Carolinamountainlife winter2017 2018

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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, its 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 recent addition of the resort’s glittering ‘Summit Express’ exceeded everyone’s wildest expectations. The glistening sixseat 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 stand testament to the irrepressible commitment to make Sugar Mountain the best it can be. 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 “Mile-High” Swinging Bridge, find out for yourself all that Sugar Mountain has to offer. The only thing missing is you.




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On the Inside . . . Cover Artwork by Sharon Glatthorn Sharon Glatthorn has been a photographer for over 40 years, specializing in travel and nature photography. She currently works at one of the most photogenic locations in the area, Grandfather Mountain. She and her husband traveled around North America for 28 years in an RV and concluded their travels here in the High Country. “Digital photography has opened up a new avenue for me… the sky is the limit to what can be done now with the digital capabilities.” View more of Sharon’s work at “There’s a kind of magic in Sharon Glatthorn’s photography. It seems to be attributable to her keen photographer’s eye, combined with the talent she’s developed over many years and her skill with software tools that create beautiful effects. In the end, Sharon renders images that captivate!” - Rebecca W., Author and Artist

14.......... Great Expectations By Tom McAuliffe

24.......... The ABC’s of Snowmaking By Kelly Melang

27.......... Alpine Athletes & Special Olympics .By Herb Vogt

35.......... Winter on the High Country Wine Trail By Julie Farthing

36.......... What’s Next for Keith Martin By Karen Sabo

40.......... Barter Theatre Celebrates 25 years with Richard Rose By Keith Martin

44.......... Theatre Alive and Well at Watauga High By Keith Martin

52.......... Musical Tales from the High Country By Mark Freed

54.......... Of Quilts & Quilting By Jim Casada

62.......... Into the Winter Woods – “Know Before You Go!” By Randy Johnson

67.......... Scouting in the High Country By Elizabeth Baird Hardy

81.......... Imagine Back When By Lynn Rees-Jones

83.......... Time and Honor Preserved in Veterans Memorial By Joe Tennis

84.......... Heartbeats in Banner Elk at the Post Office By Carol Lowe Timblin

94.......... Hospitality House – Our Home to Yours By Pan McCaslin

102........ The Prophet of Coffee Rises from the Ashes By Karen Sabo

winter! 113........ Corn – A Cornerstone of Mountain Life By Jim Casada

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



10 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

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

A publication of Carolina Mountain Life, Inc. ©2017-2018 by Carolina Mountain Life Magazine, Inc. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the Publisher. Babette McAuliffe, Publisher & Editor in Chief Deborah Mayhall-Bradshaw, Design Director Kathy Griewisch, Account Manager Tamara Seymour, Editor Keith Martin, Cultural Arts Editor Jane Richardson, Assistant Editor Contributors: Bettie Bond, Rebecca Cairns, Jim Casada, Andrew Corpening, Julie Farthing, Nina Fischesser, Brennan Ford, Morgan Ford, Mark Freed, Jean Gellin, Scottie Gilbert, Elizabeth Baird Hardy, Annie Hoskins, Josh Jarman, Randy Johnson, Janis Kenyon, Lynn Rees-Jones, Rita Larkin, Ren Manning, Tom McAuliffe, Pan McCaslin, Kelly Melang, Cindy Michaud, Katherine Newton, Amy Renfranz, Karen Sabo, Curtis Smalling, Samantha Stephens, Ken Swanton, Mike Teague, Joe Tennis, Carol Timblin, Herb Vogt, and Steve York

Share us with a friend! CML is published 4 times a year and is available by subscription for $35.00 a year (continental US) Send check or money order to: Carolina Mountain Life, PO Box 976, Linville, NC 28646

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

Plopping down on fresh snow to make a snow angel is a pleasure that I will always treasure. Such memories go back to my childhood in Wyoming where a foot or more of fresh fallen snow was just like it is here in my High Country home. I look forward to showing my three year-old granddaughter this winter the art of snow creations. While making a snow angel comes quite easily, making a snowman is another thing altogether. There is an art to making the proper three-tiered snowman. The snow needs to be just right (a bit wetter to stick), you must master the ball-rolling technique to make a balanced body, and then you must supply fine accoutrements like carrots, prunes and sticks to finish out the details. Do it right and you can almost hear the melody of “Frosty the Snowman” bouncing off the grey winter sky. It’s a blessing to enjoy yet another winter and to look back on the 40 years since I arrived here as

a freshman at Appalachian State University in 1977. This area has been a wonderful place to rear children. I would not trade living here or creating businesses here for anything in the world. The small-town nature of each mountain community is so genuine and selfreliant, I am humbled to gain the acceptance and trust of those who have helped build these communities over time. As we finish our 20th anniversary year, I want to thank everyone who has helped us chronicle the history and traditions of these mountains. I am honored whenever we have another chance to tell the stories of the people and culture of this region. The landscape has changed dramatically since 1977, evidenced by the recent boom in Boone. The secret is out—this area is a magnet for those seeking a peaceful and culturally rich area. The different seasons are treasures we receive year after year. I am reminded of our task to be good stewards and take care of the land, to cherish her many gifts; they are apparent every day, and they are endless. Just the other night, I walked our dogs in the shadow of Grandfather Mountain, the sky alight in flames of pink and gold, like angels’ fire. It is those special moments that reaffirm my reasons for making this home. I hope that as you read this issue, you are touched by the magic and wonder of the mountains. Even as things change, the best things stay the same. As you hike, explore, shop, dine, and experience all that the High Country has to offer, you too will understand the special meaning of all that surrounds us.



Great Expectations: The Saga of Southern Skiing By Tom McAuliffe As snowmaking began in earnest on the night of Saturday, November 18, the High Country ski industry held its collective breath in hopes of the sustained cold needed to open the winter season. 2016 had been a disappointment to many, and the intimations of climate change and global warming heralding doom to the southern ski business were easy to hear—even amongst the most fervent enthusiasts. Two days later, Sugar Mountain opened for business, and for the moment, all seemed right in the world. The “first to the guns, first to the lifts,” mentality is as traditional as “Turkey and Family” at Sugar Mountain. Appalachian Ski Mountain and the Beech Mountain Resort, just as aggressive and ready to pounce on the arctic opportunity, announced their Thanksgiving opening plans and the 2017 season was off and running. “It’s a lot easier to announce our closing date than our opening date,” southern ski pioneer Grady Moretz of Appalachian Ski Mountain liked to say of his resort that routinely closes late March with snow left over. If there’s a common thread linking the High Country ski resorts, and there are more than one, it is a commitment to improvement. Among all three there’s never enough snowmaking capacity, or the willingness to apply it in the North Carolina mountains. That’s an irrepressible drive passed down through two, sometimes three generations at each High Country ski area. The playing fields have been well defined, and pride in the product drives them all to deliver the best skiing conditions possible. Competitors and colleagues, their collective efforts make for a $200 million impact on the region each winter.

14 — CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18

Appalachian Ski Mountain

Few can argue that the oldest ski area in the High Country can apply more manmade snow per square foot than just about any resort in the world. You could say that it’s diminutive dimension and perfectly groomed 25-acres give them an advantage over their larger neighbors, but the snow making “machine” that is Appalachian Ski Mountain is beyond compare. Opened in 1962 by a movie-house and entertainment impresario named Bill Thalheimer, The Blowing Rock Lodge fell under the control of Grady and Reba Moretz in 1968. Jim Cottrell of the French-Swiss Ski College joined the effort to provide ski instruction at the newly christened App Ski Mountain and a legacy of excellence and attention to detail proved a winning formula for southern skiing. Cottrell’s contribution to the success of the new enterprise can hardly be overstated. He wrote the book on ski instruction for an unlikely population of newcomers. When Eunice Kennedy Shriver introduced alpine sports into the Special Olympics program, she asked Cottrell to write the manual for alpine instruction. The 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army came to App Ski Mountain to train, once with the assistance of three-time Olympic Ski Champion, Frenchman Jean-Claude Killy, a friend and confidant of Cottrell’s. Over the next half century it’s safe to say that more southerners learned to ski at App Ski Mountain than anywhere else in Dixie. “He was the only shot we had,” Grady Moretz said when Cottrell proposed his French-Swiss Ski College concept in 1968. “Things worked out pretty well.” It was just one of many savvy moves the elder Moretz made establishing the App Ski Mountain brand that earned him the Lifetime Achievement Award from The National Ski Areas Association in 2005. “One thing I learned from my dad, that is seeded in my soul, is to improve things constantly each and every year,” resort president Brad Moretz said. “He wanted to make things as easy as possible for the customers who come here.” Last season’s indifferent winter proved tough sledding for North Carolina resorts, but ski conditions were arguably a little better at the “little mountain that could.” “It wasn’t a record year,” Moretz allowed, “but it was a good year and we were

able to open all of our terrain. If that was a bad year, we’ll take them all day long.” Sporting a fleet of 50 SMI airless fan guns, or two high-volume snow-making guns per acre, when temperatures were right more than 6 million gallons of water per day were converted into the good stuff. No one else could quite capitalize on the narrow weather windows of opportunity last season like Appalachian Ski Mountain could. “The weather was a challenge but we were able to make the most of it,” said marketing director Drew Stanley. “Overall we fared well and had a good season.” And in keeping with tradition, in spite of the preponderance of existing snowmaking, capacity was upgraded on five of the resort’s slopes. At the base of the mountain, a new a high-volume Super Pole Cat was installed on a tower, high above principal lift loading areas. With snowmaking and instruction a smooth-running given, innovation has been a hallmark at App Ski Mountain. Since 1999, when the mountain embraced snowboarding long after the sport went mainstream, they’ve carved a huge niche in terrain park riding. With four distinct “progression” areas, it’s proven a big hit for beginners to expert riders on snowboards and skis. Over 70 features, built in-house, pepper the mountain. Participants all earn their “Park Pass” via on-line or on-site testing improving safety and promoting terrain park etiquette. Moretz calls it the Park Pass Program “the gold standard in park safety.” The High Country’s leading, seasonlong board championship, “Shred for the Cup,” returns for a 12th season. Three “Cup” events host beginner, intermediate, and expert divisions competing in the Rail Jam, Slopestyle, and Big Air disciplines. Age or gender are irrelevant. “You have 14-year-olds doing things in the park you’ve never thought of,” Stanley said. But perhaps the biggest innovation at App Ski Mtn is the Flex Ticket. Whether you arrive at 9 a.m. or 1 p.m., your daily lift ticket is good for eight hours of skiing and boarding. And this year, when you book online, you’ll get an extra hour of slope time. “We understand people are on vacation,” explained Stanley. “With the Flex


After Jean-Claude Killy won 3 gold medals at the Grenoble Winter Olympics in 1968, he made several appearances at App Ski Mountain developing a friendship with Cottrell.

Ticket they won’t feel they miss out on any fun if they can’t get here early. We’re in this business because it’s a lot of fun. We’re working to make sure their time is as enjoyable for them as it is for us.” A couple of operational changes have added punch to the Flex Ticket. Gone is the traditional 90-minute intermission separating the 4 p.m. day closing from the night session. Now your 8-hour flex session moves seamlessly into the night schedule. Add to that Midnight Blast, when the lifts run ‘til 12 every Friday and Saturday, and the Flex Ticket grows even more, well, flexible. “Lots of things add up to the total experience,” Moretz concluded. “From the time you come through the gate you come into contact with a lot of people and there are a lot of moving parts. On a busy day, our challenge is to make it as enjoyable as when you visit us on a slow weekday. We want to make it as easy as possible.” For Brad Moretz, it’s the order of the day.

Since the Moretz family took charge of Appalachian Ski Mountain in 1968, Jim Cottrell’s French-Swiss Ski College instructed generations of southern skiers, including Special Olympic athletes and the 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army.

Go to for online lift tickets, park pass testing, and general resort information. Or call 828-295-7828.



Beech Mountain Resort Rings in Golden Anniversary “No matter how much preparation goes on in the off-season it always seems over the last 30 days before opening we’re always in a hurry,” said Beech Mountain Resort General Manager Ryan Costin. “As you walk around you can always find something else to do, but that’s part of the game.” For Costin, who has led an unmistakable resurgence at eastern America’s highest resort over the last decade, the upcoming ski season is colored by another layer of historical significance. This winter marks the mountain’s 50th year of operation and visitors will be impressed, if not blown away, by Costin and Company’s cumulative efforts to make over the resort. The signature Bavarian Village, designed by late architect Claus Moberg, made its stunning debut in December of 1967 with great fanfare. But by the turn of the century, the once fanciful buildings that harkened to the Tyrolean Alps were in need of repair. Nine years ago, Costin’s primary thrusts went largely unseen, as underground water delivery systems and snow making fixtures slope-side dramati-

16 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

cally improved conditions. Nevertheless, the annual upgrades were not lost on a growing base of customers and season pass sales increased each year. As seasons passed, roofs and siding were replaced. The iconic View Haus, rechristened “The Lodge,” with its high capacity cafeteria and bar were completely redone. The Beech Tree, a favorite apresski lounge and entertainment venue, was remodeled and previously unused storage area finished as a members’ area and special event facility. The Beech Mountain Brewery poured life back into the village where its outdoor ice rink enjoyed a renaissance. Sparkling stainless steel brewing barrels are in place for brew master Sean McCoy to keep apace of demand, which is brisk all year round, particularly with the dramatic success of the 5506’ Sky Bar at the top of the primary ski lift that services the top of the mountain. Here both the beverage and the view are nothing short of spectacular. “The neat thing about the Sky Bar is that it encourages people to slow down, relax, and take in the whole experience from the top of the mountain,” Costin said. “It says ‘take a minute and look around.’ People like it.”

But aside from the new paint job, the most significant work will be unveiled this winter. In the sprawling ski center that overlooks the beginners’ play yard, the lift ticket, equipment rental, and ski school registration have been streamlined dramatically. Lift tickets and equipment rental are handled in one of 12 windows. Skiers then step into one level and snowboarders the floor below. Walls that once created a maze effect have been blown down, creating a spacious ‘hangar’ effect. “I think it’s safe to say that when the ski resort was first built no one could foresee the kinds of crowds that would come later,” Costin said. “We’ve worked hard to improve the customer experience.” A new rack system pumps air into boots made ready for the next day’s customers and the Rossignol skis and Burton snowboards reflect the upgrades seen throughout the village. Customers then move seamlessly into the ski school, where group lessons are free for customers renting equipment Monday through Thursday. The daylong Snow Kamp for kids is in the same building, expanded during the remodel and spacious. Online registration adds to customer convenience and is recommended at www.

Gil Adams left, with Pete Chamberlin and Wade Adams have over a century on patrol on Beech Mountain

Further simplifying the process, multiple-day rentals and lift tickets for up to five days are now offered and digital, push button access lockers are available in a new and larger area in the ski center. Longtime Beech Mountain race director Robert Jones returns for his second season as ski school director. The wildly popular Retro Week returns February 22, but the 50th Anniversary Celebration goes retro all season long. To mark the golden anniversary, night skiing sessions Tuesday through Thursday will offer throw-back lift ticket prices from the resort’s debut in 1967. No one can speak to the resort’s revival better than Gil Adams, who at the age of 16 learned to ski during that opening season at Beech Mountain fifty years ago. Over the years, Adams has served in every capacity—marketing manager, director of the ski patrol, lift operations manager, and mountain manager. As a link to the glory days of southern skiing, he loves what’s taking place on Beech Mountain today. “It was magical,” he recalled of those first years. “When Beech opened, skiing was on a tremendous growth curve. There were big plans and people were excited.” That excitement was interrupted

by bankruptcy in the mid-seventies, as weather and economic forces sent both Beech and Sugar Mountain resorts into bankruptcy. For the next decade, property owners and bean counters tried to right the ship, and while there were bright moments in the early ‘80s as the resort tried to recapture the magic of Adam’s youth, small-scale neglect added up and took its toll. “After the bankruptcy the various holding companies just didn’t put back the same effort into the resort,” Adams remembered. Under the direction of the third generation of the Costin family, which took charge in 1983, the resort has come full circle. “Ryan has never failed to put money back into the resort every year, even after below average winters,” Adams said. “Since he’s been general manager we’ve really improved in every area. Beech Mountain is great again.” Faith in Adam’s passion for the mountain showed early in Costin’s rebuilding plan. He assigned the old ski patroller to “Risk Management and Operations” and put him in charge of hiring and personnel training. “We’re not just in the ski business,”

Gil Adams of Beech Mountain


Adams reasoned, “we’re in the customer service business.” In spite of the dramatic metamorphosis, young Costin is reluctant to spend a lot of time looking back. “We’re starting to hit our stride,” he allowed, “but we have to look forward to find our place in the market. We’re getting there.” Meanwhile, Adams looks toward his future role as he turns over the reins to new ski patrol director Brad Blackwell. “I guess I’m more of a consultant,” he suggested of his 50th year on the mountain, as he plans to ease Blackwell into the top patroller’s spot. “He’s going to do well,” he said of his successor. “We look at things very similarly.” As Adams looks forward to the second half of his century at Beech you might find him anywhere. But for sure you can find him playing his old-time fiddle with his local band The CorkLikkers, the featured entertainment in the village at the Beech Mountain Brewery on January 5. Now how’s that for a Beech Nut? For more on Beech Mountain Resort’s 50th Anniversary Celebration go to or call 828-387-2011.




The six-seat, high speed Summit Express

Andrew Jochl has joined his father, Gunther, as Sugar Mountain Resort’s Director of Operations

Kim and Krista Schmidinger brought Olympic cachet to southern skiing at Sugar Mountain

Mountain welcomed the High Country’s first skiers November 20, open from the top over the iconic Flying Mile and its 1,200 ft. vertical drop. ‘Dem bones’ was rattlin’ in a closed fist again with all eyes on the weather. “Last year was tough,” Jochl admitted. “But I’ve seen bad winters before and that just doesn’t only happen here in the south. We’ve done everything you can to prepare. Everything is perfect operationally. The difference from 40 years ago is unbelievable, technology has come so far. But if Mother Nature has other ideas what can you do?” Optimism, if guarded, is easy to find at Sugar. After successful debuts of Gunther’s Way, the most significant ski terrain addition in decades, and the opening of the six-seat, high speed Summit Express, this year’s improvements, while not visible to the eye, are nonetheless important. A third Variable Speed pump boosts snowmaking capacity, already prodigious, by 15 percent delivering an additional 1,000 gallons per minute to the snowmaking network. With an eye to the novice southern skier, more snowmaking has been brought to bear on Easy Street, Sugar Mountain’s beginner terrain. Experience is deep at Sugar. Ski School Director Len Bauer is in his 32nd year at Sugar and has a clear perspective of the mountain and the school’s success. “We’re a family mountain and cater to kids and adults,” Bauer said. “We make it fun with an emphasis on safety. I believe local shops are comfortable referring beginners to us because they know we’ll take care of them. Our return business is better than ever. We see kids who are now parents, bringing their children to Sugar Mountain.”

Bauer credits a strong and experienced staff, combined with young instructors. “We have instructors who’ve been at Sugar longer than I have,” he said. “There are four PSIA Level Three on staff. They come back year after year because they love being here.” The teaching terrain is ideal, beginning with the magic carpet conveyor area that progresses seamlessly up the hill to Easy Street, serviced by a chairlift. “It’s a wonderful situation,” he added, “for families and even kids four and under. “They return year after year, with their report cards and buttons in hand and they can tell us all about the skill levels they reached last winter. It’s very rewarding.” There have been seminal moments in the history at Sugar since a young Gunther Jochl dropped into the wheel house of a broken down lift system just in time for an unheard of November 5 opening day in 1976. Later, as the American distributor of Volkl skis in the early ‘80s, he brought on board twins Kim and Krista Schmidinger, U.S. Alpine Ski Team members, and their racing brother Erich, to build the Sugar Mountain brand. He married Kim, his partner on the mountain since 1997, and the resort’s cachet flourished. Forty-two years after his auspicious November opening, he’s upgrading again, with his son Andrew entering his third year as Sugar Mountain Director of Operations. Young Jochl has high hopes to play a role in the future of the family business. Like his father, Andrew has a degree in mechanical engineering. The son earned his at Montana State. Dad earned his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Munich. “If I can even get the chance, it would be an honor just to try and fill his shoes,” he

Sugar Mountain

News of the first snowmaking of the season flashed across social media like a prairie fire Veteran’s Day Friday, November 10, when Sugar Mountain let loose the first salvo. Of course that’s nothing new for Sugar Mountain President Gunther Jochl, who has managed November openings all but three times in the 23 years such records were kept, and one of those three was the first Halloween opening day ever in southern skiing history. And while critics cried ‘false start’ in the face of moderating weekend temperatures that followed, Sugar’s long time food and beverage manager Keith Lane offered an irrefutable rationale saying, “it’s worth a million dollars’ worth of publicity every season.” Following two consecutive lukewarm winter ski seasons, southern skiing looks to all the good news it can get. “Is anybody excited anymore,” a contemplative Jochl asked himself while monitoring the season’s first snowmaking effort. But if ski industry observers have learned to expect anything at all, it’s to expect the unexpected from Sugar Mountain. And all eyes look to Sugar for the start of the new season. As for any perceived lack of excitement on the eve of ski season, it seemed even the most passionate skiers and boarders had reined in wishful optimism for an overdue historic winter. The tattoo from last year’s disappointing weather still wears on some like a heart with a dagger through it. “I like to open as soon as we can, but the whole thing is a gamble and it’s expensive,” Jochl said. “If the slopes are green again I’m stupid. If the slopes are white and we’re skiing, I’m brilliant.” Ten days after his ‘false start,’ Sugar

18 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

said of his father who carried the resort out of bankruptcy in the mid-seventies to the successful resort it is today. To prepare for this day, Andrew spent the last decade working for lift maker Doppylmayer, designers of the six-seat detachable chair Summit Express that is the shining centerpiece at Sugar, and KassBohrer, the world’s leading maker of snow grooming machinery, including the PistenBully snow cat in operation at Sugar and other High Country resorts. “I went to Europe to learn what my dad had learned, the work ethic and discipline he learned growing up in Germany and Austria,” he said. In 2013 Andrew worked on a Kassbohrer team of engineers that developed new and uniform driving and cockpit controls to fit all three PistenBully models, or Sno-Cats, built by the company. It’s quite natural that Andrew maneuvers from the seat he helped design as part of his daily grooming duties at Sugar. “He’s doing well and learning more and more,” Gunther said of his son. “It’s not an easy job and he helps us do more with the technology out there. But when it breaks, you have to fix it. He knows a lot, about the lifts, about the groomers.” Generation next has learned plenty. “My dad has a way of doing things, and it’s a proven way over the years and he’s fine tuned it and got him to where he is today,” Andrew said. “He’s the first guy in and the last guy out. He’s always looking at everyone and everything, like driving a ship with twenty different levers. He’s built a team and we know what is expected.” Adding to expectations, Andrew and his wife Mellie, who handles group sales at Sugar, are expecting a new arrival in March, Gunther’s first grandchild. “We try to have a vision, a plan to move forward and make Sugar a better place,” the elder Jochl concluded. “People expect important changes and improvements. We didn’t have to build a new slope, or add a chairlift, but then again, yes we did. There’s always something to be done.” It’s what’s expected. For more information and special events schedule, go to or call 828-898-4521.

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20 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Beech’s Ski Slope Time Machine Weekend is Feb. 22-25 Ski back in time and rock the 1980s like never before during the Totally ’80s Retro Ski Weekend at Beech Mountain. This year’s event takes place Feb. 22-25 and features four FRIDAY AND SATURDAY days of tubular awesomeness, including the best lineup of LIVE ENTERTAINMENT bands in the weekend’s seven-year history. & NIGHT SKIING The righteousness starts Thursday night at Famous Fast Eddie’s with classic rockers DeCarlo, featuring Tommy TUESDAY DeCarlo, lead singer of the legendary rock band Boston. LADIES’ NIGHT Friday night at the Mile High Tavern promises to “rock the $9 LIFT TICKETS casbah” with the retro punk sounds of The Spazmatics from WEDNESDAY Charleston, S.C. On Saturday night at the ski resort’s Beech Tree Bar MENS’ NIGHT & Grille, come see the Carolinas’ hottest new ‘80s tribute $9 LIFT TICKETS band, Cassette Rewind. Born in the ’80s and raised on radio, THURSDAY Cassette Rewind cues up the ultimate retro new wave COUPLES’ NIGHT experience. Festivities throughout the weekend include a Rubik’s Buy One Lift Ticket for $16 Cube competition, Ms. Pac Man contest, retro Name That *Excludes Holidays Dec. 18 -SECOND Jan.1, 2018, does not FOR apply with GET ONE $8other specials or discounts. Tune, the ever-popular $500 Totally Retro Apparel Contest, 1980s show cars in the ski village, a Dayglo ‘80s ski parade and much more. Once again, Beech Mountain accommodations offer a Thursday night special rate of just $19.80 with the purchase of Friday and Saturday nights at regular rates. For complete details on the Totally ’80s Retro Ski Weekend at Beech Mountain, go to:, or call (800) 468-5506. *Excludes Holidays Dec. 18 - Jan 1, 2018. Does not apply with other specials or discounts CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


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High Country Snowmaking: The ABC’s By Kelly Melang

Nov 20, 2017 - Opening day in the High Country, when Sugar Mountain opened top to bottom after just 26 all-out hours of snowmaking. Photo courtesy of Sugar Mountain Resort

Photo by author

Many friends are shocked when they are told, “Yes, you can ski in North Carolina!” In fact, skiing is one of the biggest draws to the High Country during the winter. While our local resorts get their share of natural snow, the timing and amount of snow is often unpredictable; relying on Mother Nature alone is a sure way to lose business. Therefore, snow resorts add to their natural snowfall with the help of snowmakers, machines that supplement the natural snow by produc-

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ing man-made snow. The first snowmaking device, a snow “canon,” was invented in 1950 by Art Hunt, Dave Richey and Wayne Pierce. Within a couple years, the new snow makers were put to use at ski resorts in the northeastern U.S. How does snowmaking work? Simply combine air and water to create snow. Making snow on a large scale, however, is not so simple. Resorts are equipped with reservoir ponds holding water for the season; these ponds also catch the runoff on warmer days, recycling it when the weather turns colder. Compressors pump air up the mountain while other large pumps move water. “In the earlier days of the resort, some of our water pumps came out of large ships, showing you the size needed,” says Gil Adams of Beech Mountain Resort. For example, to cover a 200-foot by 200-foot area with six inches of snow requires close to 75,000 gallons of water. “We’ve replaced one of our four pumps with a 1,000 gallons-per-minute, highefficiency, variable-speed water pump, increasing our capacity by 15 percent,” says Andrew Jochl of Sugar Mountain Resort. Ski resorts constantly work on water lines, replacing aging ones during

the summer and autumn. More water running means more snow. There are two types of snowmakers: air water guns and fan guns. Air water guns are mounted guns that combine water and cold air to make snow. Fan guns, or airless guns, look like jet engines—the air is provided by a small nozzle surrounded by a fan, and the water is fed through rings of nozzles into the fan airstream. This newer equipment, like the new Super Puma Snowmaker at Appalachian Ski Mountain has the compressor built into the machine. “The Super Puma, a machine we tested last year, is the latest to our arsenal this year,” says Drew Stanley of Appalachian Ski Mountain. “This one has a weather system built into it, making sure everything is set for optimal snow.” Since snowmaking requires extremely cold air, that air must be “supercooled.” Supercooling occurs as the air travels up to the snowblower and exits the nozzle. The mist coming from the snow gun then turns into snow falling to the ground. Some resorts use a nucleating agent with their snowmaking system. One example is SnowMax. SnowMax Snow Inducer, created in 1987, is a product that en-

The new Super Puma Snowmaker at Appalachian Ski Mountain

Steve and Drew Stanley of App Ski Mtn.

