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Every year there’s something new at Sugar Mountain, even though it’s not always visible to the naked eye. Improvements might include a new compressor line, or a water pump to deliver more powerful snowmaking to the south’s most dramatic and diverse ski terrain. But here lately the South’s flagship ski resort has delivered the eyecandy for all to see. The recent unveiling of Gunther’s Way, the most significant new ski slope addition in southern skiing in years, has really gotten people’s attention. Opening to rave reviews, it’s generous width and ‘glade like’ character evoke special sensations for avid ski and snowboard enthusiasts. With 700 feet of vertical drop packed into its half-mile length, Gunther’s Way adds over 10 acres of new alpine excitement at the home of the Flying Mile and Tom Terrific. A tough act to follow for sure, but the dedication of the resort’s glittering ‘Summit Express’ a year ago exceeded everyone’s wildest expectations. The new six-seat detachable chairlift, built by Austria’s Doppelmayr Company, replaces the old reliable mile-long two seater and slashes ride time to the summit from 15 minutes to just five. The

building of Gunther’s Way and the Summit Express serve to herald a renewed commitment to enhancement and additions on Sugar Mountain. Snowtubing, ice skating, and guided snowshoeing adventures round out the outdoor winter activities at Sugar Mountain. Indoors you’ll find great food, entertainment and hospitality in the main lodge. Surrounding the ski resort is the Village of Sugar Mountain, an incorporated municipality since 1988. The village is home to a large inventory of rental accommodation close to base and summit lifts. From chalets to luxury condominiums, Sugar Mountain makes for a fabulous holiday destination for families, groups, or the solo adventurer. Plan your mountain adventure at Sugar Mountain today. In any season, you’re going to have a ball. Close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, the ‘epicurean and cultural triumvirate’ that is Banner Elk, Boone and Blowing Rock, and dramatic attractions like Grandfather Mountain and its “MileHigh” Swinging Bridge, find out for yourself all that Sugar Mountain has to offer. The only thing missing is you. • CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2016/17 —


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On the Inside . . . 12............ Mountain Wisdom and Ways By Jim Casada

14............ Winter at its Best By Randy Johnson

18............ Winter Ski Preview By Tom McAuliffe

26............ Winterfest Returns to Blowing Rock By LouAnn Morehouse

30............ Barter Theatre Announces Dynamic Slate for 2017 By Keith Martin

36............ Boone Movie Star Ed Pilkington By Keith Martin

38............ Helping Horses: Rescue, Rehab, and Relationships By Karen Sabo

42............ Ashe County: A Jewel of a Tale By Lynn Rees-Jones

44............ Beating the Mollygrubs By Jim Casada

COVER ART BY ARTIST SCOTT BOYLE NC Artist Scott Boyle is know for his ability to capture our areas beautiful valleys and vistas. He has received numerous awards, shown in feature exhibitions and built a strong following of collectors The peaceful winter scene on the cover is a large scale oil on canvas titled Bolen’s Creek Snow.

52............ Blue Ridge Explorers By Tamara Seymour

56............ Abell’s Music CD

By LouAnn Morehouse

59............ Winter Dress Tips

By LouAnn Morehouse

63............ Your Winter Health Survival Plan By Samantha Stephens

75............ YMCA Avery – Growing Strong By Elizabeth Baird Hardy

76............ Fighting Poverty: Health and Hunger Coalition By LouAnn Morehouse

81............ Eat Tea & Be Merry By Scottie Gilbert

82............ Blowing Rock Brewing Company By Steve York

winter! 85............ SAVOR Blowing Rock By Steve York

93............ High Country Wine Growers Earn Distinction


By Steve York

Birding with Edi Crosby Book Review with Karen Sabo CML’s Kitchen with Brennan Ford Cultural Calendar with Keith Martin Finance with Katherine Newton Health with Koren Gillespie Local News Briefs Recipes with Brennan Ford Wine with Ren Manning & Much More




Escape. Unwind. Indulge.

10 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

PUBLISHER’S NOTE . . . Some of my earliest childhood memories are of walking to school on a packed pile of snow with my red snow galoshes with metal buckles. I would get to the hallway outside my classroom and take the wet boots off and don warm shoes to tackle another learning day. I know it sounds like, “You think you have it hard - I used to walk five miles to school barefoot in a foot of snow.” Truth be told, it wasn’t five miles – just five blocks and that was the way it rolled in Wyoming. We didn’t know the meaning of the term “snow days”. Having had 3 children in the local High Country school system – I do know the meaning of snow days and how elated the kids were when they heard the report. Parents scrambled to figure out child care and keeping them busy. Maybe my history of winter days has fostered a wariness of approaching snow storms, dangerous road conditions, and being prepared for the worst. But I like to think that the child in me looks forward to getting out in the cold and playing in the snow. I can still build a funny looking snowman and still remember mom’s old tricks using prunes for eyes, a fat carrot for a nose and how to roll a perfect snowman. I look forward to sharing those things with my granddaughter this winter. Waking up to snow covered mountains invigorates me. I know, too, that it’s a gift to our ski industry and to our local economy. Then the scheming begins: how can I rewrite the work schedule to enjoy winter’s playground? From snowmen to snowshoeing, cross-country skiing across the Viaduct, or taking flight in the chairlift to the summit of the ski mountain . . . winter is there for the taking. Even if skis or snowshoes aren’t for you, a gentle stroll in the woods can deliver the right ticket when winter delivers a magical snowfall. If the cold of winter is not for you, enjoy it from the inside looking out. The fireside is an ideal overlook with a hot cup of tea or bowl of homemade soup. Theatre, music, arts and great dining don’t take the season off in the High Country. So make your plans, grab your coat, and enjoy the mountain winter. I know you’ll find it invigorating and as fascinating as I do.

Winter Making the Best of Our Mountain Winter

Mountain Life CAROLINA

The Heart & Soul of the High Country

A publication of Carolina Mountain Life, Inc. Publisher & Editor, Babette McAuliffe ©2016 by Carolina Mountain Life Magazine, Inc. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the Publisher.

Share us with a friend! CML is published 4 times a year and is available by subscription for $20.00 a year (continental US) Send check or money order noting which issue you would like to begin with to: Carolina Mountain Life, PO Box 976, Linville, NC 28646 | 828-737-0771 | Contributors: Deborah Mayhall-Bradshaw, Liz Brown, Becky Cairns, Jim Casada, Dianna Conway, Andrew Corpening, Edi Crosby, Julie Farthing, Brennan Ford, Morgan Ford, Scottie Gilbert, Koren Gillespie, Kathy Griewisch, Elizabeth Baird Hardy, Randy Johnson, Lynn Rees-Jones, Ren Manning, Keith Martin, Tom McAuliffe, LouAnn Morehouse, Amy Renfranz, Jane Richardson, Karen Sabo, Tamara Seymour, Jerry Shinn, Samantha Stephens, Joe Tennis, Carol Lowe Timblin, and Steve York

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Mountain Wisdom And Ways: Winter Weather Story and Photos By Jim Casada


ur High Country forebears lived off the land and because of that close connection to the good earth they were far more attuned to the elements than we are today. When it comes to weather in today’s world, we rely on television meteorologists, high-tech apps on Smart phones, and radar readily viewed on computers. Our hardy ancestors, by way of sharp contrast, were of necessity keen observers who scanned the skies for telling cloud formations, watched the behavior of wild animals, and filed away in the vaults of their memories the varied “signs” which served them well when it came to everything from when to plant crops to being forewarned about pending harsh weather. As was so often the case, Ben Franklin summed up matters in succinct, sensible fashion: Some are weatherwise. Some are otherwise. Today, I fear, and in my view it’s a loss, most of us are “otherwise.” One commonplace way of keeping track of weather auguries in yesteryear was through easily remembered rhymes, usually in the form of couplets. Some of these, such as Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning; Red sky at night, sailors delight remain firmly entrenched in most everyone’s mind (there are many variants on this particular tidbit of weather wisdom, although few know that it traces back to Christ’s words to the Pharisees as quoted in Matthew, Chapter 16, verses 2-3). But there were other auguries, especially those associated with harsh weather such as snow or bitter cold, which seem for the most part to have vanished from common parlance. Perhaps visiting some of this folk wisdom will indicate just how different mountain life was in days gone by along with serving to remind us of the hickory-tough practicality associated with folks who once called the highlands their homeland. My first exposure to this sort of insight came when, as a small boy out

12 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

hunting rabbits with my father and several others, we encountered a highly unusual situation. Not once but repeatedly our pack of beagles struck hot rabbit trails even though we hadn’t rousted a cottontail from its daytime bed or “hide.” Daddy had already commented on the manner in which the sky was growing steadily darker and said something to the effect that there were “snow clouds blowing in.” After the third time our dogs started singing a hallelujah chorus as they whiffed and followed the heady fresh scent where a rabbit had recently passed, he said: “Mark my word, it will be pouring snow before the day is over.” Sure enough, in mid-afternoon a few tiny flakes soon gave way to a fullfledged snow storm. On two other occasions in my boyhood I witnessed the same phenomenon. As was the case for about anything connected to nature, Grandpa Joe had an explanation. “It’s not often critters get fooled by the weather,” he opined, “but when they do they’ll change their normal habits and adjust.” Obviously rabbits and other wild creatures can’t scan the skies and interpret the clouds, but were they able to do so they would understand the wisdom inherent in these lines: Mackerel skies and mare’s tails, Make wise sailors set short sails. On the other hand, wild birds and animals ordinarily sense changes in atmospheric pressure or conditions far more readily than humans, and they prepare accordingly. That was the reason normally nocturnal cottontails were on the move in the middle of the day. If you notice birds feeding with exceptional eagerness, squirrels scampering about energetically, or deer roaming in the middle of the day when normally they move mostly at daylight, dusk, and night during late fall and winter, dramatic weather changes are likely in the offing. Obviously late autumn signs of hard winters always garnered considerable interest, and once the December solstice had come and gone, so did harbingers of snow. Wooly worms have been associat-

ed with the weather forecasting to such a great degree that there are now festivals, elaborate “worm reading” ceremonies, and all sorts of folderol associated with these lowly creepy crawlers. For my money though, there are other, more reliable signs, especially when it comes to predicting harsh winters. When hornets build their conical grey nests especially high (these are often readily observable over creeks after autumn leaf fall), winter is likely to be a bitter one, and there’s considerable truth inherent in the saying about thick corn husks: “When corn wears a heavy coat, so must you.” Thick peelings on apples likewise presage rough weather, as do similar skins on onions: Onion skins very thin, Mild winter coming in; Onion skins very tough, Winter’s going to be rough. Once winter arrived, savvy old-timers recognized numerous indexes to snow and cold. For example, Snow hanging long on the ground, It’s waiting for more to come around. Or in a similar vein, this time associated with atmospheric pressure, Chimney smoke hugging the earth, To snow or rain soon gives birth. On the national level, perhaps the best known of all winter exercises in weather forecasting is associated with Groundhog Day. Our ancestors knew nothing of this, but they did say of Candlemas Day (the same date, February 2, as Groundhog Day): If Candlemas Day be warm and bright, Winter will take another bite, But if the day brings cold and rain, Winter is gone and won’t come again. Another adage connected to February 2, and it is on the whole quite accurate for the Carolina high country, suggests: Half your wood and half your hay, Should still be left on Candlemas Day. If you chat with enough old-timers with High Country roots running back for many decades, chances are you can come up with scores more rhyming tid-

bits comparable to those offered above, and they exist for all seasons. Their common threads are links to nature, a keen interest in reading weather’s complex book, and prognosticating skills finely honed through constant close observation and knowledge passed along from one generation to the next. For my part, I don’t for a moment profess to possess any meaningful degree of weather divination beyond the rather obvious old chestnut about any month containing the letter “R” being one that will include some chilly days. But for me some things associated with the winter’s cold are both obvious and attention grabbing. Rhododendron leaves curled up tight as a cigar, as if the foliage was hugging itself the way we do when seized by a sudden chill, let you know, even if you are just looking out a window while nestled by a cozy fire, that the weather outside is truly frightful. To walk along branches and creeks in especially cold weather, noting the incursions of ice on rocks, low hanging limbs, or alongside waterfalls or seeps, is to view nature’s wonder in a way even the most masterful of artists can never capture. Similarly, if you can gaze out on a bluebird January morning as the sun makes its appearance, see the tops of distant ridgelines asparkle with millions of rime ice diamonds, and not be deeply moved, I have two thoughts. Either you’ve got a hole in your soul or an urgent appointment with a psychiatrist should be your top priority. The loveliness of such sights grips you as a poignant, powerful reminder of winter’s stark beauty. It is a season for celebration and cogitation, seasoned by a measure of anticipation connected with coming spring. Jim Casada is a prolific full-time freelance writer and son of the mountains. To learn more, visit his website

winter CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2016/17 —


Winter At Its Best Story/Photos By Randy Johnson



he phrase “Winter at its worst” is one you always hear to describe the coldest, snowiest weather—even from fans of winter. If you’re more inclined to call extreme weather “winter at its best,” there are places right here in the High Country where even fanatical fans of snow and cold can

get their fill. Riding chairlifts reaches some pretty arctic local summits but to feel Old Man Winter’s most awe-inspiring blasts you’ll need to head to the highest peaks, with stout hiking boots, ice cleats, maybe snowshoes, and trekking poles. An expert cross country skier can get there too, but mountaineering is really the way to see High Country winter in a whole new way. Ambitious day hikes are one way to go. An early start can get you up and back many major summits. You’ll still need what a mountaineering friend calls “the full suit”—lightweight, professional gear, including high-tech base layers and wind and waterproof outer layers. Don’t forget all the other essentials—a first aid kit, backup gear if you’re delayed or need to survive a night out, a well-planned, energy rich menu, and plenty of fluids. Those clouds of breath you’re exhaling as you hump it up the hill are Mother Nature’s way of sucking you dry even if you’re not sweating. If you want the “full experience,” an overnight backpacking trip is best. If that’s intriguing, you’ve got more gear to buy and books to read. Juggling the elements as you satisfy an occasional sudden need for fuel to stave off hypothermia can be especially tricky as you set up a tent, get a gas stove going, and crawl into a sleeping bag at five degrees. Mountaineers know you lose heat fastest from your head, which is why a hat is the first thing you take off when you’re hot and the first thing that goes back on when you’re cold. Safe winter camping may seem to be all about having great gear, but in reality, what’s in your head is much more important than what’s on it. Word to the wise: only experienced three season backpackers—with excellent winter gear—should try to camp in the most severe weather these landmarks can deliver.

Grandfather Mountain

How many times have you driven down to NC 105 from Sugar Mountain and seen Grandfather’s ice- and snow-blasted peaks bathed in bitter pink alpenglow. Most people just turn up the car heater at that view, but if you decide to find out what it’s like up there—Grandfather is one of the South’s best winter adventures. Start on the Parkway side for the easiest intro. If the Parkway is snow closed (yes!), you’ll need to park on US 221 and hike the Asutsi Trail to reach the Tanawha Trail that accesses trails in the state park. The shortest hike leads along the Nuwati Trail to Storyteller’s Rock, a great view when the Boone Fork Bowl is covered in snow and hoarfrost coats the summit. Or stay on Tanawha and take the Daniel Boone Scout Trail up the mountain. At awesome Flat Rock View, the viewpacked Crag Way Trail descends to Nuwati. A right turn back to your car creates a great winter loop that’s only half way up the mountain. The mountain’s lowest campsites line these hikes. Bag Calloway Peak and nearby Watauga View by continuing up Daniel Boone Scout Trail. You’ll enter the upper realm of deeper snow, crag-climbing ladders, and rocky peaks—all demanding those ice cleats, snowshoes, and trekking poles. Profile Trail reaches the same summit from the west, the snowier, windier, icier side of the mountain. The trickiest part of the climb starts at frozen Shanty Spring. If the rockiest most alpine part of the mountain beckons, the Grandfather Trail leads from Profile to Attic Window and MacRae Peaks. Out there, you’ll really need those traction devices. Don’t expect to drive to the top of the Grandfather attraction and start there to save time or energy. Even when the road’s open the snowy trails are usually closed when mountaineers would most like to use them.

winter 14 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE




The Roan Highlands

Easily reached in winter from Carver’s Gap west of Banner Elk, Roan Mountain may be the South’s best Nordic ski site. A summertime road to the summit is gated in winter, making it easy for cross country skiers to explore evergreen forests and meadows at 6,300 feet where an annual average of 130 inches of snow falls. Also from Carver’s Gap, but to the east, one of western North Carolina’s most spectacular mountain chains marches across the sky. From Carver’s Gap, all the way to Hump Mountain, high above Elk Park, the Appalachian Trail (AT) crosses extensive open meadows called balds. In winter’s best weather, these peaks dubbed the Roan Highlands boast one of the region’s most alpinelike treks. Target Round Bald, just above Carver’s Gap, for an awesome day hike intro to this area. It’s just a half-mile hike from Carver’s Gap. Hiking the entire 13-mile ridge in deep snow is a real test. Campsites hide in sheltered gaps, and two AT shelters are available. One is a massive barn where you can actually set up tents inside—perfect for beginning winter backpackers leaning on the side of safety. Incredibly, that shelter is only a mile from a nearby trailhead on US 19-E near Plumtree, save for Carver’s Gap, the easiest access to these wild summits. After significant snow, it may be awhile before plows open the road. A few years ago, a friend took my advice to camp at that barn, the Overmountain Shelter, and hike over Hump Mountain to Elk Park. After an all-night blizzard, they “waded through drifts waist deep” and “should have had crampons,” the ice cleats mountaineers use on glaciers. “I had no idea it could be like that,” he told me. “What we experienced and saw, most people never do. And if you try and tell them, they think you’re lying!” When winter’s at its best, that can happen right here in the High Country.



Randy Johnson is the author of bestselling guidebooks to the South, among them Southern Snow: The Winter Guide to Dixie (due out in a new edition in 2018). His new book Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon, has been nominated for a Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award.





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Ski Preview


s mountain wildfires and smoke-filled skies dominated the news in late autumn, the High Country ski season opened on a bright and sunny Monday, November 21st at the Sugar Mountain Resort. App Ski Mountain followed a day later with an impressive early-season base of two to four feet. Beech Mountain fired up their lifts on Black Friday. With local resorts running on all cylinders, hopes are high for a banner season among the men and women of the statewide ski industry that delivers almost $200 million in economic vitality to North Carolina. “Think Snow” is the operative declaration around these parts.

Appalachian Ski Mountain— Where Skiing is Just More “Flexible”

Visitors to the High Country, as well as skiers entering the final leg to App Ski Mountain, will notice a new landmark at the junction of Hwy. 321 and Edmisten

18 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

By Tom McAuliffe

Road. The chalet-styled structure, complete with the black and orange Bavarian motif of the big lodge at App Ski Mountain, is the new home to the North Carolina High Country Host and Regional Visitors Center. The beautifully built and landscaped structure will house the high profile visitors’ bureau that has long served the five Northwestern mountain counties. Inside there will be plenty of information about High Country tourism and its business members alongside news and history of the state’s longest operating winter resort—Appalachian Ski Mountain. “It’s the largest marketing capital investment that isn’t related to snowmaking or lift improvements we’ve ever made,” said Brad Moretz of App Ski Mountain, who along with his sister Brenda comprise the second generation of the family business. “With the new visitors center we can promote skiing on a year-round basis. More people pass by our entrance than all the other ski areas combined.” To those who know the Moretz family and their pursuit of excellence at the ski resort they’ve operated since 1968 (the mountain first opened in 1962 under the flag of the Blowing Rock Ski Lodge), it’s not surprising they had to go outside the resort boundaries to make a splash. The twenty-five acres of immaculate ski terrain has practically been built through. Snowmaking capacity is sheer overkill—snow grooming an art form. Ski, snowboarding, and instructional programs have been refined to the letter. Somehow, the Moretz family has shown that smaller can sometimes spell better, even something bigger, than their taller counterparts in the industry. Nowhere is that more evident in the progression of terrain parks, of which there are four, featuring increasing degrees of difficulty. The Shred for the Cup series, in its 11th season, is the definitive

park competition in the High Country. Three ‘Cup’ events host beginner, intermediate, and expert riders in Rail Jam, Slopestyle, and Big Air events to crown overall champions. “Age is irrelevant,” said Drew Stanley, Marketing director at App Ski Mountain. “You have 14-yearolds doing things in the park you never thought of.” To promote order and safety on the mountain, Stanley implemented a revolutionary idea a few years ago: the Park Pass Program includes an orientation video and certification test required of all riders entering the upper level areas. The program has proven a resounding success. The Park Pass Program has made our parks exponentially safer,” Stanley said, “and our customers appreciate it.” Moretz agrees. “It’s the Gold Standard in park safety,” he added. And you can watch the video and take the test on-line at But innovation is nothing new at App Ski Mountain. From a snowmaking system that can deliver 6 million gallons of water a day to a legion of more than 50 Super Pole Cat airless snow guns, to the French-Swiss Ski School that in addition to training more than a million students, wrote the book for Special Olympic Alpine instruction, the mountain is a model in perfection. Even the ski and snowboard shop in the lodge, managed by Brenda Moretz, is unsurpassed by any resort in the state. But no program is more novel than the resort’s “Flex Ticket.” Whether you arrive at 9 am or 1pm, or any time in between, your daily lift ticket is good for 8 hours of skiing. Two operational changes make the ‘flex ticket’ even more attractive: gone is the traditional intermission separating the day session from the 6pm to 10pm night session. Now your 8-hour ski session that began in the afternoon plows uninterrupted into the night. Couple


this with the Midnight Blast each Friday and Saturday night when the lifts run until 12 and you have all the flexibility you need to get the most skiing for your money. And if you can’t use all 8 hours, check out early. The resort will issue you a credit, or a residual refund to use at a later date. If you prefer cash back, you can have it, albeit at smaller pro rata amount than the credit option. “It’s evolving,” Moretz said of the Flex program. “It’s skiing on your schedule so you’re free to choose your time.” For anyone who’s ever herded children or large groups through the ski lodge process, you know the Flex Ticket

is the best thing since the invention of the ski brake. One long-held tradition at the family-friendly resort comes to an end this year. Since the Moretz family took over back in 1968, the mountain has been closed on Christmas Day. This December 25th the mountain will crank up the lifts at 1pm for a good cause. All lift ticket proceeds will go the National Ski Patrol at App Ski Mountain to fund training and facilities for this award-winning group. Learn more at or call 828-295-7828



BEECH Beech Mountain Resort Summer Success Bodes Well for Winter

Promising to revitalize its founding vision as a bonafide Four-Season resort, general manager Ryan Costin has to feel good about the progress made at Eastern America’s Highest Resort. In his 8th year in charge of the ski area just a year shy of 50 years in operation, High Country skiing’s youngest CEO could take a bow for the performance of his organization under his leadership, but chances are he won’t—at least not yet. “It’s a difficult process,” he admitted last year, “but I believe Beech Mountain is in a better place than it was.” A number of factors play into the ongoing improvement of the resort offerings. At the root of things has been a steady improvement in snowmaking and the water and air delivery systems that make it go. After the snow, natural and manmade, is down, improved snow grooming effort helps keep it where, and how, it should be. Last year’s overhaul of the electric motor drive of the resort’s central four-seat detachable quad provided a new lease on life for the lift christened in 1983. A second summit lift, a

20 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

two-seater, received a similar upgrade in power drive. Another four-seater, serving the popular Oz run on the backside of the mountain, is in ‘like-new’ condition, the beneficiary of Costin’s improvement program. “There’s always something we’d like to have gotten done that will have to wait until next season,” he said, “but all in all we’re getting better.” But perhaps nothing has contributed more to the growing vitality to the overall Beech Mountain community than the alliance forged between the three key players there—the ski resort, the town, and the private Beech Mountain Club that is home to a championship golf course, tennis center, and pool and recreation department. Kate Gavenus of the Beech Mountain Tourism Development Authority and Chamber of Commerce likes what she sees. “Ryan continues to think strategically in his planning to revitalize the resort,” she observed. “The summer activities at the resort promise to boost the town’s overall economy and bring new focus to winter time recreation. “Downhill biking during the summer has brought a lot of attention to Beech, attracting road cyclists and hik-

ers too,” Gavenus added. “The Beech Mountain Brewery in the village and the 5506’ Sky Bar at the summit have been incredibly popular. In addition to our ‘Stay and Play’ packages for golf and tennis we offer bike and brew packages to lodging visitors. Hikers have over 30 miles of trails to experience the best of the mountain up close. We’re all working together toward the ultimate goal for Beech Mountain to grow stronger and attract more families.” On the skiing and snowboarding side, the biggest development this season is the unveiling of a new terrain park on the grounds where a decade ago the resort’s first experiment with snow tubing ended. Over the previous 8 years, the bottom quarter of the Shawneehaw run had been dedicated to massive jumps and hits over a once popular fall line artery known as Powder Bowl. With the newly dedicated terrain park, set apart from the general riding population, Powder Bowl is returned to its originally intended purpose, a pleasing stretch of skiable terrain topping off the ride from the summit. The new terrain park is serviced by ample snowmaking and a handle lift. There are more than 50 features in the

inventory supplemented by snow-based hits of all sizes for all skill levels. “Park riders have a home of their own now,” Costin said, “and the reclaimed ski terrain on Powder Bowl will improve the experience for beginner and intermediate skiers and boarders.” Meanwhile, snow tubing was successfully relocated to an unused strip of land at the head of the village ice rink last year. “We were fortunate to find the space for it right in the village,” Costin said of the tubing hill. “And you can see it as you drive into the resort.” In fact, the top of the snow tubing run is just steps from the outdoor ice rink. Add to that the revitalization of the Bavarianthemed village behind the success of the brewery, bakery and sports shops, and it’s easy to understand why a legion of Beech-Nuts view the upcoming season with great optimism. And with the retirement of Dean Blanton, there’s a new but familiar face at the head of the ski and snowboard school at Beech. Longtime Beech Mountain racing director, Robert Jones, is stepping in to lead the instructor corps, in what is sure to prove a popular appointment.

