled carpenters and so forth, to build the houses that we desperately need.”

But fueling a building boom takes time, Davis cautions. “There will always be a lag once when you have an increase in demand that we have right now.” And, he says, “There is a serious problem of supply. We don’t have the skilled carpenters and electricians and plumbers and so forth. We lost a lot of people with those skills in the great recession in 2007 and 2008. They left the industry and they went and took jobs in other industries, and they have not come back.” Although many builders are ramping up new developments—especially in the more upscale areas of Avery County—it’s going to be awhile before inventory catches up with the demand for housing. “It’s going to take years for us to build the houses needed to clear the market.” The Boom Is Here to Stay Another side effect of the pandemic has been a rising interest in tourism as more people get vaccinated and infection rates drop. People are ready to travel but may be hesitant to leave the U.S. What’s bad for European touring companies is good for the High Country as homebound people long to leave the Zoom meetings and travel—but travel a reasonable distance, perhaps to the idyllic mountain escapes of the Boone-Blowing Rock area. “We’re big on tourism and hospitality and restaurants. In my opinion, about mid-year, we’re going to see a rubber band effect. [Tourism’s] going to spring back unbelievably,” Davis says (and when one of North Carolina’s leading economists states, “in my opinion,” you can probably take that to the bank). “People are going

to start eating out and tourists are going to keep showing up here. You can drive to Boone—you don’t have to get on a plane.” “I think we will see people saying, ‘Hey, in the next few years, I’m not so sure about traveling long distances,’” MacIntosh predicts. He says that people may be thinking: “If we have $10,000-$20,000 we spend a year in traveling, let’s actually look at it and maybe that’s why we buy a second home.” “They want that place to get away to, and what better place from a safety standpoint than the mountains where you can get out and you can stretch your legs,” he adds. Future Trends Even as the construction industry races to catch up with demand, Davis sees houses getting bigger and more expensive. Workers who suddenly find they can work from home will want more space both for an office and other amenities like workout areas. “If you’re going to stay home and work from home, you got to have an office. And in some cases, if both of you work from home, you’ve got to actually have two offices so you can talk and carry on a conversation and not bother the other person in the other room,” Davis says. Not matter how supply and demand may change moving forward, MacIntosh advises sellers and buyers to choose a professional to help navigate the twists and turns of a turbulent but growing economy. “Make sure that when you’re working with someone, they’re representing you in the best possible way so that you can either sell your house or you can buy a house.” CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —


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Sugar Mountain Golf Just Got a Lot Sweeter By Steve York


n 1974, Tom McAuliffe was 19 years old and on the eve of enrolling at App State as an English Major. Bill Daniels was a two-year-old toddler playing in the dirt and often found tangled up in his dad’s golf clubs. Susan Phillips was a sophomore at Latrobe High School in Pennsylvania and just happened to be classmates with Amy Palmer (Saunders), one of Arnold Palmer’s two daughters. That same year, Sugar Mountain Golf Course opened to the public. So, what’s the linkage? Well, “if you ain’t from ‘round here,” grab your clubs and let’s tee up this story. Sugar Mountain Golf Course is a brilliant 18-hole, par 64, Frank Duane design at 4,000 feet elevation with majestic mountain vistas. This modestly priced, yet challenging, mid-April through October course weaves through lush forests, thick rhododendron-rimmed hillsides and meandering mountain streams. Back in 1974, Frank Duane was project manager for renowned course designer Robert Trent Jones Sr. So, from Day One, Sugar’s course layout was shaped with a true master’s touch. Jump ahead 46 years to 2020 and the big news is that Sugar Mountain Golf Course ranked an impressive No. 2 in Golf Adviser’s poll for short U.S. golf courses under 6,000 yards. Initially ranked No. 9 among all North Carolina public golf courses of any size or shape, Golf Adviser then decided to spotlight just the top 25 short courses from across the nation. Sugar Mountain scoring No. 2 is a big deal considering that the poll was


taken from golfers who, after playing the course, actually spent the time to go online and volunteer their responses to six rating categories. Those categories included: conditions, value, layout, friendliness, pace and amenities. Sugar Mountain Golf Course conditions received 4.7 out of 5, value and layout each received 4.5, and pace scored a 4.4. But the highest rating was for friendliness at 4.8. And that circles us back to the clubhouse and Tom McAuliffe, Sugar Mountain’s Director of Golf for the past 21 years. McAuliffe (who’s never without a laugh, a story and—if you coax—a wee song with an ancestral Irish lilt) sets the bar for the course’s friendliness factor. When McAuliffe was a child, his family moved south from Ohio to Monroe, NC, where he and “golf ” grew up together at the Rolling Hills Country Club. “I used to shag golf balls with a baseball mitt while my dad was practicing his 6-iron. It was then that I fell in love with golf and the whole lifestyle,” McAuliffe fondly recalls. After graduating App State, and finishing a stint writing golf and ski columns, McAuliffe set up his own custom golf club and repair shop at the Seven Devils community in the mid-1980s. In 2000, and to McAuliffe’s surprise, he was invited to accept the Golf Director position at Sugar Mountain by then Village Manager Derron Geoque. He gratefully took the job. He also took the advice of Boone Golf legend Sam Adams who said, “Make them feel

welcome when they walk through the door and take the time to ask them how it went when they come back from play.” That advice has obviously paid off over the years helping to earn Sugar its Golf Advisor 4.8 friendliness rating. However, McAuliffe is quick to turn the spotlight onto Bill Daniels, Sugar’s Golf Course Superintendent for 23 years and Village Public Works Director for the past 15 years. “Bill is the major reason we’ve achieved those Golf Advisor accolades,” says McAuliffe. “With multi-dimensional mowing patterns and constant attention to course maintenance and aesthetics, Bill and his crew have taken our beautiful 60-acre course and turned it into something even more exceptional.” Bill Daniels, it must be emphasized, comes from an amazing leaderboard of golf course builders and superintendents. In fact, the Daniels “golf family tree” branches out to Linville Ridge, Mountain Glen in Newland, Seven Devils, Diamond Creek in Banner Elk, RedTail Mountain in Mountain City, TN, Cleghorn Plantation in Rutherfordton, and many, many more notable courses. “I’m a fifth-generation course superintendent,” Daniels says modestly. “My great, great grandfather, John Forbes, built the Donald Ross designed Linville Golf Course over a century ago and my Great Grandfather, Arl Greene, later became Superintendent there.” Yet, with all that history, Daniels said of the Golf Advisor rating, “Frankly, I was very surprised but also very humbled. And I’m especially proud of my crew.

They’re all true golfers who know what is needed to assure a great golfing experience. On top of that, Sugar Mountain is a fun place to work with great people, a great community and a very supportive Village Manager in Susan Phillips.” Phillips, the current Sugar Mountain Village Manager and Finance Director, is equally supportive of Daniels, McAuliffe and the golf course. Formerly from Pinehurst and Southern Pines, Phillips was previously Town Manager at the small Sandhills community of Whispering Pines. So, she was more than qualified to recognize the value of a superior golf course for a destination community like Sugar Mountain. According to McAuliffe, “When she came here, one of the first things she asked was, ‘What do you need to make the golf course better?’” “The course was a diamond in the rough upon my arrival to Sugar Mountain in 2017,” Phillips notes. “I looked at all options for developing the golf course budget, including TDA funds to replace obsolete equipment, improve course signage as well as upgrading all course facilities and maintenance. We also created an online presence with GolfNow so that golfers could reserve tee times online. All of these investments, past and future, are targeted towards making Sugar Mountain Golf a premier golf experience in the High Country,” she adds. Phillips, McAuliffe, Daniels and his devoted golf team (a winning “foursome,” if you will) must be doing something right. Despite all the recent COVID challenges, their 2020 season saw an