— Photo by author

— Photo by author

hances snowmaking. In a nutshell, it is a protein derived from a naturally occurring, biodegradeable bacteria Pseudomonas syringae, which causes water to freeze more quickly and is harmless to the environment. SnowMax comes in a pellet form, which is mixed with the water pumped to the snow guns. Even with new technology, much of the work to create man-made snow is manual. Employees walk the slopes and knock all the ice off of the water pipes to the blowers so they don’t freeze. They reposition the blowers so the snow is blowing in the right direction, holding their arm in front of the spray. “They are looking at the output of the blower, ensuring it is in a frozen state and not water,” says Jochl. These people work long hours deep into the night, in the harshest conditions, making sure the best product possible is ready for those of us craving “first tracks.” Beyond technology and diligent employees, snowmaking also requires what insiders call “The Snow Gods.” There are a lot of variables going into making snow, the first factor being the ambient temperature; it must be cold outside to make snow. Snow can be made

at 32 degrees F, but this snow could be slushy. The optimum temperature for snowmaking is 28 degrees or less. The second factor is humidity, or the “wet bulb” temperature. Simply put, too much humidity in the air does not allow water to evaporate, and water must evaporate in order to cool down or freeze. That is why sometimes the temperature is at or below freezing, but it is raining; the humidity does not allow the cooling of water to a frozen state. For snowmaking, a humidity level in the 30 percent range is ideal. Once the temperature falls below 20 degrees F into the teens the humidity is not as much of a factor. “The resort becomes a different place after a full night of optimal snowmaking,” says Stanley of Appalachian Ski Mountain. “A different world.” Resorts take into account the long term forecast and current temperatures to determine when to start blowing snow for the season. Computers now take over the nuances of temperature, humidity, etc., taking it down to an exact science, making sure when the guns are on, the maximum amount of output is achieved. “Typically we look for a three- to fourday window of snowmaking tempera-

tures before firing up the guns. This gives us time to make a product we would like to ski on, and one our guests will enjoy,” says Adams of Beech Mountain Resort. Once the snow is on the ground, the job moves over to the groomers. Most of them proudly use PistenBully snow groomers to move the snow onto the trails. A groomer is a diesel powered machine with front mounted hydraulic blades for pushing snow and a tiller for shaping snow. There is both talent and science in the seats of those large machines. The start of grooming depends on the amount of snow Mother Nature or snow guns provide. The goal is to get a specific base bonding with the frozen ground before grooming. Once the base layer is created, and top layers are formed from artificial or natural snow, the PistenBullies go to work. The result from the tiller is what snow enthusiasts call “Corduroy.” These machines travel up and down the slopes preparing them for the day ahead. When you hit the High Country slopes this season, be sure to thank the snowmakers and groomers you encounter. Without them we wouldn’t have such a beautiful and fun place to play! CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


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Learning on the Snow By Kelly Melang Learning how to ski and snowboard has never been easier for children in the High Country of North Carolina. As resorts open for the season, so do snow school operations. Each resort has many different options for families wanting to learn how to ski or snowboard. Ski schools are the perfect option for families with small children. These fullday schools include lift ticket, rentals, lessons and lunch. This is a great option for teaching smaller children a love of snow sports while the rest of the family, already knowing how to ski or snowboard, can have fun on the snow. The best part is that all schools end before the resort closes its day session, providing some quality time to let your children show you what they’ve learned. Appalachian Ski Mtn Programs: SkiWee | Skiers from ages 4-10 years-old CruiserCamp | Snowboarders from 7-12 years old Beech Mountain Resort Programs: SnowKamp | 3-5 years-old Ski/Snowboard Traxx | Skiers 7-14 years-old Burton Learn To Ride | Snowboard 6-14 years-old Sugar Mountain Resort: Sugar Bear Ski School | 5-10 years-old Polar Bear Snowboard School | 7-14 years-old Each of these schools offers a half-day session from 1-3 p.m. While the young ones are learning in school, others can take advantage of group lessons and private lessons. Groups usually include about six people. Resort instructors are professionals trained through accredited programs. For those children too young for school, childcare is provided at each resort for a cost. To take advantage of these great opportunities, contact each resort for availability. Pre-registration is strongly recommended, as all of these programs fill early. Start them young and enjoy that time on the snow for years to come!

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Peace of Mind

© ou gh C ntry Hi



Special Olympics race course at Appalachian Ski Mountain / Inset: Takichi Iwashima, Wade Davis & Diane Edwards from the Wake County Special Olympics program Photos by Herb Vogt

Special Olympics North Carolina: Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding By Herb Vogt, SONC Alpine Sport Development Team Every winter the NC mountains are a haven for skiers. Are you aware of the state-wide program that teaches people with special needs how to ski and compete in downhill racing? Special Olympics North Carolina (SONC) makes this possible each year with their Alpine Ski and Snowboard program. SONC offers several competitive events that will accommodate all ability levels and competition interests from beginner to advanced. History and Background The Special Olympics North Carolina (SONC) Winter Games, which take place at Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock each year, consist of alpine (downhill) skiing and snowboarding. These games are designed for people with intellectual disabilities to give them the same sporting opportunities and challenges that most of us take for granted. The first Special Olympics Winter

Games were developed and conducted by Jim Cottrell, president of French Swiss College, at Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock in 1974. These games consisted of skiing only and were attended by athletes from several southeastern states. In 1994, with over 200 athletes and their coaches coming from across the state, SONC hosted its first state-level Alpine skiing games. In 2007, snowboarding was offered as a winter sport to the Special Olympics athletes. Today there is an on-the-slope training class in early December and a twoday state-level training and competition event in early January. 100+ athletes from 35 or more Special Olympics programs throughout NC participate in the games. This is followed by the three-day Southeast Regional games in early February where between 125-150 athletes from several southeastern states, including North Carolina, Florida, Georgia,

South Carolina, and sometimes Virginia, and Tennessee come to Appalachian Ski Mountain for training and competition. Coaches for Special Needs Athletes A dedicated group of volunteer coaches go through a series of courses and training in the classroom and on the slopes to become certified to work with Special Olympics athletes. They learn ski training techniques, Special Olympics rules, how to work with people who have special needs, and how to hold the competition events. These coaches work with athletes prior to the ski season with dryland ski training practice sessions off the snow, then work with the athletes on the snow to help them refine their skills in skiing or snowboarding. The coaches must maintain their certification by taking updated and additional courses every three years.



Main: Heading for the finish line / Inset: A coach works with athlete / Photos by Herb Vogt

Volunteers from the Raleigh Ski & Outing Club, many of whom have become certified coaches, and French Swiss Ski College ski instructors work with the athletes during training sessions and officiate during competitions. French Swiss Ski College instructors play a key role in training both the athletes, and coaches. Training for the Athletes Before a participant can become involved with a vigorous sport of this type, they must have a doctor certify they are healthy and don’t have conditions that would be a danger to them. The training includes several stages: Dryland training Training begins at the local city or county Special Olympics Program. The athletes start with some exercises, then learn how to put on boots and attach them to the skis (or snowboard). With the equipment on, they will practice walking, turning, and getting off the ground in case they fall. This is done in a gym with carpet runners, or outside on a grassy or sandy area. Ski equipment for training can often be borrowed from local ski shops; some shops have donated old rental skis and boots to Special Olympics. On-the-slopes training The next step is learning how to use the equipment on the slopes. There is an all-day training session at Appalachian Ski Mountain in early December. This is also a good chance for new coaches to

28 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

learn how to work with the athletes on the slopes. First-time athletes begin on a flat area to get them acquainted with the slippery snow. After walking around a figure-8 course, first with just boots on, then one ski and then two a few times, they go to the first-timer beginner area, which consists of a short slope and a magic-carpet lift (a flat carpeted escalator) that will take them back to the top of the slope. Ski coaches work with them until they reach a level of proficiency, which includes how to slow down, stop, get up if they fall, and making short turns. Progressing up through the different skill levels Like any ski area, there are different types of slopes at Appalachian Ski Mountain. The slopes are color-coded based on the level of difficulty: Yellow for beginner, Green for novice, Blue for intermediate, and Black for expert. The athlete is taken to the slope the coach feels is best suited for the athlete to safely navigate and get further ski or snowboard training. Participating at the State and Regional Alpine Ski and Snowboard Winter Games A Winter Games race course is set at each level based on the complexity of the terrain and skill level of the athletes who will be racing. There are several competitive events in alpine skiing to accommodate all ability levels. The glide is on a gentle slope with no turns for athletes

just learning to ski. The super glide is the next level with slightly steeper terrain with no turns. Following is the novice slalom, where athletes ride a longer magic-carpet lift to steeper terrain and make a number of turns through gates on a race course. Athletes in the intermediate slalom ride a ski lift to more challenging terrain and a longer race course with more gates. Finally, the advanced slalom, which is on the most challenging terrain (the “black expert” runs), includes even more gates and tighter turns. Snowboarding is gaining popularity with the athletes. They have a beginner and advanced area to do their training and competition. SONC offers the novice slalom at this competition. Winning Isn’t Everything for Special Olympics Athletes Special Olympics athletes, whether they win a medal, or a ribbon for participation, always show their appreciation for the chance to participate. Each SONC Alpine Competition is followed by a banquet and dance for the athletes. Volunteers Wanted Volunteers are always welcome to help with the games. You don’t have to be a skier to work with the athletes; you can help them get their equipment on, or assist during competition and at the awards ceremony. For more information see the SONC website



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Taking the polar plunge!

WinterFashion Show

Blowing Rock Prepares for the 20th WinterFest Celebration Love all-things-winter? This is the High Country event for you. The 20th edition of WinterFest, a four-day event organized by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, will run from Thursday, January 25 through Sunday, January 28, 2018. WinterFest’s motto is “Don’t Hibernate. Celebrate!” As in past years, a variety of daily events will inspire you to get moving and celebrate winter in the heart of Blowing Rock: WinterFeast on Thursday — Taste some of the High Country’s best culinary creations, all under one cozy roof. Enjoy a new format, and a Post-Feast Party! WinterFashion Show at lunchtime on Friday — View some of the newest winter and spring fashions featured at the area’s top retail stores. WinterFest Ice Stroll on Friday — Stroll through Blowing Rock and see an assortment of professionally crafted ice sculptures! Polar Plunge on Saturday — Take the icy plunge into Chetola Lake, or bundle up and happily watch others celebrate winter in a most daring way! WinterFest Beer Garden on Saturday — This year’s event will include over 20 beer vendors, to be held on the lawn of The Inn at Ragged Gardens. WinterPaws Dog Show on Sunday — Show off your four-legged best friend or just come to see the cutest dogs around!

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And new this year, WinterFest organizers will unveil the latest wintry activity for event participants: the new Ice Skating Rink in Memorial Park! “For 20 years, Blowing Rock WinterFest has been a tradition for many families. Each year we strive to preserve favorite events, and to introduce fun new events like our Ice Skating Rink addition in Memorial Park this year,” said Charles Hardin, Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce President/CEO. The new ice skating rink will be open on both Friday and Saturday of WinterFest. Throughout the long WinterFest weekend, you can experience the best of Blowing Rock, including the area’s finest shopping, wine tasting at Sunset & Vine, jazz music at the Green Park Inn, special art displays and activities at Blowing Rock Art & History Museum, and so much more. Hayrides, bonfires, silent auctions, ice carving demonstrations, and plenty of kids’ activities—there’s something for everyone at this year’s WinterFest! WinterFest has been named a AAA “Top Pick” and a Top 20 Event by the Southeastern Tourism Society, and is sponsored by Hendrick Northlake Luxury Auto Mall. For a complete schedule of events and registration information, visit WinterFest tickets are available at Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, 132 Park Avenue in Blowing Rock, via phone at 877-295-7801 or 828-295-7851, and online.

WinterPaws Dog Show

Ice Sculptures

January 25-28, 2018

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

828-295-7851 • 877-295-7801

Mark Your Calendar for “Savor Blowing Rock!” By Steve York It’s never too early to start planning for May flowers, springtime temps, outdoor gatherings and longer days. Well, here are three little words to help you get your May on: “Savor Blowing Rock!” Those three words represent a premier Rites-ofSpring festival for the High Country. Over the past decade this palate-pleasing gala has established itself as the hallmark event for locals and visitors alike to usher in spring and joyfully toast the spirit of renewal for our Blue Ridge Mountain highlands. And you’re invited! The 2018 event has moved from its previous April schedule to Thursday, May 3 through Sunday, May 6. The itinerary of events and activities is sweeping in scope, yet easily manageable, and will be posted at www.savorblowingrock. com. Tips on lodging packages, dining, special sponsor activities and area attractions will also be listed, as well as links to the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce and other related websites, all designed to make your event planning as easy and enjoyable as possible. And, although there’s plenty of time to plan, remember…some special activities can get booked up in advance. So, stay up to date between now and then. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


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32 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

501 Beech Mountain Parkway Beech Mountain, NC

Flat Top Mountain Brewery: Your Neighborhood Watering Hole Looking for a centrally located taproom to top off your day at the slopes? Pull into downtown Banner Elk, NC and enjoy the warmth and simplicity of Flat Top Mountain Brewery & Taproom. Located equidistance between Beech and Sugar, this family-friendly establishment welcomes all who love brew and who enjoy a small-town, community-oriented atmosphere. First, let’s talk beer. You’ll find ten or more selections on tap at any given time. From the lighter style Rollcast Kolsch, to the heartier Downhill Rush Winter Ale, you’ll find a flavor to please every craft beer-conditioned palate. All beer is brewed on site using quality ingredients and local mountain water. Brewery owner Mark Ralston takes a personal interest in the brewing process and has worked hard to elevate the brand since he purchased Flat Top in spring of 2017. As owner, he has spent most hours of every day refining the brewing process, adding new recipes, and promoting Flat Top Mountain beers throughout the region. Chances are you can now find the brand at your favorite High Country restaurant. Looking for a multi-pack to take home? You can now pick up an assortment of tasty Flat Top Mountain beers in cans in the taproom or from several retailers in the area.

On most days you’ll find Mark and his wife Yumiko serving beer in the taproom or working next door in the brewhouse, which is visible through the taproom’s wall-sized window. The couple have created an inviting atmosphere that welcomes everyone. Bring your kids. Bring your dog. Cozy up on the leather couch in front of the fireplace and watch your favorite sport on the big screen. Try your hand at the pinball machine or shuffleboard, hang out at the pool table in the back room, or play a board game at the farm table up front. “We come here often with our dog and five year-old daughter to be among friends,” explained locals Donald and A.C. Marriott who say they’re fans of the family who now own Flat Top and have become regulars for two simple reasons: “the beer is great and the people are kind.” Whether you’ve been skiing, hiking, shopping, working, or simply hanging with friends, end your day by grabbing your gang and heading over to Flat Top Mountain Taproom. You’re likely to find your new favorite brew. And like most Flat Top customers, you’re likely to return again and again. Flat Top Mountain Brewery & Taproom is located at 567 Main St E, Banner Elk, NC. Visit for winter hours or call (828) 898-8677. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


Experience Wine with a View... Banner Elk Winery | (828) 898-9090 135 Deer Run Lane, Banner Elk, NC 28604 Nestled in the awe inspiring majestic Blue Ridge Mountains stands North Carolina High Country’s original winery. Come for a tasting or a tour, or perhaps stay the night at our Tuscan-inspired Villa. A private retreat with luxury accommodation, beautiful scenery, and warm hospitality in an idyllic setting.

Grandfather Vineyard & Winery | (828)-963-2400 225 Vineyard Lane, Banner Elk, NC 28604 Our terraced mountain vineyard and winery is nestled along the Watauga River at the base of Grandfather Mountain. We are 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 wine. Enjoy and share with friends.

Linville Falls Winery | (828)765-1400 9557 Linville Falls Highway, Linville Falls, NC 28647 Linville Falls Winery is part of a 40-acre family owned and operated farm in the Blue Ridge mountains. Just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the winery is in a great location to enjoy the outdoors while sipping on mountain-grown wine. Elevate your taste with us!

Watauga Lake Winery | (423)768-0345 6952 Big Dry Run Road, Butler, TN 37640 Visit the historic and “haunted” schoolhouse where the classrooms have been transformed into our winery. Enjoy tasting the 2015 “Best of Tennessee” wine produced from the fruit of our vineyards. Enjoy a “wood-fired” pizza and Sangria on Saturdays or enjoy a bottle of wine with our Boar’s Head deli items out on the deck or inside our event room.

Cut out the Passport to the right and explore the High Country Wine Trail! Appalachian High Country — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE 34 The American Viticulture Area

Watauga Lake Winery’s holiday bear

Enjoy a winter visit to Linville Falls Winery

Winter in the vineyard at Grandfather Mountain Winery

The elk sculpture at Banner Elk Winery

Winter and Wine on the High Country Wine Trail By Julie Farthing

Baby, it’s cold outside! If hitting the ski slopes or hiking trails in a winter wonderland is not your thing, another type of trail exists that only requires a mode of transportation, some leisure time, and a desire for “wine with a view.” Follow the High Country Wine Trail and experience four distinct wineries while enjoying small towns, local shopping, and spectacular mountain scenery. Winter is the season of rest in the vineyard. Twisted bare vines, coated with the glaze of morning frost or a blanket of fresh snow, are hibernating after a plentiful harvest. But winter is actually an opportune time to venture out on the High Country Wine Trail to partake of the fruit from summers past. The dormant winter season allows vintners and winery owners time to mingle with guests, explain which grapes make a wine sweet or dry, and even offer a tour of what goes on behind the scenes. Over the past decade, North Carolina mountain vineyards have been producing award winning wines, each with their own unique appeal. In 2016, the High Country had the distinction of being recognized as North Carolina’s fifth American Viticulture Area (AVA). A vineyard grown in this region is distinguishable by its soils, elevation and climate. The Appalachian High Country AVA is a 2,400-acre area spanning eight counties across three states. Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell and Watauga counties are included, as well as Carter and Johnson counties in Tennessee and Grayson County in Virginia. The High Country Wine Trail includes four wineries in this newly created AVA. I recently hopped on this trail to sample some new wines at Watauga

Lake Winery. The companion Villa Nove Vineyard, consisting of over 4,000 vines, is perched on a beautiful slope overlooking the mountains of eastern Tennessee, just a skip and a jump across the North Carolina border. The winery itself is located down the road in an old schoolhouse brought back to life by owners Wayne and Linda Gay. Original classrooms now serve as a tasting room and dining area, as well as home to a resident ghost. Included in their award-winning wines is my favorite, “Duncan Hollow,” a port-style wine that carries the original name of the surrounding community. This selection is perfect for the holidays and cold winter evenings...think warm and smooth with a hint of sweet berries. My next stop on the Wine Trail, Grandfather Mountain Winery, is the first producing winery in Watauga County. Nestled between the shadow of Grandfather Mountain and the Watauga River, the winery offers relaxing seating around a large fire pit on the outdoor patio, or guests can cozy up by the fireplace in the tasting room. Even if the river is covered in ice, big reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon or the Winemaker’s Blend warm the palate as well as the spirit. Owners Steve and Sally Tatum planted the first vines in 2003, on a south-facing steep slope at the base of Grandfather Mountain. Their son Dylan graduated with a degree in viticulture and enology from Surry Community College, and his talents are evident in the many awardwinning wines. Drive about 20 minutes up the road to Avery County, and you’ll find Linville Falls Winery, named after the spectacular Linville Falls and Gorge just minutes away. A culmination of a 60-year pas-

sion for owner Jack Wiseman, Linville Falls Winery offers grape varieties such as Riesling, Seyval Blanc, Noiret, Marquette, Petit Verdot, and Foch. These grapes thrive in the colder climates of the Blue Ridge Mountains and produce exciting wines not found at lower elevations. The estate winemaker’s blend “Elevation” is a perfect example of such wines. In addition to grapes, the farm produces blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, heirloom apples, pumpkins and Christmas trees. Enjoy their European flair winery with a roaring fire, live music and views overlooking the vineyard. Ironically, the end of the Wine Trail for me was actually the birthplace of all High Country wineries. The Banner Elk Winery in Avery County planted its first grapes in 2001, many grown as the result of a test grant from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture that determined which grapes could grow and thrive through the harsh mountain winters. These grapes were actually grown on my farm just down the road, so maybe I can say I had a bit part in the beginnings of what is now Banner Elk Winery. The afternoon sun slipped behind Beech Mountain as I sat next to a roaring fireplace and sipped on mulled wine, a perfect end to a perfect day on the Wine Trail. A Wine Trail card with directions and information is available at each winery. Or, check out the High Country Wine Trail ad in this issue of CML. You’ll find a “passport” that you can cut out and carry with you on your own Wine Trail adventure! Visit all four wineries and receive a beautiful etched wine glass to commemorate the adventure.




What’s Next for Keith Martin By Karen Sabo

In January 2010, Martin won an Emmy Award for producing the documentary, “Coming Out ~ Coming In: Faith, Identity and Belonging,” which aired on PBS. Keith Martin is kind of a big deal. I got to meet him when he joined the faculty at Appalachian State in fall of 2011 as the John M. Blackburn Distinguished Professor of Theatre, where I occasionally teach. The Department of Theatre and Dance hired him because of his amazing breadth of knowledge about all things performing arts and his abilities as a theatre producer, and Keith has followed up on his pledge to increase the number of theatre and dance majors, and to tirelessly promote the department. But the more I got to know him, the more I realized I’d known of him for fifteen years. Long before I met Keith in person, I had read about him in American Theatre magazine because of the famous, or for some, infamous, production of the play Angels in America that he produced for Charlotte Repertory Theatre in 1996. I was living in New York City at the time, but within theatre circles, we had all heard about Keith Martin, and learned of this production that was getting national publicity because of the controversy over producing this gay-friendly play in still-conservative Charlotte. If I had missed the article in American

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Theatre, I could have read about him in the New York Times or seen him on The Today Show. Keith would undoubtedly have made a significant mark on the national performing arts scene even without the widespread publicity generated from Angels early in his career. The creative skills he learned as an actor and dancer—he got his first professional gig as a mere teen—he uses in his tireless advocacy for the arts and as an arts promoter. Martin’s impressive journey has led him from his hometown of Hickory, NC, to Boone by way of lots of other places, and he’s happy to be back in his home state, teaching eager young students about theatre management, musical theatre, and arts promotion. I’ve gotten to help chaperone his thrice-yearly trips to New York City for Appalachian students, during which he introduces them to Broadway stars, arranges talks with industry professionals, and takes them backstage to talk to performers, technicians, and designers working on some of the most popular shows on Broadway. Keith’s abbreviated curriculum vitae is as long as my arm and is a pretty lively read. His experience includes guest lec-

turing at Yale, a six-year stint managing the Richmond Ballet in Virginia, and performing in the North Carolina outdoor drama Unto These Hills during his high school days. In the interest of full disclosure, I consider Keith a mentor and friend. He helped pave the way for me to serve on my first board (of the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country, the beautiful art deco treasure in downtown Boone that is currently under renovation). He has generously advised me so I can learn how to better run my own arts non-profit, Boone-based In/Visible Theatre. He doesn’t even complain when we insist on ringing the melodious doorbell at his house, despite that it makes his dog yowl. Keith doesn’t rest on his laurels or allow his past achievements to speak for him, but instead is always active, continually productive, constantly exploring ways to help advocate for the arts, including through directing plays. Keith’s next artistic project is directing the April 2018 Appalachian State University production of Sweeney Todd, a Stephen Sondheim musical made even more famous by the 2007 film starring Johnny Depp and Helena

Shortly after winning the Tony Award for her Broadway debut in Arthur Miller’s “A View From The Bridge,” Scarlett Johansson was photographed with Martin at the postawards gala in 2010

As a 19 year-old freshman at UNC-G, Martin (center) played the leading role of Robert in the Stephen Sondheim musical “Company.” Bonham Carter. The production will be a collaboration between the Theatre and Dance Department, the Hayes School of Music, and the Office of Arts and Cultural Programs (OACP) and will be performed in the largest arts venue in the High Country, the recently renovated Schaefer Center on the Appalachian State Campus. I asked Keith about his upcoming project. Have you directed this show before? If so, when and where? Yes, at Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte in March 2002. I was artistin-residence and it was one of four musicals I directed for them. Most of the leads have gone on to solid professional careers—our “Sweeney” back then has spent years on Broadway, and our daughter Sarah was the beggar woman. Why are you interested in directing it now? First, I’m a huge Stephen Sondheim fan, having directed and/or choreographed seven of his musicals. Secondly, Sweeney is one of my top five favorite musicals of all time. Finally, the show was proposed for production by our students,

and it is always a pleasure to work with them on something they want to do. How many different productions of Sweeney Todd have you seen, and which was your favorite? Of the half-dozen or so I’ve seen, the 1979 original directed by Hal Prince with Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury will always be my favorite. I saw it during spring break of my senior year in college the week it opened on Broadway. I was stunned. The audience didn’t know whether to gasp in horror or laugh uproariously but I was forever smitten. How do you think this show will work in the Schaefer Center, a large, traditional space? I’ve seen it off-Broadway with only eight cast members in a 199-seat theatre, performed in the round with 300 audience members and proscenium-style for over 2,000 patrons. This show works anywhere. What do you think are the greatest challenges of directing this show, particularly in a college setting? No challenges, only opportunities! For only the third time in over two decades, Appalachian is mounting a

massive production that utilizes the combined talents of theatre, dance, and music students in the largest venue on campus. Four years ago, Kiss Me, Kate! involved 104 students from 38 different academic majors representing all nine colleges and schools within our fine university. What other event does that? Sweeney Todd features an all-student cast, and an orchestra featuring members of the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University. The show plays April 13-15 at the Schaefer Center on the campus of AppState. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7 p.m., and the Sunday show is at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for students and $20 for community members, and are on sale now through the Appalachian State University online box office, https://theatreanddance., by calling (828) 262-3063, or by visiting the on-campus box office in the lobby of the Valborg theatre from 1-5 p.m. when school is in session.



Santa Land Diaries, at the Barter Theatre

Cultural Calendar Spotlights By Keith Martin The winter season on the local performing arts scene features a veritable feast of offerings with cutting-edge fare, classics, and new works included in the recipes. While there are a few old chestnuts sprinkled in the mix, here’s a baker’s dozen of the most interesting shows on the horizon from now through early spring, listed below by producing company, beginning with the holiday offerings. 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! Although Barter Theatre’s 2018 season is announced elsewhere in this issue, their 2017 holiday offerings are in production through the end December. Based on the Paramount Pictures film, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas performs on the Gilliam Stage in rotation with Rudolph, an original musical by Playwright-in-Residence Catherine Bush with music by Dax Dupuy. The sidesplitting comedy A Tuna Christmas by Ed Howard, Joe Sears and Jaston Williams features all 22 residents of the third smallest town in Texas performed by only two versatile actors, Barter favorites Mary Lucy Bivins and Michael Poisson. Also on Stage II is David Sedaris’ oneperson opus The Santaland Diaries featuring company member Nicholas Piper as Crumpet, Macy’s department store elf best described as “a rebel without a Claus.” Information is available at www. or 276-628-3991.

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Over in Banner Elk at Lees-McRae College is Big Fish. Based on the 1998 Daniel Wallace novel and the subsequent 2003 Tim Burton movie, this musical version was adapted for Broadway in 2013 by John August and Andrew Lippa. The stage production cleverly shifts the story between two timelines: the present day real world and a storybook past. The erstwhile protagonist is Edward Bloom, a travelling salesman whose larger-than-life stories thrill everyone around him, most of all, his devoted wife Sandra. Their son, Will, who is about to have a child of his own, is determined to find the truth about his father’s epic tales. Performances run February 22 through 25; info at or 828-898-8709. Ensemble Stage’s holiday musical variety show is An Ensemble Christmas and will be presented from December 15 – 17 in the historic Banner Elk School. “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. For more details and ticket information, please visit or call (828) 414-1844. The closest national tours of Broadway musicals are presented at the City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium (CoMMA). On February 27, a celebration of the iconic 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz takes the stage in “A lavish production, featuring breathtaking special effects, dazzling choreography and classic songs.” On March 23, the international percussion sensation STOMP stops in Burke County with an eight-member troupe that uses everything but conventional percussion instruments—matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters, hubcaps—to fill the stage with magnificent rhythms. Info at or 800-939-SHOW (7469). Note: both productions will have only one performance each. The Department of Theatre and Dance at Appalachian State University has several offerings worth viewing. Lisa Kron is best known for writing the book of the multiple Tony Award-winning musical, Fun Home, based on the autobiographical novel by Alison Bechtel. In the play Well, Kron uses her own life experience to address what it means to be healthy in medical, personal and social terms. Performances will be given February 22 through 26 in Valborg Theatre. New works featuring original choreography are a hallmark of the popular Appalachian Dance Ensemble from March 21 through 25, also in the Valborg. This creative laboratory for faculty and students includes eight different premieres with movement ranging from abstract to expressionistic, and rhythmic works of sheer physical energy, each exuding the joy of dance. The Appalachian Young People’s Theatre (AYPT) will tour the region with Ramón Esquivel’s The Hero Twins: Blood Race. An original story inspired by classic Mayan mythology, the play employs parkour, free running, capoeira, and other martial arts and dance forms to weave a tale of determination, discovery, and liberation. The family-friendly show will run April 6 through 8 in the I.G. Greer Studio Theatre. Info at or 800-841-ARTS (2787).

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo at the Schaefer Center Photo by Sascha Vaughan

People often ask me which one or two productions I’m most excited about… look no further. February 9 has been circled on my calendar for months because it’s the day Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo graces the stage of the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. Founded in 1974 by a group of ballet enthusiasts for the purpose of presenting a playful, entertaining view of traditional, classical ballet in parody form and in travesty, “The Trocks,” as they are affectionately known, is a company of professional male dancers performing the full range of the ballet and modern dance repertoire, including classical and original works in faithful renditions of the manners and conceits of those dance styles. Also on the Schaefer Presents series at Appalachian is the second major collaboration in the last four years between the Department of Theatre and Dance, Hayes School of Music, and the Office of Arts and Cultural Programs. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s 1979 masterwork, an infamous tale set in the 19th century. Todd returns to London seeking vengeance against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife. The road to revenge leads to Mrs. Lovett, the resourceful proprietress of a failing pie shop, above which he opens a new barber practice. Mrs. Lovett’s luck sharply shifts when Todd’s thirst for blood inspires the integration of an ingredient into her meat pies that has the people of London lining up, even though the carnage has only just begun. The musical runs April 13 through 15. Info at 800841-ARTS (2787) or

cultu re

Artwork by Brad Parquette



Barter Theatre Announces Its 2018 Season: Richard Rose Reflects on His 25 Years as Producing Director By Keith Martin A slate of 23 theatrical offerings for 2018 was recently announced by Barter Theatre Producing Director Richard Rose and his creative team, by far the largest and most comprehensive season in the southeast and among the most ambitious in the country. In an exclusive interview with CML, Rose offered an insider’s view to the upcoming season, reflected on his quarter-century at the venerable State Theatre of Virginia, and shared some personal insight about his lifelong collaborative partner, wife Amanda Aldridge, the Barter’s resident choreographer and costume designer. CML: Is there an overall theme to your upcoming season? Rose: Barter’s 2018 Season is really about diversity and sharing together the core of our humanity. As I said at the announcement event, Barter believes our august theatre to be a place where we unite and come together to explore our common humanity. In a world that is becoming increasingly divisive, we hold our theatre as a place that we can ALL gather; where everyone is welcome, where everyone is equal, and where everyone has a voice to share together and explore the very core of our humanity. We are stronger and better as a united humanity than we are as a divided one. That does not mean that we must view the world in the same way or that we must have the same opinions or that we must share all of the same beliefs or that we must even like the same plays or musicals. It is our diversity and our individuality, our discourse, and our disparate consciousness shared together that makes us greater together than we can ever be alone. We are extremely appreciative that you have chosen to come to take the journey with us and explore the world in which we live today.