“I feel good about where we are,” Costin concluded, “but the biggest factor will always be the weather. I’ve never been through a December like last year,” (when mild weather closed local resorts Christmas week for the first time since 1974). “All in all we’ve put together a good product.” Learn more at or call 828-387-2011


 New Terrain Park  New Snowtubing Park  Free Youth Sledding Hill  Lodging, Dining & Nightlife | CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2016/17 —


SUGAR Sugar Takes a Breather, Sort of, After Two Summers to Remember

Last summer’s preparation for this ski season was the veritable ‘walk in the park’ for Gunther Jochl’s Sugar Mountain crew. Not that resort owner Jochl has grown lackadaisical in his 40th season at the helm of the south’s flagship ski mountain. It’s just that after a couple summers of delivering two of the most significant developments in southern skiing in decades, both completed just in time for snowmaking, it’s fair to say this summer provided a much deserved breather for the men and women of the mountain. Two years ago, Sugar Mountain unveiled “Gunther’s Way”, a broad 3,000 foot run sporting 700 feet of vertical drop opening to a chorus of praise from every skiing enthusiast to traverse the thrilling glade-like terrain. Complete with dedicated lift line and a vertical pump system delivering 1,000 gallons of water a minute to a legion of airless, tower mounted snow guns, the newly

22 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

cleared ten acre slope evoked comparisons to Snowshoe’s vaunted Cup Run in West Virginia. The million-dollar project was more than clearing some trees. Wife Kim remembers the strain and obstacles that continually slowed progress “to the point,” she wrote, “he threatened to abandon it. I knew better.” Sugar Mountain opened for skiing on November 2nd that year. The ribbon cutting ceremony for Gunther’s Way took place the week before Thanksgiving. “We got it done and we got it done right,” an emotional Jochl would say afterwards. For Jochl, who had become the sole owner of the resort back in 2010 when he bought-out his longtime partner and friend Dale Stancil, the new slope was just the beginning of an aggressive capital improvement plan. Next up was the installation of a six-seat high speed detachable chair lift christened the Summit Express. “We knew we wanted to build a new summit lift after I sat in the ‘Cat’ a few years back and watched the old ‘yellow’ and ‘grey’ lifts carry skiers

slowly to the top,” Jochl recalled during an overflow session that had called both summit lifts into service. “I admit I was embarrassed.” The Doppelmayr design was built on a gondola-rated chassis to one day accommodate enclosed cabins seating up to eight skiers each. Of the 16 projects by the Austrian lift manufacturer that year, only Sugar Mountain elected to install theirs using in-house personnel. Jochl, a mechanical engineer by education, led his mountain crew in the monumental task, from footers to towers, cables to chairs, and start to finish. Of the 16 new Doppelmayr projects around the world, Sugar Mountain was the first to certify for operation. It was a seminal moment for the Jochls, with the season’s first snow on the ground, to cut a second ceremonial ribbon in as many years as the entire community lined up to ride to the top in the glistening chair lift. “We always wanted to build a new summit lift,” Jochl explained. “It takes a lot of enthusiasm to do things right and we are part of an

SKIING organization that worked together as a team.” So it was a tired team that spent this recent summer refining the dramatic projects of the previous two. And while preparation for any ski season is a race against time, Sugar Mountain’s improvements suggest more seminal changes in the years to come. “I was happy with our work this summer,” Jochl said. “We had great weather to clean things up and everything looks great.” Freshly painted and serviced lifts, a second Piston Bully 600 Winch Cat to groom the steeps uphill (“we have more steep terrain to groom,” Jochl explained), a snow gun here, more pump capacity there, and you understand the work is never done. But some of the most productive work over the summer was evaluating the effect of the Summit Express on traffic and the loading logistics and erosion control of the new slope. “The land has had time to heal and there’s good grass now,” he explained, adding “we’ve cleaned up the perimeters where the slope had receded.” Access to the lift at the bottom of Gunther’s Way has been made easier by widening the trail. Meanwhile, the six-minute ride to the top of the Flying Mile beat the time of the old lift by almost ten minutes. On busy days the relatively narrow lane that is North Ridge where skiers unloaded was a little thick as riders arrived at the summit more quickly than ever. Expert skiers coming down Tom Terrific, Boulder Dash, or Whoop-Dee-Doo had few problems with traffic, but those coursing down the mountain on the intermediate terrain of Switchback, or those working their way to the drop-in at Gunther’s Way, had more to deal with. The mountain crew’s directive was to widen the unloading area and the paths to the slopes leading from the summit. Call it polishing an already bright stone, but it was improvement where improvement will be noticed. Not the dramatic

developments of the previous two years, but surely suggesting a litany of slope enhancements and additions lie ahead in the future at Sugar Mountain. “We spend a lot of money and we’re going to spend a lot more money whenever we can,” Jochl assured now that the mountain he has managed since 1976 is firmly under his direction. “We have a good reputation. Discipline and organization on our part will give the customer a good experience. We have great people here and our emphasis is on the customers who come to Sugar.” For one summer season at least, things were a little more comfortable for the men and women on the mountain. Learn more at or call 828-898-5421

Village of Sugar Mountain, North Carolina 800-SUGAR-MT /



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Photo by Nina Ackley 2011 AMPC finalist


Protect the Parkway. Get the Plate.

Enjoy the 1980s all over again during Beech Mountain’s sixth annual Totally ’80s Retro Ski Weekend, Feb. 23-26. This popular “weekend” has grown into four days of retro awesomeness. The town of Beech Mountain combines with Beech Mountain Resort to create a unique experience that includes retro ski fashions on the slopes, live ’80s music throughout town, and lots of fun events like a Rubik’s Cube competition and the ever-popular Totally Retro Apparel Contest. “People love that era. We had made in through the recessions of the 1970s and were getting back to enjoying life again,” says Kate Gavenus, executive director of the Beech Mountain TDA. “There are a lot of people who were alive during that decade who like to relive it, and there are a lot of people who weren’t alive who just really like the music, the clothing and the movies. It was a fun, upbeat era in American history.” Beech Mountain capitalizes on that upbeat era with a series of events that begin Thursday evening with live 1980s music at Famous Fast Eddie’s. The music continues Friday night with the Charlotte retro band Cassette Rewind at the Mile High Tavern. On Saturday night, the fun shifts to the ski resort with an evening party featuring a throwback band and the $500 Totally Retro Apparel Contest. Throughout the weekend there are trivia contests, Totally Tubular Snow Tubing, appearances by the time machine bear, plus a Ms. Pac Man contest at the Beech Alpen Restaurant. Special guest appearances are in the works, and everyone is strongly encouraged to wear 80’s ski garb on the slopes and retro fashions off the slopes. So dig out those leg warmers, acid-wash jeans, Members Only jackets and dayglo muscle shirts. Only Beech Mountain takes you back to a time when ski clothes featured shoulder pads, rock stars wore spandex, and video killed the radio star.

For details on the retro weekend, go to:, or call (800) 468-5506. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2016/17 —


January 26-29 Is Winterfest In Blowing Rock By LouAnn Morehouse


f ever there was a perfect season to celebrate, winter is surely it. In winter, the landscape transforms completely. The elements behave differently from any other time of the year. It’s like being in another world— a world without bugs, or sweating. For us Southerners, that’s magical enough, but consider: snowflakes galore; crisp, clean air; brilliant blue skies. And did I mention no sweating? In Blowing Rock, folks have taken the enjoyment of winter to new heights, which, considering that the lovely village is situated at a lofty 3,566 feet, suggests they are pretty serious about their fun. In fact, they’ve got it down pat. The town of Blowing Rock has been celebrating the special joys of the season with a festival for nineteen years now, ever since the locals realized how good it was to be in the south, yet with a winter that is as beautiful as any to be had in far northern climes. WinterFest kicks off in fine fashion with a Winter feast on Thursday, January 26. The feast, an organized tasting of specialties from more than eighteen restaurants, is served in the beautiful confines

26 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

of Chetola Resort. WinterFeast diners choose from three seating times, assuring that everyone can enjoy the fare in comfort and ease. The popular event sells out early; only three hundred tickets are available, so make your reservations in advance. The Thursday feasting doesn’t end there—a number of restaurants are hosting “after parties,” including the beer tasting at Foggy Rock Eatery & Pub and live music at Twigs Restaurant. Good times continue on Friday, January 27. Get a proper start to the day with a pancake breakfast at Sunny Rock Eggs and Things—they are featuring “all you can eat” of their delectable flapjacks on Friday and Saturday mornings. After polishing off a stack (or two) of pancakes, you will be well fortified to shop the many and varied businesses that make Blowing Rock such a treasure trove. And be sure to take in the WinterFashion Show. There’s no better place to check out the latest from Blowing Rock’s fashionforward apparel mavens. Later on, the free wine tasting at Sunset and Vine is a perfect afternoon break

spot before an evening of WinterFest fun. And don’t fret, if you miss this Friday tasting, there is another one on Saturday. Meanwhile, activities take an artistic turn with a “Cork & Canvas” class for adults at Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM). What better way to explore your creativity than with paints, canvas, and wine? All materials are provided in the registration fee, just reserve your place in advance. There’s a class on Saturday too if Friday doesn’t fit your schedule. It wouldn’t be a winter festival without plenty of skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating, and Appalachian Ski Mountain is prepared to please the crowds. Friday night is WinterFest Family Night, and App Ski is offering special pricing on skiing and snowboarding lessons. Plus, there will be a bonfire and s’mores by the ice skating rink. By Friday evening, Main Street will be transformed into a gallery of glittery, lighted ice sculptures displayed along the route. Back by popular demand, Master Ice Carver Travis Dale has been commissioned by area retailers to create a collection of shimmering works in honor of WinterFest. Normally confined to serving as centerpieces at fancy banquets, Dale’s ice sculptures create a magical scene for all who make the Ice Stroll. As night falls, folks know to gather along Main Street for the beautiful Snowflake parade. The Appalachian State University marching band and special guests, the AppState football team along with their coaches and mascot, Yosef, will add just the right blend of music and team spirit to thrill onlookers. Cheers and dancing will prevail! Festivities are in full swing by Saturday, January 28, with events from morning to evening. It’s probably a good idea to head back to Sunny Rock Eggs and Things for another round of pancakes to sustain you! The most fun of the morning can be had watching—or participating in—

the Polar Plunge. This festival highlight pits brave (foolhardy?) men and women against the frigid waters of Chetola Lake, where the ice has been chopped back so the “plungers” can get fully immersed. The action starts at 10 AM, and there’s always a crowd of onlookers to root for the plungers, so get there early for a good view. John Carter of WBTV Charlotte will emcee the proceedings and judges will award the prestigious “Golden Plunger” trophy for the best costume. It’s an outdoor sporting event like no other! For those who prefer to stay indoors, there’s the Polar Plunge Brunch Buffet at Timberlake’s. Restaurant seating for viewing the plunge is limited, but the buffet menu is bountiful. Back in town, folks will be enjoying the free hayrides provided by Country Boy Landscaping. Departing from the Chamber of Commerce office, the hayrides are the ideal mode of transportation for seeing all the sights along the WinterFest route. One don’t-miss sight is the ice carving demonstrations by Master Carver Travis Dale going on throughout the day in the park. Another fun opportunity is free admission to BRAHM, where the exhibitions range from works of art to historical displays. That’s where another Cork & Canvas class of wine-drinking and painting takes place, too—there’s always something to do or see at BRAHM. Don’t forget to drop by the Community Club to bid on some of the great stuff offered at the Silent Auction and Raffle. An amazing variety of items and services donated by area businesses are up for auction, with all proceeds benefitting the youth leadership projects of the Mountain Alliance non-profit organization. An enticing new event this year is the Chilly Chili Cook-off taking place at the Beer Garden at the Inn at Ragged Gardens. Ragged Gardens chefs are calling out fellow chili specialists from neighboring restaurants to bring their best for Continued on P.29

A Weekend? A Season? A Lifetime? Whether you want to rent or buy… we’ve got YOUR mountain getaway. Great Locations. Great Selection. Great Pricing. Let’s find yours today.

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“ IT ’S




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January 26-29, 2017

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

828-295-7851 • 877-295-7801 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2016/17 —


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WINTERFEST: Continued from P. 27 a tasting competition. The finals go from 1-4 PM, and VIP ticket purchasers get to take home a Tervis tumbler along with their chili memories. Closing out the evening is a festive bonfire on the lawn at Chetola, with s’mores packets and special WinterFest drinks available for purchase. On Sunday, January 29, the final day of WinterFest, the place to go for brunch is Foggy Rock. Brunching gets underway at 11AM, with special WinterFest beverages and entrees. And finally, even the dogs get in on the WinterFest fun. After all, Blowing Rock is such a dog-friendly community; it would be a shame to leave them out in the cold…so to speak. The Winter Paws Dog Show takes place at the Blowing Rock Elementary School gymnasium, and it’s a popular event. There are categories to fit all breeds of mutts, including “Best dog/owner lookalike,” “Most mysterious heritage,” and “Most clever dog trick,” among others. Full registration details are online at, and you can also register at noon on the day of the event. There are raffle prizes and pets for adoption, along with refreshments. All proceeds benefit the Watauga Humane Society. This is just a sample itinerary for a four-day weekend of winter fun in the welcoming town of Blowing Rock. The entire community is pitching in to enjoy the festivities, and they welcome your company! There are plenty of great places to stay, and you won’t lack for things to do. Visit to plan your weekend—the full schedule details are there, along with registration forms for activities and information about special rates for accommodations. The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce is the convening sponsor for WinterFest. Contact them directly to learn more about this and other chamber-sponsored events. And remember, don’t hibernate, celebrate! Get outside and enjoy a mountain winter. 877-295-7801 800-295-7851

Winter Lights: North Carolina Arboretum By Carol L. Timblin


he North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville will be swathed in technicolor soon, as the holiday season gets underway and the garden transforms into a winter wonderland. Approximately 500,000 energyefficient LED lights will take center stage nightly, 6-10pm, Nov. 18– Jan. 1, 2017. Called “Winter Lights,” the spectacular event is now in its third year. Visitors stroll through 434 acres of landscaped gardens, where they see trees outlined with lights of every hue, admire gushing fountains which seem to have a rhythm of their own, and gaze at the huge 50-foot animated Christmas tree that lights up to the sounds of holiday music. They may also stop to see the Rocky Cove miniature train, have hot chocolate (free to ticket holders on Thursday evenings), or make s’mores around the fire (s’mores kits and snacks are sold at garden stations). Food and beverages, including wine and beer, are also available at the Arboretum’s Savory Thyme Café, which serves a special holiday buffet every weekend (reservations recommended). “Winter Lights” is a sure-to-please holiday event for families, friends, and groups. Visitors are advised to dress warmly (jackets, hats, scarves, and gloves), as evenings may be cold. A walk through the gardens takes approximately an hour to two hours, but visitors are welcome to spend the entire evening. Tickets must be purchased in advance for the specific day of the visit (828665-2492 or Tickets are not sold at the gate. The cost is $18 for adults and $16 for children ages 5 to 11, free for children 4 and under (plus handling and taxes). On Tuesdays, Friends & Family Discount Night, tickets are $15 each. Arboretum members receive a $2 discount on every ticket purchased. Proceeds are used to support Arboretum programs, exhibits, and facilities yearround. “Giant Insects,” an interactive exhibit on everyday insects, is also on display at the Baker Exhibit Center at the Arboretum through Jan. 8 (included with two “Winter Lights” tickets). If you plan to stay overnight in Asheville, take time to visit Biltmore Park Town Square near the Arboretum. It is also decked out for the holidays and offers shopping, dining, and overnight lodging. The luxurious Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park offers 165 rooms, an indoor pool, Sensibilities Spa, and Roux, which serves southern cuisine (; 828-209-2720 or www.hiltonasheville. com). An easy drive from the High Country, the North Carolina Arboretum is located at 100 Frederick Olmsted Way, Asheville, off I-26 south. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2016/17 —


Barter Theatre Announces Its 2017 Season …And a New Name for an Old Playhouse By Keith Martin


hose mysterious, far off lights that are currently seen in the western night sky are not the Aurora Borealis; they are, in fact, emanating from the perpetual grin on the face of Barter Theatre Producing Director Richard Rose. “The State Theatre of Virginia” just received the largest gift given to any professional theatre in the history of the Commonwealth, a generous donation from the Gilliam family, specifically two couples: Marvin and Marcia Gilliam, and Richard and Leslie Gilliam. To honor these philanthropists, the name of the stage in the venerable playhouse in Abingdon­—built in 1837 and home to Barter Theatre since 1933 —will be changed to the Gilliam Main Stage. Rose commented on their tremendous leadership and commitment to Barter and the Southwest Virginia region by stating, “I simply cannot say enough about how truly touched I am by their actions and by their support.” Rose and his creative team recently announced a slate of 16 offerings for 2017, plus a yet-to-be-announced roster of as many as ten theatre-for-youth plays staged by the Barter Players and its professional touring company. The slate of 26 full productions is the largest in the southeast and among the most ambitious in the country. Selecting a season is no small undertaking, said Rose, who called the process “the Rubik’s cube of planning. There are a lot of complexities in putting a season together, particularly because we operate in repertory and you can see four or five shows in any given weekend.” As to an overall theme for the year, Rose said that, “This is a season about the fabric and the wonderful, exciting diversity and future of America; a celebration of our culture, our history and our future and a great celebration about family and small town America.” The roster shows the usual Barter bal-

30 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

ance of five musicals and nearly a dozen plays, almost evenly split between comedies, dramas and mysteries. Barter’s commitment to new works is evident with original productions throughout the year. The theatre knows its audience well, and there is literally something for everyone during the season. Musicals in the line-up include a revival of Mamma Mia, the longestrunning jukebox musical in New York history and, according to Rose, “the biggest hit by far in Barter Theatre’s history.” The familiar soundtrack of over 20 ABBA tunes and popular Meryl Steep movie have cemented this tuner’s place in theatre history. It will be followed by Footloose: The Musical, based on the movie musical that made Kevin Bacon famous, and whose soundtrack hit #1 on the Billboard charts. The true story focuses on one small town’s trouble with rebellious teenagers, determined to challenge the local ban on dancing. The surprise 1978 Tony Awardwinning Best Musical Ain’t Misbehavin’ focuses on the work of Thomas “Fats” Waller. Rose said, “I think it’s one of the best musicals of the past 40 years. It’s fun, it’s jazz and swing, but also very moving and very funny at times. It’s very clever.” Rose is particularly pleased that the show will be directed by Anthony Horne, an educator, director, and producer with expertise in African-American and LGBT Theatre. His background includes training in the areas of musical theatre, directing, dance, and arts management. Horne has worked extensively in Memphis, including many productions at Playhouse on the Square, and is currently an associate professor and University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Two other titles yet to be determined will round out the musical offerings in 2017. The plays on the newly-named Gilliam Main Stage include Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, about which Rose says, “for the first time in my 24 years here, we’re doing a show in the

period of Shakespeare.” The Cottage by Sandy Rustin is “a comedic tale of sex, betrayal, and, oh, yes, love,” which Rose said is referred to internally as, “Noel Coward on steroids” and “as clever and funny a play as we have seen in many a year.” The Barter production is a major regional theatre premiere, and there is much discussion about a future Broadway production. Sherlock Holmes and the American Problem by R. Hamilton Wright is a new play out of Seattle that “we love as it brings together Sherlock Holmes and Annie Oakley for a mystery during Queen Victoria’s 50th Anniversary on the throne.” The Barter Stage II offerings begin with Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks by Richard Alfieri, a comedy about an aging but formidable retiree who hires a dance instructor to give her lessons. Antagonism between a man from an entirely different background and the wife of a Southern Baptist minister gives way to profound compatibility as they swing dance, tango, foxtrot, and cha-cha. Uncanny Valley by Thomas Gibbons, which Rose describes as “a futuristic piece about a neuroscientist’s relationship with a non-biological human. The script is brilliant, surprising, will rock audiences and a great examination in every way of what it means to be human. I can say that this play will cause great conversations to occur with everyone who sees it.” The Savannah Sipping Society was written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, the same trio of authors behind the recent Barter audience favorite, The Dixie Swim Club. “We expect it to be an even bigger sensation,” said Rose. “We think it is an even more wonderful southern tribute to women!” Leaving Iowa by Tim Clue and Spike Manton is “a comedy about family vacations… a postcard to anyone who has ever found him or herself driving alone on a road, revisiting fond memories of his or her youth.” Ghost, Ghost, Come Out Tonight by

Mama Mia

Barter’s playwright-in-residence Catherine Bush is a world premiere mystery sure to appeal to Barter patrons like her most recent premiere Winter Wheat and Wooden Snowflakes, a Christmas favorite of Barter’s audiences. In this thriller, relationships shatter as friends try to solve the mystery before it’s too late. John Patrick Bray’s Friendly’s Fire Barter is part of Barter’s “Shaping of America” Series. Rose says, “America began as an idea. Who are we? Where did we come from? How did we get here? ‘The Shaping of America’ contains stories you won’t find in history books.” The year 2026 marks the 250th anniversary of the founding of America, and over the course of 15 years, Barter Theatre is investigating the shaping of America from its founding to its present through the development of one new play per year dedicated to this theme. Friendly’s Fire is play number six of this exciting series. Described as “a deeply funny, theatrically unique, a bit bizarre, and very important play about what it means to have experiTheatre’s 2017 enced military service and sacrificed for Gilliam Stage Season our country,” according to Rose. While (listed chronologically) the show is ultimately about PTSD, it is an experiential play that immerses you • Mamma Mia! inside the mind of its central characters • A Midsummer Night’s Dream in ways that makes you both understand • Footloose: The Musical him better and to be better engaged in • The Cottage his journey in a truly original way. • Fat’s Waller’s Ain’t Misbehavin’ Although casting has not yet been • A Major Musical to be announced announced internally, expect Barter vet• Sherlock Holmes and the American Problem erans Mary Lucy Bivins and Michael • Holiday Musical to be announced Poisson to reprise their roles as an entire Texas town in A Tuna Christmas, the seBarter Theatre’s 2017 Stage II Season quel to Ed Howard, Joe Sears and Jason (listed chronologically) Williams’ comedy Greater Tuna. Likewise, Barter’s production of The Santa• Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks land Diaries by David Sedaris will fea• Uncanny Valley ture one of Barter’s favorite actors, Nich• The Savannah Sipping Society olas Piper, as Crumpet, a disgruntled elf. • Leaving Iowa That’s three good reasons to be excited • Ghost, Ghost, Come Out Tonight already about the 2017 holiday season. • Friendly’s Fire

The Shows!