LR--Sam Trivett, Tom McAuliffe, Sue Phillips, Bill Daniels, David Walker

all-time record 30 percent increase in the number of rounds played, not to mention their Golf Advisor nationwide No. 2 ranking for short courses. “Last year’s recordbreaking numbers were a testimony to mountain golf being that last refuge getaway from big city life during the era of COVID,” says McAuliffe. “And our Golf Advisor rating has meant a rediscovery of, and a renewed pride for, our mountain course.” Beyond all the Golf Advisor publicity, the Sugar Mountain course is also known for its spirit of “giving back to the community” by providing course time for local middle school, high school and college golf teams, including Avery

public schools and Appalachian State. As Heather Brown of App State’s men’s and women’s varsity golf program tells McAuliffe, “Our team always plays better after practicing at Sugar.” If you’ve never played Sugar, you can reserve tee times, plus take Tom McAuliffe’s front nine/back nine drone tour, at The aerial perspective and McAuliffe’s narrative will give you a spectacular mountaintop, birds-eye view of Golf Advisor’s No. 2 rated USA short course. It will also reaffirm why, as the website boasts, Sugar Mountain is “Everyman’s (and woman’s) golf course.” CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —



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Chuck Mantooth, President & CEO of ARHS; Sean Burroughs, Director of Pharmacy for ARHS; LaRaye Rudicile, RN, Director of Population Health and Clinical Operations for ARHS

Local Healthcare Heroes during COVID-19 By Koren Gillespie

Respiratory Therapists (left to right): Don Coleman, Ingrid Eschman, Holly Strub and Andromeda Fry


ockdown, social distancing, the “new normal,” masks required—a way of life we’ve grown accustomed to over the past year. But what has it been like to work in the healthcare industry at a local level during a global pandemic? What drives medical personnel to keep going for others during an unprecedented time while undergoing their own professional and personal challenges? Four Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) employees share their experiences over the past year. Cindy Fuller Safety Officer with ARHS In early March 2020, Cindy Fuller was asked to serve with the Incident Management Team and activate the Emergency Operations Center. As a team member, she prepared staff, facilities, and services to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, while caring for the healthcare needs of the High Country region. The team monitored local, state, and federal agencies for guidance and the latest evidence-based information to make decisions to care for patients and protect staff. “Professionally, I was challenged with the volume of tasks that needed to be accomplished immediately—with limited amount of time and resources. Fortunately, I work with very dedicated, solutions-oriented people,” says Fuller. “We came together as a team and were able to identify solutions and execute decisions quickly and creatively. As a healthcare professional, I am surrounded by selfless, intelligent people. We have a ‘whatever it takes to do the right thing for our patients’ mentality. We establish priorities, set goals, work together, and get things done. We are constantly having to adapt and change quickly due to patient needs, guideline modifications, staffing issues, new treatment options, or other demands on our healthcare team.”

On a personal level, Fuller was also dealing with the cancer diagnosis of her father, which came two weeks before lockdown. A few months later, in June 2020, her father also suffered a heart attack. He survived due to quick recognition and treatment, but limiting time with her family, especially during dire circumstances, has been hard for her. “I love my parents very much, but I work in a high-risk environment, so I must be careful to protect them. With my father’s cancer diagnosis, I have been very careful to limit my exposure to my parents. My greatest fear in all of this has not been that I would get COVID-19, but that I might get it and spread it to others. I am trying to do everything in my control to protect my family, my co-workers, and my community,” adds Fuller. Fuller continues, “We are fortunate to live and work in the High Country. Our community partnerships have been crucial to fighting COVID-19 in our area. We have pulled together to communicate, share resources, and amplify the response to this disease. Every time we are able to discharge a patient who has been hospitalized with COVID-19, I am thankful that their health has improved and thankful for the team of people who worked so hard to make that happen. “As a mother, I have always told my children that it doesn’t matter what you do in life, just make it meaningful work. Nothing is more meaningful to me than helping others. My hopes for the future include the complete eradication of COVID-19, and that we never forget those we have lost and those who have sacrificed to care for the community,” concludes Fuller. Cindy Fuller has been with Watauga Medical Center and Appalachian Regional Healthcare System for almost 22 years. Her background is in Emergency Services, Education, and Safety.

Greg Miller, RN Chief Nursing Officer with ARHS Chief Nursing Officer, Greg Miller’s focus has never wavered during the pandemic. He always wants to ensure enough beds and staff are available to every patient in need. “Every patient deserves to be treated like they are my own mother, no matter what the diagnosis. There were many days [during the last year] that I questioned why I kept working in leadership and thought that I should go back to the bedside and help patients,” shares Miller. “At the end of the day, I have a new appreciation for the nurses who work at ARHS, and I have inspiration to make nursing here the best possible. It has been a pleasure to watch some new leaders emerge in a time that hospitals were chaotic, and far from normal yet.” Miller continues, “The biggest challenge was often times being concerned myself outside of the hospital walls but maintaining confidence and instilling calmness while in the hospital. It was hard knowing that we had patients in a unit isolated and separated from the ones they loved.” Additionally, not being able to see family outside of work was hard for Miller. The holidays were especially difficult for him as his widowed uncle was diagnosed with COVID-19 the day after Thanksgiving. For two weeks, his uncle battled the virus, and Miller truly thought he would not survive. His uncle lost 25 pounds, would not eat or drink, and ended up with pneumonia. Fortunately, his uncle did survive and is still recovering months later. “At the end of it all, I would allow any of my family to be treated here. Prior to COVID-19, I knew that I had another family at work, but that family became Continued on next page CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —


LOCAL HEROES: Continued from previous page more special over time. Sadly, I have learned that there are skeptics and those who still believe COVID-19 is not real or as bad as portrayed. I continue to be disappointed when I see people without masks in public,” Miller confesses. “I have learned that the healthcare community is a tight group that does not mind altering all the daily norms as known in order to help patients.” Despite changing personal habits and responding to increased work demands, Miller recently celebrated a major milestone when he received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. “The day I received my first vaccine, I was able to realize that it might actually be OK in the end. I was particularly impacted when I saw many of our nurses and staff weep as they received the vaccine, and their stories of hope were very impactful. It is an exciting time as we start construction on new patient rooms and look to recruit new nursing talent from our nursing schools. My only hopes are for some normal social activities and to ensure that nurses here at ARHS feel supported 100 percent of the time,” concludes Miller.

Miller began his healthcare career as a First Responder and Paramedic while attending nursing school. He has been Chief Nursing Officer at Watauga Medical Center for the past two years and is responsible for all clinical nursing activities. He also serves as a member of the Incident Management Team, which streamlines all Covid-19 responses.

Jimmy Phillips Director of Cardiopulmonary, Neurodiagnostic, and The Sleep Center at ARHS When COVID-19 became a global pandemic, the local health system required rapid adaptations in response. Widespread changes included developing new methods to deliver patient care (and not transmit the highly contagious virus), coming up with more isolation beds and units, planning for protective equipment in advance, and creating protocols for infected COVID-19 patients. Staff also had to acclimate to a new world of wearing multiple masks, eye protection, and gowns for 12 to 16 hours a day. As a director of several departments, Jimmy Phillips ensured patient needs were met while simultaneously working to ensure employees were equipped and protected.


Phillips comments on the challenges of the past year: “It was difficult having to witness patients saying goodbye to their family over the phone or FaceTime because they didn’t want further treatment… withdrawing care and witnessing how quickly these patients die. The constant struggle of seeing the total exhaustion of your staff and trying to support them… it has taken a toll on all of us, and we are mentally and physically exhausted from very little time off over the last year. Watching some of the sickest patients I have ever seen slowly improve and eventually go home was just a miracle. Personally, I’m also trying to protect myself and my family. Making sure I don’t take this virus home on my clothes or on my body.” Months upon months of stress have impacted ARHS employees, but Phillips credits their resiliency coupled with outside community support as helping them all get through the past year. Phillips adds, “The amazing teamwork it took from everyone at ARHS and the incredible support from the community made it easier to come to work daily. Sometimes it was cookies or snacks sent by different businesses or individuals, signs and banners placed for encouragement, chalk messages on the sidewalks, or handwritten letters and cards. ARHS administration did everything they could to provide us what we needed to take care of our patients and our employees. I couldn’t imagine being in a better hospital system than ARHS!” Phillips has been a Respiratory Therapist for 35 years and at ARHS for the past three years. He serves as the System Director for Cardiopulmonary, Neurodiagnostic, and Sleep Services, which entails overseeing the day-to-day operations for six different departments at Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital.