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CML: What are you most excited about in the upcoming 2018 season? Rose: That is always a difficult question to answer as it is like choosing your favorite child. That aside, I would have to say that there are three or four of the shows that truly excite me personally the most. “Bright Star,” as Barter Theatre gets to be the first regional production allowed to do their own production of the show following the Broadway run and the even before the current national tour is completed. I love Steve Martin’s story and writing on the show and the truly great music by Edie Brickell. It’s a great southern story with roots in North Carolina and perfect for Barter Theatre; right in the wheelhouse of what we do extremely well. I am excited to show the world what we can bring to this show to make it a vital and exciting part of the lexicon of musical theatre. “The Bridges of Madison County” because it is Jason Robert Brown’s glorious music with a book by the truly tremendous Marsha Norman, whose work I also love. Plus, I think Barter can give this musical a unique and compelling production like no other. “Sally McCoy” is a professional premiere of one of the best plays EVER to come out of Barter’s Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights. Alice Stanley’s play is a great look at the power and struggle of women in a world dominated by men based on the real-life events for the Hatfields and McCoys. This takes a whole new, original and compelling look at the world and sheds new light on the famous feud and its human toll. Alice Stanley is, I believe, a fresh, intelligent and wonderful new voice in the American theatre. And, oddly enough, a hysterical new musical called “Madame Buttermilk” by West Virginia author Ross Carter, which

combines opera and country music in ways that one would never think possible, resulting in a musical that our audience has truly demanded that we produce as quickly as possible; it was that popular and beloved during our development of this through our AFPP process. I have never seen our audiences so excited. CML: What projects are you keeping for yourself as director? Rose: “Bright Star” is mine; I really am excited about doing that show and making it our own. I have a strong connection to the work and hope to realize the true potential of the piece. CML: Do you pick shows to showcase the particular talents of your outstanding resident company? Rose: Interestingly enough, we have such a widely talented company at the moment here at Barter, that we were able to choose pretty much at will because they have such wide abilities to transform themselves into almost anything and anyone. Thus, we chose the season to spread the wealth of roles scattered for everyone in the company and still had multiple choices for roles. Of course, we are doing “Steel Magnolias” for Mary Lucy Bivins, as this show and the role of Ouiser Boudreaux are among her all-time favorites. CML: I understand you and your wife just celebrated an anniversary? Tell us about it. Rose: During my annual address to The Porterfield Society, a large group of donors who have left legacy gifts to the theatre, I said that our 25th season here at Barter Theatre comes to an end in December. During that time, Barter has mounted 646 productions, not including the staged readings of Barter’s Appalachian Festivals of Plays and Playwrights,

Barter Theatre’s 2018 Gilliam Mainstage Season

or any of our touring productions. This is more productions than Bob Porterfield did in his 40 years as Barter’s founder and director, which was 521 including touring productions; and more than Rex Partington did in his 20-year tenure, which was 285 productions. It’s almost more productions than these two previous directors of Barter Theatre did combined. We do expect to surpass that number of productions— the combined total of Mr. Porterfield and Mr. Partington—within the next two years. To date, we have performed to 3,432,103 audience members here in Abingdon, not including our current Christmas season performances. From 1993, our first season here at Barter, to the present, Barter has performed to well over another 1.2 million people on tour. In the past 25 years, we have performed to more patrons here in Abingdon than Barter performed to during its first 60 years, including tours. And just to say it, as I have heard the rumors, as Mark Twain once said, “Reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated.” CML: Of the 646 shows you have produced at the Barter, how many have you directed? Rose: I have directed 136 productions; this number does not count those that I have designed or choreographed, or any duplicate productions that I have remounted. CML: It’s no secret that your favorite collaborative partner is your wife, Amanda. How long have you been working together? Rose: I used the term “we” in my answers, which are from my speeches, because I am referring to both Amanda and myself. Amanda is well over 200 shows, and I mean well over, that she has either done

the costume design for and/or choreographed. That is counting those show as only once even if she did both choreography and costume design for the show. Like me, she does not count remounts. We have worked together as collaborators on 70 percent of the shows that I have directed. I am also a choreographer and have often complained, playfully, that Amanda gets credit for the choreography work that I have done on shows together. We do work together well and enjoy our artistic collaboration. I willingly say that Amanda is far more talented and creative than I could ever hope to be. She is an amazing talent in both costume design and in her choreography. I think her work has continued to evolve and get stronger and richer in the last five to seven years, which is amazing. I trust Amanda’s opinion and her artistic sensibility and rely upon her opinion. We have been married for 35 years and been a couple for 38 years, working together in theatre for that entire time, except for a few years when we did different productions as freelancers. I’d say that it is pretty unusual for a married couple to work together that much that long. Interestingly, neither of us paused to celebrate that 25th anniversary milestone here at Barter… we didn’t even think to stop and acknowledge the journey. We did what we always do and just continued working. At the time, we were in the middle of what we lovingly call “TechTember,” the time between early September and the first week in October when we open five shows on Barter’s stages and immediately begin rehearsals for the four Christmas productions. No time to stop and celebrate; only time to work with our truly talented and wonderful colleagues to bring you the theatre that you love and support.

Bright Star by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell In the Heat of the Night adapted by Matt Pelfrey from John Ball’s novel Sister Act by Alan Menken, Glenn Slater, Cheri and Bill Steinkellner, and Douglas Carter Beane Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling Ain’t Misbehavin’ by Thomas “Fats” Waller, conceived by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Murray Horwitz Singing in the Rain by Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown Great Expectations adapted by Catherine Bush from the original book by Charles Dickens Elf: The Musical by Thomas Meehan, Bob Martin, Matthew Sklar and Chad Begulin

Barter Theatre’s 2018 Stage II Season

A Facility for Living by Katie Forgette Richard III by William Shakespeare The Lemonade Stand by Matthew Fowler Madame Buttermilk by Ross Carter Sally McCoy by Alice Stanley The Bridges of Madison County by Jason Robert Brown and Marsha Norman Wooden Snowflakes by Catherine Bush The Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris

Barter Players 2018 Touring Season

Aesop’s Fables by Catherine Bush and Ben Mackel Alice in Wonderland adapted from Lewis Carroll by Catherine Bush Billy, Goat, Gruff: The Musical by Gwen Edwards and Ben Mackel Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs adapted from the Brothers Grimm by Catherine Bush The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe adapted from C.S. Lewis by Joseph Robinette The Adventures of Tom Sawyer adapted from Mark Twain by Catherine Bush ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Catherine Bush and Dax Dupuy or 276-628-3991



42 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Experience ART

Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome, 1949. Photo by Masato Nakagawa. Courtesy of the Western Regional Archives, Asheville, NC. (Top) Cecil Sharp (1859 - 1924). Image 25. Woman on barge, Hot Springs, NC, August 1916. Courtesy of the English Folk Dance & Song Society, Cecil Sharp House, London. (Bottom)

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Zach Walker, Trimella Chaney and Sarah Miller

A Performance of Guys and Dolls, WHS ‘17

Theatre at Watauga High School: A Tradition of Excellence Generations in the Making By Keith Martin Few names are as revered in the High Country as that of Trimella Chaney. A 30-year veteran of the Watauga County school system, she taught language arts at Hardin Park for eleven years before founding the theatre arts program at Watauga High School and directing their Pioneer Playmakers for 19 years. Upon her retirement, Chaney joined the Department of Theatre and Dance at Appalachian State University, where she still serves as a member of the faculty over four decades after beginning her teaching career. This doesn’t even include stints at Blue Ridge Community Theatre, the NC Association of Educators, NC Department of Public Instruction, NC Governor’s School, the NC Theatre Conference (NCTC), the Watauga County Arts Council, or teaching Sunday school classes and directing church plays at her beloved First Presbyterian. Of all these accomplishments, it is the Watauga High School theatre program that is nearest and dearest to Chaney’s heart. When she retired in 2005, Chaney was honored as “the First Lady of WHS Theatre” and her picture smiled on all

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those who entered the theatre at the old high school. In addition, the yearly acting awards are called “the Trimellas,” a tribute to a lifetime career in theatre education. Chase Luddeke, WHS Class of ‘01 and owner/general manager of Mellow Mushroom, fondly remembers his theatre experiences as a student under Chaney. “The Pioneer Playmakers are somewhat of an anomaly considering the club resides in a small town high school. An auditiononly theatre troupe that provides a chance at grade-school glory otherwise reserved for the jocks and sports stars. Becoming a Playmaker is achievement; the members are a family, one that has grown forwards and backwards in time, but more importantly outwards into the social fabric of the school and the community. Those that sometimes find themselves on the fringes, can look to the success of this theatre team, and know that there are more ways to be cool than catching a ball. Just the existence of the Playmakers gives many students the confidence to be themselves, and the opportunity to learn invaluable life skills often overlooked in the traditional class setting.”

In his nomination letter for the NCTC K-12 Theatre Educator Award, Chaney’s former student Adam Faw, now head of the drama program at Pinecrest High School in Southern Pines, said, “Trimella’s influence as an outstanding theatre teacher can be seen in the number of working theatre teachers, actors, playwrights and producers who cite her as their teacher and mentor.” These professionals include Sarah Miller, WHS class of ‘89, who started teaching at her alma mater in August 2005, following Chaney’s retirement; except for a six-month stint as assistant principal, Miller has been teaching and directing in the theatre department ever since. “Mrs. Chaney was my English teacher at Hardin Park, and I did two plays with her that year. They were transformative! I loved being on stage, loved the energy of working with other students in ensembles, loved the challenge and thrill of making a performance together.” “We adored Mrs. Chaney,” said Miller, “her sense of humor, her gentle encouragement, her very high standards that she knew we could reach. In my senior year, I

auditioned and was accepted for the very first Pioneer Playmaker Honors Acting ensemble, and watched Mrs. Chaney engage in the formal construction of the theatre program. If we got rowdy in class/ rehearsal, she would sternly growl ‘focus... focus.... FOCUS!’ A time or two it may have also included banging a clipboard on the edge of the stage, but that was rare—we wanted to listen to her. I decided to teach high school theatre during that senior year, working with Mrs. Chaney. She’s been my mentor, dear friend and ‘DramaMama’ since eighth grade!” Greg Pope joined the theatre department faculty in the early ‘90s, teaching with Chaney and Miller until his retirement in 2012, providing continuity during the transition in leadership. Pope loved technical theatre and helped make the most out of the limited space at the old Watauga High School. WHS grad Shauna Godwin provided interim assistance until Zach Walker joined the team in 2013, and Godwin still serves as their resident choreographer. Miller and Walker are now co-directors of the WHS Theatre Department. They both teach acting and technical theatre classes while sharing directing, producing, and technical responsibilities for the spring musicals. These musicals are the hallmark of their program, drawing sellout crowds of enthusiastic audience members for recent productions of “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Sound of Music,” “Seussical, The Musical,” “Mary Poppins,” and “Guys and Dolls” with “Cinderella” recently announced for 2018. Today there are approximately 175 students taking courses in the theatre department with an average of 100+ students from across the school participating in their spring musicals. WHS averages between 15 and 17 productions each school year, and their curriculum has grown to number more than a dozen different courses, from beginning to honors theatre, and student directing to advanced levels of technical theatre, along with the Pioneer Playmakers and ten different acting classes. In 29 years of attending and participating in the NC Theatre Conference High School Play Festival, Watauga advanced to the state level 19 times. In the last 13 years, the Pioneer Playmakers have received superior ratings at the re-

gional level a dozen times, and every year since 2010. WHS won the state festival and represented North Carolina at the Southeastern Theatre Conference twice, with Chaney’s production of “Dearly Departed” in 2000 and with Miller’s production of “John Lennon and Me” in 2007. This autumn, Watauga’s production of “Things Fall (Meanwhile)” was recognized by festival adjudicators with yet another superior rating along with two Festival Spirit Awards; two Barbizon Excellence in Design and Production Awards to Elizabeth Copenhaver for Sound/Technical Design, and Eve Sigmon for Lighting Design and Technical Work (Sigmon also won an $85,000 college scholarship for her work on the show); three Excellence in Acting Awards to Zoa Archer, Andrew Brown, and Sage Souza; Outstanding Achievement in Ensemble Acting; Excellence in Movement and Transitions; Excellence in Directing to Zach Walker; and the Judges’ Choice for Distinguished Play. Miller says their philosophy of participating in NCTC is to challenge faculty and students with high level and interesting work that helps find opportunities to grow their acting, ensemble and technical theatre skills. It’s a philosophy that is skill and growth-focused, as opposed to being ‘win’ oriented. Many of Miller’s former students are working professionally in regional theatres and producing companies across the country. Two recent WHS grads are working at Walt Disney World in Florida, and one former Playmaker is now the Watauga County Schools Director of Communications. Several others have graduated with, or are working towards theatre education degrees. As with Chaney, the pattern of “teachers teaching teachers” continues for yet another generation of students. Rachel Sabo-Hedges, a 2017 WHS graduate currently pursuing a BFA in musical theatre at Western Carolina University, says that over her four years at Watauga, “Sarah and Zach became more than just my teachers, they became my family, supporting me in and out of the classroom, fueling my passion for theatre with never ending support and constructive criticism.” Chaney agrees. “The WHS Theatre is reaching new levels of excellence under the inspired leadership of Sarah and

Zach. I’m thrilled not only to see the outstanding shows they produce, but the process they use to teach and nurture life-long theatre lovers and empathetic world citizens. I knew when Sarah was an eighth-grade student that she was truly an extraordinary woman, and my opinion has not changed. The future at WHS is ensured for generations yet to come with these two dedicated, artistic teachers.” What are their plans for the future? “To continue to grow the program; to challenge our students to learn more about themselves and the world through theatre arts; to challenge our students to learn to work with and for each other, effectively and positively, in ensemble settings; to prepare our students to engage in 21st century problem-solving, collaborative work and collaborative learning.” Perhaps Angie Hays, Executive Director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference said it best when talking about the current régime: “The Watauga High School theatre department is a shining example of artistic excellence. Sarah Miller and Zach Walker are extraordinary arts educators who teach their students to work hard, to support one another and to celebrate their peers. Sarah and Zach believe in the value of service, and NCTC is grateful for their work as regional High School Play Festival hosts, as well as for their leadership as mentors of new theatre teachers. “While Watauga has experienced great success with their NCTC performances,” Hays said, “I am most impressed by their approach: the work is the cake, the work is where we put our heart and soul, and awards are simply the icing. Zach and Sarah inspire me; I’m grateful for their service, and I know their work has enriched the lives of countless students, parents and members of the Boone community.” Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella: The Enchanted Edition” will run at Watauga High School at 7 p.m. on April 19, 20, and 21, 2018 in Ross Auditorium. Reserved seating tickets are $10 and can be purchased daily during lunches (11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m.) after spring break, and at the door while supplies last. For more information, email



The Wonder of Children & the Magic of Dreams By Bettie Bond, as told to Keith Martin This true story may only be read by people who understand the power of magic, otherwise you are putting your consciousness in danger of conversion! So… beware. As many people know, the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country has enjoyed placing a mannequin in the original box office ticket window of the newly-restored façade and meticulouslyreplicated marquee of Boone’s venerable uptown theatre. On special occasions, such as the monthly First Friday Art Crawl, this mannequin has been replaced by a real live young lady, one of a trio of Appalachian State University theatre students, wearing period 1930s costumes and accessories. These sassy interns have surprised several passersby, and their efforts have been repaid with some great laughs, wonderful comments, and an occasional

remembrance from the glory days of this historic landmark. Several weeks ago, volunteers with the theatre were answering questions, giving short tours of the theatre and generally enjoying the afternoon with the folks uptown. A live young lady was in the ticket booth, handing out brochures and popcorn coupons through the same window slot that has been the source of hundreds of thousands of purchases since 1938. A darling little girl carrying a pink purse accessorized with pink glasses frames filled with rose-colored lenses and generally a vision in pink, stopped on the sidewalk and said in a very loud, three year-year old voice, “It works!” Holding her hand outstretched, gesturing toward the ticket booth again with the “It works!” Her mother was overheard to say quietly, “It is magic.” The three volunteers witnessing this

little scene were rather stunned. The mother came over and explained. “Yesterday we walked by the ticket booth, complete with mannequin, and my daughter cast a spell on the booth with her fairy dust locket. ‘Be real, be real,’ she said. Nothing happened so we walked on. Here we are today and voila… it obviously worked! Maybe a little delayed, but the fairy dust worked nevertheless.” There are lots of magic moments in our lives. Some may never be recognized, but I hope that little “Pinky,” as we call her, will always remember when her fairy dust made the mannequin come alive… even for just that two hours on a Friday afternoon in Boone, NC. I know I will. Bond chairs the volunteer committee for the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country. For more information about the theatre or to volunteer, visit their website at

“You’ll Be Surprised At What You’ll Find!”

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Sally Nooney Gallery

A Love for Art in Any Season

While most art crawls and gallery hops take place during the warmer months, an artist’s creativity never lets up. Winter can be a great opportunity to see some of the latest creations by local artists before the spring crowds arrive. We are blessed with many great arts and crafts venues in our region. If you’re looking for an inspiring indoor activity this season, swing into these cozy and colorful local galleries.

Carlton Gallery in the Grandfather Mountain Community

Carlton Gallery is one of the foremost fine art galleries in the High Country of Western North Carolina exhibiting paintings, glass, sculpture, wood, clay, wearable fiber and jewelry. In business for over 35 years, the gallery evolved from a small fiber studio in the early 1980s to a fine art gallery showcasing the work of local, regional and national artisans. The gallery represents many longstanding artists who render works of local vistas and waterscapes, abstract figurative, intuitive paintings, photo realism, contemporary abstracts using cold wax and oil. Artist and Owner, Toni Carlton, personally selects art work from traditional to contemporary in all media which is presented in the gallery’s Spring, MidSummer, Autumn and Winter Group Exhibitions. In addition Individual Artist Exhibitions with Receptions are held periodically throughout the year which affords an opportunity to meet the artists and discuss their work. The gallery is located at 10360 Hwy 105 South in the valley of Grandfather Mountain Community between Linville/Banner Elk and Boone, NC. Winter hours are Wednesday through Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.. The Winter Group and Small Works Exhibition continues through April 30. For information on artists, workshops or exhibitions call 828-963-4288 or visit For more information about Toni Carlton’s mixed media artwork visit

48 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Crossnore Fine Art Gallery in Crossnore

Crossnore School and Children’s Home has provided hope and healing for North Carolina’s children in need for more than 100 years. In support of their mission, the Crossnore campus invites the public to several arts and crafts venues, including an Appalachian weaving museum and gallery, Crossnore Weavers, and Crossnore Fine Arts Gallery. Crossnore Weavers was created to preserve the Appalachian art of handweaving, to give an economic opportunity to women, and to promote Crossnore School & Children’s Home through the sale of beautiful hand-woven goods all over the world. Crossnore Fine Arts Gallery represents regional painters, sculptors and fine craft persons who want to take part in benefiting the children of Crossnore School & Children’s Home. The galleries are open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. & Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and located at 205 Johnson Lane in Crossnore, NC. (828) 733-4660

The Art Cellar in Banner Elk

A celebrated arts destination for 25 years, The Art Cellar Gallery and Framemakers features paintings and sculpture by regionally, nationally and internationally acclaimed artists. The gallery collection also includes regional pottery, glass and wood. Stop in this season to see a variety of new “Winter Works.” Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and appointments are available. Visit the Art Cellar at 920 Shawneehaw Avenue, Hwy. 184 in Banner Elk, NC.

MICA Gallery in Bakersville

Mica, a cooperative gallery of fine crafts located in downtown Bakersville, NC, showcases the work of its 13 members whose creative lives have been nurtured by the energy of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. On display and available for sale is a variety of functional and sculptural ceramics, glass, fiber, metal and paintings. This winter, enjoy special artist exhibits and events, including “Winter Wrap Up,” a show of Western NC’s best Fiber Artists (Neal Howard - Deanna Lynch - Liz Spear) running through December 31. (Note: MICA will be closed January-March, but has an online store open year-round). Located at 37 N. Mitchell Avenue, Bakersville, NC or at

BE Artists Gallery in Banner Elk

One of the newest galleries in the area, this artists’ co-op is located at the recently renovated Historic Banner Elk School. View the works of ten member artists and more than a dozen local consignment artists (including Sharon Glatthorn, who photographed the CML Winter cover image, available on canvas at the gallery). A great destination for last-minute holiday gifts, the gallery will be open Thursday – Saturday through the end of December, and on Saturdays and holidays throughout the winter season. Visit or the gallery’s Facebook page for up-to-date hours and special events listings.

Turchin Center for the Visual Arts

Blowing Rock Art and History Museum (BRAHM) in Blowing Rock

The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum provides cultural enrichment to the High Country communities by promoting the arts and Southern Appalachian heritage and history through educational programs, exhibitions, activities and permanent collections. Don’t miss the special winter programming at BRAHM, including the following exhibitions: Arts at the Center: A History of Black Mountain College running through April 7 – Black Mountain College was an experiment in progressive education that brought together creative minds from all over the globe to the rural Swannanoa Valley of Black Mountain, North Carolina. As a liberal arts school, the College was short-lived, opening in 1933 and closing by 1957 due to financial struggles and other structural challenges. What happened during those years, however, was impactful and progressive, and its lasting legacy continues to influence the way we look at education, the arts, democracy, and social justice. Comic Stripped: A Revealing Look at Southern Stereotypes in Cartoons running through March 10 – this special exhibition offers visitors a chance to look back thoughtfully at cartoons that have shaped America’s vision of the South. The exhibit showcases six long-running cartoons that have themselves become part of Southern history. Throughout the season, you’ll also enjoy guided gallery tours, open studio sessions, movies, book signings, and children’s activities. For more information and Museum hours, visit

Carlton Gallery

Turchin Center for the Visual Arts in Boone

The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University on King Street is located in the heart of downtown Boone. Since opening in 2003, the center has built upon Appalachian’s longstanding belief that access and interaction with great arts programming is an important part of a great university education. A number of exhibitions are taking place at the Turchin Center this season, including: Circles of Influence by Barbara Hardy & Bob Ray; Garden of Biotanical Delights by Diane Kempler; Taking Tea by Judith Gregory; Spectacle and Scaffolding, Contemporary Photography Muses Hierarchy; Hearing the Trees, by Katherine Mitchell; Forest Light, by Adele Wayman; and the 31st Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition. Visit to see closing dates for each exhibition. Hours are TuesdayThursday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Fri 12-8 p.m. and Sat 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

BE Artists Gallery

Alta Vista in Valle Crucis

Alta Vista Gallery shows over 100 artists in all media, specializing in mountain landscapes. New paintings arrive for the winter months, and throughout the year. Winter hours are Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Interested in a private viewing? The gallery opens on Sundays by request. Call 828-9635247 or email Alta Vista Gallery is located just ten minutes from Boone or Banner Elk, in a National Register historic farmhouse at 2839 Broadstone Road, Valle Crucis— between Mast Farm Inn and Mast Store Annex. For a map and directions, visit


Hands Gallery in Boone

Hands Gallery is a fine art and craft gallery in the heart of downtown Boone that established its roots in the area back in 1975. Today, Hands Gallery has 20 artist members who own and manage the gallery, and represents dozens of consignment artists from the area. Looking for gifts this season? Search for the red door along King Street and take a peek inside. Open daily 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. at 543 West King Street in Boone, NC.

Sally Nooney Gallery in Matney

Ready for the holiday season! Glass holiday trees, a bear bearing gifts and cardinals feasting on berries in textured glass are just a few of the works on display this season at the Sally Nooney Gallery in Matney. Located on scenic Hwy 194 midway between Valle Crucis and Banner Elk, Nooney offers a multitude of works in various media, including still life and landscape oil paintings, glass art and more. See Nooney’s latest works at her studio and gallery, open most days between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. 7137 Hwy 194 South, Banner Elk, www.sallynooney. com.

These galleries are just a sampling of some of the local art galleries and purveyors welcoming the public through the winter season. For more museum and gallery listings, visit



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Photo by Tucker Tharpe

Dave Brewer: Keeping the Pulse of the High Country Rocking By Mark Freed Dave Brewer literally and figuratively keeps the musical pulse of the Carolina Mountain Life region kicking. As a multi-instrumentalist (including being a fine drummer), a festival visionary and producer, a bartender and booking agent, and an instigator of artistic collaboration, Dave helps create the strong musical scene of the High Country that first lured him to the area more than a decade ago. Dave grew up in Clemmons, North Carolina, and he has fond memories of attending a church camp in Ashe County as a child. “Coming to the mountains as a kid enamored me with the Blue Ridge Mountains,” he recalls. “I loved the mountains and the weather and the people.” After starting his college career at Western Carolina, Dave ended up in Boone, taking classes and playing a lot of music. Dave joined the funky jam band Six Foot Groove, and later helped form the Americana alt-country band Possum Jenkins—a group he continues to perform and record with today. After graduation, the rest of the Possum Jenkins band moved to the Triad area of North Carolina, and, while they continued to play, Dave sought out other musical ventures near Boone. He also started writing for one of the local newspapers, focusing much of his journalism on the local music scene. Dave started

52 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

filling in on drums with The King Bees, the premier local blues band. In 2007, Dave and some friends joined forces to play some soul and Motown music for a party and had so much fun that they formed Soul Benefactor. Dave also performs and records with The Worthless Son-In-Laws, and he is a member of the Junaluska Church Gospel Choir band. Dave loves bringing musicians together, and playing in so many bands has given him quite a network of collaborators. One year for his birthday, Dave threw a musical party, inviting members of his various bands. The party—Dave Brewer’s Big Bad Birthday Bonanza— was a huge success and terribly fun, and Dave wanted to make it a more regular event. “Inspired in part by the Warren Haynes Christmas jam, I wanted to keep having collaborative musical evenings and also do some good.” Dave helped create the AMEN (Area Musicians Experiencing Need) Corner as a fund to help support local musicians going through hard times. With a summer birthday party, Dave created the High Country Holiday Throwdown, creating two annual events to help fund AMEN Corner. In another collaborative effort, a couple years ago Dave reached out to a handful of area musicians who were fans of the Grateful Dead’s music. Dave

pulled together about a dozen musicians who performed a couple of benefit concerts to help support the local animal shelter. Several members of the collaborative have continued performing together at periodic events, and other side projects have emerged from the group. Dave planted the musical seeds, and the entire community reaps the harvest. One of Dave’s most noteworthy accomplishments to date is, in some ways, the culmination of his work as a musical instigator. In 2014, Dave created the Carolina Ramble, a musical festival that takes place in the early fall in the far western side of Watauga County. 2017 was the fourth year of the festival and the most successful to date, with two days of music, camping, vendors, and a solid attendance. The event features Americana and roots music performances in a family friendly and affordable mountain festival. If Carolina Mountain Life readers don’t catch Dave Brewer on a stage, you might find him behind the bar at the Boone Saloon in downtown Boone, where he books the acts and helps cultivate the music scene. And be sure to keep an eye out for the High Country Holiday Throwdown in mid-December, Birthday Benefit Bonanza in July, and Carolina Ramble festival in September.

String Band Traditions in Good Hands: Strictly Strings Has Spectacular Year By Mark Freed If you have an interest in old-time string band music and you live in the Carolina Mountain Life region, odds are you heard the name Strictly Strings in 2017. It was a big year for this young string band from Boone, North Carolina. The band formed at the Jones House Cultural and Community Center in downtown Boone, where the members participate in the Boone JAMS ( Junior Appalachian Musicians) program. Cecil Gurganus was the teacher for an advanced fiddle class that included a host of talented young kids, including Caleb Coatney, Willow Dillon, and sisters Anissa and Kathleen Burnett. The group clicked, and before long the advanced class turned into a band—performing at local dances and events. By the end of 2016, the group had won blue ribbons at most of the regional fiddlers’ conventions and spent the year recording their debut album, High On a Mountain, which they released in December 2016. With increased regional exposure and a new recording in hand, Strictly Strings took on 2017 by storm, performing at concert venues, festivals, and special events across the state and across

state lines. The band was featured at the kick-off celebration for the 50th anniversary of the North Carolina Arts Council. They were selected as a featured group for the North Carolina stage of the National Folk Festival in Greensboro. Strictly Strings played stages at the International Bluegrass Music Association festivities in Raleigh. They gave performances at Merlefest, Carolina in the Fall, the Wayne Henderson Festival, various fiddlers’ conventions, and at about every concert series in the region. To put it simply, Strictly Strings was everywhere. And for good reason. Strictly Strings represents the best qualities of a good mountain string band. For starters, the entire band is made up of really good musicians, who love to play. They all play multiple instruments and multiple styles. They have diverse interests—inside and outside of music—and they dedicate their time to those interests and each other. The band is known for regularly hanging out after their lessons (the students are all teachers now) for hours to hone their craft. This passion for playing and working together comes across in their performances, and it helps make them a joy to watch.