For additional details, visit or contact the box office at 276-628-3991.

• A Tuna Christmas • The Santaland Diaries



Cultural Calendar Spotlights By Keith Martin


he winter season is perhaps my favorite time of year in the local performing arts scene because area groups program more cuttingedge fare, classics and new works that stretch the limits of their capabilities. While there are many old chestnuts sprinkled in the mix, here are a baker’s dozen of the 13 most interesting shows on the horizon from now through early spring, listed below by producing company. PLEASE NOTE that all of the performances, dates and times are subject to change; readers are strongly encouraged to contact the box office for the most current information. See you at the theatre! For the first time in it’s history, Ensemble Stage in Blowing Rock will perform in Boone, with its inaugural production in the Valborg Theatre at Appalachian State University, a result of its recent affiliation with the Department of Theatre and Dance. Under the direction of Gary Smith, this annual holiday variety show­—newly-named An Ensemble Christmas—will be presented on December 17 and 18 on the university campus. “Patterned after the Andy Williams and Bing Crosby TV holiday specials from the 1960s and 70s with women in beautiful ball gowns and guys in tuxedos,” this hit show features singing, dancing, and a few comedy sketches thrown in for good measure. Info at or 828-4141844. Although Barter Theatre’s 2017 season is announced elsewhere in this issue, their 2016 holiday offerings are in production now through the end of December. Artistic Director Rick Rose’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, subtitled “the classic ghost story of Christmas” performs on the newlyrenamed Gilliam Stage now through December 29. Another original work is Playwright-in-Residence Catherine

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Bush’s All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth, playing through December 18, about “an exuberant sevenyear-old and her friends as they embark on a Christmas adventure that will fill the whole family with holiday cheer!” Finally, on stage until December 24 is Over the River and Through the Woods, Joe DiPietro’s hilarious comedy about family, faith and food; it is an alternative holiday show worth seeing and features some of my favorite members of Barter’s resident company. Info at or 276-628-3991. Burke County, NC is becoming a frequent stop on my theatre travels with its scheduling of national tours of Broadway musicals at the City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium. On January 30, the Gower Champion song and dance stage version of 42nd Street, based on the novel by Bradford Ropes and Busby Berkeley’s classic 1933 film, tells the quintessential backstage story of a starry-eyed young dancer named Peggy Sawyer who leaves her Allentown home and comes to New York to audition for the new musical; when the leading lady breaks her ankle, Peggy takes over and becomes a star. On February 23, don’t miss Pippin. The original 1972 Broadway hit scored four Tony Awards – most notably for legendary Bob Fosse’s direction and choreography, and Ben Vereen’s breakthrough performance as “The Leading Player”—and was successfully revived forty years later with director Diane Paulus’ brilliant addition of a Canadian circus troupe to the original concept. The revival also scored four Tony Awards and promises a “highflying, death-defying hit musical full of extraordinary acrobatics, and wondrous magical feats.” The story follows the youngest son of Charlemagne who is reluctant to assume his father’s throne. Info at or 800939-SHOW (7469). Note: both shows will have only one performance each. Dance enthusiasts will get a special

treat on February 8 when Jessica Lang Dance graces the stage of the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. Founded in 2011 by Juilliard grad and former Twyla Tharp company member Lang, this NYC-based company is known for repertoire rich with stunning movement and dynamic visuals that transforms classical ballet into emotionally engaging contemporary work. Hailed “a master of visual composition” by Dance Magazine, the Bessie Award-winning Lang choreographs “to enrich and inspire audiences by immersing them in the beauty of movement and music.” The Nile Project is one of the tightest crosscultural musical collaborations in history, working to raise awareness of the entire Nile River basin as an ecosystem. The 27-member collective hails from all along the great river that connects 11 countries and over 400 million people — a region that has been marred by political and ecological conflicts — from its sources beyond Lake Victoria to its delta in Egypt. On April 4, these “musical ambassadors and diplomats” (BBC), will continue their tradition of “producing harmony in a divided world” (NPR). Info at 800-841-ARTS (2787) or www. The Department of Theatre and Dance at Appalachian State University has three theatre offerings worth viewing. In the Moira Buffini play Silence, Monty Python meets Game of Thrones in this dark comedy set in England at the turn of the first millennium. The story follows a motley group who seek a place where they can escape the restrictions of their society and live as their true selves. “Silence” will be performed Feb. 22 through 26 in Valborg Theatre under the direction of Dr. Paulette Marty. The world premiere of Flight of the Mahabarath brings to life a new work written by Muthal Naidoo, a South African playwright of Indian descent. Dr. Ray Miller will direct the play, which is based

Jessica Lang Dance / Photo by Takao Komaru

on one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India. This version looks at “The Mahabharata” from a woman’s point of view and the epic becomes a metaphor for the patriarchal society in which women function mainly as adjuncts. This much-anticipated production will run April 26 – 30 in the Valborg Theatre. The Appalachian Young People’s Theatre (AYPT) will tour the region with children’s author Lowell Swortzell’s The Mischief Makers, a family comedy with “magnificent braggadocio, wild foolery, suspense, laughter, pandemonium!” This play introduces audiences to Anansi the Spider from Africa, Reynard the Fox from Europe and the Native American trickster, Raven. Directed by AYPT alumnus and Theatre Professor Gordon Hensley, the show will run April 21 through 23 in the I.G. Greer Studio Theatre. Info at www.theatreanddance. or 800-841-ARTS (2787). Over in Banner Elk at Lees-McRae College, Shakespeare’s classic comedy As You Like It will be given a fresh interpretation under the capable direc-

tion of Dr. Michael Hannah. Written in 1599 and featuring several of the Bard’s most famous speeches (“All the world’s a stage…”), the plot follows its heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle’s court, accompanied by her cousin Celia to find safety and, eventually, love, in the Forest of Arden. Performances run February 23 through 26; info at or 828-898-8709 Finally, don’t miss the new works featuring original choreography presented during performances by the popular Appalachian Dance Ensemble from March 29 through April 1. This creative laboratory for faculty and students features six to eight different premieres each semester. While primarily modern in style and form, pieces chosen for the concert demonstrate dance influences from ballet, jazz and pop culture. The movement ranges from abstract to expressionistic, and rhythmic works of sheer physical energy, each exuding the joy of dance. Info at www.theatreanddance.appstate. edu or 800-841-ARTS (2787).

The winter season is perhaps my favorite time of year in the local performing arts scene because area groups program more cutting-edge fare, classics and new works that stretch the limits of their capabilities.



ART, HISTORY, & YOU spending a quiet moment.

Photo: Danny Clinch


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Sign of the Times on King Street


or the last several months, local contractor VPC Builders of Banner Elk and Blowing Rock has painstakingly removed several layers of previous renovations from both the interior and exterior of the historic Appalachian Theatre on King Street in Boone. For the first time in nearly 80 years, the foundation and skeletal framework was exposed so that accurate measurements could be taken in order to begin restoration of this cornerstone to our region’s cultural heritage. The project is a labor of love and source of pride for VPC and all the stakeholders working on the famous motion picture palace with its celebrated vaudeville stage. The non-profit Appala-

By Keith Martin

chian Theatre of the High Country is leading the effort and working closely with Raleigh-based architect Clearscapes on every aspect of its design and construction. Since mid-November, skilled craftsmen from Caldwell Glass Company in Lenoir have been meticulously installing teal green and black glass panels to the front of the building, from below the sidewalk all the way up the roof of the structure. Then, in the wee hours of Tuesday, November 22, a crane carefully lifted an exact replica of the original theatre marquee into place while professionals from Casco Signs of Concord, NC carefully affixed it to its new permanent location.

With the facade and landmark marquee now restored to their 1938 glory, the High Country’s first Art Deco building completed the first phase of its renovation... just in time for the holiday season. If fact, the lighted marquee was first made visible to the public during the December 2 First Friday Art Crawl and again during the Boone Holiday Parade on December 3. To read more about this venerable landmark, or to contribute to its capital campaign, please visit their website at



From The High Country To Hollywood: Boone Movie Star Ed Pilkington’s Most Recent Career By Keith Martin


or those of you visiting or new to the region, Ed Pilkington was professor of theatre at Appalachian State University for 30 years, director of the outdoor drama “Horn in the West” for 20 seasons and more recently, a professional stage actor before turning his attention to television and film. His wife Pat’s early career as a musical theatre triple-threat (singer, dancer, and actress) gave way to choral singing before she turned to her life’s passion as a painter. The impetus for this article is that Ed, a person of deep faith and religious conviction, was cast against type as adult magazine publisher and well-known playboy Hugh Hefner in the biopic, “The Mansion.” Pilkington was one of at least two actors portraying “Hef ” in the movie, with Ed playing the celebrated hedonist in his older years. “I’m an actor,” said Pilkington, remarking on the revealing scenes shot at the infamous Playboy mansion (including the legendary pool and grotto) with actresses in scant apparel, “I’m playing a part in a movie, not relating to the character.” To get a better picture of this celebrated educator/director/actor, CML interviewed three people who have known Pilkington for decades to recap the remarkable past that led Ed to his current glory. Their comments have been edited for clarity and space. Scott Parker, longtime director of the Institute of Outdoor Drama: When I think of Ed, I think of him first as a family man. He’s a talented actor, certainly, and a master teacher and director; but most of all, he’s dedicated to his family. Not only do he and Pat have their own children, but over the years, I don’t know how many foster children they took in

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and nurtured through some mighty difficult times. I mean, it was tough, but he saved some significant lives. Ed grew up in Goldsboro, NC, and was well on his way to juvenile delinquency when the drama teacher at his high school, Cliff Britton, took Ed under his wing and literally saved his life. Cliff cast him in plays and eventually took Ed to the cast of The Lost Colony outdoor drama in Manteo, NC. Cliff turned Ed’s life around for the better, and when Ed became a grown man, he made it part of his life’s mission to help others… especially kids who were having a particularly difficult time in life. He and Pat did that. And they mentored countless of Ed’s students at App State, too. He’s just one of those special people who helps others in need. It’s his idea of giving back. He thinks of it as his responsibility. That’s not the only Ed I know, I also know him to be a consummate actor and teacher. His sense of comedy is impeccable . . . a spot-on sense of timing. You just wind him up, punch the button, and away he goes. As a director, you don’t have to worry about Ed. You know, the ones you do have to worry about are the ones you have to urge on to be bigger, to give you more. Not Ed – his directors spend their time holding him down. He’ll chew up the scenery if you let him. Talk about someone who loves his work. I love seeing him do comedy. Now, of course, he’s also a character actor, worth his weight in gold. Ed and I first met at UNC-Chapel Hill where we were both working on our masters in Dramatic Art. He was a little older than I was. In fact, he had already taught at Elon College; given New York a try; and had a family of his own. I was just out of undergrad and must have been 22 years-old, just a kid. In directing class, Ed once cast me in

a very passionate love scene of Macbeth. I was playing the King, but he cast a woman as Lady Macbeth who must have been a great grandmother, forty-five years my senior. I thought she was 105 years old and Ed had me playing all over her. He wanted it to be one hot scene. Talk about awkward. But, we did it, and Ed got the best grade in the class… at my expense! I know he laughed his head off throughout that entire scene. I live my life now waiting to get back at him. Ed was also one of the finest, if not the finest, director of the historical drama Horn in the West in Boone. He had studied with Cliff Britton at The Lost Colony, a brilliant director beloved by his company. Ed followed right in Cliff ’s footsteps in his own career and as a result, he gave us one of the finest productions in all of American outdoor drama. Ed mastered the great challenge of blocking large crowd scenes (100 people on stage at once); of teaching his actors to play big in large theatres without overdoing it; making it convincing and of getting his casts to milk all the emotion out of a script. Watching him direct was like taking a master class. I’m but one of hundreds who count Ed as a significant influence in life, and someone whom I’m very proud to count as a dear friend. He lives by the moto, “Each one gives back to the next one.” Dr. Linda Welden, professor and longtime academic colleague at Appalachian State University: Ed Pilkington and I have a long and colorful history together. We first met in 1972 when I flew to Boone to interview for the job that I would hold for the next 34 years. Ed had already been on the faculty of the speech department for several years, and he was on the committee that hired me.

Ed Pilkington, left, on location at the Playboy Mansion near Los Angeles with Camilo y Carlos Osorio, owner of Solid Brothers Films, LLC, a producer of the movie, “The Mansion” about the life of Hugh Hefner. Photo courtesy of Ed Pilkington.

He was especially pleasant and welcoming and took great pride in showing me around the old Chapell Wilson Theatre. He seemed undaunted by the puddles of water in the basement dressing rooms or by the fact that the costume collection was contained in a cabinet stage left. I think he was most hopeful that I would take over the costuming aspect of the department, although that was not in my job description. Several weeks into preparations for our first show, he let me know that I was expected to do the costumes. I agreed to do just one show, but made it clear it would be the only one. I also told him that I had no staff and no facilities so most of the costumes would have to be rented, and he readily agreed. What he had failed to tell me was that he had cast most of the football team as a sort of chorus. We wound up with those big guys wearing t-shirts and jeans from their own closets and my contribution was the addition of large, bright red suspenders. He never asked me to do costumes again. In those days, one office looked through a wall of windows onto a row of beautiful maple trees. In order to reach that office, visitors had to go through another small office that had no windows at all – sort of an antechamber for the nice office. Ed had the windowed office, and as new people were brought into the department, they were given the less desirable space. Since the younger faculty were mostly female, whoever inhabited the outer office spent her time under the students’ assumption that she was Ed’s secretary. Her work was frequently interrupted by students with an array of questions: “When is ‘Dr. Pickleton’ going to be back in his office? Can I leave him a message? And will you tell him to call me?”

Despite our rough beginnings, Ed and I developed a lasting bond as colleagues who admired one another’s work and who enjoyed the collegiality that comes through working together in a small theatre department. Our majors throughout the years adored him, and a highlight of their college careers was being cast in one of his shows. To this day, they call him up for advice or to share triumphs, knowing he will remember them fondly and be genuinely happy for whatever is transpiring that they want to share. When Ed decided it was time to retire, I was given the task of spearheading his retirement party. A large group of former students, fellow colleagues, and the wonderful and indispensable departmental secretary, Elaine Hartley, met for months to plan what turned out to be the best party any of us ever had the pleasure of attending. We made it a surprise party, and many students from his earliest days on the faculty through his final year returned to campus to honor him with a banquet and a “This is Your Life” celebration. I think we truly surprised him; the atmosphere was charged with love and adoration, and all who were there remember and talk about it fondly. But the best part of Ed Pilkington is his beautiful, creative, and very special wife, Pat. Together they continue to be a team, supporting each other and reaching out to share that mutual love with all of us who care about them. David H. Matthews, ‘74 Graduate of A.S.U., ‘95 Recipient of A.S.U.’s Distinguished Alumni Award, whose current occupation is “Professional Vacationist:” Ed and Pat Pilkington are talent wrapped in integrity, virtue cloaked in grace and principle swaddled in dignity. They live their lives by example. They have

been the source of inspiration to me and THOUSANDS of students, colleagues and fellow theatre artists. In 2005, the Artistic Director position opened at Temple Theatre in Sanford, NC, where Ed had worked as an actor in several shows. He contacted me and encouraged me to apply as he thought it was a great fit for me and the theatre. I interviewed and was offered the position. I was contacted by a writer from Appalachian Today, the University’s magazine, to do a story that the writer wanted to theme “The Student Becomes the Teacher.” I told the writer that I simply had too much respect and admiration for Ed to imply that I could teach him anything theatrically and encouraged her to instead write about the Artistic Director position as my “second career.” She agreed and wrote a very flattering article that talked about my career, Temple Theatre and my long association with Ed. To quote the article: “Ed Pilkington is a legend in the Southeast and beyond, so you approach the opportunity to direct him with reverence. I have so much respect for him as a former professor and a friend.” Truer words were never spoken… by me anyway. Ed and Pat Pilkington. Known by many. Loved by all… Editor’s Note: Carolina Mountain Life has written previously about the indefatigable Ed Pilkington and his equally talented wife Pat, and they have become local media darlings with frequent stories, profiles, and feature articles. Our favorite appeared in our Winter 2010 issue in a story by Jason Reagan titled “A View From The Stage and Canvas.” To revisit that story, visit our online archives at backissues.html.



Rescue, Rehab And Relationships: Helping Horses & So Much More! By Karen Sabo


hen I asked Amy Hudnall why she joined the board of Horse Helpers, she said it’s because she’s crazy. And she is; crazy about helping not only animals, but the people who love them. Horse Helpers, the High Country’s horse rescue agency, was started by Anita Gomez, Joyce Campbell, and other people passionate about providing assistance to horses and to owners who are not able to care for them. Hudnall joined the board in 2009, and since then has been instrumental in helping the organization grow, strengthen, and pursue its mission. “I always loved horses,” said Hudnall. “I was one of those girls who always hoped to get a horse for Christmas, and would do anything I could to be around horses.” It wasn’t until she was in her 30s that she was able to get her own horse, although she had long been involved in animal welfare causes. Wisteria Farm is where the staff and volunteers rehabilitate the horses, and Hudnall visits frequently to help run the operation despite having a full-time teaching schedule in the History Department at Appalachian State University. Hudnall’s academic specialty is genocide studies. She has spent her teaching career exploring how human societies can sometimes devolve to predator-prey relationships, like in the animal world. She sees a parallel between her field of study and her work with Horse Helpers. “Horses are the largest domesticated prey animal,” Hudnall explains. “They’ve evolved to be dependent on humans, and they need us.” But she points out that the conflict and neglect arises because we humans don’t always need them, or can’t always care for them. Elizabeth Wegmann is a Horse Helpers volunteer and soon-to-be board member. She explains that the path var-

38 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

ies for horses to come to them, but that owners often don’t mean to neglect their horses. Wegmann says it’s easy to underestimate the effort and expense of caring for a horse. “People fall on hard times, and they’re proud and they don’t want to say anything,” she explains. The organization often helps people who are trying their best to care for a horse, but need help with purchasing hay and feed occasionally, or need a vet to visit, but are reluctant to call a doctor since they can’t pay for the medical services. Keeping horses with owners who simply need occasional help caring for their horse is preferable to removing the horse to be rehabilitated when neglect becomes severe. They do accept horses at Wisteria Farm, and often care for over 20 at a time that come to them in various ways. Concerned citizens sometimes contact Horse Helpers to report animals that are neglected or mistreated, and owners will sometimes contact Horse Helpers themselves to turn in a horse that needs support they can no longer provide. Hudnall explains, “Sometimes there’s a trap people fall into because they have big hearts and want to rescue horses, but their heart outweighs their head and they take horses they can’t care for. We want to make sure we don’t do that as an organization, which is why we don’t take every horse we could.” Christy Czarnecki is the sole employee of this otherwise volunteer-run nonprofit, and has worked with the organization for three years. “I grew up with horses and working in barns,” Czarnecki explained. “I’d been volunteering here while I worked at another barn, and when she couldn’t hire me anymore, Amy said, ‘We’d love to have you here’.” I asked Czarnecki about why she worked in a barn as a job, while also volunteering to do similar work for free with Horse Helpers. She answered by bringing me to a stall to

meet a sturdy and healthy-looking horse called Chance. She said, “He had 90% hair loss, worms, and a body score of a 1. There’s a body score that goes from 1 to 8, and 1 is pretty much on the edge of death.” Because of the work Czarnecki does, along with dozens of volunteers, Chance is improving greatly. In fact, the woman who had contacted Horse Helpers when she observed him looking neglected wants to adopt him herself when Chance is rehabilitated. “He’s getting ready to move out,” Czarnecki said. Horse Helpers depends on dozens of volunteers to operate smoothly, from board members, to those who show up once or twice a week to help restring electric fences, dig fencepost holes, or do other work on the farm. While the majority of their volunteers are women and girls, they have had some unusual volunteer help this year from local men willing to go far to help this organization. 2017 marks the debut of the first annual Hunks & Horses calendar. Twelve men, eleven horses, and one ram are the featured models in this fundraising venture that shows off not only the impressive physiques of some of our local animal-loving gentleman, but also shows off many of the equines that have been rehabilitated at Horse Helpers. With the background of the barns, lush fields, and mountains that surround Apple Hill Farm (which belongs to Horse Helpers supporter Lee Rankin) photographer Cathrin Cammett captured images of local models willing to help support the mission of Horse Helpers. With models ranging from Appalachian State MBA students to armed forces veterans, this calendar represents a major new fundraising initiative for the organization. Fashioned after similar projects for other horse rescue organizations, this is a project that is already experiencing growth as shoots begin shortly

for next year’s calendar. Anthony Corso was one of the models for this first Hunks & Horses calendar, and posed with Chief, a rehabilitated horse that was adopted out to a good home with Morgan Brink. Corso said he was glad to participate in the shoot for numerous reasons in addition to loving horses. “I consider myself a very philanthropic person. I love being able to help charities in any way, especially if they happen to be local.” A six-year Army Veteran, Corso serves as Vice President of the Student Veterans Association at Appalachian State, holds a chair on the University’s Veterans Affairs Committee, and is currently helping set up the first all-veterans trip with Wine to Water, the international non-profit based in Boone. He met Amy Hudnall early in his time at Appalachian State, when he was making the transition from the military to being a student. Corso credits her for his participation in this Horse Helpers project. “She is a wonderful person with a huge heart. She’s always considerate about others and their general wellbeing and it’s really awesome to be able to see her around the horses. She’s one of those people where you can feed off of her passion.” Winston Moore also became involved in modeling for this project because of his acquaintance with Amy Hudnall. He posed for the month of December in the calendar, and his fellow equine model Ethan wore bells and a red harness while Moore bucked the trend of jeans and flannel shirts (or no shirts at all) and wore a tuxedo loaned from South’s Clothiers in Boone Mall. Moore had actually already been volunteering with Horse Helpers when Hudnall asked him to pose for the calendar. He had cleaned stalls, done yard Continued on next page

Misty was rescued about 7 years ago from a slaughter buyer and is now in her forever home off the mountain.