Sean Burroughs, Director of Pharmacy for ARHS A hospital pharmacy is engrained in most of the service lines within a health system. At ARHS, Sean Burroughs and team supply medication for oncology, inpatient and outpatient surgeries, many Appalachian Regional Medical Associate practices, and to patients admitted to the hospital. They work very closely with prescribers to ensure hospitalized patients receive the right medication, at the right time, and for the right duration. During

the coronavirus pandemic and especially its onset, the pharmacy staff dealt with the constant challenge of ensuring the hospital had an adequate supply of medications. They often had to check availability of product multiple times a day to keep it in stock. More recently, the hospital’s pharmacy has taken on the major responsibility of vaccine distribution. “The long weeks have been emotionally exhausting. And with the constant changing of information coming out almost daily, it is hard to be able to unplug and recharge,” comments Burroughs. “I am very blessed to have such a strong, amazing staff, and they have risen to the challenge and kept our department pointed in the right direction. They, like all the hospital staff, have shown incredible selflessness in doing whatever it takes to ensure our patients are taken care of.” Burroughs continues, “The vaccine clinics that we have been running into the evenings have been the rewarding part. Even though it gets us home hours past normal, seeing the people coming through so excited to finally get vaccinated is awesome. And, the core team of staff and volunteers that work these clinics is so amazing. There is such a positive energy from the community volunteers, patients, and staff at these clinics—it truly ‘fills our cup.’ When I do the math and realize how many lives we are saving with each clinic, it is very humbling and rewarding.” Burroughs adds, “I’ve watched our community, in a time of need, pull together to help each other out. We have way more people volunteering than we have spots for. My wife and I moved here because we knew what a great community this was, and we knew this was going to be where we wanted to raise our children. But, this pandemic has taken our community ‘togetherness’ to another level. I’d just like to thank everyone that is contributing either by getting vaccinated, volunteering, or even just doing their part by wearing masks and social distancing.” Burroughs has been a Pharmacist for almost 22 years and has spent the last 14 with ARHS.

Although we are still very much in a pandemic that has yielded significant losses, these four voices demonstrate true community spirit remains here in the High Country. Learn more at covid19.

An Ounce of Prevention By Mike Teague

s I began the prep work and thinking about the layout of this article, I couldn’t help but remember a friend by the name of BT Fowler. BT was a leader in both North Carolina and the U.S. in injury prevention education. By the time I was blessed with the opportunity to meet BT he had already retired from the Raleigh Fire Department after 35 years of faithful service. BT and his wife Maxine were attending training sessions and State Conferences on Fire and Life Safety as “retired” individuals. A practice they would maintain for many years. From the first time I met BT I was in awe of his never ending knowledge on fire and life safety education! His knowledge was coupled with an unequaled passion to share this knowledge with colleagues and the public in general. This past January, BT passed away at the age of 91. One of BT’s favorite topics was senior citizen safety. I would like to dedicate this article to BT and the knowledge he happily shared with me as new kid in the business many years ago. Thank you BT! It is an inevitable fact that as we age we tend to slow and become more fragile. Because of this we also become more vulnerable to accidents and injuries. Many of these can be prevented or reduced by taking a few steps to make our surroundings safer. Following are some suggestions that will improve your personal safety and/or the safety of a senior loved one.

Fall Prevention

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), falls are the number one cause for injury and death to senior citizens. The CDC states there is a fall involving a senior citizen in the U.S. every second of every day. These falls produce over seven million injuries annually at a cost of $31 billion dollars to Medicare. There are several precautions that we can take to reduce this risk: • Remove trip hazards such a small rugs, magazine racks and pet toys • Keep your house “light and bright”— well illuminated, but prevent glare • Paint or highlight doorsills to prevent tripping • Place no-slip-mats on the floor of the shower or bathtub • Install shower and tub “grab bars” in the bathroom

Fall Prevention Guide / Photo courtesy

• •

Exercise regularly—this helps in maintaining mobility, muscle strength and balance • Have your doctor review your medications regularly

If possible, practice “stop, drop and roll” Have a home escape plan so you don’t have to figure it out during the fire • Make sure escape windows open easily

General Home Safety

There are several measures you can take when you’re away from home that will improve your overall safety: • Carry your cell phone and keep it where it is easy to access • When exercising outside, exercise with a partner—this makes the exercise more fun and gives another person to call for help if it is needed • Exercise and run errands during daylight hours when possible • Park your car as close as possible to where you are going • When returning to your car have your keys in hand and ready to use • Never leave anything valuable in plain view in the car • Wear comfortable shoes with good treads—dress shoes and high heels create their own fall hazards • Never leave your purse unattended; carry your wallet/money in your front pocket • Avoid large amounts of cash on hand • Avoid giving your social security number to anyone, especially over the phone • Have people seeking donations to mail you a request—avoid discussing donations over the phone

Since senior citizens spend more time at home, it is important to look at a few areas where we can improve safety: • Make sure your address is properly displayed with large numbers—this will help first responders locate your home during an emergency • Leave a key with a neighbor or hide a key—never hide it under the doormat • Have dead bolts installed on your exterior doors and lock them • Never open a door to a stranger • Never let someone in to use the phone • Never tell people you are alone • Make security measures a daily habit • Keep a wireless or cellular phone close

Fire Safety

Many of these items are ones that all of us can follow to improve our own personal safety when at home. National statistics through the years have shown that 25 percent of the population can expect to have a fire in our homes in our lifetime. Are you and your family prepared to respond to a fire in your home? • Install and maintain smoke alarms in every room; batteries should be replaced annually and the smoke alarms every 10 years; enlist help with smoke alarms that require the use of step ladders to install or change batteries • Use the microwave instead of the stove when possible • When cooking on the stove avoid wearing loose clothing—fabric can catch fire quickly • Never leave cooking food unattended • Turn pot and pan handles towards the back of the stove to help prevent accidental dumping of the pot • Make sure you have good lighting in the kitchen • Clean up all spilled grease • Keep a fire extinguisher close when cooking


General Safety

Whether you are a senior citizen yourself or look after a super senior, I hope these tips will help you remain active and safe. If you know a senior citizen who lives alone and may need help with daily activities, I encourage you to reach out and offer help. This act will improve and enrich the senior’s life, but it will also do the same for you! If you have questions or a topic you would like to see addressed, please feel free to email me at Frequent CML contributor Michael Teague is the Assistant Chief of the Boone Fire Department. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —




Detox Your Home By Samantha Steele




verwhelming scientific evidence shows that the environment within our homes often contains pollutants, and that illnesses caused by exposure to these pollutants can be a serious threat to our health. Even the newest and most “efficient” homes can lack airflow, and certain building materials and furnishings are known to off-gas harmful substances. In fact, studies from around the world have directly linked the exponential rise of degenerative disease in our country to the exposure of harmful chemicals in our workplaces, water, and homes. So many of us have been trapped inside with the recent COVID restrictions; we have been even more overloaded with indoor toxins, which can compromise the immune system. Removing this immune stress gives us the power and literally the “breathing room” to repair and/or maintain health, especially during such a critical time as this. By proactively detoxing the air and water in your home, you can create a safe haven from contaminants and improve your overall health and well-being.


Put Houseplants to Work Indoor plants not only brighten your home, they are very useful in purifying the air and adding oxygen to your space. In a significant 1989 experiment conducted by NASA, researchers looked for ways to effectively detoxify the air within space station environments. They found that indoor plants can effectively scrub the air of cancer-causing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like formaldehyde and benzene. Further research found that soil microorganisms in potted plants also play a part in cleaning indoor air. Palms, spider plants, dracaena, pothos, philodendrons, sansevieria, rubber plants and peace lilies are good choices for indoor air purifiers. Old Air out, Fresh Air in Change your HVAC air filters about every three months, more as needed. Choose a high quality filter that attracts and captures microscopic particles such as smoke, molecules from coughs and sneezes, bacteria and viruses, as well as large particles, such as lint, household dust and pollen. Open your windows and doors for some fresh, circulated mountain air! Spring is a wonderful time to pull out all your stored window and door screens and open up the house to air it out. Allow the wind to briskly blow through all your spaces, freshening your indoor air with the cool mountain breezes. When wintertime returns, consider purchasing an indoor air purifier that filters out dust, molds, bacteria and viruses. Ditch Artificial Fragrances The synthetic scents used in plugins, canned air fresheners, and other “fragrance mechanisms” contain toxic substances, some of which are actually neurotoxins that can affect your brain. Instead of that plug-in or aerosol freshener, use an essential oil diffuser or a nebulizing machine to diffuse pure essential oils. Some of my favorites are thyme, rosemary, and eucalyptus, especially during “virus season.” Lavender, lemon and

peppermint are also nice, clean fragrances. Some essential oils are processed with solvents that have harmful VOCs, so choose botanical fragrances that are organic or wild-crafted, and that are extracted through distillation, not with solvents. Seek out the purest oils that you can find for the most profound effects on air quality.