Another important quality for a good mountain string band is in-depth knowledge of fiddle tunes. When you boil it down, this music is rooted in fiddle tunes, and Strictly Strings started from a fiddle class. Cecil is one of the area’s favorite old-time fiddlers and mentors to young fiddlers. He has a diverse repertoire that has only been expanded by working with the Strictly Strings gang. Willow, Anissa, and Kathleen are all award-winning fiddlers and even composers of new fiddle tunes that you would swear sound as old and dignified as the traditional pieces. Caleb is the only non-fiddler of the bunch, but his knowledge of the tunes runs just as deep, which he plays fluidly on mandolin, banjo, and guitar. And, perhaps the greatest joy in watching a Strictly Strings performance is seeing the traditions being passed along and kept alive all at once. A group of young, enthusiastic mountain string band musicians performing alongside their knowledgeable mentor in such a cohesive manner is a sight to behold and a sound to be heard. Keep your eyes and ears open for Strictly Strings in 2018, as they forge forward with the traditions of tomorrow. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


Grandmother’s Flower

Mountain Star

Bears Paw

The Grand Tradition of Quilts and Quilting In a corner of my bedroom stands a lovely quilt rack, skillfully crafted by my woodworking father during his retirement years. Adorning it are five quilts, all of them filled with the kind of power and poignant meaning only items with deep personal connection can produce. Four of the quilts were made by my mother, while the fifth had been given to her by an elderly widower who befriended her when she was a child. I never look at them, never remove one for a bit of extra warmth on a cold winter’s evening, without indulging in a moment of fond recollection. Even when “resting” Momma was never idle. She might be seated in a rocking chair or taking part in conversation with family or friends in the living room, but typical of mountain folks for whom a staunch work ethic was a byword, she was eternally busy. During winter months in particular, when there was no canning to be done, no apples to peel, no beans to string and break, she turned to crafts. Over the years her endeavors encompassed sewing, basket making, knitting, crocheting, fashioning ornate wreathes and table centerpieces, and especially quilting. Such was her industry as a quilter that she managed to complete multiple quilts for each of her three children and then, as five grandchildren came along, see to it that all of them had a tangible piece of her heart and products of her hands for their own. You will find similar quilt-related tales and traditions running through the fabric of mountain life as surely and satisfyingly as close-stitched piecework. Quilts represented a functional item that could, over time, become treasured, and the materials and methods employed in their creation represented a number of the salient characteristics of mountain life. Of particular note in this regard was their practicality.

Quilts provided warmth in homes where bedrooms had no heat and were a welcome comfort when cold came to the High Country. They epitomized the solid ethic often described as “make do with what you’ve got,” utilizing scraps from worn-out clothing, material from flour sacks, rags as for padding, and indeed almost anything available in the way of woven material. Similarly, quilts often met social needs. Quilting bees offered mountain women, who often saw little opportunity for interaction with other females outside of church services, an opportunity to share labor, exchange ideas, and enjoy one another’s company while simultaneously doing something productive. A quilt frequently served as a gift for special occasions. For example, a mother or grandmother of a newlywed pair might present the couple a quilt as a wedding gift, and not infrequently it came in a cedar chest made by a father or grandfather. Gift quilts often marked the birth of a child, a youngster’s first birthday, or perhaps a girl’s engagement. Whatever the particular circumstances, they represented something truly special as well as being a useful item which would endure. Making quilts often involved elaborate patterns, and sometimes a particular “recipe” (a design for a quilt) was handed down through the female line generation after generation (quilting was almost exclusively the province of females, although men often provided frames for working on them and racks to hold or display them). Another approach, much more eclectic but likely to produce a colorful, eye-catching array of colors and patterns, was for a number of women to create blocks, as individual sections of a quilt were known, and then sew them together at a communal gathering. Moun-

By Jim Casada

tain women took great pride in their handiwork, and there was understated but nonetheless keen competition to see who could sew the tightest, most even stitches or produce the most elaborate color schemes or intricate patterns. The only real limitation on quilt design was the imagination of the women who made them. Perhaps an example from my family experience will help make the point. My father never had a great deal of money, and our economic circumstances during my youth could at best have been described as lower middle class. Yet even a cash-strapped individual is allowed to have some small sphere of excess or extravagance and for Dad, that was neckties. He enjoyed wearing colorful and fashionable ties, even though virtually all his working life was in a combination sawmill/furniture factory where ruder and more rugged clothing was standard. But on Sundays and special occasions he could sport stylish ties as his own tiny foray into sartorial splendor. The only problem was that the dictates of fashion changed regularly in terms of tie colors, designs, and widths. That suited Momma just fine. Out-of-date ties made a welcome and colorful transition to quilting material, and many of her finest quilts are comprised largely of ties. Old-time approaches to quilting have largely vanished, victims of changing lifestyles and the demands of life lived at a different and far faster pace than in yesteryear. Yet quilting as an art form and folk tradition endures, an immensely appealing part of the High Country’s past to which we can cling, cherish, and celebrate.



A son of the North Carolina mountains, Jim Casada is a freelance writer and winner of numerous awards. To learn more, order his books, or to sign-up for his free e-newsletter, visit

A Gift from the Heart, and Your Own Hands By Scottie Gilbert While autumn is the season of change, winter is the season of love. And gift giving is one of the many ways to show loved ones how much they mean to you. Maybe you want to give all your coworkers a small token of your gratitude as the end of the year draws near. Or you want to show thanks to your mother or father with something special ‘just because.’ Or possibly you have a sweetheart to spoil on Valentine’s Day. Whatever the occasion, a gift, especially a hand-made gift, is always welcomed with a smile. Homemade gifts are more economical, one-of-a-kind, and sentimental than anything you can buy. Furthermore, there are many handcrafted items available to be made by all skillsets and time commitments. Block printing is one project that is accessible to all ages and achieves a variety of crafts enjoyed or used by anyone. What you need: • Paintbrush, flat • Sponge, flat • Fabric paint, acrylic paint mixed with a textile medium, or a stamp pad depending on your canvas • Wood block or handmade stamp* • Iron • Your canvas, the item or fabric you wish to print (more on that below)


*If you can’t get your hands on carved wooden printing blocks, it is easy to make your own with these materials:

• Scrap wood, flat, and cut in various sizes depending on the size of your design • Sticky foam paper • X-acto knife • Tracing paper (optional) To make the stamp, simply use tracing paper to transfer a design to the foam sheet, cut it out using a special knife over a safe area (an old magazine or cutting board), and apply the sticky side to a similar sized wood scrap. Remember, any design you use will print backwards. What you can print: The options are endless. The easiest route is to print on pre-made, solid colored items, like napkins, tea towels, pillow covers, bed sheets, table cloths, canvas

bags, etc. Cotton and other natural fabrics produce the best results and dark fabrics can be used with the proper contrasting paint. If you would like to make something more custom for the recipient, print on fabric and make a sachet filled with potpourri, a heart-shaped pillow, a blanket, etc. A homemade bear or animal stamp, printed on fabric, cut out twice and sewn together and stuffed, makes an adorable homemade stuffed animal for a small child. You may also use blocks or stamps with a store-bought inkpad for paper products, cards, wrapping paper, posters, etc. A fun decorating idea is to use cutout paper prints as a garland for your mantel or tree. What you do: Find a large even surface or table where you can spread out. Use newspaper or plastic if working on any surface you don’t want to stain. Using an old drop cloth or another fabric underneath for cushion may provide better, more steady results, especially when wood blocks, as opposed to a homemade stamp, are used. If using premade items or fabric, launder and iron them before stamping. Using the paintbrush, apply fabric paint (or mixed acrylic paint with textile medium) to sponge evenly and thoroughly. This acts as an ink pad for the block. Lightly dab your block or stamp onto the paint-coated sponge, ensuring even coverage, and make a few test prints onto scrap fabric or paper before moving onto the final product. Once you have the hang of it, re-dab for each print and continue to print the canvas of your choosing. Let sit for 24 hours then iron over low heat. A thin cloth can act as a heat buffer for delicate fabrics or messy paints. This sets the prints, allowing the gift to be washed and used over and over again. In addition to giving a block printed item as a gift, printing textiles can be great as a family, school or party craft project as well. Spending time with friends and family is the essence of winter and doing a fun project is certain to entertain. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


Photo by Gene Smith

Photo by Gene Smith

56 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

High County Antiques: Something for Every Taste By Cindy Michaud For years, the search for one-of-akind antiques has been a highly ranked sport in High Country activities. Today, the great hunt continues but the prizes sought by enthusiastic shoppers have changed. Fine china and cut glass seem to be gathering dust while other “hot” items take their place on the “most wanted” lists. This area is fortunate to have a variety of vendors offering something for every taste. Taking a peek into the shops of three local dealers reveals exactly what shoppers are seeking. Antiques on Howard Tucked between the campus of ASU and downtown Boone, Antiques on Howard (199 Howard Street, Boone) has over 6,000 square feet of booth space offering everything from tiaras to tools. Charlene Headley, owner, explains, “We have jewelry, furniture, consignment pieces and a variety of owner run booths. Our customers include students with parents outfitting an apartment, along with seasonal visitors shopping for their cabins.” Headley gets a kick out of spotting a certain type of fellow who makes a bee-line for the vintage tool booth near the back of her shop. “These guys recognize the ‘Keen Kutter’ brand; they know their stuff and whether they want a tool to use today or one of historical value— they pretty much look here first.”

specialty near and dear to his heart: vintage fishing lures. “This shop would be a haven for any one of the 50,000 members of the National Fishing Lure Collectors Club,” he chuckles. The Twisted Twig Antiques & Accents When seeking whimsy and usability, shoppers head straight for The Twisted Twig Antiques & Accents (2780 Tynecastle Highway, Banner Elk). Sisters Susan McCulloch and Marcee Corn have paired their love of antiques with a creative repurposing vibe offering customers a unique approach to using classic antiques. “We recognize when a traditional piece should not be messed with, it stands on its own,” clarifies McCulloch. “But when we can make something fabulous from abandoned pieces and parts,” continues Corn, “that’s when we get really excited. Our customers love being able to enjoy something every day that might otherwise live in a kitchen drawer.” To that end the sisters, with the help of their handy husbands, have built and sold lamps made from cameras, musical instruments and old washer parts. One lucky shopper went home with a couch crafted from a vintage car bench seat complete with car hop serving tray and outdoor movie speakers. As further proof, McCulloch mentions an antique piece of luggage that gathered dust until it was outfitted with rolling legs to become a tea table and sold the next day.

the caller kept saying, “Oh yes, Kelly will like that.” When he shipped out the sold pieces it became clear that the caller was shopping on behalf of Kelly Travolta and her birthday gift for husband John. Twisted Twig’s McCulloch agrees that owners need to read the market. “We work with decorators that look for distinctive, one-of-a-kind pieces that can be used by clients while serving as conversation pieces. So we offer unusual, eclectic items which carry a story.” To this end the sisters are happy to consider doing a unique makeover for someone’s memory-filled item. In considering niches, Headley has noticed that with her location close to campus, Antiques on Howard has become noted for ASU memorabilia. “And I’m learning that there is a growing interest in vinyl records,” she says. “Twenty years ago they were being pitched and today they are being sought and bought.” So while your grandmother’s matching set of fine bone china may not fetch what you were told it was worth, or even be of interest to family members, rest assured that the antique world is not only surviving, but thriving as it changes along with needs and trends of current buyers. You may want a piece of weathered barn wood circa 1790 (Antiques on Howard) for do-it-yourself, or you might prefer an already built, locally-made, wooden twig table (Drexel Grapevine Antiques). Then again, you could be itching for a unique, inlaid chess set made from glass salt and pepper shakers (The Twisted Twig). But one thing is certain: you will find them all while hunting antiques in the High Country.

antiques Drexel Grapevine Antiques But buyers seeking the highly collectible Catawba Valley pottery, the likes of BB Craig, Charlie Lisk and Michael Ball, stop first at Drexel Grapevine Antiques run by dealer, auctioneer and appraiser, Jeff Savage (3451 Highway 321, south, Blowing Rock). Savage knows his stuff and has earned a reputation statewide for offering one of the largest selections, old and new, of North Carolina pottery. “It’s a niche,” he says, “and once you start learning the history of how these pieces were made, it’s hard not to hunt for the best.” He addresses another

All three shop owners acknowledge that the antique market is evolving. “There will always be an upper tier market for the very high end, fine, classic pieces,” opines Savage of Drexel Grapevine, “but the middle range market is changing. Not many formal dining rooms are being built and millennials are practical, they don’t want clutter. Dealers need to adapt, find a niche or learn what their specific clientele is most interested in.” He answered an inquiry once regarding aviation collectibles and

Antiques on Howard: Sunday 1-5 p.m., Mon. – Sat. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Drexel Grapevine: Sunday closed, Tues. – Sat. 11a.m.-5 p.m.

Twisted Twig: Sundays (only holiday weekends) 11a.m.-4 p.m., Mon.-Tues. closed, Wed.-Sat. 11a.m.-4 p.m.



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


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58 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

FISHING When You Can’t Fish By Andrew Corpening

High Country winters are great for the winter sports enthusiast but tough on the fly fisher. Of course there will be some days when you can fish but they will be few and far between. When the temperature is below freezing and water is freezing on the rod, it is hard to have a good time fly-fishing. Even though the local weather may keep you from fishing, it does not mean there is nothing for you to do. There are plenty of fly fishing activities available to keep you in touch with your sport. Winter is a great time to get your equipment out and prepare it for the coming spring. The first thing to do is inspect your fly line for damage. If it is cracked or frayed, it is time to replace it. If it appears to be okay, then you might just need to clean it. Commercial products are available that clean and recondition your line. Clean it now so you are ready for the first warm days when you can fish. Now is also a good time to clean your reels. Make sure that your reel revolves smoothly. Check and make sure the spindle is clean and lubricated. The last thing you want is for your reel to bind when playing a big fish. Inspect your waders. If you feel that you may have a leak, this is a good time to patch them. If you have stockingfoot waders, the best way to find a leak is to turn them inside out and fill them with water. Mark where you see water is coming out. Then turn them back to the correct side and patch the leak. Winter is a great time to take care of this since there is plenty of time for your waders and the patch to dry. Winter is also a good time to empty your vest and wash it. Even though it will not help you catch more fish, your significant other and your fishing buddies will appreciate it.

If you tie flies, winter is a great time to replenish your supply for the coming spring. If you do not tie but want to learn, some fly shops offer fly-tying classes during the winter. Another good way to learn is from a friend who ties. If you cannot find a class, you might want to consider buying a fly-tying kit. They are available through the local shops and by catalog. Make sure to get one that has a good instructional book included. Learning on your own is a little slower but can still be just as rewarding. If you do not tie and do not want to learn, winter is still a good time to clean out your fly boxes. Every fly fisher accumulates flies. It seems to be a requirement of the sport that you have to buy a few new flies whenever you go into a fly shop. Since most flies are tied to catch the fisherman more than trout, everyone ends up with flies they don’t use. Treat the cleaning of your fly boxes like you would treat the cleaning of your closet. If you have not used a fly in two years or it is damaged, get rid of it. Since there is not a Goodwill Store for old flies, give them to someone who is just starting. The new fly fisher will appreciate them. With all the extra space you have in your boxes, you can now have the fun of collecting more flies that you will never use. If you have favorite dry flies with the hackle mashed down, don’t throw them out. Place the dry flies in a strainer and hold them in the steam from a pot or teakettle of boiling water. This will cause the hackles to straighten back up. Another good winter activity is reading a good fly fishing book. You can find books both non-fiction and fiction, howto books and where-to-go books, books on fly tying and books on new techniques. For the beginner a great book to start with is the Orvis Fly Fishing Guide. This

book has been in print for over 30 years. It covers everything from equipment to flies to casting to reading the water. A must read for beginners. For pure entertainment, it is hard to beat any book by John Gierach. Gierach has been called the Mark Twain of flyfishing. He is a columnist for Fly Rod and Reel Magazine and has written over a dozen books. These books can be funny, entertaining, and poignant all at the same time. Titles include Sex, Death, and Fly-Fishing; Trout Bum; and Dances With Trout. With titles like these, you know you are going to have an entertaining read. If the winter is starting to get to you and you just have to go fishing, a good option is Tennessee fishing. The rivers below Watauga Lake and South Holston Lake offer blue ribbon trout fishing. Since hydroelectric dams form these lakes, the water is released from the bottom. This means that the water below the dams is a nearly constant 55 to 60 degrees—the perfect temperature for trout. Also, since the area of Tennessee where the rivers are located is a lower elevation than here, it tends to be warmer. Even though these rivers contain a very large number of trout with some trophies possible, it is not “easy” fishing. Both rivers can be very technical and require small flies and fine leaders. Also for the first timer to Tennessee, it can be difficult to find river access points. With these things in mind, it might be a good idea to consider paying for a guided trip the first time out. A guide will direct you as to what to use and show you some places to access the rivers. The area fly shops and guides all offer these trips.



p r o t e c t i n g

APPALACHIA The Appalachian mountain region is not only a beautiful place to see and visit, it’s also a complex interlocking natural system that provides clean air, water and more to plants, animals and people alike. Resource extraction methods like mountaintop removal and fracking can damage the entire system. Please join us in the important task of protecting our mountains for future generations to enjoy.

This year, Appalachian Voices is celebrating two decades of bringing people together to stand up for the mountains, for rivers and drinking water, for farms, forests and wildlife, and for healthy communities across Appalachia. Join us as we begin our next 20 years. (New members: take advantage of our special “$20 for 20” membership discount!)

AppalachianVoices Visit

Serving the High Country for over 35 years

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MON 12 - 6, WED - SAT 12-6, SUN 1 - 5, CLOSED TUES

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


60 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

WEST JEFFERSON 336-489-3042

Birds like this Carolina Chickadee fluff their feathers to help stay warm.

Feeders can help our winter birds like these Pine Siskins survive our harsh winters.

© Todd G. Arcos

Photo by Jesse Pope

Coping with Cold By Curtis Smalling The High Country has a welldeserved reputation for harsh winter weather, and while we haven’t had a lot of snow in recent years, the cold (and especially the wind) reminds us that we live at a high elevation, often with weather more in common with New England than the rest of our state. And so now is the time of year we crank up the heaters and wood stoves, break out the latest in high tech gear and hit the slopes or trails, or hunker down to ride it out. But it often makes us wonder how the animals and especially birds cope with those same extremes. How can something like a Chickadee, that weighs less than a pocket full of change, not only survive but do it well in our winter wonderland? Let’s take a look at some of the common approaches birds use to stay warm (or at least survive) the winter. For about three-fourths of our bird species that nest here in the High Country (and for many of our people residents as well) the answer is simply to leave and head for warmer climes to our south. Most of our breeding birds head to Central America, the Caribbean, or South America in search of a milder winter and more abundant and stable winter food supplies. But what about those hardy souls toughing it out here? For birds that winter here, the needs are much the same as the rest of the year: staying warm, dry, and well fed, and away from dangers like predators. Species have adapted with a variety of strategies to cope with the decline in temperatures, a reduction in the length of the day, and an overall decline in insect availability. So birds have a great solution to staying warm and they carry that solution around all the time. By trapping air in super insulating feathers (and adding a

few extra feathers close to the body in winter), birds can maintain their high body temperature needs (around 100102 degrees Fahrenheit compared to our 98.6). You have probably seen birds on cold mornings sitting in the sun with their feathers all fluffed, and if you have a down comforter or a down-lined jacket you know first-hand how insulating these feathers can be! Many birds can be seen using the body heat generated by exercise to stay warm. Often (especially with flocks of birds or waterfowl) you may see what seems a random flight down the valley, or circling back and forth for a few minutes right at daybreak or dusk. The activity generates heat, which is trapped by the feathers and can help them prepare for the long night ahead or warm them up quickly in the morning (much the same way we see horses or cows running on snowy days or during cold winter rains). What we don’t see is that many birds shiver through the night to fend off hypothermia, but the idea is the same to keep the muscles active and generating internal heat. A few birds, including Chimney Swifts and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that leave us in the fall, can also go into a mini-hibernation called torpor in which their respiration, heart rates and body temperatures can drop quite dramatically as they sleep through a chilly night. While these two species leave us for the winter, others that are with us in the winter, like Rufous Hummingbirds, Carolina Chickadees, and Golden-crowned Kinglets, exhibit this same physiology. Some of our species also huddle together in groups to maintain body heat. Eastern Bluebirds, Chickadees and Nuthatches often roost together in cavities

Even small birds like this Golden-crowned Kinglet stay warm through the winter with a variety of strategies. © Todd G. Arcos

BIRDING and dense areas of vegetation to maintain warmth. The aforementioned Kinglets also huddle together on branches in dense cover to stay warmer. Many species seek dense cover in evergreens to take advantage of the warmer, more sheltered microclimates offered in boxwoods, cedars, and pines. Many species also switch their food habits a good bit to be able to stay in colder climates. Some smaller bark foragers like Chickadees and Kinglets eat a lot of spiders, hibernating flies and moths, as well as tiny spring tails to help get them through. Almost all winter species eat a lot of seeds and fruits as well, even species that normally eat insects a lot of the year. Thrush species like Eastern Bluebirds and Hermit Thrush eat mostly fruit in winter, especially high fat content fruits like Poison Ivy, Spicebush, and Winterberry fruits. Many will also use suet feeders more regularly as the desire for high fat content helps them consume enough calories in the shorter days of winter. And of course this is what makes them so easy to attract to our feeders, adding color and motion to our house bound days. You can help by providing a good mix of native vegetation that provides seeds and fruits for the winter months, dense evergreen cover for cold nights, some snags and bird houses for cavity roosting species, and a few brush piles for hiding from predators and getting out of the wind. With your feeders and these elements in place in your yards and gardens, you can help our little feathered friends stay warm and healthy through our long winter journey here in the High Country. And they will reward you with their color and sounds and energy. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


The Winter Woods Await: But Know Before You Go By Randy Johnson

Brenda Lowman, Babette McAuliffe, Sandy Krause, Tom McAuliffe

“Are we there yet?” a friend of mine asked her hiking companions one winter on a hike to the High Country’s most serious summit, 5,946-foot Calloway Peak on Grandfather Mountain. She wasn’t just impatient to step out onto the rocky perch and look down on the Carolina Piedmont a vertical mile below. She posed the question because her hike had risen from snowless winter woods far below on NC 105, to increasingly icy, snow-covered crags that suddenly seemed capable of delivering a slip and fall that might easily mean serious injury. She quickly realized her shoes, clothes, and minimal gear were fine for fall, but not for a hike that was quickly climbing up into winter. Luckily, my friend and her group turned around. That’s when they fully realized how easy it is to take slow baby steps up a snowy mountain, and how impossible it can be to step down an icy path with a full-on assist from gravity. As their slide-on-your butt descent gobbled up extra time and came close to becoming out-of-control exits into the trailside woods, the hikers’ main question suddenly changed from “are we there yet?” to “are we down yet?” If you’re reading this during winter 2017-’18 and considering a winter hike, take the cautionary tale above seriously but don’t let it convince you to stay on the couch. There are entry level hikes all over the High Country, where lower elevation and sunny mountainsides make it easy to avoid the surprise my friend faced. And there are also easy strategies to employ to be sure that, even if you stumble into the unexpected, you’ll make it back alive.

62 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Keep Your Feet The many outfitters in our area make it easy to find the kind of traction devices that my friend’s hiking party so sadly lacked—the gear that local park rangers at places like Grandfather Mountain recommend for everyone heading high up. Conditions can and do change suddenly on the summits, so be prepared. Consider snowshoes first—but not because most people need them. Our highest mountains receive enough snow to make snowshoes a reasonable purchase for real fans of winter. Places like Roan Mountain, and state parks like Grandfather and Elk Knob State Park, the latter north of Boone, are bonafide attractions—if you’re searching for serious snow. Good snowshoes can be had in the $100-$200 range—and besides flotation, they incorporate an ice cleat under foot for traction on ice. Far more useful for the average hiker are traction devices that slip onto your hiking boots. Products like YakTrax ($20$30), that grip with metal coils, and Katoohla MICROspikes, that project spikes from chains that encircle your soles, are awesome items to have when ice and snow threaten to deck you. They’re also perfect for plowing your driveway or heading down the steps to the basement after a snowstorm. Many off-trail uses make these a smart buy. Last but not least, try trekking poles. Four “feet” are better than two, and hiking poles let you complement your feet with dynamic balance and support. Use ski poles if that’s all you have, but dedicated trail poles also adjust and can be great for downhill and cross-country skiing as well.

Again, these double duty uses amplify their utility. We’re talking snow and ice here, but hiking poles are great in snowless times and summer, too. Many Swiss mountain guides require their clients to use them. Not up for a snowy winter climb? No prob, hit a snowless trail on the Parkway and anyone can enjoy this time of year. Or grab your poles and boot spikes and take a stab at snow hiking. Even if a snowy adventure isn’t your goal, if you have some basic gear like the stuff above, you can sample a wealth of High Country trails and not have to find yourself asking, “Are we down yet?” Try Snowshoeing If you just want to give snowshoeing a try, Sugar Mountain Resort rents snowshoes and leads a guided tour through the snowy mountain wilds Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 3 p.m., and at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday. The Beech Mountain Parks & Recreation Department offers snowshoeing free of charge for half-day sessions with gear available from the Buckeye Recreation Center. Call 24 hours in advance to arrange a free guided hike. Best bet for awesome snow—the Emerald Outback trails on the mountaintop. Randy Johnson started Grandfather Mountain’s trail program in the 1970s. His award-winning 2016 book Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon is the ultimate guide to the mountain and the history of the High Country.

Mojo the Eastern Screech Owl

Photo by Tabby Smith

Sealy the Barred Owl Photo by author

This is the time of year that younger owls are on the move. Parent owls take care of their young during the summer; come fall, their young begin to compete for food in their area, so the parents encourage them to find their own territory to live out their lives. While some are on the move, they find open areas, such as roadsides, places to hunt for food. Unfortunately, all too often these birds get hit by cars and are admitted to the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (MWRC) at Lees-McRae College (LMC). Admission Every animal admitted to the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (MWRC) offers an opportunity for learning, and with over 1,500 patients, that is a lot of learning for students and staff alike! The goal is always to get them back out to the wild. We sometimes work for months, giving the patient every opportunity to heal, but release is not always possible. Some of those individuals are relatively calm and seem to handle captivity well; they may join our fleet of ambassadors to represent their species in educating over 30,000 people annually. Lees-McRae students partner with the ambassadors to teach about the wonders of wildlife through our programs at elementary schools, festivals, on-site in the Tickle Classroom, and other venues. Legal Logistics In order to use these individuals for education, many steps must be taken for the animals to go from rehab to the classroom. First we must be sure the owl will not be able to return to the wild, which is a decision that is made by MWRC staff veterinarian, Dr. Amber McNamara; she writes a letter to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, who grants permission to transfer the bird onto a federal permit. The same is done with the N.C. Wildlife Re-

Ambassador Highlights: The Owls at the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at Lees-McRae College By Nina Fischesser, Director, May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

sources Commission for the state permit. We must provide information, pictures, diagrams and an educational outline for each species. Once approved we can begin the task of training the bird. Training Basics The very first step is to place the bird where he or she feels safe, then earn their trust. This is done first by simply being present, either outside or inside their enclosure. We use their meals (mice) to apply ‘Positive Reinforcement’ training methods. It may take months to get a bird to the point where it will perform the desired behavior. Just like humans, every owl has a different personality, so the training process will be at his or her individual pace, depending on personality and disability needs. Owl Facts We have two species of owl ambassadors at MWRC, one Barred Owl and two Eastern Screech Owls. All have been trained to be used by multiple handlers in a myriad of educational circumstances. Barred Owls Barred Owls are common from the east coast to the Midwest, and have spread north and west as far as California and the Pacific Northwest, where they are competing with the endangered Spotted Owls. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, their hooting call, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?”* is a classic sound of old forests and treed swamps, their preferred habitats. They can pass completely unnoticed, flying noiselessly through the dense canopy. Barred Owls don’t migrate, and stay in a fairly small area. In a study of 158 banded Barred owls, none had moved farther than six miles. Their diet is varied and includes: squirrels, chipmunks, mice, voles, birds (up to grouse size), amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates. They hunt

by sitting and waiting. They swallow their prey whole, digest what their bodies need, then cast (throw up) a pellet containing the bones and fur. Owl pellets help biologists learn about their diets. • More information can be found at https://www.