Chief was rescued with three other horses in Tennessee and was lice ridden and starved. He was adopted about four years ago and today is used as an eventing horse in eastern Carolina. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2016/17 —


Chloe’s Story

HORSE HELPERS: Continued from p. 39 work, and chauffeured at the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show, which donates a portion of its proceeds to Horse Helpers. Like Corso, Moore has supported other nonprofits as well, volunteering with the Hospitality House and F.A.R.M. Café. He has modeled before, although he hasn’t always liked it. “Working with the horses made it a lot more enjoyable. It’s hard to miss the humor in posing shirtless while standing next to a giant animal.” Horse Helpers has grown significantly over the past 10 years in terms of budget, ability to fulfill its mission, and also professionalism, gaining a recent certification from the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. They’re now one of the top four horse rescue organizations in North Carolina, although they do rescues in nearby Tennessee and Virginia as well, and have placed horses for adoption as far away as Texas. The board intends for the calendar to become a yearly signature fundraising event, in addition to their annual summertime party and auction. I asked what they most need funded to best support the mission. “A bigger space,” said Wegmann. “A space with places to give riding lessons. Yonahlossee Saddle Club. That’s the dream, a big facility with lots of land, lots of boarding, lots of room to incorporate equine therapy.” The organization has many friends through various channels. Hudnall teaches a class called ‘Intro to Peace Studies’ at Appalachian State, and takes her students to Wisteria Farm. There, she runs exercises in which groups of students try to get the horses to complete certain tasks. Hudnall says this is an excellent way to teach conflict resolution and conflict transformation, similar to when people who speak different languages need to make peace with each other. “Horses are exquisitely tuned to provide us feedback

40 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

on our body language, emotions, and general interaction, more so than any other domesticated animal. In essence they’re providing us an experience of communicating with language barriers, cultural barriers…this provides students an opportunity to problem solve as a group, see who rises as a leader, and learn to think out-of-the-box to find solutions.” Czarnecki and Wegmann agree that their volunteers get an enormous amount of satisfaction from working with the horses. Hudnall points out that she notices disparate groups of people coming together, becoming acquainted, and bonding over their love for helping the horses. “The horses enable mixing of class and race. We get all kinds of horse lovers volunteering, from lower income people who live in trailers to country club women. We get Hispanic kids becoming friends with white kids. All because of their shared love of helping these animals in need.” While Hudnall must be one of the busiest women in the High Country, her full-time teaching job and her work at Horse Helpers overlap in this crucial way; by rescuing horses, she helps the animals who have been victimized, and she relieves their owners from feeling they have to care for animals when they cannot. Through learning to communicate with horses, her students learn they can do the same with humans with whom they have great differences.The mission of Horse Helpers is to save animals, but the organization proves that when we show compassion for animals, we make our community stronger, too. Hunks & Horses calendars are available at Canvas Beauty Bar, Changes Salon, South’s in Boone Mall, Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve, Apple Hill Farm in Banner Elk, High Country Polaris in Newland, and Watsonatta in Boone. They can also be purchased through the Horse Helpers website at Donors may give through the website as well.

This is Chloe, one of the much loved Diamond Dogs. Her new adopters have written to let us know how she is doing, giving all of her Diamond Dog volunteers tears of joy: A d o p t ing Chloe has not been at all what we expected. We chose Chloe because she seemed to be about to same energy level as our 3-year-old dog, Dixie, and our whole point in adopting another dog was for Dixie to have a friend. I also knew going into it that I wanted to adopt a diamond dog because I knew a diamond dog would be partially trained, which would make it easier for her to transition into our home. Unfortunately, the day we brought Chloe home, she viciously went after our cat in our house, and outside she chased her up a couple trees. We weren’t sure we were going to be able to keep her. Luckily, Barb from the Diamond Dog program came by to give us some tips on how Chloe and our cat could co-exist, and, honestly, we would have brought Chloe back had it not been for Barb’s help. Since then, Chloe’s behavior has dramatically improved toward our cat, which was our main concern in keeping her. Dixie was very jealous at first, as she was not used to another dog in the house, but after the first few days, she and Chloe began playing more and more and now all they do is play together. They love to wrestle in the house, and they play tug of war and chase each other in our yard. Chloe was very anxious the first week we brought her home, but we can tell she is learning to trust us more and more each day as well as getting more comfortable in her forever home. She is such a sweetheart, and we knew that adopting an older dog came with more challenges as the dog herself has faced more challenges in her life, but we are thrilled that she is adjusting well and that we could give her a home where she’s happy and where she has a sister to play with! She is also learning to love the finer things in life, such as napping on the couch and in our bed! I’ve attached a picture of Chloe.

Diamond Dogs: Healing Man’s Best Friend

Jazz (the dog) and Barb Holland

By Laurie Vierheller & Charles Duke


ennels, even in the best of animal shelters, can be noisy, high intensity, stressful environments for any dog. This is especially true for sensitive or fearful dogs, and those that have already suffered from neglect, abuse or lack of socialization. Potential adopters have difficulty envisioning cuddling them on their couch or sitting calmly by a fire on a long winter’s day, especially when the dogs are incessantly barking or frantically bouncing off the walls of the kennels. The Watauga Humane Society Diamonds in the Ruff program strives to save the lives of these dogs. The program is the sometimes emotional and seemingly magical work of founder and volunteer Barb Holland. Barb brings 30 years of work with rescue dogs and over 20 years of volunteering in animal shelters to the task. When asked about the program’s goals, she said, “I know I simply can’t save every dog all by myself. But if working with the more troubled shelter dogs can help them find that perfect forever home, then that’s what I will do. Every dog deserves to be someone’s ‘favorite,’

yet many of our dogs have never experienced that bond with a human of their own. This program helps them learn how to become someone’s ‘best friend’—and that’s really what having a dog is all about.” Other volunteers under Barb’s supervision have become involved and today, four teams of six train one dog per team at a time. Working closely with the dogs, volunteers get to know how best to handle them and can offer specific support that will help make the dogs more attractive to potential adopters and help provide a smoother transition into a new home. Since its inception, the program has helped more than 50 hard-to-adopt dogs find homes. When asked which dogs seem to benefit most from the program, Barb replied, “While every dog can benefit from the structure and enrichment our program offers, we have had great success with young, high energy dogs that really need work on their impulse control. Shy dogs that are slow to warm up to strangers also respond well to our team approach which introduces them to a variety of handlers.”

When asked about the further development of the program, Barb responded, “The more able and committed volunteers we can train, the more dogs we will be able to help. I am also excited about the new ‘Home Room’ currently under construction at the Adoption Center to provide Diamond Dogs with training in a home-like environment, and at some point we would like to turn a part of our play yard into a mini-agility field.” Barb gives much credit for the success of the program to her volunteers. She says, “The volunteers who throw their hearts and souls into this program are the major key to the program’s success. The Diamond Dog volunteers love working with ‘their’ dogs because they can see firsthand the difference it makes in the dogs’ lives both emotionally and behaviorally, and they can celebrate the little daily victories (someone learned to “sit” today! ) as well as when a special dog goes on to his/her forever home. Those dogs whose lives we touch are immeasurably changed for the better— and sometimes literally saved. That’s the greatest reward of all.” CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2016/17 —


A Jewel Of A Tale: The History Of Ashe County Preserved By Lynn Rees-Jones


n 1904, people with business involving Ashe County government would have likely traveled to the Town of Jefferson on foot, horseback, or horse drawn buggy via a two lane dirt road to arrive at the newly built Ashe County Courthouse. While much of the architecture of the day was fairly utilitarian, the courthouse was built in the Beaux Arts Style with classical columns and cupola roof line and was visually reminiscent of a Greek Temple. Since then, 112 years have passed and the courthouse continues to make an impressive statement although the cherry tree lined dirt road has been replaced by pavement and new buildings. Designed by Charlotte architects Wheeler & Runge of Charlotte, NC it was one of eight other similar courthouse buildings designed by the firm and six still stand today here in western North Carolina. The courthouse was finely crafted using indigenous materials available nearby. The chestnut and pine timber for the wood framing and sills was milled from the slopes of Mt. Jefferson which rise dramatically a short distance from the front steps of the courthouse. The foundation is of native stone, soapstone window sills were mined in Ashe County, and the bricks were made at Mr. Barker’s brickyard just up the street. The courthouse was the first building in Ashe County to be electrified. Due to the decline of the building and changing needs of the county government, a new courthouse was built and was opened in 2001. While some thought the historic building was beyond repair, local government agencies, non-profit groups and a group of passionate local residents began a quest to restore and repurpose the courthouse as a museum. According to Ramona Ren-

froe, director of the museum, “we are who we are because of where we are. We are shaped by being here in Ashe County and it is important to preserve who we are.” Open since 2010, the stately building itself is, without a doubt, the number one attraction of the museum. The architecture of the courthouse combined with the warmth and beauty of the wood floors, trim, stairs, fireplaces and doors can be seen throughout and if one looks closely they tell stories of days gone by. Darkened divots on the edge of the wooden mantelpiece in the former Registrar of Deeds office were created by burning cigarettes set down and carelessly forgotten. The old bell, rung to alert the community when court was to be in session, still stands guard in front of the building. The first floor, which once functioned as the tax office, clerk of court and register of deeds, has been fully restored and now houses exhibits that reflect the history of the area. Per Renfroe, their mission is to “collect, conserve and educate.” Regardless of one’s enthusiasm for history, visitors can’t help be impressed with the treasures to be found in the museum. Perhaps the most popular exhibit is the 30 foot long working model of the Virginia Creeper Train which once traveled from Abingdon, VA to southern Ashe County in order to harvest the abundance of timber in the area. The towns of Tuckerdale, Lansing, West Jefferson and Todd developed as a result. Dedicated volunteers have spent thousands of hours building an accurate replica of these early towns and the miniature Virginia Creeper train chugs along the track. The Ore Knob Mine exhibit is housed in the old Register of Deeds safe and tells the story of the Ashe County

history 42 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

mine which was once the largest copper mine in the United States. The newest exhibit room depicts a mid-20th century moonshine production including an authentic confiscated copper pot style still from Ashe County. The exhibit also features 3 notable area musicians, luthier Albert Hash, Ballard Taylor, and Henry Whitter who was the first county musician to be recorded. Other exhibits include the first century of Ashe County, Indian Artifacts, Mountain Medicine, Sports Hall of Fame, Local Furniture and the Timber Industry. The military is well represented at the museum with a Veterans Hall and exhibits that acknowledge the 100 year anniversary of World War I and 50th Anniversary of the Viet Nam War. While the main floor is teaming with exhibits and information, the second floor, with its 180-seat courtroom is in the early stages of restoration. Accessed by two impressive wooden staircases, the upper floor houses the courtroom which still retains the original tin ceiling and courtroom chairs. Notable trials included the Will Banks murder trial which resulted in the public hanging of Banks, a black man, in 1907. This was the only legal hanging that ever took place in Ashe County. More recently, the Ore Knob Mine Murder trials occurred in 1982. In earlier days the courtroom also served as a key community gathering space and hosted visiting governors and politicians, spelling bees, high school graduations, vaudeville shows and weddings. Music performances were popular and notable performers including “Mother” Maybelle and the Carter Family, (including June Carter Cash, second wife of Johnny Cash), Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass, and Earl Scruggs, entertained audiences in the historic courtroom.

Future plans include restoration of the upper floor courtroom so that there will once again be a venue for community residents and visitors to come together to learn, reflect and gather for special events and performances. Renfroe and board director Lonnie Jones are excited about the opportunities once the restoration is complete. They would like to see school programs, museum theater, film screenings, meetings, speakers, music performances, and weddings. In six short years, remarkable progress has been made. During warmer months the museum plays host to many outdoor activities including Sunday afternoon Music on the Green, a Celebration of Spring, Autumn Leaf Festival, and Antique Car Shows. Future plans include construction of log cabins to house living history demonstrations and planting of heritage apple trees. The museum gives back to the community in many ways. A Victory Garden has been planted and is patterned after the home and community gardens planted to increase food production during WWI and WWII. The war this Victory Garden is fighting, however, is the War on Hunger in Ashe County. It was planted by and is tended to by local Master Gardeners. It produces vegetables for distribution through Ashe Outreach, flowers go to local nursing homes and herbs are used in cooking classes at the Ashe Cooperative Extension Agency. This museum is a hidden gem. Whether you have a few minutes or hours to explore, the museum has something for everyone. Winter hours are Tuesday –Saturday from 10-4 and admission is free. It is located at 301 East Main Street, Jefferson NC 28640. Those with questions, interest in getting involved as a volunteer, or to make a donation, please contact Ramona Renfroe at 336.846.1904, or visit the website at www.

Ashe County Courthouse in 2010

Present day Ashe County Museum

Courtroom with balcony circa 1905

Train Exhibit CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2016/17 —


Beating The Mollygrubs: Enduring Nostrums For Cabin Fever Story and Photo By Jim Casada


he word mollygrubs is one you don’t hear all that much these days, but it was once as common as pig tracks in mountain parlance. My paternal grandfather used it regularly, with synonyms being words or phrases such as depression, cabin fever, down in the dumps, having the blues, or Grandpa Joe’s other frequently used phrase, “having a bad case of the miseries.” That should suffice to give you a picture of what’s at play here, and anyone who can says they make it through the seemingly endless procession of grey, dreary days forming the hallmarks of a high country winter without suffering a spate of the mollygrubs belongs to that select band we describe as eternal optimists. The rest of us need an escape, or better still, a whole bunch of them, from the woes of a mountain winter. Our forebears understood that pressing need to lift spirits and make the soul soar, and as was the case with so many aspects of life in yesteryear, they did so through games, community gatherings, exercises in culinary delight, music, and giving free rein to the creativity that was a centerpiece in a way of life that demanded flexibility and a “master of all trades” approach to their existence. Here’s a longing look back to some of the more prevalent or delightful of the many cures for cabin fever in the simpler days and simpler ways that predated television, technological gadgets galore, and even electricity. If at least some of them don’t appeal to your inner being or induce a fleeting hankering for one aspect or another of the good old days, well maybe, just maybe, you’ve got a hole in your soul. Mind you, I’m not suggesting a quantum leap backwards, but there’s a great deal to be said for the inventive ways those who went before us found to entertain themselves and enjoy life even in the depths of a bitter mountain winter.

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Sweet TreatsTo Beat The Blues

One time-honored way of confronting winter’s hard times head on involved catering to the sweet tooth, usually in a setting involving extended family, a bunch of kids, or maybe an entire community. Taffy pulling parties were a tried and tested favorite in this regard. They meant a marvelous mess in the kitchen, some delectable eating when the end product reached finished perfection, and utilized simple ingredients readily available in most mountain homes—sugar, butter, molasses, a bit of salt, waxed paper, and considerable elbow grease. After loads of laughter and plenty of pulling, a delicious treat produced from collective efforts awaited the participants. Another group approach to making toothsome treats was, if anything, even more wondrously chaotic. This involved making popcorn balls. Most mountain gardens included a couple of rows of popping corn with its tight little cobs of strawberry-colored kernels that puffed up with a glorious symphony of noise when coated with a bit of grease and shaken in a popper over an open flame or a wood-burning stove. While one or two participants took care of the corn popping side of things, another individual handled the most demanding part of the process (in my experience invariably my mother), preparing the syrup to be used to form the balls. This involved a cup or so of molasses, a hefty chunk of homechurned butter, a pinch or two of salt (no one measured precisely but knowing hands always got the ingredients right) a spoon of vanilla extract, and “jest a tetch” of baking soda. The syrup, butter, and salt were carefully heated in a sauce pan, stirring constantly until the mixture came to a boil and thickened nicely. At that point the vanilla and soda would be blended in and stirred. Once the syrup mixture began to cool it was poured over a big mound of popcorn. At that juncture it was all hands on deck for making popcorn balls. In my ex-

perience it was done with greased Number 8 pokes (for the uninitiated, that’s mountain talk for paper bags) over your hands. Once gently rolled and shaped into a sphere roughly the size of a baseball and placed on cookie tins, some of the popcorn balls demanded immediate consumption while others would keep for a day or two as monuments to savory stickiness so sweet as to be irresistible and sufficiently messy to require liberal application of soap and warm water once the whole process of production and consumption was at an end. At churches and schools the siren call of sweets often took a different form—that of cake walks. Teachers, members of the local PTA, or perhaps women belonging to a church circle or ladies social group would bake scrumptious cakes for these walks. Chairs were placed in a circle, always one fewer than there were walkers, and after paying a dime or a quarter to participate you moved around the outward-facing chairs to music. When it stopped there would be a mad scramble for seats, and one hapless soul was always left standing. A chair and that person were removed from the game. This process continued until only two individuals were left and one of them won the cake. There might be half a dozen cake walks in an evening, but once you won a cake you were out of subsequent competitions. The money raised from these events always went to a good cause such as helping the underprivileged or foreign mission funds, and often an early winner would cut up their prize so everyone could enjoy a slice of the cake.

Toy Making

The depths of a mountain winter often meant weather that kept a body inside, although there were always chores aplenty such wood to be cut and split, equipment to be repaired, cooking, sewing, mending, small game to be hunted, fur to be trapped, and pursuit of count-

less other activities which were an integral part of daily life. Still, no season of the year afforded more leisure time than winter, and one commonplace form of entertainment involved making simple toys. Every man worth his salt carried a pocket knife, and in addition to the simple pleasure of whittling it was commonplace to apply that quintessential tool’s razor-sharp blade to shaping of walking canes, putting finishing touches to trigger mechanisms for rabbit gums, carving intricate little figures (animals were a favorite), or making toys. In the toy department, favorites for boys and girls included Jacob’s ladders, gee haw whammy diddles, and flutter mills. Using corn shucks to made dolls or angels adorned with colorful pieces of cloth remnants or perhaps pieces of flour sacks was primarily the province of girls. Similarly, the serious business of finding a suitable dogwood fork and then carefully turning it into a slingshot was the preserve of boys. All these toys, along many others, shared one thing in common. Materials for their creation were readily available and cost nothing. All that was involved was time, skill, and a special sort of doit-yourself folk wisdom passed from one generation to the next. On a personal basis, one of my fondest boyhood memories involved the process of making my first slingshot, and its completion was almost as much a rite of passage as a youngster receiving his first pocket knife or, several years later, his first hunting gun.

website at

Dancing & Music Making

Mine was the great good fortune to grow up in a time when televisions were virtually non-existent in the high country and when radios only picked up a handful of 50,000-watt stations such as WSM out of Nashville and WCKY from Cincinnati. As a result, rather than watching or listening, folks made their own music and danced to it with gleeful abandon. Continued on p. 48




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MOLLYGRUBS: Continued from p. 45

Throughout my youth and beyond, Friday nights, especially in winter, were devoted to pickin’ and grinnin’ “string pullings” in someone’s home. Occasionally, if there was sufficient room, chairs would be pushed back and the music would support some mighty fine buck dancing. Saturday nights were for square dances, and most everyone owned a pair of clogging shoes, even if they amounted to nothing more than an old pair of leather-bottomed brogans, slick as a razor strop, outfitted with metal taps. Every community had a good band, a caller or two, and some place—anything from a spacious barn to a meeting hall or even an old gymnasium--suitable for a sho’ ‘nuff get together of swishing skirts and magically moving feet. Every so often the intricacies of the called square dance would give way to a do-it-yourself session of buck dancing, usually to the sound of tried and true tunes such as “Down Yonder” or “Under the Double Eagle,” with maybe a dozen more loosefooted and agile folks on the floor. The really gifted among them, and they crossed gender lines and age boundaries from eight to 80, could cut a rug without their upper body seeming to move at all. Whether it involved toothsome sweets, crafting of simple toys designed to fill idle hours with pleasure, or the sheer joy of a frolic that involved music making and dancing, our Appalachian forebears knew plenty of ways to best boredom and avoid the miseries of mollygrubs. Practical, parsimonious because penny pinching was of necessity a part of daily life, and deeply imbued with a philosophy of “make do with what you’ve got,” they managed to find pleasure aplenty despite living a life that was hard and at times downright harsh. That they did so is a testament to their resilience and sheer love of the time and place which was their lot. Jim Casada, a native of North Carolina’s Great Smokies, is a fulltime freelance writer who has received many awards for his books and articles. To learn more, visit his

48 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

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Painter Scott Boyle: High Country Views By Liz Brown


orth Carolina artist, Scott Boyle is a visual explorer who has focused much of his artistic career on creating plein air paintings. His favorite way to work is following the tradition of famous 19th century artists using the plein air technique; going outside and painting from nature. This technique is how Boyle intimately discovers landscapes and their natural beauty, and he allows viewers to feel the sun on the mountain side, or a stream running through a valley. At an early age, Scott was recognized to have an unusual ability to draw and his parents seized the opportunity by providing private art lessons at the early age of seven. He was fortunate to have been influenced by a rich heritage of traditional Indiana painters from Beech Grove. By the time he was sixteen, he had won over four-dozen awards and sold sixty-five oil paintings. During this time Scott had one eye on the sky with a great interest in aviation. Later he at-

tended Indiana State University, graduating in 1984 to become an airline pilot. Today he still flies for a commercial airline and often takes his paints on trips to study the outdoors in other locations across the country or seeking out art museums in many of the cities he visits. Scott Boyle moved to NC in 1987 and lives in rural Gaston County, NC with his wife and five children. Boyle spends much of his time hiking throughout the High Country with back pack, easel and paints. Boyle loves the state of NC and enjoys using the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains as his muse. He says “with my landscape paintings I strive to create with paint the temperamental effects of natural light on the world around us. Being there in person, in the face of nature has a way of keeping me honest and continually growing as a representational artist.” He often uses the plein air paintings back in the studio as inspiration for larger works on canvas inspired from the same scene. The artist goes on to say that “creating larger paintings in-

doors, allows me the time to further explore ideas and have more time to develop the work over several sessions, adding layers and creating additional depth.” Scott Boyle’s plein air paintings and larger studio works have found their way into numerous collections and prestigious exhibitions and his work has received many awards and honors throughout his career. He is the founder of the North Carolina Plein Air Painters and has been involved in organizing numerous outdoor painting events around the state. Additionally he teaches workshops and frequently speaks on subjects relating to outdoor painting. The Art Cellar Gallery in Banner Elk has represented Scott Boyle for many years and has featured his work in numerous feature exhibitions and highlighted his work during artist coffee talks and demonstrations. His work is shown at the gallery throughout the year with a range of work from large scale to plein air paintings.




There is no need to bid adieu to the Blue Ridge Parkway come winter. Cross-country skiing, hikes, and a museum are still waiting to be explored. ROCK OUT If it’s just too cold to stay outdoors, make your way to the Museum of North Carolina Minerals, milepost 331 in Spruce Pine. Hundreds of the minerals that make up these beautiful mountains are on display. There are intriguing stories from the miners who pulled these resources from the earth, a machine that simulates the process of metaphoric rock formation, and insights into the birth of silicon chips thanks to Spruce Pine’s rich quartz deposits. Admission is free. (828) 765-2761 WALKWAY IN THE SKY When sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway are closed due to snow they become winter playgrounds for cross-country skiers, snowshoers, and hikers, but perhaps none are more spectacular than the Linn Cove Viaduct, milepost 304. You can make your way there from the gate on U.S. 221 near Beacon Heights. The chance to trek the engineering marvel that traces the slope of Grandfather Mountain only comes during winter, so be sure to take it.

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THE FACE OF WINTER The starkness of winter simply adds to the dramatic scene at Linville Falls as ice coats the rocky banks below the plunge and evergreens provide the only remaining color. It’s best to leave the strenuous and steep trails to the basin for summer adventures, but the short trek to Erwin’s View is reasonable in the colder months. The trail is accessible from the Visitor Center (closed this time of year), milepost 316, and leads to four overlooks, Upper Falls, Chimney View, Erwin’s View, and Gorge View, which all give different perspectives of the ancient feature that marks the beginning of the Linville Gorge. PACK A THERMOS Snow or no snow, a winter picnic is a creative way to embrace winter. Instead of packing lemonade and cold sandwiches, fill up your thermos with hot cocoa or cider and chili or soup and head to Julian Price Memorial Park picnic area near milepost 297. While you’re there, hike the Boone Fork Trail to see the new 80-foot pedestrian bridge completed this fall with support funding from the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. If the kids are with you, check out the Kids in Parks TRACK Trail that provides fun activities to complete while walking the Price Lake Loop. The park asks that you leave only footprints at the picnic areas and pack out any trash because cleanup crews aren’t available during the off-season.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION The carriage paths at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, milepost 294, aren’t just for strolling. When the 3,500-acre estate is blanketed in snow, visitors are welcome to bring their cross-country skis or snowshoes to explore more than 25 miles of trails. The loop around Bass Lake is a popular route, but all the designated trails are open to explore. Horseback riding is also offered on the year-round through Vx3 Trail Rides. The view from the saddle gives a whole new perspective rolling the landscape. For weather and road closure updates, visit and www.nps. gov/blri/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm.