WATER The Basics of Bathing I’m hoping by now, most of us realize the importance of consuming plenty of fresh, clean water each day. But is your water really “clean”? If you have a municipal water supply, it definitely contains high amounts of chlorine. It would be very wise to filter the chlorine out of your drinking water, but if it’s in your budget, consider filtering the water you shower and bathe in as well; bathing in chlorinated water can kill the good bacteria that resides on your skin. You might ask, “Isn’t that a good thing?” Actually, it’s not. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “Symbiotic microorganisms occupy a wide range of skin niches and protect against invasion by more pathogenic or harmful organisms. These microorganisms may also have a role in educating the billions of T cells that are found in the skin, priming them to respond to similarly marked pathogenic cousins.” Plainly put, a healthy skin microbiome will act as a primary defense against invaders, and killing your skin microbiome with harmful chemicals such as chlorine can be bad for your health. Drinking Water Options So many folks spend quite a bit of money on bottled water out of convenience. Why not install a water filter instead? It is well documented that dangerous toxins from plastic water bottles can leach into your water. The most notable of these is bisphenol A (BPA). BPA can cause a myriad of health problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, research has shown that BPA can seep into food or beverages

from containers that are made with BPA. BPA is a concern because of its possible health effects on the brain and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. Because BPA affects the hormones in our bodies, and hormones often affect our behavior, BPA can also negatively influence children’s behavior. If you have well or spring water, that is generally best since it contains many essential minerals that may otherwise be lost through purification processes; however, you might want to have your water tested for purity and heavy metals. If you opt for an in-house water purifier, I suggest adding minerals to your water with a 1/2 teaspoon of Celtic Sea salt per 12 ounces of water to replenish the minerals lost in the filtration process. Below are a couple of other topics worth mentioning to improve your home environment and your health.

LIGHTING Rely on Natural Light If you have windows in your home, make a point to raise those shades and read and work by natural light. Get outside as soon as you wake to regulate your circadian rhythm. For the most pure form of lighting, try spending more time outside in a shady part of your yard, or on a covered porch. Ditch any fluorescent lights and install full spectrum color LED lights. Full spectrum lights offer a more natural light that has been shown to improve mood and circadian rhythm, and promote overall well-being.

FREQUENCIES Reduce Exposure to EMFs Beware of Electro Magnetic Frequencies (EMFs) from wifi, appliances, and meter boxes. EMFs are still under investigation as far as the risk they pose to humans. You can mitigate the risk by turning off your cell phones at night or at the very least, turn them on airplane mode when not in use.

Be Well

References: The Nader Report, Troubled Waters on Tap – Center for Responsive Law Dangers of Chlorine. Jerry Smith. Accessed 29 May 2008. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —


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Down on the microfarm, a superfood boosts the High Country’s well-being and good taste!

The Tinier the Leaf the Healthier to Eat

Photos by Tom Bagley

35 Shades of Micro Green: By Gail Greco


he grab-and-add simplicity of flavor-enhancing microgreens speeds cooking prep in my High Country kitchen. No bigger than a pinky, they’re micro in size, macro in benefits, with experts touting them as the most nutritious veggies on the planet. And they’re uniquely available from a local grower, Sunshine Cove Farm in Valle Crucis ( A handful served raw satisfies a veggie course that’s easy-peasy healthy in a snap—no cutting board or paring knife in sight. You can stop right there, or with only a tad more effort, be foodalicious: fennel greens and microbasil whirled into my pesto… mustard greens whipped tangy into my white-bean dip for soft-pretzels and a beer chaser… beetroot and cress greens egged on in a skillet for breakfast. Tonight, it’s a rainbow of micro veggies (that kids won’t detect) tucked into a bacon-ranch macand-cheese... for dessert, nutty/sweet sunflower greens baked in a strawberry bread. And why not? “They go with anything, and pack markedly more nutrients than their full-grown vegetables,” answers Larson Smith, Sunshine Cove (SCF) owner since 2017. He operates the smallfootprint farm, or microgreenery, with


partner Michelle Dineen, growing up to 35 varieties all year long. “Pea tendrils are just springing up,” reports Smith. Hmmm… swirl them into my creamy baked potato soup? Drop them into a carrot-mushroom stirfry? Varying flavors inspire new dishes and refresh faves. Microgreens boast familiar names, such as spinach and cauliflower, as well as heirlooms, including mizuna (Aztec) red amaranth. That’s because technically they are those vegetables at seedling stage, with leaves unfurling cheerfully— lacy and fluffy, floppy tender—mostly in shades of green. Popping up in trays of enriched soil, they stretch across a giant greenhouse like a magic carpet of life. Sunlight blasts the greens with detoxifying phytonutrients, which in humans can foil viral infections, douse inflammation, improve brain function, reduce blood pressure, balance hormones, and offer vitamins/minerals for everyday well-being. According to a University of Maryland College of Agriculture study, microgreens have four to 40 times more nutrients than their mature veggie counterparts. A kapow of healthy compounds are found in other SCF small-sized crops, as well: palm-size eggplants, peppers, and one-inch eggs from a perky flock

of quail. But it’s as much as 30 pounds weekly of microgreens that keep the farm busiest—a huge yield since each green is lighter than a feather! The farm touts its carefully crafted culinary mixes as “unlimited meal expanders.” For example, kohlrabi and purple radish greens in Purple Haze change up the flavor in, say, salmon or crab cakes. Blowing Rock’s Dawn Sullivan is convinced that SCF’s Pico de Gallo Mix (microherb cilantro, tangerine gem, onion greens) “is why everyone devours my smoked brisket tacos. The leaves, plopped on top of the filling, give the tacos a delightful and unexpected citrusy tang, balancing the woodsy meat and spicy sauce. As a great convenience food that goes a long way, it’s this kind of simplicity that makes you a better cook!” Sullivan is a regular shopper at the Watauga County Farmers’ Market, and is currently working on her own cookbook for family and friends, who are eager to know her secrets. The Pico mix will surely be one of them! SCF veggies can be purchased at Be Natural Market, the High Country Food Hub, local farmers’ markets, and familiar restaurants, including Vidalia, Joy Bistro, Wild Craft, Rowlands, Booneshine, and Lost Province. Vidalia chef owner Sam



Larson Smith and Michelle Dineen of Sunshine Cove Farm




Ratchford works with whatever SCF brings—“Farmer’s Choice,” he calls it— for edible garnishes, spring rolls, dressings, and entrees, such as steak pepperseasoned with micro arugula. Speaking of farm-to-table, SCF greens have also been served by Vivian Howard, PBS-TV cooking show host and owner of Chef and the Farmer Eatery in Kinston, NC. Boone resident Karl Mohr is a husky 6’3” guy you wouldn’t think could be satisfied chowing down on a bowl of teeny leaves. But he’s passionate about them. After work, either on a construction project or spinning tunes as a disc jockey for his Mohr Fun Events business, he adds olive oil and a squeeze of lemon to a two-ounce SCF Market Mix, “and I call it dinner! Once you taste ‘em, you get it. This is not rabbit food.” Mohr believes, “Quality is what makes the difference so that you’ll eat them at all, and why Sunshine Cove is so important to our area.” He’s coaxing his five-year-old daughter Nola to eat them, too. “I’m getting there,” he shrugs. While many children wrinkle their noses at certain foods, even miniature kale, collard, and chard, nutritionists suggest kids will eat what they grow. “We have kits for DIYers, who supplement quantity and variety with our packaged greens,” adds Dineen.