Eastern Screech Owls Many of the traits that apply to the Barred Owl also apply to the Eastern Screech Owl, except for the range. The Eastern Screech Owl is named for its range and vocalization, which is an even pitched ‘trill’ used for families to communicate with each other. Also, a descending whinny is used for territorial defense. The range of an Eastern Screech Owl includes southern Florida, north to southern Canada, then west through Texas and north to North Dakota. West of that range, you’ll find its cousin, the Western Screech Owl. Eastern Screech Owls come in primarily two colors: the red phase and gray phase, with an occasional in-between brown phase. Their silent flight, along with their acute night vision, give them an advantage as night hunters. They eat a variety of insects, small rodents and songbirds. The oldest recorded Eastern Screech Owl was a banded bird from Ontario that lived to be 14 years-old. • More can be found at guide/Eastern_Screech-Owl/lifehistory

Come see all our owls in person at the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, every Saturday from February until May at 1 p.m. in the Tickle Classroom. Our formal wildlife programs are free to the public. If you have any questions call the center at (828) 898-2568 or visit www. *Ornithologists often create phrases using the English language to help birders identify different species by their vocalizations. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


64 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

mountain notes Photo by Monty Combs


Grandfather Mountain in Winter By Amy Renfranz

When Hugh Morton inherited Grandfather Mountain in 1952, the park’s road met with a dead end at Observation Point—today’s Cliffside Overlook. Completing the road to the mountain’s Linville Peak and building the Mile High Swinging Bridge were his first priorities. The road that Morton built clung to the mountainside. Drivers today still grit their teeth along the three final switchbacks to the crest. Once atop, construction crews set to work building the bridge. First opened on September 2, 1952, it was a 228-foot suspension bridge that hung above an 80-foot gorge with mile-high views. Visitors flocked to “Carolina’s Top Scenic Attraction” during autumn of that year. However, the Swinging Bridge would not survive its first winter. Morton’s lofty goals had positioned the inaugural bridge in a place where north meets south. This is evidenced by what grows

there. Plants that thrive near the Arctic Circle abound on the mountain’s high peaks—right alongside plants that you might find at the beach near Charleston. Winter weather is the determining factor in which plants can and cannot grow on Grandfather Mountain. Temperatures and wind speeds are monitored by the Appalachian Atmospheric Interdisciplinary Research Program, in collaboration with partners at NASA and NOAA. The highest wind speed ever recorded was 120.7 miles per hour on December 21, 2012. The coldest temperature: 32 degrees Fahrenheit below zero on January 21, 1985. The daytime average temperature in January is 35 degrees, but averages drop into the teens by nightfall. Wind whips up the northern slopes of Grandfather Mountain, carrying with it supercooled water droplets that freeze on contact with the trees and rocks exposed at the crest. This rime ice disfigures

the landscape, leaving behind trees that look permanently caught in a windstorm. The first Mile High Swinging Bridge was not prepared for the winter extremes. By April, it was left in tatters. Rebuilt in 1953 and completely refurbished in 1999, the Swinging Bridge is today a safe gateway into a winter wonderland. Grandfather Mountain, covered in pristine snow, will look brand new to visitors—thousands of whom will brave the Swinging Bridge in its coldest months. Winter Time Activities Guests to Grandfather Mountain in winter can enjoy visiting the park’s Animal Habitats, Nature Museum, and the Mile High Swinging Bridge. If determined safe, the trails are also open to the most daring and prepared hikers. For a full schedule of events, including daily programs and special programs, and for park hours visit or call (828) 733-4337.

Historical Bridge images courtesy of the North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina Library at Chapel Hill. Photos by Hugh Morton. 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. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


Ramsey Cabin and additional historic structures at Humpback Rocks Farm, milepost 5.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, are slated for repairs.

Blue Ridge Parkway Accepts Centennial Challenge to Revive Historical Sites Built in 1858, Sharp Top Shelter at the Peaks of Otter has been damaged by vandalism and weather exposure.

Mabry Mill Flume / Photo by Karen Nelson

66 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

The tales of mountain heritage will live on at four historical sites along the Blue Ridge Parkway thanks to the Centennial Challenge grant program put in place by Congress and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Community of Stewards. This year, the program awarded funding for high-priority rehab projects at Humpback Rocks Farm, Sharp Top Shelter, Mabry Mill (including Groundhog Mountain), and Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. These grants must be matched by private financial support, and the Foundation is working to raise $287,000 to lock in the funding to repair historic structures and features at these stops in North Carolina and Virginia. “We are proud to work with the National Park Service for the third straight year to make the most of this matching opportunity,” said Carolyn Ward, CEO of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. “Thanks to donors and the Centennial Challenge program, we’ve seen many large projects move toward completion.” Past Parkway projects selected for the grants include the rehabilitation of Abbott Lake Trail at Peaks of Otter recreation area to provided access for those with mobility disabilities, upgrades at Mount Pisgah amphitheater to replace seating and pavement, and the restoration of historical structures at Johnson Farm, including the log barn. Funding for this year’s challenge will repair a signature element of the landscape design at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, the stone walls. Stretches of these walls that line the carriage trails are showing signs of faltering. To ensure safety and the integrity of the landscape, they must be fixed. Each of the additional sites selected for support has a story to tell about the Blue Ridge Mountains. Peeking inside the one-room log cabin at Humpback Rocks Farm at milepost 5.8 in Virginia, visitors learn about the tough but rewarding life that pioneers carved out in a mountainous frontier. Standing inside Sharp Top Shelter at Peaks of Otter at milepost 86, they can imagine the adventurous spirit of those who chose to trek to the summit long before a road provided access to the spectacular 360-degree view at 3,862 in elevation. Watching the waterwheel turn at Mabry Mill, milepost 176, they can recall that a couple, Ed and Lizzie Mabry, counted on the simple mechanics to earn their living and serve nearby farmers. The Foundation is proud to play a part to ensure these experiences are not lost. For more information and to give, visit

Scouting in the High Country: Past, Present, and Future By Elizabeth Baird Hardy Victorious Troop 814 Armored Turtle patrol at the 2017 Klondike Derby on Grandfather Mountain

February 22, 2018, will mark the one hundred and sixty-first birthday of Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting. To honor him, and to salute the millions whose lives have been positively affected by Scouting, February is set aside as Scouting month, and February 8 is National Boy Scouts Day. Scout Sunday is also celebrated in February, with Scouts participating in services in congregations large and small. Here in the High Country, Scouting is alive and well, part of a long legacy of Scouting that harks back to its earliest days. Although Avery County was not formed until 1911, in 1908, one of the first Boy Scout troops in the United States was established by Stanley Harris, who lived in what would become Avery County, and later resided in Watauga County. Inspired by the work of BadenPowell in establishing the Boy Scouts, Harris was a charter member of the Boy Scouts of America and worked tirelessly for Scouting for much of the twentieth century. He was especially influential in recruiting African American, Native American, and Mexican American Scouts. Many credit the diverse nature of Scouting today to Harris, who spent the last decades of his life in Boone, where he continued to promote Scouting and helped create the iconic Horn in the West outdoor drama. He is buried in Boone and, in 2010, was honored with a North Carolina Historical Marker on King Street, near where he lived.

As the Boy Scouts of America continues to be an important organization, with over two million youth and one million adult members currently involved, it also has a profound impact here in the High Country. Avery County alone boasts three active Boy Scout Troops and two packs of Cub Scouts eager to advance to the Boy Scouts, and, perhaps, eventually to the rank of Eagle, an accomplishment only about four in every 100 Scouts attains. A surprisingly large number of local Scouts have made the rank, however, and their projects, completed as part of the requirements for Eagle, enhance parks, churches, trails, and communities all around the High Country. The area also draws Scouts from across the nation to enjoy hiking, camping, and other resources. In fact, Scout troops are common sights along the Blue Ridge Parkway, on the Appalachian Trail, or on Grandfather Mountain. McRae Meadows, on Grandfather, is actually the site of one of the most interesting annual events in Scouting, the Klondike Derby. Since the early 1980s, this weekend-long competition has brought a wide array of Scouts together to compete with “dogsleds” reminiscent of those used in exploring the frozen wilderness of the Great Northwest. Although the Scouts, not huskies, pull the sleds, and although McRae Meadows is hardly the icy tundra, the event is a challenge that requires demonstrating Scout skills, often in adverse weather conditions. Scouts design and equip sleds that they pull to

Stanley Harris

stations, each presenting a specific challenge, from plant identification to first aid to fire-making. They are judged and ranked on their performances, competing to win each challenge and the overall ranking. The 2017 event, shrouded in fog, marked another milestone in the area, as the Armored Turtle Patrol of Troop 814 took first place; although 814 has long been active in the Derby, this is the first time one of its patrols has won the event. Scouts both from North Carolina and from other states enjoy the camaraderie and competition of the event, no matter the weather. As 2018 begins, the area’s Scouts have big plans: participating in summer camp, learning skills, giving back to their communities through service, and seeking to better themselves and their world through the core values of Scouting. In the process, they will live out the oath they recite whenever they come together to meet: “On my honor I will do my best, to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” As they continue the legacy of founders like Stanley Harris, with connections right here in the High Country our region’s Scouts will do their best to personify the Scout Law by being “Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.” Those values are what continue to give Scouting a proud legacy in our region and beyond. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


Help Virginia Big-Eared Bats “If you see one, let us know!” This call-toaction comes straight from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), the regulatory agency that helps conserve and sustain the state’s fish and wildlife resources, in addition to enforcing fishing and If you see this bat, hunting laws. The loplease report your cal bat to look for is sighting. the Virginia big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii). According to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, this bat has become so rare, it’s facing extinction. Habitat destruction and disturbances at their various cave roost sites in Avery, Watauga, and Yancey counties in NC, and in Carter and Johnson counties in TN, have led to the significant population decline. Bats are gentle, intelligent mammals that are beneficial to humans in many ways, including insect control. They eat large amounts of bugs, such as mosquitoes and other pests that can have a negative impact on food crops and forest health. Virginia big-eared bat colonies are known to stay in the Grandfather Mountain and Beech Mountain areas, and to roost in small caves near the Blue Ridge Parkway during winter months. You can help our local bat colonies by notifying the NCWRC of any sightings of big-eared bats. Here’s how to identify them: Body color is brown above, gray-brown below Body length is 3.5 to 4.5 inches, with very large ears (greater than one-inch) relative to body size Ears may lay flat on back or in coils If you see a Virginia big-eared bat, any time of the year, please leave it where it is and report it to: (send photos, if available). Learn more about this bat species at A note from the NCWRC: “If you find a bat [any species] in a building, don’t touch it and don’t panic. Open windows or doors so the bat can fly outside. If it is in an outbuilding, leave it alone.”


Blue Ridge Explorers: Opportunities for Nature Lovers A bull elk bugles in the wild. In early December, Grandfather Mountain welcomed three bull elk calves into its habitat herd.

Observe Elk at Grandfather Mountain The majestic elk (Cervus canadenis), one of the largest species in the deer family, was once plentiful in the southern Appalachian Mountains. In fact Banner Elk and Elk Park, among other locales, owe their names to these antlered giants who once freely roamed the High Country. As the human population grew in the southeastern U.S. and elk habitat was reduced, the elk population declined. In addition to habitat loss, elk were over hunted and extirpated from the southeastern U.S. by the late 1700s. For 200 years, elk were absent from our state. Then in 2001, the National Park Service (NPS) reintroduced elk to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Just over 50 elk were initially released into the park as part of the reintroduction program; today, there are nearly 200 elk in and around the park. As of December 2017, three elk now call the High Country “home.” Grandfather Mountain has adopted a trio of male elk—a bachelor herd—to reside in an all-new habitat at the nonprofit nature preserve. The adoptees are calves, each around four months old, and hail from a private elk farm and breeder in central North Carolina. “Now that we have elk in the park, guests can get a glimpse of how the mountain would have looked hundreds of years ago, with these magnificent creatures roaming the landscape,” said Frank Ruggiero, director of marketing and communications for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. “Our environmental wildlife habitats are built around the animals’ actual native environments, offering them ample room to roam as they please—even if it means being out of sight for a bit of privacy.” A large overlook at the park offers visitors the chance to see the elk in their new habitat. In addition to elk viewing, a winter visit to Grandfather Mountain may also include sightings of two other new residents, Logan and Trinity, sibling Western cougars that were added to the park’s environmental wildlife habitat in November. Visit Grandfather Mountain this winter for glimpses of these and other animals of the Appalachian Mountains. For more information visit

Photo by Colin Knight | Colin Knight Photography

Photo courtesy of USFWS

Creatures great and small abound in our area of the country, through every season. In this edition of Blue Ridge Explorers, we take a look at four unique opportunities we have here in the High Country to actively observe, protect and learn about some of our region’s native species.

Get to Know the Blue Ridge Discovery Center The High Country is a hub of biodiversity. Scientists believe that over 100,000 known species of plants and animals are currently living in the Blue Ridge ecoregion. And new species are being discovered all the time. Just a short trip from Boone, across the NC state line into Grayson County Virginia, you can learn a great deal about our ecoregion at the Blue Ridge Discovery Center (BRDC). BRDC offers school and community programs, as well as guided trips and interpretive materials that highlight the biodiversity, geology, and habitats that make the Blue Ridge ecosystem unique. For 2018, the Center is set to expand with plans to relocate to the historic Konnarock Training School at the base of Whitetop Mountain in southwest Virginia. Built in 1925, the once remote building operated as a girls school for 34 years, serving a chronically underserved mountain population. In 1967 the property was purchased by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) as part of the Mount Rogers Recreation Area. After sitting empty for many years, the USFS deeded the property back to the community in 2006. The new Blue Ridge Discovery Center will feature residential education, a biological field station, and a modern interpretative center. The BRDC office is currently located in the Mouth of Wilson community. To find out more about BRDC programs, as well as their future center at the historic Konnarock Training School, visit or email

Photo courtesy of USFWS

The historic Konnarock Training School, future home of the Blue Ridge Discovery Center

The downy woodpecker is a favorite for winter bird watchers.

Participate in the Backyard Bird Count If you want to put your naturalist skills to work this season, consider participating in the winter 2018 Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). When you do, you’ll join a global team of bird watchers—from elementary school students to the most seasoned birders—who make time to count local birds. Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the GBBC was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. In 2017, the GBBC celebrated the biggest count in its 20-year history; over 214,000 people around the world participated, with nearly 6,000 bird species recorded. The next GBBC is February 16-19, 2018. You can register and access your GBBC toolkit (instructions, data forms, online bird guides and more) at Here, you can also reference the different apps available for bird identification and data collection, developed by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Once registered for the GBBC, simply count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days during the February count. You’ll submit a separate checklist for each new day, for each new location, or for the same location if you counted at a different time of the day. You’ll estimate the number of individuals of each species you saw during your count period. Participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count is an easy way to contribute to science and conservation... not to mention a fun way to observe the winter behavior of birds! Visit to learn more and to start the registration process. Tamara Seymour is a N.C. Certified Environmental Educator and Certified Blue Ridge Naturalist. She is the publisher of Carolina Explorers magazine, a family publication all about the nature of North Carolina. You can reach Tamara at



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Left: Gajraj, a 70 year-old elephant recently rescued by Wildlife SOS, was kept as a temple animal for more than 50 years, spending much of that time in chains. / Right: Valle Crucis native Thomas Rowell / Photos courtesy of

Where are They Now? Profile of a High Country Native Many young people from our community spend the bulk of their childhood in the mountains of North Carolina. Yet when some of them reach adulthood, they decide to follow a calling that takes them off-mountain to big cities, and distant locales all over the world. It’s exciting when we hear news about some of the wonderful causes and endeavors in which our High Country sons and daughters take interest. So when we heard about Thomas Rowell, a Valle Crucis native making a difference for wildlife all over the world, we were thrilled to share his story with CML readers. Rowell, who is now in his late 20s, attended Watauga High School until his junior year, when he decided on a career path that led him to the NC School of the Arts in Winston Salem to study theatre directing. Today, Rowell is the

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Founding Artistic Director of Brother Mountain International Films, working internationally in the theatre and as a successful independent filmmaker. Following his passion for helping wildlife, he’s currently working as a video and photographic artist with Wildlife SOS, a nonprofit in India with the objective of rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife in distress. In this role he is collaborating with the organization to create a call to action for Indians to protect wildlife, including elephants who have spent most of their lives in captivity. “For six months, in partnership with Wildlife SOS staff, I will create outreach and education materials that challenge perspectives on wildlife and return more animals like Gajraj to the life that they deserve,” Rowell writes. “People are the greatest threat to India’s wildlife. And only people can change that. We are go-

ing to create videos that inspire action and ignite conversations with a wide variety of Indian citizens.” While in India, Thomas will also train Wildlife SOS photographers and outreach staff in video production so that after he leaves the country, they can continue the mission of producing compelling educational materials that encourage lasting change for these animals. You can learn more about Thomas’s work with wildlife at brothermountain. com. Want to support Thomas’s most recent project and Wildlife SOS? Visit his Go Fund Me page at www.gofundme. com/takethechainsoffindianwildlife. For more information on Wildlife SOS and their work visit:

An Ounce of Prevention… By Mike Teague

As I sit down to write this article, winter is starting to make its run on the High Country. The area ski resorts are gearing up for another year of providing enjoyable outside adventure. After 30 plus years of fire service experience in the High Country, I also know the frequency of structure fires will increase during the next four months. Holiday decorations, heating systems, and alternate heating sources add to the fire danger during these months. I want to take a few minutes to discuss what we can do to reduce the chance of fire and protect our families. Home Heating Heating systems are working hard to keep our homes warm. It is important to have these systems receive annual service and be checked by a reputable heating contractor. Many of these companies offer annual service programs. Having this annual checkup of our heating systems can prevent costly damage to the heating systems and our homes. Wood burning systems contribute to the increased number of fires every year, with everything from chimney fires to structure fires caused by improper use. It is important to practice added caution when burning wood in your home. Taking a few extra steps can improve the overall safety of your family. If you are burning wood make sure the flue is clean and clear from obstructions. There are several local chimney sweeps more than capable of cleaning and inspecting your chimney throughout the year. Just make sure they can provide you with their training background and insurance coverage. Keeping the creosote buildup to a minimum will reduce the chance of a dangerous chimney fire. Using seasoned hardwood will help reduce creosote buildup, but will not eliminate it. Every year fire departments in the High Country respond to structure fires where the improper disposal of stove/ fireplace ashes has ignited the structure.

If you clean out a fireplace or wood stove, make sure to only place the ashes into a metal container with a lid. Ashes can contain hot embers for several days. Treat all ashes as if they are hot and properly discard them into a metal container. If you utilize space heaters to heat your home it is important to give them space. Portable electric and fuel burning space heaters need at least 36 inches of clearance on all sides of the heater. Combustible storage too close to the heater can ignite leading to a deadly and damaging home fire. Just like a home furnace it is important to have preventive maintenance performed on those fuel burning space heaters. Many times, small adjustments can prevent incomplete burning which produces added smoke and dangerous combustion by-products. Christmas Trees We are so blessed that here in the High Country we are surrounded by fresh Christmas trees! For many of us it is an easy drive to one of our fantastic local tree farms to get a fresh cut tree for our home. Don’t underestimate the advantage of getting a fresh cut tree. Make sure when you cut your tree to take it home and put it in water as soon as possible. This will help to keep the tree fresh and reduce dryness. If your tree has been cut for several days, then just cut off a couple inches at the bottom and place into water. The fresh new cut will help the tree to start taking in water. Once inside, keep trees away from heat sources and direct sunlight if possible. Water the tree daily and continue to watch for dry needles. If the needles on your trees begin to dry and change color you should remove the tree from your home. A dry Christmas tree is a dangerous fuel load in your house. Dry Christmas trees burn with an intense heat release rate and can involve your home in fire very quickly.

Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarms As is always the case, it is important to maintain working smoke alarms in our homes. These alarms will respond to smoke in our home and alert us to escape. Test your alarms at least monthly, replace batteries yearly and replace the alarm every ten years. If you follow these simple steps, your family will be better protected from the dangers of a home fire. If you burn any type of fuel in your home or have an attached garage you should have at least one carbon monoxide alarm installed near the living and sleeping areas. Carbon monoxide is produced when a combustion chamber burns some form of fossilized fuel. Carbon monoxide itself is colorless and odorless, making it undetectable by humans. A lot of CO alarms are completely self-contained and will last between seven and ten years. Follow manufacturer’s directions as to placement and maintenance. Kidde Fire Extinguishers As many of you have heard, some Kidde brand fire extinguishers have been recalled for failure to properly operate. This link is to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and will help you to determine if your extinguisher has been recalled. kidde-recalls-fire-extinguishers-withplastic-handles-due-to-failure-to-discharge-and If you have questions or suggestions for fire safety topics you would like to see covered in CML, please write to Mike at Mike Teague is a 1987 graduate of ASU, and has 33 years of fire service experience. Mike served two years as Avery County Fire Marshal and 31 years with the Boone Fire Department, where he is currently serving as the Assistant Fire Chief, certified fire service instructor, and level 3 fire prevention inspector.



Local Tidbits Christmas Carriage Rides Love old-fashioned holiday traditions? Head over to North Wilkesboro for a horse drawn carriage ride December 18-22 in downtown North Wilkesboro. Rides start at 5 p.m., are free and are first come first serve until 8 p.m. Pick-up is located on 10th Street near the Wilkes Co. Library. This unique holiday tour is presented by the Town of North Wilkesboro and K&C.

FAF volunteers pack hundreds of boxes of food for families in need. Year-end Gift Idea: Feeding Avery Families This winter, consider filling an empty bowl—give the gift of time, food or money to Feeding Avery Families. FAF distributes approximately 550 boxes of food reaching over 1,000 individuals on the last Friday of every month. 100% of all your efforts and/ or contributions on behalf of Feeding Avery Families goes directly to Avery County families who still need help after exhausting all other available resources. If you would like to make a cash donation, you can send a check to Feeding Avery Families at PO Box 1075, Banner Elk, NC. All contributions are tax-deductible.

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Celebrate the New Year at Your Favorite Local Slope Ring in 2018 in style at one of our local ski resorts. You’ll enjoy fireworks, torchlight skiing, moonlight ice skating, BINGO, live music, dancing, food and more! Each resort offers a special lineup for the evening. Visit one of the following websites for a complete listing of New Year’s Eve special events: Appalachian Ski Mountain: Beech Mountain Resort: Sugar Mountain Resort

Festival of Lights at Chetola Resort Chetola Resort features a sparkling display of lights each winter season through the end of January. The “Festival of Lights” is free and open to the public, and you are invited to enjoy thousands of dazzling illuminations throughout the resort. As you drive or stroll around Chetola Lake, view glittering ice skaters, “Rudolph” reeling in a big fish, strolling carolers and many more captivating holiday scenes. The “Festival of Lights” remains up through Blowing Rock WinterFest until Sunday, January 28, 2018. The displays illuminate at dusk each evening. Chetola Resort, 185 Chetola Lake Drive, Blowing Rock.

Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum Experience one of western North Carolina’s BRIGHTEST holiday traditions: Winter Lights at The North Carolina Arboretum. Winter Lights is an outdoor holiday light exhibit placed throughout the Arboretum’s nationally-known gardens. Walk through a winter wonderland and enjoy uniquely-lit displays and landscapes composed of nearly 500,000 energy-efficient LED lights. Listen to the sounds of your favorite holiday tunes or enjoy a cup of holiday-inspired cocoa, cider or beer. Additional food and beverage items are available for purchase. Open nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. through December 31, 2017. Tickets must be purchased in advance at, or call 828665-2492.

All Aboard! Celebrate the joy of the holiday season when Tweetsie Railroad transforms into a winter wonderland for Tweetsie Christmas. Enjoy a train ride through the twinkling lights, visits with Santa, Christmas shows, caroling and more. Tweetsie Christmas continues on December 15-16, 22-23, & 29-30, 5 - 10 p.m. Advance tickets are required. Visit for more information.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Celebration The Ashe County Arts Council will be sponsoring a community celebration in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 15 at 7 p.m. at the Ashe Arts Center in West Jefferson. The celebration will highlight the message of Dr. King and his teachings of peace, unity and equality in our society. The program will include excerpts of Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech and audience reflections connected to the now famous speech. The Martin Luther King Day celebration is a free event open to the public and refreshments will be served. For more information please call 336846-ARTS. Music at Beech Mountain The Winter Music Series at Beech Mountain includes a special lineup of rising rock and blues stars who make up The Marcus King Band, International Bluegrass Music Association Award winners Town Mountain, and New Orleans funk band Flow Tribe. Beech Mountain Ski Resort will also showcase many local and regional bands based here in the High Country. The series will run through March 10, and is open to the general public, for all ages, and for skiers and non-skiers alike. Specially priced tickets for the winter concerts are on sale at www.

Flow Tribe to appear at Beech Tree Bar & Grille. New to the National Register of Historic Places The Historic Banner Elk School was recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service/United States Department of the Interior. Built in 1939, the former elementary school served local students until 2011, and today has become Banner Elk’s Cultural Arts Center. The public is invited

to visit the school, which is now home to Ensemble Stage Professional Theatre, the Book Exchange, BE Artists Gallery, Mayland Community College continuing education, Common Ground ministry, and the offices of Carolina Mountain Life and Carolina Explorers magazines. In addition, Buckhead Banner Studios has recently set up shop at the school, offering Natural to fine art portrait and headshot photography.

Winter at the Book Exchange Winter is a great time to catch up on reading! The Book Exchange at the Historic Banner Elk School in downtown Banner Elk invites you to peruse the shelves and take a book home with you. You can also access free wi-fi, join a book discussion group, attend a lecture, join a jam session and more. Winter hours are Tuesday–Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit for a complete calendar of events. Award-winning Writers CML would like to congratulate writers Jim Casada and Randy Johnson for their latest literary awards. Casada’s Fall 2016 Carolina Mountain Life article, “Autumn Walks to Waterfalls,” was among the winners in the S.C. Outdoor Press Association’s annual excellence in craft competition. Johnson’s latest book, Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon recently won “Best in Show” and first place in the books category at the 2017 Society of American Travel Writers eastern chapter awards. The book also earned the bronze medal in travel from the 2017 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards, and was a finalist for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award.

Appalachian Voices Celebrates 20 Years of Environmental Advocacy Appalachian Voices celebrates two decades of bringing people together to stand up for the mountains, for clean rivers and drinking water, for farms, forests and wildlife, and for healthy communities across the Appalachian region. Appalachian Voices formed in 1997 as an outgrowth of The Appalachian Voice newspaper, established in Boone, NC, to cover environmental issues in the region. The paper’s founders soon realized the urgent need for a nonprofit advocacy organization devoted solely to Appalachia.

“For 20 years, Appalachian Voices has grown roots deep in this region. Our connection to the land and people sustains us in everything we do. Whether in the halls of Congress, in the courtroom or on the riverbank, we take a stand on behalf of our members and people throughout the region. We’ll be sticking around for a long time to come.” Learn more and view a timeline of the important work of Appalachian Voices at

Nature Programs and Guided Hikes at Grandfather During this time of year, Grandfather Mountain is often described as a winter wonderland. But what makes it so? Join Grandfather Mountain’s naturalists for an open discussion on the mountain’s winter wonders. From Dec. 20 through Jan. 16, noon to 2 p.m., naturalists will host an interpretive booth in the second floor exhibit space of the Top Shop. For adventureseekers, take a winter guided hike through Grandfather Mountain’s




rugged backcountry, including MacRae Peak, Attic Window and Calloway Peak, the latter of which reaches 5,946 feet above sea level. Guided hikes have a two-person minimum, and reservations are required at least two weeks in advance. For more information, call (828) 7370833, email, or visit

Rime ice on Grandfather, photo by Skip Sickler Middle Fork Greenway Update Watauga County recently received $200,000 from the NC Division of Water Resources toward construction of a new section of the Middle Fork Greenway. The .9 mile portion of the 6.5 mile trail will run from Tweetsie Railroad to Niley Cook Road along the Hwy 321 corridor, and features bridges and boardwalks along the way. The Middle Fork Greenway is a project led by Blue Ridge Conservancy and High Country Pathways, in partnership with Watauga County, the Town of Blowing Rock, the Town of Boone, and many community organizations to build a greenway path from Blowing Rock to Boone. Once complete the trail will link to the existing Boone Greenway, creating over 10 miles of contiguous trail. World Wetlands Day Each February 2 is World Wetlands Day, an annual celebration of the vital importance of wetlands to the

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world’s ecological health and of efforts to conserve these invaluable habitats. As our region’s towns and cities expand and populations increase, wetlands become more important. They provide benefits such as flood control, water supply, waste treatment, and green space. Learn more at See a wetland at work by visiting one of our local wetland projects, such as the stormwater wetland along the Boone Greenway Trail, and the Valle Crucis Community Park wetland (pictured below in its spring beauty).

Traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway this Season? Snow blankets the trees and the Parkway in the photo below taken near Bull Gap in 1962. Weather changes quickly on the road, especially during the winter. Before you set out for an adventure, be sure to check the Real-time Closures Map for weather and maintenance closures. You can also see weather conditions and view webcam images of key sites along the Parkway at the Blue Ridge Parkway Weather site at

Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk Golden Jubilee in 2018 The Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk will mark 50 years of service to the community in 2018. To celebrate its

March 1968 charter, the service club is planning a series of mini-celebrations. Noted for co-sponsoring the Woolly Worm Festival and financial support of causes related to children, the club plans to honor its past and forecast its future. Visit for a list of upcoming projects and events. Local Chamber Presidents to Serve on State Chamber Board of Directors Barbara Armstrong, president/CEO of the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce, was recently appointed to serve on the Board of Directors for the Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. Charles Hardin, president/CEO of the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce will continue to serve as board member on the 2018 Board of Directors. The CACCE provides professionals with leadership skills and tools to develop and build innovative Chambers in the communities in which they serve. The “New” Lees-McRae Bookstore Rent textbooks, purchase the latest great novel, buy gifts, and chow down on a fresh, tasty bagel. The Exchange Bookstore, the official bookstore of Lees-McRae College was recently updated, and an Einstein Bros. Bagels shop was added as a dining option for students, as well as local residents and visitors. Visit 159 Main St W in downtown Banner Elk. What’s Happening at Hart Square In the Fall 2017 issue of CML, we featured Hart Square Village, the largest collection of log structures in America. If you missed the annual fall festival, you have several opportunities to visit the Village throughout the year, including the following events: Children’s Easter Egg Hunt (March 24, 2018) - FREE event for families to visit Hart Square and enjoy an egg hunt and Easter-themed activities. Founder’s Day (April 14, 2018) - Celebrate Doctor Bob and Becky Hart and the founding of the village. Each ticket will include lunch with the Hart family and intimate cabin tours. Contact for questions and event information, or visit

Feeling Smart? If not, bring your smart friends with you to Trivia Night at Lost Province Brewery, every Wednesday evening from 7 - 10 p.m. Join in as an individual or a team and compete for prizes! Visit for more info.