Winter on the Blue Ridge Parkway

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

Grandfather Mountain Wishes a Happy Birthday to Bears Everywhere! By Amy Renfranz

Wild female black bears (Ursus americanus) of the High Country seek out their winter dens in November or December. It is there that they will wait for Spring and its abundance of food—and Motherhood. The winter den is also where they will have their cubs, though the process is quite different from the human reproductive cycle. Female black bears, also called “sows,” are pregnant for just two months. However, they mate in July and will not give birth until January. Scratching your head yet? These bears have the amazing adaptation of delayed implantation. After mating in the summer, the fertilized eggs develop, divide a few times, and develop into a ball of cells called a “blastocyst.” Then the development of the eggs comes to a stop. The blastocyst floats around unattached to the uterine wall until late November. Sows typically need to weigh 170 pounds in November to successfully reproduce and provide nourishment for growing cubs. If a bear was not able to gain the right amount of weight in the summer and fall months, then her body will typically absorb the fertilized eggs. Cubs born to a malnourished sow usually do not survive. In order to properly fatten up, a sow will need to eat 10,000 to 12,000 calories a day during the Fall months. She will do this by gorging herself on nuts, berries, and insects. To put it in a different perspective, a black bear must eat a natural diet equivalent to the calorie load in 42 slices of pepperoni pizza every day for a few months. Once our fattened sow finds a cozy place to rest for the winter, the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterine wall. It takes just six weeks for the embryo to turn into a bear cub. All black bear cubs are born in January while the mother is still in her den. This is convenient because they are born blind, hairless, and weigh just a half a pound. The time in the den gives them time to drink their mother’s milk and grow. After nursing for three months the mother and cubs, now weighing up to 10 pounds, emerge from the den. They will stick with her until they are 1 ½ years old and set out on their own. The Animal Habitats at the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation once housed black bear mothers and their cubs as a part of the mountain’s 1997 to 2007 Cub Program. The Cub Program was an active partnership between Grand-

Though the bears are hibernating, Grandfather’s otters, eagles, deer, and views are still a sight to behold! father and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. It began as a way to increase black bear populations in the wild and was a tremendous success. Our mother bears had their cubs in an enclosure which was built in 1973 for Mildred, Grandfather’s first bear. The large enclosure allowed the sows to make real dens and give birth in privacy. The cubs stayed with their mother until the age of 1 ½, when they were released into the wild. Today, the wild black bear population is steady and growing on its own. In fact, it is so healthy that there is no more need for Grandfather Mountain to raise and release cubs. Instead, our bears are spending their winters resting in the comfort of their den. Tread quietly past the bear habitat. Shhhh! They’re sleeping! Amy Renfranz is the Education Specialist at Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. She is a Certified Naturalist through the Yellowstone Institute and a Certified Environmental Educator in the state of North Carolina. About the Mountain: The not-for-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call (800) 468-7325 or visit to plan a trip.




Our Favorite Winter Greens By Tamara Seymour


rown, white and shades of gray – these are the colors that dominate our mountain landscape through the winter season. But a handful of plants and plant-like organisms refuse to turn off the color during the cold months. Here, we look at five favorite “greens” that continue to liven up the scenery, even as frigid temperatures set in.

Go Green!

This season, take some time to explore our enchanted forests, and see how many “winter greens” you can find and identify. The more we seek out nature’s special treasures, the greater our appreciation for these remarkable mountains we call home. ________________________________

A Fondness for Fronds

Unlike most ferns in our region, the Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) remains green through the holiday season, hence its common name. Some folks say that the name also reflects the shape of the pinnae, or leaflets, along the fern’s frond. Look closely and you might visualize a stocking, or perhaps a winter sleigh. The Christmas fern requires cool, moist, well-drained soil and thrives in our rich cove forests. It is one of the more common ferns you’ll see here in our mountains year-round.

winter green Tamara Seymour is a N.C. Certified Environmental Educator and Blue Ridge Naturalist. She is the publisher of Carolina Explorers magazine, a family publication all about the nature of North Carolina. You can reach her at

52 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Stinky, Yet Stunning

Sometimes called beetleweed or wandflower, Galax (Galax urceolata) is a prized native evergreen groundcover of our Southern Appalachian forests. Galax is also notorious for its unpleasant aroma, which may be linked to the sulfur compounds that are released as its leaves decompose. These chemicals are thought to be similar to those found in a skunk’s scent. But a foul, skunky odor doesn’t take away from its beauty – this plant’s shiny, heart-shaped leaves have been popular in floral arrangements for centuries. In recent years, Galax’s popularity has led to over-collection in some parts of western North Carolina, particularly along the Blue Ridge Parkway.* If Galax grows on your property and you want to bring a little color indoors for the winter, be sure to cut leaves individually to avoid damaging the sensitive root system. *Note: it is illegal to pick any part of any plant on Parkway lands.

Long Live the Lycopodium A More Perfect Union Top Tree

Mountain residents take great pride in our well-known local conifer, the Fraser fir (Abies fraseri). While we have an abundance of Fraser fir farms in our area, the Fraser fir’s natural range is limited to mountain tops at 4,500 feet or higher in the southeastern Appalachian Mountains. Fraser firs, together with red spruces, form the foundation of a special type of ecosystem, the spruce-fir forest. These rare natural communities provide essential habitat for a variety of plant and animal species that are found nowhere else in our state. Locally, you can explore a spruce-fir forest atop Grandfather Mountain and hike several trails that lead you through this unique mountain habitat.

Winter is one of the best times of the year to look for lichens. Patches of colorful lichens clinging to tree trunks, large rocks, soil, and manmade structures are easy to spot in a leafless forest. But unlike other winter greens, lichens are not classified as plants. They are the result of a unique marriage between certain species of algae and fungi. This symbiotic relationship allows the united organism to obtain food from light, air and rain, and better survive the conditions of its environment. We still have much to learn about lichens. What we do know is that there are as many as 600 lichen species in western North Carolina alone, with new species being discovered all the time. We also know that some species of lichens can be quite fragile, while others are nearly indestructible. The most sensitive species are especially vulnerable to air pollution and are often used as bio-indicators to measure the levels of toxins in the air. Some lichens, under the right environmental conditions, may live for hundreds of years!

The Lycopodium, or “club-moss,” may resemble a tiny cedar tree but this native evergreen is more closely related to a fern than a tree. Both club-mosses and ferns were some of the earliest terrestrial vascular plants on the planet, dating back more than 300 million years! Here in our mountains we find large colonies of these ancient subshrubs spreading along the moist, shady forest floor – hidden from sight is a vast underground network of runners that connects the colony. Lycopodium has had many uses over the years. The plant’s dried spores are flammable, a property that once made club-moss a good choice for “flash powder” used in flash photography, theatrical explosions and fireworks. It has also been used medicinally to cure headaches, urinary disorders and other assorted maladies. Several species of Lycopodium are common in our mountains, including Lycopodium digitatum and Licopodium obscurum. Other common names for Lycopodium include ground-pine, running cedar, creeping cedar, and princess pine.



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The Green Park Inn, one of the area’s first hotels, sits just near the Eastern Continental Divide. The Green Park area was once a larger community than Blowing Rock. It was the first major settlement at the top of the mountain. Green Park had its own post office, stores, and dairy, as well as the hotel. The area is now a historic district.

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54 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

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Meet Timmy & Susan Abell of Silver Trout Arts By LouAnn Morehouse


nless you are frequently in the presence of toddlers and other small fry, you might have forgotten that children are avid music buffs. Just go to YouTube—“children dancing to music”—for a quick refresher. Warning, there were seven million videos under that heading at last check, and I’m willing to bet that every one of them is adorable. Kids love music. And it’s good for them, too. Research supported by a consortium of institutes including Americans for the Arts and the National Association of Music Merchants shows that exposure to music at an early age aids in developing language and fine motor skills. Singing and playing instruments is a joyful activity for most children, even those with hearing impairments. It’s an old adage that music has universal appeal for all people, and the fact is, it starts when we are very young. While most children’s music might not make the pop-charts or the primetime news, many notable musicians and songwriters have made a lasting impression on youthful listeners. When Timmy Abell was a kid, it was a performance by the legendary Burl Ives that set the youngster to thinking about how he would love to sing and entertain audiences when he grew up. Timmy Abell remained steadfast in his dream of becoming a musician, taking up the guitar at an early age, and adding other instruments including banjo, hammered dulcimer, and English Concertina as the years progressed. He did the high school rock band thing, but Timmy had grown up in a household where Folk Music was held in high esteem. He loved old time music, with their lyrics that held sway through time. As he matured into his music style, he came to believe that folk music held a particular value for young people. Timmy mentions the great Pete Seeger’s comment, “Singing with children in the schools has been the most rewarding experience of my life,” as he talks about how the response from an audience of children is “absolutely pure and spontaneous, completely unfiltered delight.” He believes that folk music is “authentic for kids because it deals with real issues,” and has withstood the vagaries of change. In more than thirty years of performing, Timmy Abell has become a well-regarded artist with a full schedule of concerts and music education workshops. He’s a MerleFest regular, for one, and has had concerts at major halls such as The Kennedy Center and The National Theater among others. Timmy’s musical preferences run the gamut of folk songs from all over the world. His own songs have warranted approval by no less than the seminal American folksinger, Tom Paxton, who described Timmy as “the real deal”—not to mention multiple national awards from Parents’ Choice and the American Library Association. In 2004, Timmy received the prestigious Fellowship for Songwriting from the North Carolina Arts Council.

56 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

If the children in your life live pretty much anywhere in the southeastern U.S., they may well have seen Timmy Abell in performance. With wife, Susana, an accomplished performer, puppeteer, and singer, the Abells maintain a packed schedule of school and festival appearances. Based in Timmy’s hometown, Asheville, they conduct residencies as teaching artists at schools from the mountains of North Carolina to the Gulf coast of Alabama. Timmy describes his school performance as an invitation to imagine. He’s concerned that “children are given increasingly fewer opportunities to daydream. It’s really sad that so much children’s music is more instructional than imaginative.” Timmy and Susana offer their audiences some space, and a chance to “consider where their imagination comes from.” During his most recent visit to Mobile, Alabama, Timmy had a memorable reunion with three teachers—three generations of a family who have attended his school events for literally decades. It started with a teacher who used to bring her classes—and her little girl—to Timmy’s shows. That little girl grew up, became a teacher, and a little girl of her own, whom she brought to Timmy’s shows. And as luck would have it, at this most recent tour of Mobile schools, Timmy was able to greet in his audience that little girl, now grown up and a teacher herself. In some regions, Timmy’s music has created its own “folk culture.” Susana says, “It’s beautiful when several generations tell us, ‘This music was like the soundtrack to our family’s growing up’” Timmy has six award-winning CDs, the latest of which, Could Come True, was just released. As he has with Timmy’s previous albums, Steven Heller produced this latest. Heller, a multi-Grammy award-winning producer and composer, also contributed a song and played on others. Of the ten cuts on, all but three are Timmy’s. Each contains first-rate musical accompaniment, provided by some of the dozen musicians contributing clarinet, fiddle, mandolin, hammered dulcimer, piano and more.


As it happens, there are two reviewers of children’s music at CML magazine these days; publisher Babette McAuliffe and this writer are both proud new grandmothers, so we are ready to boogie! We have subjected Could Come True to strenuous review, and are pleased to report that it’s a great listen. Timmy’s voice has a whispery quality sometimes, as if the lyrics are sketched in place, ready to be adjusted to the audience. The album starts out with a whimsical number about a flying flea at the “circus of the sun,” likely to stir up some amusement among the kids. Timmy says he got the idea from a flea circus that used to appear at MerleFest…that’s what he says, anyway! It had me googling flea circuses and you just won’t believe what you can find about them. There is an autobiographical tale that explains, as he says, “How this traveling has brought me here,” and an instrumental, “Gardener’s Dream,” that is destined to soothe many a listener, regardless of age. Some songs have witty lyrics, such as the tough pardner who casts a long dark shadow, and of course the alwayshilarious classic, “Froggy went a’courtin’.” I get tickled by those lyrics every time. It wouldn’t be an album for children without lullabies. But then, who isn’t soothed by one? Cherryville by Steven Heller is sweetly hypnotic, the lyrics easy and pleasant to sing. And finally, Babette’s favorite is the end-of-day melody, Nighttime Train, that bids all to “whistle up your worries” and send them on their way. Could Come True definitely merits a place on the family CD player. The Abells describe it as an invitation “to adventure, to daydream, to wish.” Yes, that could easily come true.

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Enjoy Winter: Dress For It!


ravelling is a great pastime, but not without some hassles. For example, why is it that you almost never visit a place that is the same climate as where you live? In one form or another, the wardrobe you packed is not going to be quite right. It’s particularly true of visiting the mountains when you more usually live about four thousand feet lower. The High Country is 826 miles from Boston—that’s a solid 12- hour drive from Boone—but Boston weather is the kind of winter weather you should expect when you visit here. So, unless you are from up North, you are definitely going to need another layer…or three. And socks. Don’t despair. All this, even the socks, can be had in fashions that flatter as well as any posh frock and heels. If there’s one thing winter wear excels at, it’s being comfortable (read: warm) while totally stylin’ the look, and the apparel stores in the High Country have got it all figured out. Here’s a quick review of some of our favorite places. So you have already been told a million times to layer your clothing for optimal warmth. In the past, that meant looking like the Michelin tire man—lumpy and bulky—but recent advances in fiber technology have produced clothing that is lightweight, form enhancing, and super insulating. One good example is leggings—the current fashion-forward look with boots and a big sweater. At Alpine Ski Center in Banner Elk, the Snow Angel leggings come in three levels of insulation, “snowflake” one, two, or three. No need for long johns, just pick your snowflake level! Gone are the days when outerwear came in muted, dull colors—supposedly so that it would “go with everything.” I’m willing to bet that all that grey and brown clothing actually contributed to the winter doldrums! Now you have your pick of stunning patterns and colors that look fabulous against the

By Louann Morehouse winter landscape. Even black and white attire can be eye-popping when presented in a large-format houndstooth pullover or as a flashy black and white shaggy jacket. The Ski Country shop in Banner Elk has gorgeous clothing from labels such as Almgwand and Descente, a reminder that Europeans don’t let a bit of cold keep them from their haute couture. Meanwhile, over at Footsloggers in Blowing Rock, the clothes are more than just good-looking—they are produced by companies committed to ethical employment standards and environmentally sound production processes. The Sherpa label, for example, is made in Nepal by skilled craftspeople who benefit directly from your purchase. Their traditional designs embellish a range of apparel, from hats to jackets, and are made to last. Patagonia Clothing is another company with a welldeserved reputation for ethical practices. Their latest fleece and outerwear items feature striking designs and strong colors, from chartreuse color blocking to aurora borealis patterns. At the Doncaster Shops in Banner Elk and Blowing Rock, this season’s stylish winter attire is all about soft and cozy. Capes and shawls in a luxurious blend of cotton, wool, and cashmere are great to wrap up in, and can be casual or dressy as desired. Doncaster’s beautifully tailored suits sport a mixed media look as leather and tweed combine to great effect. Textures such as Persian jacquard and low-nap curly lamb add richness to the line. The classic winter wear on the racks at the Mast General Store’s High Country locations in Valle Crucis and Boone never loses its appeal. The soft brown horizontal stripes of Pendleton’s fine wool shirts evoke the company’s famous blankets, a fresh take on an old favorite. More great apparel from Carhartt, Woolrich, and others is guaranteed to keep you in all the plaid flannel and wooly socks your heart desires. Bring it on, winter. We’re suited up! CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2016/17 —


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60 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE


Avery Animal Hospital

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

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

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Great Smoky Mountains Vistas: A Guide, with Mountain Peak Identifications, for What to See and Do In and Around the National Park. Timothy Lee Barnwell (Numinous Editions, 2016) By Karen Sabo In his new book, “Great Smoky Mountains Vistas,” Tim Barnwell has created more than a coffee table book featuring stunning photos of America’s most-visited National Park. Fortunately for those of us drawn to this Central Appalachian wonder, he has also used his vast knowledge of the region to create a resource for people who hike, camp, explore hidden mountain villages, or sit by the woodstove on cold winter nights and plan excursions for sunny spring days. A native of Bryson City, North Carolina, Barnwell grew up exploring the mountains by foot, car, and campsite, even honeymooning in the western end of the Great Smoky Mountain Park. Barnwell explains in the introduction that his project grew out of a gap in resources. He looked for comprehensive guides to mountain peaks, but, finding none, decided that it was up to him to create the manual he sought. Using his skills in photography, his deep affection for the region, and his willingness to delve into paper and electronic maps, he created a book with panoramic images taken from overlooks and mountaintops,

with peaks clearly identified with names, distances from the viewing point, and elevation. The author includes historical photos along with his own, allowing us glimpses into the park’s rich past, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s dedication of the park in 1940. His photos include wildlife photography, tourist attractions, and various historical structures. This Ashevillebased photographer/author, with thirty years of experience even generously includes a “photography tips” section. The book is worth purchasing simply for the photographs, which include yearround scenes in various weather. He also shows consideration for the less-active reader by explaining that many of the spots from which he shot the panoramic photos are accessible by car. He skillfully weaves history in with images. For instance, he includes a photo of a fire tower, explaining that the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s included workers who cut the rock and timber for the structures by hand, and how rangers manned these towers for decades. I found Barnwell’s personal narrative

particularly charming. He discusses his childhood affection for the Maggie Valley, North Carolina, attraction “Ghost Town in the Sky.” For years, this small-town amusement park welcomed visitors who arrived by chairlift to watch staged gunfights, enjoy the carnival rides, and buy souvenirs. “Ghost Town” closed because of difficulty competing with the mega-parks, but is soon opening as a revamped attraction to amuse a new generation of mountain kids and visitors. This book is hard to pigeonhole. Is it a photography volume? Or a memoir? Is it about navigation with maps, or a book on how to deal safely with bears and other wildlife? Is it about hiking trails or does it document the history of dozens of Appalachian Mountain towns? Yes to all of these. This is a rich, thorough, lovingly assembled book that urges us to explore the mountains of the author’s childhood, of his present, and of future generations. Look for Barnwell’s latest edition at local bookstores and shops or visit www.






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62 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE



health matters

Your Winter Survival Plan: A Guide to Preventing and Treating Aliments By Samantha Stephens


y experience has been that when natural remedies are employed preventatively, or at the first sign of illness, they can be quite effective. In this article I have included some of my most effective and time tested family remedies, recipes and body treatments. We have been employing these practices for years in our home with great success. I hope they work for you too. This includes supporting topical skin health, because this is your first line of defense and can be a significant way to prevent disease. Look first to external treatments that are actually more effective than internal treatments. Below you’ll find a few recipes for internal herbal supplements and recipes to treat sickness at the root cause, not just the symptom, which is preferable when it comes to sustaining the delicate balance in the body. God designed your body to heal itself. Sometimes all we need is a little extra support and balance for it to work well. Other times it is so worn down that we are forced to stop and rest long enough for repair to happen. Listen to your body and pace yourself. Lean on the knowledge and experience of our ancestors, who have been using these natural remedies for centuries with much success. To get you started, I’m including a list of supplies to be prepared for every recipe and treatment included in this article.

Winter Survival Grocery List: • Garlic • Onions • Celery • Carrot • Ginger • Lemon • Raw honey • Apple cider vinegar • Coconut oil or olive oil • Celtic sea salt • Live culture yogurt • Dried or fresh sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary, lemon balm, peppermint, yarrow, cinnamon, cayenne, comfrey, plantain, calendula, St. John’s wort, echinacea, mullein, elderberries • Organic, hormone free, antibiotic free, pastured whole chicken • Beeswax pastilles • Vitamin E oil • Magnesium salts • Essential oils - peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, lemon, thyme Read on and determine which of the following remedies are right for you. I encourage you to try them all. They are made with natural ingredients that are safe and effective and without the risk of overmedicating or toxicity, like over the counter drugs. If you do not have time to make them, visit your local health food store where you can find most everything I have listed below in packaged form. For your convenience, I have labeled them according to your timing for treatment. • Preventative care (if exposed to illness yet would be beneficial during entire illness). •• At onset of illness (within the first few hours of experiencing symptoms and continually as needed) ••• Treatment (to treat or alleviate symptoms during sickness)

••Salt water gargle This is such a good old standby that is best used at the first sign of a sore throat. Fill an 8 oz. glass with warm water and add up to 2 tsps Celtic sea salt. Stir to dissolve, then

gargle and rinse, gargle and rinse until all the fluid is used. Overnight, you may place a little dish of Celtic sea salt beside your bed and use a small pinch in the back of your throat as needed for soreness or post-nasal drip. •••Cold care herbal tea Peppermint tea sweetened with a little honey is usually a good choice for opening up sinus passages. You may also want to try our “family favorite,” ginger infused honey (see below) with freshly squeezed lemon dissolved in a cup of hot water. It’s delicious! If you are feeling brave (and desperate to get well) add a little apple cider vinegar and a dash of cayenne pepper, thyme or cinnamon to it and drink it warm or cold. These extras may not be extremely pleasant to consume, but will certainly help break up congestion and ease coughing. •••Ginger infused honey for coughs In a 1/2 pint jar, add minced ginger and cover completely with raw honey. Optional: Add fresh minced garlic. Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours, then stir well and refrigerate. This can be added to hot water as a tea, or taken by spoonful as cough medicine. •Elderberry syrup (Sambucus) Start with 1 cup of dried or 2 cups fresh elderberry in 3 cups of non-chlorinated water in a small saucepan. Add 1 T dried clove, 1 cinnamon stick and 10 large, fresh rosehips. Simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes or until rosehips are softened and crush easily. Turn off heat and let cool. Add 1/2 cup raw honey. Strain through a sieve into a glass jar and store in refrigerator. One or two tablespoons can be taken as needed. Use as a natural immunity booster or cough syrup. Lasts up to 6 months. •Echinacea tincture (to build immune system) Fill a pint jar 2/3 full of dried echinacea root and leaves and cover Continued on next page



sea salt and 1 1/2 tsp black pepper. If you have access to medicinal mushrooms such as shitake, maitake, or Turkey Tail, add 1/2 cup to the crockpot. These mushrooms will greatly enhance the immunesystem-boosting qualities of this broth. Cover and let simmer on low for 48-72 hours, until the bones are soft. Strain out all of the solids and store in refrigerator for 4-5 days or better yet, pressure can it for long-term storage. Use as needed for strength, immunity, and recovery.

with 100 proof vodka. Cover tightly, shake well and place in cool, dark place for six weeks to develop. Try to remember to shake daily. After 6 weeks, strain into an amber glass dropper bottle and use 1/2 dropper up to three times daily at the first indication of exposure or cold symptoms. Discontinue use after 5 days. Echinacea should not be taken continually but can be resumed again after a 3-4 day break. ••Onion treatment (for eye infection) I have successfully used this treatment on my own children and many others when eyes have been swollen, red, or crusted over with infection. Start with a fresh, uncut onion. This process works best when the patient is sitting very close to the onion as it is being sliced while breathing slowly and deeply through the nose and mouth. This causes the fresh vapors and oils from the onion to permeate the nasal passages, fighting the infection. It may sting and the eyes and nose may water a bit - that’s good! Let it happen. This is very cleansing and is part of the healing process. Slice onions very thinly and place small, thin slices around and under the eyes and nose. Let sit for at least 5 minutes, but longer is better. Remove onions from face and repeat as necessary. You should see results within the hour. •••Onion and garlic poultice (for colds and chest congestion) Finely chop one small, fresh onion and 2 cloves of fresh garlic and place in a 8” x 8” thin piece of material such as an old, clean tee shirt, handkerchief or muslin. Place on chest of subject afflicted with a cold or