Health coach Sandra Diaz of Todd eats the greens all day, as snacks, too. “A painless way to get your veggies,” she advises. “It’s shocking how good they are for you.” Broccoli greens, packaged separately, or in the SCF blends Mediterranean Mix and Wasabi Heat, contain sulforaphane, a serious cancer preventative/cell-growth inhibitor. Kitty Rosati, Durham resident and author of The New York Times bestseller The Rice Diet, gets them for a friend battling cancer. She applauds SCF for “offering food as medicine.” And what about as a life force for the soul? Traditional veggies are the cornerstone for many delicious meals. They add fiber and their own nutrient value, so the peeler and grater stay nearby. But, microgreens—strong as they are delicate and dainty—add a culinary grace to the kitchen no other veggie can, proving the timeless adage: Good things really do come in small packages! Gail Greco is a multi-media food journalist, author of 15 cookbooks and recipe videos, and former executive producer/host of the James Beard award-winning national PBS-TV series, Country Inn Cooking.

n Microgreens appeared in the late 1980s as a restaurant garnish. A few years later food scientists announced their nutritional benefits, and they caught on with an emerging healthconscious consumer. n Microgreens are often confused with sprouts; microgreen leaves are full-grown, while sprouts are harvested before they leaf out, so less nutritious. n Toss micros raw in a salad or slaw, blend in a smoothie or juice them, and don’t forget to add them to take-out meals. n Microgreens can be preserved frozen or in CML’s exclusive brine/pickling recipe: Add 4 cups or more greens to a mix of ½ cup apple cider vinegar, 1½ cups water, 1 tablespoon sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 cloves garlic. Sit overnight in the fridge. Serve the next day or keep longer; they stay crunchy for days and go well with fish, sandwiches, burgers, or cottage cheese. n Cooking over high heat can cause nutrient loss, but not flavor; add microgreens last minute to stovetop preparations. n Microgreens offer baked goods a hint of spice. Add whole or chopped, depending on what’s baking. n From seed plot to plate, growing at home can be fun. For growing tips and trouble-shooting, search online or talk to Sunshine Cove Farm (www. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —


See the beauty. Taste the tradition. Feel at home. SUNSET DRIVE • BLOWING ROCK (One Block Off Main Street) Restaurant: 828-295-3466 Serving Dinner Inn: 828-295-9703 Music on the Lawn Fridays May–October

Celebrating 25 Years! 100% producer only market with 60+ local vendors conveniently located in the heart of the High Country

SUSHI BISTRO AND BAR Monday-Saturday Dine-In: 4pm - 10pm | TOGO: 4pm - 8pm 161 Howard Street, Boone 828-386-1201 |

Open Saturdays | May - Nov, 8 am-12 pm 591 Horn in the West Dr.


Boone, NC 28607


828.355.4918 110 — Spring 2021 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

MAY 22 • JUNE 12 • JULY 17 AUG. 14 • SEPT. 11 • OCT. 2











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 • Teva Sherpani Teva Norpro ••Kavu 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 42nd Year! – pm Summer Sundayour 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

, and Much More


Fred’s General

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

Pictured: Dragonfly by Eric Moore

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

Tools, Bird Feeders, Sweets,




Eat Crow

828.963.8228 9872 NC Hwy 105 South, Banner Elk, NC 28604 “Whether a gourmet lunch, a delectable sweet treat, or custom catering, Eat Crow is your one stop shop for good food in the High Country. Come try our Queen Victoria Sponge Cake this spring.”

Boone Appetit “Boone Appetit is your source for handcrafted baked goods and healthy options. Our Basil Tomato pie has quickly become a favorite! Fresh heirloom tomatoes layered with fresh basil, a blend of 5 different cheeses nestled in a pie crust make for the perfect meal! Place your orders over email or order on our FB marketplace.”


Jack 128 Pecan

Carolina BBQ

“Local, quirky, fun little restaurant with simple good food and friendly professional service. Stop in and try a favorite, Chili rubbed Salmon and cheddar grits with chow chow.”

“Smoked Chicken Dinner—Marinated and seasoned to perfection, it comes with 2 sides and is a mouth-watering treat for all, including those with a heart healthy appetite.”

F.A.R.M Café

The Famous Brick Oven Pizzeria

276.698.3159 128 Pecan St. SE, Abingdon VA 24210

828.386.1000 617 W King St Boone, NC 28607 “We’re a pay-what-you-can community cafe that operates primarily with volunteers. We prepare high-quality, delicious meals produced from local sources whenever possible and served in a restaurant where everybody eats, regardless of means. Come by for one of our most popular desserts, Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookie with Cream Cheese Filling.”

828.737.0700 500 Pineola Street, Newland, NC 28657

828.387.4209 402 Beech Mountain Parkway Beech Mountain, NC 28604

“We have been making and baking pizza for over 25 years. We have beers from around the world, cinema under the stars, hand crafted candies, fresh baked cookies, large flat screen TVs, full bar menu, polar golf and an arcade. We are the place to eat, play and drink.”

Fine food, friendly service, great atmosphere! Here we showcase some of our favorite chefs’ specialties.

Painted Fish

828.898.6800 2941 Tynecastle Highway, Banner Elk, NC 28604 “Step inside The Painted Fish Café and Beer Bar and discover something truly unique in North Carolina: recognizable dishes with a twist. You will find an upscale experience in a completely relaxed, casual ambience where you can indulge in great food, fun beers and superb wines, all at surprisingly reasonable prices. Come try our sesame crusted tuna, pan seared rare, served with risotto, sauteed spinach, Asian slaw, wasabi aioli and soy. We’re celebrating 10 years of inspiring your taste buds in the High Country.”

Cobo Sushi Bistro and Bar

The Best Cellar

“Cobo, especially known for its variety in specialty sushi rolls, combines an array of ingredients and flavors that never disappoint. Unique combinations and a series of house made sauces keep Cobo Sushi very popular in the High Country. Featured here are some house favorites, from top to bottom: Yosef Rolls, Going Green Rolls and Stormy Roll.”

“The Best Cellar prides itself on having provided its customers with the finest of food, wine, and service for 30 years. Featured is our Best Cellar Tuna, marinated in light soy, olive oil, lemon and ginger, then grilled and served with a cucumberginger relish and fresh wasabi.”

828.386.1201 161 W Howard St., Boone NC 28607

828.295.3466 203 Sunset Drive Blowing Rock, NC 28605

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” —J.R.R.Tolkien

And...Enjoy these restaurants featured in our winter 20/21 issue. Visit to peruse back issues. Banner Elk Café 828.898.4040 324 Shawneehaw Ave S, Banner Elk Bayou Smokehouse & Grill Restaurant 828.898.8952 130 Main Street East, Banner Elk Bella’s Italian Restaurant Banner-Elk location: 3585Tynecastle Hwy., 828.898.9022 Boone Location: 190 Boone Heights Dr., 828.386.6101 Bistro Roca Antlers Bar 828.295.4008 143 Wonderland Trail, Blowing Rock Bodegas Kitchen and Wine Bar 828.898.7773 488 Main St. W. Banner Elk

Stonewalls Highlander’s Grill & Tavern 828.898.9613 828.898.5550 4527 Tynecastle Hwy., Banner Elk 344 Shawneehaw Ave. South Banner Elk Elk River Depot Lost Province Brewing Co. 828.742.1980 828.265.3506 The Chefs Table 828.898.1940 6460 Banner Elk Hwy., Elk Park 130 N Depot Street Boone, NC 28607 140 Azalea Cir SE, Banner Elk Fred’s Backside Deli The Chestnut Grille at 828.387.4838 Reid’s Café & Catering The Green Park Inn 501 Beech Mountain Pkwy 828.898.9200 828.414.9230 Beech Mountain 4004 NC-105 Suite #8 Sugar Mountain, NC 28604 9239 Valley Blvd. Gamekeeper Restaurant Blowing Rock 828.963.7400 Sorrento’s Italian Bistro The Italian Restaurant 3005 Shull’s Mill Rd, Boone 828.898.5214 140 Azalea Cir SE 828.773.1401 Gideon Ridge Inn Banner Elk, NC 28604 2855 Linville Falls Hwy., Pineola 828.295.3644 202 Gideon Ridge Rd., Stick Boy Kitchen 828.265.4141 Blowing Rock 211 Boone Heights Dr., Boone Casa Rustica 828.262.512 1348 NC-105, Boone

The Pedalin’ Pig BBQ Banner Elk Location: 828.898.7500 4235 Hwy 105 South Boone Location: 828.355.9559 2968-A Hwy 105 Woodland’s Barbeque 828.295.3651 8304 Valley Blvd. Blowing Rock



BA Y O U µ

Bayou Smokehouse & Grill Restaurant

“Downtown Boone has so much to celebrate when it comes to history and preservation in our little town... Come Shop, Dine, and Stay a spell. “Don’t forget your mask.”