Not Your Ordinary Day Trip Want to be a bit spontaneous, and do something a little different? Pack your car for a short daytrip this winter and head to western NC’s Jackson County. There’s plenty of outdoor fun and festive events this time of year, but one event you won’t find anywhere else is the annual ‘Outhouse Races.’ This famously unusual event returns to Sapphire Valley Resort on Saturday, Feb. 17 to provide thrills for both participants and spectators. Attendees cheer on teams as two people push homemade outhouses secured to a set of skis down the race track while a third team member holds on for the wild ride. Come see these portable potties in action from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. For other activities in the area, visit www.

Stay Safe on Winter Roads As most High Country residents know, driving Winter Roads can sometimes be hazardous. Nationwide Auto Insurance offers eight tips for safely navigating slippery winter roads. 1) Maintain a safe following distance: ensure there are at least 3 seconds between your car and the vehicle in front of you. 2) Clear snow: remove snow and ice from all windows and side mirrors. 3) De-ice your windshield: keep your windshield washer tank full at all times and be sure wiper blades are in good condition. 4) Learn how to control a skid: steer in the direction you want your vehicle to go. 5) Avoid using cruise control. 6) Reduce your speed. 7) Use your anti-lock brakes (ABS) properly: maintain firm, constant pressure. 8) Install snow tires. Learn more at tips-for-driving-in-the-snow/.

Beautiful Blue Ridge of NC Calendar The 2018 “Beautiful Blue Ridge” wall calendar is now available, featuring the jewels of our mountains and foothills that include national parks and forests, state parks, Biltmore, Cherokee heritage, small towns, art and more. The photos, by, will inspire you all year. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the calendar goes to the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, the only organization in Western North Carolina solely dedicated to the stewardship of the five legacies of Southern Appalachian culture—music, craft, natural beauty, agriculture and Cherokee heritage. Act soon to take advantage of their 3 for $30 pricing. Visit to order. Experience Apple Hill Farms Visit a unique mountaintop alpaca farm in the heart of the High Country for a real farm experience. Get up close and personal with the alpacas, donkeys, goats and other animals that work and play at Apple Hill Farm. Every animal has a specific job, and many have a story, as well. Apple Hill Farm is also home to the largest selection of alpaca products in the High Country of North Carolina—from yarn to socks to needle felted figures. Visit their store at the farm, or online at Farm tours are offered Wednesday through Saturday all winter long. Apple Hill Farm is located at 400 Apple Hill Road in Banner Elk, NC.

Watauga Arts Council 2018 Programs Do you have a goal of developing your artistic potential in 2018? Check out the Watauga Arts Council’s many skilldevelopment opportunities. Register for an art class or workshop, take a music lesson, join a yarn circle, or gather with a group of friends for an “Arty Party.” So many creative outlets await you at the Watauga Arts Council’s ArtSpace. Their gift store is open year-round, featuring a range of artistic wares by Arts Council members. Stop by ArtSpace at 377 Shadowline Drive in Boone, NC, or visit the website at

For additional event listings and fun things to add to your to-do list this winter season, visit: HIGHCOUNTRYHOST.COM



Watauga Humane Society: Home Room Training Winter temperatures bring thoughts of sharing a cozy home and warm hearth with family and oftentimes pets. Unfortunately, some of the dogs that come to Watauga Humane Society (WHS) have never seen the inside of a home. Steps and doorways may seem scary to them. Being in an enclosed space with noises like televisions and microwaves is unfamiliar and can be quite stressful. In the Watauga Humane Society’s efforts to become “more than a shelter,” the organization was able to convert a small house trailer on WHS property into a Home Room training space. This is a reality space that can be used to acclimate dogs who were raised outdoors to living in a home. The space, a furnished living room and kitchen, also serves as a training opportunity for any dog. Volunteer trainers work with dogs on skills such as waiting for a food bowl in a kitchen, pausing at a doorway before exiting, or going to a bed or crate when guests arrive. The Home Room is a cozy, quiet place away from the chaos of the kennels where dogs can learn to relax and enjoy the pleasures of home. The generous support of donors enables WHS to provide opportunities for animals that go beyond the basic needs of food and shelter. Please consider supporting the WHS as they strive to become “more than a shelter,” providing training, enrichment, rehabilitation and love.

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A Great Gift that Helps the Avery County Humane Society Does your dog need a spring vacation? Start planning now with the Ruff Guide to the United States featuring 365 of the best places to stay and play with your dog in all 50 states. Whether your pooch prefers to ‘ruff it’ on a hiking adventure or sit in the lap of luxury at a five-star resort, the assortment of trips in this book is sure to have him (and you) begging for a vacation! When you enter code “AVERYCOUNTYHS2018” at checkout, you’ll get free shipping, and the Avery County Humane Society will get a $10.00 donation for each book sold! Avery County’s Humane Society cares for more than 800 animals each year, and every donation you make, along with proceeds from product purchases such as Ruff Guide go directly to operating costs to care for the animals. Visit https://www. to purchase your guide. Visit to learn more about the Avery Humane Society.

An Unlikely Love Story

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Our pets are our friends. But sometimes they are so much more than that. In the memoir, Randy and Me, Melanie Winebarger details the true story of the special connection she shares with her guide dog, Randy. It’s a partnership that doesn’t come easily for either of them in the beginning. But ultimately a love story unfolds. A native of the High Country, Winebarger experienced health issues as a child that resulted in vision impairment. In September, 2010 through November, 2011 she underwent four experimental eye surgeries in an attempt to restore better vision to both eyes. Around the same time Randy, a Labrador-Golden Retriever mix, was born at Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, Florida. By mid-2012 the pair had become acquainted and both embarked on a steep learning curve as they established a healthy, co-dependent relationship. Winebarger conveys an honest story of her childhood struggles, her supportive family, and her pursuit to live a “normal” life in the absence of good vision. She shares a series of accounts as she and Randy go through training at “guide dog school,” and as they tackle day-to-day challenges, including simple tasks that most of us take for granted. She writes of Randy’s interactions with friends and family members, and of the time she first introduces Randy to the mountains she calls home. Throughout the 98-page book, Winebarger reveals the perspective of Randy, as she imagines it to be. His thoughts regarding the “clumsy girl” he is joined with, and his ceaseless sense of responsibility shine through the narrative. Although the sense of humor in Randy’s “voice” can be attributed to the light-hearted author, the link and love between a guide dog and his owner are apparent from the beginning. In short, Randy and Me shares the journey of a unique woman who exhibits faith, strength, love of family, and generosity of spirit while nurturing an incomparable companionship with the guide dog who changes her life. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


New High Country Impact Fund: The Area's First Angel Investor Fund Starting an innovative business in the High Country, or interested in investing in one? The High Country Impact Fund provides funding and support to seed early stage, high growth companies in the High Country (Watauga, Wilkes, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell and Johnson, TN). The Fund aims to deliver attractive financial returns to its investors, create good, high-paying jobs, and establish access to emerging sector opportunities throughout the region. The New Fund is a collaboration of Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), Startup High Country, RAIN Source Capital Management, and successful High Country entrepreneurs, who together provide capital and operate the new investment fund. Learn more at https://www.highcountryimpactfund. com/ or

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Imagine Back When

Drone View of the New River

Imagine Back When By Lynn Rees-Jones, Photos courtesy of Appalachian Memory Keepers

Lights, Camera, Action with Kelley St. Germain & Tristan Ham

Most everyone has a favorite. It catches their eye each time they travel a familiar route along the rural, winding roads of the Appalachian Mountains. The dilapidated white farmhouse is obviously abandoned. It has been years since anyone snapped beans on the front porch or caught fireflies in Mason jars on the front lawn. Several windows are broken and the branches of a weedy tree stretch towards the openings to find shelter within the house. Nearby an old graying barn leans precariously beneath a rusted out roof. It looks like the only thing holding it up is a tangle of vines

and that a strong wind might send the whole thing crashing to the ground. These buildings, so abundant along the rural country roads of Appalachia, once housed the hard-working families who have called these mountains home. As the buildings crumble, so do the stories of the people and families that inhabited them. As time goes on will we remember who lived there, what they did, or know what happened to their descendants? Five years ago, Kelley St. Germain and Scott Ballard, two self-professed history buffs, took notice of the homes, barns, schools, churches and stores that were left abandoned. Armed with a camera, social media savvy and a love of history, they started posting photographic history to a small group of followers on Facebook. Their goal was to track down, record and share memories before they are lost forever. What started as a hobby has grown into a huge following including 11,000 Facebook fans who anxiously await each new story they tell. They began under the umbrella of Germain Media, LLC, and in fall of 2017 they formed Appalachian Memory Keepers, a non-profit organiza-

tion dedicated to collecting and sharing the heritage and culture of Appalachia through the telling of authentic stories. While the story of history is as old as time, the method of delivery utilized by Appalachian Memory Keepers is fresh. There is no paper or the turning of pages. They use modern media to show things in a new way. Their content is delivered electronically via their website, Facebook and Instagram showcasing photographs, podcasts, short films and online articles. It's not unusual for someone to approach them and the first thing they say is, “I've never been particularly interested in reading about history but I love what you are doing.” St. Germain attributes part of their success to the use of drone technology. Their drone, 'White Lightning,' is an integral member of their team and allows them to show the familiar in a new light. Many have looked up towards Mount Jefferson for years and are intimately familiar with the profile of the mountain, the shapes and colors of the trees or have memorized the view that will greet them from each of the overlooks. Now, through the eyes of the drone, the view



The Carson House

is completely different—downward into the treetops and rock formations. The park road snakes down the mountain and into networks of roads, rivers, communities and landscapes which stretch for miles and miles. Ballard is adamant that “the history we share is always meant to be presented as a conversation.” Their huge presence on Facebook inspires feedback and often the plentiful comments are as intriguing as the original information. A recent post depicted a large old farmhouse that was abandoned after being purchased by the power company in anticipation of damming the New River in the 1970s to generate hydro-electric power. The post brought forth spontaneous comments from the grandchildren of the home as well as neighbors, relatives and others impacted by the project. The post evolved into a true conversation highlighting the impact of the project to the area even though it was never implemented. While some of the tours enter homes that have not been touched in years, they also explore those that have been lovingly restored. A recently debuted short film features the historic Carson House built in the late 1800s by prominent early settlers to Grayson County, VA. Located

82 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

on a rise above the New River, it is rich in Victorian detail with beautiful wood walls, intricate trim, and ornate bronze door knobs and hinges, and includes well preserved out-buildings. In that spirit of engaging others to tell stories, St. Germain and Ballard are proud that they have helped uncover hidden talent and been able to provide a platform for voices that have never been heard. Several writers are now regular contributors. Steve Tweed, a resident of Madison County, is host of 'Tuesdays with Tweed.' In September he was recognized in an article in the nationally syndicated publication, Huffington Post. Pam Sizemore's series, 'Simply Appalachian,' tells tales of her family and growing up in the region. Walt Hampton shares stories in his 'Walt's Campfire' series that touch on traditions, history and nature. Appalachian Memory Keepers will continue to provide a voice to others who have stories to tell with their 'Author in Residence' program beginning in early 2018. Appalachian Memory Keepers has also featured a variety of personalities in their videos and podcasts. They found a true friend in Edith Crutcher who at 95 years-old is a delightful treasure-trove of

knowledge about her family, traditions and stories of what went on in the area when life was very different from today. She is spotlighted in 'Stones and Bones,' a short film series that explores cemeteries to discover the history of the people and families buried there. The ColvardBower Cemetery is the resting place of her ancestors beginning with her great great grandfather born in 1785 and includes generations of family members, as well as the slaves that her ancestors taught to read and write. So often stories are lost. Just as the leaning barns collapse and become distant memories, so do the tales and the people who can tell them. Appalachian Memory Keepers has created a repository in which to look after these precious images and narratives, so that they can be preserved for years to come. To become a member, donate, or for more information about Appalachian Memory Keepers: Website:, Facebook: AppalachianMemoryKeepers, Email: Phone: 336.620.2000,

Watauga County Veterans Memorial, artist’s rendering by Suzie Hallier, sculptor

Executive Committee and Town Council members.

Time and Honor: Veterans Memorial Project to Begin in Watauga County By Joe Tennis Keep your eye on King Street, near Town Hall in downtown Boone, N.C. In the coming months you’ll see the transformation of a small plot of land and the construction of a unique and expressive sculpture as it slowly fills a gap in our community, paying tribute to the veterans of past, present and future wars. Sculpting artist Suzie Hallier’s “Time and Honor” ellipse design has won selection for the planned Veterans Memorial of Watauga County, North Carolina. “It’s not your ordinary common design. People can get into it and get in around it,” says retired U.S. Marine Corps LtCol George Brudzinski. “The people will be able to immerse themselves in the design.” Members of the High Country Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) proposed this memorial a couple of years ago, says Brudzinski, who’s leading the fundraising plans to erect the memorial in downtown Boone. Across the High Country, Brudzinski notes that various veteran memorials can be found in Ashe and Avery counties. But, Brudzinski says, “Watauga County did not have a high-visibility one. We do not have a memorial to honor any veterans on a large scale in Watauga County.” Plans first began in Boone. “We approached the town council, and it was perfect timing,” Brudzinski says. “So

they jumped on board. And they have been great to us.” The memorial is slated to complement the construction of a multi-story parking deck in downtown Boone, just off King Street. That construction left a small space available for the memorial in what Brudzinski and another organizer, COL Ben Covington, consider a very fortunate and highly visible space. “Mainly, we want a visible reminder for everybody who comes to Boone for the sacrifices that have been made by the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force,” says Covington, a member of the MOAA. Watauga County Commissioners have donated $25,000 to the project in seed money “to kick this off,” Brudzinski says. “The land is worth as much as $30,000, and the town is giving us inkind work. The State of North Carolina, with the help of Rep. Jonathan Jordan, gave us a Grant-In-Aid of $50,000. Our initial goal was $250,000. But based on her design and working with a lot of people who are going to give us in-kind donations, we reduced it to $200,000— and now $165,000.” So far, about 75 percent of that goal has been reached, Brudzinski says. “And we want to raise another $40,000 between now and the spring of 2018.” The projected completion date is July 4, 2018. That’s when Military Officers

hopes to “turn the memorial over to the Town of Boone, and they will maintain it forever,” he says. “So it will be theirs.” Still, Brudzinski wants to stress that this is not just a Boone marker; it’s a memorial for all veterans in all wars, across all of Watauga County. “We have over 3,500 veterans in Watauga County that we know of,” says Brudzinski, who suggests that number could actually be much higher if you include the transient populations of part-time residents, as well as students of Appalachian State University. Brudzinski, 70, lives in the Watauga County section of Todd. This native of Scranton, Pennsylvania, moved to the High Country in 1988 after serving 21 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. Covington, 78, is a Valle Crucis resident who moved to the High Country in 2000. The retired U.S. Army Colonel spent 29 years in the military. “And I loved every minute of it,” he says. “I wouldn’t trade one day in the military for a year anywhere else.” Having pride in the military, these veterans say, is what inspired them to spend months carefully considering the 19 submissions for the memorial. “We were looking for something that needed to be unique,” Brudzinski says. In an artist’s statement, Hallier says continued on p.85 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


Heart of the Community: A Post Office & Gathering Place in Banner Elk, NC By Carol Lowe Timblin Americans visit their local post offices on a regular basis to pick up mail, see neighbors, and catch up on the news. The routine plays out in Banner Elk almost every day—a routine that has been ongoing ever since Martha Banner, also known as Patty Whitmore, began offering postal service to the village (then a part of Watauga County) on July 16, 1875. That was many years before Avery County was created and the town was incorporated in 1911. “In the old days the post office was the heart of the community,” says Postmaster Sharon W. Robbins of Banner Elk. “You went there to meet and greet your friends, to find out who was sick, who had died, and who might need help.” Historically, postmasters were appointed and paid on a regular basis, so the job was a much-desired position. It was common for members of the same family to hold the position at various times. Politics also came into play sometimes, as illustrated by a letter written by local author Shepherd M. Dugger to a Mr. Horshaw on April 27, 1903. In the letWinter2017/18 2017/18CAROLINA CAROLINAMOUNTAIN MOUNTAIN LIFE LIFE 88 84 ——Winter

ter Dugger requests that Bessie Brewer, “a highly worthy self-made Republican young lady,” replace L. M. Banner instead of G.A. Banner, applicant for the position, or E.J. Banner, L.M.’s brother. Apparently, the letter had little sway with Horshaw because Minnie Banner, the daughter of E.H. Banner, got the job. Dugger’s letter also sheds some light on the town’s unique name: “Many of the best patrons of this office, including both Democrats and Republicans, prefer that the name ‘Banner’ be entirely expunged from connection with this post office,” the letter states. At the time the post office was called “Banner’s Elk,” believed to be taken from the fact that the Banners owned large tracts of land along the river or a local legend about a Banner killing a big elk on the river. Eventually, the “apostrophe S” was dropped, but some residents went to their graves insisting the name was Banner’s Elk. The exact location of Banner Elk’s first post office is not known, but it was believed to have been housed in a store across from the Banner Elk Hotel. It

was later moved from that site to a small building that stood on what is now the corner of Center and College Drive, eventually the home of VonCanon Evergreen Company. Some residents remember the building as a faded yellow structure trimmed in red with its front door on the corner. One of the darkest days in the town’s history occurred when a lumberman named Cline was allegedly killed by a local resident on a snowy day in front of the post office. The case never came to trial because the suspect fled the country. Sometime in the late 1930s or early 1940s the post office was moved to Frank H. Stinson’s building on Main Street, across from what is now the May School of Nursing (the building also housed the Maple Tea Room, a popular gathering spot for college students). The current post office on Center Drive was built and dedicated in 1962 under President John F. Kennedy not far from the post office’s original site. The Banner Elk Post Office, now in service for over 142 years, remains a vital part of the community.

VETERANS: continued from page 83

Postmaster John F. Barlow / Photo from the Jane Stephenson Collection

Postmaster: A Much-Desired Position Many postmasters have served the Banner Elk Post Office since its creation in 1875. Martha Banner held the position for a decade until she was succeeded by William S. Frans, who was followed by Wilburn Rimes, Wilson Rime, and then Hattie R. Lowe (later the wife of Frank Stinson). Around 1891, Blanche Lowe (Robert Lowe’s bride) took charge of the post office and remained in the position until 1897 when L. M. Banner assumed the postmaster’s duties, a job he held until Minnie Banner succeeded him in 1903. Frank H. Stinson became postmaster around 1914. Next came Wesley L. Norman, followed by John F. Barlow, whose daughter Helen met Brack Baucom (later her husband) at the post office. Stinson occupied the position a second time, followed by Mary Lowe and then Auburn E. Andrews, who was postmaster when the office moved to its present site. Doyle C. Shomaker recalls the 28 years he served in the position: “I enjoyed the responsibility of the post office and getting to know all the people in the community. Ed Presnell shipped his handmade dulcimers to his customers all over the country around Christmastime for many years, and we made sure the instruments were properly insured. I also enjoyed conversations with the stamp collectors who came to the post office when a new stamp was issued. Mapping all the postal routes for Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain, and Seven Devils was a challenging task.” Shomaker also helped Valle Crucis, a branch of the Banner Elk Post Office, keep its postmark at a cost of “only one dollar a year.” Several postmasters and officers in charge served the office after Shomaker retired. Serving as postmaster were Lewis Hal Anderson, Danny Lee Townsend, Crystal M. Littlejohn Cooke, Brenda D. Watkins, Margaret C. Huffman, and Sharon W. Robbins. Prior to becoming postmaster Littlejohn Cooke and Huffman were officers in charge. Other officers in charge were Cathy W. Piper, Roscoe Townsend, Kelly Joe Edmisten, Crystal M. Littlejohn, Dwight Eppler, J. Doyle Ward, Larry D. Wilson, Shannon Raby, Christy Baldwin, Leandra Slate, and Suzanne Taylor. Roscoe Townsend, who worked at the post office for 38 years, declined the position of postmaster when it was offered.

her design is “meant to draw the viewers into a reflective state.” Constructed with stainless steel and Core-TEN weathering steel, the planned memorial is slated to feature two knee walls with eight plaques detailing conflicts the United States has seen since its existence. A third knee wall will honor veterans, as well as donors. “It will be a resting place for people,” Brudzinski says. “It will be a memorial that will harmonize right into the environment there—the flow of it and the ability of the people to walk behind it and in the ellipse.” Also, Covington says the memorial will have a significant meaning for the residents, students and visitors who populate Watauga County. “It’s for all of them as a reminder as to why we’re able to live in this country and enjoy the freedom—and that these military members of society have given up their time and their liberties and their blood for them.” Want to support the project? Visit hccmoaa or Email Tax-deductible donations may also be sent to: Watauga County Veterans Memorial Fund, c/o High Country MOAA, P.O. Box 3312, Boone, N.C., 28607. The High Country Chapter Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is a nonprofit 501(C)19 Veterans organization. All donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Photo on page 83: Executive Committee and Town Council members Left to right: -Fred Schmitt, Ben Covington, Suzie Hallier, Nicole Worley, Lindsey Miller, George Brudzinski, Loretta Clawson, Member of local press, Jeannine Underdown Collin, Rennie Brant, Not pictured: John Ward CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —

85 89

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What happens when life hands you a series of bad breaks? In Melanie Winebarger’s case, misfortune also brings an unexpected blessing. Experience the story in her book: Randy and Me, An unlikely love story. Available at and in bookstores by order.

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High Country SCORE and Mountain BizWorks Team up to Help Local Small Businesses High Country SCORE and Mountain BizWorks recently met to discuss their various programs and efforts to assist small businesses here in our local communities. What they found during their meeting was that they have very common missions and that the services offered by each group are complementary. SCORE is focused on helping entrepreneurs and small business owners develop their business plans through one-on-one counseling (free of charge). Mountain BizWorks of Western North Carolina has a similar focus, but they also assist their clients in getting business loans ranging from $1,000 upward to assist with equipment purchases, working capital and general business expansion. One of the first combined efforts of the two organizations involved Artisan Soapery (, a SCORE client who was relocating to the area from California and needed assistance with a business plan, as well as obtaining funds for working capital. Herman Metzler of SCORE and

Chris Grasinger of Mountain BizWorks met with Artisan Soapery owner Katye Fredieu to shape her new direction. “Herman and Chris have been invaluable to the expansion and rise of Artisan Soapery here in North Carolina,” says Katye. “They’ve not only assisted in providing the lending to expand my business, but have proven to be personally interested in my development by providing coaching and mentorship to ensure future achievements.” Developing or growing a small business in the High Country or western N.C.? Contact Herman or Chris to discuss how they can provide you with support and guidance for your business venture. Any information shared with SCORE and Mountain BizWorks is completely confidential. Both organizations have office locations in Boone and Asheville. Reach SCORE at 919-2806123 or, and Mountain BizWorks at 828-773-3052 or

“I highly recommend SCORE and Mountain BizWorks if you’re looking to take your business to the next level!” — Katye Fredieu, Owner, Artisan Soapery, Hickory, NC



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Conversations on how to make a difference in the lives of others abound over family holiday dinners. But the decision to actually put a plan in place to help others versus putting off the decision to give is oftentimes just a matter of keeping things simple. One very popular tool for giving is called a Donor Advised Fund, or DAF. A DAF is simple, flexible, and tax advantageous. A DAF works like a personal fund which is dedicated to your charitable giving.

Here’s how it works:

Registered Representative offering Securities through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Carroll Financial Associates Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Waite Financial, Cetera Advisor Networks, and Carroll Financial Associates are unaffiliated.

1. You contribute into a fund which you establish and can decide later which charities you want to have your DAF support. You can contribute more to the fund at other times, too.

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

2. You can contribute cash or securities (or other property) which might have gained in value since your original investment, gains on which you would otherwise pay capital gains taxes when sold. You receive an income tax charitable deduction for the current fair market value of your contribution in the year in which you make the contribution. * 3. The fund sells the securities, takes the cash, and invests it so that your fund can be growing as long as money stays in the fund. 4. You direct contributions from the fund to the 501(c)(3) organization or organizations which you wish to support. You can do this as often as you like.


Bottom Line: People give first from the heart and then look for financially efficient ways to give. A donor advised fund is a simple and flexible way to make a difference for the causes you care about while providing you with self-gratification and with tax benefits.

Elder Law, Medicaid & Long-Term Care Plans Estate Plans, Wills & Trusts, Special Needs Trusts, Family Business Succession Planning, Adult Guardianship & Power of Attorney

*Make sure you involve your accountant or CPA in any charitable giving decisions.

– A Plan for All Seasons –

The views are those of Katherine Newton and should not be considered as investment advice or to predict future performance. • You can reach Katherine at Waite Financial in Hickory at 828.322.9595 or by email at katherine@waitefinancial. com. • Registered branch address: P.O. Box 1177, 428 4th Ave., NW, Hickory, NC 28603, 28601. • Registered Representative of and Securities offered through Cetera Advisor Networks, LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Carroll Financial Associates Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Waite Financial, Cetera Advisor Networks, and Carroll Financial Associates are unaffiliated.

Suite 9, Linville Village Shopping Center 3616 Mitchell Ave, Linville, NC 28646 Member of ElderCounsel, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and the N.C. Bar Association Elder Law & Estate Planning Sections

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Candy Jones at local health fair / Photo courtesy of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System

Candy Jones, RN: Nurse Knits Healthcare System and Community Together By Josh Jarman Few people in life have touched more hearts than Candy Jones, RN, the Community Outreach nurse at Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS). Since moving to the High Country in 2001, she has cared for countless patients and mentored dozens of interns from Appalachian State University. Candy Jones is the type of person that loves first and asks questions later. Stars and Stripes An American flag raised on a church steeple near the end of War World II indicated to Candy’s father, Torgeir Fadum a Bombardier in the Army Air Corps, that he would soon be liberated after 10 months of captivity in a German prisoner of war camp. The intrepid 20 yearold moved back to Niagara Falls, NY, where he met and married Mary Anah Cummings, and together they had seven children. Years later, Torgeir would go on to fight in the Vietnam War and retire as a lieutenant colonel; Mary Anah served as a homemaker.


Candy remembers her father for different reasons. “During the summer dad would take us all tubing down the Niagara River and in the winter, he would take us ice-skating on the pond behind our house. Dad was always a very involved father. I still have the birthday letter he sent me from Vietnam.” Sue Barton Novels Growing up Candy dreamed of becoming a nurse. Her inspiration came in the form of the Sue Barton book series. At that time, adolescent girls loved to read the page-turning adventures of Sue Barton as she made her way through nursing school. One Barton book, titled Sue Barton Senior Nurse, had the following description, “A red-headed young nurse meets romance and excitement at every bend of the hospital corridor.” Being a redhead herself, Candy converted her childhood bedroom into an operating theatre where she practiced giving her dolls shots with safety pins and applying Band-Aids.

Although she was content to go to hospital school for her medical training (a common practice at the time), Candy’s father insisted that she attend the University of Buffalo to get her bachelor’s degree in nursing. “Dad said it would open doors for me down the road and in my household, Father Knows Best.” After graduation in 1978, she worked as a nurse for 25 years in Buffalo, NY. During that time, she met the handsome and lighthearted Brian Jones at a Bible conference, and they married soon after. Together, the couple had three children before deciding to move to Boone, NC, in 2001 to help another couple start a church. High Country Calling Initially, the proud New Yorker was totally against the idea of moving down south to the mountains of North Carolina. She feared the unknowns and whatifs that accompany a life-changing decision of this magnitude. Her heart softened to the idea, however, after what she credits as divine intervention. “There have only been a couple of times in my life when I have actually prayed and heard God clearly respond. He said go and we never looked back; Father Knows Best.” Candy was hired as a nurse at Watauga Medical Center in Boone, NC, in 2002. She worked in medical-surgery on the second and third floor of the hospital for several years before transitioning into ARHS’s Community Outreach department in 2006. “For 30 years, I had worked as a bedside nurse in the hospital,” she said. “This opportunity allowed me to step out of the hospital and into the community where I could try to encourage people to live healthier lives.” Candy embraced her new position and quickly formed close relationships with the local school system, churches, businesses and community groups. Over

HEALTH the years, she has organized countless health fairs and served as the unofficial face and heart of the healthcare system. Mentoring the Next Generation Shortly after starting in her new role as the community outreach nurse for the healthcare system, Candy was contacted by Appalachian State University to see if she could serve as an intern coordinator (mentor) for Health Promotion students. The University’s cold call was met with a warm reception, as Candy Jones was delighted to provide students with real-world experience. “I love students,” she said. “I love to see them set and reach their goals. For me, it’s fun to watch as these students get to apply what they learn in the classroom with real people in the community.” 2017 marks Candy’s 10th year of mentoring interns during the spring, summer and fall academic semesters at Appalachian State. During that time she has mentored more than 30 different students from all different social and economic backgrounds. For many students living far from home or paying their own way through school, Candy was seen not as a nurse, but as a mother figure. She often treats her interns to lunch

in the hospital cafeteria, knits them scarves in the winter and provides them with transportation when their vehicles break down. “You don’t ever really know a person until you stop and listen to their story,” she said. “I have found this to be true with both patients and interns. Everyone wants to be heard and everyone needs to feel loved.” Some of Candy’s interns went on to get their master’s degrees in public health; others found jobs as ARHS nurses, pharmaceutical salespeople, health department employees, and missionaries. Despite taking different paths in life, all of her interns share one thing in common: an appreciation for Candy. Most of her former students keep in touch and last year one former intern invited Candy to her wedding. “I used to wake up and pray, ‘God, who is it today?’ Because at the time I thought there was always someone special you were supposed to meet and encourage each day,” she said. “But now, I know that it is everybody. Everybody you meet today is your special person.” Next year Candy will begin her 40th year of nursing. When asked about her greatest lesson learned, she said, “To always love and to always be thankful.”