64 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

the flu. Alternatively, place on the bottom of the feet. Place warm, moist towel on top to increase blood flow. This poultice is absorbed very well through the skin and can be used as an alternative to using garlic and onion internally to fight a virus. •••Wet sock treatment (for colds, flus and fevers) This is probably going to sound very strange and even counterintuitive to many, but here goes... Start by soaking your cotton socks in a bowl of ice water. While your socks are soaking, place your feet in a very warm bath for at least 3-5 minutes. Get on your jammies, squeeze out your cold cotton socks, place them on your feet, then place larger wool socks on top and immediately get in bed. Your body’s lymphatic system will be stimulated and your overall circulation will improve, which will help fight infection and release toxins. •••Restorative bone broth Bone broth is such a vital part of your wellness regime, how could I leave it out? Rich in electrolytes, vitamins, nutrients and flavor, it might be considered the “cure all” for many. It takes some time, but the benefits are well worth it. Roast an entire whole chicken in oven. Remove chicken meat for another use. Small amounts of chicken and especially organ meats, fat and cartilage should be left on the bones. Set aside. Dice up two parts onion, one part carrots and celery and as much garlic as you can stand (the more, the better!) and sauté in skillet with Kerrygold butter until browned. Pull out your crockpot and place the chicken carcass and vegetables inside with enough water to cover completely. Add 1 cup apple cider or white vinegar, then add about 1 T Celtic

••Herbal ear oil Fill a pint sized jar with 5 large cloves of fresh garlic and 4 T of dried mullein leaves. Cover with olive or coconut oil. Place in a crock pot on low heat and infuse for 48-72 hours. Remove from the crockpot and let cool. Strain out all solids through a fine mesh strainer and buttered muslin and add 10 drops of melaleuca essential oil. For itchy, irritated, and/or painful ear aches, carefully place 1 drop on the outer canal and massage gently. •Herbal breathe-easy bath soak In a half gallon jar, add magnesium salts and essential oils of eucalyptus, thyme, rosemary, and lemon. You may also add crushed, dry herbs of eucalyptus, thyme, rosemary and lemon zest. Stir well. Let sit overnight before used. Add to hot bath and soak for at least 15 minutes, breathing deeply. Store herbal salts with tight lid for up to 6 months. •Moisturizing oatmeal milk bath Grind old-fashioned oats in a blender or a coffee grinder into a very fine powder. Pour into a mixing bowl and add dry powdered milk and 5-10 drops of almond oil. Mix well. May be used as a face mask by adding a small amount of water or liquid whey from drained yogurt or in bath or foot soak. •Anti-aging, probiotic face and body mask (protect your first line of defense!) I recently had a friend who contracted a MRSA staff infection on his lip. It swelled up as big as the state of Texas before it was all over! This heightened my awareness of our need to not only consume probiotics, but coat our bodies in them too. Try this probioticrich mask to nourish and feed your skin: start with plain, unsweetened, thickened

yogurt (such a Greek yogurt). Add raw honey. Massage into your face and neck and on any other dry spots on your body. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with cool water. The lactic acid in the yogurt will digest the dryness on the top layers of your skin and tightens pores. Yogurt is also rich in probiotics, making it excellent for boosting the skin’s defenses against bacteria and skin blemishes. The raw honey is also full of probiotics, amino acids, and gluconic acid. It regenerates your skin tissues, is an excellent moisturizer, and softens and nourishes your skin. •Wild Herb oil (to be used as a base for skin care products) Start with a quart sized, wide mouth jar and fill it with 1/4 cup each of dried plantain, yarrow, comfrey, calendula, and St. John’s wort. Fill the rest of the jar with olive oil or refined coconut oil. Seal with a lid and place inside of a dry crock-pot set on low. Cover with a lid and let the herbs steep for at least 48-72 hours. Remove from the crock-pot and let cool completely. Strain herbs through a sieve lined with buttered muslin into a second quart jar. Squeeze the muslin well to remove all the rich herb oil. Add vitamin E oil to boost the antioxidant properties and preserve your oil. Store in a cool, dark place. Winter salve skin care trio (Chest rub/salve/Chapstick): •••Soothing chest rub: Start with a double boiler on medium heat and add 1 c coconut oil and 1/4 c beeswax pastilles until melted thoroughly. Turn heat down slightly and pour half of this mixture off into a warmed, glass measuring cup and set aside. Add approx. 10 drops of the essential oils of peppermint, rosemary, lemon and eucalyptus in the warm coconut oil with beeswax. Add up to 20 drops of each of the essentials oils for the desired strength. If the mixture begins to thicken, turn up the heat until it is liquid again. Now it is time to pour the mixture into individual containers for use as a cold care chest rub. Use a spatula to recover all of the chest rub from the double boiler. This should be used like traditional Vick’s Vapo-Rub on the chest and neck to relieve congestion and breathing difficulties, especially at night. Warmed, moist hand towels may also be added to

encourage blood flow to the lungs and nasal passages. •Salve/Chapstick: Now turn to the other half of the coconut oil/beeswax mixture. Put this back into the double boiler. If necessary, microwave in the glass measuring cup on low heat for a few seconds to liquefy. Add 1/2 cup of herb oil (recipe above) and 1 1/2 T of beeswax pastilles. Stir as needed. Warm this mixture until melted and combined completely. Add 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil. Let cool slightly and add 1 T raw honey. Pour into containers and use as all-purpose salve for chapped lips or hands, bug bites, scrapes, burns and other skin irritations. In closing, I would be remiss if I neglected to include these last few tips on how to maintain your overall health. Most of them apply all year long, but a few are specific to cold-weather months. A humidifier should be used from December-March to combat dryness from woodstoves, fireplaces and heat pumps. Get plenty of rest, especially if you are feeling sluggish or below the weather. Oftentimes this is all that is needed to thwart the onsite of a cold or virus. Focus on whole food nutrition with plenty of greens, essential fats and high quality protein such as wild caught fish, grass fed meat and pastured chicken. Limit sugar and grains because they are inflammatory and promote infection. Hydrate with plenty of pure, nonchlorinated water. Consume fermented drinks and foods daily. Also add a high quality, broad spectrum probiotic supplement. Probiotics fight bad bacteria, fungus and viruses, so adding them to your daily regime will significantly affect your strength in the fight against disease. Get outdoors for some fresh air, sunshine and exercise whenever possible! Increased circulation helps process and eliminate toxins, Vitamin D production from the sun boosts immunity, and respiratory exchange expels stale air from deep within your lungs. Samantha Stephens is a nutritionist, food scientist and wild food enthusiast. Samantha can be contacted at

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Annual Wellness Visits for Medicare Part B Participants By Koren Gillespie


f you are a Medicare Part B participant and your New Year’s resolution is to get or stay healthy, then you’re eligible to receive a free Annual Wellness Visit (AWV). Even if your resolution doesn’t involve health, it’s good to know that once a person becomes a Medicare Part B beneficiary, they qualify for an Initial Preventive Physical Examination (IPPE), also known as the “Welcome to Medicare Prevention Visit.” Beyond this visit, patients can receive the AWV each year. Patients are not required to have the IPPE to qualify for the AWV. Additionally, both visits are offered locally, here in the High Country. “Medicare is proactively supporting preventive medicine by covering the costs of an Annual Wellness Visit and screenings. The earlier health issues can be detected, the better they can be managed,” says LaRaye Rudicile, Clinical Integration Network - Manager. Most people do not enjoy a visit to the doctor’s office, but a major perk of health screenings is early detection and prevention of any medical issues. Annual visits can potentially catch health problems early, when they are typically preventable or more manageable. These visits can also give participants peace of mind. The AWV is free, and it allows patients to meet oneon-one with a provider for 45 minutes. During this time, participants can discuss any health concerns, complete any medical screenings, and receive patient education, when needed. The AWV may not replace an annual physical exam, Medicare’s goal is to keep patients healthy, and it pays for many preventive services. For the AWV, patients typically begin with a health risk assessment, screening recommendations, and develop a personalized prevention plan. Patients may be screened for any of the following: memory problems, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, as well as referrals for certain cancer screenings, such as mammograms, pap tests, and prostate exams. The visit may also conduct bone mass measurements and keep patients up-to-date with any needed immunizations. At the completion of an AWV, patients will receive personalized health advice, a list of any risk factors and treatment options they may need to be aware of, and a screening schedule checklist for any needed preventive services. Rudicile continues, “Patients have commented that they appreciate the time spent and opportunity to ask questions about their health. Appalachian Regional Medical Associates feels the benefits of this program can have a huge impact on helping patients stay well. Thus, we have set up an Annual Wellness Visit Clinic at each of our primary care offices.” Qualifying participants can call their primary care provider to schedule their own Annual Wellness Visit. Appalachian Re-

gional Medical Associate (ARMA) Nurse Practitioner, Ginger Warren, is the lead provider for practices who are part of ARMA. Ginger works with patients and providers in the ARMA Primary Care Offices at Baker Center and Elk River Medical Associates in Avery County as well as Appalachian Regional Internal Medicine Specialist in Boone and Davant Medical Clinic in Blowing Rock. The program also hopes to bring in a Clinical Pharmacist in the near future to work with patients taking high risk or multiple medications. If you are a patient of an ARMA office, and have Medicare Part B, please call your ARMA office to schedule your Annual Wellness Visit. If you do not receive care at an ARMA office, please reach out to your family medicine provider to inquire about their program. For more information about Annual Wellness Visits, be sure to ask your provider or visit

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Children’s Hope Alliance


016 has been a very special year in the history of Children’s Hope Alliance because we celebrated a milestone for one of our founding organizations. As you probably know, Barium Springs and Grandfather Home for Children two of North Carolina’s most historic and successful child welfare agencies joined forces in 2014 to help even more children and families across the state. In 2015, this new organization became known as Children’s Hope Alliance. Just a couple of years ago, Grandfather Home in Banner Elk celebrated its centennial, and in the fall of 2016, our agency had another reason to celebrate because 125 years ago, Barium Springs first opened its doors to orphans in Iredell County. Much like the historic Barium Springs campus in Statesville, Children’s Hope Alliance’s historic Grandfather Home campus has been part of the cultural fabric here in the High Country for more than 100 years. Around the start of the 20th century, Presbyterian minister Edgar Tufts founded Lees-McRae College, Grace Hospital (now Cannon Memorial), and Grandfather Home, making Banner Elk a central location for hope, healing and education for all of northwestern North Carolina. In 1914, the need for an orphanage in Banner Elk was great. Most folks

only lived to be about 50 years old. As you can imagine, that led to the need for places like Grandfather Home and Barium Springs to take in orphans who didn’t have both parents to take care of them. Thanks to advancements in modern medicine, we live a lot longer now, so the need for a traditional “orphanage” has almost disappeared. The 1960s saw an increased interest in defining, identifying, and understanding the effects of child abuse and neglect. By the 1970s, the government had begun providing funding to child welfare organizations and other child protective services. As the needs of their children changed, Grandfather Home and Barium Springs found themselves serving children with traumatic pasts, mental health issues, and families facing economic hardships. Children’s Hope Alliance’s mission has always been to help children and families by meeting them where they are. With nearly 30 different programs designed to help children and families, Children’s Hope Alliance offers the state’s most robust array of services. But in order to keep helping children in the most effective ways, the agency needs your help. Maybe you can volunteer to help maintain the grounds at the group homes and cottages these children call home. Perhaps you can give monetarily,

HOPE or spread the word about Children’s Hope Alliance’s mission to your friends, families or churches. You might even feel called to make a more direct impact by opening your heart and home to a child in need through Children’s Hope Alliance’s foster care program. There are children at Children’s Hope Alliance today who are waiting for a foster family. Making a decision to foster often takes years of consideration, prayer and research. If you’ve been thinking about opening your heart and your home to a child in need, and you’re looking for a sign, this is it.

“Maybe you can volunteer to help maintain the grounds at the group homes and cottages these children call home. Perhaps you can give monetarily, or spread the word about Children’s Hope Alliance’s mission to your friends, families or churches.”




Our Wintery Feathered Friends By Edi Crosby


he life of a bird in the winter may not be as stressfree as people think! As winter approaches, many birds change their eating habits. Birds that usually eat insects and berries have to look for reliable sources of food for wintertime survival...... and fresh water is scarce. What with the days being shorter and the nights often cold and longer, the natural food supply has been hidden by snow. Most insects are dead or dormant. Water and food needed to provide the energy to keep birds warm are hard to find. Finding shelter may not be easy. If there are limited natural evergreens or shelter, birds may seek man-made houses or habitats that can provide refuge from the wind, rain, ice and snow of winter. Warm-blooded birds need to maintain their body temperature within a certain range. That body temperature depends on the amount of heat the bird produces. On cold, wintery days, most birds fluff up their feathers, creating air pockets which help keep the birds warmer. The more air spaces, the better the insulation. Some birds perch on one leg, drawing the other leg up to the breast for warmth. To keep that warmth, birds need to eat seeds and suet rich in energy. As winter approaches, you need to offer high calorie and high fat foods for your backyard bird friends! Black oil sunflower is a great overall seed to offer in the winter - with its high calorie/ ounce ratio due to its high fat and protein content in its relatively thin shell. Suet is the other great food to offer many of the birds that will visit backyards - its high energy, pure fat substance is invaluable in keeping bird bodies warm. Suet can be fed in a variety of feeders ranging from a suet cage to a wood and cage feeder offering protection from the weather elements and designed to require the birds to hang upside down. And, let’s not forget peanuts - another great food to offer birds in the wintertime. Peanuts have high protein and fat levels and are often included in suet products. And the birds

70 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

love them! Peanut butter is great as well - offer in small dishes or open trays, both smooth or crunchy varieties. Or smear it on the bark of a nearby tree so you can watch who gathers to eat it. Nyjer/ thistle seed can be expensive, but it is eagerly consumed by all the small finches: goldfinches, house, purple pine siskins and redpolls. You need to have a thistle feeder of some kind or a thistle sock that the small finches can cling to - especially during windy weather. But, remember: thistle can go rancid or moldy quickly in wet weather and uneaten seeds can germinate in your yard. Safflower seed is the favorite food of the Northern Cardinal – and has the distinct advantage of not being as readily eaten by squirrels and blackbirds. Platform and hopper feeders are especially good for attracting cardinals, wrens, chickadees, titmice, jays and grosbeaks. Hanging feeders, because they blow in the wind, are generally used by those species that are able to hang on while feeding such as chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and finches. Providing a fresh source of water is as (if not more) important for your backyard. Birds cannot live without water. Bird baths can provide a water source and should be heated to prevent the bath from freezing. It is always good to cover ceramic bird baths to keep the water out in the winter. You can purchase a heated birdbath, or put out a plastic pot or dish with an added heater in the winter. Roosting boxes or natural plant covers can also aid birds seeking protection from the cold and wind. Shelter is also needed for protection against natural predators, such as birds of prey. Be sure to clean out old nests from houses to help reduce the possibility of parasitic bugs surviving the winter. It also allows birds the opportunity to roost in a clean house. BUT, the most fun of winter feeding is to bring the birds right up to your windows and sliding glass doors! They are many birdfeeder choices for seed and suet that attach to your glass surfaces and are a great entertainment feature for

the family to observe together from the warmth of your home. Another part of the pleasure of these feeders is that the squirrels cannot reach them. Winter Points To Remember: Put out feeders with good size capacity, and use multiple feeders to provide ample food especially during snow and ice storms. Look for seed mixes of: black oil sunflower seed, hulled peanuts, nyjer seed and white millet - those will cover most bird feeding needs. Be consistent and keep your feeders full for those long, cold nights. Birds grow accustomed to your feeders, especially in severe weather when your snacks may mean their very survival. Stamp down the snow below the feeders: Ground-feeding birds such as dark-eyed juncos, doves and many sparrow varieties will be able to gather up the seed that drop from the feeders if they don’t have deep snow to manage. Place feeders in locations that do not also offer hiding places for sneak-attacks by cats and other predators. Remember feeder cleanliness: your feeders can get grimy. Clean with some hot water and dry them when refilling. Store your seed in cool, dry places. If stored properly, seed can easily last for months. With the holidays coming, try making homemade bird treats - for yourselves and for gift-giving! You can come up with your own recipes for winter bird treats or “Google” bird treats and get tons of recipes. Smear peanut butter on a tree trunk, and poke some peanuts bits into it. Melt suet in your microwave, and pour it into an ice-cube tray to harden. Before it solidifies, add peanut bits, raisins, apple bits, or other bird foods. Put the tray in your freezer to harden. Once it does, you have cubed bird treats - easy to make and easy to use! Or, try your hand at making fruit garlands strung with cranberries and other fruits - to be hung on bare branches of trees outside for bird-watching.

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The Kilted Artists The Kilted Artists studio in the High Country Square in Banner Elk was recently opened by local artist and speech language pathologist Melissa Riordan. Melissa, one of many talented artists in her family, took the leap of faith with the unbridled encouragement of her husband Patrick Riordan. Patrick is a robust Irish- American known to don the family tartan without provocation (don’t you know the Irish gave the Scots the bagpipes, too) and the inspirational force behind the new enterprise’s name. The Kilted Artists goes beyond exhibiting works of art, although there’s sure to be plenty of that with time. More to the point, it’s about taking up the brush and participating in the arts yourself. Its mission is to create an atmosphere that inspires creative expression while having fun through the visual arts. The Kilted Artists is for adults, kids, and families to enjoy exploring their creative side together. The options are endless. Have you thought to book a ‘painting’ party for a corporate creative team building event? How about a girl’s night out, an impromptu intergenerational family gathering, kids’ birthdays, or a bachelorette party just for fun of it? Open studio times and kids’ art camps are yours for the scheduling. And why you’re there, you’ll want to explore the Riordans’ gallery of unique finds. When you book a party, or register for a class, all you need to do is show up. The Kilted Artists provide everything you need to unleash your inner artist. Melissa’s easy step-by-step instructions helps even the most novice artist produce their own masterpiece. You are welcome to show up 30 minutes before your scheduled class or party and bring your own drinks and snacks for some social time. If you want a private, on-the-go Paint Party, the Kilted Artists can come to you. Melissa has lived in Banner Elk since the early 1980’s where she graduated from Lees-McRae College and then went on to receive an Art & Design degree from Appalachian State University. She is a certified NC licensed speech-language pathologist with over 17 years of experience and has studied Art Therapy. This December Melissa earned her second Master’s degree in Reading and Writing Instruction. From her platform of the Kilted Artists, she’s now offering private speech-language therapy and tutoring and offering classroom field trips. The Studio is located the High Country Square across from the Best Western on Hwy. 184 in Banner Elk. Make your appointment with fun today! 828-898-3775, or you can visit Patrick and Melissa Riordan at their website at

Banner Elk Unveils Site Plan and Naming Options for Corner Park The Town of Banner Elk has finalized the architectural plan and donor opportunities for the new Corner on Main park. The park, made possible by a donation from Elk River resident Elaine J. Wold, began taking shape this summer at the intersection of Main Street and Shawneehaw Avenue. Initial phases involved the demolition of a vacant structure that had fallen into disrepair, followed by extensive grading work to the site and sodding it with fescue grass. With those two phases complete, the town now moves to the next phase of the project. That phase involves releasing the site plan created by architect Robert Mann and soliciting naming rights for design elements of the park, which is to be fully funded by private donations. “Removing the vacant structure has transformed that corner into a beautiful space for everyone to enjoy, which was Mrs. Wold’s vision,” said town manager Rick Owen. “The town staff and town council are excited to continue working with Mrs. Wold and her representatives to further implement the park’s master plan.” The design calls for an inviting green space anchored on the north end by a stone clock tower with chime and on the south end by a covered colonnade seating area with benches. Other features include brick paver pathways, planter beds, a rock retaining wall, lamp posts, benches, and an elk statue across Main Street near the Chamber of Commerce. There are 26 design features available for naming rights. Mrs. Wold kicked off the process by making a donation to fund the clock tower, which will be completed by late spring, 2017. Owen said there is no timetable for construction or installation of the remaining design elements. Because the park is privately financed, donations will dictate that. “As donations come up and opportunities are taken we’ll work on the rest of the project,” Owen said “The good news is that it’s already a public space that is grassed and available for people to enjoy. It was a vast improvement to our community to have that building removed. It has definitely been well-received by the business community and residents alike.” Naming opportunities range from $3,000 for a bicycle maintenance station all the way up to $115,000 for brick paver pathways. For further details or donations, contact Rick Owen at 828898-5398, or via email at








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72 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Leadership Avery: Illuminating People and Resources in One Mountain County “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” –Henry Ford Special to CML Magazine The inaugural class of Leadership Avery is nearing completion of its nine-month program culminating in a graduation ceremony in December. The program directive was to connect the diverse network of community leaders in order to build leadership development and broaden knowledge of their shared region while fostering meaningful and lasting engagement in Avery County. The objectives of Leadership Avery are to identify, educate and motivate a network of community leaders; increase each participant’s capacity to better serve Avery County; and advocate continual engagement in support of Avery County. The approach chosen to achieve those goals included a series of nine, day-long sessions, with all participants coming together once a month to learn more about prominent industries and organizations in the county. Stemming from these discussions an organizing committee of eleven members of the Avery County Chamber of Commerce was established. Co-Chaired by Avery County Public School Superintendent David Burleson and Jeff Davis, High Country Wealth Management Principal and Financial Advisor, all of the organizing committee members agreed to participate in the inaugural session of Leadership Avery. The committee reviewed applications from interested individuals with diverse backgrounds to round out the participant class. “We had more applications than space available in this first class which created some difficult choices,” said Davis, “but since we plan to continue Leadership Avery each year we already have several applicants for our second class.” The program schedule was aggressive and the daily sessions were chaired, or co-chaired, by different members of the organizing committee. They in turn would assist coordinating site visits, speakers, and demonstrations on the scheduled topics. “The time commitment is substantial and the participants in this class of Leadership Avery have busy schedules,” Davis said, “but if the class members were not busy people we may not have selected the right folks. This ‘sponsor-assisted’ involvement found employers providing other ‘in-kind’ support to the class, like transportation, breakfast or lunch, and product samples. “What I found most interesting to witness was how quickly a group of leaders can accomplish a task. For example, if one member has a question, an issue, or needs a contact, chances are there is someone in the group with the answer, or the ability to build a bridge to accomplish the task,” said Allyson Warriner of First Citizens Bank. “There is nothing we cannot accomplish together. Leadership Avery actively solicits participation from all sectors of the community. Criteria for selection include demonstrated leadership skills, active community involvement, and a willingness to invest the time and energy required by the program. Applications for the second-year class of Leadership Avery will be accepted by the Avery County Chamber of Commerce. To learn more contact Melynda Martin Pepple at (828) 898-5605.