Telehealth Visits:


The Blowing Rock Farmers Market will begin Thursday, May 20th and will run to the last Thursday in September. The FM is open from 3-6pm on Park Ave in front of the Chamber. We typically have fresh flowers, goat cheese, local meat, bread and more! Thursdays from 4pm to 6pm on Park Avenue

Protecting You Through All Life’s Adventures!

The Heart of Texas The Soul of Louisiana in the

High Country

Locations Across the High Country:

of North Carolina

Picture Perfect Schedule your free smile consultation today! 828-264-0110 | 336-667-4114 Boone & North Wilkesboro

General Store Downtown Banner Elk (828) 898-TxLa (8952)


A Starry Sky Experience

The Bare Dark Sky Observatory at the Mayland Earth to Sky Park, located near Burnsville, NC offers private group rentals in addition to community viewing nights. Spend two hours under the stars and take a tour of the night sky alongside the Observatory’s expert astronomy staff. Peer through the largest public telescope in North Carolina at a park certified by the International Dark Sky Association. Arrive a little early and explore the gardens around the Observatory or set up your own telescope on one of eight new telescope viewing stations.

Opening soon: the Glenn and Carol Arthur Planetarium! →

For more information visit CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 — 107 or contact the Observatory staff to reserve your private group at

The Region’s Largest & Finest Selection of

WINE & BEER Since 1978

1104 Hwy 105 • Boone, NC 828-264-9476



ne oo

Appé tit

Email custom orders to or stop by Maw’s Produce in Foscoe.

Have you visited our new website yet? 116 — Spring 2021 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE



ur local wineries

are offering some creative

and delicious options for wine

drinkers this season. Be sure to visit each of their tasting rooms for a sip of some classic flavors, as well as one-of-a-kind blends.

Watauga Lake Winery

“Watauga Lake Winery is excited to share two special releases for spring: Tramanto and Cold Springs Rose. Tramanto is a blush wine with a perfect balance of acidity and sweetness. With notes of raspberries, strawberries, and pomegranates, this wine pairs perfectly with sunshine! Come grab a bottle to enjoy on our deck or to take along for a spring picnic. Our second featured wine is our Cold Springs Rose. This dry rose is crisp with citrus notes of grapefruit and blood orange. Enjoy it alone or pair it with one of our flatbreads for your optimal tasting pleasure!”

Grandfather Vineyard & Winery

“The complement to our Appalachia Bubbles, Blue Ridge Brut is a dry sparkling white wine—a brand new creation by our Winemaker, Dylan Tatum. Ever since he produced the Pearls of the Vine many years ago, he’s enjoyed experimenting with carbonation. The white hybrid grapes that

grow best in the Appalachian terrain contain high acidity making these varietals prime candidates for sparkling wines. Comprised of locally grown Chardonel and Marsanne, flavors of lemon and apricot dance on the palate with tiny bubbles in each glass of the Brut. Grandfather Vineyard’s premier blend, the 2018 Fusion, perfectly marries the classic aromas and flavors of the Malbec varietal and the Barbera varietal, one of the world’s oldest grapes used in wine making. A medium bodied dry red, dark cherry and plum flavors flow smoothly across the palate, while nutmeg and vanilla linger on in the aftertaste. The Fusion makes for an excellent pairing with lean red meats and dishes with blue cheese.”

Banner Elk Winery & Villa

“Nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Banner Elk Winery & Villa is the oldest winery of the North Carolina High Country, located on the site of a historic blueberry farm. With our Tuscan-inspired 8-bedroom Bed and Breakfast located on site, the Banner Elk Winery & Villa is a must-see for beautiful views, knowledgeable staff, and fantastic wines. Our spring season wine releases include two special but different blueberry wines. Our Banner Elk Blueberry Wine is an intense expression of bush-ripened blueberries without any grape additives. It is fermented at a lower temperature resulting in

a tart, fruit-forward aromatic style. It pairs well with vegetarian entrees, fresh fruits, and desserts. Our Banner Elk Blueberry Ice Wine is a unique example of what a dessert wine should be. With its silky taste, decadent fullbodied fruit flavor, and a thick, pleasing sweet finish, it’s a perfect ending to a well enjoyed meal.”

Linville Falls Winery

“Spring is in the air around the winery! Small wildflowers carpet our vineyards while buds swell on the vines and it’s a race to finish pruning. To welcome spring, we are featuring two wines that not only showcase pretty spring appearances with their colorful hues and floral-themed labels, but also boast lively and vibrant flavor that reminds us of the season. Our Dry Riesling features notes of citrus and mango, reminding us of warmer days ahead, and the dry finish makes it a really versatile option for many wine drinkers. Then there’s our Rose´—we can’t think of a better wine to capture the season of spring. This Rose´ boasts juicy notes of lemon and wild strawberry, perfect for pairing with soft cheeses. These selections each feature bright acidity thanks to their roots in our Blue Ridge Mountain soil, and they will awaken your palate as nature awakens around us, bringing new life into spring.”




Fresh Releases from Our Local Wineries O

...where everyday is a

Farmer’s Market!

fresh produce locally baked goods moravian pies • quiches boiled peanuts • pickles Fresh Seafood • Local Meat Jams • honey • cheese & crackers artisan crafts & unique gifts Open Daily 10am-6pm Yummy Weekly Specials 828.963.8254 Hwy 105 South, Foscoe NC

owned & operated by


Wholesale Supplier of Fine Produce Est. 1993 • Boone NC 828.963.7254

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

- Award Winning -

Craft Beer

brewed in Downtown Boone, NC with water from the headwaters of the New River

130 N Depot Street, Boone NC | | 828.265.3506

Locally sourced foods and wood fired pizza.

Call for Store Hours | Curbside delivery available | 828-898-4441 155 Banner Rd., Banner Elk


J E R KY • S E A S O N I N G S • H OT S AU C E S

Open Daily in Historic Valle Crucis & Tanger Outlets, Blowing Rock 828-260-6221 |

The High Country’s Premier Steak & Seafood Restaurant

Dinner Nightly from 5pm

SPRING SPECIALS Martini & Meatloaf Mondays


$7 House Martinis Comfort Food Specials

25% off Bottles of Wine




“Avery County Chamber Business of the Year”


344 Shawneehaw Ave. South |

Caribbean Style Fare in a Unique Mountain Setting

“ The Best Chicken Tenders Hands Down! “

Mon-Sat 10:30am - 9pm, Sun 11pm - 6pm 828-737-0700 | Catering for 50 - 1200 people!

Voted Best BBQ in the High Country 16 years running! 2020 Best Chicken Award in the High Country!

In Downtown Newland

488 Main St. W. Banner Elk • 828-898-7773

The Banner Elk Café, The Lodge Espresso Bar & Eatery, and the Tavern Are Under One Roof! Open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Located in the Heart of Banner Elk

Expansive Menu Indoor & Outdoor Dining Large Bar with Comfortable Seating ...and a Warm Fireplace! Live Music on Weekends

Schedule & Specials: Facebook, Instagram and at | Café 828-898-4040, Lodge 828-898-3444

Boone’s Donate-What-You-Can Community Cafe “Where Everybody Eats” 617 W. King Street Across from Mast Store Lunch Mon-Fri, 11-2


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

"Inspiring your tastebuds for 10 years."