Visit Our Website or Call 828-963-8453

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The best gifts come from the


The heart of Crossnore School & Children's Home is our children. You can share your heart with them by purchasing from Crossnore Weavers' online store. There you will find beautiful handwoven wearables, table linens, home decor, and baby items. Shop today at

CROSSNORE school & children’s home

Crossnore Campus: P.O. Box 249 | Crossnore, NC 28616 | (828) 733-4305 Winston-Salem Campus: 1001 Reynolda Road | Winston-Salem, NC 27104 | (336) 721-7600 | CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 — 97 All proceeds support the children of Crossnore School & Children’s Home.

From Our House to Yours: Hospitality House By Pan McCaslin Hospitality House Cookbook: From Our House to Yours, Recipes from the Heart

“Helping Rebuild Lives” is the undergirding core value of the staff, board members and volunteers who work tirelessly at Hospitality House of Boone to offer 24-hour shelter for those experiencing loss of housing and poverty-related crises in the seven counties of the High Country. Originally envisioned and developed by six local churches as a temporary shelter for the homeless in Boone in 1984, Hospitality House today serves individuals and families in need in a larger, permanent structure. Along with Bread of Life Community Kitchen and Food Pantry, the staff oversee different housing programs: Emergency Shelter, Winter Shelter, Transitional Housing, Family Housing, Rapid Rehousing and Scattered Site Housing, along with Permanent Supportive Housing. Providing services to those in need requires ongoing financial resources which are provided only in part by federal grant funding. Fund development is a year-round process. Each event held allows information about Hospitality House, its mission, and the increasing need of those without shelter to be shared. “I tell our story and invite people to come for a tour. They catch our vision and often become donors,” shared Todd Carter, Development Director. Invitations to take facility tours, eat a meal at any time, adopt a garden plot and help raise the food for the residents and those who receive food boxes through the Food Pantry, are just a few ways for education about the work of the House to help rebuild lives. Joe, a resident, shared

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“Hospitality House is not a place where you come to get a hand-out. It’s a place where you come to get a hand-up.” Hearts of Hospitality House, the auxiliary group whose primary focus is to provide fund raising opportunities which support the ongoing budget, have recently, under the chairship of Julie Trueman, published a cookbook, From Our House to Yours, Recipes from the Heart. “Not only are the recipes of high quality and from various supporters of Hospitality House, but it gave us an opportunity to highlight the garden’s story and to recognize the staff who work tirelessly for so many,” shared Trueman. The cookbook, with a forward by Linville resident and cookbook author, Jorj Morgan, tells the story of the 30 plus year history of Hospitality House. In addition, stories shared by former and current residents, intermixed with recipes provided by members of the Bread of Life volunteers who provide meals to the residents 365 days year, are also included. “I make no exaggeration when I say that you will “feel the love” when you turn the pages of this cookbook,” writes Morgan in the forward. She also shares that in learning about the work of Hospitality House in the community, she gathered several friends together to provide meals for the residents. Over 13,000 meals a month are provided by volunteers from local service and religious organizations, with the numbers of meals increasing by almost a third during the winter season. Area restaurants underwrote the cost associated with the cookbook. Each sponsor offered favorite recipes, which are printed on each tab. Bistro Roca’s Prosciutto Wrapped Roasted Figs and Valle Crucis Conference Center’s Mildred’s Yeast Rolls, are just two of the recipes which appear. Each copy is available for a donation of $20 and can picked up at the Hospitality House, or ordered on-

line for mailing in time for the holidays. Honor Cards 2017 are available for a minimum cost of $5.00 apiece. Underwritten by Wells Fargo for the 32nd year, each Honor Card has depicted a different holiday/wintertime theme and were first designed by a North Carolina artist whose life was changed by interacting with a homeless person on the street. The cards can be ordered online and sent to you for addressing and mailing. Core values for Hospitality House include: compassion for those served, honoring the respect, dignity and integrity of each person in need, and recognizing that not all people will accept services offered. An additional core value is sustainability of the community and the environment. With that value in mind, and cognizant of the ever-rising costs of utilities, Hospitality House, in cooperation with United Solar International and SunVolt Electric and Renewable Energy, have installed solar panels to the south side roof of the building. The focus for Giving Tuesday, November 28, was to raise the required matching funds for the project. “After much research, I can say that we are the only homeless shelter utilizing solar power,” shared Todd Carter at a recent Board of Directors meeting. Ongoing needs of Hospitality House include volunteers to help with gardening, meal preparation, mentoring of residents, and assistance during Winter Shelter. On the Hospitality House website, a link to Monthly Needs lists in detail personal and kitchen items that are always needed. Local groups who might like to host a fund raiser for Hospitality House can contact Todd Carter at for coordination. Cookbooks, Honor Cards, and other ways to make donations for the ongoing work of the house can be found at www.

Hospitality House Residents

Crossnore Presbyterian Church Knitters Have a Loaves and Fishes Experience By Janis Kenyon

Honor Card 2017

Hospitality House, in cooperation with United Solar International and SunVolt Electric and Renewable Energy, have installed solar panels to the south side roof of the building.

You may have seen us sitting in the doctor’s office, the auto repair center, or the veterinarian’s office knitting away. Or, if you had come to Crossnore Presbyterian Church on Thursday afternoons you would have heard a lot of talking and laughing and seen a group of dedicated women there knitting. This group of women got together every week during the summer to knit hats, scarves and mittens for Hospitality House in Boone. Hospitality House serves seven counties throughout the region, providing shelter for homeless individuals and families every day of the year. About 60 percent of the residents are men, but there are a number of women and children at the House at any given time, including infants and teens. Our women’s group decided to knit something new for the residents to have as their very own, something to provide warmth during the cold months. We knitted babies’ hats in pinks, blues and multi-colors. We knitted big hats and small hats for men, women and older children. Some had matching scarves. When the congregation heard about our project, folks began donating yarn. It was like the loaves and fishes story in the Bible—we never had to buy yarn because of the generosity of the community, and all together we were able to knit over 120 items! The knitters group meets again starting in January on Wednesdays from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. at Crossnore Presbyterian Church. Hats and scarves will continue to be donated to the Hospitality House. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


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After surgery or a hospital stay, you can choose your rehab provider. After surgery or a hospital stay, you can choose your rehab provider. Physical, Occupational and Speech T herapies Transportation Services and for Inpatient Physical, Occupational Speech TResidents herapies Quality Amenities andInpatient Fine Dining Transportation Services for Residents Deficiency-Free Surveys for in a Row Quality Amenities andTwo FineYears Dining 4-Star Rating by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Deficiency-Free Surveys for Two Years in a Row Services 4-Star Rating by to theschedule Centers your for Medicare Medicaid Services Call us today tour andand make your choice. Call us today to schedule your tour and make your choice.

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YOUR GIFT CHANGES LIVES IN AVERY COUNTY 35% of children ages 5-11 are overweight. ®

25% of those children are classified as OBESE. The Avery YMCA has had a positive impact on over1,500 children. There’s more to be done. Help us help others! The Williams YMCA of Avery County 828.737.5500 | |

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Children’s Hope Alliance: A New CEO and a Renewed Vision for the Future By Elizabeth Baird Hardy Celeste Dominguez with her son, Dallas, and her daughter, Danielle

Over 100 years ago, Reverend Edgar Tufts began a ministry for orphans in Banner Elk, a ministry that became Grandfather Home for Children and which has served countless children as its focus has adapted to meet the needs of the at-risk and hurting children of each subsequent generation. Three years ago, Grandfather Home joined with the historic Barium Springs Home for Children, a ministry that itself evolved from the Presbyterian Children’s home founded in the late nineteenth century. Together, as Children’s Hope Alliance, these 14 offices throughout the state and their nearly 30 specialized programs continue to provide hope to children and families across North Carolina. In late 2017, Children’s Hope Alliance announced another change, as senior manager Celeste Dominguez succeeded longtime CEO John Koppelmeyer. Dominguez, who has served the agency in a variety of vital roles over the last sixteen years, is enthusiastic about taking on her new position as CEO and about the future of CHA and its children and families. Dominguez has two children of her own. Her son, Dallas, and daughter, Danielle, are both in college. Dominguez first discovered the remarkable ministries of the agency when she was working out of South Carolina, and she was drawn to the historic orphanages that became Barium Springs and Grandfather Home for Children, as well as to the values that lay at the core of their shared mission. In particular, the goals of generational and spiritual healing to help the whole person were “values that were very important to me.”

When she joined the agency, it was serving 174 children in a handful of counties, and she immediately began building partnerships to reach children in all 100 North Carolina counties and to connect with a variety of partners including medical services, social services, juvenile justice, mental health, and education. By focusing on “depth and breadth” of services, Dominguez sought to develop a strong array of services using the “teaching family” model, a model she plans to further institute into services in her new role. Children who come to CHA have needs that do not exist in a vacuum; they have complex connections with families, communities, and agencies, and being able to help these children also means helping their families. “Children come to us as a part of unit,” Dominguez states. “A child who has been abused or traumatized can’t be healed in isolation.” In order to heal these children, the CHA model is one that Dominguez stresses is “respectful of the child and family, meeting them where they are” and which provides the necessary “resources for them to take the next step toward a successful, healthy life.” In addition to teaching skills and providing resources to help ever-growing numbers of children and their families, CHA is committed to equipping children and families to succeed, a commitment that requires partnerships with the community as well as within the agency. Dominguez, who has long served as an advocate in Raleigh, is passionate about developing connections with legislators, community members, educators, and volunteers. “We encourage anyone to en-

gage, call, come on a tour of the facility, come see what we’re doing, and embrace where we are going.” Dominguez recognizes that her new position entails some challenges, and she anticipates that she will have much to learn, but she also looks forward to the exciting developments at CHA. These include the new Hickory Cottage, which will provide care for children with a lower level of need, and new opportunities with Avery County Schools. She is also eager to “reach as many people in person as I can,” to create both a greater understanding of CHA and opportunities for more partners join the thousands of others who support these children with their time and treasure. There are countless ways that visitors, businesses, and residents help these children, from donating pumpkins for them to decorate to providing a real Christmas for all the children and for their siblings. There are always opportunities for anyone interested in helping meet CHA’s goal of healing the whole child. Although CHA served nearly 3,000 kids last year, Dominguez’s main priority in her new role is the same one she has had for the past sixteen years: “Every year, how can we reach more children, more families.” To learn more about CHA or to see how you can be a part of its vision to help children and families, visit





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100 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Offering artisan-inspired cuisine and locally brewed craft beer. 152 Sunset Drive Downtown Blowing Rock, NC 828-414-9600 (Ale House) 828-414-9254 (Inn)

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Faith, Family and Free Reign Farm: Where Nothing is Impossible By Julie Farthing

Free Reign Farm’s employee of the month is a goat named Cherry. She has given over 60 gallons of milk without kicking over one bucket. And that’s reason to celebrate, considering every ounce of goat’s milk that goes into Free Reign Farm’s bar soap is creating a product made following a true 1800s base recipe, with a maximum amount of farm-fresh goat milk per bar, along with natural colors, pure essential and non-GMO oils. As wonderful as the product is, this story isn’t really about goats, or soap, or essential oils. Rather, it is a story about faith, persistence, and a bit of unconditional love. When Free Reign Farm owner Bethany Banks was a little girl, all she wanted was a horse—even though her family didn’t have the land to pasture one. Thanks to a close friend who had a farm nearby, Bethany enjoyed spending most of her time cleaning out stables and hanging around the farm animals. At the age of 6, Bethany asked her parents if she could buy a horse to pasture at her friend’s farm. Although her parents didn’t take her seriously at first, by the time Bethany was 11, she had saved enough to buy her horse. Other horses soon followed, including her favorite, Belle. “I practically lived with my horse Belle,” said Bethany. So it was no big surprise that Bethany ended up at equestrian school. She was a veterinarian tech in Texas when she met her husband David, who was a computer geek studying nursing; and, if you pardon the pun, also knew a thing or two about chemistry. The two ended up on a small farm in eastern Tennessee. David worked as a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at a nearby hospital, and Bethany was happy

with her goats, ducks, pigs and chickens. With her farm keeping her so busy Bethany never thought of having a family. “I went from ‘I don’t want kids’... to ‘God bring me kids’….but none came.” Then in 2013, the couple received a call telling them of three sisters who needed to be placed together in a loving home. Bethany and David went from a married couple to a family of five overnight. Although the girls at first had trouble adjusting to a new home, being with the animals and the simple act of milking a goat ultimately brought them security. “Things we don’t want sometimes end up what we want most, and sooner or later God brings it around,” said Bethany of her new family. While the family flourished on the farm, David was coming home from work with bleeding, cracked hands as a result of constant washing with sanitizer. “I found myself at the Walmart aisle. I was reading the back of every lotion, balm and salve on the shelf looking for something that would help my poor husband,” said Bethany regarding David’s plight. A friend suggested using goat milk to create a soap to heal those hands. Bethany researched the process and started making the best goat milk soap possible. The result not only healed her husband’s hands, but placed her on the journey to running a thriving business. “Now we have 30 goats and we don’t make goat cheese anymore because it all goes into the soaps. Turns out there are a lot of skin benefits to be had in goat milk soap!” said Bethany. Bethany and David soon went on a wild search to figure out just why the ingredients worked so well and what makes a better soap. “David has a minor

in chemistry, and we soon realized there were many products we were using that needed changing. Friends and family started asking us to make some for them. As word spread, so did the product line,” said Bethany. In addition to their soaps, Free Reign Farm now offers lip balm, natural deodorants, herbal salves, shaving cream, lotion and even detergent. Bethany and David sell their products at six farmers’ markets, craft shows, in many stores, and online. “David now works only one day a week at the hospital. He quit his job to sell soap and that has been over three years ago. We learned long ago that when you give God free reign over your life, anything is possible and it is always an adventure!” said Bethany describing the name of their farm. The adventure continues with a new addition to the family. After her three daughters prayed for a baby brother, Bethany gave birth to a son named Samuel, which means “asked of God.” In their latest venture, Bethany and David recently purchased a bakery on Main Street in Johnson City, TN with the goal to create a space that enables vendors who sell produce, baked goods, honey, and crafts at farmers’ markets to have a year-round venue. With a thriving farm and business, and a healthy family of six, Bethany is surrounded by all the things she loves the most. Despite some unexpected twists and turns, Bethany demonstrates every day that nothing is impossible. For more information on buying products from Free Reign Farm, go to CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


Bald Guy – Don Cox

The Roasters

Don Cox: The Prophet of Coffee By Karen Sabo “I’ve always wanted to make a difference in Boone. I’ve always wanted to be a blessing,” said Don Cox of Bald Guy Brew, sitting in his newly opened facility in Boone. Cox used to run his coffee-roasting business from Valle Crucis. But his business, and his life, changed in just one night. On August 12, 2016, an arsonist set fire to Valle Crucis Landing, destroying the entire building which housed numerous businesses—including Bald Guy Brew—and residential apartments. The fire injured numerous people, and took the life of Macie Dove Pietrowicz. Cox realizes that losing his business was only a disturbance, compared to the devastation others experienced with a life lost. “I was still able to come home to a family,” he said. “And that perspective helped me look at this event as an opportunity to learn from as opposed to an event that was crippling.” While he was shocked to lose $300,000 of wholesale business in one morning, Cox admits that the time he

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was forced to take away from the daily operations of his business was a gift in some ways. After 11 years of roasting, he was able to step back, reevaluate why he got into the business in the first place, and move forward in a deliberate, conscious way. Coffee drinkers in the High Country had become familiar with the Bald Guy brand of coffee and kindness, and many were concerned about how the loss of this husband-and-wife business would leave the family of four with no source of income. After the fire, Cox and his family began to realize the extent of the support they had from their community. “It got to the point where it was embarrassing to buy groceries,” said Cox, describing how friends would secretly pay for his family’s supermarket trips and restaurant meals, and leave money in his mailbox. These generous actions made him wonder if he’d succeeded in his mission to “be a blessing” in the world and especially in his community. Before roasting coffee professionally, Cox was in the official business of good-

ness. After getting a Master’s degree in Divinity, he and his wife Shannon left the United States and helped homeless kids in Mexico. “I worked with genocide survivors in Rwanda, did leadership training in Peru, came back to the U.S. where I worked in a ghetto in Pittsburgh.” While he loved his work in ministry he made a decision back in 2004 to change the platform from which he would do good. “I realized that I could have a direct impact doing good working at the origin with coffee farmers. I could help the farmers have more potential for trade and economic gain, by helping them improve the quality of their coffee. This empowers the family and their community,” said Cox. He just took “doing good” in a different direction and said he has always been influenced by what he calls “a cool passage from the Old Testament.” The passage in Micah 6:8 reads, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Cox explains that while the coffee


industry was founded on exploiting indigenous coffee growers, he diligently works with growers and brokers who match his values of integrating respect, sustainability and profitability. One of his ongoing projects that he developed is called Project Eden, through which he helps coffee growers strategize about ways to improve their crops and increase profit. “We’ll actually do a sample roast and sensory evaluation in the fields of Costa Rica. I’ll evaluate the coffee, consult an agro-engineer, and we talk about how we can actually improve their coffee,” said Cox. A post-fire endeavor was pursuing further education and certifications, becoming the equivalent of a coffee sommelier. He has a new facility in Boone that will be a training center, leading workshops on roasting, sensory evaluation, and learning to discern the subtlety in various coffees. Java fans can even take a class on how to wake up to a great cup of coffee. “It’s just one step closer to knowing what’s in your cup, and that matters,” said Cox.

New Facility

“I had an opportunity to take a weeklong exam on becoming a coffee grader, a ‘Q’ grader,” Cox said, explaining that he is now one of only 4,000 people in the world authorized to grade coffee samples. He also became an authorized Specialty Coffee Association Trainer and applied to become North Carolina’s first premiere training center campus for the Specialty Coffee Association. Cox will also begin teaching a course at Appalachian State called From Crop to Cup. “I’ll show up with coffee for the first part of class so that the students can experience the coffee of origin that we will discuss that day. Then we’re going to look at the political, economic, and social implications of the development of the supply chain of coffee of that country, and then we will go into a Socratic discussion. The goal is that the students know where coffee started, where it’s grown, the characteristics of growing regions, and can appreciate the nuances of specialty coffee.” Don Cox has raised Bald Guy Brew out of the ashes, further committing

to creating an ethical, sustainable, kind business. With every cup his customers drink, and with every class he teaches, his supporters learn that drinking great coffee can also make a difference.

coffee! Visit Bald Guy Brew’s new Boone facility at 714 Old US 421 South, or



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

New Winter Release at Lost Province Brewing Company The 2017 Tubby Monk has been released! Bottles of the 2017 Tubby Monk will be available for purchase at Lost Province, and will be on tap at the brewery while it lasts. Brewed with sour cherries, and raisins, then slow fermented at a cool temperature and cold conditioned, this cold-weather classic boasts an aroma and flavor with strong notes of cherries, dried stone fruits and Belgian esters. Caramel and toffee notes from the dark malts provide a firm base. The mouthfeel is moderate to full, with a warming alcohol presence and a dry finish. This big & complex Belgian-inspired beer is best served cool, not cold, in the presence of great friends, or a good book. Sit by a fire and enjoy! Visit Lost Province at 130 N Depot St in Boone, NC, or online at

104 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

The Place To “BE” In Banner Elk

A taste of the season...

The Banner Elk Cafe


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

• Monday Night Football Specials—Come watch the games on the Big screens with Bucket of Beer and Large Pizza for $25 • Saturday’s Live Music 6-10pm on the Heated Patio • Everyday: Enjoy seasonal coffee drinks and Winter entreé specials • Offering Steaks, Burgers, Pizza, Seafood and More... • $12 Two-topping Large Pizza • Open 7 Am Everyday: Serving Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Visit for entertainment schedule and full menu

Beech Mountain Bourbon Society Like bourbon foolery but not bourbon snobbery? Beech Mountain Bourbon Society, founded in 2015, is open for yearly memberships. Founded by Chairman Pete Chamberlin and President Jeff Melang, this society meets quarterly for bourbon tastings at local Beech Mountain establishments with two yearly bourbon battles, one in the summer and one in the winter. “We started getting together as a small group enjoying the camaraderie, and of course great bourbon, and thought, let’s share the fun with others,” says Chamberlin. “We started the society to share our knowledge of bourbon and ended up learning from new members. Our last tasting was a combination of bourbon and chocolate: Stagg Jr at 130 proof with white chocolate, 90 proof Buffalo Trace with milk chocolate, and 80 proof Basil Hayden with dark chocolate.” What does a yearly membership in Beech Mountain Bourbon Society bring? “Each membership includes a membership card, a flask, a sticker and of course a cool bourbon tasting glass,” says Melang. “We meet quarterly for tastings, members splitting the cost of the bourbons, the meals a la carte through the venue.” Beech Mountain Bourbon Society’s biannual Battle of The Bourbons is a great event open to the public. “We pick six premium bourbons to battle it out for best of Beech Mountain for our two main seasons, summer and winter. These battles are held at local restaurants with a prix fixe cost to attendees which includes the six 1.5 ounce tasting glasses of bourbon and a plate of food. Of course, Society members receive five dollars off the cost of the battle with their membership card,” says Chamberlin. Enjoy drinking bourbon, hunting for quality bourbon at a good price and hanging with friends? Find out more about Beech Mountain’s Mile High Bourbon Society through their Facebook page or CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —







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

WataugaLake Winery

6952 Big Dry Run Road, Butler, TN 423-768-0345 106 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

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



The Forgotten Wines of Provence “Drink Pink” has been the call defining the biggest shift in wine drinking styles over the past several years, as pink, i.e., rosé, wines have elbowed out many white wines among wine drinkers’ preferences. This has been happening for a long time in Europe; in France, sales of rosé wines have outpaced whites every year since 2009. I am of course talking about the dry, crisp, refreshing gold standard style that has put Provence on the wine map. Unfortunately though, the popularity of Provençal pinks has left in its wake some really good white and red wines from that region that are worth seeking out. Seeking out may be precisely what you will have to do, as non-rosé wines comprise only about 10% of Provence’s wine output. The white wines are usually comprised of non-household varieties: Clairette, Colombard, Rousanne, Marsanne, Rolle (aka Vermentino) and one of the world’s most widely planted, but least familiar, grapes, Ugni Blanc (aka Trebbiano). These whites are generally beautifully aromatic and floral—close your eyes and you will think you are walking in a spring garden. On the palate, the wines are smooth, dry and fresh with a surprising medium-weight body. The region that produces perhaps the best white wines in Provence is Cassis (not to be confused with the name of the sweet liquor made from black currants used to make a kir). The region of Cassis is located just a few miles southeast of Marseille, whose prostitutes (legend has it) used to come to pick grapes during their “down” time in the fall. With less than 400 acres of vineyards, its wines are obviously somewhat obscure, but the white wine from the Domaine du Bagnol can actually be found in Avery County. Madame Lefevre was the vigneronne at Bagnol until her mid-80s, when she passed away. The new owner, Jean-Louis Genovesi, and his son, Sébastien, have

carried on atop the limestone outcroppings, a mere 200 meters distance from the shores of the Mediterranean. The wines are better than ever. The reds are comprised largely of Rhône varieties: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise. You’ll even find a splash of the familiar Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the wines, here and there. Most of the red wines are pleasant but unexceptional; however, there are a few bright stars in the Provence red wine galaxy. As Cassis is the stellar region for white wines, so is Bandol for reds. The Mourvèdre grape variety is king in Bandol, producing deep, wild, leathery, spicy wines with savory and meaty nuances. As good as they are a few years after bottling, they attain stunning heights with 10 years of bottle age. They may be overshadowed in reputation by the great Cabernets, Barolos, Brunellos and Burgundies, but in terms of quality they take a back seat to no red wine and certainly deserve their place as one of the world’s great red wine styles. Not to discount the other wonderful producers in Bandol, but the Domaine du Gros Noré and Domaine Tempier are certainly the headliners. Both produce wines with beautiful bouquets and rich, mouth-coating red flavors of currants, plums and blackberries. Gros Noré is hitting on all cylinders under the careful, large hands of Alain Pascal. He and his father previously sold their grapes to Bandol’s best producers, but since his father’s death in 1997, Alain has officially established the Domaine and is bottling one of the region’s preeminent wines. Bandol’s leading producer is unquestionably Domaine Tempier, a 400-year old estate that is easily the most recognized estate in Bandol, if not all of Provence. Its modern era began in 1936 when Lulu Tempier married Lucien Peyraud, whereupon the newly married couple received the Domaine as a wed-

By Ren Manning

ding present. Lucien tasted a 19th century bottle of the Domaine’s wine and realized they had something special. Extensive research showed him that the vineyard land was ideally suited to Mourvèdre vines, producing fruit resistant to oxidation and wines with great ageing potential. Working with France’s wine authorities, he was instrumental in the establishment of Bandol as an appellation and the requirement that Mourvèdre comprise at least 50% of its wines. As long as I’m leading you far afield from your most familiar wines, let me nudge you where few have trod to an obscure grape destination that is well worth the journey. The domaine is Clos Cibonne, and the grape variety is Tibouren. The estate hails back to the 18th century when the Roux family purchased the property from the captain of the royal marines of Louis XVI. The vineyards are planted to Tibouren, a grape of probable Greek or Middle Eastern origin planted almost nowhere else in the world due to its difficult cultivation characteristics. It is fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged under a thin veil of yeast, then aged on its lees (spent yeast residues) in 100year old 500-liter wooden vats. This obscure grape and its unique fermentation and ageing protocol produce a wine of flamboyant bouquet and delicious earthy flavors of bright berries tinged with spices and herbs hinting of the Provence countryside. For trivia seekers, this is one of only 18 cru classés of Provence, the only French wine region outside Bordeaux that has classified its wine estates (Burgundy, Champagne and Alsace classify vineyards, not estates). If you’re someone who enjoys exploring wines outside your familiar realm of personal favorites and normal crowdpleasers, I urge you to hunt down a Bagnol Cassis, a Gros Noré or Tempier Bandol and a Cibonne Tibouren. They’re all available in the High Country, believe it or not! CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


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Holiday Survival Tips By Samantha Stephens


here are so many things to look forward to and enjoy with the holidays. Fellowship with family and friends, entertainment, festive decor and overall holiday cheer. But there can be a downside to all of the celebrating during this season. Without a concrete plan, we can end up more stressed and unhealthy by the New Year. Here’s how to not just survive, but thrive during the holidays!

how busy you get. Even if you spend just 10-15 minutes stretching, walking briskly, or doing some type of resistance exercise, this will help you manage stress, improve your circulation, and stay toned. You must be regularly challenged physically in order to maintain muscle mass and endurance. Don’t slack off just because the holidays are here! It is more important now than ever!

Think ahead. Watch your dietary intake for the days leading up to the holiday celebrations so you can afford to treat yourself a bit. Eat a little something very healthy before holiday parties and events to curb appetite and suppress guilty feelings for splurging a bit at the party. Raw veggies are a great choice! Or try four to six ounces of some lean protein such as chicken breast. These will definitely help curb your appetite.

Consider alternatives when entertaining. Try sparkling water with lime or a wine spritzer instead of straight up wine. Pass up the eggnog, hot cocoa and flavored lattes. Substitute with unsweetened hot teas if desired. There are a variety of fun, warming flavors to choose from like spiced apple, ginger, and chai. You will avoid a lot of extra calories this way!

Make a plan. What foods will you limit or eliminate? You might need to purge your pantry and fridge to reduce temptation. Determine what fitness and dietary plan works for you. For instance, you may enjoy getting outside first thing in the morning for a little run. Or you may prefer a walk after supper at night. Setting forth a plan keeps you on track.

Celebrate with non-food activities. Incorporate games into your party scene for an alternative to eating and drinking. Schedule a time to get outdoors for some caroling. Lend a hand to a neighbor in need or volunteer at a local shelter. These activities are not only a great way to give to others, they will boost your feel-good hormones, which will make you less likely to overeat due to stress or depression.