Local Business News Old World Galleries Reborn as Village Jewelers Charlie Travis wasn’t born in the High Country, but when the 12-year-old first arrived in Blowing Rock with his mom and dad almost 50 years ago, it would prove to be the beginning of a beautiful and enduring relationship. By the time he was in high school, he was helping at estate auctions at Fincke’s Auction Gallery, taking in the cachet scenic mountain town held for visitors enthralled with the glamour and richness of a time gone by. In 1979, he opened Old World Galleries in his adopted home town, and began to build his own reputation as a purveyor of the finer things in life. “We were primarily in the antique business,” Travis said, “selling Persian rugs and a little bit of jewelry.” By the mid-eighties, Travis, a licensed auctioneer, was specializing in estate goods, art deco jewelry, porcelain, and even furniture. Old World Galleries would grow into an iconic storefront on the Main Street of the town considered the most picturesque tourist town in the Carolinas by travel writers. But three years ago, Travis and his wife of 28 years moved the business to King Street in Old Town Boone, across the street from the historic post office building. “When we came here we thought it would be similar to Blowing Rock,” Travis said. “But it is so different.” Certainly their proximity to Appalachian State University and a significantly larger year-round population has fostered the growth of Old World Galleries. Because of the successful evolution of the business, Travis felt it time for a new image, and has rebranded his life’s work as Village Jewelers. “This is a new day,” Travis explained. “We are changing our name to more accurately reflect our passion of creating fine jewelry.” Travis, and his staff led by Morgan Shaw and Jennie Trivette, offer a broad array of custom jewelry, including the Romance Bridal Collection and Lashbrook, a purveyor of customized men’s wedding bands. “We can create almost any design from contemporary metals like cobalt, titanium and Zirconium,” Travis said. “Of course gold, silver and platinum, traditional metals are very important.” As with Old World Galleries, the newly christened Village Jewelers offers the same customer service Travis has for four decades. Free jewelry cleaning and condition check are offered anytime. Services like watch battery change and chain repair are as important as a fine jewelry purchase or re-design of a treasured heirloom. Store hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am til 5 pm. If that’s not convenient for you, call for an appointment, and the Village Jeweler staff will be there. “We’re still buying estate jewelry and we maintain a request file for our customers,” Travis said, harking back to his roots when gallery and client worked together to find that special treasure. “Folks are still looking for that special Rolex or Breitling watch. Our goal is to serve you well and the most important certification we carry is being able to help you for forty years.” or call 828-264-6559. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2016/17 —


Local Business News Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce Named “Outstanding Chamber of the Year” for the Carolinas Superlatives have found a way to Main Street Blowing Rock since Charles Hardin’s staff at the local Chamber of Commerce have stepped up expectations for the mountain community. Just two years ago the village was named “The Most Scenic Tourism Town” for both Carolinas in a poll of travel writers. So it’s no surprise that Hardin’s organization has garnered yet another superlative The Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (CACCE) recognized the 2016 Outstanding Chamber of the Year among chambers with 700 or less members, at their Annual Management Conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Chapel Hill, NC, on October 20, 2016. The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce was honored as the recipient of the prestigious award. The CACCE Outstanding Chamber of the Year Award primarily focuses on acknowledging one or more significant achievements / accomplishments that a chamber has initiated, stimulated, and/or led in its respective service area at some point during the past 18 months. The Blowing Rock Chamber brings over 50,000 visitors to their village annually with Chamber tourism events held in the slower “shoulder” seasons in order to bring people in when they wouldn’t already be vacationing there. The mountain summer and leaf season of autumn have proved an easy sell for decades in Blowing Rock. But it’s what the chamber of commerce has brought to the region during the winter and early spring that caught the attention of the Carolins association. Those so-called ‘shoulder season events’ include the wildly popular mid-January Winterfest Celebration in its 19th year, and SAVOR Blowing Rock, a springtime festival dedicated to the state’s burgeoning wine industry. CACCE is the professional development organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities for chamber of commerce executives and staff members in North Carolina and South Carolina. CACCE equips chamber of commerce professionals with leadership skills and tools to build innovative chambers. The organization was formed in 1994 when the North Carolina and South Carolina state chamber associations merged. For more information on CACCE, or any of CACCE’s conferences or programs, contact Tiffany Fulmer Ott at (404) 312-0524.

74 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Walker Law Firm in Boone Enters New Era With Reeves Law Firm of West Jefferson Local attorney Jeffrey Walker has announced important changes for his Boone based agency Walker, DiVenere, Wright formerly located on King Street. The firm is relocating to its new address at 280 Queen Street by mid-December. As they do so, the firm will be merging with the West Jefferson based Reeves Law Firm located at 202 East Main Street in Ashe County. The new legal entity will be known as Reeves DiVenere Wright (RDW), and continue to provide quality, reliable legal services to High Country clients. According to Walker, “the merger will enable us to continue to provide our clients in Ashe, Watauga, Avery, Wilkes, and surrounding counties with the excellent legal services they have come to expect.” Partners Tamara C. DiVenere and Anne C. Wright will be joined by the principal of Reeves Law Firm, John B. “Jak” Reeves and Associate Attorney Glenn Kern, recent graduate of University of North CarolinaChapel Hill Law School. Senior Partner Walker will remain with the new firm as “Of Counsel.” Walker will also continue in his law practice and title company, Walker Title, in Mountain City, Tennessee. The newly formed Reeves, DiVenere, Wright (RDW), will provide services in the areas of real estate, general litigation, personal injury, workers’ compensation, family law, estate planning, construction litigation, criminal law, social security disability, appellate work, and bankruptcy. You can reach the attorneys of RDW at 280 Queen Street in Boone at 828-268-9640 or 202 East Main Street in West Jefferson at 336-246-7172


n 2010, Trey Oakley began his journey with the Williams YMCA of Avery County, one that has allowed him to be part of the on-going and incredible transformation process of this valuable community resource. Now, the Y is undergoing more dramatic and exciting new changes that will provide even more opportunities and resources for the people of Avery County. Ever since Oakley joined the Y as CEO, he’s been working to craft the Williams YMCA into the sort of YMCA he knew as a child in South Carolina, a place that provided his father, a single parent, with resources that allowed Trey to experience excellent opportunities to play baseball and to be inspired by coaches who were fantastic role models. “When I was 8 or 9, I wanted to grow up and have their jobs, but they are still there.” One of the most obvious changes involves major construction, as the John Blackburn Building and O’Connell Field House are both going up in the coming months, bringing with them both an indoor gym and turf to provide great new venues for an array of group and individual sports and activities, as well as for tournaments and training that will help Avery County children have some of those same positive experiences that inspired Oakley in his childhood Y. Even snow or rain won’t dampen the fun. “My excitement this time of year, as it gets colder,” says Oakley, “is that this facility can serve from birth on, year round, and now if the thunder comes, they can get out of the pool, spend time as family.” Whether parents want to shoot hoops with their children or take part in a group exercise class while their children enjoy other activities at the Y, the new expansion will continue to provide all members of the community with resources for fun and fitness. As an important part of the expansion, the Y is also expanding its hours to better meet community needs and to prepare for the new facilities which may be open later for tournaments and other events. In addition, many members had mentioned they would like to come in earlier in the morning to have time for more thorough workouts

Growing Strong: CEO Trey Oakley Excited About New Developments At Williams YMCA By Elizabeth Baird Hardy before going to work. “People were constantly asking if they could come in at 5,” says Oakley. The new hours are Monday through Friday 5am to 9pm, Saturday 7am to 7pm, and Sunday 1-7pm effective January 1, 2017. In order for the Y to be open longer and to continue to support a growing team of full-time and part time staff to meet needs for members and guests, a small membership price increase of $3 monthly will also take place January 1; but, as Oakley stresses, “No one is ever denied membership or services” at the Y. Numerous scholarships and other resources ensure that everyone in the community can be part of the YMCA. “It’s for everybody,” Oakley says, and anyone who has trouble affording membership has options to make a Y membership possible. “Everyone can afford to be here, and they can talk to me.” With preschool and afterschool programs, youth sports training and competitive teams, and classes ranging from children’s ballet to senior adult water fitness, the Y really does have something for

everyone. It even provides opportunities for members who might be away from Avery County. Membership in the Williams YMCA now includes access to any other YMCA in North Carolina or Virginia, and in 2018, membership will extend nationwide, so that members can use the resources of any other YMCA. Visiting friends and family members won’t need guest passes if they are members of another YMCA. As the new year begins and construction commences on new facilities, there are still plenty of opportunities for those who want to invest in the YMCA. While the buildings are fully funded, equipment such as batting cages and pitching machines will need to be installed, requiring funding upwards of $80,000. The current facility is also getting upgrades, including a much-requested spinner machine to dry out bathing suits at the pool. Although the expanding facilities will be a wonderful way to allow even more community members to come to the Y to meet its caring staff and to experience its inclusive environment, there will still

be a myriad of YMCA-sponsored and YMCA-supported events throughout the community, due in no small part to the commitment of School Superintendent David Burleson and Crossnore School CEO Brett Loftis, both of whom have been committed partners with the Y. What Oakley most wants the community to know is that the YMCA is so much more than a “gym and swim”; it is a remarkable resource providing families and individuals with incredible opportunities to thrive and reach their full potential. As the Y continues to grow and change, its mission of helping others and reaching the community is unchanged. To learn more about the YMCA, or to volunteer, everyone in the community should stop by, chat with the staff, or follow along on social media to see what resources are already at the Y, and what new adventures are on the way as this extraordinary place continues to grow alongside its community.




The Health & Hunger Coalition: Fighting Poverty With Love, Compassion, And Groceries By LouAnn Morehouse


quick question: have you ever been hungry and unable to get something to eat? Like really unable— as in you don’t have the materials to make food nor the funds to buy it, and this situation occurs at least three times a month? That’s called food insecurity, and I am thankful I have never experienced it. It would be easy for me to believe that no one around here has to worry about getting enough food, but the sad fact is that 25% of the children in Watauga County and 18% of the adults live with food insecurity day in and day out. We’re talking about more than 10,000 people in a county that has 53,000 residents! These statistics from Second Harvest Food Bank of NW North Carolina reveal chronic food insecurity at the local level, but the situation is much larger. In 2015, 13% of households nationwide experienced food insecurity—that’s more than 42 million adults and children in this affluent, first-world country we call home. Most of those who suffer food insecurity are people who are already making use of Food & Nutrition Service, or food stamps as they are more commonly called. You probably also know that many of these families do include fulltime workers, but frequently, their wages are not adequate to cover monthly expenses. What happens when a paycheck won’t cover the grocery bill? People go without. Thankfully, there are those who are determined to help. In Boone, North Carolina, the Hunger and Health Coalition has been fighting the fight since 1982. It’s a mouthful of a name, but one that reflects the fullness of its founders’ desire to help neighbors in need. Jean Williamson remembers when the Coalition was “working out of a hole in the wall, not far from the Courthouse.” She

joined the fledgling effort early on, when founder Joan Chater and like-minded friends took what had started as a heartfelt response to help hungry families and developed it into an effective food pantry. Food pantries serve local residents in need, and are typically organized and run by churches and charitable institutions. The Health and Hunger Coalition began operations out of a closet at Boone United Methodist. It now occupies the former Watauga County Health Department, where in 2015, the organization distributed 10,747 boxes of food, sufficient for more than 30,794 meals. Food pantries affiliate with regional food banks, the large non-profit charitable entities that operate warehouses and distribute goods solicited and donated by the food industry—grocery chains, food manufacturers—and also some government agencies. The Coalition is one of the pantries partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina, which serves 18 counties in the state. Hunger and Health Coalition Executive Director Elizabeth Young says a number of Watauga County grocery stores and restaurants donate food stuffs that augment the shipments from Second Harvest. Their support makes it possible to have fresh produce, bread, and prepared foods available to Coalition clients. In addition, the organization benefits from canned food drives sponsored by community members ranging from churches and Scout groups to Skyline Corporation and the National Association of Letter Carriers. The Coalition tackles the issue of hunger on multiple fronts, including those directed at children, such as the BackPack Program for local schools and the Healthy Start weekend food packages for Head Start program participants. As the name suggests, Coalition founders recognized from the start

that hunger and health were intrinsically linked. People were being forced to make decisions between purchasing food or medicine. Clearly, the need was equally great. Jean Williamson recalls that a big breakthrough came when the Kate Reynolds Foundation funded the purchase of a pharmacy van. Jean accompanied the van on delivery runs throughout the mountains, and says it was “…very meaningful,” because “you see poverty face to face.” There was no avoiding the fact; “Poverty is all over the place, and they need the help.” The success of the pharmacy van inspired Coalition members to persist, and ultimately to raise funds from grants and donations to create the Pharmacy program, as we now know it. The van was retired after years of service, and in its place came to be a pharmacy that can provide prescription medication at little or no cost for residents in three counties: Watauga, Ashe, and Avery. In 2015, the pharmacy filled more than 14,000 prescriptions for clients whose income and assets were at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level passing along over $1.5 million in medication to our local community. The Health and Hunger Coalition has responded with aid to neighbors in need for more than thirty years. Jean Williamson says there have been times when “it’s been a struggle to keep the door open,” but now, with a proper facility, devoted staff and volunteer workers, and a range of food, nutrition, pharmacy, and numerous other programs, it is “a thing we can be proud of.” Volunteers continue to provide essential roles at the Coalition. Elizabeth Young speaks of the dedication of those who assist the pharmacists in their busy and demanding tasks of dispensing up to 1600 prescriptions each month so far in 2016. Others, such as Jim Houston, the owner of Woodlands Barbecue in Blowing Rock, provide support in their


76 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

own way. Jim has sponsored the annual Thanksgiving dinner for years. Elizabeth says he and his staff get together and prepare a “truckload” of turkeys, delectable side dishes and desserts that they then deliver to the Coalition in time to be portioned up and sent out to client families throughout the county. Volunteers deliver those holiday meals, they tend the thriving community garden, cook meals for clients, provide firewood for heating and cooking, and more. Elizabeth says there are “lots of volunteer opportunities in all ranges—we can accommodate any schedule, big or small.” Donations are another way of helping. Elizabeth mentions the chronic need for prescription bottles and grocery bags as examples of items that are always in short supply. Donated clothing is needed to stock the Coalition’s two clothing closets, one of which is specifically for professional attire that could aid a client in finding a job. Donations of funds are especially helpful; for every dollar given, five dollars’ worth of food can be purchased from the food bank. Some donors prefer a more personal gesture. During the Christmas season, the Coalition’s “Sharing Tree” program matches community members with requests from client families who have children under age 17 or with seniors over age 62. While the gifts requested are so often simple and basic, it’s the opportunity to actually fulfill a need that makes this an especially meaningful program for many. And then there’s “Christmas in the Mountains,” an album featuring contributions from some of the High Country’s finest musicians that is produced solely to benefit the Hunger and Health Coalition. This year’s collection, the eighth in the series, costs $10 and is available at the Coalition and at various businesses in Watauga County. The lobby of the Health and Hunger Coalition is a bustling spot with the feel

of a friendly community center. People are doing their grocery shopping, picking up their prescriptions, and browsing the racks of books and clothing. There are potted plants and seating areas where sociable folks can catch up with friends. At the Coalition, everyone is a neighbor, and as we all know, it’s only right to lend a helping hand to a neighbor in need.

F.A.R.M. Cafe is a non-profit, pay-what-you-can kitchen F.A.R.M. Cafecommunity is a non-profit, that builds a healthy and inclusive pay-what-you-can community kitchen and community. Weaprovide that builds healthyhigh and quality inclusive delicious meals produced from local community. We provide high quality and sources when available, served in a delicious meals produced from local restaurant where everybody eats, sources when available, served in a regardless means. eats, restaurant whereofeverybody Locatedregardless at 617 W.ofKing Street in means. Downtown Boone, Located at 617 W. KingNC Street in Open daily forBoone, lunch 11-2 Downtown NC Open daily for lunch 11-2 141 Health Drive, Boone, NC 28607 828-262-1628 resources@ The stats presented in this story were gathered from:

HELP FIGHT FOOD INSECURITY There are people struggling with food insecurity in every state in the nation, and North Carolina (15.9%) and Tennessee (15.1%) are among the states with higher than average food insecurity rates. Throughout the counties of the High Country—and elsewhere— there are food pantries organized by caring people who are striving to meet the need. To find out about how to help in your area, go to and type in your zip code. The Food Bank that serves your region has information on the Food Pantries operating in your town or neighborhood.


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Recognizing Financial Scams By Katherine S. Newton, CFP®, ChFC™


inancial scams continue to clutter our email inboxes and the latest involves sending an imitation IRS CP2000 notice claiming a discrepancy between income reported by an employer and the taxpayer’s income tax return. In addition to demanding money, these emails have the potential to infect computers with viruses. Intimidating phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a serious threat and these scam artists are also sending threats of police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other aggressive actions via email. Please continue to be aware that these scams are not going away any time soon and remember to use extreme caution when providing any personal financial information online or over the telephone.


Here are five pretty sure signs of a scam that the IRS will never do: Call to demand immediate payment. The IRS will never call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. Require that you use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone. Threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to arrest you for not paying. Do not give out any information to anyone claiming to be from the IRS. Contact the United States Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) to report a suspicious contact

via this link or call 800-366-4484. You can also visit for more information about tax scams and consumer alerts. Bottom Line: The most powerful of scams feed on anxiety and uncertainty. Stay alert, don’t be a victim and don’t forget that the IRS is available to help you. Please do not hesitate to call us if you receive a suspicious phone call or email as we are always here to help as well. Katherine Newton, a 30-year veteran of the financial services industry and Certified Financial Planner™, crafts protectorates for her clients’ wealth 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., NW, Hickory, NC 28603, 28601.

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Eat Tea And Be Merry By Scottie Gilbert ea has been a beverage, a celebration, and even a way of life in cultures around the world for centuries. Before it was a daily ritual, it was a staple in Chinese medicine (and still is today for that matter), used to foster productivity and creativity and to fight ailments. Japan mastered the art of the tea ceremony, which celebrates simplicity, living in the moment and friendship. England is known for afternoon tea, which began as a way to snack and enjoy time with friends in the long break between breakfast and dinner. For many people in the Carolina mountains, it is simply a soothing and tasty tradition to steep and drink, any time of day, any season of the year. While our some of our favorite holiday memories at CML are sipping on a hot mug of herbal tea by the fireplace with family, there are many other ways tea can be enjoyed and used for celebrations. We sought out the advice of Andy and Gayle Barth, owners of The Tea and Spice Exchange (TTSE) of Blowing Rock to help us gather ideas. They were full of innovative culinary applications. Mr. Barth said, “The Tea and Spice Exchange uses teas in some of our spice blends and rubs and we provide tea recipes for a variety of creative appetizers, entrees, side dishes, desserts and even cocktails,” Oftentimes, tea is added to appetizers and main dishes in the form of rubs and seasonings for a fragrant and flavorful surprise. TTSE carries several, including the salmon tea rub. Made from their International Breakfast tea, peppercorns, pink pepper berry, and coriander among other herbs and spices, it is a great complement to a variety of fish. Teas can also be used in smoking mixtures. Try adding equal parts of a robust tea like black or pu’erh to a foiledlined wok with dry rice and brown sugar, with a pinch or two of black peppercorns, coriander, and a few slices of fresh ginger root. Place a wire rack and lid over the

wok and begin to smoke on high heat for several minutes. Reduce heat and add the vegetable or protein of your choice for a unique smoky flavor. Dessert is another great way to include tea in a meal or holiday gettogether. Shortbread cookies are the Barths’ favorite. “Whether using the Coconut Oolong, Blueberry Back, White Tropical or Emperor’s Chai tea, all come out uniquely delicious. When making the shortbread cookies simply grind the teas to a fine consistency with the flour. Once baked you can pair with one of [TTSE’s] infused sugars sprinkled on top,” the Barths noted. We’ve included their delicious recipe below. There are many other tea infused baked goods possibilities, like citrus Ceylon tart, Earl Grey cake, or green tea baked apple cobbler. The Spice and Tea Exchange owners mentioned that cocktails are a festive way to include tea in event planning. “During TTSE’s Grand Opening in Blowing Rock, we served mimosas using our Berry Bouquet tea with Rose` Champagne and it was a huge hit,” Mr. Barth added. Black and rooibos teas are fun additions to cocktails as well. You might want to try an Earl Grey hot toddy by steeping tea as normal and adding Bailey’s. Or perhaps make a party punch by steeping extra strong rooibos tea, straining, then adding sugar to transform it to a syrup. From there, add tequila or spiced rum, and fruit juice like cranberry and orange and garnish with fresh ginger. Serve over ice. You can even try steeping tea leaves directly in your favorite spirit for an aromatic addition. Any of these recipes for tea rubs, seasonings, homemade tea blends, batches of cookies, or tea-infused spirits can make excellent and thoughtful gifts for the tea lovers in your life. Remembering that tea is a way to bring people together and enjoy life’s simple things, we can all use it to celebrate and enjoy time with our loved ones this season.

EMPEROR’S CHAI TEA SHORTBREAD COOKIES INGREDIENTS: From TSTE®: 3 Tbsp. TSTE® Emperor’s Chai Tea 1.5 oz. TSTE® Ginger Sugar 1 tsp. TSTE Madagascar Vanilla Extract From the Grocer: 2 cups all purpose flour 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar 1/4 tsp. salt 2 sticks unsalted butter PREPARATION: Combine flour and TSTE Emperor’s Chai tea and process/grind in food processor until tea is ground and spotted throughout the flour. ADD the salt, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and butter and pulse until a dough forms. ROLL dough into a log roughly 1.5 inches in diameter. ROLL log of dough in Ginger Sugar and wrap in plastic wrap. REFRIGERATE log over night. PREHEAT oven to 375 F and line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Slice the dough into ¼ inch rounds and bake for 12 minutes OR until edges begin to golden. Let cookies cool on baking sheet before transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Recipe Prepared by Gayle Barth of the Spice and Tea Exchange of Blowing Rock.



Blowing Rock Brewing Company: Living Up To Its Namesake In Taste, Quality & Charm By Steve York


ithout a doubt, one of the most distinctive and popular destinations in the High Country is Blowing Rock. The actual “Blowing Rock” attraction has been the fabled focal point of this mountain community forever. And the quaint little town that grew up around it is both picturesque and rich in charm. Its culturally-rich shops, art galleries, parks, restaurants, lodging, festivals and cozy setting make it one of the most visited and beloved mountain tourist sites anywhere in the southeastern Appalachian region. These features also make it one of the most desirable first and second home locations. Consequently, the very name, “Blowing Rock”, has become a unique brand unto itself. It connotes a rustic elegance that lends such characteristics to anything that may carry some portion of that name. Thus it also demands that anything bearing some portion of that name meet the quality expectations associated with that moniker. Now, with that set-up in mind, blend all those characteristics into a brewery, dining spot and lodging venue and what do you get? The Blowing Rock Brewing Company, Ale House Restaurant and Inn, of course. Needless to say that founders, Jeff Walker and Todd Rice knew a good brand when they saw it. They also had the unique foresight to know that marrying three commercial enterprises—brewery, restaurant and inn—and tagging them with an already successful destination brand like “Blowing Rock” had to be a winner. And…they were right. But they also recognized that to be successful with that brand, they had to meet all the high quality expectations associated with that name. And… they did. It all began in 2007 with their vision for creating a craft beer made with the purest mountain water along with various unique local ingredients and a flavor that said “Blowing Rock”. After

82 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

five years of research, experimentation and assembling just the right team, the Blowing Rock Brewery was officially opened and began producing their new craft brews in 2013. That same year the boys launched the Blowing Rock Ale House and Inn; creating a three-layered attraction business model with both local and regional revenue streams. Today, all three enterprises are very successful, and Blowing Rock brews have become a highly regarded and recognized craft beer brand all over North Carolina and spreading beyond. As pioneers of what has become an explosive High Country brewery industry, Walker and Rice tapped (pun intended) into an emerging national craft beer phenomenon that fit perfectly into the profile of our increasingly diversified mountain economy. By grouping together a craft beer enterprise with a kindred-spirited restaurant and cozy upscale inn, they managed to triple the destination factor of their Blowing Rock attractions and, at the same time, boost their craft beer brand to new heights of regional popularity. Mirroring the equally impressive and expanding High Country winery industry, they merged an agri-based line of products with a tourist destination to create a brand that would reach far beyond these highland hills; landing on grocery store shelves, specialty beer and wine shops, restaurant tables and beer taproom bars. And, to make sure they could serve their growing marketplace, they even opened up a much larger brewery operation along with their fourth destination location called the American Honor Ale House-all in the historic Hollar Mill of Hickory. But, as business gurus have long-ago proven, a key strategy in sustaining and building any business brand, is product extension. This essential element is especially important for keeping your brand’s awareness fresh and your customer’s ever-curious demand fulfilled. Following that strategy, Rice, Walker and their creative team have continued to bring new

brews to the forefront. With their Legacy, Ale House and American Honor series beers becoming well-established and their seasonal beers in robust rotation, they selectively release new brews to re-capture beer-lover’s palates and marketplace attention. As of early December 2016, a distinctively new offering called Linn-Cove Barley Wine is in the bottle release spotlight. This truly “adult” beverage was oak-aged for over a year using bourbon spirals to bring out its uniquely rich and more spirited essence. To reflect its exquisite character, this Barley Wine comes in a 750 milliliter champagne bottle complete with a pop-top and burgundy wax seal. On its coattails, other new releases include their Grandfather Breakfast Stout brewed with CAMP Coffee Roasters Sumatra Gayo Highland coffee, cold pressed and added during fermentation, and offered in 32 ounce poptop bottles. These releases are joined by their Belgian Strong Ale brewed with a unique blend of dark malts, Belgian dark candy, figs, allspice and mace. This rich amber ale also comes in their 32 ounce pop-top bottle. So look for those “newbies” to join their quite extensive list of Blowing Rock brews; some of which are major award winners. You can review their lineup by visiting And then—if you haven’t already—take a short drive over to Blowing Rock and check out the town’s namesake brewery, ale house and inn. Or, if you’re in the Hickory neighborhood, visit the American Honors Ale House. Blowing Rock Brewery tours are available by appointment; weddings and other special occasions are welcome; lodging at the Inn is a truly charming experience; and the menus at both the Blowing Rock Ale House and American Honors Ale House feature special recipes with carefully selected ingredients designed to fit what’s on tap, what’s in season and what’s of local origin.