Spices - Seasonings - Teas - Infused Salts and Sugars - Gourmet Gifts


Inspire Your Tastebuds

2941 Tynecastle Highway • Banner Elk (across from the entrance to Sugar Moutain)

828.898.6800 •

The Spice and Tea Exchange Downtown Blowing Rock 828-372-7070

Downtown West Jefferson 336-846-8327

Painted Salad

Let Us Shop For You!urbside

Avery Animal Hospital

Website C -Sat Pickup Mon 11am-6pm

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


Small Animal Medicine Surgical Services CO2 Surgical Laser Hill’s Science Diet & Prescription Diets In-house Laboratory Therapy Laser Treatments Cozy Boarding Dr. Brent Jewell 828-733-9810 351 W. Mitchell Street Newland, NC 28657

U LT I M AT E KITCHEN DESIGN We Make Beautiful Kitchens Affordable! 828-260-2592

“Just Be” Your LOCAL source for Organic & Fresh Foods, Bulk, Produce, Supplements and so much more!

273 Boone Heights Drive, Boone, NC 28607 Across from the Wellness Center 828-262-5592 • CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —


The Woodlands Barbecue &Picken’ Parlor

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

828-262-5029 877 West King Street, Boone NC Open Mon-Sat, 9am-5pm

Chopped & sliced pork & beef BBQ

EAT, DRINK, BE SOCIAL... Lunch • Dinner • Full Bar Tues-Sat, 11am-9pm

Homestyle Mexican Food Ribs & Chicken Imported & domestic beer, drafts, wine & mixed beverages

128 Pecan Street Abingdon, Virginia (276)698-3159

Carry-out service



Try Our New Restaurant in Elk Park, NC!

At Shoppes of Tyne

, NC

castle in Banner Elk

Open 7 Days a Week! • Daily lunch and dinner specials • Children’s menu • Large selection of appetizers, burgers, salads, and wings • Enjoy dancing, sports viewing, and other entertainment • Full bar and daily drink specials, 14 beers on tap Visit our Facebook page to view daily specials and LIVE MUSIC listings: 4527 Tynecastle Hwy, at the Corner of Hwy 105 and 184 Tynecastle Hwy 828.898.9613 |


Country Style at Its Best! • Serving breakfast and lunch, country style • Breakfast served all day from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. • Lunch entrees include meatloaf, pot roast, ham, and other country staples • Specials served every day Located in Elk Park at the corner of Banner Elk Highway 194 and 19E (6460 Banner Elk Hwy, Elk Park NC 28622)

...showcasing Chef’s Table, “Banner Elk’s little hidden gem of fine dining.” Our Chef’s Table features gourmet fine dining with new tapas, sushi, cocktail menus, private dining, veranda, and VIP seating. Visit our website for our live entertainment schedules!

The Village of Banner elk in the heart of Downtown Banner Elk, NC


140 Azalea Circle, Banner Elk, NC

orts Bar Sorrento’s Bistro | Chef ’s Table | Barra Sp The Village of Banner Elk has something for everyone’s tastes—traditional Italian, gourmet fine dining, and international cuisine. And don’t miss our famous Sunday Brunch at Sorrento’s Bistro! We have indoor and outdoor entertainment, stocked bars, a wine room, a cigar lounge, exclusive NFL and college sports viewing, private dining, art galleries, karaoke, a family-friendly arcade and Banner Elk’s best billiards! Call 828.898.5214 for reservations.

Special Events & Catering: Corporate Events, Weddings, VIP Dining Parties CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 — 123 Call 828.898.5214 | Email



(Served on our homemade bread)

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


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

828.963.8228 Fabulous British Chef/Owner

Dominic & Meryle Geraghty


Open Tuesday-Saturday 10:30am-3:30pm Closed Sunday & Monday Lunch served 11:00 - 3:00 9872 Hwy. 105 S. in Foscoe (Across from Mountain Lumber)



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

eat wine

­ ­



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 Spring 2021 —


From CML’s Kitchen Recipes & Photography by Meagan Murphy Goheen


INGREDIENTS 1 pound fresh flounder, cut into 1-inch pieces 8 corn or flour tortillas Vegetable oil for frying

Quick pickled radishes 1 bunch round radishes, thinly-sliced ¾ cup water ¾ cup apple cider vinegar 2 tsp salt 3 TBSP honey 2 whole cloves of garlic, peeled

Coleslaw *Can substitute pre-packaged slaw for shredded cabbage and carrots 2 TBSP avocado oil 1 TBSP rice vinegar 1 TBSP soy sauce/or coconut aminos 1 TBSP lime juice ½ TBSP honey ½ tsp Sriracha 1 clove of garlic, minced ¼ tsp ground ginger 1 ½ cups shredded napa cabbage 1 ½ cups shredded red cabbage ¼ cup shredded carrots 1/3 cup cilantro 2 scallions, chopped 1/4 cup almond silvers 1 TBSP sesame seeds


Beer batter


½ cup all-purpose flour ¼ cup cornstarch 1 tsp salt 1 cup cold beer

Whisk together avocado oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, honey, Sriracha, garlic, and ginger in a medium sized bowl. To the same bowl, toss in cabbage, carrots, cilantro, and scallions. Place almond silvers and sesame seeds in a dry pan and toast over medium heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add to slaw mix.

Taco sauce ¼ mayonnaise 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (can substitute sour cream) 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp sriracha 1 TBSP Gochujang paste

Taco sauce Mix together ingredients and set aside.


Beer batter

Quick pickled radishes

Whisk together flour, corn starch, and salt. Stir in cold beer and mix until no lumps remain. Coat each piece of fish with the batter.

Prepare the night before for best results, but can be served after an hour of pickling. Prepare radishes by slicing off the tops and bottoms. Next, use a mandolin or sharp chef’s knife to slice the radishes as thin as possible. In a small saucepan, heat all ingredients—except the radishes and garlic—until boiling. Pack clean canning jars with thinly sliced radishes and garlic. Carefully pour the hot liquid over the radish slices until fully covered and let cool to room temperature. Use after an hour or cover and store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.

Frying Heat oil to 325-350 degrees F (Mediumhigh heat) Working in batches, slowly place flounder in the oil as to be careful for splattering oil. Cook until the coating is golden, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle immediately with a pinch of salt. Repeat with remaining fish.

Assembly Place flounder on each tortilla, warmed. Top with slaw, drizzle with taco sauce, and top with pickled radishes.




INGREDIENTS 16-ounce package of orecchiette 4 ounces pancetta 2 TBSP butter 1 large shallot, minced 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes 1 pound of asparagus, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces 6 ounces of peas 1/3 cup white wine 1/3 cup reserved pasta water 1/2 cup heavy cream Juice and zest of 1 lemon ½ cup fresh grated parmesan 1 tsp salt ½ tsp fresh cracked black pepper 8 ounces of Burrata ¼ cup chopped basil 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook orecchiette according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan heated to medium high heat add pancetta until crisp; remove and set aside. To the same pan, melt butter on medium high. To the butter add shallot, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes until fragrant, about a minute. Drain pasta reserving 1/3 cup salted pasta water. Add white wine, reserved pasta water, and asparagus to the pan and cook for 5 minutes or until asparagus is tender. Add peas, zest and juice of lemon, and heavy cream and reduce heat to low. Add orecchiette to the pan and toss to combine. Add parmesan and fresh basil. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, dollop with sliced burrata, drizzle on 1 TBSP of olive oil, and finish with fresh basil, a sprinkle of salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

made with love CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Spring 2021 —




INGREDIENTS For the spring rolls: 8 Rice spring roll papers 1 ounce cooked rice vermicelli (cooled down) 1 cup cabbage, sliced 1 mango, thinly sliced ½ English cucumber, thinly sliced 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced 3-4 radish, thinly sliced 2 green onion, thinly sliced ½ cup mint ½ cup basil ½ cup cilantro

For the mango thai chili sauce: 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar 1/2 cup granulate sugar 1/4 cup water 3 inch red chili pepper with seeds and membrane included, finely diced (1 1/2 -Tablespoons) 1 Tablespoon garlic, finely minced 1 tablespoon cooking sherry 1 tablespoon lime juice 3 tablespoons honey 3 tablespoons cool water 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 cup of fresh mango

DIRECTIONS Mango Thai Chili Sauce, Makes one pint. Place the first 9 ingredients into a saucepan. Heat on medium until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium again and return to a boil. Mix the 3 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Add to the pot and stir until sauce has thickened. Add the diced mango to the pot. Reduce heat and simmer 4 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Store in a glass container in the refrigerator for a week.