Exercise is a must. Be sure to include exercise as part of your plan over the holidays, no matter

Consider Intermittent Fasting. “IF” is a great way to curb appetite and maintain lean body mass. One easy

way to incorporate IF into your weekly routine is to choose two days a week to limit caloric intake to just 400-500 calories a day. Do this with a small meal in the morning and one at the end of the day, or eat a medium-sized dinner after fasting all day. Set goals. Would you like to fit into a new outfit for that special holiday party or event? Remind yourself of this goal when you are tempted to give in to frivolous snacking or slacking in your exercise routine. Once you establish clearly defined goals, write them out and post them somewhere very visible, like on your bathroom mirror or on your refrigerator so you will be reminded of them daily. Accountability. Now that you have set some goals and established a plan, solicit help from friends, family or a life coach to keep you on track with your goals this holiday season. If all else fails, and you fall off the wagon over the holidays, don’t despair! With the right amount of discipline and a solid plan, you can whip back into shape with the New Year. Samantha Stephens is a nutritionist, food scientist and herbalist. Contact her at



Here in the High Country, wintertime can be cold and harsh, but it’s not uncommon to have several temperate days when it’s quite pleasant to get outdoors. On days like that, I love to take the opportunity to explore the woods for the natural treasures that survive the cold and wind. Read on to learn about some of my favorites that can be found in abundance locally. I hope you enjoy learning about these wild foods that are often overlooked. Take some time to get outdoors this winter to explore your surroundings.

Disclaimer: Never attempt to identify and harvest wild foods without an expert or with plenty of education paired with experience and a complete field guide. Also, please consult with your health practitioner before attempting to consume or treat yourself with the above methods. Samantha Stephens is a nutritionist, food scientist and herbalist whose favorite pastime is foraging for wild foods while appreciating the abundance of God’s creation. Samantha can be contacted at cmlmag3@

110 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus) Pine needles are a tasty snack while hiking and exploring the forest. Pick them directly from the tree and chew on the ends for a tart, fresh flavor. Pine needles are high in both vitamins A and C, and the oil of pine has an impressive profile. Different parts of the pine have analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiinflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, bactericidal, decongestant, deodorant, disinfectant, diuretic, and expectorant properties. Fresh pine needles can be chewed on raw, brewed into a tea, or used in cooking. I recently gathered some pine needles and decided to flavor carrots with them before roasting. I cut up the carrots, tossed them in melted Kerry Gold butter, sprinkled them with a little nutmeg and sea salt and spread them out on a cookie sheet. Next, I took my kitchen shears and finely cut the pine needles, then spread them evenly over the carrots. I slowroasted the carrots at 350 degrees until they were tender and slightly golden. They were delicious! Pine needles can also be enjoyed when brewed into a nutritious tea. Gather a handful of needles, place them in a mason jar and cover with very hot, but not boiling, water. Cover and let steep for 24 hours. At this point you can drink the tea chilled or hot. Add a little raw honey or stevia to sweeten, if desired. If you have an abundance of pine needles, you can try making an infusion by packing a mason jar full and covering with very hot water. Let steep until cooled and then refrigerate. Take two to four tablespoons of infusion each day for a natural vitamin C immune system builder. Lastly, you might enjoy pine infused olive oil on salad or as a dip for homemade bread!

Teaberry, or American Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) This tiny evergreen is often found with its feet in acidic soils in the woods where there is a modest amount of filtered light. Its glossy, dense, dark green leaves cover the forest floor as a glorious ground cover. Teaberry also produces a bright red berry at the beginning of fall that tastes sweet and minty. The leaves smell and taste very much like the berry. This valuable perennial is not only beautiful, it also has medicinal properties. Teaberry contains a component called Methyl Salicylate, which is the precursor to Salicylic acid, commonly known as aspirin. I’ve been told that “Old-Timers” and Indians would often chew on it to ease the pain of a headache. If chewed on, your breath will be pleasantly fresh, too! Wintergreen can also be applied topically for muscle pain relief and inflammation. In order to apply it topically, it must be infused in water, oil or alcohol. Gather the leaves and berries, fill a mason jar, cover with water, oil or 100 proof alcohol, and let infuse at least five days for water and oil, six weeks for alcohol. To use topically, apply with bare hands, an extra-large cotton ball or a piece of gauze. Teaberry can also be made into a hot or cold tea with the berries and leaves together. To do so, collect teaberries and leaves that are fresh and unblemished and cover with hot water and a lid to steep at least 20 minutes. For a stronger flavor, fill a jar, cover with warm, not hot, water, and place it in a warm spot to ferment for at least three days. When you see bubbles forming on the surface of the water, it’s ready! Drink as is, chilled or only slightly warmed in order to preserve the fresh taste and nutrients developed through fermentation. Keep the remaining fermented tea in the refrigerator.

Usnea (Usnea spp.) Usnea is the genus for a common group of lichens, which are organisms that are part algae, part fungus. Usnea species grow on trees and resemble hair-like tufts. Avoid removing Usnea from live trees, where it is still very useful to its environment. Instead, collect from fallen limbs on the ground. You will find the freshest sources immediately after heavy winds have dropped new limbs covered with Usnea. Like other lichens, Usnea has the ability to cleanse the air of toxins. For this reason, collect only in locations far from roadsides and other large-scale pollution sources. Usnea provides powerful support to the immune system and can be used in acute situations, as well as for long term immune enhancement and general prevention. It is especially suited for urinary and respiratory tract health, and is used effectively to treat and prevent strep and staph infections. I like to use Usnea along with, or in lieu of Echinacea. Use it to help heal respiratory and sinus infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, strep throat, colds, and flu, as well as urinary tract, kidney, and bladder infections. Although Usnea is safe to eat fresh just after collection, it’s not at all palatable so you are better off making a tincture for consumption. Here is how to prepare your own homemade Usnea tincture: Fill a mason jar with freshly harvested Usnea and then cover it completely with 100 proof vodka. Be sure to label and date your jar and cover it with a lid. Infuse for a minimum of six weeks in a dark place, shaking once or twice a week. Once complete, strain off the plant matter and pour the strained liquid into an amber or blue jar with a dropper. For an average adult, take 1/2 dropper with meals to support immune health, or to treat infection. Double the dose at the onset of a cold or infection. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


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828-898-5214 112— Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE


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Corn as a Feature of Mountain Life By Jim Casada Long before the first white settlers made their way down the ancient spine of the Appalachians into the highlands, corn was a staple of mountain life. As part of the “three sisters” approach to agriculture by the Cherokees, along with pumpkins and legumes, corn figured prominently in Native American diet. Pioneering Europeans learned of its uses and methods of cultivation from Indians, for the grain was foreign to their experience. Originally known as turkey wheat, corn was utilized in an amazing variety of ways. These included standard Indian approaches such as “samp” (ground corn soaked in milk until it reached a porridge-like consistency) and bread made from grains that had been pounded with homemade mortars using especially hard timber such as dogwood or persimmon, and hominy. Soon settlers expanded the uses of corn in dramatic fashion. It was used not only as a human foodstuff but as fodder for farm animals (corn shocks dotted farm fields and were fed to cattle as needed in the lean months of winter, the grain finished the fattening of hogs after they had been browsing on chestnut mast, and cracked grain and inferior ears called “nubbins” became scratch feed for chickens). Crude mattresses were sometimes stuffed with husks, and cobs soaked in kerosene furnished a sure, swift way to get a fire started in cook stoves or hearths. Husks became works of primitive art when fashioned into dolls. Most famous, perhaps, was the use of corn to make spirits. Variously described with terms such as white lightning, squeezings, golden moonbeam, stump water, tanglefoot, mountain dew, peartning juice, and snakebite medicine, liquid corn became a standard if illicit offshoot of High Country life. Corn was a crop that could be raised almost anywhere—from rich bottomlands along the region’s larger streams to steep hillsides in remote hardwood coves where girdled trees let in enough sun to grow a patch for a few years until the thin soil was exhausted. The grain figured

prominently in mountain diet at all seasons. A line from a traditional folk tune, “Jimmy cracked corn and I don’t care,” was suggestive in that regard. Corn was a given as a crop and figured in everyday life throughout the year. Once danger of frost was past spring planting would find families sowing row upon row, using seed carefully saved from the previous year’s crop. There would be field corn such as Hickory King for animal food and corn meal, decorative Indian corn with its seeds of many colors, and “sweet” corn to be eaten fresh throughout much of the summer. Successive plantings, spaced two weeks apart, could produce fresh corn from the first roasting ears of the year well into late summer’s dog days. While “garden truck” corn was harvested for the table and for canning by itself or as the base ingredient in soup mix with the ears still green and the kernels in the milk stage, field corn, with its lower sugar content and higher starch content, took up far more cultivated space on mountain farms. The explanation was simple—for most homes, especially outside the region’s towns, it produced the meal from which the majority of their bread was baked, from which grits were ground and hominy processed. The ingenuity of mountain cooks when it came to the use of corn was little short of incredible. Fresh sweet corn could be roasted, boiled on the cob, or, as it matured and became increasingly starchy, cut from the cob and prepared cream-style or stewed with other vegetables such as tomatoes. Another use for the slightly starchy but still soft kernels was gritted cakes, made by mixing corn freshly cut from the cob with corn meal and cooked on a griddle. Corn meal, perhaps ground in a small tub mill owned by a family or taken to a mill and ground on shares, could be used in numerous ways—pones baked in a cast-iron skillet greased with fatback, hoe cakes, muffins, fritters, corn dodgers, and the like. Often, especially in the case of pones, bread was

made more delectable through the addition of cracklings (savory bits left when hog fat was rendered into lard), bits of bacon, chopped ramps in the springtime, or flakes of hot pepper. Almost always, when served hot, cornbread was accompanied by a hefty slathering of home-churned butter. While biscuits or buckwheat cakes might be featured items on the breakfast menu, the main meal of the day, dinner (and in the mountain lexicon this is the mid-day repast) almost always featured hot cornbread accompanied by whatever the season and family circumstances allowed—fresh vegetables in the summer, canned or dried vegetables from late fall until the first wild greens of spring; long-keeping items such as pumpkin, winter squash, turnips, and onions; and the primary meat in mountain diet, pork, served as fried fatback and sawmill gravy, continued on next page CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


CORN: continued from previous page sausage with milk gravy, or less frequently, cured ham or wild game. Add dried fruit such as peaches or apples reconstituted into “sauce,” or perhaps that fruit made into fried pies as dessert, and you had mighty tasty eating. Often the evening meal would be nothing more than a hefty chunk of cold cornbread, perhaps accompanied by slices of raw onion, with a big glass of sweet milk or buttermilk from the springhouse. The meal for making cornbread, whether baked as a pone or prepared in any of its many other manifestations, came from a patch set aside for that purpose. The ears would be allowed to dry in the sun of late summer and early fall before being pulled from the stalks and stored in a crib. Weevils and flour moths could wreak havoc with ground meal, but corn still on the cob and with husks intact was much more resistant to insects. Almost every mountain home in yesteryear had some type of crib, usually a miniature barn constructed to allow plenty of air circulation while protecting the corn stored there from rain and snow. A good “mouser” or two, in the form of house cats, kept mice depredations at a minimum, and black snakes were always welcome around cribs because, in warmer weather, they kept rodent populations down. Whenever the cornmeal supply ran low, whether the family had its own tub mill or carried it to a miller, it was time to visit the crib. Ears of corn would be shucked, perhaps of an evening before a warming fire, and hands already rough and hardened from hoeing and constant handwork would shell the kernels from the cob. With the whole family involved in the shelling, getting enough grain for a run of meal could be accomplished in short order. Along with cornmeal, some of the dry grain from field corn would be turned into grits or hominy. In the case of grits, which have never enjoyed quite the same level of popularity in the mountains as elsewhere in the South (gritted corn is another matter entirely), background preparation was a fairly straightforward undertaking. It involved little more than

a different, coarser setting for grinding stones at the local mill. In the High Country grits were sometimes styled “little hominy,” and to confuse matters further, elsewhere in the region they were referred to as “hominy grits.” Real hominy, however, was not ground at all and required considerable effort. Ashes from both wood cooking stoves and open hearths were regularly saved, because they had numerous uses in the “make do” ways of the High Country. Ashes helped offset the typical acidity of mountain soil, provided lye for the production of soap, and were used to make hominy. The lye, formed by mixing wood ashes and water, softened the tough hull of individual kernels of corn. The grain swelled and shed the hull while soaking in lye, and after repeated rinsing with fresh water, the ultimate result was hominy. It could be eaten immediately or canned, and one of its advantages was that small “runs” could be made whenever needed. Beyond its foremost purpose—provision of food for hardy mountain folks— corn had numerous other uses. Where “cash money” was scarce as hen’s teeth, a common situation, dolls fashioned from corn shucks and “dolled up” with bits of cloth from a flour sack or old dress provided cost-free playthings for children. Even cobs had uses. Corn cob jelly and corn cob dumplings were actually considered delicacies. Cobs could be shaped into bowls for homemade pipes to smoke homegrown burley tobacco. Insertion of a slender peg of hickory, dogwood, or other dense wood turned a portion of a cob into a “striker” for slate turkey calls. While the use of cobs as a substitute for toilet paper is likely more myth than reality, rough humor often attributed this use to cobs. Nor should the fact that both cows and pigs welcomed cobs, along with stalks and blades, as fodder be forgotten. Finally, I can’t resist inclusion of a personal anecdote from my boyhood where a stalk of field corn grown by my paternal grandfather proved my undoing. He lived alongside a sizeable river and as a youngster I desperately yearned to throw a rock across the wide stream. One day in

mid-fall while we were gathering October beans from the corn patch, I said as much. Grandpa chuckled and commented that was easy for him. So certain was I that it was impossible for this stooped old man well into his 70s I thoughtlessly stated: “If you throw a rock across the river I’ll pull pigweed and slop the hogs for a week.” Grandpa said nothing, just took out his razor-sharp pocket knife, selected a likely stalk of corn, stripped the fodder, cut out the top, and then carefully carved a notch near the smaller end. We walked down to the river bank and after kicking around in the rocks along the stream a bit, he found a stone to his liking and fitted it in the notch. Using the leverage the cornstalk provided, he launched the donnick. It was still going up when it reached the other side of the river, and I immediately knew the misery of having been too mouthy and having experienced one unusual use for corn I would just as soon not have known. Corn no longer figures anywhere nearly as prominently in mountain diet as was once the case. From the standpoint of health, that is probably just as well, but it must be remembered that folks who lived close to the land and worked hard from first light to coming night seldom worried about being overweight or having elevated cholesterol. Even today, changed lifestyles notwithstanding, those of us who are mountain born and bred consider corn in all its culinary forms a tasty and tangible part of life capable of bringing added pleasure to any meal. The next time a slice of buttered cornbread graces your plate, you happen to espy the increasingly anomalous sight of corn in shocks, or maybe notice some folk art such as corn shuck dolls, pause and ponder for a moment. Your eyes are beholding things associated with corn, once an integral and vitally important part of the mountain way of life.

corn 114 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

A son of the North Carolina mountains, Jim Casada is a freelance writer and the winner of numerous awards. To learn more about him, to order his books, or to sign-up for his free monthly e-newsletter, visit www.


Makes 8 large servings


Second only to corn, potatoes topped the vegetable list for mountain folks. They kept well, were easy to grow, and were filling. In this recipe, a hearty one that could, particularly when served with corn dodgers, make a fine meatless meal, the two staples of High Country life make a marriage of culinary wonder.

1 egg 1 ½ cups buttermilk ¼ cup or slightly less of melted shortening (substitute cooking oil if you wish) ½ to ¾ cup cracklin’s 1 ½ cups stone-ground cornmeal 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 1 heaping teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder

2 medium-sized potatoes 2 cups water 1 large or two small onions, diced 2 cups milk (or for extra rich soup, 1 cup whole milk and 1 cup half-and-half) 8 teaspoons chicken bouillon grains (or 4 teaspoons bouillon grains and two chunks streaked meat) 3 cups cream corn Peel the potatoes and dice into ½-inch pieces. In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and add the potatoes and onions, simmering until the potatoes are tender (about 20 minutes). Mash (or use a blender) twothirds of the cooked potatoes and onions until smooth. Add a bit of milk if the mix is too thick. Leave the remaining potatoes and onions in chunks. Place the puree in a saucepan and stir in the milk gradually. Add the bouillon, the chunky reserve, and the cream corn, returning to a boil while stirring constantly. The finished consistency should be that of a thick cream soup with the chunkiness associated with chowder.

Melt shortening in a cast-iron skillet in an oven set on 400 degrees. This will also help season the skillet and get it ready for the batter. While it is melting, mix egg and buttermilk using a whisk or wooden spoon. Then whisk or stir the dry ingredients together and add them to the egg-buttermilk mixture. Pour the melted shortening and cracklin’s into the batter and stir until well blended. Don’t worry about draining the melted shortening thoroughly, because a good residue in the pan will produce a crisp, brown crust on the pone as well as preventing sticking. Pour the batter back into the skillet and bake for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees or until golden brown.

“Even today, changed lifestyles notwithstanding, those of us who are mountain born and bred consider corn in all its culinary forms a tasty and tangible part of life capable of bringing added pleasure to any meal.” ­—Jim Casada CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


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comfort food By Brennan Ford

Winter just seems to evoke the notion of wholesome comfort food and gatherings with family and friends. I have a lot of fond memories of such gatherings growing up here in the High Country. Maybe the news of a winter storm coming in fed the creative juices for cooking hearty soul food. I still have the Calphalon stock pot that countless soups, stews and hearty chili were made in over the years. While I’m the first to invite friends over for a mid-summer feast of roasted turkey, honey ham and fixings – I’ve decided to offer up a little lighter side of comfort food this winter that will still satisfy the hungry guest. Our soup is a different twist on the traditional butternut squash soup – by adding in the quintessential country ham and fresh sprigs of thyme. While the mast was heavy this year and the squirrels stocked away plenty of acorns and buckeyes – we too want to make sure the cupboards and fridge are stocked with the best go to ingredients to make just the right soup and fresh salad. Here are some offerings we hope you will enjoy.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Country Ham Bisque 1 large butternut squash 1 large Vidalia chopped fine 2 stalks celery chopped fine 2 large carrots chopped fine 2 tablespoons of garlic minced 1 cup white wine (Pinot Grigio) 1/4-pound butter 3 cups of chicken stock 3 cups of whole milk 1-pound country ham chopped salt and pepper to taste olive oil for garnish several sprigs of thyme for garnish

118 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Preheat oven to 425. Cut your butternut squash in half and remove seeds and guts. Place inside facing up on a baking sheet drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake squash until fully cooked about 45 min. With a spoon remove the flesh of the squash and set aside for later. In a large soup pot over medium heat combine the following items in this order leaving a 2-min interval between items. 1. butter 2. onion 3. celery 4. carrots 5. 3/4’s of the country ham 6. squash flesh 7. garlic 8. wine 9. chicken stock 10. season with salt and pepper (careful not to over salt, country ham is quite strong). Stir and

let mixture come to a boil. Boil long enough for the alcohol from wine to evaporate (about 15 min.). Allow mix to cool. Pour mix into a blender and blend while slowly adding whole milk until mix is smooth and creamy. Pour soup mix back into your soup pot using a fine mesh strainer to filter out any large particle. Reheat soup. Serve and garnish with left over country ham, thyme sprigs, olive oil and pepper. Enjoy.

Toasted Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette 3/4 cup olive oil 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon 1 tablespoon honey 1 heaping tablespoon toasted and finely chopped pumpkin seeds 2 teaspoons soy sauce 1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped fine Combine all ingredients into a mason jar (one that will leave enough space, so the jar is about 1/2 full). Shake vigorously for 1 min. Serve while all ingredients are emulsified fully and enjoy. Chef’s note- if you are not attached to your jar use a screwdriver (or similar tool) to punch 10 or so small holes into the lid of the mason jar and use it to serve your dressing.

Pan fried sweet potato salad 1-pound fresh clean spinach 1 large sweet potato 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese 10-12 cherry tomatoes cut in half Salt and pepper to taste Garnish with salt and vinegar kale chips (see recipe) 1 tablespoon honey (drizzle over salad when serving) 1 tablespoon coconut oil 2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seed vinaigrette In a medium pot par boil the sweet potato until cooked through and cut into inch thick medallions. In a medium sized, preheated sauce pan, heat coconut oil and allow to reach temp (med high). Fry sweet potato medallions on each side until golden brown about 5 min. per side. Drain cooked medallions of excess oil on paper towel and season heavily with salt then pepper on both sides. Rest potatoes until they are close to room temp before topping your salad with them. In a salad bowl toss the spinach in pumpkin seed vinaigrette. Top salad with remaining ingredients and garnish with kale chips and honey. Salt n’ Vinegar Kale Chips 1 Bunch of curly leaf kale (about 10 stems worth) cleaned and dried 2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 1 tablespoon olive oil sea salt to taste Preheat oven to 350. Remove kale from stems and tear into bite sized pieces. Toss kale with vinegar in a bowl, place on a sheet of parchment paper and allow vinegar to air dry onto kale. Place kale back into bowl and lightly toss with olive oil. Spread kale onto a baking sheet and season with sea salt. Bake for 5 min. then remove and redistribute on sheet pan. Cook for another 5 min. Remove smaller cooked chips from sheet pan but leave the larger pieces to cook for an additional 1-2 min. Done chips should be crispy with browned edges and a pale green color. Serve immediately, and enjoy.

RANDOM THOUGHTS A Story About Other Winters By Jean Gellin

There were small candles in holders which clipped on to the branches of the Christmas tree and when they were lit, the simple room in the small house became magical. There were no electric lights in those days. As evening crept into town, dinner was cooking on the wood stove, candles were lit and the cares of the day became less burdensome. A young boy learned two languages early in life, German and English. It was 1900, a new century had begun, he was ten-years old and his name was “Addy.” He told me many years later that he was grateful to find an orange in the Christmas stocking which hung from the mantel because oranges were a luxury in northern winters when he was a child. He was a great story teller and I grew up with those stories because Addy was my father. His parents, Augusta and Gustav, had come here from Germany in the 1890s. His mother’s parents died when she was a teenager and she became a servant for a family who owned a large farm. She told my father stories about her early life and the story he remembered best was the one about her being sent out on a snowy winter evening to chase geese. After listening to that story, it wasn’t difficult to picture a young girl, holding a shawl over her head, running through the snowflakes, “shooing” the geese into their shelter for the night. She eventually met Gustav, who was a fine carpenter. They fell in love, married and came to this country to begin a new life in a new land. They couldn’t have come at a worse time. In 1893, a railroad called “United States Reading Railroad” failed which led to the loss of many jobs and prompted European investors to pull their money out of this country. That triggered a run on the banks and led to a collapse of the stock market which sent the economy into a recession. Unemployment was rampant. Gustav was able to bring in a small amount of money because he knew how to build just about anything that went into a house. He was also a good repair man and could figure out why something wasn’t working, valuable assets when people were trying to “make do” with what they had. In the winter, staying warm was the goal of every day and the hope of every night. My grandmother, Augusta, sewed newspaper into the lining of my father’s winter coat to keep him warm during the long walk to school. Any time any member of the family outgrew something or tore any piece of clothing, it was saved and cut up into pieces for quilts. Whatever quilts Augusta made have been lost in the mists of time but I do have a soft gray wool blanket with a label stitched into one corner with the date it was made, 1873, the year of Augusta’s fourth birthday. I’ll settle for that. At this time of year, when darkness becomes a dinner guest, we light candles for beauty and the ancient words, “Let there be light,” take on special meaning. Light becomes something we seek and it comes in many forms. It can be the light in which an idea is born, the light of a sunset before twilight falls into the arms of evening or the light of a distant star in the snowflaked sky. Let there be light, indeed. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


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

“...donate-what-you-can” Apple Hill Farm Store

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

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

Celebrating 22 Years! 120 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

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

For Leasing Information Call 828.898.6246

SHOPPING • DINING • BUSINESS • At the Corner of Hwy 105 & 184 Tynecastle Hwy. • Banner Elk CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2017/18 —


OUR SPONSORS: 121............ A to Z Auto Detailing

51.............. Brinkley Hardware

70.............. Highland Forestry

106............ Savor

23.............. Alpine Ski Center

120............ Canyons Restaurant

58.............. Highland Outfitters


121 ........... Amy Brown, CPA

50.............. Charleston Forge Home & Outlet

88.............. Highlands Union Bank

23.............. Seven Devils TDA

71.............. Hunter’s Tree Service

121............ Shooz and Shiraz

88.............. Incredible Toy Company

70.............. Shoppes at Farmers Hardware

104............ Inn at Ragged Garden

121............ Shoppes 0f Tynecastle

43.............. Invisible Theatre

11.............. Six Pence Pub

120............ Italian Restaurant

32.............. Ski Country Sports

108............ Jack’s 128 Pecan Restaurant

112............ Sorrento’s Italian Bistro

116............ Jerky Outpost

11.............. Stella Blue’s Pawtique

32.............. La Vida Cooyon

116............ Stick Boy Bread Co.

58.............. Lees-McRae College

92.............. Stone Cavern

93.............. Crossnore School for Children

96.............. Life Care

108............ Stonewalls Restaurant

22.............. Dereka’s Sugar Mountain Accommodations & Realty

71.............. Linville Caverns

19.............. Sugar Mountain Resort

117............ Linville Falls Winery

23.............. Sugar Ski and Country Club

2................ Dewoolfson

3................ Lodges at Eagles Nest

86.............. Sunset Tee’s

8................ Distinctive Cabinetry of the High Country

104............ Lost Province Brewing Company

104............ The Best Cellar

50.............. Doe Ridge Pottery

86.............. Lucky Lilly

51.............. Drexel Grapevine Antiques

120............ Macado’s Restaurant

80.............. The Consignment Cottage Warehouse

100............ Eat Crow Café

OBC........... Mast General Store

121............ The Dande Lion

64.............. Echota

88.............. Mountain Dog and Friends

116............ The New Public House & Hotel

116............ English Farmstead Cheese

47.............. Mountain Jewelers

43.............. The Schaefer Center Presents

106............ Ericks Cheese and Wine

70.............. My Best Friend’s Barkery

108............ The Spice & Tea Exchange

120............ F.A.R.M. Café

11.............. Mystery Hill

86.............. The Summit Group

32.............. Flat Top Brewery

121............ Nick’s Restaurant & Pub

31.............. Footsloggers

70.............. Painted Fish Café

43.............. The Twisted Twig Antiques and Accents

78.............. Fortner Insurance

47, 121...... Peak Real Estate

58.............. Foscoe Fishing

108............ Pedalin’ Pig BBQ

32.............. Fred’s General Mercantile

96.............. Premier Pharmacy

8................ Fuller & Fuller

80.............. Ram’s Rack Thrift Shop

100............ Gamekeeper

86.............. Randy & Me

117............ Gideon Ridge Inn

80.............. Reeves Divenere Wright Attorneys at Law

88 ............ Andrews & Andrews Insurance 51.............. Antiques on Howard 7................ Appalachian Blind and Closet 89.............. Appalachian Elder Law Center 60.............. Appalachian Voices 120............ Apple Hill Farm 91.............. Appalachian Regional Health Services-The Baker Center 29.............. Appalachian Ski Mountain 98.............. Ashi Therapy/Ashi Aromatics 79.............. Avery Animal Hospital 121............ Avery Chamber of Commerce 78.............. Avery Heating and Air 50.............. Bailey Drapery 105............ Banner Elk Café & Lodge 46.............. Banner Elk Consignment Cottage 43.............. Banner Elk Olive Oil & Balsamics 29.............. Banner Elk Realty 6................ 12.............. Banner Elk Winery 112............ Barra 29.............. Barter Theater 116............ Bayou Smokehouse & Grill 121............ BB&T 21.............. Beech Mountain Resort 20.............. Beech Mountain TDA 100............ Bella’s Italian Restaurant 117............ Bistro Roca 100............ Blowing Rock Ale House Restaurant/Brewing Co

112............ Chef’s Table 112............ Chestnut Grille 97.............. Children’s Hope Alliance 112............ COBO Sushi Bistro & Bar 71.............. Compu-Doc 42.............. CoMMA 121............ Creative Interiors by Darlene Parker 96.............. Creative Printing

22.............. The Blowing Rock

5................ The Village of Sugar Mountain 4................ Tom Eggers Construction 47.............. Tom’s Custom Golf 121............ Tynecastle Builders 121............ Tynecastle Realty 121............ Valle de Bravo Mexican Grill

thank you! 11.............. Blowing Rock Pages

31.............. Blowing Rock Winterfest

51.............. Blue Mountain Metalworks 97.............. Blue Ridge Energies

26.............. Blue Ridge Professional Services

60.............. Blue Ridge Realty & Investments 97.............. Boone Drug

26.............. Boone High Country Rentals 43.............. BRAHM

122 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

123............ Grandfather Mountain

58.............. Grandfather Trout Farm 60.............. Grandfather Vineyard 70.............. Gregory Alan’s Gifts 11.............. Handtiques

121............ Headquarters Bike & Outdoor 98.............. High Country Community Health

26.............. High Country Resort Rentals 34.............. High Country Wine Trail

51.............. Village Jewelers

22.............. Reid’s Café & Catering

89.............. Waite Financial

96.............. Replay Arcade

106............ Watauga Lake Winery

19.............. Resort Real Estate & Rentals

11.............. Woodlands Barbecue

121............ Rite Aid Pharmacy

98.............. YMCA of Avery Co

47.............. Rivercross

96.............. Root Down

50.............. Sally Noone Art Studio Gallery


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



128 — Winter 2017/18 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

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