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hat is it about seasonal food and beverage celebrations that so easily capture our hearts, our palates and our community traditions? Every region and every culture has its own distinctive seasonal epicurean festivities that feature indigenous foods and drinks. In the mountain south, summertime gatherings often focus around outdoor grilling, fun pasta, and seafood and salad dishes accompanied by cooling beverages. Autumn brings on harvest festivals featuring freshly picked vegetables, fruits, nuts, meats and, of course, the grand turkey platter. Winter holiday events extend those heartier meals with rich desserts and more robust beverages to keep us warm and toasty indoors. And spring wakes up our taste buds and makes us anxious to venture back outside and to celebrate the warmer season with new dishes and new beverages. All of these seasonal occasions typically follow the annual cycles of foods and beverages as Mother Nature makes them available and/or as they have matured for consumption. Wines, craft beers and distilled spirits, for example, need their own “season” to reach their peak of perfection. And, as we noted, there are the unique cultural influences that hallmark most of those food and beverage festivities. Around the world different cultures have spawned their own very distinctive drinks and dishes, and ways of celebrating them. Here in the High Country, one such epicurean celebration has become an annual tradition that continues to grow in popularity, size, attendance, entertainment value and menu options. Yes, once again this spring it’s our grand “Savor Blowing Rock” event from Thursday through Sunday, April 20 to 23rd. This celebration has blossomed to match its springtime theme of reawakening and fresh new life. In fact, as of

cele brate!

last year, its growth necessitated a new name. What was called the Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival is now Savor Blowing Rock. The prolific spread of High Country craft beer breweries, combined with an expanding viticulture industry, distilled spirits makers and an ever-increasing selection of truly fine dining cuisines here in our backyard have all come together to make celebrating food and drink worthy of an even bigger High Country event. And this event is attracting a growing following of folks from all over North Carolina, South Carolina, eastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia. If you’ve attended in years past, you have a good idea of what to expect; yet you’ll still be surprised at all that’s new. If not, get ready for a fabulous four-day food, wine, craft beer, cooking and entertainment festival. Centered in picturesque Blowing Rock and spreading out to key surrounding destinations, Savor Blow Rock offers literally everything you could want to taste and enjoy; as well as seminars and lessons on how to create your own favorite dishes and choose your favorite beverages. Renowned local chefs, wine makers, craft beer brewers and specialty food experts will show off their skills and deliver up a sensory experience that will delight even the most seasoned and discriminating palate. Although a fully detailed schedule is available online, here’s a brief dayby-day peek at this April’s activities: Things kick off on Thursday with what’s called “TASTE”—a restaurant showcase that features North Carolina craft beers, wines, distilled spirits and local restaurant fare. It also features seminars by noted experts Johnson and Wales of Charlotte. Then there are the popular pairings dinners at select local restaurants. Friday continues Johnson and Wales seminars plus cooking classes, dinner pairings and the always fun “Sip and

Stroll” along local streets through retail shops offering samples of wines, beers, spirits and various scrumptious treats. On Saturday there’s the “Corkscrew 5K Run” beginning at Chetola Resort. With wine stops throughout the 5K trek, you may want to take a compass and GPS to make sure you don’t venture too far off course and end up in somebody’s backyard. (just sayin...) Assuming you stay on the prescribed route, you’ll also get to enjoy the “Grand Tasting” event overflowing with wines, beers and spirits under the tent in the center of Blowing Rock. And, of course, there’s the “Reserve Tasting” featuring finer reserve wine samplings presented by winery representatives in a cozy setting on the lawn at the Inn at Ragged Gardens. Sunday tops off your glass and festivities with those exceptional Champagne Brunches and lots more. And that’s just a quick overview of what’s in store for you this year. Keep in mind there’s live music at Thursday’s “TASTE” and at various participating restaurants during the long weekend. Yes, “Savor Blowing Rock” has become a truly yummy tradition to officially launch spring here in our Blue Ridge Mountain home. After months inside waiting for winter to slowly surrender to warmer months, locals and visitors from all over the region are ready to sip, stroll, taste, dine and celebrate the very best of North Carolina and High CRAFT BEERS SPIRITS Country foods, wines, & craft beers and WINES • LOCAL FOOD spirits.

For more information and event details, visit


www. SavorBlowingRock .com CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2016/17 —



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

Good beer

good food

good times


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

Celebrating 20 Years! 86 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

n style with a gourmet flair souther

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

Banner Elk Location:

Boone Location:

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

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



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

Reserve your spot for: Weddings, Receptions, Church Events, Community, conferences, Parties, Camps, Trainings or Athletic Clinics

The Hugh Chapman Center

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

Nestled in the Heart of Linville with a majestic view of Grandfather Mtn.

- 3,000 square foot Multi-Purpose Facility - Lodge theme, retractable walls, caterers’ kitchen Located: 331 Hospital Dr, Linville, NC / 828-737-5500 Contact Elizabeth Womack at | 828.295.3487 239 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock NC 28604 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2016/17 —


d General Store



(Served on our homemade bread)

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

Inspire Your Tastebuds

A New Orleans style Restaurant & Bar

Painted Salad


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

828.963.8228 Fabulous British Chef/Owner

Dominic & Meryle Geraghty

YOUR RESERVATION NOW! eer mMAKE s Winter Hours: Tues-Sat B 10am-4pm 2941 tynecastle highway • banner elk ete (Closed for month of January) nI i l 9872 Hwy. 105 S. in Foscoe W ca 828.898.6800 (Across from Mountain LoLumber) ts Gif


(across from the entrance to Sugar Mountain)

Cajun & Texas Cuisine

A Friendly General Store

Visit the Wall of Flame! Beer • Wine Local Items Souvenirs Hot Sauce

Keep the Holidays & Winter Warm with Mountain Dog

The Area's Best Dog and Cat Store has you covered, with great foods, treats, and gifts for pets and their people. Locally Owned!

88 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Mountain Dog Farindends! The Dog and Cat Store

Hwy 105 S in Foscoe 828-963-2470

Downtown Banner Elk Open 7 Days a Week

Kitchen Open Late! 828 898~8952

Dedicated to excellence Committed to community RESTAURANT


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 –






“When it snows . . . you have 2 choices; shovel or make snow angels.”



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

Corporate Meetings • Weddings • Special Events Open Daily from Noon to 6pm 135 Deer Run Lane, Banner Elk NC 28604 828-898-9090 •

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

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

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


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

90 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

A Wine That Grows On You … Literally By Ren Manning


t first a whisper, then a murmur, then a full symphony of mesmerizing bouquets and flavors, growing and then shouting for attention. I thought I had seen it all, but this was a bottle of white wine opened three days before. This was just not supposed to happen. The unlikely site giving rise to this phenomenon was Santorini, the beautiful Agean island of 1,700 acres, a giant blackened volcanic crater, arid, blisteringly sunny, with sandy soil practically devoid of organic material and with zero moisture retaining capacity. The vineyards are exposed to so much wind that trellising is impossible, and the vines have to be wound around each other on the ground in a configuration resembling a straw basket. The miracle is that anything grows there, much less vines capable of producing grapes for one of the world’s best white wines. This is a wine unfortunately unknown to all but the most geekish of oenophiles but well worth seeking out. Greece, and its islands, are not only the cradle of Western civilization but the heart of the region that sent vine cuttings on to Italy and France, and thence to the rest of the appreciative world, as eastern Mediterranean commercial voyagers pushed their culture westward. In the good old days, wine was revered as a gift from Dionysus and a central component of the human fabric. Pity that wine lovers today focus almost exclusively on wines from the “New World” of the Americas and Australia and the “Old World” of western Europe, all but forgetting the region that gave rise to wine production and appreciation. Other than in Greek restaurants, wine lists are almost universally devoid of Greek wines, and even wine shops have a very limited, if any, Greek selec-

tions. It doesn’t help that the names of the grapes – e.g., Agiorgitiko, Xinomavro, Moscofilero and Savatiano – and regions of production – e.g., Nemea, Naoussa, Amyndeon and Mantinia -are hard to pronounce and even harder to remember, though the best of those varieties are marvelous. It’s just that it takes repetition to etch names and recollections of scents and flavors into the memory, and we just do not run into those wines very often. So, as a public service, I am going to give you just one Greek wine to remember. Maybe later I will give you another if you master this one. The grape is Assyrtiko from Santorini. In fact, I am not aware of anywhere else on earth that it produces anything worth putting in your mouth, so if you see an Assyrtiko from some experimental producer in Slovenia or Sonoma, forget it. Assyrtiko is native to Santorini. It produces a delicious, crisp wine imbued with concentration, finesse, balance and structure with gorgeous fruit, elegance and focus. Many have a creamy citrus presence and a long (for a white wine) finish. The depth of flavors and its character are enabled by the age of its vines, many over 100 years old and growing on rootstocks over 400 years old. With roots growing 20, 30 or more feet into what passes for Santorini soil to eke out enough moisture and nutrients to survive and grow, these vines give rise to wines that should be front and center on ever wine lover’s radar screen. Perhaps the best of the best comes from the winery of Paris Sigalas. Founded only in 1991, his wines were initially made at his family home and, from 1998, at a new vinification facility. Grapes come from among the world’s oldest continuously cultivated vineyards, over 3,000 years, with a “terroir” that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world.


The characteristic of a Sigalas Assyrtiko is its amazing development and expansion once opened. I had read of this quality but didn’t believe it until I tried it myself. We all know that whites lose a little from an opened bottle until there’s nothing left worth drinking by day 3. Sigalas’Assyrtiko can (should) be decanted, tasted and rebottled, then tasted on day 2; surprise yourself at how much it has grown. Then recork it and put it back into the refrigerator. On day 3 you will not believe this is the same wine you opene on day 1. It is to that wine as a fully opened rose is to a tight bud. Siglas’ Assyrtiko wines are going from strength to strength. None of his wines over the past decade has scored under 90 points, with the past four vintages showing increasing scores of 90, 92, 93 and 94 points. The 2015 growing season was one of the best in recent memory, noted Paris Sigalas. Lower yields and a smooth photosynthesis resulted in consistent grape maturity with aromatic bouquet of white flowers, citrus fruits such as lemon and grapefruit and white flesh fruits like melon, peach and pear. The wines feature strong acidity, minerality and a rich body full of intensity. The best part is that this wine is affordable, with pricing in the mid-20s. At that price, wine lovers can return to the cradle of wine civilization to see what us westerners have been missing for the past 3,000 years. We’re way overdue returning. And it’s not so obscure that you can’t find it at your favorite fine wine shop.

wine! CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2016/17 —


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

92 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Open Nightly @ 5 Visit our sister Restaurant ! Bullwinkles: 606 Beech Mtn. Pkwy. 828-387-2354

WINE High Country Wine Growers Earn American Viticulture Area Designation By Steve York


emember our Summer story on the pending Appalachian High Country Wine Growers Association American Viticulture Area (AHCAVA) recognition titled All the Way AVA? If not, go back to this past summer issue of Carolina Mountain Life Magazine, (page 121), and review the history of this landmark AVA designation and its economic and cultural impact on a three state region encompassing portions of western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and southwestern Virginia. What you’ll discover is that, after a couple years of patient, meticulous and intensive work by Johnnie James, consultants with ASU and members of the High Country Wine Growers Association, an application to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau of the US Department of the Treasury, (TTB), was presented in October of 2014, and was at the final stages of approval. You’ll also read about the mountain of positive benefits that this AVA approval would mean for our region of grape vineyards, our wineries, and our overall agri-related travel and tourism economy.

So, what now? Well, all that patient, meticulous and intensive work has ultimately paid off and our very own Appalachian High Country AVA is now a reality. But even if you didn’t read our summer issue story, and even if you aren’t familiar with the backstory and its significance, know this: our High Country grape growers and wineries are now poised to brand their distinctive wines on a par with the Yadkin Valley AVA and even the NAPA Valley AVA. In other words, our High Country wineries located within this 2400 square mile region at elevations above 2,000 feet and including eight counties within three adjoining states are now “on the map”—so to speak—as one of only 221 unique regional brands of wines in the entire US of A. Consequently, all travel and tourism destinations within this vast 1.5 million acre region will benefit from the brand marketing of this new AVA. One way to look at the benefit is to consider what it means when someone says, “Hey…let’s go visit NAPA Valley wineries!” Resorts, attractions, lodging, dining, retail and communities within this AVA region will automatically become part of our AHCAVA.

As of this writing, the marketing and branding of our Appalachian High Country AVA has just begun its strategic development. But the machinery is ready to engage. A new website and marketing communications plan will soon be in place. Many of the founding initiators of this AVA effort are on board to help with strategic planning and marketing implementation. And, fortunately, several winery members have sound marketing expertise to bring to the table. So it’s just a matter of time before this new force in High Country travel and tourism marketing will begin to drive increasing numbers of visitors and dollars to our AVA region communities. Congrats to Johnnie James, AHCAVA members, ASU contributors and consultants for boosting our agritourism industry and for adding a whole new level of branding awareness to our already amazing High Country home. Once the new website is completed, more information will be available at



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

94 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Recipes for Soup Nuts By Brennan Ford


sk any of my friends and they will tell you, I’m a soup nut. I’m definitely the first one at the table to ask, “What’s the soup today?” In my opinion there are not many problems in this world that a good bowl of hot and sour can’t fix. I’ve even been known to go dangerously out of my way to discover the satisfaction that I know lies at the bottom of a bowl of chicken and dumplings. Soup, unlike most foods, can instantly beam you up to a different place and time. My soup adventures thus far have never been bad and always are ones of calming and comfort. Few things in life are better than coming home to a roaring fire and a piping hot bowl of tomato soup with a gooey crunchy grilled cheese tucked on the plate. When you grow up in the mountains, every so often you are blessed with one of the most magical things in the world, a “snow day”. When one of those glorious days was thrown my way I was sure not to waste any prime sledding or snowball fighting time but when the sun started to go down, it was an all-out race to beat my siblings inside for that warm bowl of soup. Even though it had been a long day trudging through the snow, a mug full of hot savory soup and a hunk of fresh bread gets you ready to jump right back out there the next day.

Not Yo Mama’s Tomato Soup 2 quarts canned San Marzano Tomatoes 1/2 lb. bacon 1 small Vidalia onion julienned 1 tbsp. butter 1 cup all-purpose flour 2 tbsp. minced garlic Salt and pepper to taste Olive oil for garnish 1 tbsp. sriracha 1/2 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning 2 red bell peppers, roasted peeled and julienned 1/2 cup red wine 3 cups chicken stock 1/2 cup heavy cream 1 1/2 cups whole milk 1/2 cup sour cream In a large soup pot fry bacon, leaving the fat. Set the bacon aside for later. Add onions to the bacon fat and cook until lightly caramelized. Add garlic, butter, and flour. Cook until slightly browned. Add wine, tomatoes, stock, brown sugar, roasted red peppers, Old Bay, and sriracha. Simmer for 40 min. Puree in blender adding cream and milk. Return to pot and reheat. Add sour cream and salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot and garnish with olive oil and parsley.

From CML’s Kitchen Grilled Cheese ver. 2.0 Sliced bread (we get ours at Stickboy in Boone) Tomato slices Sliced cream Havarti Salt and pepper to taste Olive oil, enough to coat tomato slices Balsamic vinegar (about half the amount of olive oil) Basil finely julienned (enough to season the number of sandwiches you make) Mayo, enough to spread on each piece of bread. Build your sandwiches starting with cheese closest to the bread and the tomato in the middle. Spread the basil over the tomato, spread mayo on the outer face of the bread (the side that will be cooked). Fry in medium pan until cheese is melting. Enjoy! Roasted Roots Soup 3 medium sweet potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks 3 carrots peeled and cut into large chunks 3 parsnips peeled and cut into large chunks 3 celery stalks cut into large chunks 4 1/2 cups chicken stock One bulb of garlic peeled and crushed Olive oil, enough to coat all vegetables Salt and pepper to taste 2 tbsp. dark brown sugar 2 tbsp. Texas Pete hot sauce Pre-heat oven to 425 In a roasting pan coat all your vegetables in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender about 45 min. Puree vegetables with stock and pour into large soup pot. Add remaining ingredients. Reheat and serve.

Soup Photo by Amy Morrison, a self-taught photographer who enjoys taking nature, landscape, and macro photography. Owner of Morrison Multi-Media Marketing. She uses photography both professionally and recreationally. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2016/17 —


OUR SPONSORS: 98................. A to Z Auto Detailing 56................. Abell’s Music CD 92................. Alpen Restaurant and Bar 17................. Alpine Ski Center 98 ............... Amy Brown, CPA 78 ............... Andrews & Andrews Insurance 62 ................ Antiques on Howard 7................... Appalachian Blind and Closet 79................. Appalachian Elder Law Center 16................. Appalachian Ski Mountain 62................. Appalachian Theater 84................. Appalachian Voices 84................. Apple Hill Farm 66................. AppUrgent Care 54................. Art in the Park 48................. Ashi Therapy Ashi Aromatics 60................. Avery Animal Hospital 98................. Avery County Chamber of Commerce 68................. Avery Heating and Air 57................. Banner Elk Café and Lodge 6................... Banner Elk Consignment Cottage 24................. Banner Elk Realty 10................. 90................. Banner Elk Winery 31................. Barter Theater 88................. Bayou Smokehouse & Grill 98................. BB&T 21,72............ Beech Mountain Resort 89................. Bella’s Italian Restaurant 16................. Blowing Rock Ale House Restaurant Brewing Co 6................... Blowing Rock Furniture Gallery 54-55........... Blowing Rock Pages 27................. Blowing Rock Winterfest 66................. Blue Ridge Electric 24................. Blue Ridge Propane 58................. Blue Ridge Realty & Investments 80................. Boone Mall 89................. Boondocks Brewing Tap Room & Restaurant 34................. BRAHM 71................. Brinkley Hardware 89................. C/R Catering 54................. Canyons Restaurant 47................. Carlton Gallery 84................. Carolina BBQ 92................. Chestnut Grille 68................. Children’s Hope Alliance 78................. Compu-Doc

94................. COBO Sushi 101............... COMMA-Main Stage Morganton 86................. Country Retreat Family Billiards 72................. Creative Printing 102............... Crossnore School for Children 24................. Dereka’s Sugar Mountain Accomodations & Realty 2,78.............. Dewoolfson 8................... Distinctive Cabinetry of the HC 55................. Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine 46................. Drexel Grapevine Antiques 3................... Eagles Nest 88................. Eat Crow Café 87................. English Farmstead Cheese 90................. Ericks Cheese and Wine 77................. F.A.R.M. Café 98................. Flora Ottimer 57................. Footsloggers 80................. Fortner Insurance 71................. Foscoe Fishing 28................. Fred’s General Mercantile 8................... Fuller & Fuller 94................. Gamekeeper 103............... Grandfather Mountain 90................. Grandfather Vineyard 54................. Green Park Inn 34................. Gregory Alan’s Gifts 54................. Handtiques 77................. Harding Landscaping 98................. Headquarters Bike & Outdoor 60................. Hunter’s Tree Service 46................. In the Country Bakery & Eatery 48................. Incredible Toy Company 97................. Inn at Crestwood 86................. Italian Restaurant 80................. Jack’s 128 Pecan Restaurant 16................. Jerky Outpost 17................. Lees McRae College 67................. Life Care 99................. Linville Caverns 92................. Linville Falls Winery 86................. Lost Province Brewing Company 60................. Lucky Lilly 86................. Macados Restaurant 104............... Mast General Store 88................. Mountain Dog and Friends 62................. Mountain Retreats Realty 78................. My Best Friend’s Barkery 55................. Mystery Hill 94,98............ Nick’s Restaurant & Pub 98................. Northern Parker 60................. Pack Rats

88................. Painted Fish Café 25................. Parkway Foundation-Get the Plate 62,98............ Peak Real Estate 87................. Peddlin’ Pig BBQ 71................. Premier Pharmacy 80................. Puerto Nuevo Mexican & Seafood Restaurant 24................. Ram’s Rack Thrift Shop 34................. Reeves DiVenere Wright Attorneys at Law 27................. Resort Real Estate & Rentals 98................. Rite Aid Pharmacy 46................. Rivercross 98................. Rustic Rooster 47................. Sally Nooney Art Studio Gallery 46................. Savor Blowing Rock 5................... 97................. Seven Devils TDA 98................. Shooz and Shiraz 48................. Shoppes at Farmers 98................. Shoppes 0f Tynecastle 55................. Six Pence Pub 66................. Skybest Medical Alert 25................. Ski Country Sports 84................. Stick Boy Bread Co. 100............... Stone Cavern 65................. Stonewalls Restaurant 23................. Sugar Mountain Resort 5................... Sugar Mountain TDA 17................. Sugar Ski and Country Club 68................. Sunset Tee’s 55................. The Blowing Rock 99................. The Cabin Store 47................. The Consignment Cottage Warehouse 98................. The Dande Lion 87................. The Hugh Chapman Center 47................. The Kilted Artists 87................. The New Public House & Hotel 34................. The Schaefer Center Presents 55,80............ The Spice & Tea Exchange 4................... Tom Eggers Construction 71................. Tom’s Custom Golf 98................. Tynecastle Builders 98................. Tynecastle Realty 98................. Valle de Bravo Mexican Grill 28................. Village Jewelers 58................. Visitors’ Information Channel 79................. Waite Financial 58................. West Jefferson tda 54................. Woodlands Barbecue 62,69............ YMCA of Avery Co

thank you! 96 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE


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


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


For Tubing and Zip Line: 828/963-6561

3236 Shulls Mill Road, Boone NC 28607 828.963.6646 |

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



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

For Leasing Information Call 828.898.6246

SHOPPING • DINING • BUSINESS • At the Corner of Hwy 105 & 184 Tynecastle Hwy. • Banner Elk 98 — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

The Perfect Weather for a Great Adventure—Guaranteed!

Inside A Mountain

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

Linville Caverns

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



Visit Our Website or Call 828-963-8453

Stone Cavern

Tile & Stone Showroom The High Country’s One-Stop Location for Sales, Design & Installation of Tile & Stone

“Stone & Tile for Any Budget!”

Design Consultation 25 Different floor displays to help you visualize your tile dream

Located In Grandfather View Village at the base of Grandfather Mountain (across from Mountain Lumber 9872 Hwy 105, Foscoe NC

We have Qualified Schluter Installers

Check Out Our Gallery On Our Website!



ainStage organton

2016 - 2017

Jan. 12 “THE GAME SHOW” Jan. 30 “42ND STREET”


828-433-SHOW CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2016/17 —





The Crossnore School is so much more than a children's home. There are opportunities here to eat, shop, and explore. We invite you to come spend an hour or the day - there's something for everyone! Feel free to explore on your own, or contact the School for a guided tour. Just minutes away from Grandfather Mountain and the Blue Ridge Parkway! THE CROSSNORE SCHOOL | P.O. Box 249 | 100 DAR Drive | Crossnore, NC 28616 (828) 733-4305 | |

1 LIFE — Winter 2016/17 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN 102NoOrdinaryCoffee.CML-6.75x9.25.indd

11/21/2016 2:55:32 PM


5,946 feet up on a mountain you enter a different world.


Fall colors give way to a blanket of white, then come the blooms of spring. But the wonder of Grandfather Mountain knows no season. Or equal.


w w w. g ra n d f a t h e r. c o m