For the spring rolls:

made with love 128 — Spring 2021 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one rice paper wrapper into the water, completely submerging. Leave for 5-10 seconds or until pliable. Lay wrapper on a flat clean surface. On the bottom third of rice paper wrapper fill with mango, cucumber, carrots, cabbage, vermicelli, radish, scallion and fresh herbs. Carefully fold the sides inward, then tuck and fold the bottom up over the filling. Roll everything upward, tightly but gently to avoid ripping the rice paper wrapper. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve with Mango thai chili sauce.

© 2006-2020 DeWoolfson Down Int’l., Inc.

Little Deer Café Specialty Foods Store Handmade Bread & Pastries Catering Catering Available | Open 7 days a week Mon-Sat 11am-9pm & Sunday Noon-9pm 190 Boone Heights Dr, Boone, NC 28607 Reservations Suggested 828-386-6101 – Visit our Banner Elk Location –

Open Tues- Fri 7-5, Sat 8-3 Closed Sunday and Monday Breakfast 7-10 • Lunch 11:30-2:30 Pastries and drinks served all day 3616 Mitchell Avenue #1 Linville, NC 28646


Classic Surroundings, Classic Surroundings, Classic Surroundings, Modern Amenities Modern Amenities Modern Amenities

EstablishEd in 1891 EstablishEd in 1891 EstablishEd in 1891



down bedding & fine linens

Divide Tavern

Chestnut Grille

Divide Tavern

Chestnut Grille

Divide Tavern

Chestnut Grille

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



Between Boone & Banner Elk 9452 NC Hwy. 105 S 828.963.4144



OUR SPONSORS: 51............A to Z Auto Detailing 85............Abbey Carpet & Floor 44............Abode Home & Design 66............Adventure Damascus 30............Advocates for the Care of Animals in Avery County 61............Allen Tate Realtors 51............Amy Brown, CPA 23............An Appalachian Summer Festival 40............Appalachian Blind and Closet 100..........Appalachian Regional Internal Medicine Specialists 100..........Appalachian Regional Medical Associates 100..........AppFamily Medicine 120..........Apple Hill Farm 111..........Art in the Park 33............Artists in Residence 48............Ashe County Chamber of Commerce 100..........Ashe Memorial Hospital 121..........Avery Animal Hospital 69............Avery County Barn Quilt Trail 77,51.......Avery County Chamber of Commerce 74............Avery County Transportation 106..........Avery Heating & Air Conditioning 120..........Banner Elk Café, Lodge & Tavern 28............Banner Elk Book Exchange 30............Banner Elk Realty 118..........Banner Elk Olive Oil and Balsamics 12............Banner Elk Winery 100..........Baker Center for Primary Care 123..........Barra Sports Bar 114..........Bayou Smokehouse & Grill 51............BB&T 106..........Beattie’s Distillers 37,90.......BE Artists Gallery 121..........BE Natural Market 69............Beech Mountain TDA 129..........Bella’s Italian Restaurant 125..........Bistro Roca 50............BJ’s Resort Wear 114..........Blowing Rock Farmers Market 17............Blue Ridge Brutal

78............Blue Ridge Energy 4..............Blue Ridge Mountain Club 63............Blue Ridge Propane 120..........Bodegas Kitchen & Wine Bar 116..........Boone Appetit 74............Boone Bigfoots 27............Boonies Old Country Store 96............Brinkley Hardware 111..........Callista Flower Co. 28............Carlton Gallery 120..........Carolina BBQ 124..........Casa Rustica 74............Century 21 Mountain Vistas 123..........Chef’s Table 129..........Chestnut Grille 52............Classic Stone 100..........Compu-Doc 110..........CoBo Sushi Bistro & Bar 51............Creative Interiors by Darlene Parker 46............Crossnore School for Children 100..........Davant Medical Clinic 2,129.......Dewoolfson 3..............Dianne Davant & Associates 8..............Distinctive Cabinetry of the HC 114..........Downtown Boone 124..........Eat Crow Café 52............Elk River Club 122..........Elk River Depot 100..........Elk River Medical Associates 51............Encore Travel 62............Engel & Völkers 118..........English Farmstead Cheese 116..........Erick’s Cheese and Wine 106..........Famous Brick Oven Pizzeria 120..........F.A.R.M. Café 37............Florence Art School 11............Footsloggers 63............Fortner Insurance 8..............Fox & Fuller General Contracting & Design 111..........Fred’s General Mercantile 107..........Gamekeeper Restaurant & Bar 125..........Gideon Ridge Inn 96............Glen Davis Electric 131..........Grandfather Mountain

60............Grandfather Mountain Highland Games 64............Grandfather Vineyard 129..........Green Park Inn 28............Gregory Alan’s Gifts 32............Hardin Fine Jewelry 44............Hemlock Inn 56............High Mountain Expeditions 122,51.....Highlander’s Grill and Tavern 56............Holston Camp & Retreat Center 48............Hunter’s Tree Service 37............Incredible Toy Company 110..........Italian Restaurant 122..........Jack’s 128 Pecan 118..........Jerky Outpost 37............Jones House Cultural & Community Center 30............Leatherwood Mountains Resort 23............Liberty! Tennessee’s Outdoor Drama 114..........Life Store Insurance 18 ...........Linville Caverns 19............Linville Falls Mountain Club 107..........Linville Falls Winery 129..........Little Deer Cafe 118..........Lost Province Brewing Company 10............Loven Casting 54............Lucky Lily OBC.........Mast General Store 118..........Maw’s Produce 115..........Mayland Community College 50............Mica Gallery 97............Mike Smith Builders 63............Mountain Dog and Friends 50............Mountain Jewelers 36............Mountain Time 106..........Mustard Seed Market 37............My Best Friend’s Barkery 114..........OP Smiles 92............Pack Rats 121..........Painted Fish Café 116..........Peabody’s Wine & Beer 96,51.......Peak Real Estate 124..........Pedalin’ Pig BBQ 100..........Premier Pharmacy 96............Randall Forbes Plumbing

122..........Ram’s Rack Thrift Shop 118..........Reid’s Café & Catering 96............Root Down Hair Studio 60............Sally Nooney Art Studio Gallery 51............Salon Suites at Tynecastle 5, 51............Shooz and Shiraz 28............Shoppes at Farmers 51............Shoppes 0f Tynecastle 96............Skyline/Skybest 123..........Sorrento’s Italian Bistro 124..........Stick Boy Bread Co. 97............Stone Cavern 119..........Stonewalls Restaurant 77............Sugar Mountain Golf and Tennis 63............Sugar Mountain Nursery 66............Sundog Outfitter 54............Sunset Tee’s & Hattery 64............Tatum Galleries and Interiors 45............The Bee & The Boxwood 110..........The Best Cellar 18............The Blowing Rock 85............The Cabin Store 40............The Consignment Cottage Warehouse 51............The Dande Lion 66............The Happy Shack 110..........The Inn at Ragged Gardens 7..............The Lodges at Eagles Nest 121..........The Spice & Tea Exchange 37............The Twisted Twig 5,77.........The Village of Sugar Mountain 50............Tom’s Custom Golf 32............Turchin Center for the Visual Arts 51............Tynecastle Builders 51............Tynecastle Realty 121..........Ultimate Kitchen Design 51............Valle de Bravo Mexican Grill 44............Village Jewelers 84............Waite Financial 51............Walgreens Pharmacy 110..........Watauga County Farmers Market 125..........Watauga Lake Winery 56............West Fork Anglers 122..........Woodlands Barbecue 56............YMCA of Avery Co

thank you! 130 — Spring 2021 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE


Get close to nature, and away from everything else.


Black bears, otters, cougars, elk, even eagles. Experience them all in natural settings at Grandfather Mountain. For the time-being, admission is available online only. w w w. g ra n d f a t h e r. c o m


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